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1 MULTIPLE MODERNISMS: ESSAYS ON NON -SYNCHRONOUS PERIODIZATION By CARL F. MILLER A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOC TOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2009
2 2009 Carl F. Miller
3 To my grandmother
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank the members of my committee for their expertise and support during th e writi ng of this dissertation. I extend thanks to my family for their encouragement during this process and throughout my unde rgraduate and graduate studies. My sincere gratitude goes to Christie Pagano for the motivation and understanding she has provided in the latter stages of composition. Most of all, I would like to thank Phillip Wegner for tirelessly meeting with me, reviewing my materials on a short timeline, and ultimately changing the way I look at the world.
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .................................................................................................................... 4 ABSTRACT .......................................................................................................................................... 6 CHAPTER 1 THEORIES OF RELATIVITY: MULTIPLE MODERNISMS AND A SINGULAR MODERNITY ............................................................................................................................... 7 2 SIGNATURES OF ALL THINGS: PERIODIZATION AND TRANSITION WITHIN JAMES JOYCES ULYSSES ..................................................................................... 30 3 WITHIN YOU WITHOUT YOU: SGT. PEPPER AND THE HIGH MODERNISM OF ROCK AND ROLL .............................................................................................................. 67 4 WHERE ARE THE WILD THINGS?: THE MODERNIST REVOLUTION AND BEYOND IN CHILDRENS LITERATURE ......................................................................... 103 5 THE TRIUMPH OF DEATH: DON DELILLOS UNDERWORLD AND THE PERIODIZATION OF MAJOR LEAGUE ARCHITECTURE ............................................ 142 Realism ...................................................................................................................................... 145 Modernism ................................................................................................................................. 154 Postmodernism .......................................................................................................................... 165 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................................................................................................. 180 BIOGRA PHICAL SKETCH ........................................................................................................... 192
6 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy MULTIPLE MODERNIS MS: ESSAYS ON NON -SYNCHRONOUS PERIODIZATION By Carl F. Miller August 2009 Chair: Phillip Wegner Major: English Multiple Modernisms: Essays on Non-Synchronous Periodization explores the concept of periodization and its value for the study of literature and a number of other artistic forms, offering both a historical analysis and a reconceptualization of traditional methods of studying these cultural phenomena. This project emphasizes instead how larger cultural logics work themselves out through a dive rse range of different cas es, ranging from specific works and artistic careers to genres, media, and forms. T his study also confronts the isolation of canonical literature from other practices, such as popular music, architecture, and childrens literatur e. It is further unique in that it posits non -synchronous periodization for each of these forms, rather than subscribing, for example, to the notion of a uniform realist, modernist or postmodernist period. This raises a number of historical questions that have largely been ignored within cultural studies, and offers what I hope are productive and original answers to them.
7 CHAPTER 1 THEORIES OF RELATIVI TY: MULTIPLE MODERNI SMS AND A SINGULAR MODERNITY The most troublesome passage in Marx has to do w ith the emergence of a new mode of production. The parturitional figure is well known although not absolutely indisp ensable: new, higher relations of production never appear before the material conditions of their existence have matured in the womb of the old society. The organic overtones have often been an embarrassment, particularly since the mother normally survives the birth of the child, while the older mode of production presumably does not. Fredric Jameson, A Singular Modernity (77 7 8) This is a dissertation on the multiplicity of the expressions of modernism. I am exploring the concept of periodization and its value for the study of literature and a number of other artistic forms, offering both a historical analysis and a reconcept ualization of traditional methods of studying these cultural phenomena. This project challenges the genius model that still dominates much of the work in literary and cultural studies, and emphasizes instead how larger cultural logics work themselves out through a diverse range of different cas es, ranging from specific works and artistic careers to media, genres, and forms. This dissertation also confronts the potential isolation of canonical literature from other practices, such as popular music, archit ecture, and childrens lite rature. When the traditionally accepted artistic periods of realism, modernism, and postmodernism have been applied to these practices, it has most often been with the understanding that development in all these forms are synchr onous with one another. In looking at modernism across a wide range of temporalities, I shall posit a non -synchronous periodi zation for each of these artistic forms. Th is is in opposition to the generally accepted notion of a uniform modernist period l ocated for example, in the years between 19141945, and wherein all works produced in that moment are evaluated according to the criteria of modernism -usually to the marked detriment of many of them. While the logic of periodization is based on the scal e of the economic mode of production, I will argue that there is
8 no such thing as a pure mode of production, a recognition that enables non -synchronous periods to develo p in relation to the traditional realms of realism, modernism, and postmodernism. The c hapters in this dissertation explain such diffe rent scales of periodiziation --those of individual text, genre, musical medium, an d architectural practice--structured around the periodizing method of Americas foremost Marxist critic, Fredric Jameson. This project is complicated not only by the scale of its periods, but also by the subjects and works under analysis, which range from a canonical modernist text to childrens literature, rock and roll, and the American ballpark. As such, in addition to its Ja mesonian framework, this project in many ways mirrors the work of Claude Lvi -Strauss in its assessment that the primitive is no less complex than the sophisticated modern. In The Savage Mind, Lvi -Strauss emphasizes, What is true of the constitution of historical facts is no less so of their selection. Every corner of space conceals a multitude of individuals each of whom totalizes the trend of history in a manner which cannot be compared to the others. What makes history possible is that a s ub -set of events is found (257). This dissertation accomplishes this by focusing on progression and transition within a number of forms. The thinking in the cultural logic of each of these formal sub -sets is different from those of the established macro -scales, and they necessitate equally sophisticated readings. When we read these texts within their own formal histories, their developments are rich and varied and contestatory. Of course, to accomplish this we need to focu s on situational descriptions -a vital point within Jamesons method that many readers are apt to overlook. For the fundamental -and unarguable -axiom of Jamesons Marxism is that everything must respond to the larger cultural situation at hand. The largest historical periodizations a re those of a situation that is cultural, political, and economic. In this logic of situation, all things produced during the modernist
9 period are modernist. However, more than simply positing the historical boundaries of a period, Jameson actually the orizes what that historical situation is, with the understanding that different cultural works will respond to this situation differently. Alain Badiou, in the opening of his provocative Ethics (2001), observes that certain scholarly words, after long confinement in dictionaries and in academic prose, have the go od fortune, or the misfortune -a little like an old maid who, long since resigned to her fate, suddenly becomes, without understanding why, the toast of the town of sudden exposure to the bright light of day (1). While Badiou speaks in reference to the term ethics ,1 he could just as surely be talking about the concept of modernism. The understanding that aesthetic modernism was a movement of the past is evident in a number of crucial critical essays that have helped to shape the academys conception of the term. Maurice Beebe, in a 1974 essay titled What Modernism Was, states that we can take some comfort in the realization that we can now define Modernism with confidence that we shall n ot have to keep adjusting our definition in order to accommodate new visions and values (1065). Perry Anderson, meanwhile, in his well known Modernity and Revolution, attests that modernism as a notion is the emptiest of all cultural categories. Unli ke Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Mannerist, Romantic, or Neoclassical, it designates no describable object in its own right at all: it is completely lacking in positive content (332). Anderson s statement --while seemin gly as close ended as Beebes --highl ights a crucial component to the contemporary reconsideration of modernism: that a mere focus on the formal characteristics of modernism is now understood to be a critical dead end. Instead, a situational definition is necessary for any effective consideration of modernism, and such historical placement includes our own contemporary refiguration of what modernism is As Phillip Wegner argues, we need to understand the past differently to perceive
10 our present in a new way Only in this way can we hope to keep faith with the true radicality of past movements and actors ( Life 4). As mentioned earlier one could argue that anything produced during the traditional modernist period is in some ways modernist; however, Jameson problematizes this thinking in A Singular Modernity For Jameson, modernism is a period concept that has been relegated to a rather static and stereotypic conception in the contemporary world. Modernism cannot (or, at least, should not) be an inflexible standard by which to compar e a whole series of historically incomparable writers (or painters or musicians) (Singular 28). Jameson accordingly argues that the emergence of a properly modernist style will be validated only by the kind of new work it enables: by some fresh ( formal and structural) approach to the moderns able to formulate their historical specificity more adequately for us today than the descriptions we have inherited from their contemporaries (Modernism 164). In A Singular Modernity Jameson accomplishes these aims in part through his articulation of the buffer period of late modernism. Late modernism most obviously fills a gap between modernism and postmodernism, but it also does something more: namely, it illustrates the coming to fruition of the ide ology of modernism. It is, Jameson states, the very emergence of some full -blown ideology of modernism that differentiates the practices of late modernism from modernism proper ( Singular 197).2 Individuals did not consciously set out to craft an ideol ogy of modernism; it was arrived at over time, an ideological project, on which any number of individuals laboured collectively ( Singular 180), and only after a first wave of blind experimentation had yielded a number of tangible aesthetic referenc e points. This subsequent aesthetic movement comes to be characterized by late modernist contingency [which] constitutes the failure of autonomy to go all the way and fulfill its aesthetic programme
11 (Singular 209). The far more accessible literat ure (a middlebrow type) that emerges in turn impacts our conception of the modernist period itself, for it is in these more accessible texts that we see the more recognizable products of modernist experimentation. Jamesons conception of late modernism is hence not simply a periodizing gesture, but rather one of re -periodizing. Late modernism presents a break with the traditional periodization which posits a modernism and postmodernism side -by-side, offering a transitional period in order to stimulate a new mode of thinking. A period becomes transition (a break) and a break becomes a period -a notion that is as dialectically frustrating as it is inescapable. As Jameson says, the trope exists precisely to provoke astonishment and the scandal of the ne w theory, the break further back than we imagined, the uncanonized name suddenly arising to overshadow the only too familiar one ( Singular 150). While this assault upon certitude potentially undermines the validity of his own periodizing operation, Jameson insists that this is an essential dialectical component to any effective theory. Even Jean -Francois Lyotards influential postmodern theory of the end of grand narratives is, Jameson points out, itself another grand narrative ( Singular 5). In additio n, it is wrong to think that Lyotards postmodernity marks a repudiation of the past, its wholesale consignment to oblivion, Jameson argues, as for Lyotard, the philosophers of the past were to be reinvented and rewritten in the postcontempo rary idiom ( Singular 4). In such a way, Jameson concludes, Lyotard was himself in many ways a quintessential modernist, passionately committed to the eruption of the authentically new ( Singular 4). Much as Jameson has reconceptualized Lyotard, t hrough his work in A Singular Modernity he has just as certainly resituated and reevaluated himself.
12 Wegner observes that Jamesons own recent writings on periodization offer us another way of thinking about this relationship, as the guidelines he establ ishes should also be understood as the fundamental axioms for the production of any successful periodizing narrative (Life 4). While such operations may be taken as arbitrary3--with the success or failure of the project ultimately resting with the indiv idual reader -a rigorous application of such formal structures produces any number of interesting readings. Much like Wegners book, my own periodizing method is guided by Jamesons more unive rsal axioms for periodization --the four Maxims of Modernity d eveloped in A Singular Modernity (2002) --and it is precisely these axioms that eliminate arbitrary applications of periodizing theory. The first of these maxims speaks directly to the necessity of periodization. Just as Jameson begins The Political Uncons cious with the now famous exhortation Always historicize! (9), he begins the maxims of A Singular Modernity with the stylistically similar We cannot not periodize (29).4 While this maxim seems at first glance to lack the enthusiasm of his earlier work even to the point that it seems to encourage a resignation to defeat (Singular 29) --it is no less definitive. Periodization, Jameson argues, is not some optional narrative consideration one adds or subtracts according to ones own tastes and incli nations, but rather an essential feature of the narrative process itself ( Singular 81). Jamesons decision to word the maxim as such (rather than Always periodize!), comes as a result of acknowledging the objections to periodization as a philosophical act and then ultimately finding that those objections are brought up short against [periodizations] inevitability ( Singular 29). This brings to light the seeming fatalist nature of periodization, and its status as a requirement, rather than an operati on of empowerment. Jamesons maxims are, after all, worded as far more a Biblical Ten Commandments than an American Bill of Rights, and are seemingly
13 focused on what one cannot do, or what one must do, as opposed to what one can do with modernity.5 As Ba diou states, it was always easier for church leaders t o indicate what was forbidden -indeed, to content thems elves with such abstinences -than to try to figure out what should be done (10). Upon closer inspection, however, Jamesons maxims take up both of these considerations. While they are obviously a set of regulations for any successful periodizing operation, they just as surely make such liberatory operations possible (indeed, essential). Such a mandate also lends real power to period theory, with contemporary breakthroughs in aesthetic modernism coming as the result of theoretical reconsideration. As Marshall Berman observes, It may turn out, then, that going back can be a way to go forward: that remembering the modernisms of the nineteenth cent ury can give us the vision and courage to create the modernisms of the twenty -first (36). Jamesons concept of a period is admittedly indebted to Thomas Kuhns notion of the paradigm, and to the transitional model that Kuhn articulates. Kuhn conceives of the paradigm as a period of normal science (10): a period of stability and mainstream consensus regarding the dominant problems (rather than solutions) of the time. This is a key point, as paradigm debates are always situated around the question Whi ch problems is it more significant to have solved? (Kuhn 110). There is thus an arbitrary, moment -specific significance to the establishment of paradigms; they are not random developments to be situated in an ahistorical vacuum. The ultimate goal of Jamesons highly -influential Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (1991), in his own words, is systematizing something that is resolutely unsystematic and drawing historical substance from an ahistorical period of history (418, 296). By A Singular Modernity this point is expanded into a more general call to move beyond chronologization (a form of postmodern nominalism) and onto the political term of narrative.
14 This is evident in the second of Jamesons Maxims of Modernity: Modernity is not a concept, philosophical or otherwise, but a narrative category ( Singular 40). This insistence upon narrativity is not without controversy, given that narrativity has come to represent the frightening possibility of an utter relativism and the ultimate threat of the disappearance of truth ( Singular 32). Jameson is dismissive of such claims, stating that the trope of modernity is always in one way or another a powerful displacement of previous narrative paradigms (Singular 35); one sh ould be more unnerved by a narrative structure that resists future reconsiderations .6 The initial problem with periodization, Jameson insists, is always that it might create a bad totalization, and the fine line it presents is no doubt the source of much of the critical skepticism regarding Jamesons work. As he acknowledges at the end of Postmodernism, It has not escaped anyones attention that my approach to postmodernism is a totalizing one. The interesting question today is not why I adopt t his perspective, but why so many people are scandalized (or have learned to be scandalized) by it ( Postmodernism 400) -the ir ony being that this scandal may itself be understood as a symptom of postmodernism. Such skepticism seems evident in the work of L yotard, who implores us to wage a war on totality. However, there are significant differences between totalities and totalization .7 While Foucault admits that there is nothing more tentative, nothing more empirical than the process of establishi ng an order among things (xix), he just as quickly insists on the stark fact that order exists (xx). To periodize is always to totalize; the variable instead is the scale on which one periodizes. Jameson asserts that the summing up, from a perspect ive or point of view, as partial as it must be, marks the project of totalization as the response to nominalism (Postmodernism 332). The realization that any totalizing claim will inevitably leave out potential considerations is the point of the dialecti cal nature of the process. While the
15 commitment to the Absolute, Jameson states, is not always hospitable to pluralist fairness (Archaeologies 19), this bears little on the validity of the operation. Taking all objections into account, it is diagnos tically more productive to have a totalizing concept than to try to make ones way without one ( Postmodernism 212). The new canon that thereby results becomes an exercise of selection, rather than one of ex clusion. It is a Marxian axiom that history has to be a world history, but it is equally certain that any form of periodization that operates exclusively on a single scale is bound to be abstract. As Brian McHale argues regarding Jamesons method, Rather than let ones discourse be shaped or deforme d by the desire to evade and deflect accusations of metanarrativity, better to try to tell as good a story as possible, on e that makes the richest possible sense in the phenomenon in question and provokes the liveliest possible critical scrutiny, controv ersy, counter -proposals, and (why not?) counter -stories (Postmodernism 31). The situation that one must narrate under is a narrative term that attempts to square this particular circle and to hold its contradictory features of belonging and innovati on together within itself ( Singular 57). Ultimately, Jameson states, the search for some true or even correct narrative is vain and doomed to every failure but the ideological one ( Singular 33).8 Narrativity is thereby at the same time limited and essential, and it is its ideological solution which leads back to Jamesons insistence on the necessity of periodization and its subsequent application. This also leads logically into Jamesons third Maxim of Modernity: The narrative of modernity cannot be organized around categories of subjectivity; consciousness and subjectivity are unrepresentable; only situations of modernity can be narrated ( Singular 57). Framing the hi storical moment of transition -and the transition it articulates -is a vital compone nt to any period concept. Perry Anderson insists that it is necessary to insist that revolution is a punctual
16 and not a permanent process; that is, a revolution is an episode of convulsive political transformation, compressed in time and concentrated in target, with a determinate beginning and a finite end (332). In addressing the modernist revolution, Jameson concurs that even if the conception of artistic modernism as a stepping out of time and history can be accepted, it is an experience that i s surely not available or accessible at every moment of history ( Singular 193). However, while he talks at length about the search for periodizing breaks throughout the A Singular Modernity -including his insistence that the use of the term Modernity always means setting a date and positing a beginning ( 31) --he does not hesitate to emphasize the innate incompleteness of such claims. Jameson instead encourages the search for further transitional models, devoid of the insistence on a single and irrepa rable break. This search for the event raises further questions regarding the effective positing of such a moment. Hayden White has notably drawn attention to the tendency of modernist literature to dissolve the event (Modernist 17), an observation th at also applies to the transition and development of any number of other artistic mediums. Much the same as the designation of a larger period, Jameson explains that the alleged break is itself merely a narrative effect for the purpose of conceptualizing the larger transitional framework (Singular 145). It is equally the case, though, that such events serve as essential markers that designate large -scale shifts within these mediums, and in doing so sanction the production of the absolute and the break with previous practices. This break with previous practices is the focus of Jamesons fourth Maxim of Modernity: No theory of modernity makes sense today unless it is able to come to terms with the hypothesis of a postmodern break with the modern ( Sin gular 94). Many of the first postmodern
17 critics (including Hassan) carried an essentially antimodernist standpoint (Jameson, Postmodernism 56), and seem more concerned with outlining what postmodernism is not (i.e. not modernism) than what it actually i s Jameson considers this obsessive binary division particularly curious, given that in it the postmodern becomes little more than the form taken by the authentically modern in our own period, and a mere dialectical intensification of the old modernist impulse ( Postmodernism 59). As a result, he asks us to consider that the postmodern is not diametrically opposed to the modern, but rather exists in a dialectical union with its predecessor. This thinking is evident in Jamesons tripartit e schema in w hich realism gives way to modernism and then postmodernism. As this model is based on Ernst Mandels own tripartite model of capitalist development, it seemingly limits our notion of aesthetic periodization to a single tripartite development that is synchr onous with large -scale shifts within the mode of production. It is precisely this period concept that Jameson is best known for, as it is the one he develops in his most celebrated work, Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (1991). In this work, Jameson develops a singularly distinct period of postmodernism that is effectively aligned with late capitalist development in the broadest possible sense. In his influential 1984 essay that bears significant influence on Jamesons book, Perry Anderson implores that the history of capitalism must be periodized, and its determinate trajectory reconstructed, if we are to have any sober understanding of what capitalist development actually means (322). Anderson argues that it is important to seek an account of periodization which strikes a dialectical middle ground between [Marshall] Bermans perennialism [and Georg] Lukacss evolutionism (324), and Jamesons periodizing operation gives us just such a model. Jamesons tripartite structure o f capitalist development based on Mandels three stages
18 of market capitalism, monopoly capitalism, and la te capitalism -is effectively aligned with the progression from realism through modernism to postmodernism. This sets up a cognitive system behind t he artistic manifestations within any sort of large -scale transition: a transformation in culture is always contingent on a radical modification in the social and economic system. As such, Jameson repeatedly uses the economic as the foundation for his the ories of the cultural -a move that implies unity as it articulates transition. There are significant differences between Jamesons larger historical scheme in Postmodernism and the operation I am suggesting here. Much like Phillip Wegners periodization o f the 1990s in Life Between Two Deaths the provisional answer [to this differential] lies in the matter of scale ( Life 4). In Jamesons larger scale of Postmodernism, it forces us to read everything at this moment as a production of postmodernism. Whi le this model works, my own periodizing project is doing something different; I am not questioning the established larger cycles, but am rather using them to craft a synthetic model. By taking the established historical periodizing structures as axiomatic the discussion becomes what happens when we shift to local scales (as opposed to Foucaults macro-scales). J amesons models are also foundational for such an operation. The Maxims of Modernity are not a departure from the model of Postmodernism; instead they apply to both that larger scale and to the smaller scales being utilized in this project .9 As Caren Irr and Ian Buchanan argue, What distinguishes Jamesons work is his ability to draw together this multiplicity of disparate strands, or stra ws in the wind as he put it, and reveal their integration. This totalizing impulse at once fascinates and infuriates his critics, but it is also what makes his writing so vital (4). When Jameson discusses the tripartite schema of aesthetic development a n d its periodizing logic he is at his most Hegelian, and the application of this tripartite schema is
19 a heuristic device that enables us to see developments in this historical situation in a new and interesting way. How do we describe a period? essential ly means How do we make connections between phenomena? A periodizing operation involves making connections across several boundaries, and it is imperative to utilize an established framework to govern this analysis, one which Jameson provides. However, Jameson insists that no historical society has ever embodied a mode of production in any pure state ( Political 94). I nstead, every social formation of historically existing society has in fact consisted in the overlay and structural coexistence of se veral modes of production at once, now relegated to structurally dependent positions within the new, as well as anticipatory tendencies which are potentially inconsistent with the existing system but have not yet generated an autonomous space of their own ( Political 95). In his Forward to The Postmodern Condition, Jameson categorizes science and knowledge today as a search, not for consensus, but very precisely for instabilities, as a practice of paralogism, in which the point is not to reach agreement but to undermine from within the very framework in which the previous normal science had been conducted (xix). Any transition therefore involves not only a crisis, but also an ensuing battle over the problems such a crisis raises. Kuhns conception of normal science offers a consideration parallel to Jamesons lag period between the genuine practice and the codified ideology of modernism (given that Kuhn describes normal science as mopping up operations ).10 Hence, while the concept of the m ode of production is synchronic, the various cultural productions at work within this overarching framework is open to history in a dialectical way ( Political 95). Cultural revolution is earlier posited by Jameson as that moment in which the coexistenc e of various modes of production becomes visibly antagonistic, their contradictions moving to the very center of political, social, and historical life
20 (Political 95).11 Even within his well known cultural logic of Postmodernism, Jameson insists that p ostmodernism is merely a cultural dominant ( Postmodernism 159), and not a cultural totality. In such a way, a singular moment of departure for any period concept is bound to not be precisely applicable to any number of cultural productions .12 Woolfs December, 1910 starting point for modernism provides an intriguing referent, but it is instantly problematic given, as Perry Anderson argues, how strikingly uneven [modernisms] distribution actually is (323). Accordingly, Jameson theorizes that each break officially posited seems to bring a flurry of new ones in its wake ( Singular 64); this is true of Jamesons concept of late modernism, but this also holds true within the various modernisms themselves. In analyzing Jamesons Signatures of the Visible (1990), Wegner highlights a central contradiction of modernist aesthetics [:] Each particular practice, style, or movement declares itself to be the new universal; however, the very proliferation of such declarations already signals the ultimate impossi bility of any such unification (Periodizing 259). Signatures significantly contains the first publication of The Existen ce of Italy, an often -overlooked essay that is crucial for positing a more precise model of microperiodization.13 The proliferation and uneven development of the modernist aesthetic results in a periodizing logic that offers a non -synchronous dynamic of various belated or premature modernisms, their catching up or indeed their untimely exhaustion ( Singular 180).14 Jamesons tripar tite schema that develops at a more compressed tempo with regard to film history (the realisms of the Hollywood period, the high modernisms of the great auteurs, the innovations of the 1960s and their sequels [Existence 157]), could also be applied to other semi autonomous sequences of cultural history such as American Black literature or for the history of rock (Existence
21 156). In essence, there emerges any number of distinct aesthetic responses to the same transition. The flexibility o f scale and the idea of microchronologies is crucial, as the moment of realism can be grasped rather differently as the conquest of a kind of cultural, ideological, and narrative literacy by a new class or group; in that case, there will be formal analogi es between such moments, even though they are chronologically distant from each other ( Existence 156) and this logic proves equally the case for modernism, late modernism, and postmodernism. This proliferation of period sub -sets offers an essential di alectical relationship to macro -period schemes. On the one hand, while the method of The Existence of Italy encourages a concentrated analysis of an aesthetic period, it also necessitates looking at each moment in relation to all of the periods within t his tripartite trajectory. Without such an understanding, the formal transitions within each object of study may never come into situational focus. In other words, Jameson explains, the solution a modernist position allows one to achieve for the fal se problem of realism is itself insensibly undone by a whole range of now post modern positions (Existence 159). On the other hand, as the term microperiod implies, one must be careful not to be too broad with relation to period development. Andrea s Huyssen argues that the problem with such historical macro -schemes is that they prevent the phenomenon from ever coming into focus (183). This insight has spawned a number of exceedingly interesting microperiodizing projects in recent years, inc luding Stephen Paul Millers The Seventies Now Michael Norths Reading 1922, Wegners Life Between Two Deaths or Jamesons own Periodizing the 60s. Such suggestions do not necessarily question the major political and economic dynamics of the larger hi storical periods, but rather look at how particular microperiodizations may impact our understanding of these larger models. Microperiodizing makes the transitions between period
2 2 concepts all the more discreet, even as it magnifies the particularities of such change. In contrast to Giddens and Foucaults century -long epistemes, for example Miller divides the seventies -already a r easonably concise time period --into two or three year micro -periods (28). Again, the larger period concept retains preeminence, with the microperiod serving as an exceedingly useful cartographic tool for positing cultural unities (369). North observes that attempts to formulate a unified formalist definition of modernism have always run afoul of the fact that modernis m ceaselessly creates forms and in so doing confounds critical desires for formal consistency (209); he is thus compelled to condense his microperiodizing operation to the single year of 1922. While Jamesons essay focuses on the 1960s, his model of anal ysis is applicable to all historical periods; any period in question is understood not as some omnipresent and uniform shared style or way of thinking and acting, but rather as the sharing of a common objective situation, to which a whole range of varie d responses and creative innovations is then possible, but always within that situations structural limits (Periodizing 178). It is in its transcendence of particular limitations, however, that Jamesons operation finds applicability across a seemingly endless range of subjects. Brian McHale argues that while Jameson gives us a very precise method, it is in the future possibiliti es that it generates that the true value lies. Jamesons interpret ations of postmodernist texts --of which there are many in Cultural Logic --ought to be reductive, McHale says, since Jameson approaches all texts as allegorical representations (or, as he prefers to say, cognitive mappings) of a single ultimate referent, namely the mode of production (Postmodernism 25 26). However, the reverse of what might have been expected is actually the case, as Jamesons readings constantly surprise through the flexible, unpredictable, paradoxical, and occult relationships they establish between texts and their ultimate refe rent (McHale, Postmodernism 26). This is clearly
23 evident in the model Jameson constructs in A Singular Modernity where modernity is a useful trope for generating alternative historical narratives (214). This includes the concept that there are mu ltiple non -synchronous aesthetic modernisms developing within this larger framework ,15 a consideration Jameson develops much more precisely in The Existence of Italy. I hope that this dissertation raises the question of how diverse formal developments are a response to the larger historical situation. Jameson writes that The Existence of Italy is significantly concerned with the technical problem of constructing a mediation between a formal or aesthetic concept and a periodizing or historiographic one (155). While this may seem a fundamental operation, it has been a dialectical component of Jamesons work that many have been apt to overlook. For Jamesons method can be taken to another extreme, in which Always historicize! is interpreted as Only h istoricize! The reality, of course, is that if one thinks about periodization solely in the historical sense, then form becomes irrelevant. To prevent this, we have to periodize these forms, and must also establish the grounds on which to scale them tha t reconcile their non -synchronous development. There are both formal reasons and local historical reasons that inaugurate such shifts, which do not correspond to the largest historical scales. By taking up the axioms that Jamesons Maxims of Modernity provide, we are offered an expansive method for periodizing a number of divergent works and forms. Just as significantly, the tripartite method of The Existence of Italy supplies the more precise axioms for non -synchronous microperiodization. Out of pract icality, this dissertation is focused on the smaller scales, because to periodize in the largest historical sense involves writing many volumes. This is precisely the case with Jamesons larger Poetics of Social Forms project, of which both Postmodernism and A Singular Modernity are a part I am writi ng another story in
24 this dissertation The microperiods of this project are an attempt to bring together the situational and the formal; while some of these truths seem unsettling, they enable readers to com prehend seemingly random or isolated incidents that otherwise make no sense. The dialectic is for Jameson not a thought of the past, but rather an unfinished project for the future; as Irr and Buchanan argue, The Jamesonian project will always be, in the best sense of the word, an incomplete one (8), as there will always be another scale to consider. In spite of the apparently restrictive wording of Jamesons maxims, they ultimately generate a liberatory strategy for reconceptualizing the established pas t in the hopes of highlighting its relevance to the present. This in itself is a crucial task: What every emancipatory project does, Badiou poignantly states, what every emergence of hitherto unknown possibilities does, is to put an end to consensus ( 32). The chapters that follow will examine the existent models of periodization at work within these genres and mediums and address the need to read further into these established paradigm conceptions. In each instance, Jamesons period logic provides the basis of a synthetic model to reconceptualize the boundaries of aesthetic transition and identity of each subject, as well as the understanding that we can never understand a modernism in isolation from the larger histories of the development of a form. Chapter Two problematizes the traditional periodization of perhaps the most canonical work of modernist literature, James Joyces Ulysses (1922).16 Rather than framing it as the paradigmatic modernist text, I demonstrate that the three parts of the work may be eac h understood as engaging in the aesthetic practices of realism, modernism, and late modernism/ postmodernism, respectively. This then also accounts for the transitional role that Ulysses play s in Joyces artistic evolution; Part I of Ulysses direct ly continues his previous novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916)-a work that Moretti describes as the last
25 great example of the realist form of the bildungsroman-while Part III points toward a literary postmodernism that numerous scholars see as first coming to fruition in Joyces final work, Finnegans Wake (1939) I draw heavily here upon a pair of critical essays that respectively allow for an intervention into the beginning and end of the book: Morettis A Useless Longing for Myself: The Crisis of the European Bildungsroman, 18981914 and Jamesons Ulysses in History (the latter of which provides an early model of late modernism). My third chapter focuses on what I show to be the high modernist moment of rock and roll, and how it unfolds with respect to its liter ary corollary (with specific reference back to Ulysses). In situating the realist, modernist, and postmodernist moments of a medium that did not exist at the time of canonical literatures realist and modernist periods, t he non-synchronous dynamic of my study is most effectively illustrated. Through a close reading of its specific practice, innovations, and reception, I show how the Beatles Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) signals the full emergence of the hi gh modernist moment of rock and roll. I also pay particular attention to the importance of economically and culturally situating such paradigmatic works in any effective periodizing study. Chapter Four periodizes the development of the specific genre of t he childrens book Childrens literature has been traditionally marginalized by ca nonical adult genres and seen as unworthy of the study of its larger institutional development. As a result, the periodization of childrens literature has often been simp ly aligned with that of adult literature or ignored altogether. My study shows that this genre develops according to its own non-synchronous aesthetic dynamic, taking as its specifi c object of study key works by (among others) Dr. Seuss, Maurice Sendak, Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith The Golden Age of childrens literature stands as the realist point of departure and draws attention to both the premature and the delayed
26 emergence of a modernist aesthetic within this genre. This chapter also extensively develops Jamesons concept of late modernism as an effective buffer between high modernism and the onset of postmodernism, once again emphasizing the evolutionary qualities of periodization. The final chapter of this dissertation analyses how a work unde rstood to be one of the monuments of late postmodern literature, Don DeLillos Underworld (1997) offers an effective entry point for an extended examination of the realist, modernist, and postmodernist periods in the history of Major League Baseball archi tecture. The experimental progressiveness of these structures is grounded by both the rules of the game and the reactionary nature of these enormously expensive (and increasingly public) constructions. In spite of these constraints, the aesthetic traject ory of the Major League ballpark effectively parallels that of other artistic mediums, and usefully corresponds with the development of the Cold War in DeLillos novel. As such, this chapter emphasizes how cultural practices as disparate as highbrow liter ature and popular architecture are interconnected, as well as how new light can be shed on the dev elopment of even these larger institutional forms through an effective periodizing model. 1 Despite the subject that its title indicates, Badious Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil offers exceeding relevance to the operation of periodization. This includes his articulation of the three names of evil: simulacrum (to believe in an eve nt that does not address void, but rather plenitude), betrayal (to fail to maintain fidelity to a legitimate concept), and disaster (to identify a truth with total power; in effect, to posit an inflexible totality). A truth, Badiou says, punches a hole in knowledges, it is heterogeneous to them, but it is also the sole known source of new knowledges. We shall say that the truth forces knowledges (70). 2 This ideology in many ways represents the academic/mainstream codification of the revolutionary forms of modernism, and in many ways threatens to dull that aesthetics subversive edge. Wegner argues that Jamesons periodizing method in his most recent books is an attempt to crack open this late modernist ideological entombment, and to recover a more radical modernism (Jamesons 11). The ideological conflict of the Cold War does not represent the end of hope and the paralysis of the productive energies of the preceding period, but rather the signal opportunity to forge a brandnew ideology that co -opts and reawakens those energies (Singular 172).
27 3 Brandon Kershner explains that whenever we set off a given period for special study we are performing an admittedly arbitrary act. There are good reasons why we do, reasons both institution al, having to do with how literature is taught in the academy, and intellectual, having to do with the necessity of drawing boundaries before we can discuss anything (31). While the twentieth century has abandoned [the] traditional sort of historicism of objective knowledge and cumulative progress, it has done so without abandoning the need for literary history (31). 4 This statement builds upon Jamesons work a decade earlier in Postmodernism in which he declares that as for postmodernism itself we cannot not use it (xxii). It is significant that in A Singular Modernity he builds outwardly--from the necessity of utilizing a contemporary term whose development is still unfolding to an understanding of the necessity of establishing a large r period map that extends far past the present moment, but which is no less contemporarily relevant. 5 The division between the terms modernism and modernity presents a key distinction within the periodizing model Jameson presents. Throughout A Singular Modernity Jameson is intent on exploring what exactly what the word modern and its various forms (including modernism and modernity) represent. He takes a decidedly broad approach to the term modern, quickly pointing out that its usage traces as far back as the fifth century A.D., and that its definition is highly contingent upon the national tradition of the culture in question. The division between France, where the modern begins with Baudelaire and Nietzsche, and Germany, where the modern begins with the Enlightenment ( Singular 99), illustrate the division inherent within Western Europe (to say nothing of the rest of the world). Modernity presents an even more problematic term, from the origins of its birth to how we are to categoriz e it. To begin with, modernity and modernism are not congruent, to the point that anti -modernity is also a possible feature of modernism (and, one assumes, vice versa [ Singular 143]). Modernity represents neither a definitive break or period for Jameson, and is characterized instead by the fluctuation between the perception of modernity as an event and its apprehension as the cultural logic of a whole period of history ( Singular 33). He ultimately recommends the experimental procedure of substituting capitalism for modernity in all the contexts in which the latter appears ( Singular 215), and views modernity not as an object of study, but rather as an explanatory feature ( Singular 33). Jameson is quick to admit that the concept of modernity rai ses more problems than it solves ( Singular 80), and as such makes no formal attempt at a concise definition of the term. As Jameson concludes in his Preface, this will be a formal analysis of the uses of the word modernity that explicitly rejects any presupposition that there is a correct use of the word to be discovered, conceptualized, and proposed ( Singular 13). Rather than letting the term itself guide its usage, Jameson turns to the Maxims of Modernity to offer a regulatory structure. 6 One of the fundamental arguments of Jamesons collective work is that the Marxist dialectic should not be thought of as a conclusion, but rather as a problematic. In such a way, Jamesons own periodizing model offers a starting point to be worked with by others. It is best, Jameson argues, to set out with the intention to produce new problems (generally of a historical kind), rather than to simulate some dogmatic solution of definition (Signatures 174).
28 7 Badiou also speaks of the dangers of totality, as he observes that every revolutionary project stigmatized as utopian turns, we are told, into totalitarian nightmare. Every will to inscribe an idea of justice or equality turns bad. Every collective will to the Good creates Evil (13). As with Ly otard, an understanding of Badious argument rests on the distinction between totality and totalization. 8 A statement that effectively aligns itself with Lyotards argument that it is our business not to supply reality but to invent allusions to the conceivable which cannot be presented (81). It logically follows that contemporary breakthroughs within aesthetic modernism tend not so much toward material production as toward theoretical reconsideration. 9 To put this another way, A Singular Modernity p rovides the overarching logic of periodization for all of Jamesons models, with Postmodernism standing as one demonstration of this application. They do not represent contrarian models, nor is the former a repudiation of the latter. 10 This is also in co rrelation with the gap Badious posits between the Event and the establishment of a Truth. The decision from which a truth process stems is fidelity: a faithfulness to the event that compels the subject to invent a new way of being and acting in the situation (41 42). In such a way, an evental fidelity is a real break (42), and one that works against the existent dominant opinions, since these always work for the benefit of some rather than all (and are thereby revealed as false truths ) As Slavoj Zizek asserts in The Sublime Object of Ideology the truth itself becomes true only through --or, to use a Hegelian term, by mediation of --the error (59), a point effectively echoed by Moretti, who insists that paradigm transition is necess itated not through the success of an operation, but rather when a form deals with problems it is unable to solve (238). 11 This view mirrors that of Louis Althusser and tienne Balibar who theorize that periods of transition are characterized by the coexistence of several modes of production, as well as by these forms of non-correspondence (307). As a result, it seems that the dislocation between the connexions and instances in transition periods merely reflects the coexistence of two (or more) modes of production in a single simultaneity, and the dominance of one of them over the other (307). 12 This realization generates significant flexibility in the periodizing process, allowing for the consideration of a number of texts that stand in s eeming contrast to the period of their historical emergence. As Jameson states, The temptation to classify texts according to the appropriate mode of production is thereby removed, since the texts emerge in a space in which we may expect them to be criss crossed and intersected by a variety of impulses from contradictory modes of cultural production all at once ( Political 95). 13 A thorough reading of The Existence of Italy reveals a more precise set of axioms for periodization that build upon the more abstract guidelines of A Singular Modernity At the risk of complicating the enumeration of axioms in this chapter, I have omitted a direct delineation of
29 the guidelines of Existence. I will provisionally offer them here instead, as Existence forces us to do three things: 1 It requires us to use smaller, non -synchronous scales. 2 It necessitates formal considerations. 3 It dictates that we can only understand any one moment of this tripartite structure by looking at all three periods. 14 This has also been a primary periodizing argument of Susan Stanford Friedman, who suggests that instead of looking for the single period of modernism, with its (always debatable) beginning and end points, we need to locate plural periods of modernisms, some of which overlap with each other and others of which have a different time period altogether (432). 15 This is also a significant point within the work of Astradur Eysteinsson who asserts that positioning modernism parallel to the tumultuous aspects of modernity can lead to an unproductive view of its semiotic practices. The changes that can be observed in modernist aesthetics, the disruptions and breaks with tradition that it seems to call for, do not directly reflect social modernity or lend us an immediate acc ess to its distinctive qualities (6). Instead, he find[s] it more to the point to see modernism as an attempt to interrupt the modernity that we live and understand as a social, if not normal way of life (6) 16 Beyond the opening chapter, the chapte rs of this dissertation are arranged in a progressive expansion of scale from single text to genre to medium to form. It may be noted that in this continuum a particular scale has been bypassed that of the single author. Until a more author -focused add ition has been made, this second chapter, Signatures of All Things: Periodization and Transition Within James Joyces Ulysses stands not only for the scale of the single work, but also provisionally for the scale of a single author -as Joyces artistic transitions within Ulysses reflect not only the development of his book, but also his own trajectory as a writer across the breadth of his career.
30 CHAPTER 2 SIGNATURES OF ALL THINGS: PERIODIZATION AND TRANSITION WITHIN JAMES JOYCES ULYSSES I am the foolish author of a wise book. James Joyce In his 1982 contribution to Joycean studies, Ulysses in History, Fredric Jameson asserts that there are three traditional interpretations of Ulysses -the mythical, th e psychoanalytical, an d the ethical (Ulysses 174) --emphasizing that these traditional takes can often obscure any fresh reading of the text. Read today, a fourth conventional interpretation can be added to this list: the modernist, or, more specifically the reading that takes Ulysses as modernist. The critical consensus of this interpretation is already well documented --from Stanley Sultan terming Ulysses as the extreme exempla of the modernist novel (81) to Morton Levitts statement that The Modern ist Age might as easily be called the age of Joyce (12). While Maurice Beebes assertion in 1974 that we can take some comfort in the realization that we can now define Modernism with confidence that we shall not have to keep adjusting our definition in order to accommodate new visions and values is now largely dismissible (What 1065), the fact remains that Ulysses often represents just that: a de facto example of modernism, which stands in contrast to the realist tradition that preceded it and the postmodern horizon that would come after. There have been a number of notable attempts at examining the coexistence of these two aesthetic peripherals within the modernist dominant. In response to Harry Levins assertion of Ulysses as a novel to end all novels ( James 207), Jeri Johnson argues that Levin credits Ulysses with being the culmination of one tradition (say, nineteenth century realism) while setting out the questions to be debated in the next (next two, perhaps, Modernism and postmodernism) ( ix). Michael Groden argues that between 1914 and 1922 [Joyce] passed
31 through three distinct stages (rather than two, as has been thought) in his writing, with the middle stage serving as a bridge between his early interest in character and story and his late concern with schematic correspondences (4). Beyond his three stages ,1 Groden also divides the book into two parts (the first nine episodes and the last nine) based on a shift from character to technique and what he considers the advent of the books experimental narration. While his argument is multilayered, Grodens ultimate point is that Joyce retained the results of each stage he passed through, even after he had progressed into the next, so that he presented Ulysses as a palimpsest of his devel opment from 1914 to 1922 (23). With this in mind, Kevin Dettmar advocates a new conceptualization of Ulysses aesthetic (dis)unity; according to Dettmar, We need, perhaps, more bilingual critics of Joyce: those, like Fritz Senn, who speak German and Engl ish, but also those who speak both modernism and postmodernism (6). Brian Richardson, likewise, challenges fellow critics to envision a thoroughly postmodern Joyce who pioneered a new poetics decades before it was discovered and named by literary schola rs (1051). Brian McHale has ultimately settled on Ulysses as a literary -historical scandal (10), and offers a structural division while highlighting the placement of postmodernist qualities at strategic points in the text. Even Maurice Beebe, in spite of his static conception of the modernist aesthetic, offers one of the first focused studies of how Ulysses at times demonstrates the opposing view of modernism, and argues that the ending of Ulysses seems to anticipate Post-Modernism ( Ulysses 1868 7). However, while critics have become increasingly more comfortable with working forward in the periodization of Ulysses, they have been far more reluctant to look backward. This is problematic, given that the nonmodernist (to use Dettmars term) aesthetics of Ulysses repres ent a turn in both directions --not only an anticipation of the postmodern future, but also an
32 evolutionary movement from the realist past. As such, it is important to heed A. Walton Litzs assessment that in the space of three or f our years [Joyce] travelled most of the distance from Dubliners to Finnegans Wake (35), as well as Grodens incisive addendum that Ulysses lies between A Portrait and Finnegans Wake in ways beyond mere chronology (13). Ulysses is neither an exclusively modernist composition that offers a revolutionary break from Joyces other texts, nor a random collection of aesthetic contrasts that defies periodization altogether. Thus, while Jean -Francois Lyotard argues that, in Joyces work, the whole range of ava ilable narrative and even stylistic operators is put into play without concern for the unity of the whole (80), the reality lies closer to Donald Barthelmes assessment that the strangeness of [Joyces] project is an essential part of it, almost its poin t. The fabric falls apart, certainly, but where it hangs together we are privileged to encounter a world made new (5). Although there have been great strides made over the past twenty years in illustrating specific nonmodernist irregularities by Joyce, what has not been offered to this point is a satisfactory mapping of such periodization within Ulysses, or an analysis of how aesthetic transition functions with regard to the books larger structure. Ironically, it is in two essays written thirty years ag o that we are offered the context for such a contemporary critical intervention, and it is no surprise that both of these essays have resurfaced within the last decade with renewed meaning and importance. Jamesons aforementioned Ulysses in History wa s written in 1980 and first published in 1982, and reappeared in his 2007 collection, The Modernist Papers In spite of the title, Jameson insists that the volumes essays are not designed to illustrate this or that component of a theory of the modern a nd instead implores his readers to look deeper for other interpretive codes (Introduction viii). Franco Morettis The Way of the World was likewise conceived and
33 written at the same time as Ulysses in History, only to resurface in 2000 with a new preface (titled Twenty Years Later) a nd a new appendix that offers a fresh take on the decline and fall of the realist Bildungsroman, positing Joyces A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man as the limit of this development. On the surface, neither essa y seems particularly concerned with the alternative periodization of Ulysses: Moretti claims that the realist Bildungsroman lived through 1914, while the focus of Jamesons essay is the two most boring chapters (Eumaeus and Ithaca) of Ulysses. On cl oser inspection, though, both essays anticipate, support, and often guide the contestation of Ulysses as an exclusively moderni st text--or even one that sup ports only a postmodern break --each developing from a different end. Before delving into how these breaks may be posited within Ulysses, it is first important to consider how such breaks are imaginable in the first place. Douglas Mao and Rebecca L. Walkovitz, in a 2008 PMLA article subtitled Expanding Modernism, argue, As scholars demonstrate the f ertility of questioning rigid temporal delimitations, periods seem inevitably to get bigger (737). In many ways, though, positing Ulysses as the progression of realism through postmodernism is a dialectical exercise that threatens to shrink modernism whi le expanding those period concepts on either side of it. The modernist period concept is one that has generally shunned reduction, as the notion of modernism as a tightly unified aesthetic is sheer academic myth. Jameson himself holds that it is evident that any theory of modernism capacious enough to include Joyce along with Yeats or Proust, let alone alongside Vallejo, Biely, Gide, or Bruno Schulz, is bound to be so vague and vacuous as to be intellectually inconsequential, let alone practically unproductive in the close textual reading of Ulysses line by line ( Singular 104). However, Jameson just as quickly queries, Is it however equally certain that we can read Woolf or Joyce productively without implicitly ranging the text under some such general or
34 universal category of the generic periodizing type? ( Singular 104). The positing of specific boundaries and breaks is essential to the understanding of what kind of period transition Ulysses offers, either inside or outside itself, and to the craftin g of its own stylistic identity. Arnold Goldman argues that in certain episodes of Ulysses where so many [styles] are available at all times, the choice of one mode of vision i s demoted in importance (93) --a seeming resignation to the impossibilit y of periodizing a work as diverse as Ulysses. However, this is to go against Jameson s foremost maxim of modernity -- We cannot not periodize --which necessitates the need for historicizing the aesthetic development of even as problematic a text as Ulysse s The crisis, then, Jameson explains, lies precisely in a situation in which Joyce cannot not mean something else no matter how squeamish we may feel about the unabashed deployment of such a larger general concept ( Singular 105). However, the s earch for just such a period concept often seems over before it has even begun. In part the result of the 1920 banning of the book in America and Great Britain, Ulysses is one of the few major works whose criticism preceded the official book itself. The textual addendums and canonical criticisms of Ulysses have thus often been as inextricably linked with the work as the text itself. The interpretations of T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound in particular have formed a sort of source book for any potential periodi zation of the work, with the conclusion that Ulysses is a scientific discovery, a revolutionary text that breaks fully with all that has come before it, supporting the modernist paradigm. Such an interpretation offers little that is critically compellin g, however, and Jameson sensibly notes that if there are boring chapters of Ulysses, there are also boring interpretations of Ulysses (Ulysses 173). To simply consider the time of its publication in
35 1 922, or the books reputation-along with El iots The Waste Land-as one of the towers of modernism, is to disregard the evolutionary nature of the works aesthetic progression. As Groden attests, If we allow for the short period of time involved, we can see Joyce moving through discernible stages in a way that supports the idea of a stylistic development (23). However, the question of how to read this development is another enigma. Despite Jennifer Levines provocative suggestion that we call the book Hamlet in order to discard all its preconce ived, canonical interpretations (13132), this difficulty of reading Ulysses as new remains. As a result, Jameson argues that we must consciously displace the act or the operation of interpretation itself (Ulysses 175). Such displacement involves ac cepting the possibility that aesthetic transition is an evolutionary process bound to frustrate either the insistence on a singular aesthetic unity within Ulysses or an overly concentrated line by line reading of the text. Instead, there is bound to be evidence somewhere in the book of most any period logic one wishes to observe -as Beebe asks, What, after all, does Ulysses not illustrate ? ( Ulysses 186). However, such a realization does not discredit the validity of mapping transition within the text itself. Jameson draws attention to a key passage within Althusser and Balibar that engages this seeming paradox: Periods of transition are characterized by the coexistence of several modes of production, as well as by these forms of non correspond ence Thus it seems that the dislocation between the connexions and instances in transition periods merely reflects the coexistence of two (or more) modes of production in a single simultaneity, and the dominance of the one of them over the other. ( Althusser and Balibar 307; cited in Jameson, Singular 78) On this basis, we can argue that aesthetic developments on either side of modernism may be at work within Ulysses, and that evidence of them may be present even amidst its most collectively high m odern parts. It is equally plausible that a single text may demonstrate a move beyond
36 the larger cultural logic surrounding it, and even portend the coming transition beyond this present mode of being. Jameson notes: the seeming rigidity of the base/superstructure distinction is loosened up by a play of oppositions between the determinant (always production itself) and the dominant, which can take the form of religion, civic politics, kinship, and the like, thus giving each mode of production i ts own cultural and ideological specificity, if not indeed its own unique lawfulness and internal dynamic. ( Singular 77) The question at hand is thus not whether Ulysses is a modernist text (it is, and will rightfully continue to serve as the high moderni st benchmark within literature); rather, the pertinent debate is whether the modernist dominant of the book is at times superseded by other period logics, and how such transition takes place. The ultimate goal of such a reconceptualization of Ulysses is, in the words of Derek Attridge and Daniel Ferrer, to produce Joyces texts in ways designed to challenge rather than comfort, to antagonize instead of assimilate (6). Working within the Jamesonian model of periodization, I suggest that Ulysses is collectively to be taken as a work of realism, modernism, late modernism, and postmodernism, with each of its three parts serving as structural events that signal the onset of a new period logic and aesthetic imperative. This flies in the face of the prevailing critical trend among academics wishing to microperiodize Ulysses, which has been to work against the available tripartite division and simply to cut the book in half. Karen Lawrence and Michael Groden each argue that Ulysses splits roughly down the middle as do earlier critics such as Edmund Wilson and S. L. Goldberg.2 Brian McHale concurs when he suggests that Ulysses is double, two differentiable texts placed side by side (43). I will argue the need to push this division even further, to the extent that there are three distinct aesthetic logics at work within Ulysses, and that these correspond to the
37 tripartite structure of the book: the initial three episodes of the Telemachiad, the middle twelve episodes of the Odyssey, and the final three epis odes of the Nostos. Rarely have these parts been the focus of any sort of transitional theory. Instead, they have almost exclusively been viewed as an artificial divide that systematizes the association of Ulysses with the Odyssey Dettmar asserts that the Homeric trelliswork was for Joyce a means of keeping the unpredictable process of discovery which is writing within manageable--if artificial --bounds (167), reinforcing the classical framework that has led many critics astray. For example, to say t hat Ulysses is modernist because of its mythical associations (per Eliot) is to disregard the mythical foundation of Stephen Dedaluss name in Portrait or the fact that Joyce reflects Dantes division into three parts in Grace in Dubliners Also, to pl ace exceeding emphasis on the eighteen -episode format carries little weight in analyzing the governance of Ulysses development. As of June 1915, the book was slated to have twentytwo episodes; by May 1918, this had been reduced to seventeen, before Joyc e eventually settled on eighteen. Even Joyces names for these episodes changed drastically from their initial conception to the books eventual publication -among the original titles were Met -him -pike -hoses The Seal of Solomon, and Paternity. The tripartite structure, by contrast, remained almost wholly consistent from the time of Ulysses conception. Furthermore, as stressed by Jameson, an isolated line by line reading of Ulysses will be incommensurable with the type of period work being perfor med here.3 For example, to argue -as Andre Topia does -that the advent of modernism in Ulysses comes with its establishment of an intertexual literature is problematic to reading the Telemachiad as a realist text if one includes every isolated example, as there are elements of intertexuality present throughout this first part (such as the repeated references to Stephens relationship with Cranly, a prominent character in
38 Portrait who never appears in Ulysses). The scale utilized is of the utmost signifi cance in this case, with each of the three parts of Ulysses representing the focus of this microperiodization. Groden, in qualification of his own partitioning of Ulysses, emphasizes that the concept of stages must remain a flexible one or it may imply a more schematic process than was actually the case. [Joyce] never planned to end one stage and move to another; one evolved into the next without a clear break (23). While it is true that an evolutionary progression may be witnessed across the breadth o f Ulysses, it is equally the case that Joyce painstakingly engineered the tripartite division of the finished product, and it is each of these parts which provide the clearest signal of breaks in the book. Such a reading of Ulysses aesthetic division and progression is far from purely arbitrary; during the period from 19141922, Groden notes, Joyces artistic goals changed to such an extent that a book that in some aspects began as a sequel to A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man ended as a prelude to Finnegans Wake (13, emphasis added). It is significant to consider both parts of this observation. Karen Lawrence asserts that Ulysses begins by deliberately establishing narrative rules that are bent and finally broken later on ( Odyssey 54). Lawren ce is correct in her assessment, but it is necessary to define what those rules are. Richardson, likewise, argues that Ulysses is governed by at least two antithetical aesthetics, one quintessentially modernist, the other defying modernist constraints ( 1039). It is significant that he says at least, and even that qualification still leaves the statement somewhat inexact, for in Ulysses the realist portion does not defy modernist constraints; rather, the modernist portion defies realist constraints. It is the mapping of Joyces transition out of a realist aesthetic and the death of the Bildungsroman that is the focus of the aforementioned essay of Moretti. Morettis A Useless
39 Longing for Myself: The Crisis of the European Bildungsroman, 18981914 p osits the end of the Bildungsroman around 1914, in conjunction with the emergence of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (vii). Much like Jamesons concept of late modernism (to which my chapter will return), Moretti emphasizes the late Bildungsrom an, which, he says, far from preparing modernism, did, if anything, delay it (235). The downfall of this realist form was as swift as it was surprising, and can be largely attributed to the sweeping socio-economic changes that World War I engendered. Ultimately, Moretti argues: Nothing was left of the form of the Bildungsroman: a phase of Western socialization had come to an end, a phase the Bildungsroman had contributed to The strength of its pattern -the stubbornness, in a sense --can be nowhere see n as clearly as in Joyce, who devoted a first novel to Stephen Dedalus, and then a second novel, and then the beginning of a third novel. (244) The beginning of this third novel, Ulysses, is ripe for a realist description. Rodney Wilson Owen notes that Ulysses the novel had formed from the union of Ulysses a short book and the projected ending of Portrait (56), while Jeri Johnson observes that every literary convention it performs (in this [first] case, realism) it performs so completely that it ap pears to exhaust the convention and so to draw attention to the status of the convention as merely conventional (xxvi). In explaining the historical downfall of the Bildungsroman, Moretti quotes a German volunteer from World War I who wrote that No one s hall come out of this war, if not as a different person (229). The irony is that Ulysses does begin with the same person with which Portrait concludes. This is in fact the great tragedy: Stephen, in spite of his great talent and the utopian possibilities hinted at with the end of Portrait is largely the same individual he was years earlier. In such a way, the Telemachiad offers an intriguing control for the effectiveness of realist form. As Moretti emphasizes, the clearest sign that a trauma has occ urred is the fact
40 that language no longer works well (238), and he defines a literary failure as when a form deals with problems it is unable to solve (243). The opening two episodes of Ulysses, Telemachus and Nestor, are interesting partly for their stylistic insertions (which portend the coming of modernism) and partly for the biographical narrative surrounding Stephen. By Proteus, however, where Stephen effectively mopes on the Sandymount strand with no end in sight to his issues and despair, it is apparent that we have already seen this style and thi s characterization played out -an impatience (even boredom) that is most evident in the main character of Part I. For Moretti, Portraits great epiphanic passage begins with Stephen facing the que stion, What did it mean? (169). By Ulysses, Stephen is asking his students, Can you do them yourself? (2.137). Moretti emphasizes that in the fourth segment of Portrait epiphany redeems the meaninglessness of the past, and, as a result, one could n ot wish for a better closure for Joyces ambitious Kunstlerroman. Except that, of course, Portrait goes on, and the following chapter, compared to the previous ones, is strikingly blank and pointless (241). Moreover, Moretti could just as easily be talk ing about the first part of Ulysses: Neither visions nor rebirths here, but idle conversations to kill time In every respect, [it] seems to have one possible function only: the merely negative one invalidating what, up to then, had been constructed as the meaning of the novel (241). In the Telemachiad, Mulligan and Stephen morosely discuss the death of Stephens mother; Haines blames history for Englands treatment of the Irish; Stephen painfully replays his own schooldays, and ultimately drift s off to internally ponder matters of little external concern. Thus, Portrait did not end with Stephens prayer to his father; rather it carries over to Ulysses and we witness its completion in Stephens interminable walk along the beach, which provides perhaps an even more blank and pointless ending than that of Portrait.
41 A historical reading of the Telemachiads composition and development supports such a realist reading. As far back as 1907, Ulysses had been slated as a short story to be include d in Dubliners From there, Richard Ellmann records, Ulysses grew steadily more ambitious in scope and method, and represented a sudden outflinging of all [Joyce] had learned as a writer up to 1914. Its use of many styles was an extension of the method of A Portrait of the Artist, where the style, at first nave, became romantic and then dramatic to suit Stephens ontogeny (357). By June 1915, Ulysses had progressed to the first pages of the third episode, and Joyce wrote to Ezra Pound that, It is a conti nuation of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man after three years interval blended with many of the persons of Dubliners (Ellmann 383, emphasis added). The outbreak of World War I in Austria Hungary (along with the complexities of Joyces status as a British subject) contributed to another interesting break within the initial composition of Ulysses. In June 1915, Joyce departed from Trieste with his family for Zurich, and, as Ellmann records, Switzerland was more than a refuge; it was a symbo l of artistic detachment, au dessus de la melee, and it was fitting that Joyce should write the bulk of his greatest book there (386). The shift was more striking than most have recognized. Trieste had become Joyces second country, as he had li ved there half as long as he had in Dublin, and it had been where he published Chamber Music completed Dubliners revised Stephen Hero into Portrait written Exiles and begun Ulysses (Ellmann 389). In accordance with Morettis periodization and Polanyi s definition of the Hundred Years Peace of European history between 18151914, the Bildungsroman was perfected during a period of peace, and understandably so, because in such areas individual growth is sheltered, and easier, and less painful (Moretti 239). Deprived of such stability, Joyces compositional production also
42 underwent a notable change, as he moved from the Bildungsroman of Portrait to the high modernist experimentation of Ulysses later episodes. Moreover, for most of Joyces composition of the Telemachiad, Portrait remained an unpublished work. This meant that the style and subject of the first three episodes of Ulysses were not so much repetition as considerations that had yet to appear in a novel (Joyces first use of interior monol ogue, for example, appears in Portrait, where it is somewhat disguised as Stephens concluding journal entries. In this context, the extended interior monologue of Proteus is not particularly revolutionary; only if Portrait were never published would it stand as a groundbreaking innovation). With the publication of Portrait in 1916 this changed, necessitatin g the shift away from Stephen--who was now an establi shed and predictable hallmark -as well as removing some of the artistic heaviness that weighs down the Telemachiad. As Ellmann notes, Joyces sense of becoming somewhat established helped to poise the more relaxed tone of the Bloom episodes in Ulysses (392). Moreover, seeing the fruits of his previous labor pay off no doubt re -energized Joyce s writing as well. As opposed to the opening of Part I of Ulysses, which offers a stately, plump character in the procedural midst of daily ritual (1.1), Part II opens with a character eating with relish (a clever play on words which not only means a strong liking, but also something adding a zestful flavor [4.1]) and pondering the ways in which he will vary a similar daily ritual. The division between these two parts was to the extent that when Joyce explained in a May 1918 letter to Harriet Weav er his plan for the tripartite division of the book, he suggested that the first three episodes might be published as a cheap paperback titled Ulysses I (Gilbert 113). McHale notes that earlier critics sought in Ulysses a normal modernist poetics, a po etics that could be seen to have evolved from the early -modernist phase represented by
43 Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (43 44). However, by stipulating early modernist, McHale seems to be speaking in accordance with Morettis conc eption of the Late Bildungsroman, a still realist form. The semantic differences between these concepts are important: McHales implies a framework to build upon, whereas Morettis suggests an aesthetic logic that is coming to an end. There are clear l imits to the method that the Telemachiad imports from Portrait: to stick with this storyline and style, Ellmann comically explains, amounts to little more than Stephen Dedalus goes out to encounter reality for the millionth time (550). Thus, while McH ale terms the background of the early Ulysses as a stable world (48), it is in reality a stale world --one that has effectively failed to transition from Joyces previous work and necessitates the dramatic shift that the second part provides. This trans ition into Part II is characterized by the appearance of Leopold Bloom, who emerges emblematic of the modernist present in contrast to Stephen, who ironically represents the past4. This shift in character was again informed by Joyces biography. Ellmann argues that in the tempestuous days at Trieste, complicated by a new wife and children, by old and new scores with Stanislaus, by financial pressure, he had had an appropriate setting in which to write of his youth, with Dedalus for the symbol of his pres umptuous flight (393). Upon moving to Zurich, however, the vision which attracted [Joyce] was not so insurrectionary (Ellmann 393). This shift, while seemingly simple, would prove significant. Bloom represents a clean break not only from Joyce s past work as a writer, but also from Joyces own past. In November 1918, Pound wrote to Joyce that Bloom is a great man, and you have almightily answered the critics who asked me whether having made Stephen, more or less autobiographically, you could e ver go on and create a second character (Ellmann 442 43). Stephen, hero though he is of two
44 of Joyces previous works and the beginning of Ulysses, ultimately proves to be an aesthetic dead end. In effect, as Ellmann surmises, Bloom is Ulysses (361). In perhaps the most significant line of his essay, Moretti argues that the merit of Portrait lies precisely in not having solved its problem. Or in plainer words: the merit of Portrait lies in its being an unmist akable failure (Moretti 243) -a scandalou s enough criticism of Portrait, and all the more so if we apply it to Part I of Ulysses. This is a fortunate failure though; Moretti insists that had it been otherwise we would have no Ulysses that is, without the failure of Stephen we would not have Leopold Bloom and, consequently, not have Part II of Ulysses. Stephen Hero, and just as evidently Stephen Dedalus, could hardly survive in the new context, and in an epoch -making change the decentered subjectivity of Leopold Bloom set the pat tern for twentieth -century socialization (Moretti 244). The fact that Ulysses has in fact two beginning s -the beginning of Part I and that of Part II, both of which begin at the same time of day-is exceedingly pertinent to Morettis argument. Indeed, Moretti states, far from preparing Ulysses, Portrait delayed it, and in order to invent Bloom, Joyce had to forget his [realist] Kunstlerroman and retrace his steps all the way back to Eccles St. (Moretti 245). Moretti attests that, given the histor ical framework of the time, the postwar political scenario could hardly encourage a rebirth of the Bildungsroman (232); instead, it offers a veritable funeral. This is in accordance with Wyndham Lewis initial assessment of Ulysses as a sardonic catafa lque of the Victorian world (44). Thus, while the realist Bildungsroman had reached its limits by 1914, we might say it secured death in deferral until 1922, as Part I of Ulysses provides an extensi on of this crisis of form and--by contrast with Part II--lays this realist dominant to rest.
45 The progression of Ulysses into a properly modernist aesthetic also can be directly linked to the books serialization in t he Little Review By mid 1917, as Joyce was completing Lotus Eaters and Hades and preparing to write Aeolus, Ezra Pound became the European editor of the Little Review (which began serializing Ulysses in its March 1918 issue), and he subsequently assumed an active role in the editing and composition of Ulysses. Pound had no direct influence o n the composition of the first three episodes (which were already written by the time Ulysses was serialized and were altered very little after that); and he had a considerably diminished role in the last four episodes, which were not serialized in the Lit tle Review This stylistic development of each subsequent episode of Part II progresses on an exponential scale: each progressively trumps the previous, challenging the unity of the developing modernist aesthetic, as well as daring the limits of the reader ship of this time. The spiritual heaviness of Hades gives way to the circular irreverence of Aeolus and onto the mise -en -scne at the conclusion of Wandering Rocks that feeds into the orchestral introduction of Sirens -all the while increasingly p ushing the bar of conventional, and even progressive, decorum. In June 1919, Joyce wrote to Harriet Shaw Weaver, If the Sirens have been found so unsatisfactory I have little hope that the Cyclops or later the Circe episode will be approved of (El lmann 461). In November 1919, Joyce began work on Nausicaa, and had completed it by his birthday three months later. He moved immediately into the Oxen of the Sun episode, working with the expressed goal of finishing Ulysses in 1920. While this goal was decidedly unrealistic, the reasons are historically pertinent. In July 1920, Joyce moved his family Paris, and although he arrived planning to stay for a week, he instead remained there until the outbreak of World War II. Much like with the move to Z urich four years earlier (which in many ways
46 necessitated the onset of Part II of Ulysses), this physical relocation signaled another distinct aesthetic shift in Joyces writing. It was with the move to Paris that Joyce completed Circe (and, consequentl y, the second part of the book) and embarked on writing the final three episodes of Ulysses. Groden significantly emphasizes that Joyce did not plan on the end of the middle stage in advance; it came about during his early work on Circe (52). Ellmann, meanwhile, records that Joyce hoped to finish Circe, the last adventure, before Christmas , and finally, on December 20, after having rewritten the episode from start to finish six or seven or eight or nine times (the count varied) he pronounce d it done. In a rare moment of appraisal he commented to Francini Bruni, I think it is the strongest thing I have written (497). However, the second part having culminated in the masterpiece of Circe, Joyce was faced with the critical dilemma of wha t would come next. This dilemma was further complicated when, after repeated confiscations of previous issues by the U.S. Postal Service, the July -August 1920 issue of the Little Review (containing the Nausicaa episode) was brought up on charges of obsc enity by the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice. The ensuing trial --which ultimately found the journals publishers guilty, effectively banning Ulysses in the United States (and subsequently Great Britain) -left the potential book without an audience in its two biggest markets. Indeed, the forced cessation of Ulysses at this particular time is more than simply an arbitrary moment within the composition and publication history of this book: it represents the very limits of Joyces modernist aesth etic at this moment in mid 1920. This is a crucial consideration to positing Ulysses as a text which moves beyond modernism by the time of its completion, in seemingly irreconcilable distempo with the traditionally accepted apex of literary high modernism in 1922. I will suggest here that,
47 in relation to the culture at large, the subsequent episodes not be viewed as a 1922 text so much as a product of 1933, when Judge Woolseys famous decision finally allowed Ulysses to be published in the United States ( and soon after in Great Britain). Viewed in this timeline, the gap between Ulysses and Finnegans Wake shrinks considerably, as does the moment of the departure from modernism in Ulysses in relation to the accepted advent of a larger cultural postmodernism The concept of these two part s representing separate books -a re alist one and a modernist one --logically leads into the question of what the third part of Ulysses represents. As I mentioned earlier, the existent criticism on a nonmodernist departure wit hin Ulysses has largely centered on a postmodern break (if one not always located in the books final part). Dettmar runs into trouble in trying to trace the postmodern all the way back to Dubliners but he also rather inexplicably does not address the fi nal three episodes of Ulysses in his analysis .5 His focus on the middle of the book indicates a desire to render Ulysses as much a nonmodernist text as a postmodernist one. Dettmar argues that the vital impulse behind Joyces stylistic experiments in Ulysses is not, as Litz and others would have it, mimetic expressive, but rather carnivalesque (150), and that Ulysses introduced the carnivalesque -the postmodern--note into modernist fiction (173). The dangers of a purely formal periodizing analysis are ever present in this move; Richardson notes that postmodernism is often treated as if it were the same as the carnivalesque: if this is true, Aristophanes would be the first postmodernist (1038). Instead, we need to take an effective historicizing approach to this debate. The location of a postmodern advent within Ulysses, as such, produces a number of problems. Richardson thus notes: The stakes of this debate are very substantial. Either postmodernism is a new form that, in responding to the new socio -historical conditions that produced it, supersedes and supplants the older, dying, increasingly irrelevant form of modernism; or, it was all invented a third of a century --or indeed most of a century --before the pomo boom got
48 underway, and can be fo und in earlier works that stretch back to the origins of modernism itself. (1037) With most critics being unwilling to radically reorient existent period boundaries in this way, Richardson acknowledges that the critical consensus has been that Joyces postmodernism must be denied, repressed, mystified, or somehow made honorary rather than foundational (1037). This stance has softened somewhat in the past two decades. McHale, for instance, on the heels of his treatment of Ulysses as an exemp lary modernist text in Postmodernist Fiction, subsequently reopens and problematizes this issue of the modernism of Ulysses in his Constructing Postmodernism and argues that, in fact, Ulysses is (or ought to be) a literary -historical scandal (9 10). For McHale, Ulysses is a text that is split roughly down the middle, its first half serving as the norm for High Modernist poetics, and its second half evolving into a normatively postmodernist text (10). McHales blueprint of the postmodern Ulys ses at best highly fluctuates and at worst is outright scattershot. He considers it to be the chapters from roughly Wandering Rocks and Sirens on (perhaps including Aeolus, perhaps excluding Nausicaa and Penelope) (McHale 44). Jameson himself, writing a dec ade after Ulysses in History in his later Joyce study, Modernism and Imperialism, stops short of terming Joyce postmodern, although he does say on my side, Ive tried to invoke a Joyce more consistent with a contemporary than w ith a modernist aesthetic ( Postmodernism 303). In establishing a postmodern bridge to Ulysses, it is useful to consider the books relation to Joyces more properly postmodernist Finnegans Wake A number of other notable critics have drawn attention to how the late episodes of Ulysses serve as a preamble to Finnegans Wake Karen Lawrence focuses on Sirens and Ithaca, Hugh Kenner emphasizes Eumaeus, while Derek Attridge draws attention to Sirens and Eumaeus. While Ihab Hassan considers
49 Finnegans Wake to be without a doubt, the crucial text in the transition from modernism to postmodernism (11), I will suggest that the crucial text in this transition is in fact Ulysses, with Finnegans Wake representing the first work in which the postmodern aes thetic is dominant across the breadth of the text. This is not as significant a leap as might first be assumed, as the conception of a revolutionary postmodern break with the modern was devalued almost from the advent of the concept. Writing in 1968, Fra nk Kermode views the exemplars of postmodernism largely as neo -modernists who enable us to see more clearly that certain aspects of earlier modernism really were so revolutionar y that we ought not to expect --ev en with everything speeded up -to have the pains and pleasures of another comparable movement quite so soon (26). Richard Pearce argues that there is no difference between modernism and p ostmodernism. It is only that revolutionary writers like Joyce had to be read in a conservative way (43). Charles Newman, meanwhile, writing at the same time as Jameson and Moretti, argues that postmodernism inevitably calls to mind a band of vainglorious contemporary artists following the circus elephants of modernism with snow shovels (17). Newmans commen t, while profound, fails to characterize the true dynamic of the postmodern development, particularly within the conceptual framework that Ulysses offers. Jamseon, interpreting Lyotards theory of contemporary postmodernism, observes that the ingenious t wist, or swerve, in [Lyotards] own proposal involves the proposition that something called postmodernism does not follow high modernism proper, as the latters waste product, but rather very precisely precedes and prepares it ( Postmodernism 60). The dev elopment of Ulysses provides a brilliant demonstration of this theory, as witnessed in the transition from the second to the third part of the book. Joyce, Groden notes, spent the entire year of 1920 free
50 from deadlines. The seizure of the July-August 1 920 Nausicaa issue, long after he had submitted Oxen of the Sun, made publication of Circe unlikely, and the court ruling of February 1921 eliminated the possibility (169). In many ways, this freed him from commercial demands entirely, allowing for the virtually unfettered expansion of Circe (in theme, style, and subject, as well as in length). Furthermore, as Arnold Goldman argues, By its fifteenth chapter, Ulysses has begun to provide its author enough in the way of material to become self -perp etuating (99). Stephens vision of his dead mother and Blooms vision of his dead son provide the twin climaxes of this episode, which is guided by little more than the endless stream of references to the characters and events that have comprised the boo k up to that point. Groden states decisively that [Circes] transforming powers changed not only Joyce and Bloom, but Ulysses itself. The episode was the first to expand far beyond the proportions Joyce originally set for it By the time he had f inished Circe, his continuing belief that he had nearly completed Ulysses was groundless (169). Such realization encourages a conception of the Nostos as more than irrelevant waste product, and instead one of paradigmatic, transitional significance. Much the same as Morettis essay offers an effective intervention into Part I of Ulysses, Jamesons aforementioned Ulysses in History gives a framework for alternatively periodizing Part III of the book. Jameson begins his essay by stating that most people would agree that Eumaeus and Ithaca constitute the two most boring chapters of Ulysses (Ulysses 173). Indeed, these episodes are boring because of both what comes before and after them, a fact Jameson acknowledges by observing that one m ust necessarily speak about the rest in some great detail so that those parts are greatly reduced (Ulysses 173). Viewed with regard to their aesthetic
51 transition from the earlier chapters of the book, these episodes present a fascinating study, and cau se the question of periodizing within Ulysses to become, in Jamesons terminology, a crisis of detail (Ulysses 176). For it is with the advent of Part III that Ulysses trend toward exponential stylistic advancement comes to a screeching halt. To pla y out Jamesons analogy, we need a house for our characters to sleep in, a room in which they may converse, but nothing is there any longer to justify our choice of this particular house rather than that other (Ulysses 176). For Jameson, genuine inter pretation involves the radical historisation of the form itself, and we can make a beginning on this by evoking the philosophical concept, but also the existential experience, called contingency, and this particular event is so often firs t most tangibly detectable and visible on the aesthetic level (Ulysses 17576). From the roundabout and often nonproductive language of Eumaeus to the ritual question and answer organization of Ithaca, the issue of contingency is paramount in these tw o episodes. It is in his 2002 A Singular Modernity that this concept of contingency is most fully developed, where Jameson defines it as a failure of the idea [that] belongs to the conceptual field of ontology, rather than that of the various epistemologies (206). This claim is in accordance with the line along which McHale draws his modernist/postmodernist divide. However, Jameson advocates the even more concentrated periodization of late modernism, which constitutes the experience and fail ure of autonomy to go all the way and fulfill its aesthetic programme ( Singular 209). Modernist autonomy in Ulysses is granted its fullest opportunity in Circe, which fails to provide a permanent solution; in its wake, we are left with a style and logi c that is far more modest and comprehensible, rendering this turn away from high modernism, in Jamesons words, a fortunate failure ( S ingular 209).
52 As in the case of the Telemachiad and the Odyssey, the composition history of the Nostos also supp orts a break with the modern. In contrast to the endless writing and rewriting of much of the second part of his book, Joyce progressed rather swiftly through the final part of Ulysses. Now aiming to complete the book in the spring of 1921, Ellmann write s: [Joyce] worked as quickly as he could, groaning with melancholy as he evolved the high comedy of the final episodes. Eumaeus went quickly He sent the last of Eumaeus to the typist in the middle of February, then hurried on to Ithaca, which he described to Miss Weaver as my last (and stormiest) cape, the ugly duckling of the book and therefore, I suppose, my favourite, and at last to Penelope, which came easier for him. (500) Furthermore, Groden records that Joyce wrote the final epis odes in pairs Circe with Eumaeus and Ithaca with Penelope (52), which makes sense if we are viewing Eumaeus as a transition from the aesthetic logic of Circe, and Penelope as a transition from that of Ithaca. This means the Eumaeus an d Ithaca episodes occupy an intermediary period space between the Circe and Penelope. Exactly how to describe Eumaeus and Ithaca has been the subject of considerable debate. Richardson asserts that the cases for a postmodern Eumaeus and Itha ca are easiest to make: they are after all the chapters that the more resolutely modernist readers enjoy the least (1043); however, this is only if we label any break from the high modernist aesthetic as postmodern. Instead, Jamesons transitional model s from Ulysses in History and A Singular Modernity offer productive avenues to periodize differently, by considering the other, complementary moment, in which the break becomes a period in its own right ( Singular 2 6). This intermediary period --which he terms in A Singular Modernity as late modernism -represents the codification of modernism, and involves the canonical acceptance of high modernist experimentation.
53 Writing in 1991, Jameson observes that not only are Joyce and Picasso no longer ugl y; they now strike us, on the whole, as rather realistic, and this is the result of a canonization and academic institutionalization of the modern movement generally that can be traced to the late 1950s ( Postmodernism 4). This is in contrast to the Ma ke it New philosophy espoused by Ezra Pound, where modernism could essentially be classified as the radically new and revolutionary. Jameson describes the freedoms of the first modernist artists as utterly blind and groping; they know no identifiable public ( Singular 199); as a result, a unified modernist program has always been difficult to agree upon (look no further than a work as disparate as Ulysses being traditionally branded as the paradigmatic modernist text). Late modernism, by contrast, works off of the established record of modernist experimentation, and this provides a point of orientation for the more conservative advances of the period to follow. The style of Nabokov may be readily distinct from that of Joyce, but Jameson emphasizes that Nabokov is unlike Joyce first and foremost by virtue of the fact that Joyce already existed and that he can serve as a model ( Singular 200). By the time he was writing Part III, Joyce was already wrestling with a codified concept of modernism, which he e stablished in the midst of Ulysses rather than in its wake. With the move to Paris, Joyce was in consistent contact with a number of the foremost modernist figures of Europe and America, including Wyndham Lewis, Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, T. S. Eliot, Valery Larbaud, and Samuel Roth. By 1920, Ulysses had already been serialized up through Oxen of the Sun, and had been under construction for six years. By the time he was completing the second part of Ulysses, Joyce was already being lionized for the modernist innovations of this w ork -and likely felt the need to both manage and supersede the literatis expectations for the books conclusion. By the end of the compositional process, Joyce
54 reworked the first few episodes of Part II (such as the headlin es in Aeolus, which were not inserted until August 1921), which were now governed by a different aesthetic, but interestingly left the episodes of Part I almost wholly intact, as remnants of the realist dominant.6 The first two episodes of Part III each offer a respective representation of late modernism, as Jameson emphasizes the peculiarly anticlimactic nature of both Eumaeus and Ithaca (Ulysses 185). Eumaeus, Jameson notes, presents the moment to say the price Ulysses must pay for the seemi ngly limitless power of its play of reification and dereification; the moment, in other words, to come to terms with Joyces modernism (Ulysses 183). In comparison with Circe, the language of Eumaeus is thoroughly comprehensible, and its obfuscatio n is often reliant on verbal excessiveness, rather than abstract theme and style (such as when the keeper of the shelter in the middle of this tte -tte put a boiling swimming cup of a choice concoction labeled coffee on the table and a rather antediluv ian specimen of a bun, or so it seemed [16.35456]) Likewise, in spite of its initial appearance, Jameson argues that in Ithaca, the format is not really, I think, a return to the experimentation of the earlier chapters (Ulysses 187). Instead, the subject is notably excluded, an attempt at the radically objective, before giving way to Blooms private thoughts and then Mollys soliloquy. To be sure, these episodes at times hint at the coming of postmodernism, as they offer an incomple te, one might even say embryonic, representation of some of that literary periods stylistic dominants. Pastiche, one of Jamesons characteristic postmodern developments, is prominent in Joyces patterning of his writing after the Odyssey. Eumaeus, J ameson theorizes, really constitutes Joyces attempt at a parody or pastiche, although it is not a very good pastiche (Ulysses 186). Several critics, Kenner and Attridge among them, have argued that the episode is a parody of several prominent Engli sh grammar handbooks of the time.
55 Kenner further suggests that the episode is Blooms (rather than Joyces) production. Eumaeus is, in effect, the My Experiences in a Cabmans Shelter story conceived of by Bloom for submission to Titbits (a la Philip B eaufoy); while it is subsequently bound to be inferior to what Joyce himself would have penned had he written the episode in earnestness, it is just as sure that Joyces historical situation prevents him from being able to fully realize this postmodern sty le. If Eumaeus is an attempted pastiche of a grammar handbook, then Penelope offers a significantly better expression of this, with its outright eschewing of punctuation and sentence structure. Ultimately, Joyces triumph of pastiche would come with Finnegans Wake which provides the fullest realization of the postmodern in its pastiche of Ulysses. Eumaeus and Ithaca, above all else, are marked by a turn toward resignation and contingency, and away from the notion of progressive utopian teleology of the works modernist section. The tone established by these episodes (a consideration few critics have mentioned) is an indispensible component of their periodiziation. In Eumaeus, suddenly the exotic picture postcard vision of a tourist Dublin is transformed back into a dreary familiar reality of jobs and contracts and the next meal (Jameson, Ulysses 183). The price paid in the wake of Ulysses apex of modernism is a radical depersonalization, which removes author, reader, and point of view t o the extent where only a form of material unity is left, namely the printed book itself (Jameson, Ulysses 183). This emphasis on the detached mundane carries through to Ithaca, where the scientific language within a catechismal structure fosters a resignation to objectivity. Jameson concludes Ulysses in History with an excerpt from Joyces notable description of the mechanics behind tap water: What did Bloom do at the range? He removed the saucepan to the left hob, rose and carried the iron ke ttle to the sink in order to tap the current by turning the faucet to let it flow.
56 Did it flow? Yes. From Roundwood reservoir in county Wicklow of a cubic capacity of 2400 million gallons, percolating through a subterranean aqueduct of filter mains of si ngle and double pipeage constructed a t an initial plant cost of 67; cited in Jameson, Ulysses 188) This passage, which continues on at length in the same fashion, offers a strikingly mechanical and detached rendering of the action, working against the trend toward individual subjectivity and personal autonomy that the middle section of Ulysses so thoroughly celebrates. A close analysis of the Gilbert and Linati schemata further supports Joyces turn toward contingency in Ulysses final section. The Gilbert schema lists the technics of Eumaeus and Ithaca as Narrative (old) and Catechism (impersonal), respectively .7 This comes on the heels of Circe, whose technic is Hallucination, and Oxen of the Sun, where its multiplicity of styles are branded as Embryonic development. Meanwhile, the Linati schema, subsequent to Circes technic of Exploding vision, categorizes Eumaeus as Relaxed prose, Ithaca as Pacified style, and even Penelope as Resigned style. While this trend would seem to unify stylistically the third part of Ulysses, it further complicates the issue of how to periodize Penelope. In contrast to the periodization implied by Jameson, Richardson, who casts Eumaeus and Ithaca as the strongest candidates in a case to be made for a substantially postmodern Ulysses (1044), argues that the Penelope episode marks a turning back from the early postmodernism of the chapters immediately preceding it (1044). The question that emerges from Richardson s critique -and, inde ed, from virtually all postmodern assessments of Ulysses-is why Penelope is consistently ignored in this debate. After all, if Finnegans Wake has been a popular default for the advent of postmodernism, it seems at least a little surprising that the episode in Ulysses that is the most stylistically and
57 thematically similar to the Wake (as well as the one in closest compositional proximity) has been ignored in this postmodern discussion. It is instructive to consider that Joyce could have concluded Ulyss es with Ithaca, which provides an even more logical conclusion than Penelope. Bloom and Stephen have finally been united, Bloom has returned home, Stephen has elected to go off on his own, and Bloom has recapped the days events before falling asleep at episodes end; in short, most every narrative loose end has been tied up and it would appear that (from the relatively comprehensible framework of Eumaeus and Ithaca) stylistic abstraction has been exhausted, as well. Instead, Penelope takes Ulysses ending in a different direction, and reinvigorates the narrative in much the same way that Blooms initial appearance does. Just as Blooms emergence in Part II represents a countersign to Stephen, Joyce wrote in a letter to Frank Budgen that Penelop e is the indispensable countersign to Blooms passport to eternity (Ellmann 501). By the middle of the June 1921, Joyce had finished planning Penelope, at which time he wrote to Budgen: Penelope is the clou [star turn] of the book. The first sen tence contains 2500 words. There are eight sentences in the episode. It begins and ends with the female word yes It turns like the huge earth ball slowly surely and evenly round and round spinning Though probably more obscene than any preceding e pisode it seems to me to be perfectly sane full amoral fertilizable untrustworthy engaging shrewd limited prudent indifferent Weib (Gilbert 169) Joyce completed the final draft of Penelope on October 20, and finished the final draft of Ithaca (troubl esome transitional episode that it was) a little over a week later. Upon completion of Penelope, Joyce openly worried in a letter to Harriet Weaver, Perhaps I have tried to do too much in this book (Ellmann 519). The specific role that Penelope fill s within this book, as well as its place within aesthetic periodization, has long been problematic for critics seeking to unify the book. McHale,
58 for instance, asserts that if we insist on reading the sequence of styles as a transition, we will have to c onfront the awkward fact that the sequence ends not with its most radically avant -garde (or postmodernist) chapter but with a chapter [Penelope] which regresses to the modernist narrative norm of the first half (55). Groden insists that Ithaca is a more diverse and demanding episode than Penelope (53). For Richardson, likewise, Penelope marks a turning back from the early postmodernism of the chapters immediately preceding it, thereby problematizing attempts to simply reproduce at the level of the book the more general narrative of first modernism, then postmodernism (1044). Again, I would argue that Richardson is right in that Penelope does mark a departure from the previous two episodes; however, he is wrong in claiming that it is a re gression back into some earlier modernist logic. The interior discourse of Penelope has been a red-herring with regard to the periodization of both the episode and Ulysses as a whole; the assumption is that we have seen this technique in the book alread y, when in reality we have not. It is true that Joyce originally set the episode out as a series of letters written by Molly Bloom (in a parallel with the end of Portrait) and that he decided against that style because he felt a female monologue was neede d to balance Stephens earlier male monologue at the end of the Telemachiad. However, it is also true that Penelope represents an aesthetic innovation previously unencountered in Ulysses, and that this innovation goes beyond the general omission of pu nctuation and sentence structure. To begin with, there is its unsettling of point of view, which Penelope provides the most radical expression of within Ulysses. The term represents, for Jameson, the quasi -material expression of a fundamental social development itself, namely the increasing social fragmentation and monadisation of late capitalist society, the intensifying privisation and
59 isolation of its subjects ( Ulysses 139). With respect to the privisation and isolation of late capitalism, Moll y emerges as the most extreme and enigmatic figure within the text .8 While Penelope seems to be wholly oriented around the individual and the personally autonomous, what we are instead privy to, in Jamesonian terms, is the death of the subject itself -the end of the autonomous bourgeois monad or ego or individual ( Postmodernism 15). Molly is an individual pitted against the larger socio -economic totality, which she cannot hope to physically conquer. She is a slave of the system economically (she is reliant on the men in her life, Bloom and Boylan, for her financial well being), socially (she cannot complete the act of intercourse with her husband, but will never be married to the man she is having intercourse with), and even rhetorically most sign ificantly when Molly turns away from her soliloquy to plead O Jamesy let me up out of this poo (18.112829) --before she is forced to continue to episodes end in the established style. Another significant innovation that Penelope offers is its transcendence of physicality and tangibility. Jameson asserts in Ulysses in History that t he great modernist literature -from Baudelaire and Flaubert to Ulysses and beyond-is a city literature (177). It is useful to consider that the first and third parts of Ulysses allow us to leave that city: in the first case through Martello Tower, the Dalkey School, and Sandymount Strand, and in the second through Mollys veritable dreamlike transcendence of environment. Furthermore, the books setting presents a uni que socio-economic environment, as Dublin is not exactly a full -blown capitalist metropolis but like the Paris of Flaubert still regressive, still distantly akin to the village, still un or under developed enough to be representable (Jameson, Ulysses 182). In order to take on the unrepresentable, it is necessary to move beyond Dublin, which is precisely what Mollys dreamlike soliloquy enables the book to do. This turn toward the purely conceptual may be
60 considered a demonstration of postmodern hy perspace, which Jameson says has finally succeeded in transcending the capacities of the individual human body to locate itself, to organize its immediate surroundings perceptually, and cognitively to map its position in a mappable external world ( Postm odernism 44). In such a way, Mollys soliloquy fashions a conceptual framework that moves beyond even the hallucinatory narrative of Circe. Kenner writes, Nothing, in Circe, distinguishes real from hallucination and we are consequently deprived of reliable criteria for reality (Ulysses 123, 126); this is in contrast to Penelope, where nothing is real --or, better still, where everything is imagined reality. This includes Mollys final recollection of Blooms proposal to her on Howth Hill, w hich offers an imaginatively happy ending to the book. While Bloom and Molly are physically pointed in different directions as their marriage has grown progressively colder, the warmth of this nostalgic replay stands in stark contrast to the reality of E umaeus and Ithaca. The postmodern categorization of such technique is exceedingly relevant, as Penelope blurs the concept of history to the point of a simulacrum rife with nostalgia. This approach to the present, Jameson explains, by way of the a rt language of the simulacrum, or of the pastiche of the stereotypical past, endows present reality and the openness of present history with the spell and distance of a glossy mirage ( Postmodernism 21). While the first two parts of Ulysses had served as a n exemplar of modernist innovation and an inspiration to a number of canonical writers, even the most prominent of modernists were left in awe by the ending of the book. Eliot notably wrote to Joyce regarding Ulysses, I wish, for my own sake, that I had not read it, but lesser known is his conversation with Virginia Woolf shortly after Ulysses publication, where he asked her straight -faced, How can anyone write again after achieving the immense prodigy of the last chapter? (Woolf 363). Eliot
61 insiste d, Ellmann records, that Joyce had killed the nineteenth century, exposed the futility of all styles, and destroyed his own future. There was nothing left for him to write another book about (528). This was not entirely the case, of course, for Finnegans Wake represents a decidedly more advanced postmodern production; at the same time, it does not represent a revolutionary departure from the end of Ulysses. Far from these two works occupying independent compositional histories, their composition feeds almost seamlessly into one another. Groden asserts that Joyce never actually finished Ulysses. Rather, since he was determined that it should be published on his fortieth birthday, February 2, 1922, he had to stop writing it (13). As such, when he began writing Finnegans Wake a little over a year later, Joyce began by sorting back through a stack of notes leftover from Ulysses, a pile that reportedly weighed over twenty five pounds. While the publication of Finnegans Wake in 1939 left many initial r eaders baffled at the direction in which Joyce had moved, Litz emphasizes that those who had studied the fragments of Joyces Work in Progress published during the 1920s and 1930s were prepared for the new language, realizing that it had developed gradual ly and inevitably out of the method of Ulysses (76). This likely accounts for the significant number of parallels to be drawn between Penelope and Finnegans Wake Ellmann explains that in many ways [ Finnegans Wake ] was to be a sequel to Ulysses; for e xample, the last page of Ulysses showed Molly and Leopold eating the same seedcake like Eve and Adam eating the seedfruit (as Joyce called it) when man fell, and Finnegans Wake also began with the fall of man (545). The final page of Finnegans Wake is even further like the conclusion of Ulysses in its language, subject, and nostalgic impulse: Yes. Carry me along, taddy, like you done through the toy fair. If I seen him bearing down on me now under whitespread wings like hed come from Arkangels, I sin k Id die
62 down over his feet, humbly dumbly, only to washup. Yes, tid. Theres where. First. We pass through grass behush the bush to. Whish! A gull. Gulls. For calls. Coming, far! End here. Us then. Finn, again! Take. Bussoftlhee, mememoree! Till thousendthee. Lps. The keys to. Given! A way a lone a last a loved a long the (628) The conclusion of Finnegans Wake (like the rest of the book) represents a more advanced postmodernism than that of Penelope. Whereas Joyce proclaimed that P enelope has no beginning, middle, or end, it does in fact seem to both begin and end with the word yes, while the last words of Finnegans Wake loop directly back to the first words of the text. It is worth considering, though, that Penelope might not actually end with the final word of Ulysses, and instead feeds directly into Finnegans Wake rendering the final yes merely the final word of the waking world, and giving way to the endlessly indeterminate and cyclical realm of the dream. Obviously, the idea that Ulysses feeds fluidly into Finnegans Wake provides a clear avenue for the formers alternative periodiziation. If one looks solely at Ulysses, however, the result is no less compelling. The Penelope episode is also effectively periodized thr ough the conclusion that it offers the book, for much the same as Ulysses has two beginnings, it also has (at least) two endings. In another notabl e essay, Joyce or Proust, which first appears in The Modernist Papers Jameson attests that Ulysses is co mpleted not by one but by two endings. On the one hand, the Nighttown chapter recombines all the elements of the preceding chapters [A]s in a decompression chamber, all the momentous textual developments of the preceding book are slowly charged and diffused (180). This leisurely coda, however, is brought to an abrupt and scandalous ending [with] Mollys invincible monologue (180), and it is crucial that Jameson does not mark this transition out of Circe with Eumaeus, but rather with Penelope. For the difference between Circe ( Ulysses high modernist climax) and Penelope (its postmodernist departure) is abrupt and startling; it is the two episodes in between
63 them, the late modernist most boring in the book chapters of Eumaeus and Ithaca, that provide the necessary space to affect this transition smoothly. It is in this context, then, that we can read Jamesons earlier insistence that what we have been calling boredom is not Joyces failure, then, but rather his success ( Ulysses 187), and, as Jameson later writes in A Singular Modernity it is with this late modernism that postmodernism attempts radically to break, imagining it is breaking with classical modernism (210). In the opening sentence of his monumental 1959 b iography of Joyce, Ellmann writes, We are still learning to be James Joyces contemporaries (3). This statement has proven exceedingly true in the ongoing periodization of Ulysses. According to McHale, the contemporary reconfiguration of Ulysses has b een undertaken in terms of a poetics closer to that of Finnegans Wake than that of A Portrait: call it postmodern poetics (44). It is therefore vital to note that any such reading of Ulysses is as much a product of emergent theory as it is historical com position .9 Jameson emphasizes that we needed the word postmodernism so long without knowing it ( Postmodernism xii). Our conception of what constitutes the progression of realism into postmodernism has been shaped by the century since Ulysses began, as, Jameson observes, the strange afterimage of primal unity always seems to be projected after the fact onto whatever present the historical eye fixes as its inevitable past ( Postmodernism 337). Thus, how we read Joyce today is bound to be more flexib le than previous appraisal. As Dettmar concedes, Joyce, in 1922, was not a postmodern writer; the term had not been coined, the category didnt exist, and throwing ones lot in with the program of the modernists, as Joyce did, was perhaps the most avant -garde artistic gesture a creative writer could make (171). Just as imperative to emphasize, however, is how Ulysses functions as a bridge beyond what came before it, in addition to what would come after. While McHale argues that Ulysses is at one and
64 t he same time a founding text of High Modernism and a postmodernist text (55), it is equally the perfection of realism and its veritable exhaustion. While these competing aesthetic logics are necessarily coterminous in literature in general, the work of Joyce exhibits a clear progression from realism onto postmodernism, with these stylistic dominants succeeding one another in a surprisingly structured manner. With this in mind, it is still crucial to still employ the classic historical periodization (Uly sses as modernism) in this operation; what is of interest is how a particular text occupies the space of realism, late modernism, and/or postmodernism within the historical moment of high modernism. While the concept of the mode of production is synchroni c, Jameson argues that the cultural productions at work within this overarching framework are open to history in a dialectical way ( Political 95). Cultural revolution in this way becomes that moment in which the coexistence of various modes of produc tion becomes visibly antagonistic, their contradictions moving to the very center of political, social, and historical life ( Political 95). This offers a new way of reading 1922 as the peak of modernism precisely because it is the moment when these multi ple modes of production are in the greatest tension.10 In doing so, such a theory casts modernism not as an identity, but rather as a transition between realism and postmodernism. Brian Richardson notes that Joyce, perhaps wisely, never outlined a literar y genealogy within which his own works might be situated (1035), and as such we are particularly reliant on periodizing theory to do so. This study is designed to both complicate and simplify the existing periodizing criticisms, and to recognize that Uly sses is ostensibly at odds with its own canonical periodization. In contrast to the critique that nothing of significance happens in the Ulysses, we are suddenly faced with the possibility that realism passes fully into postmodernism in the course
65 of this single day. While this is not literally the case, the rapid transition from realism all the way to postmodernism within the book is admi ttedly difficult to acknowledge; however, the possibility exists that, as Moretti argues, there were more structural novelties in a decade than an entire century (232). Much like Joyce with Ulysses, Jameson and Moretti both exhibit an unspoken periodizing logic with the potential to guide literary critics far removed from the time periods when each of these essays were conceived, and to clarify (if not unify) the existent periodizing theory of Ulysses. As Moretti attests, Problems change, and old solutions stop working (230) a statement that holds as true of critical theory as it does of the Bildungsroman. The obl igatory designation of Ulysses as modernist, while certainly apt, is in no way wholly accurate; Joyce once claimed himself to be the foolish author of a wise book (Ellmann 471), and the aesthetic progression within Ulysses beyond its larger cultural logi c stands as testament to the veracity of Joyces claim. 1 For Groden, this includes a first stage that runs from Telemachus to Scylla and Charybdis, a second st age that stretches from Wandering Rocks to Oxen of the Sun, and a third stage, from Circe to Penelope, during which Joyce also revised earlier episodes. Groden emphasizes that Joyce only partly reworked the episodes, however, as if to present Uly sses as a palimpsest involving all three stages (4). It should also be noted that much of Grodens argument for where to draw the line on the three stages in Ulysses is based on the Little Review manuscript of Ulysses, in contrast to the actual book that was published in 1922. 2 In his 1996 essay Ulysses and the Twentieth Century (which appears in Morettis Modern Epic: The Two World System from Goethe to Garca Mrquez ), Moretti also speaks of a first Ulysses and a second Ulysses, with equally distinctive features (183). He expands this, though, by theorizing that there is even a third Ulysses, albeit far more indistinct than the other two, that occupies the zone of transition from one to the other when Joyce is abandoning his first great technique (but does not yet know it), and is seeking his second (but has not found yet it) (183). 3 While Jamesons historiczing suggestions regarding Ulysses have been utilized by any number of significant Joycean scholars (from Margot Norris Joyces Web: The Social Unraveling of Modernism  to James Fairhalls James Joyce and the Question of History ), they have just as often come under fire by Joyceans, most notably in Thomas C. Hofheinzs Joyce and
66 the Invention of Irish History (1995), w hich criticizes Jamesons article as a radical simplification of Joyces text that he justifies purely by previous assertions of his theory (12). 4 Obviously, Stephen is also representative of the future on account of his youth. In Ithaca, Stephen he ars in Bloom a profound ancient male unfamiliar melody the accumulation of the past, while Bloom sees in Stephen a quick young male familiar form the predestination of the future (17.776780). However, it bears mentioning that Stephens association wi th the past extends to his scholarly pursuits, which leave him considerably more knowledgeable about the past (at least in the collective intellectual sense) than Bloom, and to the familiar form that he offers is also a familiarity to the individual read er upon opening Ulysses for the first time. 5 Dettmar, by his own admission, tends to ignore entire episodes of Ulysses (9), and does not factor Jamesons theories into this study, on the grounds that Dettmar does not find in [Jamesons] work anything like a coherent description of postmodern stylistics (15). In many ways, though, this directly illustrates the flaws in Dettmars own brand of aesthetic categorization, which is rife in formal analysis at the expense of legitimate historicization. 6 Joy ce, in an October 1921 letter to Harriet Weaver, writes Eolus is recast. Hades and the Lotus -eaters much amplified and the other episodes retouched a good deal. Not much change has been made in the Telemachia (the first three episodes of the book) (Gil bert 172). 7 It is, of course, crucial to mention that these technic categorizations of Part III offer a direct inversion to those of Part I, where the technics of the first three episodes are listed as Narrative (new), Catechism (personal), and Mono logue (male), respectively. Each of the episodes of the Nostos, though, represent a decidedly more advanced stylistic expression than their counterparts in the Telemachiad; they cannot be a regression back to realism, largely because they have to acc ount for the modernist innovations that have immediately preceded them. 8 Maurice Beebe contends that it is a mark of the greatest literature that it achieve a synthesis of thesis and antithesis. I think that Joyce does this -and meant to do so largely through Molly Blooms soliloquy. We cannot escape the fact that it is given the honor of the last word ( Ulysses 187). The aesthetic progression within Ulysses is essential to this conclusion, as Joyce could not have written Molly Blooms soliloquy if he had not somehow found a way in art, if not in life, to recognize the distinct otherness of the loved one ( Ulysses 187) 9 McHale is cognizantly aware of this fact, recognizing that we will know that the postmodernist Ulysses has really arrive d when the Norton Anthology reprints Sirens or Cyclops, say, instead of Proteus or Lestrygonians (273). 10 Joyces correspondences and letters provide insight into such tension, where a boast such as I have discovered I can do anything I want wit h language is balanced by his statement to Beckett that I may have oversystematized Ulysses (Ellmann 702).
67 CHAPTER 3 WITHIN YOU WITHOUT YOU: SGT. PEPPER AND THE HIGH MODERNISM OF ROCK AND ROLL On the opening page of his landmark 1991 book, Postmodernism, Or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism Fredr ic Jameson states: [The postmodern] break is most often related to notions of the waning or extinction of the modern movement The enumeration of what follow, then, at once becomes empirical, chaotic, and heterogeneous: Andy Warhol and pop art but also photorealism and beyond it the moment, in music, of John Cage, but also the synthesis of classical and popular styles fond in composers like Phil Glass and Terry Riley, and also punk and new wave rock (the Beatles and the Stones now stan ding as the high-modernist moment of that more recent and rapidly evolving tradition). (1) While Jamesons book is obviously geared toward the development of the concept of postmodernism, it is this throwaway observation that opens up a significant range of possibilities for reimagining modernism. This comment is left relatively open (it is the only time he mentions such a specific possibility in the book), but Jameson also conspicuously draws attention to it in his 1988 essay, The Existence of Italy, w hich details the development of the non-synchronous modernism(s) of twentieth century film. The history of rock, Jameson asserts, unpredictably develops into the high modernisms of the Beatles and the Stones, and thereafter into rock postmodernisms of the most appropriately bewildering kinds (Existence 156). Few serious literary critics would likely dispute the validity of the place of non traditional mediums in the artistic canon. Astradur Eysteinsson, voicing a trend within critical theory, war ns that the relevance of modernism depends upon our resisting the insulation of literature (240). Jameson takes this emphasis one step further, noting that for some seventy years the cleverest prophets have warned us regularly that the dominant art for m of the twentieth century was not literature at all ( Postmodernism 68). Film history, Jameson observes, signally fails to coincide with any of the rhythms or coordinates of development in the other arts or media (Existence 156). While the high per iod
68 of literary realism would traditionally be posited in the nineteenth century by most reputable literary scholars, it would be impossible to situate the moment of filmic realism as contemporaneous with Dickens,1 given that film as a medium obviously did not exist at that time. Instead the microchronology of film recapitulates something like the realism/modernism/postmodernism trajectory at a more compressed tempo (Existence 156). The modernist moment that Jameson posits for sound film, that of the great auteurs, comes well after the high modernism of Joyce, Eliot, and Picasso, and requires a general reorientation of what constitutes modernism (if not a modernism). Jameson states that this proposition that could also be argued for other semi a utonomous sequences of cultural history (Existence 156). The application of it to rock and roll complicates this model even further, given that, unlike film, it is not a medium that is coterminous with the 20th century (as it finds its generally acce pted origins in the 1950s [Existence 156]), nor are there two distinct histories of rock n roll (as there are with, say, silent and sound film).2 In much the same way that film history can be clarified, or at least usefully estranged, by period theory (Existence 155), this history of rock music may be illuminated by such a periodizing operation. Once again, while the focus of The Existence of Italy would seem to be the uneven development of filmic modernism with the commonly accepted period of art istic high modernism, the essay also establishes a useful framework with which to periodize other emergent cultural forms (such as rock and roll). To begin with, Jameson insists that formal or aesthetic tendencies are governed by the historic logic of the three fundamental stages in secular bourgeois or capitalist culture as a whole[:] realism, modernism, and postmodernism (Existence 155). In short, this realist/modernist/postmodernist progression--co -opted from
69 Ernst Mandels Late Capitalism -is ob servable in any aesthetic form, and may operate independent of an unwaveringly singular period of modernism. Rather, the periodization of emergent cultural forms necessitates a compressed tempo, if an equivalent trajectory. This non-synchronous dynamic has long been one of Jamesons most charged points of emphasis. In A Singular Modernity (2002), he cautions that any periodizing operation must account for the non-synchronous dynamic of various belated or premature modernisms, their catching up or ind eed their untimely exhaustion (180). The necessity of periodization accordingly requires one to think in terms of period s (plural), rather than simply in terms of a linear time frame. This theoretical axiom is not limited to Jameson, as it has emerged a s one of the most revisited historicizing claims within critical circles, from Ernst Blochs non synchronous present representative of a horizon to Susan Stanford Friedmans logical proposition that multiple modernities create multiple modernisms. Multiple modernisms require respatializing and thus reperiodizing modernism (427). After all, states Friedman, declaring the end of modernism by 1950 is like trying to hear one hand clapping. The modernisms of emergent modernities are that other hand that enables us to hear any clapping at all (427). Exactly where to set the breaks in such periodization is a consideration that Jameson spends the majority of The Existence of Italy concretizing, with perhaps no axiom being more significant than the insistenc e that the paradigm cancelling process must be related to the discovery/invention of new kinds of social material (166). In speaking of the end of filmic realism, Jameson says: The end of Hollywood can be formulated as the repudiation of t he genre system itself, something which happens in the other arts in literature at an earlier moment when the conception of some Gesamtkunstwerk, Book of the World, or ultimate autonomous aesthetic practice, comes to replace the production of one book or novel after another.
70 The introduction of the wide screen in 1952, with its overdetermined technological and economic situation (end of the studio system, introduction of television), is also emblematic of this mutation in aesthetics itself, which renders the modest on-going practice of the traditional genres somehow uncomfortable, if not intolerable. (Existence 177) This has long been a regular practice for traditional literary modernism: Joyce and Ulysses or Eliot and The Waste Land standing as th e aesthetic default upon which the subsequent ideology of modernism rests its foundation (however fragmentary and imprecise that definition might be). In much the same way, positing such a break in the history of rock music requires the location of such a Book of the World. Taking Jamesons suggestion of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones as rock and rolls high modernism, I will posit the Beatles 1967 critical masterpiece, Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, as its fullest realization. The Beatles are the enduringly visible figures in the high modernism of rock and roll, and it is with Sgt. Pepper that this aesthetic movement is brought to its apex. To make such a periodizing claim is easy enough; exactly what it means for this album to be high mod ernist and what the stakes of this claim are represents another matter entirely. To begin with, it is crucial to recognize that to do so is an operation of micro -periodization which, as laid out by Stephen Paul Miller is his insightful cultural histo ry of the 1970s, considers small temporal changes within a historical period in an effort to articulate the periods prevalent episteme (47).3 Even a traditional observation of the rhythm of literary evolution reveals that any large -scale period one a ttempts to establish will be, in the words of Franco Moretti, necessarily uneven: long periods of stability punctuated by bursts of sudden change (232). Certainly ones conception of long is put to task in the periodization of film and, even m ore so, popular music. Tim Riley, in writing specifically about rock and roll, states that a lifetime in pop is very short, and seven years has come to signify about one generation (267).
71 This time span represents the Beatles years of songwriting and recording productivity (1963 69), effectively moving from the opening bars of I Saw Her Standing There on Please Please Me to the final fragmentary vignette of Abbey Road. Michael North has notably speculated that the squabble between modernism and pos tmodernism is in fact a symptom of our inability to theorize that distance, which becomes, in turn, an inability to understand the important works that reflect on the twentieth century (North 213). In accordance with this, the Beatles body of work appea rs within such a concentrated history that it seems illogical that two (if not more) prominent aesthetic movements would play out over that span, and our distance from their work (even forty years hence) seems insufficient to judge their artistic importanc e and legacy. In spite of this, Jameson has notably insisted that, when talking about the past, we cannot not periodize ( Singular 29). In analogizing rock music with other artistic mediums as such, we are forced to name the system (Bertens 182), and to assign specific foundational texts a specific place in the development of said system. In this case that involves naming the period logic of Sgt. Pepper high modernism, despite the uneasy realization that this moment is operating forty years hence fr om the generally accepted high modernism of Western literature. After all, Jameson contends, it is diagnostically more productive to have a totalizing concept than to try to make ones way without one ( Postmodernism 212). However, this realization does not override the reality that there are methods of periodization that are faulty, as Jameson is quick to point out that this refunctioning of cultural terminology for historiographic and periodizing purposes runs crucial risks (Existence 155). For example, it is tempting to posit Sgt. Pepper as high modernism by aligning the 1960s with the period of high literary modernism of the 1920s. Andreas Huyssen, for instance, states that the two vital transitional periods were the earlier 20th century and t he 1960s (viii), and argues
72 that theory in the 1960s is itself the last great modernist movement. The notion of what constitutes the actual period of the 1960s, however, is not as static lengthwise as might be assumed; Jameson, in addressing the subject at length in his Periodizing the 60s,4 offers that it seems plausible to mark the end of the 60s around 197274 (183). Jameson is not alone in this suggestion: Arthur Marwick, Eric Hobsbawm, Stephen Paul Miller, and Jameson all periodize the 1960s by extending it into the early 1970s (generally onto 197374). Jameson draws attention to Ernst Mandels elaborate system of business cycles under capitalism, whose most familiar unit, the 7 to 10 year alternation of boom, overproduction, recession, and ec onomic recovery, adequately accounts for the mid -point break in the 60s ( Periodizing 206). In a rough application of this cycle, Arthur Marwick writes that we can resolve these puzzles by thinking not just of a long sixties but of that period being d ivided into a three distinctive sub-periods, 195863, 19648/9, and 196974 (Marwick 8). In doing so, he effectively situates a Pre-Beatles and a Post Beatles period around their years of actual productivity (of which Sgt. Pepper is at the center). Additionally, Marwicks conception offers a model for the periods of rock realism and the advent of rock postmodernism that follows the Beatles. The realist moment of 195863 is characterized by Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, and Little Richard; the years of 196974 give way to the expansive work of The Who and Pink Floyd, as well as the late work of the Beatles themselves.5 The moment of Sgt. Pepper would seem to present just such a special historical situation. The 1960s, as the periodizing fa scination with the decade bears witness to, has emerged as the pre eminent transitional period of the latter half of the twentieth century. Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri contend that at certain moments humanity appeared for a magical moment to be unite d by a common desire for liberation, and we seemed to catch a glimpse of a future when the
73 modern mechanisms of domination would once and for all be destroyed ( Empire 42). This was certainly the case with the 1960s, and it was in the so-called Summer of Love of 1967 that this moment reached its utopian apex, with rock and roll at its artistic summit. The irony of this flower power movement, of which Sgt. Pepper represented its mainstream blossoming, is that it proved exceptionally fleeting, in direct correlation with Karl Marxs commentary on the concept in his Grund r isse :6 The point of flowering [is] the point at which [the capitalist mode of production] can be united with the highest development of productive forces. It is nevertheless still this basis, this plant in flower, and therefore it fades after flowering and as a consequence of flowering As soon as this point has been reached, any further development takes the form of decline. (439) 1967 marks a critical historical apex a transitional moment of immense potential that has been historically burdened by the cultural reality of what came after it. While the early 1970s may constitute, in Stephen Paul Millers terminology, a rippling episteme of the 1960s, it also constit utes a startling shift from the moment of 1967. Viewed in such a manner, the moment of Sgt. Pepper seems a perfect storm, one that plays out the high modernist trajectory in a brief period of brilliance. Much as F. Scott Fitzgerald had termed 1922 as the peak of the younger generation (North 174), the Beatles rose to prominence right at the time that Americas baby -boomer generation was coming of age. This was also a moment of burgeoning influence for youth on a global scale. Rock and roll, with its in herent turn away from established adult culture, with regard to language, fashion, and form, presented an attractive blank slate for youth to embrace. While the artistic validity of music at large is not in question, it bears keeping in mind that the per iodization of rock music is not the outright periodization of music in general. The definition of modernist music has traditionally been oriented toward the likes of Mahler,
74 Strauss, and Schoenberg (whose prohibitively difficult music Huyssen likens t o the writings of Joyce );7 even the notion of a modernism of popular music has often been allied to American jazz, as is the case in Michael Norths Reading 192 2 and Bernard Gendrons Between Montmartre and the Mudd Club. However, by the mid1960s the wide -scale cultural focus was not on the novel, nor jazz, nor silent film, but on rock and roll. As such, it is once again tempting to align this moment of rock music with the flowering of jazz as demonstrable evidence of its modernist tendencies. An even more dangerous path for many critics has been the outright identification of modernism with a certain formalism. Using such formalist identification, many periodizing models for the Beatles have settled on the notion of a postmodern break relative ly synchronous with the one that literary modernism was experiencing at the time.8 Kenneth Gloag alleges that the diversity of [ Sgt. Peppers ] material, effectively intensified through their encounters with the avant -garde, suggests a stronger alignment with notions of postmodernism than of modernism (All 582).9 Ed Whitley, likewise, categorizes the Beatles as postmodernist largely on the grounds of their disparate musical styles and their fragmentation of structure (Womack, Beatles 224). In a segment of his aforementioned book, ironically titled Resuscitating Modernism: The Beatles as Stimulant, Bernard Gendron concurs with this view, positing the Beatles as breaking with modernism proper. In the wake of Sgt. Pepper he observes that many of the cultural shifts with which the Beatles were being associated--such as the declining importance of the written text, the weakening of the boundaries of high and low culture -are nowadays grouped under the category of the stylistically pos tmodern (202).10 A small number of emerging critics, such as Kenneth Womack, have taken issue with the increasing certainty with which the Beatles are framed as innovative postmodern
75 visionaries (Beatles 223),11 and there are any number of reasons to b e wary of such a postmodern classification, particularly with regard to Sgt. Pepper To make such a case formally, i n accordance with Jamesons previously mentioned suggestion that a high modernist moment necessitates the emergence of a Book of the World to govern the subsequent ideology of the concept, it may sensibly be suggested that Sgt. Pepper effectively fills this capacity for the high modernism of rock and roll. In seeking to align Sgt. Pepper with a modernist Gesamtkunstwerk equivalent, there i s no more obvious literary point of reference than James Joyces Ulysses, given the enduring critical significance of both works respective paradigm reorientation. To be sure, everything about Sgt. Pepper is compressed in relation to Ulysses: Sgt. Pepper was completed in only 129 days, whereas Ulysses required the better part of eight years to write; Sgt. Pepper is collectively forty minutes long, while Ulysses runs over seven-hundred pages; and while Joyces next project, Finnegans Wake would not emerge for another seventeen years, the Beatles would release their Magical Mystery Tour album a scant five months after the release of Sgt. Pepper A closer analysis, however, yields an uncanny symmetry between the two works. Ulysses and Sgt. Pepper have consis tently stood at the forefront of any serious discussion about twentieth century literature and rock music, respectively. The Modern Librarys influential 1998 list of The 100 Best Novels of the Twentieth Century put Ulysses as the very top of the list, and a similarly oriented survey in 2003 by Rolling Stone magazine of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time coronated Sgt. Pepper as #1. Much as the climactic Yes of Ulysses represents the end of an era for Ezra Pound (North 3), the concluding three -piano E -major chord crash in Sgt. Pepper would seem to signal a similar consideration for the periodization of rock music.
76 The sheer volume of critical studies and material devoted to these two works stands as testament to their vital importance, and act as a n effective bridge between the two aesthetic movements; John Lennon, for example, was an ardent fan of Ulysses, and one of the first subscribers to the James Joyce Quarterly upon its inception in 1963. Kenneth Womack draws attention to the fact that while even Lennons early writing were critically judged to be Joycean in origin, Lennons subsequent reading of the Irish master proved to be a revelation. It was like finding Daddy, he remarked ( Long 9192). In both cases, the original direction of the project was (to a certain extent) abandoned. The initial Telemachiad of Ulysses is in many ways an extension of Portrait, with the reappearance of the character and method of Stephen Dedalus, who represents Joyce himself. It is only with the second pa rt, The Odyssey, with introduction of a new style and a new central figure, Leopold Bloom, that the true modernist direction of the project takes shape. The Beatles original plan for Sgt. Pepper was a tribute album to their home of Liverpool, with the f irst two songs recorded being Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane, two Liverpool locales that held childhood significance for Lennon and McCartney. It is instructive to note that while these songs would have, stylistically at least, fit effective ly alongside the other songs of the Sgt. Pepper sessions, neither one was included on the album; they were released instead as a double A -side single in advance of Sgt. Peppers release.12 Furthermore, just as Ulysses utilizes the story of Odysseus as a uni fying concept, the Beatles employ their own sort of mythical method in the framing of Sgt. Pepper One component of this is the mythical band on the albums cover, whose history is explained on the opening track of the album. It is revealed that it was twenty years ago today that Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play and that this group has been going in and out of style and prominently
77 features a singer by the name of Billy Shears. Outside of that, we are left with little more than a reprise of the song as the albums penultimate track, which then feeds discretely into A Day in the Life --the other tracks on the album bear no direct mention of the band or the concert that is being performed. The history of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band offe rs no sort of historically established myth to either orient the albums (seemingly) loose concept around or to frame what specifically this album is confronting in its innovation. In still another formal analogy between the two works, Sgt. Pepper co -opts a method of popular scavengery within the larger governing principles of its songs and its concept. The cover of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band is reminiscent of the telephone directory that Ulysses was critically characterized as being, with an emphasis on montage and seemingly irrelevant scraps and images. The entirety of Lennons lyrics for Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite were taken from a poster advertisement for a circus act; Good Morning Good Morning was inspired by a Cornflakes break fast cereal commercial (note the cock crowing at the songs end); and A Day in the Life was based on a pair of stories from the Daily Sketch (about a crash that killed Guinness heir Tara Browne) and the Daily Mail (about filling potholes in Blackburn), respectively. This parallels Joyces use of The Evening Telegraph and Thoms Dublin Directory to craft Ulysses. While it is often easy to forget how fully a modernist work like Ulysses utilizes popular culture, it is equally common, given its classical le anings and abstract artistic stylings, to ignore how attuned to popular culture is Sgt. Pepper Our historical distance from both of these works, of course, obscures the contextual reality of each, particularly in relation to cultural subversion, given how fully culture has co opted the content of both Ulysses and Sgt. Pepper Fredric Jameson comments that the classics of high modernism are now part of the so-called canon and are taught in schools and universities
78 which at once empties them of any of their older subversive power (Postmodernism 124). Ulysses is, unquestionably, one of the most notorious modernist texts in this regard, having progressed from a banned work of pornography (in the eyes of the U.S. court system) to the greatest novel of the twentieth century (in the eyes of the Modern Library). Today, it is lauded for its unbridled experimentalism, and the ban -inciting pornographic scene in the Nausicaa episode seems relatively discrete by contemporary standards. An easy retrospective of Sgt. Pepper would be that this album offers modernism blown wide open and given free reign to grow and work, unencumbered by political restriction and/or censorship but this was not the case. This was a controversial work: A Day in the Life and Lu cy in the Sky with Diamonds were both banned by numerous media outlets on the grounds of its potential drug references. The final circular bit of Beatle chatter in the albums concentric run out groove has retained a subversive vibe for its alleged backt aping of the message, Well f*ck you like were Superman.13 The cover of Sgt. Pepper although entertaining and intriguing, was scandalous in its own right, on the grounds that it was originally slated to include Hitler (whose cardboard cut -out can be se en off to the side of the cover montage in some photos of the shoot) and Jesus Christ (who was abruptly eliminated in the wake of Lennons Were more popular than Jesus statement in 1966). Even given the final censored list, Brian Epstein had stated tha t his last wish would be brown paper bags for Sgt. Pepper .14 These formal analogies, however, while interesting and even uncanny, fail to offer the effective sort of periodizing foundation that Jameson posits in The Existence of Italy. To begin with, t o formally compare music directly to literature is to evaluate apples alongside oranges. Even if rock music could be analyzed in chronological lock -step with traditional high modernist literature, it would be fatal to do so. Bernard Gendron and Robert Christgau concur
79 that it is crucial to remember that rock and roll is not poetry; taking Bob Dylans work as an example, if the lyrics are taken by themselves, it is a bad poem, loaded with out -of date metric forms, clackety -clack rhymes, and scatter g un images (Gendron 211). It is instructive to note that Lennons forays into poetry and surrealist verse, while interesting for their Joycean style, are inferior to the original work of Joyce himself and of little interest to literary scholars; it is in stead through Lennons (and, more accurately, the Beatles) music that he stands as a paradigmatic artistic force. Even more crucially, to simply characterize these formal traits as modernist, without simultaneously mapping their break from realism and p ostmodernism, fails to satisfy the demands of such an operation. Under such a comparative system, everything fits: while Sgt. Pepper might be aligned with the high modernist moment of Ulysses, it could just as easily be aligned with the works of Edgar All an Poe, Lewis Carroll, and Oscar Wilde (all of whom, unlike Joyce, appear on the albums cover). Instead, Jameson explains: These stages, which can be identified as realism, modernism, and postmodernism respectively, are not to be grasped exclusively in t erms of the stylistic descriptions from which they have been appropriated; rather, their nomenclature sets us the technical problem of constructing a mediation between a formal or aesthetic concept and a periodizing or historiographic one. (Existence 155 ) This complex synthesis necessitates an emphasis on dialectical relationships, with each individual period definable only by its relation to those adjacent to it. Jameson attests to the historical necessity of a modernist break by postulating that moder nism, indeed, does something else, for which the discussion of realism has not prepared us at all (Existence 198). This is taken to such lengths that, Eysteinsson suggests, for Jameson realism has served as the straw designating whatever modernism is not (183). A purely stylistic definition of postmodernism, for example, is bound to be problematic, on the
80 grounds that the postmodern becomes little more than the form taken by the authentically modern in our own period, and a mere dialectical intens ification of the old modernist impulse toward innovation ( Postmodernism 59). In much the same way, Jameson insists that any realism must also explicitly designate and account for situations in which realism no longer exists, is no longer historica lly or formally possible (Existence 167). As a result, to consider exactly why the Beatles, and, more specifically, Sgt. Pepper are modernist involves moving beyond such simple stylistic negation or affirmation.15 Even if the conception of artistic modernism as a stepping out of time and history can be accepted, Jameson argues, it is an experience that is surely not available or accessible at every moment of history (S ingular 193). It is not enough to simply periodize a modernist moment (or one t hat is realist or postmodernist) based exclusively on formal traits --it is essential to consider the socio -economic framework that this band was operating within and from which this work emerged, and this consideration encompasses issues of technology, audience, and economics. For example, while it is problematic to analyze the stereotypical modernist formal characteristics shared by Sgt. Pepper and Ulysses, it is productive to consider what they represented a change from The years leading up to Sgt. Pepper saw a development of the realist rock album that is analogous to the realist Bildungsroman in the years before Ulysses. Much the same as Joyces Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is considered by many to be the fullest realization of literary reali sm, the Beatles Revolver is consistently upheld as the pinnacle of song craftsmanship. In the same surveys mentioned earlier, Portrait was named by the Modern Library as the 3rd Greatest Novel in English of the 20th century, while Rolling Stone named Rev olver the 3rd greatest rock album of all time. This meant that each of these works faced the dilemma of reorientation in the wake of their fulfillment of the established medium lest they
81 simply repeat their previous artistic approach and thereby fail to move in the direction of the authentically new. As such, in contrast to the conception that the Beatles were at the height of their critical prowess with R evolver is the reality that by the time of Sgt. Pepper for all their commercial success, the Beat les were in accreditory limbo (Gendron 189). This aligns itself effectively with the historical situation of Joyce at the time of Ulysses publication, when he was famously termed by Virgina Woolf as a frustrated Titan (Johnson xii), and subsequently f elt the need to craft a dramatic departure from his established work. The larger context of rock and roll at the time of Sgt. Peppers release points to a decided shift beyond the established realism of rock, and it is crucial to realize that the Beatles w ere not just breaking with personal creative stagnation, but rather signaling a seismic shift within the work of other rock artists. The work of countercultural artists like Bob Dylan and Joan Baez had by this time filtered into any number of mainstream r ock performers, including Dylan himself, who had infamously in May 1966 forsaken his acoustic exclusivity in favor of the electric guitar. Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and the Holding Company, and The Who had all just begun to generate critical buzz on the performance circuit, and Jimi Hendrix began widespread touring in October 1966. Most notably of all, The Beach Boys Pet Sounds album (1966) had marked that groups shift to a more mature lyrical emphasis on love and nostalgia, and the musical innova tions (with bells, whistles, and studio manipulation) were such that Paul McCartney has called it his favorite album of alltime (one that doubtlessly provided a significant inspiration for Sgt. Pepper a point I will return to). In spite of this, the alb um only reached #10 on the charts, and was a commercial disappointment, which in retrospect is not surprising, given its precise historical context. The top two charting worldwide songs of 1966 were Frank Sinatras Strangers in the Night and (his daught er) Nancy Sinatras The Boots Are Made for Walking;
82 by 1967, the top charting song was Procol Harums groundbreaking A Whiter Shade of Pale, with songs by the Beatles, the Monkees, and the Doors rounding out the top five. This shift was, quite obvious ly, set in motion before Sgt. Pepper but it was only with the release of the album that both its critical and commercial significance became wholly evident to the culture at large. Interestingly, Bernard Gendron observes that among the highbrow press the prevailing view was not that the Beatles were operating at the cutting edge, but rather that they were harkening back to something aesthetically old and forgotten, something that contemporary modernism, and notoriously art music, had unfortunately lost touch with in its trajectory toward abstraction and experimentalism (Gendron 200). This served as a useful highbrow device for containing while praising the Beatles, denying them any claim to real hard -won knowledge of the devices they were appropriating (Gendron 202). It also illustrates a further obstacle to critically aligning the Beatles alongside the high modernist figures within literature and art (and even other genres of music): while the popular press (then as now) lavished Sgt. Pepper with unre lenting praise, the highbrow accolades the Beatles received --while unprecedented and perpetually legitimating --would be both short -lived and dual -edged. Eventually, most highbrow critics settled somewhere in the vicinity of Ned Rorem, who despite his init ial enthusiasm for Sgt. Pepper ultimately did not consider the Beatles very interesting to analyze structurally, holding that they had added nothing new, simply brought back excitement (Gendron 201).16 Charles Gower Price, in assessing the legacy of t he Beatles, holds that what will outlast their identification with the 1960s and the phenomenon of Beatlemania is the quality of their musical production (Price 209). While this might be the case with any number of individual Beatles albums, th e lasting impact of a work like Sgt. Pepper lies in its status as a cultural event and its enduring
83 achievements as a paradigm -canceling work in the high modernist tradition. In trying to account for the phenomenon that the album became, Ringo Starr admit s that there were lots of better songs on different records. It was the time, the attitude, it was the concept; the world was trying to change It was in the air ( Making). In the immediate aftermath of the albums release, the popular and highbrow presses were in decided agreement that Sgt. Pepper constituted a definitive break with the traditional canon of rock music. The influential BBC music critic Deryck Cooke categorized Lennon and McCartney as serious composers that were purveyors of a new music (199), while a Time Magazine article claimed that the Beatles were making an enormous contribution to electronic music and that serious musicians [were] marking their work as a serious departure in the progress of music -any music (Other 63) Kenneth Tynan went so far as to immediately dub the release of Sgt. Pepper as a decisive moment in the history of Western civilization (Womack, Long 189). The Beatles technological experimentation, technical virtuosity, and synthesis of artistic for ms all contributed to a thoroughly reoriented (and, within the popular imagination, lasting) conception of rock as form. It was little coincidence that, in a 1967 article about the Beatles, Marshall McLuhan notably observed that the visually oriented and literate society of Western man is being replaced by an acoustically oriented, electronic society (Gendron 202). As such, the modernist monumentality of Sgt. Pepper involved the paradigmatic reorientation of its audience. The Beatles appeal was not lim ited by class: the band, background -wise, represents the triumph of the lower to -middle classes (as the mythology of their poor, working -class, Northern -England accent background bears witness) --but they just as surely offer a triumph for the highbrow uppe r class, which up to this point had few effective
84 intellectual avenues into rock music. The desire of all publications, be they high, middle, or low -brow to comment on the Beatles work is, as mentioned earlier, a testament to their wide -scale cultural im pact. Nor was their popularity limited by nationality: Their appeal to a global audience was equally evident in this album. By the time of Sgt. Peppers release, for example, the Beatles had sold over one million records in Denmark (a country of less than four million people), and were the unquestioned most popular musical group in the world (having toured in Japan and the Phillipines in the lead up to the Sgt. Pepper sessions). There were a number of conscious gestures on Sgt. Pepper geared at expanding this audience even further --most notably George Harrisons well -documented foray into Indian music, Within You Without You, which constitutes his contribution to the album. The Beatles seemed full cognizant of the trend toward a global world, in which, as Hardt and Negri have observed, local is a bad word ( Empire 44). Both of the singles released from the Sgt. Pepper sessions, Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane, are a testament to this, as they transform esoteric (and otherwise unremarkable) local references into ubiquitous global musical concepts. The lyrics of Sgt. Pepper alongside (or perhaps as a result of) this maturity, become a subject of analysis in a way that they had not been before. Complex lyrical themes were emerging in the work of several aforementioned contemporary artists, but outside the folk scene rock lyrics had largely been viewed as scraps of entertainment to fill in the gaps between the vocal harmonies and guitar riffs. Sgt. Pepper offered the first album cover to include the printed lyrics to its songs --proof positive of the lyrical interest the Beatles had inspired in conjunction with their musical art.
85 It was a direct result of looking into the Beatles lyrics for symbolism and hidden meaning that Sgt. Pepper came under fir e for its potential drug references.17 Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds was viewed as the lyrical expression of an LSD trip; Fixing a Hole was seen as a reference to injecting heroin; and tak(ing) some tea in Lovely Rita was taken as innuendo for smok ing marijuana. This is to say nothing of the albums two most famous refrains, I get high with a little help from my friends and Id love to turn you on, both of which, while potentially innocuous, were offered as evidence that the album was governed by a drug culture mythology.18 Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds was banned by the BBC upon its release, as was A Day in the Life (and while the BBC has played the song in years since then, as of 2007 the corporations ban on the song has not been lifted). Such censorship, however, did not significantly hinder the Beatles from reaching a massive audience extending beyond the youth culture. In many ways, though, this loose potential association with drugs was necessary to echo contemporary concerns, particu larly when considering Eliots dictum of ma[king] the modern world possible for art. The result of this universal popular acceptance was that Sgt. Pepper became the first rock album to win a Grammy for Album of the Year (a rather radical shift, consider ing that the most recent winners had included Bob Newhart, Judy Garland, Barbara Streisand, and Frank Sinatra). Consequently, Sgt. Pepper cast a dark pall over many of the most prominent pop artists of the time with its establishment of a new paradigm and its incomparable popular success in doing so. Brian Wilson, for example, whose Pet Sounds album McCartney cites as a major influence on Sgt. Pepper stopped touring with the Beach Boys in order to base himself exclusively in the studio, in large measure t o compete with the Beatles approach, before ultimately finding himself unable to finish his potential masterpiece (the now -famous SMiLE
86 album, which was ultimately re recorded and released in 2004),19 lapsing into mental illness and creative stagnation. T o a large degree, Wilsons frustration was the result of the very appearance of Sgt. Pepper Much the same as Ulysses realization was, in Eliots now -famous terminology, a scientific discovery, Sgt. Pepper indeed represented a paradigm -shifting discove ry, and the Beatles had beaten Wilson to it. It is significant to consider that Sgt. Pepper as opposed to being simply a liberating artistic gateway, was in many ways a crippling mechanism for any number of contemporary artists (Wilson being foremost among them). Compare this with George Orwells assessment of Ulysses, in which he stated bluntly: I rather wish I had never read Ulysses. It gives me an inferiority complex. When I read a book like that and then come back to my own work, I feel like a eunuch who has taken a course in voice production and can pass himself off fairly well as a bass or a baritone, but if you listen closely you can hear the good old squeak just the same as ever. (Orwell 139) Beyond even the recording of the album, Sgt. Pepper contained an inordinate amount of peripheral considerations that stretched the boundaries of what an album could contain. While cover art had been around before this album, having been popularized by Alex Steinweiss (among others), it is with Sgt. Pepper that this artistic canvas moved to the forefront of aesthetic analysis and popular recognition; today, even those who have not heard the album, or even heard of the album, are apt to recognize the cover. Sgt. Pepper was one of the first to have a gatefold album cover, and was the first to include printed lyrics on the cover sleeve. It even included a sheet with cut -outs for role playing, including a moustache, stripes, and badges. To say the least, this album stretched the notion of what an album could d o musically, visually, and materially. Such reorientation of the established artistic unit brings to mind Jamesons assertion that Joyces conception of the chapter as a formal unit is, indeed, one of the supreme philosophical achievements of the modern m ovement (Existence 207). By oscillating abruptly between episodes that are stylistically autonomous, Ulysses presents virtually the archetypal emblem of
87 the process of episodization in modernism (Existence 207). The Beatles also seek to make Sgt. Pepper episodic, but through an inverse method. Whereas Ulysses modernist achievement lies in the fragmentation of a traditionally assumed whole, Sgt. Peppers artistic innovation was taking a collection of traditionally autonomous units (the rock single ) and crafting a unified whole,20 with its own governing logic --what would come to be known as a concept album.21 Sgt. Pepper above all else, is an album While this is the album people most readily associate with the Beatles and their legacy, its singl es are not the songs that first come time mind when we think of the Beatles. In fact, no song on the album was ever released as a single, and, just as telling, only one has ever achieved success as a cover: Joe Cockers snarling rendition of With a Littl e Help from My Friends. By the time of Sgt. Peppers release, Tim Riley observes, the Beatles werent so much songwriters as they were record writers (266), and Paul McCartney concurs that, in contrast to their other records, the making of Sgt. Pepper was more like writing a novel ( Making). While each song seems to stand on its own, they are collectively an act of imposing synergy. What holds the album together (or, rather, how effectively it is held together) is a matter of some scholarly debate. M uch the same as Jameson argues about Ulysses, Sgt. Peppers narrativity is that of the episode and not of the work as a whole, which we probably mean the idea of the work, its concept, what the single word title of Joyces book is supposed, for exampl e, to convey (Existence 208). Not willing to take the albums title as a sufficient unifying feature, Kenneth Gloag critiques the Beatles efforts toward cohesion by arguing that although one may acknowledge the possibility of unifying processes such as prominent lower descending lines or fifth cycles, the absence of any such clearly defined and precisely
88 situated unifying process undermines the musical integrity of the concept of the album (All 581).22 In response to such criticism, Kenn eth Womack contends that, while the Beatles create an intentional sense of fragmentation in Sgt. Pepper they clearly do so as artists bent on establishing a form of controlled chaos in which every note, every utterance has its place (Beatles 224).23 E verything on the album, from the chaotic barn animal noises in Good Morning Good Morning to the kHz tone after the final crescendo of A Day in the Life to the carefully selected figures represented on the cover, was the product of meticulous compositio n, production, and execution. Time Magazine proclaimed, upon the release of Sgt. Pepper that the Beatles recording practices are the early steps in a brand new field, comparable to the shift from representational painting to abstractionism. They a re moving from reproduc[ing] sounds as realistically as possible to building pure sound pictures (Gendron 195). In accordance with Jamesons claim that all modernist works are essentially simply cancelled realistic ones (Beyond 16), Sgt. Pepper goes to great lengths to ensure that its songs are not conventionally realist, starting with standard recordings and technically altering them. Moreover, it is not a stretch to assume that it was an intentional decision to limit direct references to the lar ger concept governing the album. The sort of criticism that Gloag levels against the albums cohesion, then, is to be expected, in much the same way that it is this tension, or even contradiction, which probably accounts for the tenacious stereotype of t he plotlessness of the modernist novel (Existence 208). Beyond its social and technological paradigm shifts, in keeping a focus on the economic in the largest and most varied senses (Existence 155), it is safe to say that everything about
89 Sgt. Pepper was huge economically in the largest and most varied senses imaginable. For a band that, by 1970, would sell 500 million albums worldwide, Sgt. Pepper would stand as the highest -selling single album. Sgt. Pepper was an enormously expensive to record (an estimated $75,000 cost a pedestrian amount today, but an extraordinary sum by the standards of the time), shoot (EMI normally spent 25 75 on photos for albums; for Sgt. Pepper they spent ,300 for permission processing and ,500 for artist fees), produce (studio time came to over 700 hours, compared with 585 minutes for the Beatles first album), and even to insure, as EMI studios insisted that the Beatles indemnify them for several million pounds against potential lawsuits. Prior to Sgt. Pepper t he Beatles had only earned six cents per album; for this album, they received thirty -nine cents per copy. In the United States alone, it had advanced sales of 1 million copies, and within three months sold 2.5 million. It is worth remembering that even t he cover of Sgt. Pepper one of the most reproduced photographs of the last forty years, is itself an advertisement, and has been at least partly responsible for the album having remained in the popular (and, hence, economic) spotlight over the whole of th at time period. Huyssen aptly reminds us that the youth movement created needs that could be exploited economically (141), and the Beatles effective identification with youth culture has often been viewed through the dialectical lens of artistic integri ty on the one side and economic exploitation on the other. Frank Zappa, whose Freakout is often considered the first concept album, accused the Beatles of co -opting flower power for economic gain; Zappa and the Mothers of Invention followed this accusatio n with an album that provided a direct commentary on Sgt. Pepper (replete with a cover parody) titled Were Only in it for the Money Outside of the obvious humorous quality of this gesture, Zappa might be accused of little more than sour -grapes envy, as the Beatles could easily have remained safely consistent with the format of Rubber Soul
90 and Revolver and not have exposed themselves to commercial risk.24 The extremities of this vanguard movement -Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa, and even Bob Dylan -are op erating on a considerably inferior economic plane; in other words, it is not a given that this overtly psychedelic shift was really a smart move economically. True to form, the double A -side singles Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane that were r eleased in advance of (and separately from) Sgt. Pepper became the first Beatles single not to reach #1 in the U.K (finishing behind Release Me by the infamously -named Engelbert Humperdinck, a traditional singer of comparable style to Tom Jones and Fran k Sinatra). In fact, the Beatles consistently strong album sales then and now obscure the overall reality that the economic structure governing this moment was fleeting. In the wake of Sgt. Pepper the Beatles -and rock and roll in general --went from a moneymaking machine to a problematic economic study: The Beatles creative corporate entity, Apple Corps., was largely a business disaster; their experimental follow up album, Magical Mystery Tour had comparatively disappointing sales, and the accompa nying feature length film of the same name was a cinematic bomb; Woodstock, the very embodiment of the youth culture the Beatles were seen at the heart of, while an undisputed cultural success, was a commercial flop. In contrast to other serious musici ans of the time (from Bob Dylan to John Cage), the Beatles at the time of Sgt. Pepper stand as the enduring artistic hallmark for the dent they made in both mainstream culture and large -scale economics. While it may be taken as axiomatic today that rock mu sic evinces many of the foremost methods of artistic expression and creativity, this was not always the case. The Beatles, significantly, were the first rock and roll musicians to be written about as musicians (Teachout 60), and it was with the release of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band in June 1967 that this
91 critical approbation reached its apex. The album was lauded enthusiastically by classical composers like Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copeland, as well as noted critics Wilfrid Mellers, Willia m Mann, and Hans Keller. In October 1967, Richard Poirier published in the Partisan Review a scholarly article entitled Learning from the Beatles, likening their approach to that of the auteurs of high modernism that had preceded them in other mediums. The nature of the Beatles interaction with the audience underwent a significant shift with Sgt. Pepper as well, as they made the decision to stop touring and playing live shows before recording the album a bold transition for a band whose image to thi s day is, for many, one of live performance. The Beatles played over 1500 live shows between the late 1950s and August 29, 1966 but only one thereafter (their infamous rooftop concert that concluded the recording of the Let It Be album). The Beatles no longer had to tour, as technology had advanced to where not touring might present a competitive artistic advantage. Instead, the Beatles crafted an album that could tour for them.25 Although the Beatles served as perhaps the most thoroughgoing phenomenon of youth culture in the twentieth century (as the scale of Beatlemania in 1964 attests to), it was with Sgt. Pepper that we witness a declaration of their maturity --physically, artistically, and economically. Their appearance on the albums cover with fa cial hair, with wax statues of their 1964 mod incarnation right beside them, signaled a clear message that the Beatles had moved beyond their former teenybopper idol selves, and that their audience was asked to do so as well. This technological complicatio n in performance draws attention to another formal danger in modernist periodization. Jameson explains that only if the concept of modernism is promoted to the status of mature secular art, as such as happens in Perry Andersons brilliant historical excu rsus on the topic, does it become possible to relegate the various realisms to a
92 lumber room in which various formal oddments are stored, on their way to the ashcan of history (Existence 159). Andersons warning against the simple identification of modernity with technology itself (319), though, is a key consideration, given that such a relationship would seem to align ideally with Sgt. Pepper and its technological progressivism and experimentalism. The recording techniques, packaging, distribution, and promotional material, for instance, were all distinct technological advancements that differentiated Sgt. Pepper from the previous work releases of other rock artists, including that of the Beatles themselves. Once again, though, such a formalist sim ple identification is incomplete, as it fails to take into account the historical impulses inherent to such application, and the decisive break with the established realist model that such technology engenders. Andersons statement further draws attenti on to the economic component inherent in such a technological development. In the case of Sgt. Pepper it was not simply a matter of this technology being available, but also of a band having the prior success to enable access to this technology. There i s an inescapable financial aspect to the studio production of the album, in that it takes significant capital to make the kind of music one finds on Sgt. Pepper ; the Beatles needed EMIs financial backing to set their project in motion at all. This also r epresents a move beyond the realist, low budget garage bands of the late 50s and early 60s. The permanent move into the studio represented a revelation for the Beatles, as Paul McCartney would remark in later years that they gradually became the workmen who took over the factory (Womack, Long 59). In an ironic (if symbolic) twist, the Beatles economic prowess not only made their technological capabilities possible, it made their audience (however mythical) possible, given that the cover design was we ll in excess of what EMI executives would have been willing to put up for any other artist in their catalog.
93 To be sure, not all of the musical innovations on Sgt. Pepper were technologically advanced witness the comb and paper on Lovely Rita or the s morgasbord of traditional Indian instruments on Within You Without You. The range of instrumentation that was put into play on the album, however, represents a technological tour -de -force: the wah -wah pedal, the fuzzbox, direct injection, multi track re cording, magnetic tape, automatic double tracking, varispeeding, and the infamous backtaped messages. Following the Beatles lead, rock became an art form that might no longer rely on a four -piece band.26 In a stunningly exponential increase from prior al bums, there are 43 separate individuals credited in the studio recording of Sgt. Pepper Geoff Emerick, the recording engineer for Sgt. Pepper explains its prevailing technological mentality: [Everything on the album] was either distorted, limited, heavi ly compressed or treated with excessive equalisation. We had microphones right down in the bells of the brass instruments and headphones turned into microphones attached to violins. We plastered vast amounts of echo onto vocals, and sent them through the circuitry of the revolving Leslie speaker inside a Hammond organ. We used giant primitive oscillators to vary the speed of instruments and vocals and we had tapes chopped to pieces and stuck together upside down and the wrong way around. (Liner Notes) Ironically, this very emphasis on technological enhancement not only stands in for live performance, it rendered a live performance of Sgt. Pepper impossible at the time. Even given the comparatively primitive technology (by todays standards) the group had to work with, the Beatles did more to draw attention to this album as an album than perhaps any rock band before or since. As Tim Riley attests, The recording industry still measures itself against Sgt. Pepper (recorded on two four -track reco rders), even though digital circuitry is now far beyond the twelve -track mixing boards which were used to tape their last album, Abbey Road (Riley 266).
94 Sgt. Pepper s cover is further exemplary of this trend. Wanting to establish a clean break from their previous work (as well as heeding the criticism of Robert Fraser that in time the intended cover would be judged as just another piece of 60s acid art), the Beatles and Fraser instead put together a complex set of photographs within a photograph, in which the band would figure prominently in the center. While it is easy to argue that the Beatles place themselves at the center of this creative montage, it is again useful to remember that like Joyce they move beyond their biographical selves; on this al bum, they are no longer the Beatles, but rather (quite literally) Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. Walter Benjamin famously states that in every era the attempt must be made anew to wrest tradition away from a conformism that is about to overpower i t (255), and in this case the overpowering tradition was, quite ironically, the Beatles themselves.27 This is once again made evident by the band choosing to place wax figures of themselves on the cover, and listing themselves among the influences of the Sgt. Pepper band. The Beatles, in the process, are effectively allowing themselves to stand in for the larger concept of rock realism with which Sgt. Pepper represents a significant departure. This assumes, of course, that the concept of the album was so eye -opening at that historical moment in part because its audience was expecting a continuation of the popular Beatles work with which they were so familiar. With respect to such a gesture, modernist artists, Jameson argues, are obliged to recognize the mselves; and autoreferentiality is the very dynamic of this process ( Singular 159). Womack clearly supports this claim, noting that as with the enduringly prescient words of E. M. Forster -- Only connect! the albums ultimate theme invokes a signal imp ort of selfawareness, and the awareness of others, at nearly every turn ( Long 184). The Beatles make Sgt. Pepper the determinate negation of themselves --much as Paul McCartney told Newsweek magazine in the lead up to the album,
95 Weve barely started. O ur best influences now are ourselves You name it and its possible we could do it (Bards 102). The sort of everyman incarnation the Beatles craft, which in turn offers a concert of dramatically eclectic material, is a decisive move away from th e realist rock medium they had already perfected. Beyond the technological experimentation, the unprecedented cover, and the unifying concept of the album in general, it is just as crucial to recognize how the autonomization of the Beatles as auteurs contr ibuted to the paradigmatic significance of the album and to the overall fragmentation of rock music in general. Against the prevailing trend of the day, from 1965 onward the Beatles recorded only material that they themselves had written. Sgt. Pepper c omplicated this trend further by increasing the range of musical material a rock band could be expected to perform (Indian, big band, carnivalesque, psychedelic, etc.) Once this became common practice for most other rock groups, Terry Teachout observes, it was harder for standards to emerge from the vast body of new pop music (60). Jameson has suggested in Brecht and Method that autonomization works in two directions: minimalization and the mega -project. Given the scope of its production, concept, a nd innovative ambition, Sgt. Pepper is clearly a mega -project, and a paradigm -shattering one at that. As appropriate for such a mega -project, it is important to remember that the Beatles were not one artist. While the group had largely constituted a unif ied set in the period up to Sgt. Pepper the shift from live sets to multi track studio recording in fact separated the group into four individual entities. A days work might now consist of recording a set independently and then waiting several hours to repeat the process. When asked to describe his memories of the album, Ringo Starr recounts, I learned to play chess during Sgt. Pepper ( Making).
96 With these paradigmatic departures in mind, Franco Morettis notion of modernist development provides a fina l useful context with regard to Ulysses. In his Appendix to The Way of the World, Moretti develops what the surveys of the Modern Library and Rolling Stone seem to suggest: that while Portrait and Revolver are the crowning achievements of their creators realist periods, they are also significant failures in relationship to the modernist masterpieces of their creators, which abolish the formulaic in favor of a utopian blank slate of form. Moretti notably asserts that the merit of Portrait lies precis ely in not having solved its problem. Or in plainer words: the merit of Portrait lies in its being an unmistakable failure And fortunately so. Had it been otherwise we would have no Ulysses (Moretti 243). It would be equally scandalous to term Revolver an unmistakable failure. Revolver Tim Riley contends stands as the pinnacle of all [the Beatles] can do: there are no weak tracks, and most of what follows deserves to be measured against it (268). He claims that Sgt. Pepper on the o ther hand, while the most famous [Beatles album], is also the most overrated (Riley 269). This is, however, once again to fall into the trap of using a purely stylistic or technical barometer to measure these albums significance, as well as privilegin g the older realist definition of artistic excellence. Bernard Gendron concurs that Revolver is the Beatles crowning musical achievement, but emphasizes that this album slipped by with hardly any critical notice by the cultural press (189). It is u ltimately insignificant that the individual songs on Sgt. Pepper are less strong (whatever this evaluative term entails); it would instead come to garner unprecedented critical acclaim under the new paradigmatic definition of excellence, that of the unif ied album. Much like Ulysses before it, what is crucial to this work are the larger implications of event and concept, for which Sgt. Pepper has no peer within the rock musical catalog.
97 In addressing the influence, and the consequences, of Sgt. Pepper and its ultimate place in the periodization of rock and roll, it is instructive to consider Walter Benjamins observation that a major work will either establish the genre or abolish it, and the perfect work will do both. While Sgt. Pepper did not abo lish the concept album (hence its imperfection), it did give popular credence to it and raise the bar notoriously high for what was expected of any subsequent group to attempt in the genre. In analyzing their body of work after Sgt. Pepper it would be que stionable whether the Beatles ever achieve anything that matches the obscurity of Joyces Finnegans Wake (with the possible exception of the White Albums Revolution 9) -at the very least, there is no subsequent album of theirs that mirrors such extreme avant garde ambition. It is important to emphasize that the Beatles did continue to move forward on this aesthetic plane -Sgt. Pepper was by no means an aesthetic dead end--but it is in subsequent projects that attention is drawn to the limits of modernis m, rather than its enormous potential. This progression to a late modernism constitutes, in Jamesons words, the experience of the failure of autonomy to go all the way and fulfil its aesthetic program ( S ingular 209). While the Beatles 1968 White Alb um was a larger album than Sgt. Pepper it is not the mega project that its predecessor is. It is a fragmentary assemblage, a raw accumulation to which the audience is privy to the failures as well as the successes, and one which fails to capitalize on th e utopian spirit established by Sgt. Pepper Even in a work as momentous and commercially/critically successful as Sgt. Pepper the vast majority of the potential it generates goes unfulfilled. Indeed, when one listens to the album today, there is the te ndency to be disappointed at the lack of advance rock has made in the forty years since.28 In a final nod toward its literary modernist predecessors, Michael North states, Though the prestige of Eliot or
98 Pound, if not of Joyce, has been considerably dimin ished since the days in which the whole of the literature could be named after one man, [modernism] lives on, in a mummified state to provide a determinate negation for its successor (11). Just as surely, the concept of Sgt. Pepper continues to ser ve as the artistic standard against which all subsequent rock albums are judged, and stands as the apex of the transitional historical moment of high modernism in rock and roll. 1 A relationship that is notably treated in critical detail by the great modernist film auteur and theorist Sergei Eisenstein, in his essay Dickens, Griffith, and the Film Today in Film Form: Essays in Film Theory (Harcourt, 1949). 2 Jamesons theory implies that there are not two distinct histories of rock modernism. Per Jamesons dictum, t he great schism within rock comes after the high mod ernist moment of the Beatles and the Stones, resulting in the divergence of rock postmodernisms of the most appropriately bewildering kinds ( Existence 156) In spite of this statement, Andrew Goodwin argues that from the point of view of aesthetic form, The Beatles and the Rolling Stones need to be differentiated: if the development of modernism is at issue here the increasingly artificial of The Beatles is modernist (self -conscious, ironic, knowingly artificial), in contrast with the authentic rough -edged blues inflections of The Stones (84). As a result, Goodwin continues, the Beatles typified a notion of musical progress, where The Rolling Stones simply repeated a rhythm and blues formula which typifies a form of rock realism (84). Goodwins argument is flawed in the overly formal analysis it employs, but raises the interesting concept that the Beatles and the Stones --for all their collective association with rock and roll -are actually part of different aesthetic movements. 3 This is significant to remember, as without considering the larger epistemological implications for such a microperiodizing operation, we are prone to settle for what Jameson terms locally satisfying narratives ( Singular 180). 4 It is worth mentioning that Periodizing the 60s was written by Jameson in 1984, just over a decade after the official end of the 1960s, placing any analysis on this essay today at a greater distance than Jameson was from the 1960s. In short, this is a historical document of theory that merits historical contextualization in and of itself. 5 The White Album and Abbey Road have, as previously mentioned, been deemed by most critics to be postmodernist, but this also raises the question of where Jamesons seminal concept of A Singular Modernity late modernism, comes into play. While there are any number of stylistic features to these latter albums that may be categorized as postmodernist, they just as surely evince the classic traits of Jamesons late modernism, from the contingenc y of language to a political response to the Cold War. In short, much as Jameson asserts that it is with this late modernism that postmodernism attempts radically to break ( Singular 210), it is not a stretch to say that the rock postmodernisms of new wa ve, punk, and hip -hop are actually looking to break
99 from the late modernism of The White Album and Abbey Road, rather than from the high modernism of Sgt. Pepper 6 As an intriguing side note, Karl Marx is actually represented as a member of the eclectic audience on the cover of Sgt. Pepper directly between Oliver Hardy and H. G. Wells 7 Interestingly, Kenneth Womack notes that, by the time of Sgt. Pepper Paul McCartney had become enamored with the electronic, experimental works associated with musiqu e concrete -and with Karlheinz Stockhausens Gesang der Junglinge [Song of the Youths ] in particular. Paul was equally fond of the work of composer John Cage, the most famous pupil of the expressionist composer Arnold Schonberg (146). It is equally inte resting to note that one of the prize pupils of Cage was a young Japanese artist named Yoko Ono, who would eventually become John Lennons second wife. 8 As noted by Kenneth Womack, there are an extensive number of additional studies that have unfailingly categorized the Beatles as postmodernists; these include Henry W. Sullivans The Beatles with Lacan: Rock n Roll as Requiem for the Modern Age (1995), David Quanticks Revolution: The Making of the Beatles White Album (2002), Devin McKinneys Magic Cir cles: The Beatles in Dream and History (2003), Ed Whitleys The Postmodern White Album and Jeffrey Roessners We All Want to Change the World: Postmodern Politics and the Beatles White Album In Womacks words, contemporary criticism has collective ly outed the Beatles as postmodernists not that theres anything wrong with being a postmodernist per se (Beatles 2 23). 9 Gloags argument is one of particular development, as he goes on to state that while Sgt. Pepper made claims towards unity, it is somewhat paradoxical that this aspiration towards unity within popular music was to occur at a moment when the possibility of homogenous culture was most under threat and many specific art works questioned, at times even subverted, their own unified identity (All 581). The album, he continues, is diverse in the extreme; the differences between, for example, three consecutive songs such as Within You Without You, When Im Sixty -Four, and Lovely Rita, or the differences contained within A Day in the Life, could not be greater (All 583). The irony of such commentary in relation to modernism should not be lost as this is precisely the historical situation that high modernist literature encountered, and precisely the sort of criticism that was leveled against the high modernist twin towers of Ulysses and The Waste Land. Gloag, in subsequent work, backs off this accusation against Sgt. Pepper (or at least its relative situation), asserting that the White Album (1968) features a significant rupture within the stylistic trajectory of the Beatles. The White Album presents a reaction against the drive toward unity in Sgt. Pepper and embraces a higher sense of difference/plurality which was implicit but often resisted in their earlier work, qualities which render it readily available to a postmodern perspective and which will come to be seen as part of a wider fragmentation of popular music styles (Situating 403). It seems safe to assume, though, that he would stop short of ever calling Sgt. Pepper modernist. Gloag seems unwilling to distance Sgt. Pepper from the White Album ; there are limits to his willingness to micro periodize, partly because of what (he claims) are the fragmentary stylings of both albums and, more likely, because of the
100 exceptionally small time period that elapses between these albums. It is evident that the compressed tempo that Jameson theorizes can often be uncomfortable and seemingly unfeasible. 10 Jameson, in support of this particular trait has written that High modernism and mass culture develop in dialectical opposition and interrelationship with one another. It is precisely the waning of their opposition, and some new conflation of the forms of high and mass culture, which characterizes pos tmodernism itself ( P ostmodernism 195). The Beatles role in the conflation however, was never one of an easy alliance between the highbrow and the popular; while they were adopted at various points by each side, it was for significantly different reason s. Their critical reception by the highbrow press in the wake of Sgt. Peppers release bears testament to this; as Gendron acknowledges, highbrows were clearly neither inducting the Beatles into high culture nor abandoning serious music for them (200). 11 Womack futhers that this rather transparent critical desire to classify the Beatles as postmodernists most likely finds its origins in an effort to update the band by making them seem more trendy by virtue of postmodernisms relative contempo raneousness (Beatles 223). 12 Herewith lies yet another similarity between Ulysses and Sgt. Pepper as both were serialized in advance. While the release of Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane, and their accompanying promotional films, did not stir th e sort of censorship that Ulysses episodes did in The Little Review they did provide an advance perception of the direction of the project, and help to make Sgt. Peppers release the cultural event it was. 13 This draws attention to the ability of music to be more subversively representational than language. In contrast to Ulysses being banned on account of its linguistically symbolic portrayal of a male sexual climax, there was no cultural or political opposition to the famous crescendo of A Day in the Life, which George Martin says was designed to represent an orgasm of sound (Making). 14 This is another instance where historical distance distorts the subversive weight of much of the audience. For example, Karl Marx, who lends academic credence to t he album today, was at the height of the Cold War seen as an extremely controversial figure, one who many felt aligned the Beatles with communism and Soviet sympathies. 15 As Susan Stanford Friedman has argued, any effective contemporary approach to modern ism requires jettisoning the ahistorical designation of modernism as a collection of identifiable aesthetic styles (Friedman 432). It is the prevalence of such method within critical circles, Andreas Huyssen contends, that has led to American criticisms specific, and narrow, idea of modernism and its expansive idea of postmodernism (Bertens 17). 16Lest anyone think that such critical reservations were limited to the 1960s, consider Allan Moores 1997 book, The Beatles: Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, which tellingly theorizes that the chief legacy of Sgt. Pepper is, then, one of a failed striving for legitimacy (81).
101 17 It should be noted that this interest in lyrical meaning and symbolism coincided with Paul McCartneys admission in May 1967 (only a month before the release of Sgt. Pepper ) that the Beatles had indeed all smoked marijuana and taken LSD. 18 While not specifically in reference to drugs, Fredric Jameson has argued that addiction is one of the pleasures of postmodernism. This br ings up another clear distinction to establish, in contrast to what drugs would become in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s: that of the addiction and despair of cocaine, heroin, and crack. The drug use by the Beatles at this time was indeed part of their utopian project: it was recreational, exploratory, and, above all, liberating. This would give way (very quickly) to the drug-related deaths of Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin, to be followed by the drugrelated deaths of two seminal figures of the rock postmodernisms that would follow, punk rocks Sid Vicious and grunges Kurt Cobain. Even the Beatles manager, Brian Epstein, would die of an accidental mix of sleeping pills and alcohol in August 1967, less than three months after the release of Sgt Pepper If one is to take this albums drug lyrics at face value, a useful contrast to consider might be Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds with John Lennons 1969 Cold Turkey (a song that Lennon wrote in response to his heroin addiction). 19 Indeed, if the Beatles are James Joyce, and Sgt. Pepper is Ulysses, then Brian Wilson is just as surely Walter Benjamin, and his longanticipated SMiLE album is the equivalent of Benjamins Arcades Project a long -lost, unfinished (albeit for considerably different reasons) masterpiece that effectively anticipates the future as well as any work of the time. 20 Accordingly, Sgt. Pepper was the first rock recording to be mastered without rills, eschewing any formal breaks between songs because [George] Martin had ex plicitly instructed the engineers not to band the album into individual tracks (Womack, Long 170). 21 The Beatles were not the first to utilize the format of a concept album, as previous rough attempts at the genre included Frank Sinatras Only the Lone ly and Frank Zappas Freakout The Beatles supreme achievement lies in the popular, critical, and economic success that they enabled this form to achieve, as well as offering an ideology for subsequent co ncepts albums to measure themselves against. 22 Co nsider, however, how the mere presence of such a governing concept (however loose) works against Jean Francois Lyotards definition of the postmodern, which is an incredulity toward metanarratives (xxiv). It is also useful to consider how such a loose n arrative construction works in relation to the unprecedented material presented on the album. No one would ever suggest that Sgt. Pepper was unlistenable, in the same way critics alleged that Ulysses was unreadable, but it was certainly more complex, diff icult, demanding, and (ultimately) rewarding than any of the Beatles previous albums. 23 This assessment is in accordance with Eysteinsson and Peter Burger, who explain that a basic feature of the avant -garde work is that it is made up of fragments without the aim of making them cohere with one another in a traditional sense (210). 24 For example, lost in the historical ubiquity of Sgt. Peppers cover is just how critically acclaimed and successful the cover for the Revolver album had been. It was at the time of its
102 release, the Beatles most imaginative cover to date and three months before Sgt. Peppers release won the 1967 Grammy for Best Album Cover (Womack, Long 150). The Beatles were breaking radically with a productive ideology that was commercially and critically viable. 25 In some way, this sets up the dialectical question of whether the Beatles succeeded because of this approach, or whether this approach succeeded because of the Beatles. From a commercial standpoint, it is more likely the latter than the former, but the Beatles enduring critical legacy largely rests on such technologically -motivated avant garde gestures such as these. 26 Technologically, George Martin was the fifth Beatle. By the time of Sgt. Pepper the four members of the band were unbounded idea men (in the mode of T. S. Eliot) with George Martin being analogous (if only from an inspirational and editorial standpoint) to Ezra Pound. Martins expertise in classical music cannot be understated in the crafting of this work; the Beatles, who famously had worked to collectivize the creative rock process, had ironically necessitated a whole system of apparatuses for production with Sgt. Pepper 27 This notion of the Beatles myth has been touched on by scores of critics in the years since the bands dissolution, not the least of which is Wilfred Mellers Twilight of the Gods: The Music of the Beatles which was published just five years after the bands breakup. Among the critics touched on in this essay, Tim Riley talks ab out the Beatles myth (260), while Kenneth Gloag observes a clear shift towards a near -mythology of the 1960s in general and the Beatles in particular (All 581). 28 The malaise of the late twentieth century that Hans Bertens applies to Western lite rature is every bit as endemic in rock music (12). While the periodization of rock operates at a more compressed tempo, once this catching up process is complete it plays out much like that of its literary corollary.
103 CHAPTER 4 WHERE ARE THE WILD T HINGS?: THE MODERNIS T REVOLUTION AND BEY OND I N CHILDRENS LITERATURE That will be the mystery that will haunt me until the day of my death; what is that thing that comes into the work that is not premeditated, that you didnt think of, that actually belongs there but you dont know how it got there? Maurice Sendak The 2005 release by W. W. Norton & Co. of the Anthology of Childrens Literature stands as a revealing moment within childrens literature in two ways. First, it serves as a landmark affirmation of the academic and critical viability of childrens literature, a literary division that has historically been relegated to librarians and schoolteachers. With the Norton Anthologies status as erstwhile arbiters of the literary canon, the appearance of a childrens volume represents a definitiv e event in the acknowledgeme nt of childrens literature as L iterature, a development that has been in progress since the establishment of English and literature departments in the university. The sheer size of the volume (2471 pages) speaks to the overdue nature of this literary compilation, as it judiciously includes a wide range of writers across an equally wide span of time. However, while the current trend has certainly been toward the academic recognition of childrens literature as a viable area of critical study,1 the release of this literature in a separate volume highlights my second observation: there has remained strikingly little crossover between childrens and traditional adult literature, particularly with regard to aesthetic periodization. Richard Flynn, in a recent issue of the Childrens Literature Association Quarterly (CLAQ ) devoted to boundary issues, begins by emphasizing that the boundaries between childrens literature and adult literature have shifted historically and have alte rnated between the rigid and the permeable depending on the political and cultural climate (117). In their comprehensive 2002 study, Introducing Childrens Literature Deborah Cogan Thacker and Jean
104 Webb observe that while a few key texts find their way into mainstream studies of the history of literature (Carrolls two Alice books are the best example), most are invisible to literary historians (3). Helma van Lierop Debrauwer, in an apt statement for English and American literature as well as that o f her native Denmark, emphasizes that the majority of authors are canonized in one, but not the other literary system, or are marginalized in both systems (Beckett xiv). The Preface to the Norton Anthology of Childrens Literature acknowledges that typically, the term literature has e xcluded childrens literature -that is, childrens literature has generally been marked as separate from real literature ( Norton xxxii). However, presented with the opportunity to make a legitimate intervention against this prevailing logic, the anthology instead reinforces it by categorizing childrens literature by genre rather than by period or aesthetic ideology-placing works from the seventeenth century alongside contemporary childrens texts. This is partly a result of the belated construction of this anthology and the fact that it is the only collection of its scope on the marketplace. However, it nonetheless brings to light a troublesome issue in the periodizing of childrens texts. The prevailing trend has been to align the periodization of childrens literature with that of the literary mainstream, or excluding it altogether from the rigidly codified period definitions of modernism and pos tmodernism that have emerged. Both options are exceedingly unsatisf actory. There have been some notable attempts to break down these boundaries in recent years. Juliet Dusinberre, in her landmark 1999 study, Alice to the Lighthouse ,2 argues that childrens books should not be considered as a self -contained genre develo ping exclusively in relation to other childrens books or other literary works (280). Building upon this observation, Karin Westman speaks against the perceived requirement that childrens literature be studied in
105 categories of genre rather than chronol ogy (283 84). Indeed, the issue of CLAQ in which Westmans quote appears is devoted to the study of modernism and childrens literature, and this very synthesis represents an innovation in itself. Westman admits that childrens literature has not found its way into most conversations about modernism as a literary movement or modernism as a literary period (283) -and this exclusion applies equally to conversations about postmodernism, late modernism, or any other period concept. As Sandra Beckett effec tively observes, if childrens literature does sometimes succeed in briefly arresting the attention of scholars and critics of mainstream literature, it is largely attributable to well -known authors who have crossed over (xiii). One reason for this criti cal oversight is the general marginalization of childrens culture. Even critics who have pushed the boundaries of literary studies over the past quarter century have generally failed to recognize the via bility -indeed, essentiality --of childrens literat ure. Susan Stanford Friedman, for example, who admirably champions categorization with regard to race, ethnicity, religion, class, national origin, sexual preference, abledness, and historical era (471), fails to include age among her considerations. Equally significant is the consistent relegation of childrens literature to the status of a preparatory literature which is, by nature, inherently inferior to the adult equivalent. As Jacqueline Rose argues, childhood and (as a result) childrens litera ture traditionally have been seen as part of a strict developmental sequence at the end of which stands the cohered and rational consciousness of the adult mind (13). This also may be attributed to childrens literature research itself, which Lena Kare land says neglected literary aspects in favor of pedagogical considerations (217). The emphasis on the didactic in both criticism and composition helps to account for the consistent lag between the
106 emergence of experimental practices in adult literature a nd their subsequent appearance -sometimes years, sometimes decades hence --in childrens literature. And as a result of this lag, the historicization of childrens literature may appear t o be a self -contained project -and an optional one at that. Westma n draws attention to the contemporary rejection of Little Black Sambo, first published in 1899, in theorizing that only when a childrens book no longer resonates with a particular cultural movement do many readers become aware of that books histor icity (284). While the self -contained world of childrens literature has often been isolated from the canon of adult literature, I would argue that critics (and the academy in general) should look to childrens literature as a literary field ripe for peri odizing consideration. To begin with, childrens literature is not an exclusively or inhe rently developmental division. T he quality of the best that childrens literature has to offer is rarely called into question, a fact echoed by C. S. Lewiss assessm ent that no book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally (and often far more) worth reading at the age of fifty (100). It is, furthermore, easy to forget Juliet Dusinberres critical reminder that children do not write their own b ooks (33). The adults who have written these texts are just as open to cultural developments and influences as those adults who write books for an adult audience. While writers of childrens literature often express such cultural logics within a far mor e rigid set of generic, aesthetic, and thematic parameters, their work is no less expressive of developments in art and the world at large. Indeed, Thacker and Webb argue, if one traces the development of literature in the last two centuries and engages with shifts in aesthetic concerns, from Romanticism to Modernism and Postmodernism, it is possible to see the relevance of childrens literature to a map of literature as a whole (2).
107 However, even if one concurs that childrens literature can be periodi zed in the same way as adult literature, there is the exceedingly complex question of how its periodization works in relation to the historical periods of literary modernism and postmodernism proper. For example, is the high modernism of the childrens book to be located in 1922, in historical synchronicity with Joyces Ulysses and Eliots The Waste Land? Or, does its unique generic specification necessitate entirely new period categorizations and concepts? Nowhere does this question exhibit more potent ial for an answer than in the writings of Fredric Jameson. In spite of the fact that his work has traditionally not addressed childrens texts and that his theories have been labeled as problematic in their application to childrens literature, they are e xceedingly valuable to a division of literature that has foregone historicization in favor of formal categorization. While Jameson admits that periodization is intolerable and unacceptable in its very nature ,3 he just as quickly insists that, lacking al l else, simple chronology becomes periodization ( Singular 28, 24). The issue at hand is thus not whether periodization is an absolute necessity (it is), but rather the scale at which one attempts to periodize. The operation of periodization is, Jameson notes, enabled only by the very constitution of the historical object of inquiry, by a specialized focus which excludes other topics in order to fasten exclusively to this particular content (Existence 228). In this case, a focus on childrens literat ure demands a particular emphasis that has been consistently lacking from the broader studies of collective literary periodization. Jameson also admits that his periodizing hypothesis clearly demands verification by way of a very great range of histori ographic materials (Existence 228), so as to avoid the simple abuse of periodization ( Singular 28), a dialectical conundrum that has both frustrated and motivated critics in his wake. Philip Nels The Avant -Garde and American Postmode r nity
108 (2002) is in many ways a detailed search for alternative[s] to the worn out binaries of the modern -postmodern discussion (40). Jamesons conception of postmodernism has attained such canonical status that, Nel claims, we often take its formal definitions for gran ted. For example, while Deborah Stevenson terms Jon Scieszka and Lane Smiths The Stinky Cheese Man as the classic postmodern picture book (32), she can only say this if we already know (or at least think we know) what postmodernism is. Nels point is a valid one, for the danger of a purely formal periodization is the potential for an I -Know It -When I -See It type of aesthetic categorization to emerge. Needless to say, such a method yields any number of bad periodizations. To say that Maurice Sendaks In the Night Kitchen (1970) is a modernist work (as Nicholas Paley does) because of its scandalous child nudity, charges of obscenity, and avant -garde leanings offers a short -sighted view of the works period logic. On the other hand, to consider Sendak s Where the Wild Things Are (1963) a postmodernist work solely on account of the prominence that a nostalgic return plays in its narrative is equally faulty. Each theoret ical application works, but only on the most limited, fo rmal level. P eriodizing a wo rk along purely formal grounds is incommensurable with the kind of period work Jameson intends for his theory to encourage. Instead, in accordance with James ons Always historicize! demand in The Political Unconscious (1981), Nel insists that what we experience as real is culturally contingent (9). Furthermore, this culturally contingent reality is grounded in the notion that it is essential to identify a period movement by what it marks a transition from; and as these changes function across such a wide scale (in this case, the breadth of literature in English), the actual events that signal such paradigm change are sometimes not easily discerned. The Event itself, Jameson contends, can never be present to the mind or the naked eye, and is detect able only in the terms
109 of this or that provisional solution (Existence 228). Hence, the event that signals the onset of modernism in adult literature may not be the same one that marks a similar transition within childrens literature. Rather, the synchronic system of capitalism offers the potential for a series of non-synchronous modernisms, as Jameson insists that one can only tell a given narrative of modernity in terms of its situation ( Singular 118, 57). It is important to keep in mind that with regard to childrens literature, we are dealing with separate economic, hierarchical, and critical structures, which opens up the possibility for a periodizing framework that, while it may follow the trajectory of the classic realism/modernism/postm odernism schema, does so in a non-synchronous manner. Much in the way Jameson has developed non -synchronous periodizing models for film, and suggested the possibility of doing so for African -American literature, and the history of rock and roll, childre n s literature unfolds at its own unique tempo. For Jameson emphasizes that these three stages are not symmetrical, but dialectical in their relationship to each other (Existence 157); the fact that the realist dominant might give way to the modernist one at a later moment in childrens literature than in its adult equivalent does not signal a different aesthetic trajectory, but rather simply a different socio economic situation particular to the scale of the genre. These periodizations will never pres ent an indisputable model, nor is this my goal. Such periodizing operations are exercises in which the existent period logic is clarified, or at least useful ly estranged (Existence 155); and, as Jameson emphasizes, along with the breaks comes the ins istence on the merely partial and incomplete, never to be -completed or totalized object of study ( Singular 64). It is instructive to consider, then, that Jamesons method does not overtly ignore childrens literature as much as it offers t he opportunity to think it through his theoretical framework. When Jamesons periodizing models are applied to childrens literature,
110 they reveal a historical development that is surprisingly in accordance with the trajectory of adult aesthetics: as Sandra Beckett argue s, strongly influenced by the aesthetics of modernism and postmodernism, childrens literature now reflects the dominant trends in adult literature and sometimes even initiates them (xvii). Just as significant as Becketts argument for the aesthetic rele vance of childrens literature is her use of the word now, and its implication that childrens literature has not always done so. At the very least, as illustrated in the divide between the Golden Age of childrens literature and the high modernist apex of adult literature, there is a non-synchronous dynamic present in the development of childrens literature in the periods leading up to the postmodern present. But childrens literature complicates such non-synchronous periodization even more with the p ossibility that its modernism emerged on either side of historical modernism proper. This is notably evident in the nineteenth century nonsense literature of Lewis Carroll, whose famous wordplay in Alices Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871) offers an effective model for the linguistic experimentation of canonical modernists like Joyce and Stein.4 Dusinberre asserts that radical experiments in the arts in the early modern period began in the books which Lewis Carroll and his successors wrote for children (5), and demonstrates Carrolls particular influence on the modernism of Virginia Woolf. Relatively unique among childrens writers from that time, selections from Carrolls Alice books have already appeared in previous Norton Anthologies (namely the nonsense verse of Jabberwocky and The Walrus and the Carpenter), and his influence is equally undeniable on the emergent avant -garde childrens texts of the late 1930s. Thacker and Webb conc ur that Dusinberres conception of Modernist art aris[ing] in part as a
111 response to the childrens fantasies read by modernist writers in their childhoods is a tantalizing one, and deserves further exploration (5). This chronological suggestion is also e xceedingly problematic with regard to periodization, for Carroll generally stands as the great aesthetic except ion of the nineteenth century--consider the difficulty of naming a similar avant -garde chi ldrens writer from this time -and his model, influenti al though it would be, failed to spawn any immediate paradigm shift in childrens literature itself In short, the modernist dialectic would not assume prominence here; it was not until decades later that this modernist impulse assumed prominence over (or at least equ ality with) the realist voice -and the pinpointing of this moment of the development is the very function of periodization. Consequently, we must also consider that such a non -synchronous childrens literary modernism might come to its fruitio n after that of the literary mainstream. Childrens literature presents its own unique situation with regard to reception, publication, and socio -economic development. As such, it applies to the aesthetic development of t hese other forms, such that we mu st account for the non -synchronous dynamic of various or premature modernisms, their catching up (in Habermassian terminology) or indeed their untimely exhaustion (Jameson, Existence 180). The modernist efflorescence within childrens literature, co nsequently, may occupy a chronological position subsequent to that of its adult forebearer; even if we concede that childrens literature is today in lockstep with the aesthetic perioidization of art as a whole (a statement that is highly debatable), that is not to say that this has always been the case. Instead, it is essential to look to those texts and events that offer a legitimate transition out of the established paradigm of the Golden Age of childrens literature.
112 This period concept of the Golden A ge has maintained great popularity and conceptual cohesion since the term was coined by Roger Lancel yn Green in 1962. The period--which generally extends from the mid-nineteenth century to the first few de cades of the twentieth century-is marked by the e mergence of what would represent the canon of grammar school childrens books for the first half of the twentieth century. T he moment of realism Jameson says, can be grasped rather differently as the conquest of a kind of cultural, ideological, and na rrative literacy by a new class or group (Existence 156); in this case, that new class or group is the child reader. Jameson also notes, though, that realism is grasped as the expression of some commonsense experience of a recognizably real world ( Si ngular 120), and, from the beginning of this period, the most visible texts were identifiable by their social realism and moral message. Lena Kareland observes that literature for children was, from the beginning, more related to the pedagogical field th an to the aesthetical (217), and the Golden Age of childrens literature, as classically attuned and morally anchored as it was, demonstrates the fullest realization of the didactic within this form. This period is also largely coterminous with the end of the dominant age of the re alist novel in adult literature; yet interestingly it extends past the emergence of modernism and even into the high modernist decade of the 1920s. In recognition of this, Thacker and Webb note that at a time when art and liter ature were experiencing an explosion of innovation in response to the changing world, the majority of childrens books seem repetitive and derivative (101 102). By the 1920s and 1930s, the exceedingly popular works of Richmal Crompton, Arthur Ransome, No el Streatfeild, and Enid Blyton were still reflective of a compositional logic that was self contained and solidly conventional (Thacker and Webb 102), with the form and theme of early Golden Age texts remaining largely in tact. Much like the period of t he realism does for the
113 novel more generally, this period significantly informs our traditional conception of what defines a childrens book, and helps to explain why the canon of childrens literature has become so self contained. The brilliant island o f Carrolls nonsense literature aside, childrens literature of the nineteenth century proceeded famously into a Golden Age that was in effect dominated by a realist aesthetic Critics such as John Cech draw attention to the fact that the latter part of the Golden Age of childrens literature corresponds with the apex of high modernism in adult literature. The reasons that childrens literature did not more synchronously reflect the changes in adult aesthetics are the subject of some debate. Hope Howell Hodgkins accounts for this phenomenon in that high modernism had created a literature that, as Joyce remarked of Eliots Waste Land, was no longer for la dies -and by implication not for the children either (356). Franco Moretti explains this aesthetic divide somewhat differently in terms of sanctuary rather than prohibition: The adult world refuses to be a hospitable home for the subject? Then let childhood be it (231). In spite of this -or perhaps because of it -a number of the most canonical figur es and aesthetically progressive works within the adult literature of this time reveals a striking emphasis on childhood and forays into childrens culture, most notably in Joyces A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, but equally in works by Virginia W oolf, D. H. Lawrence, and Henry James. These works, in the words of Thacker and Webb, reflected the search for self amidst the alienation of modern living (102), and directly addressed the delicate progression from childhood through adulthood. Howeve r, nowhere in these texts does one to find an outright glorification of childrens culture. Elizabeth Goodenough, in analyzing the breadth of Woolfs work, observes that it is remarkable how rarely children talk in her novels (184). More
114 specifically, Peter Coveney notes that in The Waves there is no attempt at rendering [the characters] sensations into a child language (318), while To the Lighthouse conveys a great pessimism about childhood (314). With regard to Joyce, while Portrait famously begins with Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road (3), it is crucial to remember how thoroughly Stephen Dedalus subsequently rejects (indeed, apologizes for) his previous childish self. Ultimately, Hodgk ins argues that within the canon of high modernism, children are portrayed largely in terms of deficiency (as not adults) or, at best, as avatars of the adult to -be (35657), and this statement proves exceedingly applicable when coupled with the archetypal Golden Age construction of childhood. In response to this, Karin Westman sensibly asks how a survey of childrens literature would look with an emphasis on modernism rather than the Golden Age of childrens literature (286). One method of pursuing this suggestion is to consider works that were explicitly written for children by canonical modernist writers. For while no one would mistake Portrait or The Waves as legitimate childrens texts or picture books Joyce and Woolf did both author childrens b ooks.5 Such analysis gets complicated very quickly, though, as these works -Joyces The Cat and the Devil and Woolfs Nurse Lugtons Curtain--were both published posthumously in 1965, and neither was intended for publication. One could question if, in Woolfs case, the book was even intended for children, given that, as Hodgkins notes, an opening sentence employs no fewer than five semicolons (361). Additionally, despite the fact that The Cat and the Devil was written expressly for his grandson, Stephe n, Joyce incorporates an extended speech in French without offering an accordant translation. Whatever children would read these texts would be expected to be advanced linguistically. Even the storys climax is fraught with symbolism, as
115 the Devil curses the citizens of Beaugency and says he will turn them all into cats (Vous netes que des chats!), although the book does not go on to illustrate or describe such transformation. Even the quality of production in these cases is somewhat questionable. Woo lfs imagery oscillates between forced (Over them burnt Nurse Lugtons thimble like a sun) and nondescript (Really, it was a beautiful sight). The Cat and the Devil meanwhile, offers little of the wit that Joyce would parlay into literary immortality (the subsequent illustrations by Gerald Rose prove at least as entertaining as the text itself), and it is narrated in the form of a letter largely because it originally was a letter. As Hodgkins effectively observes, clearly Joyce did not labor long over this text (362). In looking to such canonical figures as the foundation of childrens periodization, the result seems exceedingly clear: while Joyces and Woolfs writing about children can be effectively periodized, their writing for children is deci dedly limited. To locate the advent of high modernism in childrens literature, one must instead look to those writers who specialized in this particular form, and even more specifically those that pushed the boundaries of the form that the Golden Age had perfected. For example, Margaret Wise Brown, according to Jay Livernois, projected the childlike spirit of the avant -garde to an extraordinary degree (140). Even in this case, however, Livernois confidence in characterizing Brown as a modernist is due in no small part to Browns having edited a childrens book by Gertrude Stein: The World is Round (1939). Thacker and Webb focus specifically on Pamela Lyndon Travers Mary Poppins (1934), E. B. Whites Charlottes Web (1952), and Mary Nortons The Borro wers (1952) as their critical examples of modernist childrens literature. While such categorization conforms to the suggestion that the modernism of childrens literature is non-synchronous with that of its adult counterpart, it would be difficult to dis cern definitive
116 aesthetic breakthroughs in these works to say nothing of the fact that none of these texts would be considered Caldecott -eligible works Rather, Jamesons periodizing model privileges the supreme value of the New that seems to preside ove r any specific or local modernism worth its salt ( Singular 81). As such, one must look beyond those works that offer the affirmation of existent form in the recognition that the interpretation of a break or gap in terms of separation is a promising star ting point for a rather different theory of the modern ( Singular 74). The function of any cultural revolution, Jameson insists, will be to invent the life habits of the new social world, to de -program subjects trained in the older one (Existence 16 4), and such a realization speaks to the necessity of reconceptualizing the traditional advent and boundaries of modernism. For example, Hodgkins contends that children receive little in the high modernist era, which in its perculiar aloofness from child hood makes an island between Victorian sentimentality of the Golden Age and postmodern interest in children (357). However, this is to subscribe to the traditional notion of what constitutes the high modernist era within childrens literature. In effect the persistence of the Golden Age dominant throughout the 1920s and early 1930s is incommensurate with a properly modernist development i n childrens literature, as its epochal break with realist ideology occurs at a later moment. In positing the moment of such a break, a legitimate case could be made for the publication in 1937 of the first child rens book by Theodore Geisel --better known to the world as Dr. Seuss. Seuss might seem today like an unlikely revolutionary figure, given his absolute assimil ation into co ntemporary popular culture. However, within the context of his historical moment, Seuss was incomparably revolutionary: When asked if his work was intended to be subversive, Seuss responded, emphatically and iconically, Im subversive as hel l. W hile the
117 high modernists of adult literature have never been fully accepted by the popular masses (a fact that again raises the stereotypic divide between elitist academicism and mass culture), the same cannot said of a figure like Seuss. Nel observes that the recent mass commercialization of Seuss threatens to absorb his critical edge, to transform Dr. Seuss into another Disney, one of many blithe affirmations of consumer culture dominating Americas cultural landscape (68). In spite of this, Ne l argues that, in addition to Seusss current status as the foremost childrens author of the twentieth century, he may also be considered a high modernist author (69). There is sufficient theoretical and historical evidence to support this claim. The experimental language Seuss is noted for would eventually surpass even that of Lewis Carroll and represents a definitive logic across the breadth of his compositions. Works by Seuss tend to veer toward verbal gamesmanship, with the narrative that builds up to a surrealist mise -en -scne by storys climax, which is in general alignment with Jamesons emphasis on the autoreferentialityof modernist works, which are allegories of their own production ( Singular 159). Wuzzle, Lorax, and Zizzer -Zazzer Z uzz may each come across as striking and grammatically subversive, but they fit seamlessly into the texts that Seuss constructs around them. Furthermore, Seusss work offers little of the moral certitude and inculcatory emphasis of the Golden Ages primar y texts, a division that further explains the bemused reaction by the publishing industry to Seusss unprecedented material. Seusss first childrens book, And To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street was rejected by twenty -seven publishers before it wa s accepted by Vanguard Press, and was, Nel records, rejected precisely because editors thought it lacked moral or message and contained nothing that would help in transforming children into good citizens (42). His work is instead grounded in the dia lectic of and founded on the
118 principle that imagination is the clearest avenue to reality, with a style of art that fluctuates almost imperceptibly between the inner consciousness of Marco, the child protagonist, and the material world. Marco does imagine a scene that is progressively more unrealistic, culminating in a blue elephant and two giraffes carrying a Rajah and carting a brass band. However, his imagination is also both productive (as it inspires him on his walk home) and considerate (he takes in to account traffic patterns, the burden on the elephant, and even a potential audience for the band). Jameson contrasts the conventional account of modernist innovation, with the observation that it is often not a matter of new materials so much as the continuous invention of new taboos on the older positives ( Singular 15657). Seuss provides a useful example of this in bringing avant -garde techniques and topics to childrens literature. At the very least, Nel insists, Seuss must be recognized for ma stering the formal qualities for which high modernism is praised (69). The autonomy of formal characteristics within his work, as well as the utopian nature of his themes and narratives certainly places Seuss in the same conversation with Joyce, Stein, a nd Woolf, and as a result, Nel says, Seuss is a figure that did challenge accepted notions of high modernist art (48). But to say this is only to posit Seusss approach directly against the preexisting development of high modernism in other mediums. Wi thin childrens literature, on the other hand, this style was unprecedented, uncharted, and outright revolutionary (as opposed to artistically reactionary).6 Just as crucial to this paradigm shift is the reorientation that the period logic offers the gap b etween adult and childrens cu lture, which were exceptionally fractured in the literature of the 1920s. Thacker and Webb explain that the function of childrens literature, to offer a comforting vision of the world, as well as to entertain, becomes more difficult as the social
119 spheres of children and adults become more separate (112). Seusss work was largely responsible for bringing these two worlds back within range in childrens literature by confronting this division head on. Seuss wrote Mulberry S treet as a direct commentary on the adult stifling of childrens imaginations, with Marcos recantation of his imaginative experience at storys end highlighting the gap between adult and childrens perspective. Both Horton Hatches the Egg (1940) and Hort on Hears a Who! (1954) offer an extended illustration of fidelity to tenuous and developing figures on the part of a larger, more established individual (to the point where the symbolic onus is placed as much on the adult as on the child). Even a later wo rk like The Cat in the Hat (1957), which definitively separates the experience of Sally and her older brother from the experience of the ir mother, just as surely places the children in a position of autonomy (indeed, maturity) and lends credence to their c reative impulses and inner logic in the context of an adult world. The utopian nature of Seusss work is plainly evident, in accordance with Jamesons definition of the true modernists, who did not wish to endorse a system in which the task of the a rtist is simply to replicate a given form and to supply new examples of it (with whatever distinctive twist) ( Singular 199). In addition to his originality of plot and objective, Seuss develops a series of private languages that further align his work with these classical modernists ( Singular 199). While Mulberry Street is relatively traditional in its grammar and word choice, it set in motion a trend which would lead to Seuss more verbally -experimental works like Bartholomew and the Ooble c k (1949) an d If I Ran the Zoo (1950). In spite of the seeming elementary nature and length of his texts, Seusss attention to form was such that revising and rewriting a work as brief as The Cat in the Hat took him about a year. It is even
120 worth noting that Seusss editor, Saxe Commins, also edited the work of William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, and Eugene ONeill. While Seuss seems to provide a definitive example of the modernism of childrens literature, Jameson provides a legitimate warning against too easy a cer titude. Periodization, by its very nature, attempts to unify hosts of realities whose interrelationships must remain inaccessible and unverifiable, to say the least ( Singular 28), and we must be wary of this even with positing Seusss emergence as a definitive break. Golden Age -style books still represented the bestselling childrens texts well into the Seuss era, as it took time for his popular fame and critical recognition to match his creative output. Much like Joyce, Stein, and Woolf (none of whom ever won the Nobel Prize), Seuss nev er won a Caldecott Medal. In addition, Seuss also illustrates the relative dangers of aligning a single individuals career with a larger aesthetic paradigm, as his sheer breadth of production is complex from a pe riodizing standpoint. Nel observes that because he is seen as merely a popular childrens author, few notice that [his career] spanned both modern and postmodern periods (41). Some of the traits that no doubt make figures like Woolf and Joyce magnets of modernist ideology are problematized by a figure like Seuss, whose career runs from the twilight of traditional literary modernism to the end of the Cold War. There are, rather, multiple incarnations and developments. Although, with regard to genre, Mulberry Street occupies the same relative space as The Sneetches and Other Stories (1961) and The Butter Battle Book (1984), the latter are two highly time -specific works whose content, technique, and ton e would have been impossible at the advent of S eusss career. Furthermore, while Seusss individual works may be time and place specific, even a close inspection of the breadth of these books does not yield another formal paradigm shift, in the same way that the initial emergence of Mulberry Street did. In spite of the influence his work
121 would have on subsequent writers and artists (for both adults and children), it fails to render the next great deprogramming of the dominant ideology of childrens literature. And this, ironically, is perhaps the mo st modernist quality of all that Seuss demonstrates. For much as canonical modernists like Joyce, Woolf, and Eliot remain indelibly linked to their individual styles ,7 one can easily recognize the writing of Seuss at a glance perhaps more readily than a ny other writer of the twentieth century (to say nothing of his illustration, which is equally distinctive within the annals of twentieth century art). Seusss style remains, in effect, Seusss style. While there were a number of other significant, groun dbreaking writers of childrens literature at this time, it is with the epochal event conferred by the emergence of Seuss that, to quote Jamesons explanation of modernist transition, the common sense experience of a recognizably real world is easily unmasked as little more than a cultural paradigm in its own turn ( Singular 122). The autonomy of Seusss language, theme, and art generated a liberating freedom within childrens literature composition and publication that is enduringly emblematic of a mod ernist break within the form itself. Even within those works that have critically addressed the periodizing implications of childrens literature, there has been a veritable certitude that the modernist period feeds directly into a subsequent postmodern ae stheticism. Thacker and Webbs book, for example, is divided into sectio ns on Romanticism, Nineteenth century literature, The fin de sicle Modernism, and Postmodernism. The problem with this assumption, particularly in the context of Jameson s theory, is that such definitiveness represents its own form of bad periodizing. As periodizing is an exercise in the dialectic of continuity and rupture, Jameson insists that it is a process that cannot be arrested and solved, in and for itself, but generates ever new forms and categories (23). In his work on Seuss (and beyond), Nel emphasizes the flaws
122 of a modern-postmodern conceptual paradigm (113), as this binary construct often reduces an exceedingly complex historical analysis to little more than a list of formal comparisons. Even Thacker and Webb, in spite of the structure of their book, assert that narrative fractures and an underlying sense of doubt about the possible worlds offered in the fictions suggests a transitional phase as Modernism anticipates a postmodern response to an alienating and decentered world (112). In A Singular Modernity Jameson directly confronts this tension, and contends that it is perfectly proper to speak of two moments of modernism: high modernism and a moment of late modernism, in contrast to modernism proper (150). This latter aesthetic period, for which Beckett and Nabokov are held up as the paradigmatic examples, is responsive to the modernist ideology that develops in the 1940s and 50s. The idea tha t we can now argue what modernism is, gives rise to an other, complementary moment, in which the break becomes a period in its own right ( Singular 26). Where exactly to pinpoint this break is, again, a matter of critical debate. Crockett Johnsons Harol d books, beginning with Harold and the Purple Crayon in 1955, present a compelling case for aesthetic progression, as does the work of Margaret Wise Brown, whose enduringly-popular and wonderfully-simple Goodnight Moon (1948) has been labeled by Susan Coop er as the only realistic story to attain the collective affection of a tradition al fairy tale. Meanwhile, Ruth Krausss A Hole is to Dig (1952) represents an effective departure from not only the traditional childrens book, but also from the traditiona l dictionary (as is evident by the very definition that the title provides). This work additionally offers one of the first published projects of Maurice Sendak, who would go on to illustrate seven more books by Krauss between 195360. Again, while Kraus ss work may appear relatively unremarkable today, Sendak felt at the time that Krauss was writing the most original postwar books in America, but no one paid
123 any attention, because they were childrens books (Zarin 41). In feeding off such creativity Sendak employed a non -linear illustration technique in his work for her book, and notes that there are more hermaphrodite children in A Hole is to Dig than in any other work of literature (Zarin 41). It is with Sendaks own books, however, that this l ate modernist transition finds perhaps its most effective and visible expression, and the publication of Where the Wild Things Are in 1963 marks as significant a transitional moment as the appearance of Seusss work twenty-five years prior. Sendak was the most popular childrens writ er to have emerged at this time and Where the Wild Things Are has been the most readily analyzed and critiqued of Sendaks text s. It remains, despite the impressive diversity of Sendaks body of work, an effective demonstration of Sendaks aesthetic ideology. It also represents an anomaly as a decidedly canonical text within a decidedly noncanonical time period. For example, a San Antonio College website entitled Landmarks in the History of Childrens Literature, which begins in 990 AD with Aelfrics Colloquy and contains over 120 entries, comes to an abrupt conclusion with Where the Wild Things Are the last seeming consensus masterpiece within the contemporary canon of childrens works. In accordance with this, Jennife r Shaddock notes that Where the Wild Things Are holds a treasured position on perhaps more bookshelves than any other American pict ure book in history (155). However, she just as quickly emphasizes that Sendaks book is inextricable from its own histor ical period, that of the American cultural rebellions of the 1960s (157). This point is easy to forget, given the relative ahistoricity of its narrative and setting, and its seamless suffusion into the culture of each decade since its publication. John Cech, in his 1995 study of
124 Sendak, Angels and Wild Things explores the paradigmatic significance of this work even further: It is perhaps difficult for us to imagine today the full significance that Where the Wild Things Are must have had on this world an d these assumptions, but an analogy from another art form offers this perspective: the arrival of Where the Wild Things Are was the aesthetic equivalent for the picture book that the famous 1913 premier of Igor Stravinskys The Rite of Spring was for moder n music --electrifying, con troversial, precedent setting -a point of departure from which there could really be no easy return to the same forms and subjects. The spirit of the times and the creative spirit of the artist were in complete harmony, and toget her they produced a work that challenged its readers and other creators of picture books to fundamentally change. (110) While Cech analogizes the departure of Where the Wild Things with that of musical modernism, the point here is not so much the period c omparison as the transitional parallels. Sendak himself explains, I brought to the industry the rebellious kid, because I came with a particular idea of what a childrens book was supposed to be (Zarin 41). The early works of Sendak were not written ex clusively with children in mind, and were instead classified as childrens books largely because they were published by childrens publishing houses. In spite of their origins, they have become childrens classics, due to the f act that their subject matt er --children, animals -and their themes, about the search for independence, or the finding of home, were attractive to publishers of childrens books and not to publishers of adult books (Thacker and Webb 7). Sendak emphasizes that this formal separati on is arbitrary and insignificant ,8 instead drawing attention to a time in history when books like Alice in Wonderland and the fairy tales of George MacDonald were read by everybody. They were not segregated for children (Haviland 244). The enduring po pularity of Where the Wild Things Are can be at least partly attributed to the fact that, much like Seuss before him, Sendak breaks down this perceived wall between adult and childrens culture, and crafts a work that may be artistically and thematically m eaningful for readers well into adulthood.
125 This is not to say, though, that these two paradigmatic writers achieve their ends through equivalent means. The formal and thematic devices employed by Sendak, as well as the cultural context his work responds t o, differ greatly from the early work of Seuss. To begin with, in contrast to the verbal experimentation made famous by Seuss, Sendak places emphasis on illustration above language: the narrative is driven by the visual rather than the verbal. Sendaks t ext is not opposed to language9--witness the ongoing analysis that critics have devoted to the books mini malist, yet significant, text --but his work has clearly moved beyond that of whom Hodgkins calls the high modern priests of art, for whom words are the all important medium (360). This may be due to the realization that visual expression in a childrens book could be more progressive and subversive than outright linguistic experimentation. Sendak recalls a meeting with Random House in the late 1950s to discuss whether he could use the word burp in a childrens book (Sadler 243), and notes that he did not encounter the same editorial discouragement in his artwork. He would later push the boundaries of this theory further with In the Night Kitchen (1970), which infamously depicts a nude child named Mickey within a dreamlike kitchen.10 While the resultant controversy and censorship of this text has been well documented (including ranking 25th in a 19992000 list of the American Library Associations 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books), it is important to emphasize that this was still a childrens book that was published (and re -published), and one that has remained a staple of the canon of childrens literature, something that would not have been the case for a work that directly employed sexual or vulgar language. The innovation at work in Where the Wild Things Are goes beyond artistic subversion, as the political implications of this work are pervasive and essential to any comprehensive cultural understanding of the book. Jameson asserts that it is the very emergence of some full -blown
126 ideology of modernism that differentiates the practice of the late modern from modernism proper (Singular 197). This ideology of modernism is a belated development, making Late modernism a product of the Cold War ( Singular 165), with all the attendant political heaviness that comes with such association.11 There are any number of ways we could read into such political motivations and immediate cultural influences in Where the Wild Things Are from the iron curtain that the ocean between the lands represents to the growing autonomy of youth culture in society that Maxs imaginative world reflects, to the hairy wild things which are in many ways represent ative of the emerging denizens of the East Village at that time. In this context, it is safe to say that Where the Wild Things Ares popularity among college students is partly due to Sendaks admission to smoking marijuana while writing the book. Sendak s work also offers the potential to be read as a post nuclear text, and its narrative arrangement is characteristic of many post -World War II childrens books, which Thacker and Webb observe combine the recognisable world with elements of the fantastic t o offer a more complex rendering of postwar angst of a pessimistic view of civilisation and an unease about the possibilities of speaking to children through fiction (111). As such, Where the Wild Things Are fits more neatly than one would expect into the often confusing and circuitous framework of late modernist periodization. Certainly there are modernist elements to this work, and there are any number bad periodizations that could be gleaned from such purely formal association. Much like Eliot s work points to a genuine Absolute, that is to say, a vision of total social transformation ( Singular 164), the land where the Wild Things are certainly represents an attempt at such a utopian community, and an imaginative turn toward individual autonom y (which, along with autoreferentiality, is one of Jamesons favorite terms with which to characterize modernism).
127 Upon closer examination, however, Sendaks work is just as surely a refutation of these formal modernist traits. If Nabakov and Beckett are the masters of the late modern in conventional literature, the same case could certainly be made for Sendak with regard to childrens literature. Where the Wild Things Are represents a quintessential illustration in the dialectical method regarding cul tural barriers. Modernism, for Jameson, is founded on the dialectic of high culture a nd mass culture -the postmodern represents the collapse of this binary. Late modernism, on the other hand, privileges their absolute separation as culture stands between the boundaries [between art and everyday life] and the space of passages and movements back and forth ( Singular 178), and this is, it could be argued, precisely what we witness in Where the Wild Things Are Note, for example, the casual pose Max strikes on the boat ride over to where the Wild Things are, in contrast with the serious stoicism he evokes on the way back to the real world. Note also the fact that his autonomy is on full public display with his name on the side of the boat on the tr ip over, while on the trip back the side of the boat we see is conspicuously blank. Max is returning to a world of conventions and cultural hierarchy and submission, and he is doing so willingly. The immediate acceptance of Sendaks work is further testa ment to a period development which has moved beyond overtly experimental modernism. Where the Wild Things Are was both a critical and economic success from the outset; the book won the Caldecott Medal as the best picture book of 1964, in addition to the p restigious Boston Globe Horn Book Award. As mentioned prior, f or all his eventual economic accomplishment, Seuss never won a Caldecott; Sendaks work, meanwhile, was more mainstream (if still controversial) by the time it emerged, in large measure because of a receptive public that figures like Seuss had cultivated for a generation.
128 To further pursue the period logic derived from late modernism, Sendaks language, as mentioned, contains none of the ornate flair of Seusss more elaborate work. This is in k eeping with the trend established by the earlier work of writers such as Ruth Krauss, whose The Carrot Seed gained notoriety as one of the shortest picture book texts (101 words) at the time of its publication. In Where the Wild Things Are the elaborate i llustrations are countered by white pages almost wholly devoid of text, and Sendaks decidedly minimalist linguistic approach is even silenced altogether during the famous panoramas of the wild rumpus where Max and the beasts revel in wild concert. Inst ead, Sendaks approach is one that recognizes the limits of its artistic synthesis, never delving into the purely abstract visual or the sort of verbal abstr action that pervades Seuss. Max never names these Wild Things or the island they live on, and, in spite of their fantastic nature, the Wild Things fit neatly on the page in surprisingly seamless conjunction with the rest of the books settings and characters. They are grotesque, but fittingly so. In such a way, Where the Wild Things A re is emblematic of Jamesons notion of late modernist contingency, with its far more modest and comprehensible aesthetic autonomies (Singular 209). Again, much like the work of Beckett, the language is decidedly minimalist and conciliatory; in the same regard, much like Nabokovs writing of the time, it offers an exceedingly comprehensible structure and narrative storyline. After all, in terms of large -scale narrative construct, Where the Wild Things Are is hardly groundbreaking. Perry Nodelman discerns a pattern i n childrens literature, going back to the Golden Age, of home/away/home ,12 in which characters move from a home that is safe but boring and embark upon adventures away which are exciting but dangerous, and return home with a new appreciation of its soli dity and safety and its role in shaping subjectivity (Hemmings 70). This,
129 however, obscures the fact that this was a revolutionary work, one that would have been decidedly out of place in the Golden Age of childrens literature. While there may not be l arge -scale narrative innovation, the reason for this lies in this period logic of contingency. Even in relation to their modernist predecessors, late modernist works may come across as largely non -progressive. Nel notes that while Crockett Johnsons Haro ld books do raise philosophical questions about the nature of reality and Where the Wild Things Are is a revolutionary book in many ways, it bears noting that The Cat in the Hat lacks the frames of A Picture for Harolds Room and Where the Wild Things Are (56). In many ways though, this is precisely the point; these works of Johnson and (especially) Sendak are emblematic of a new period logic, one that necessitates contingency and accepts the limits of artistic exploration. Hodgkins portrays high moderni sm as proudly aware of a new height and power, eager to challenge the adult establishment and scornful of recent childish pasts (358), and this notion would seem to apply to Max in the first half of Where the Wild Things Are Late modernism, conversely, while not a regression back to childhood, represents the relative reacceptance of childhood conventions and a resignation to the limits of utopian possibility, which Maxs willful journey back to his room demonstrates. The governing logic of Where the Wil d Things Are thereby represents a fundamental change from the (at that time) recently codified ideology of modernism. Late modernist contingency, Jameson argues, constitutes the experience of the failure of autonomy to go all the way and fulfill its ae sthetic program ( Singular 209). Being unwilling, or simply unable, to develop the modernist innovations of Seuss into an aesthetic final solution, writers like Sendak turn away from experimental extremes of form and language, and instead produce original texts through other means.
130 The aforementioned failure of autonomy becomes, subsequently, a fortunate failure: for the replacement of the varied and incomprehensible Absolutes of modernism by the far more modest and comprehensible aesthetic autonomies o f the late modern enables and authorizes the production of a far more accessible literature of what can then be called a middlebrow type (Singular 209 10). At least part of Where the Wild Things Ares enduring popularity lies in the simplicity of i ts language and its turn away from the surreal by storys end. In contrast to a modernist work such as The Cat in the Hat where the seeming realism at the end is still accompanied by the fact that all of this fantastical mayhem actually did happen, Where the Wild Things Are legitimately moves in a conservative direction by storys end, one that privileges the imaginative while necessitating reality. Sendaks book is a traditional childrens story in its narrative, it offers a readable and practical writt en text, and evinces traditional moral and family values with Max returning home to find his supper waiting for him. Far from a reversion to realism, however, Where the Wild Things Are instead represents a recognition of the limits of linguistic experime ntation and a resignation to a future that is less experimentally extreme than the immediate past. This realization offers a warning against both the marginalization of this works originality and the reading of this works narrative as a quintessentially Golden Age text. In an interview with Cynthia Zarin, Sendak underscores the fact that critics take the conclusion of the book as a happy (and domesticated) ending for Max: My God, Max would be what now, forty -eight? Hes still unmarried, hes living in Brooklyn. Hes a computer maven. Hes totally undignified. He wears a wolf suit when hes a home with his mother! (42). Much like Seuss before him, Sendak is aware of the need to enforce the revolutionary nature of his work, as well as to emphasize t he dialectical message that each of his
131 texts provide; Sendak simply employs a different aesthetic logic to achieve these ends, one that aligns itself usefully with Jamesons transitional concept of late modernism. It is important to recognize that the lat e modernism of Sendak, Krauss, and Johnson does not represent the last major paradigm shift in childrens literature. The move beyond the traditional concept of the book has been one of the defining characteristics of aesthetic progression, and childrens literature has exhibited an impressive adaption to this trend. The unprecedented critical i nterest in childrens culture over the past decade may be partly tied to the economic explosion that has accompanied the emergence of J. K. Rowlings Harry Potte r series and Lemony Snickets A Series of Unfortunate Events While these writers books -all of which were pu blished between 1997 and 2007-establi shed them as notable artists, it was ultimately with their earlier works adaption to film that Rowlings a nd Snickets books became cultural events. While the success of these writers speak to a renewed interest in the gothic nove l as much as the childrens culture the childrens book in general has fallen in line with this trend. Stevenson notes that popu list art infuses easily into picture books, and perhaps it is the populist nature of postmodernism that has allowed it to affect childrens literature so quickly. Television, film, and music video, far more than books, are the messengers of postmodern cul ture to young people (32). This is, undoubtedly, one of the reasons that Seuss and Sendak have remained so ubiquitous within youth culture of the present, given that their works are so effecti vely co -opted by mass media, even as their original texts hav e given way to subsequent compositions by writers governed by a different period logic. As such, it is easy to ignore that there has been any fundamental change in the aesthetic imperative of childrens texts in the time since Seuss and Sendak. Nel specu lates that people tend not to notice the shift, in part, because surrealism has
132 come to feel real and, in part, because avant -garde styles have been co -opted by commercial culture. Instead of provoking the audience, images that were once avant -gar de are now merely mimetic ( xv-xvi). This is a direct reflection of Jamesons argument about the new depthlessness and the weakening of historicity in postmodern art ( Postmodernism 6), and this statement even disorients our historical concept of the progress ion of form and content. As Marc Aronson sensibly asks, When all the world is avant -garde, what is avant garde? (133). The complexity of this question within the canon of adult literature is daunting enough, and Thacker and Webb question whether such re sultant difficulties of locating the relationship between Modernism and postmodernism suggest a complexity that might be expected to exclude childrens literature (139). The reality, of course, is that it does not; it instead simply complicates the exis tent argument and, in many ways, childrens literature presents a relatively accessible vehicle through which to consider an exceedingly amorphous period concept. Jamesons Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (1991) presents one of the most thoroughgoing attempts to formally characterize this elusive concept, and in the process generates its own crisis of classification. For beyond his omission of childrens literature in his writing, this formal breakdown of postmodernism has been one a primary criticism of Jamesons work. Nel warns that although Jamesons Postmodernism often claims that its concept of the postmodern is a historical rather than a stylistic one it tends to reinscribe the stylistic definitions that maintain the grea t divide (Huyssens term) between modern and postmodern (xx). However, if this is true, it is only because Jamesons postmodernism has been popularly appropriated in such a way to consistently privilege its formal aesthetic over its foundational histori cism. Jamesons concept of postmodernism has attained such prominence -indeed dominance --that it has become a sort of critical default for the term, with a focus (against
133 Jamesons original intentions) on the formal and stylistic qualities of the period that his account outlines. The direct application of this concept to childrens literature is more natural than one might expect, for, as Thacker and Webb note, the invitations to engage in subversive playfulness and the deconstructive tendencies of some childrens books demand a comparison with the most radical postmodern challenges in art (140). In many ways, childrens literature is a form that presents a tempting challenge for the best writers of the postmodern period. The contemporary trend among canonical adult authors has been to make forays into childrens writing, from John Updikes Childs Calendar (1965) and Umberto Ecos The Bomb and the General (1966) to Toni Morrisons The Big Box (1999) and The School Bag (1997), a childrens anthology edited by Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney. However, much like the attempts of Joyce and Woolf at writing for children, these contemporary texts often fall short of the aesthetic excellence of these writers work for adults. While the written text of Ecos The Bomb and the General is thema tically interesting -as it directly addresses th e nuclear crisis of the 1960s --it is overshadowed by Eugenio Carminis corresponding artwork, whose scrapbook style proves far more artistically progressive and more likely to ap peal to adults as well as children. It is this notion of applicability to an adult audience, though, that can also obscure which texts have made distinct contributions to childrens literature, rather than simply literature as a whole. One prime example of this, Andy Warhols Childrens Book (1983), stands as the preeminent consumer artists lone attempt at childrens writing. It is a twelve-page book of silkscreened images (including a spaceship, a train, and a monkey) with no text, and it leaves little clue as to what legitimately separates this artwork from Warhols better known pop art for adults. In thinking of such works, Nicholas Paley writes, one cant help but wonder if many
134 children saw, much less read, any of them (268) -and if this is the c ase, it likely defeats the point of considering them childrens literature. This again raises the difficult question of what childrens literature is While Warhols book is a particularly extreme example, it nevertheless is representative of a series o f productions that force Paley to ask, Are these picture books really childrens books? Or are they finely illustrated and stylishly produced artists books which simply appropriate the picture book format in order to promote other dimensions of the arti sts voice? (268). While an artist such as Sendak puts this question to bed, one gets the impression that Warhol would have been satisfied if only adults had read and analyzed his artistic foray into childrens culture. Much the same as with the search for a high modernism of childrens literature, the search for a childrens postmodernism has at times amounted to looking for experimental artists within the adult canon and applying their work for children to a traditionally -synchronous period concept. Do nald Barthelme, another canonical postmodern figure with his own childrens book, The Slightly Irregular Fire Engine ; or T he Hithering Thithering Djinn (1971), asserts that postmodernism is one of only a half -dozen equally unsatisfactory formulations, pr obably the one that has come closest to sticking (316). He continues that postmodernism is realism and opens up a series of theoretical avenues in the process (316),13 including whether a postmodern childrens book is situated on a modernist or a realis t foundation. As previously mentioned, an obsession with the extremes of experimentalism is apt to lead one astray in the periodiziation of childrens literature, which inherently offers a more conservative response to paradigm shifts. In contrast to Jam esons suggestion of the rudderlessness of the postmodern ( Singular 213), Nel emphasizes that even if children have come to expect odd juxtapositions, contemporary children still expect an ending in a culture that values teleology (131).
135 The definitive postmodern texts of childrens literature, then, will be ones that utilize a realist foundation to anchor their aesthetic innovations, which will themselves be grounded in traditional conventions of childrens literature. Deborah Stevenson, in a groundbr eaking 1994 article in CLA Q posits Jon Scieszka and Lane Smiths The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales (1992) as the paradigmatic representation of self referential postmodernity. In a number of equally useful essays to emerge since then, t he se writers have been effectively canonized as the exemplar avatars of postmodern childrens literature. Thacker and Webb offer, along with Philip Pullmans Clockwork (1997), Scieszka and Smiths Stinky Cheese Man as the critical embodiment of this aesth etic trend. Likewise, W. Nikola Lisa, in her intriguing Play, Panache, Pastiche: Postmodern Impulses in Contemporary Picture Books, attempts to define what postmodern childrens literature is by writing an experimental essay modeled on the style of Scie szka and Smiths The Stinky Cheese Man and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs (1989). The New York Times Penelope Green is even more direct in her categorization, as she terms Scieszka and Smith as the Merry Pranksters of childrens publishing, and unofficial icons of a growing movement, Pomo Kids Lit. The reasons for Scieszka and Smiths near universal categorization as postmodern children writers are evident in their utilization of specific realist narratives to underlie their own stylistic inn ovations and indirections. Peter Hunt suggests that the childrens book is the only literary genre that is unique to childrens literature, and it is instructive that Scieszka and Smith play off the traditional conception of this genre. In such a way, Stevensons consideration of The Stinky Cheese Man as a postliterate text makes sense (32); in theory, it is a text to be read after one has been exposed to all the traditional childrens stories it incorporates, such as Chicken Little, Little Red Riding Hood, and the Ugly Duckling. Thacker and Webb emphasize that this
136 book is a postmodern text grounded in the history of fairy tales, otherwise it could not work, for it is dependent upon the traditional stories for its own meaning (163). However, thi s is to assume that children have read each of these traditional stories before their exposure to Scieszka and Smiths book, an assumption that may not be wholly accurate. The really Ugly Duckling that becomes a really Ugly Duck, the Princess who sleeps o n a bowling ball instead of a pea, and the Stinky Cheese Man in lieu of the Gingerbread Man all present twists on original fairy tales that presentday children may not be at all familiar with (as none of these tales have been co -opted by Disney or offer t he seeming contemporary relevance that even Seuss or Sendak do). As a result, Stevenson observes, The Stinky Cheese Man alters book elements that kids do not even know, or do not know they know; often the book teaches convention by subverting it (33). Scieszka and Smiths book is a postliterate text not because it logically compliments these foundational stories, but because, as Jameson says, the postliteracy of the late capitalist world reflects not only the absence of any great collective project but also the unavailability of the older language itself ( Postmodernism 17). The moment of these traditional fairy tales as accessible historical content has essentially passed, and in its distant wake necessitates a retelling of these stories that is neith er accurate nor evidently purposeful. Jameson pins the reason for such reappropriation on the collapse of the high modernist ideology of style, which leaves the producers of culture [with] nowhere to turn but to the past: the imitation of dead styles, s peech through all the masks and voices stored up in the imaginary museum of a now global culture ( Postmodernism 1718). Under this new late capitalist logic, we are now inundated with machines of reproduction rather than of production, which in turn dr ive narratives which are about the processes of reproduction (Jameson, Postmodernism 37). This aligns itself with Jamesons concept of postmodern pastiche, with its application to the
137 childrens book being situationally contingent. Jameson defines past iche as the neutral practice of parody, amputated of its satiric impulse [and] devoid of laughter ( Postmodernism 17). While these stories would not appear to qualify as pas tiche within adult literature -given that adults familiar with these tales will likely fi nd them satirically hilarious --for young children they are often blank parodies of subjects children are being exposed to for the first time, and in such a way they allow postmodernisms appropriation to precede realism. In accordance with James ons postmodern characterization, The Stinky Cheese Man invites us to indulge a somber mockery of historicity in general, as the historical fairy tale repeats itself drearily while devolving into a grotesque carnival of the [subjects] various replays ( Postmodernism 6465). However, this aesthetic move is far from a trend toward absolute ahistoricity. In A Singular Modernity Jameson draws attention to Friedrich Schellings philosophical axiom that a person incapable of confronting his or her own pa st antagonistically really can be said to have no past; or better still, he never gets out of his own past, and lives perpetually within it still (Singular 2425). In many ways, the postmodern childrens book runs against this potentiality by confronting and drawing its content (and context) from its predecessors. The Stinky Cheese Mans style may often be indeterminate (witness the dedication page, turned upside down, that draws attention to its own irrelevance), and its schizophrenic text may present a proliferation of voices that flaunt the conventions of traditional childrens stories; but it still offers the teleological foundation that Nel deems crucial to a childrens text of any period, with a narrative that is ironically positioned in realism ra ther than fantasy (Thacker and Webb 162). Consequently, a text like The Stinky Cheese Man stands as the aesthetic and cultural culmination of all that has come before it, reproducing this historical narrative in contemporary terms and
138 offering a paradigm atic example of the transition to a postmodern aesthetic wi thin childrens literature. Jameson insists that periodization is not some optional narrative consideration one adds or subtracts according to ones own tastes and inclinations, but rather an esse ntial feature of the narrative process itself ( Singular 81), and the periodization of childrens literature is an essential operation that clarifies a number of longstanding concerns, while raising a series of even more provocative questions for the futur e. This study is not intended to be a comprehensive analysi s of every childrens writer and book from the past hundred years, nor is it designed to provide the final answer on the periodization of this subject. In positing breaks and periods, the events and figures of focus will undoubtedly lead to debate, but such beginnings are necessary to initiate the mapping of a larger cultural framework. Each of the writers under analysis here offer an effective representation of the larger cultural logics at wor k within their compositional periods and childrens literature in general, and their contemporary stature and influence continues to drive the direction of the medium. Children today are far more likely to read Carrolls Alice books than Just William Swa llows and Amazons or most any other text from the Golden Age of childrens literature. Dr. Seuss is generally upheld as the most significant childrens w riter of the twentieth century: in addition to the critical importance of his work, his books have so ld over 200 milli on copies, and of the 100 top -selling childrens books of all time, sixteen of them are Seuss titles (Turvey). Likewise, Geraldine DeLuca notes that Sendaks texts are now comfortably regarded as classics in which children neatly and ima ginatively resolve their problems (143), and their status as middlebrow masterpieces is just as evident As of 2006, there were over seventeen million copies of Where the Wild Things Are in circulation, and In the Night Kitchen f or all its controversy, now sells
139 almost as many copies annually as Where the Wild Things Are The works of Sc ieszka and S mith, meanwhile, have made both an immediate commercial impact within popular culture and a burgeoning cri tical impact within the academy, where they can be comfortably analyzed alongside the postmodernism of Pynchon, Stoppard, and Barthelme. Lena Kareland observes that as childrens literature has transitioned into increasingly complex style, form, and content, the right of childrens literature to be lite rature seems to have been accepted (217). Whether they be called childrens books, picture books, or any other designation, thes e works function in effective --if somewhat belated --concert with the larger aesthetic developments and concerns of adult liter ature, art, and culture. As such, childrens literature offers an exceedingly interesting subject for peri odization, with the ironic additional advantage of its nature as a literature of the prospective. As Juliet Dusinberre suggests, in times of great change some of the most radical ideas about what the future ought to be like will be located in the books which are written for the new generation (33 34). The ability to pinpoint the place of figures like Seuss, Sendak, Scieszka, and Smith in this aesth etic continuum is essential not only to an understanding of how childrens literature functions in relation to these period concepts, but to the very nature of these concepts themselves. 1 While the definition of what cons titutes childrens literature is a decidedly elusive concept, it should be clarified that the childrens literature under consideration here are those books which might more generally be classified as picture books. The hesitation in using this term s tems from the generally assumed unimportance of the written text in such works. Rather, these works tend to be artistically progressive precisely because they are able to effectively blend the visual and the verbal into a cohesive whole. More specificall y, the texts under consideration in this chapter are books that would meet the criteria for the Caldecott Medal, the preeminent American award for picture books. These criteria include the employment of an artistic technique and the specific recognition o f a child audience. This designation also separates the texts under analysis here from other childrens books that fit the criteria of the Newbery Medal, whose criteria places a decided emphasis on text ahead of illustration. This is not to say that a si ngle model of
140 periodization could not effectively encompass both types of childrens texts, merely that the scope of this study is geared toward the Caldecott text as opposed to the Newbery book. 2 Dusineberres text is particularly groundbreaking, given its relative uniqueness within literary criticism; as of April 2009, Amazon.com still lists it as the first and only full length study of the relation between childrens literature and writing for adults. Much as within childrens literature itself, the ory and criticism have often been categorized along the binary grounds of either adult or childrens criticism, with little overlap between the two. 3 Jameson further supports this claim by observing that periodization attempts to take a point of view on individual events which is well beyond the observational capacities of any individual, and to unify, both horizontally and vertically, hosts of realities whose interrelationships must remain inaccessible, to say the least ( Singular 28). Childrens liter ature provides, in many ways, an ideal vehicle for pursuing the dynamics of these inaccessible interrelationships, given the relative blank slate offered by the periodization of childrens literary history. 4 The potential of nonsense literature to drive aesthetic innovation and paradigm transition should not be underestimated. Celia Catlett Ande rson and Marilyn Fain Apseloff argue that i t is the heretical mission of nonsense literature to teach the young that the world constructed by their elders is a n artificial thing It thereby reveals that the rules we live by are not inevitable (94). The implications of this mode of thought on modernist experimentation are rightfully evident in Dusinberres extended study. 5 Beyond Woolf and Joyce, other c anonical modernists also published works for children, w ith varying degrees of success. E. E. Cummings work for children stretched from his 1930 volume of nonsensical childrens tales, No Title (so called because it was released without a title), to the posthumous release of Fairy Tales in 1965 (ironically, the same year that Joyces and Woolfs childrens works were posthumously published). Graham Greenes childrens works were written after he had done most of his best known work for adults; his childre ns books include The Little Train (1946), The Little Fire Engine (1950), The Little Horse Bus (1952), and The Little Steamroller (1955). Meanwhile, T. S. Eliots Old Possums Book of Practical Cats a collection of poems Eliot wrote for his godchildren i n the 1930s, is perhaps the best known of all of these texts, in large part because it served as the basis for Andrew Lloyd Webbers Cats the longest running show in Broadway history at the time of the shows closing. 6 That having been said, there were other preceding writers whose writings hinted at the linguistic style and utopian scope of Seusss work. Perhaps the best example is Wanda Gg, who is well known for such books as Millions of Cats (1928) and The Funny Thing (1929). The former of these te xts notably offers a Seuss like refrain of Hundreds of cats, Thousands of cats, Millions and billions and trillions of cats. 7 Jameson writes in Postmodernism that if the poststructuralist motif of the death of the subject means anything socially, it signals the end of the entrepreneurial and inner -directed individualism, with its accompanying categorical panoply of quaint romantic values such as that of the genius in the first place (306). However, what one must retain historically is the fact t hat the phenomenon did once exist; a postmodern view of the great modernist creators ought
141 not to argue away the social and historical specificity of those now doubtful centered subjects, but rather provide new ways of understanding their conditions of possibility ( Postmodernism 306). 8 Children do provide an ideal readership for a text like Where the Wild Things Are though, as, according to Sendak, children do live in fantasy and reality; they move back and forth very easily in a way that we no lon ger remember how to do (Haviland 242). Max is the veritable embodiment of this fact, although the question may be raised at storys end whether he is able to distinguish between fantasy and reality, or whether the story simply concludes in the real world. 9 In fact, between writing and illustrating, Sendak has stated he has a preference for writing. Writing is very difficult and gives me a great deal of pleasure, partly because it is so difficult (Sadler 243). 10 These are merely two of Sendaks many progressive projects, which range from The Nutshell Library (1962) (featuring such popular stories as Chicken Soup with Rice and Pierre ) to the socio -economic commentary of We Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy (1983) to his work as an illustrator on e verything from Atomics for the Millions (1947) to Heinrich von Kleists Pentheselia (1998). For a more comprehensive examination of Sendaks collective works, see John Cechs Angels and Wild Things: The Archetypal Poetics of Maurice Sendak (1995) and Tony Kushners The Art of Maurice Sendak: 1980 to the Present (2003). 11 In contrast to the traditional habit of distancing and disassociating childrens literature with adult political culture, Julia Mickenberg and Philip Nel contend that t he useful question is not whether childrens literature should be political, but rather how childrens literature should engage with political issues because, after all, children cannot be separated from growing up in the world (352). 12 Robert Hemmings draws attention to the insistent associations of food with home and the sanctuary of childhood (71). Take for example a classic childrens text like Kenneth Grahames The Wind in the Willows (1908), where food (the very best) is integral to the novels final climactic scene, a ritual acclaiming Toads return home, but the act of consumption is glossed over as if the depiction of satisfying appetite could disrupt the scrupulously rendered nostalgic vision (Hemmings 71). Maxs return home, where his supper is both waiti ng for him and still hot, positions Where the Wild Things Are squarely within this tradition. 13 Jameson effectively echoes this sentiment in his analysis of Lyotards The Postmodern Condition, where he argues that Lyotards ingenious twist, or swerve, in his own proposal involves the proposition that something called postmodernism does not follow high modernism proper, but rather very precisely precedes and prepares it ( Postmodernism 60).
142 CHAPTER 5 THE TRIUMPH OF DEAT H: DON DELILLOS UNDERWORLD AND THE PERIODIZATION OF MAJOR LEAGUE ARCHITECTU RE Everything connects in the end, or only seems to, or seems to only because it does. Underworld (465) In what is certainly one of the most significant novels to emerge in the last half -century, Don DeLillos 1 997 magnum opus, Underworld, effectively lays out the cultural trends of the latter half of the twentieth century, in the process anticipating many of the major events of the decade since its publicatio n. Understandably, the focus for many critics lies in the deep irony of its cover, Andr Kertsz s New York, 1972, in which the twin towers of the World Trade Center rise into clouds of fog with a bird flying toward the towers on the right and a crucifix atop a ch urch pictured in the foreground, and in its summation of the transitional period of the 1990s, which seems to set the stage for September 11, 2001 and the destruction of this iconic architectura l landmark .1 However, it is another kind of architectural devel opment and destruction narrated in Underw orld on which t his chapter is focused: that of the major league ballpark. While this might seem, a t first glance, an insignificant object of study, a more detailed analysis of the novel and its cultural context draws attention to the primacy of the ballpa rk. Indeed, the ballpark stands as perhaps the most theoretically marginalized and underrepresented form of contemporary architecture. The reason for such dismissal is somewhat perplexing, given the direct engagement these structures offer with the traditional concepts of architectural modernism and postmodernism, as well as the vital cultural and political position they hold within contemporary American society. The deep connection with history that baseball as an institution enjoys, and its inherent gr avity to nostalgia, makes the historicization of these ballparks significant and, in many ways, essential. As Bill Waterson explains to his rapt protg in
143 Underworlds prologue, Thats the thing about baseball, Cotter. You do what they did before you (31). Fre dric Jameson, in The Existence of Italy, insists that formal or aesthetic tendencies are governed by the historic logic of the three fundamental stages in secular bourgeois or capitalist culture as a whole[:] realism, modernism, and postmoder nism (155). In short, this realist/modernist/post modernist progression, drawn from Ernst Mandels Late Capitalism is observed by any aesthetic form, and may develop outside of the traditional historical periods of the same names. What becomes evident is that the periods of realism, modernism, and postmodernism being developed in ballpark architecture are non -synchronous with the traditional literary/artistic periods of the same name. This makes perfect sense when we consider the nature of these projects To begin with, as Jameson argues, emergent cultural forms necessitate a more compressed tempo of periodization (156). The ballpark was a form that did not crystallize as a unified realist medium until the very early years of the twentieth century, so there is inevitably a catching up process with the other aesthetic realisms of literature, art, and even traditional architecture itself. While this might account for the initial lack of period synchronicity, however, what impacts the aesthetic nature of and transition within these projects even more is the sheer mobilization of resources that the ballpark requires. These are not going to be cutting -edge aesthetic projects: given their functional requirement there is inherently some element of conserv atism at play in their design, and the political consensus required to set their construction in motion makes these ballparks public works of art that necessitate homogenization more than radicality .2 The Great Depression and World War II were, in large m easure, socio -economic
144 forc es that disrupted the moment of modernism in major league architecture, making its progression not only difficult but outright impossible for a period of almost twenty years. Even in the best of times, from the Col d War to the p resent day, these mega -projects will inevitably lag behind less materially ambitious (and privately -funded) aesthe tic expressions of architecture. Further more, Jameson contends that a fundamental question to ask of any spatial innovation in architecture is if you can live in it ( P ostmodernism 128), and the ballpark takes this dictum to new heights. There are significant limits to its radicality, as the rules of baseball help to limit even the most progressive of these facilities. One cannot turn the sea ts away from the playing field, nor place the outfield fence directly behind home plate. It is, however, precisely because we have rules that we can effectively discern the tangible trends of the postmodern within the context of an unavoidably formulaic network of necessities. The differences are subtle, lacking the ostentatious flair of stereotypical postmodern art. As such, the periodization of major league ballparks is exemplary because there are such neat historical breaks and paradigm shifts .3 There are a limited number of subjects to consider, which are directly impacted by the larger socio -economic trends in play within America over this extended time span.4 In comparison with the symbolic demolishing [of] the older forms that Jameson speaks of in literature, architecture necessitates demolition quite literally (P ostmodernism 107): for every park that is built, one is torn down. And the application of Jamesons tripartite periodizing schema to such a history is uncanny, even when separated from their direct sporting significance and viewed through the lenses of the aesthetic and the economic. As Underworld demonstrates, even if the games escape the mind completely (663), the architecture of them does not.
145 DeLillo is keenly attuned to these tre nds, and to the deep connection between these projects and the major events of America at large. The opening prologue of Underworld The Triumph of Death directly details the last stand of the realist ballpark, in a nostalgic compilation that foreshado ws the transition beyond its familiar governing logic. What is equally interesting is that following its prologue, Underworld picks up in the spring of 1992, at precisely the advent of the post modern ballpark in major league baseball. The unveiling of Ca mden Yards in Baltimore at this moment offered a paradigmatic event in the architectural trajectory of this medium, as well as a fundamental template for subsequent projects to emulate up to the present day. The large cultural swath of the Cold War that D eLillo goes on to illustrate as lying between these two moments represents, just as surely, the modernist period of ballpark construction, with its cold war ideolo gies of massive uniformity (786). Thus, DeL illo registers in Underworld the very tripartite structure of stadium periodization; these are not only significant dates with which to bookend the Cold War, they are also significant dates with which to frame the architectural logic of the major league ballpark. Realism While Underworld itself was pub lished in 1997, its prologue, The Triumph of Death, was originally published in 1992 as a novella entitled Pafko at the Wall. This work offers a nostalgic look back at the New York Giants memorable playoff win over the Brooklyn Dodgers for the 1951 N ational League pennant. DeLillo effectively uses this baseball foundation in Underworld both to orient the reader within the cultural context of 1951 America (from The Honeymooners to Chesterfield cigarettes to the novelty of process ed cheese food) and to offer a cohesive element throughout the rest of the novel (which Bobby Thomsons lost home run ball and the collective memory of the event provide). While the whole of Underworld is an
146 architectural tour of New York (from the Radio City Music Hall to the World Trade Center), it bea rs mentioning that a ballpark -the Polo Grounds -is given foremost priority. The Polo Grounds is one of the many ballparks that were constructed in the early years of the twentieth century, emerging from the earliest fields an d parks, which were literally that: playing fields largely devoid of structural surroundings. The primitive stands in Bostons Huntington Baseball Grounds and New Yorks Hilltop Park bear witness to this development from baseballs origin across the Hud son River in the Elysian Fields of Hoboken. The construction of Shibe Park in Philadelphia in 1909 offered the advent of the concrete and -steel ballpark, moving beyond the previous wooden structures that had consistently fallen victim to fires. The years immediately following witnessed an explosion of ballpark construction in which eleven new steel, brick, and concrete venues would be b uilt within a seven -year period. These range from longstanding structures such as Forbes Field (Pittsburgh) and Comiskey Park (Chicago), to still in use gems like Fenway Park (Boston) and Wrigley Field (Chicago), to the long -demolished home of Nick Shays Brooklyn Dodgers, Ebbets Field. Each of these structures were similar in that, like their predecessors, they were stylis tically oriented on the inside around the field itself and on the outside within the confines of the inner city property they occupied, which was often a single city block. As a result, the fields themselves w ere consistently asymmetrical -a home run at t he Polo Grounds, for example, could be as short as 258 feet, while a fly ball could be caught as fa r as 483 feet from home plate -and the shape of the stands themselves was governed by the immediat e logic of the surrounding structures (which produced such iconic results as the Green Monster of Fenway Park or the horseshoe shape of the Polo Grounds). Even down to their very names, these structures exhibit a distinct individual character. The ballparks of this time period are, in DeLillos own words, subse quently labeled
147 like rare botan ical specimens -Ebbets Field, Shibe Park, Griffith Stadium ., their names a kind of poetry floating down the decades (168). The Polo Grounds stands as the archetypal embodiment of thi s realist architecture, something e vident by Russ Hodges, the Giants radio announcer, who idyllically ruminates on t he field with its cramped corners and the overcompensating spaces of the deep alleys and dead center. The big square Longines clock that juts up from the clubhouse. Stroke s of color all around, a frescoing of hats and faces and the green grandstand and tawny basepaths at the Polo Grounds, a name he loves (15) DeLillo opens The Triumph of Death, and Underworld itself, by describing in detail this old rust -hulk of a structure, this metropolis of steel and concrete and flaky paint and cropped grass and enormous Chesterfield packs aslant on the scoreboards, a couple of cigarettes jutting from each (11).5 As Cotter Martin, the young man who sneaks into the ball game at the outset of the prologue, first walks into the open, he sees the great open horseshoe of the grandstand and that unfolding vision of the grass that always seems to mean he has stepped outside his life --the rubbed shine that sweeps and bends from the raked dirt of the infield out of the high green fences. It is the excitement of the revealed thing (14). The Polo Grounds is portrayed, from this vantage point, as the environment of ones gilded childhood, and a natural magnet for the sort of nost algia of innocence lost. However, this only offers part of the reality, in much the same way that viewing old photographs of these structures in no way offers a comprehensive understanding of their actual experienc e. As Jameson warns in Postmodernism, wha t the contemporary public exhibits is an appetite for photography; what we want to consume today are not the buildings themselves (99). Ever mindful of this, DeLillo, while nostalgic, paints an effectively full portrayal of such structures. Immediately following the aforementioned ideali zing passages, attention is drawn to
148 the crossweave of girders and pil lars and spilling light (14) --staples of the realist ballpark which impeded the view of a sizable number of spectators of the time, including Cotter himself .6 Equally significant is his portrayal of the toilets [where] the old ballparks reek and mold are consolidated (21); the prevailing smell of the Polo Grounds (and most parks of the time) was not hot dogs and freshly cut grass, but rather beer and shit and cigarettes and peanut shells and disinfectants and piss (21). Such sensory description offers a reality check on the idyllic pictures of these structures and emphasizes that they were on some level flawed works which few present day fans w ould readily tolerate.7 Indeed, the attendance of the game being described seems to indicate that even people of that time preferred the image to the reality. Cotter is concerned that it may be difficult to find a seat once he is inside the stadium; inste ad, in what was the biggest game in New York in years, looks like thirty -five thousand and how do you figure it how do you explain twenty thousand empty seats? (14 15). There are any number of potential explanations given for this, from the radio engineers assessment that All day looks like rain. It affects the mood. Pe ople say the hell with it (15); to Marvin Lundys retrospective theory that all through the nineteen fifties people stayed indoors (17172). The reality, however, is that this is simply evidence of the limited public that this realist form produces According to Jameson, the moment of realism can be grasped rather differently as the conquest of a kind of cultural, ideological, and narrative literacy by a new class or group (Existence 156),8 and the public that the realist ballpark had come to conquest was the middle class. Games at this time were almost exclusively afternoon affairs, meaning that the working class would not have had the option of working and then attending an evening ball game (as is the case today). Cotter is able to atten d only by skipping school and-lacking the money for a
149 ticket --simultaneously jumping the gate with a number of boys in similar lower -class circumstances. He finds a seat at the game b etween a couple of guys in suits (20), and the man he sits beside at the game, Bill Waterson, owns a construction company (21). While Waterson has the option of taking off work for the game, those working for him presumably do not. Thus, the issue of the g ames popularity becomes dialectically complicated. On the one hand, the game of baseball (and in particular this game) is ubiquitous within the popular culture of New York9-the WMCA radio producer emphasizes that this game is everywhere. Dow Jones tickers are rapping out the score with the stock averages. Every bar in town, I guarantee. Theyre smuggling radios into boardrooms. At Schraffts I hear theyre breaking into the Muzak to give the score (27). On the other hand, the audience privy to the actual ballpark experience is decidedly limited. In spite of all the nostalgic hype for baseballs cultural omnipotence at this time, it was, financially speaking, a surprisingly underdeveloped institution, one that was la rgely limited to a middle -cla ss audience. Part of the reason for this economic underdevelopment is the fact that while such ballparks catered to a middle -class crowd, they did not do t he same for an upper -class audience. While the people that Nick Shays family respect wore beautif ul suits and had a box at the Polo Grounds and knew ballplayers and show people (200), the ballpark contained none of the other luxury amenities that present -day faciliti es offer the wealthy In The Triumph of Death the box seats at the Polo Grounds ar e occupied by such 1950s luminaries as Frank Sinatra, Jackie Gleason, Toots Shor, and J. Edgar Hoover, who sit proximate to (and stand out conspicuously from) the middle class crowd that surrounds them: Its making Sinatra uneasy, all these people lapping at their seat backs. He is used to ritual distances. He wants to encounter people in circumstances laid out beforehand. Frank doesnt have his dago secret service with him today. And even with Jackie on one flank and Toots on the other -a couple of por kos who function as natural barrie rs --people
150 keep pressing in, showing a sense of mission. He sees them decide one by one that they must speak to him. The rigid grins floating near. And the way they use him as a reference for everything that happens. (24) This lack of separati on is also evident between the players and the fans of the time in a venue such as the Polo Grounds. In part, this is because of the comparatively small gap between players and fans salaries (in 1951, the average ballplayer ear ned only seven times the average working mans salary),10 but it also rests upon the direct interaction between the two. DeLillo writes of the Dodgers leftfielder, Andy Pafko, whose picture the original novella was named after: Pafko walks out to his posi tion and alters stride to kick a soda cup lightly and the gesture functions as a form of recognition, a hint of some concordant force between players and fans, the way he nudges the white cup, its a little onside boot, completely unbegrudging a sign of r espect for the sly contrivances of the game, the patterns are undivinable. (37) This symbiosis culminates in the mass of paper that is subsequently dropped on Pafko by the fans in the leftfield stands, a testament to the seeming influence on the games ou tcome that the fans held in their hands. These were ballparks that were ostensibly characterized by their lack of barriers. At a great many parks of the day it was even customary for fans to exit through the centerfield fence by way of the playing field. In this case, after Thomsons game -winning homer, the people surge out of the stands and on the field [with] the fans pressed together at the clubhouse steps in celebration with the players themselves (51). Despite the disappointing attendance a t the ballpark, the game itself is instantly elevated to the stuff of popular legend It is the quintessential American event, made global by the name given to it: The Shot Heard Round the World11-a reference not even so much to the games drama and signif icance as to the worldwide audience of servicemen that heard it over Armed Forces Radio.12 As a result, Where were you when Thomson hit the homer? becomes akin to
151 asking Where were you when Kennedy was shot? (with J. Edgar Hoover, among others, asking the former question fifteen years later [ DeLillo 556]). Underworld goes on to detail the prominent position the event is given in the newspaper headlines of the next day. The October 3, 1951 issue of the New York Times famously divided its front page att ention between the ballgame and news of the Soviet Unions successful atomic detonation (the very news for which Hoover was taken aside while at the game in Underworld): The front page astonished [Albert Bronzini], a pair of three -column headlines dominati ng. To his left the Giants capture the pennant, beating the Dodgers on a dramatic home run in the ninth inning. And to the right, symmetrically mated, same typeface, same-size type, same number of lines, the USSR explodes an atomic bomb-kaboom --details kept secret. He didnt understand why the Times would take a ball game off the sports page and juxtapose it with news of such ominous consequence. (668) Bronzini, the intell ectual schoolteacher, offers the stereotypic academic view of the sporting event: that of marginalization and dismissal. The actual relationships between the two events, however, and the periodizing structures accordant to each, interweave with one another effectively throughout the whole of the novel.13 The Triumph of Death sits sq uarely at the same sort of historical crossroads as Ulysses or Battleship Potemkim a sort of calm -be fore the storm moment in 1951--most obviously in the lull between the end of World W ar II and the beginning of the Cold War, but just as surely between the lingering advent of the modernist ballpark and its widespread application across Major League Baseball.14 The Triumph of Death is set just prior to the onrush of modernist stadium architecture, at a time when only two new major league venues had been bui lt in the previous thirty -five years. The first among these, Yankee Stadium, which DeLillo terms the most famous ballpark in the country (646), in many ways marks with its opening in 1923 the triumph (if also the architectural limits) of realism. Situa ted across the Harlem River in the Bronx15--th e borough that becomes the location of Underworlds climax --it expanded both the traditional dimensions
152 and locations of the realist medium seating 58,000 fans at a time when the major league attendance record for a game was 42,000.16 Yankee Stadium was also built just a few hundred yards north of the Polo Grounds, in harmony with the prevailing sentiment of the time that ballparks should be accessible by either foot or subway/trolley. The realist ballpark carr ied a distinct emphasis on the local; even up to 1951, the game was an eastern phenomenon, with major cities typically having more than one team, despite generally having much smaller populations than by todays standards.17 In contrast with the seeming lo gical idea that these multiple teams would play in ballparks on the opposite sides of cities, they instead often congregated i n the exact same part of town. In Underworld we witness not only the ability to walk from ballpark to -home at the conclusion of the prologue, but also the ability to walk from ballpark -to ballpark in subsequent chapters. The surprising proximity of these two parks is highlighted when Manx Martin stands in front of the Polo Grounds and hears the lines of fans singing at Yankee Stad ium just across the river; indeed, the voices travel so exact its like someones whispering just to him (365). Any aerial sho t of the two parks in 1951 reveal s not only the parks adjacency, but also the impending modernist architectural movements alre ady in practice in other mediums. To the west of the Polo Grounds, the encroachment of a series of housing projects is clearly evident -an application of the city of towers that Le Corbusier so effusively claimed would reinvent the urban landscape (57). The setting of The Triumph of Death, even at this seeming moment of centrality, faces an inevitable architectural usurper. In stark contrast with the view toward the significance o f Thomsons homer at the time -- Mark the spot, says Al, the radio prod ucer, to his commentator, Russ Hodges, Like where Lee surrendered to Grant or some such thing (59) -
153 the site of the former ballpark is now occupied by the nondescript Polo Grounds Towers housing project. Just as striking a blow to the promise of this mom ent is the climax of the game itself and its impact on the public at hand. Thomsons hit sails over the head of Pafko, who goes racing toward the left field corner in pursuit (42). The futility of his attempt is illustrated in the singularly dramatic s entence that represents the barrier between victory and defeat: Pafko at the wall (42). The ball reaches the stands, leaving Pafko looking straight up with his right hand at the wall in futile wonderment (42), the fans he seemed to have such a fluid c onnection with now separated from him in isolated anarchy. At the center of this anarchy are Cotter Martin and Bill Waterson, who (unknowingly) battle one another for Thomsons ball. Up to this point, the interaction between this middle age, middle class, white man and this young, impoverished, African -American boy has been one of camaraderie and generosity from sharing peanuts and soda to t heir common love for the Giants, seeming to transcend societal mores. Instantly, however, their interaction morphs into unease and animosity, with Cotter having to run from the ballpark to escape Watersons ill intended pursuit of the baseball. The barrier that finally stops Watersons chase is the exclusively black ghetto of high rises where Cotter lives, drawing att ention to the decaying neighborhoods that surrounded most re alist parks by this time something that would largely prove to be the downfall of Ebbets Field and the Pol o Grounds only a few years later The relationship between Cotter and Waterson represent s a final utopian moment of promise within the realist medium, which the moment of Pafko at the wall brings to a crashing halt, both symbolically and literally. Thus, in spite of the celebratory scene within the Polo Grounds, the legacy of the moment de scribed in The Triumph of Death is of the limits of
154 realism, which in turn leads to the loss of this utopian moment and the initiation of another vision in its place. Modernism The vast majority of DeLillos Underworld constitutes the navigation between 1951 (the moment of its prologue, The Triumph of Death) and the early 1990s (the moment of both Part I and the epilogue of Underworld). The vision that emerges over this time is one of increasing alienation, inorganicism, migration, and corporate cultu ral hegemony-all staples of the ideology of the Cold War. What DeLillo periodizes as the history of the Cold War may also be usefully posited as the age of the modernist stadium, whose beginning and ending operate in uncanny synchronicity with that of Cold War America. However the modernist paradigm shift finds its advent not in 1951, but rather in 1932, with the opening of Cleveland Municipal Stadium. Funded by a city-wide $2.5 million levy, it would be the largest baseball stadium ever built, with 7 8,000 seats. It was also one of the first ballparks to have permanent light fixtures for night games, and the first to utilize structural aluminum in its building materials. The trend beginning with Cleveland Stadium, though, is not only focused on techno logical modernization; the stadium is also formally modernist The stadium was positioned away from the city center, directly on the lakefront and surrounded by abundant parking and space. In addition, the shape of the stadium itself was not oriented around the field-it was designed to host football as well as baseball and is symmetrically identical if split down the middle. In direct accordance with the modernist theories of Le Corbusier, it is no longer the city or the field that governs the logic of the stadium, but rather the plan is the generato r (Le Corbusier 47). The socia l psychology central to Le Corbusiers style and plan was also at the heart of the modernist advent in major league ballparks: easy to commute to, abundant parking,
155 multipurpose in nature, symmetrical, adequately spaced, and allowing for an appreciation of the whole structure. This endows real power to the artist, allowing one to impose their form on a traditionally fluid medium the realist ballpark.18 Accordingly, the struct ure of Cleveland Stadium functioned autonomously without regard to its inner or outer surroundings .19 As Jameson emphasizes, modernist space offers itself as the novum that air from other planets (Stefan George) that Schonberg, and after him Marc use, liked to evoke, the first telltale signs of the dawning of a new age ( P ostmodernism 163). The observation also applies to the modernist ballpark: Cleveland Stadium wa s decidedly ahead of its time --or, to put it more succinctly, it was not of its tim e -the proof lying in the fact that it took the Indians baseball club fifteen years to move in fully. This interplay between Cleveland Stadium and League Park over two decades acts as a sort of architectural heteroglossia, with the modernist structur e eve ntually trumping the realist one. In their second full season in the stadium, the Indians drew over 2.6 million fans, setting a major league record that would not be eclipsed until 1962. By the moment of The Triumph of Death, the modernist template ha d arrived, and the future was rife for its immediate development. Milwaukee County St adium was constructed in 1953--the first new major league facility built since Cleveland Stadium twenty -one years prior -isolated from the city in a massive concrete park ing lot, and looking so structurally similar to Cleveland Stadium that Hollywood would later substitute the former for the latter in film.20 Upon its opening, the Braves, newly transplanted from Boston, would proceed to lead the major leagues in attendance for six consecutive years. This set in motion a trend where, over the course of the next twenty years, sixteen new baseball facilities were built, all but one bearing the surname stadium and following the lead of Cleveland Stadium and Milwaukee County Stadium in material, shape, and location.
156 The modernist stadium not only shifts its public with regard to geography, but a lso in terms of both time and media. Whereas the realist ballpark was characterized by day games and radio broadcasts (as is the case in The Tr iumph of Death), the modernist stadium places an increasing emphasis on night baseball and television coverage. These new venues are for the first time designed with an eye toward lighting considerations and camera pits,21 which allow for an ac cordant shift in public with regard to both those who are able to come to games (the working class fans who are notably discriminated against in day games) and those who no longer have to come to games (who instead can watch the game on television). While the first major league night game was played in 1935, the phenomenon had yet to take hold at the outset of this period; by the end of the Cold War, night baseball would become such a staple of the stadium that World Series games w ould be held only at night, and the economics of the sport dictating that the majority of all games be played in the evening. Television, meanwhile, quickly evolved from the prevailing attitude at the time of the Triumph of Death that there should be a limit [to] TVs presence and that the camera should not afford a better view than that of the worst seat in the ballpark (Halberstam 208), to a medium that provided the viewing fan with unprecedented access, regardless of their geographic location.22 In addition to these formali st aesthetic features, this architectural paradigm shift engendered a whole series of political and economic impli cations. This is most directly alluded to in Underworld with the plight of Nick Shays childhood team, the Brooklyn Dodgers The twenty thou sand empty seats at the Polo Grounds in The Triumph of Death were indicative of a larger trend in ballpark attendance at this time; the surprising reality was that both the Giants and the Dodgers, even at this moment of cultural omnipotence and sporting excellence, consistently struggled to fill their respective ballparks. In 1951, the Giants drew a mediocre one
157 million fans for the season, while the Brooklyn Dodgers drew sl ightly more at 1.18 million (this at a time when the New York Yankees were drawin g over two million fans per season). By 1957, the Dodgers attendance had further eroded to little over a million fans, while the Giants attendance had plummeted to 653,000 (second worst in major league baseball). Walter OMalley, the Brooklyn Dodgers o wner, and Robert Moses, New Yorks irrepressible city planner, offered competing plans to remedy this trend, with each touching on the fundamental logic of the emerging modernist ballpark. OMalley commissioned the modernist architect Buckminster Fuller t o design a domed stadium for construction at the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Atlantic Avenue, an unprecedented architectural concept that OMalley himself intended to finance. If one takes the explanation for the empty seats in The Tr iumph of Death as legitimate -- All day looks like rain. It affects the mood. People say the hell with it (15) -it is assumed that a domed stadium is the answer. This holds just as viable for Marvin Lundys retrospective explanation of the lack of attendance, which holds that all through the nineteen fifties people stayed indoors (171 72). The stadium was also designed to be 20,000 seats larger than Ebbets Field, with the assumption that a better facility situated in a better neighborhood would allow for the kind of s uccess enjoyed in Cleveland and Milwaukee. Moses, who Jameson himself casts as the fundamental agent of and villain in [New Yorks] transformations (Brick 172), did not consider Brooklyn (and in particular the site OMalley had selected) to be the log ical location for a new New York baseball venue. Instead, he favored the notorious Flushing ash heaps and mounds of garbage that Scott Fitzgerald had immortalized as one of the great modern symbols of industrial and human waste (Berman 303), with the id ea that this stadium would provide the culmination of his redevelopment of the area. Marshall Berman, in his influential All That is Solid Melts Into Air lays out in detail how
158 Moses obliterated this dreadful scene and transformed the site into the nucl eus of the fairgrounds, and later of Flushing Meadow Park (303); contrary to OMalleys desire to privately finance the stadium, Moses insisted that it be city -owned in order to further increase the stream of commerce and income that these previous projects had initiated. The unyielding attitudes of OMalley and Moses resulted in political gridlock. The Dodgers would ultimately move, along with the Giants, to the West Coast and constructed Dodger Stadium largely accordance with the ideology of the modernist ballpark. Moses, for his part, would eventually succeed in his plan to put a stadium in Flushing Shea Stadium was opened in 1964 as the home of the expansion New York Mets (who had played in the now -decrepit Polo Grounds the two years prior). While Berman notes that Moses was the self -proclaimed man who destroyed the valley of the ashes and put beauty in its place (304),23 he just as surely emphasizes that Moses system, even as it constitutes a triumph of modern achievement, shares in some of tha t arts deepest ambiguities with regard to the public and the people (306). Whereas the realist ballpark is an outgrowth of its middle -class public, the modernist stadium requires that public to capitulate to the structures ideology of social reorie ntation. It is doubtful that there will ever be a work the magnitude of Underworld that waxes nostalgically about Shea Stadium. It is an alienated structure seated upon a former landfill and directly beneath the LaGuardia Airport flight path, named after a corporate lawyer and surrounded by chop shops and other businesses of questionabl e design While Shea Stadium has been economically viable, it has remained aesthetically and culturally uninspiring since its inception.24 What is equally the legacy of thi s modernist ideology is the detrimental impact the movement of stadiums out of the c ity had on the neighborhoods left behind. While the
159 modernist ballpark is theoretically intended as a means for urban renewal, it was instead in part responsible for inner -city decay.25 In perhaps the most illustrative example of this, the site which had been earmarked for OMalleys domed stadium would instead sit fallow for nearly fifty years, while the surrounding city infrastructure deteriorated further. This trend has only recently been reversed by the ironic construction of another sports facility on the same site: the Atlantic Yards complex, which will house the NBAs Nets and is designed by Frank Gehry, perhaps Americas foremost post modern architect. Significantly, The Triumph of Death is not the only time a ballpark is portrayed in Underworld T he next time a baseball venue is described is in Nick Shays trip to D odger Stadium, which is depicted as a n exemplum of the Cold War alienated stadium of the modernist e ra: We sat in the stadium club with our sour -mash whiskey and bloody meat, pretending to watch the game. Id been to Los Angeles many times on business but had never made the jaunt to Dodger Stadium. Big Sims had to wrestle me into his car to get me here We were set apart from the field, glassed in at press level, and even with a table by the window we heard only muffled sounds from the crowd. The radio announcers voice shot in clearly, transmitted from the booth, but the crowd remained at an eerie di stance, soul -moaning like some lost battalion. (91) As in The Triumph of Death, the Dodgers and the Giants are again playing in the game that Nick Shay attends While Shays character can be expected to be jaded toward the Dodgers, West Coast baseball, and any ballpark that is not Ebbets Field, it is evident that even for more objective viewers, like his colleagues Brian Glassic and Big Sims, the fundamental logic of the spectator has been altered: And Glassic said, Lets eat real fast and get out of h ere and go sit in the stands like real people. And Sims said, What for? I need to hear the crowd. No, you dont Whats a ball game without crowd noise?
160 Were here to eat a meal and see a game, Sims said. I took the trouble to get us a table by the window. You dont go to a ballpark to hear a game. You go to see a game. Can you see all right? (92)26 As such, the fans role is reduced to that of proctor, in stark con trast to the mutual experience and connection enjoyed between spectator and participant in The Triumph of Death. Contrary even to Russ Hodges press box experience of sound, smell, and feeling in The Triumph of Death, the luxury box experience is one that offers little more sensory engagement than watching the game at home on television. This alienation between field and fan is effectively illustrated in Nick Shays lamentation that [in 1951,] we had the real Dodgers and the Giants. Now we have the holograms (95). The luxury box that is described in this case finds its or igins in the Houston Astrodome, the stru cture that represents the pinnacle of modernist stadium ambition. Opened in 1965, it was purportedly conceived when Astros owner Roy Hofheinz was informed, on a trip to Rome, that a giant valeria had once been inst alled over the Colosseum to shield its spectators from weather and sun. T he Astrodome was the first domed stadium, in large part, because it was the first stadium where technology had advanced to make such a project publicly viable. While the Dodgers pr oposed (and controversial) domed stadium in the 1950s represents a cutting-edge concept the Astrodome offered a plausible reality the voting public was willing to unconditionally support. Even in this case, it still required a number of subsequent techno logical innovations to work. The dome itself was originally a series of clear Lucite panes that allowed for natural sunlight and a natural grass playing field. While this proved effective for night games, during day games it literally blinded players looking skyward, and thus necessitated painting over the panels, meaning that any light in the dome would be artificial. This subsequently killed off the
161 grass and necessitated Monsantos invention of Astroturf, a synthetic playing surface that was quickly lauded for its durability and flexibility In the modernist ballpark, technology clearly trumps organicism with hubris comparable to Le Corbusiers utter rejection of anything like nature (209).27 The Astrodome also represents a more fully realized modern ism in the way that it takes autonomy to new heights. Just as the expansion of the sentence plays a fundamental role in literary modernism from Mallarme to Faulkner, Jameson explains, so also the metamorphosis of the minimal unit is fundamental in arch itectural modernism, which may be said to have transcended the sentence (as such) in its abolition of the street ( P ostmodernism 10). The Astrodome not only abolishes the street, but any and all external surroundings, as it establishes its own wholly autonomous environment. The structure, from the inside, would appear the same whether it were located in Houston or Harlem. The facility is impervious to rain, sun, and wind, the field will never wilt, and air conditioning and heating ensures that it will be kept at a constant temperature throughout the year. While initial reviews of the Astrodome were characterized by a sense of wonderment, this enthusiasm died down as other domed stadiums were subsequently built in Seattle, Minneapolis, and Toronto. As Jam eson contends, The modernist euphoria was dependent on the relative scarcity of such new projects, spaces, and constructions (Brick 181). The admire but do not emulate that Klara Sax levels against the World Trade Center can also be usefully applied to an edifice such as the Astrodome (375). In and of itself, it is the Eighth Wonder of the World;28 yet, de prived of its originality, it becomes unnatural and unsatisfying, a veritable template for the failures of modernist architecture. Though the Astr odome was conceived of as a work of the future (as its very name indicates), it is designed for a future that never arrives: by
162 1974, in what Klara Sax terms the rooftop summer (371), the trend has clearly turned to being outside rather than inside. It i s in the wake of the Astrodome that major league architect ure turns toward a sort of final solution: the multipurpose stadium. Such a shift marks the movement to Jamesons concept of late modernism ( S ingular 150), which transforms the older modernist experimentation into an arsenal of tried and true techniques, no longer striving for aesthetic totality or the systematic and Utopian metamorphosis of forms ( S ingular 166). It is, quite simply, a continuation of the modern that wants to think of itself as the latters completion and fulfillment ( S ingular 166). Beginning with RFK Stadium in Washington D.C., major league cities demolished older realist ballparks in favor of cost -effective facilities that could host both professional baseball and football .29 Over the next decade, Atlantas Fulton County Stadium (1966), St. Louis Busch Stadium (1966), Cincinnatis Riverfront Stadium (1970), Pittsburghs Three Rivers Stadium (1970), and Philadelphias Veterans Stadium (1971) were all built, with each exhibit ing an unwavering fidelity to a single blueprint.30 In comparison with the traditional horseshoe shape of the baseball stadium, these late modernist structures were all built in the shape of a donut, with movable seating configurations at field level to al low for the transition between sports.31 They all were fully symmetrical, they all had artificial turf fields, and they all were constructed almost entirely out of concrete; the pattern is so undeniably static that each of these stadiums is virtually indis tinguishable from the others. In spite of the seemingly unoriginal template on which each of these stadiums were constructed, this is not the trivialization of these structures, but rather the material assertion of their supreme power. It is the structur e, after all-and not the field --that becomes the sole point of orientation and emphasis in the late modernist stadium.
163 Full hearted acceptance of these Taylorist principles, without respec t to their limitations, has significant consequences. As Jameson n otably warns, a certain concept of totality is to be eschewed because it leads fatally to Terror ( P ostmodernism 401). In the case of the ballpark, this is quite literally an architectural program of terror. The final solution posited by these structu res is an assertion that history has ended, which Alain Badiou has notably defined as a form of disaster. Much as Lewis Mumford argues that Le Corbusiers functional urban approach actually resulted in a sterile hybrid, the template of the late modernis t ballpark, however functional, proves unyielding and uninspiring. In contrast to the realist ballpark, where limited freedom generated still unprecedented originality and happy imperfections, the absolute freedom of the late modernist ballpark ironically generates absolute sterility. Charles Jencks states that this is indeed constitutive of a larger trend within architecture itself, as extreme developments of the features of the modern end up turning this work against the very spirit of the modern ( cited in Jameson, Brick 186). By the early 1970s, the ballparks of many cities were multipurpose facilities that lacked both natural grass and idiosyncrasies, and which displayed an almost Eastern Bloc affinity for concrete. To see them as the end product of an aesthetic development is difficult, for, as Jameson theorizes, Modernism to the second power no longer looks like modernism at all, but some other space altogether (Brick 186). In such a way, these structures exemplify Jamesons claim in A Singular Modernity that late modernism is the experience of the failure of autonomy to go all the way and fulfill its aesthetic programme (209). The utopian promise exhibited at the modernist outset in Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Houston gives way to la te modernist contingency in Atlanta, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh, before subsequently leading to the popular rejection of them all. The
164 1989 opening of SkyDome in Toronto, while legitimately experimental and technologically progressive at the same time marks a dead end for this aesthetic direction.32 In accordance with Jamesons claim that late modernism is a product of the cold war ( S ingular 165), the fall of the Berlin Wall directly coincides with the end of the late modernist era in ballpark architect ure. The evaluation within contemporary theory of this modernist architectural ideology offers a relative consensus: Jameson directly addresses the failures of modern architecture (P ostmodernism 163), Charles Jencks asserts that Le Corbusiers legacy is deeply tragic, and Marshall Berman draws attention to the tragedy of Robert Moses (305). The well -intentioned theories of the early work of these figures leads Berman to sensibly ask Where did it all go wrong? How did the modern visions of the 1930s turn sour in the process of their realization? (304). The stadiums of this time represent, as much as any other modernist medium, a program of unrealized promise. The consequences of this modernist era of ballparks are certainly less horrific than the consequences of the Cold War nuclear era, but they do have consequences nonetheless. Much the same as Le Corbusiers art, which came at tremendous cost and proved inflexible once realized, these structures functioned effectively within the governing logi c of the Cold War, but failed to offer a lasting solution.33 Le Corbusiers plan is flawed because he sets his Radiant City at the e nd of history instead of at a moment of history; stadiums such as Riverfront Stadium and Veterans Stadium are similarly flaw ed in that they offer a final solution that is only valid until the next historical period. Reiterating Walter Benjamins longtime insistence, Jameson posits that history progresses by failure rather than by success ( P ostmodernism 209). There is perha ps no better allegory for this than the Bobby ThomsonRalph Branca dialectic that is played out in The
165 Triumph of Death and throughout the entirety of Underworld In contrast to Thomsons historic achievement, Brancas role as the losing pitcher is one of quintessential defeat, but he is every bit as essential to both the event and its historical legacy. Without Brancas legendary failure, the would be no Shot Heard Round the World. In much the same way, although the modernist ballpark failed, it s pawn ed other successful experiments It is with the promise generated from such failures that Berman writes in anticipation of the movement beyond the modernist ideology of the Cold War -era stadium: Maybe the moderns of the 1970s will rest content in the artificial inner light of their inflated domes. Or maybe, someday soon, they will lift the domes through their picture windows, open their windows to embrace one another, and work to create a politics of authenticity that will embrace us all. (347)34 Post modernism Jameson writes in his highly influential Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism that the postmodern concept of nostalgia is the desperate attempt to appropriate a missing part that is now refracted through the iron law of fas hion change and the emergent ideology of the generation (19). It is this same impulse of nostalgia that informs the prologue of DeLillos Underworld which exhibits a sentimental yearning for the moment of the 1951 Giants Dodgers playoff game and its rea list ballpark setting, the Polo Grounds. This work was originally written in the spring of 1992 as the short novella, Pafko at the Wall, and published in that Octobers issue of Harpers Magazine What is exceedingly interesting is that this composition coincides directly with the opening of Baltimores Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the formal expression of a dramatic departure from the modernist stranglehold on stadium architecture and a work of nostalgia for the realist ballpark. These two examples ar e not simply isolated coincidences. There i s a distinct nostalgia for classic baseball and the realist ballpark evident in late 1980s American culture. Between
166 June 1988 and April 1989, three major Hollywood baseball films were released that spoke direct ly to these longings. Ron Sheltons Bull Durham (1988) extolled the virtues of a charming, commercialized minor league facility. David S. Wards Major League (1989) detailed the plight of a team struck in the modernist monstrosity of Cleveland Stadium. Phil Alden Robinsons Field of Dreams (1989), the most nostalgic and--not coincidentally --most financially successful of them all, harkened back to the purity of the game of baseball in the years leading up to The Triumph of Death, and drew attention to the field itself as the primary vehicle of nostalgia.35 In the wake of such nostalgia films, the first blueprints for Baltimores Camden Yards were drawn up in December 1988, with ground officially being broken for the project in June 1989. When the red br ick and -steel park opened on April 6, 1992, it was immediately hailed as an architectural triumph and the harbinger of an aesthetic shift within the medium. Upon attending the opening game, Sports Illustrateds Tim Kurkjian waxed poetically of Camden Yard s: Its a real ballpark built into a real downtown of a real city. The famous Bromo Seltzer clock, a Baltimore landmark, stares in from atop the old gray tower beyond left centerfield. Looming immediately behind the rightfield wall is the enormous red -br ick B&O Warehouse, so integral to the stadium that it has instantly joined Fenway Parks Green Monster and Wrigley Fields ivy -colored walls as the games most distinctive and distinguished architectural features. (34) This direct comparison to two of the last remaining original realist ballparks is no accident, given that this is precisely the template upon which Camden Yards is modeled Much the same as DeLillos Underworld is a postmodern work of nostalgia, Camden Yards tangibly expresses nostalgia for the classic realist ballpark. As Kurkjian immediately surmised, Its as if this ballpark comes equipped with memories (35). Furthermore, the largely unadorned nature of the mode rnist stadium is replaced with pervasive corporate influence throughout th e ballpark. Much like the Chesterfield packs on the
167 scoreboard of the Polo Grounds, Camden Yards advertisement for The Baltimore Sun atop its scoreboard lights up an h to indicate a hit and an e to indicate an error. Upon its unveiling, the right field wall at Camden Yards was covered with advertisements for insurance, hot dogs, and automobiles, becoming the first park to have ads on the field of play since the demolition of Shibe Park in 1970. Again, like the realist ballpark of The Triumph of Dea th, which revels in the corporate pervasiveness of razor blade and cigarette advertisements, this quickly became the norm in every new ballpark, and was also eventually evident in most remaining modernist stadiums. Such advertisements also draw attention to the expansion of the game fr om a regional to a national to, in the postmodern era, a global entity. I n 2006, Japans Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper purchased the advertising spot on the left field wall of Yankee Stadium, not so much to influence fans at th e ballgame to read the newspaper, but rather to make itself visible to those watching telecasts of the game in Japan. Camden Yards also represents a postmodern departure in its resignation to the necessity of the city and its wil ling surrender of autonomy. Jameson theorizes that postmodernism went on to abolish something even more fundamental, namely, the distinction between the inside and the outside ( P ostmodernism 98). In contrast with the modernist ideology of autonomy, Camden Yards was as inst antly notable for its proximity to the B&O Warehouse in rightfield and its unprecedented framing of Baltimores downtown skyline as it was for any singular feature within the park itself. The ballpark also allotted space between the upper and lower decks to allow for sunlight to pour in and minimize the presence of the surrou nding stands on the field. The adjacent Eutaw Street was closed to vehicular traffic to accommodate concessions and vendors, and to allow for fans to view the game from outside the pa rk in the event of a sellout.
168 In short, with Camden Yards, it becomes difficult to tell where the ballpark ends and the city begins. This return to the city as the Orioles execute in their move from the suburban Memorial Stadium to the downtown site of Camden Yards, is part of a larger trend of urban gentrification in American cities This process represents the moment of the reclamation of the inner city by the middle class, and these parks provide entertainment and cultural resources for this public Camden Yards presents an ideal example of this, as its economic revitalization of Baltimores Inner Harbor bears witness. This marks a significant departure from the modernist ideology, as gentrification is not the same process as urban renewal --in cont rast with the total and indiscriminate clearing out of Chavez Ravine (and the accordant exploitation of low income residents and residences) to make way for Dodger Stadium, gentrification is sensitive to the urban. The B&O Warehouse, which would have been leveled under the modernist ideology, instead becomes the material intermediary between ballpark and city. The birthplace of Babe Ruth, adjacent to the complex, has been preserved as a museum. Even the parks name itself is derived from the rail yards f ormerly on the site, which have been transplanted to the far side of the Warehouse, and which provide public transportation to and from the game. It is, of course, not sufficient to generate a period break from the singular emergence of a contradictory exa mple. As Slavoj Zizek insists, It is only through repetition that an event is rec ognized as a symbolic necessity (61). Beginning in 1994, a total of seventeen new major league ballparks opened in the next fifteen years, all in the general mode of Camde n Yards. The outfield dimensions are asymmetrical, the immediate city is positioned in full view, the fields are natural grass, and the seats are positioned closer to the field with overall capacities significantly reduced. With each new park, the novelt y lies in the attempt to incorporate traditional features of
169 the realist park within a present -day context, as in the case of Pac Bell Park in San Francisco, where the right field stands are hard up against San Francisco Bay, or PETCO Park in San Diego, wh ere the left field stands are deliberately constructed around the hundred year old Western Metal Building, which was meticulously preserved for inclusion in the project. As a result, these structures have become, in several cases, the foremost architectura l representation of their respective cities. When Pittsburghs PNC Park first opened in 2001, mayor Tom Murphy stood at home plate and looking beyond centerfield to the city skyline in the distance, proclaimed "The only city I can think of with a similar view is Paris" -a statement which, qu ite literally, bears out Jamesons postmodern dictum of Pittsburgh rather than the Parthenon ( P ostmodernism 98). The shocking audacity of this statement underscores the central role that postmodern ballparks have pl ayed in the gentrification and architectural development in any number of America s cities. The near universal approbation given these structures is a testament to the overall quality of this architectural style. In assessing the merits of Camden Yards upon its opening (as well as concurrently laying out the subsequent blueprint for the postmodern ballpark), Tim Kurkjian wrote, Its no SkyDome. Its better --more magnificent in an understated, baseball only, real grass, open air, quirky, cozy, cool, comfo rtable sort of way (34). This is in agreement with Jamesons assessment that, in the move from the modern to the postmodern, [postmodern] architecture is generally a great improvement; the novels are much worse ( Postmodernism 299). This is not to say, though, that Camden Yards offers a new period template based simply on its aesthetic merits. As tempting as it may be to proclaim the asymmetry and quirky nature of the retro ballpark era as evidence of art for arts sake, the fact remains that these ba llparks are
170 gargantuan public projects, and this trend exists because it is what paying customers want to see, and where they want to go.36 Thus, along with a new ballpark aesthetic logic, there has emerged a new corpora te -political logic for these struct ures, the stakes of which have accordantly risen exponentially; as Klara Sax contemporarily muses in Underworld Things have no limits now. Money has no limits (76). The kind of inflation inherent to ballpark construction is analogous to the inflated p rice of the Thomson baseball, which Manx Martin originally sells for $32.45 and is eventually purchased thirty years later by Nick Shay for $34,500. Adjusted for inflation, Dodger Stadium cost $23 million to build, and Shea Stadium cost $28.5 million. By comparison, the Mets new stadium opening in 2009 has a projected price tag of $610 million, while the Yankees new stadium, also opening in 2009, has a projected cost of $1.3 billion In contrast to the unprecedented political struggle over the Brooklyn Dodgers new stadium in the 1950s, the process has now become a streamlined exercise in ballot referendums and trickle down economics. For the Washington Nationals new $674 million ballpark, which opened in March 2008, the city of Washington D.C. assume d 97% of the construction costs, in spite of the fact that the Nationals baseball club will receive all profits from tickets, parking, and concessions at stadium events. The changing names of postmodern stadiums also stand as a testament to this economic reo rientation in the postmodern ballpark. Part of the inherent nostalgic appeal of Camden Yards is the name itself, which was kept on (in favor of simply Oriole Park) as a nod to such realist venues as the Polo Grounds. Following a period when each new structure over the past seventy years was given the surname stadium or dome, since the opening of Camden Yards virtually every new project has been named either park or field (the exceptions being the new Busch
171 Stadium in St. Louis  and the new Yankee Stadium in New York , both choosing to retain the familiar titles of their immediate predecessors; in the former case, it bears noting that the actual Busch Stadium construction project operated under the name Ballpark Village). What has become decidedly tenuous, however, are the actual names of these structures, as the corporate suffusion of the postmodern bal lpark assumes titular primacy, the rights to such naming being doled out in leases for millions of dollars. In just the few years since their opening, Jacobs Field in Cleveland has become Progressive Field, Pac Bell Park is now AT&T Park, and (most notoriously) Enron Field in Houston has been changed to Minute Maid Park. Much as the names of these structures are tenuous, the victor y of the postmodern is by no means secure ( Jameson, P ostmodernism 171). The Epilogue of Underworld focuses on a post Cold War Soviet Union, along with its nuclear consequences and the questionable political and corporate entities that now control s uch technology. Just as nuclear paranoia has subsided in the aftermath of the Cold War despite being more real than ever, major league baseball i s now more distant and alienated than ever despite the illusion of intimacy. Fans are not permitted on the fi eld at any time, players make an average of $3.15 million a season, and the most valued spectators at the ballpark are those that sit in isolated luxury suites. Such rigidity runs in line with the veritable monopoly on the construction of these structures by HOK Sport -a subsidiary of Hellmuth, Obata, and Kassabaum (HOK), the largest U.S. -based architecture -engineering firm37--which, in addition to Camden Yards, has designed 16 of the 19 major league ballparks built since 1992. To be sure, HOK Sport has ach ieved its popularity largely through its relentless refutation of the modernist stadium archetype: the unadorned, artificial, symmetrically impeccable multi -purpose venues of each major league city are joyously imploded in favor of what is (for each partic ular city) a unique and refreshing
172 paradigmatic departure. What must be emphasized as well, though, is the number of protomodernist features they have been incorporated into the postmodern ballpark, from luxury suites to clear sightlines to abundant restrooms to JumboTRON video scoreboards in centerfield. This is in direct accordance with Jamesons observation that the postmodern is at one with a negative judgment on these aspirations of the high modern, which it claims to have abandoned-but the new na me, the sense of a radical break, the enthusiasm that greeted the new kinds of buildings, all testify to the persistence of some notion of novelty or innovation that seems to have survived the modern itself ( P ostmodernism 107). In spite of the fact that t he retro ballpark has enjoyed universal popularity, such corporate homogenization and ideological ossification are suspect developments. Jamesons aforementioned warning that a certain concept of totality is to be eschewed because it leads fatally to t he Terror holds just as true for postmodern aesthetics ( P ostmodernism 401) -it is accepted that the failure of the modernist ballpark lies here, but it might also be questioned whether the legacy of the postmodern ballpark will rest on this trend as well. While there are, for obvious reasons, no postmodern ballparks depicted in Underworld, its concluding Epilogue --signi ficantly titled Das Kapital --maps the elements for the emergence and development of this medium. It opens with the assessment that Capi tal burns off the nuance in a culture (785), and goes on to explain the economic logic that is plainly evident in the evolution of the postmodern ballpark: [By the mid 1990s] desire seems to demand a method of production that will custom cater to cultural and personal needs, not to cold war ideologies of massive uniformity. And the system pretends to go along, to become more supple and resourceful, less dependent on rigid categories. But even as desire tends to specialize, going silky and intimat e, the force of converging markets produces an instantaneous capital that shoots across horizons at the speed of light, making for a certain furtive sameness, a planning away of particulars that affects everything from architecture to leisure time to the w ay people eat and sleep and dream. (78586)
173 If the goal of postmodernism is, as Macrae Gibson contends, perceptual shock (P ostmodernism 121), any program of consistency defeats the purpose. The massive uniformity of the late modernist stadiums has in deed been replaced, but it is questionable whether it has been replaced by an ything truly innovative Today, it is not shocking if a new park has the nostalgic retro features pioneered by Camden Yards; it is only shocking if it does not. Instead, the v ery real accomplishments of the postmodern architects are comparable to late night reefer munchies, substitutes rather than the thing itself ( P ostmodernism 98). The rotunda in the new Mets ballpark built in homage to the rotunda in Ebbets Field may gene rate plaudits from New Yorks fan base, but offers no significant architectural innovation of its own accord. And whereas Camden Yards was built on the template of Fenway Park and Wrigley Field, the subsequent parks of the postmodern era have ostensibly s triven to emulate the pattern of Camden Yards. These structures, Jameson explains, survive in a bourgeois present as exotic cosmetics and costumes alone, as sheer postmodern nostalgia trappings, as optional content within a stereotypical yet empty form : some first, classical nostalgia as abstraction from the concrete object, alongside a second or more postmodern one as nostalgia for nostalgia itself (Brick 189). Hence, though it is tempting to present postmodernism as the outright cancellation of modernism, and the resumption of the realist ideology, such a viewpoint disregards the fundamental chronology of periodization. Rather than a return to realism Jameson notes, this newer moment is only a replay of the empty stereotypes of all those thi ngs, and a vague memory of their fullness on the tip of the tongue (Brick 189). While the plan of the modernist ballpark has been popularly eschewed, one must doubt whether the postmodern
174 ballpark has altered this fidelity to the plan in any fundamental manner. Rather, it simply offers a different plan, and throws into question the legacy of Camden Yards transitional event as to whether the postmodern ballpark is indeed the triumph of death, or simply rather the death of a triumph. 1 Most notably, Phil Wegners Life Betwe en Two Deaths, 1989-2001: U.S. Culture in the Long Nineties offers a comprehensive analysis of this relationship, as well as the greater implications of the book in American culture at large, in the chapter entitled October 3, 1951, to September 11, 2001: Periodizing the Cold W ar in Don DeLillos Underworld. 2 W ith the exceptions of Torontos SkyDome in 1989 and Baltimores Camden Yards in 1992, none of the other major league ball parks buil t in the last forty years hav e a legitimate claim to radical experimentation The forme r represents an aesthetic dead end that necessitated a new architectural direction, while the latter marks a distinct period break by providing the template for every new park up to the present day. 3 This is of no small consideration in comparison wit h the accepted periodizing operations of other aesthetic mediums. The very operation of periodization itself can be traditionally analogized to Marvin Lundys theory in Underworld on the nature of crowd assembly: unprovably true, remotely and inadmissibl y true but not completely unhistorical, not without some nuance of authentic inner narrative (172). This is in accordance with Fredric Jamesons claim in A Singular Modernity that this operation is intolerable and unacceptable in its very nature, for it attempts to take a point of view on individual events which is well beyond the observational capacities of any individual, and, to unify, both horizontally and vertically, hosts of realities whose interrelationships must remain inaccessible and unverifiab le, to say the least (28). While there is still, to be sure, a trace of this in the periodization of the major league ballpark, the emphasis that the medium offers on praxis over theory allows for a more materially tangible argument. 4 In fact, this is a trend that is contained almost entirely within national borders, something the past twenty years have only reaffirmed with Torontos Sky Dome being rendered as an aesthetic dead end and the Montreal Expos move to Washington D.C. In spite of its inroads in the Far East and in Latin and Central America, baseball is arguably the least global of the four major North Ame rican professional sports, something plays right into the traditional categorization of baseball as Americas national pastime. 5 This is a more intricate feature of the park than might first be thought. Later in the game, after a questionable play on the field, the crowd looks up to the clubhouse sign in straightaway center to see if the first E in CHESTERFIELD lights up, indicating erro r (U 34). The lasting effects (and effectiveness) of such association are evident later in the novel when Nick Shay explains, You know why I smoke Old Golds? Thats the cigarette company that used to sponsor the Dodgers on the radio (751).
175 6 In fact, in another imperfection of the realist ballpark, Cotter is not abl e to see the complete arc of most home run balls from the seat he takes in the lower left field stands, given the overhang of the second deck. When Thomsons ball is hit, Cotter [is] watching the ball come in his direction [but] he loses sight of the ball when it climbs above the overhang and he thinks it will land in the upper deck . Before the moment can overwhelm him, the ball appears again, stitches visibly spinning, thats how it hits, banging at an angle off a pillar (42). 7 Note also Susan Hegemans warning that this change from urban public culture to a far more privatized one may be something to het nostalgic about, but, in being nostalgic, we are likely t o forget that the experience of this public mass culture had, for some, its less sepia toned features (300). Or, as Bertolt Brecht states even more succinctly, The bad new days are always preferable to the good old days. 8 This also takes into account the non-synchronous dynamic of the classification of such a moment as realism. As Jameson further theorizes, in that case, there will be formal analogies between such moments, even though they are chronologically distant from each other (Existence 156). 9 This is equally apparent in Russ Hodges postgame assessment that he has just witnessed another kind of history. He thinks they will carry something out of here that joins them all in a rare way, that binds them to a memory with protective power This is the peoples history and it has flesh and breath that quicken to the force of this old safe game of ours (59 60). Baseball is dialectically significant for the personally specific narratives it endows within the understanding of a collecti ve experience and history. 10 In comparison, by the time of Part I of Underworld in the spring on 1992, the average major league ballplayer would be making well over forty times the average working mans salary. By 2008, this gap has widened to the point where the average sal ary in major league baseball is $3.15 million. As Roger Angell explains in Ken Burns Baseball documentary, The big difference now that players get so much is that it has distanced them from us. It was a blue -collar sport, and people in the stands could look at these people playing ball and think of them as workers, because they were getting paid workers salaries, and this perpetuated the illusion [of] the sense of we between fans and players. 11 This moniker is, in fact, the subt itle to the original novella, Pafko at the Wall. It bears mentioning that the order of these titles lends primacy to the tragedy and futility of the Dodgers (with the image of the helpless Pafko) ahead of the victory and achievement of the Giant s (with Thomsons home run as the focus). 12 Marvin Lundy, for example remembers fondly that he was racing through a mountain in the Alps with two GIs huddled over a little portable antenna, listening to Russ Hodges o n Armed Forces Network (313). The fact that it was listened to by so many across the world, as well as the famous radio call by Hodges himself, at least partly accounts for the extraordinary legacy of The Shot Heard Round the World. From a purely formalist vantage point, there are any nu mber of parallel occurrences in major league annals, such as Chris Chambliss home run to win the
176 1976 American League pennant for the Yankees. These other seemingly similar events find their way into the dustbin of major league lore, however, lacking the paradigmatic qualities and the transitional moment of the game described in The Triumph of Death. It is the history of the game, even more than the game itself, that assumes precedence. 13 This relationship between the two events is even symbolically demonstrated by Marvin Lundy, who explains that when they make an atomic bomb, they make the radioactive core the exact same size as a baseball (172). 14 Again, Wegner provides an excellent analysis of the afore mentioned political trend in the Under world chapter of Life Between Two Deaths The advent of the American Soviet Cold War may be located on the day The Triumph of Death is set, as the recognition of the repetition of a successful nuclear test by the Soviet Union inaugurates a new historic al period and a new relationship between the two powers (Wegner, Life 53). 15 While this is seemingly a significant move, it is worth noting that all of New Yorks ballparks operate on the fringes of Rem Koolhaus enabling structure of the Manhattan gri d --much the same as ballpark architecture itself is cast to the fringes of architecture proper. 16 With this expansion of the realist template in mind, it might seem logical to posit Yankee Stadium as the advent of modernism, rather than the realization of the limits of realism. However, from a stylistic perspective, the structure is still oriented around its highly asymmetrical playing field, and the shape of its stands is directly influenced by the surrounding property (which, although located in the Bro nx, was strategically built within walking distance of the Yankees previous residence of the Polo Grounds). Its unprecedented size, furthermore, was largely the product of the Yankees unique historical situation of having Babe Ruth, the most famous ball player in major le ague history, evident in the structures longstanding nickname: The House that Ruth Built. In contrast, while that same year the Giants chose to expand the Polo Grounds to 55,000 seats in competition with the Yankees, they would struggle for the next thirty years to fill those extra seats. For example, the thirty -five thousand fans that attend the 1951 Giants Dodge rs game is precisely the Polo Grounds previous capacity (and offers yet another method to account for the twenty thousand em pty seats at the game). Thus, while Yankee Stadium offered a subtle starting point for the subsequent modernist stadium, it was simply not a template that was applicable for any other franchise at that moment. It is, instead, the renovated Yankee Stadium of 1976 that stands as a modernist work of architecture. 17 In 1951, New York had the Yankees and the Giants (in addition to the Brooklyn Dodgers), Boston had the Red Sox and the Braves, Philadelphia had the Athletics and the Phillies, St. Louis had the B rowns and the Cardinals, and Chicago had the White Sox and the Cubs (a city in which the teams truly were on the opposite ends of town). Beginning in 1953, the Braves moved to Milwaukee, and were followed by the Browns (Baltimore Orioles 1954), the Athle tics (Kansas City 1955) and, of course, the Giants (San Francisco 1958) and the Dodgers (Los Angeles 1958). 18 Much as Lenny Bruces character asserts in his Cold War themed comedy routine, The true edge is not where you choose to live but where they s ituate you against your will. This event is
177 infinitely deeper and more electrifying (505). The modernist stadium necessitates the capitulation of the public to its governing ideology, however logical and well -intended that ideology may be. 19 As such, while seemingly innocuous in design and scope, it is the scandal of this plan, and the scandal of social engineering, that is the scandal of modernism. This ideology of autonomy eventually leads the medium astray, as, Marshall Berman observes, the evoluti on of [the] works in the 1950s underscores another important fact about the postwar evolution of culture and society: the radical splitting off of modernism from modernization (Berman 309). 20 As was the case in David S. Wards Major League (1989) which despite being set in Cleveland was filmed principally in Milwaukee for reasons of both cost and availability. 21 There is a detailed glimpse o f this in The Triumph of Death : in spite of the fact that this game takes place during the day, because it is overcast the arc lights come on, catching Cotter by surprise He likes looking at the field under lights even if he has to worry about rain and even if its only afternoon and the full effect is not the same as in a night game when the field a nd the players seem completely separate from the night around them it isolated the players and the grass and the chalk rolled lines from anything hed ever seen or imagined (19). What had been the exception in 1951 is now the general rule in major league baseball, and ballparks from this point onward have been desi gned with night games in mind. 22 David Halberstams Summer of 49 provides an excellent overview of this evolution, both in regard to the publics that were reoriented as a result of this media progression and the movement of advertising in baseball from the prominent billboards in The Triumph of Death to the commercials on television broadcasts that would become the primary corporate outlet of the modernist stadium era (and resulting in the largely unadorned nature of the structures of this period). 23 Underworld pays particular attention to this emphasis on waste management, as it is the profession of its main character, Nick Shay. Shays associate, Jesse Detwiler, explains that garbag e comes first, then we build a system to deal with it (288). This is ironic, given that both Ebbets Field and Shea Stadium started off on the site of a dump, and that in both cases the system built to deal with these wastelands was a ballpark. 24 In cont rast to this, the single exception to Bermans bleak vision of the Bronx is Yankee Stadium (which is, rather inexplicably, never mentioned in his study). In All That is Solid Melts Into Air (1982), a great many of Bermans architectural and neighborhood e xamples are no longer viable; SoHo, for instance, is no longer a grubby bohemia, but rather a gentrified neighborhood filled with Gaps and Starbucks. The Bronx example, however, has held decidedly firm. Underworld illustrates the Bronxs poverty and depr avity in great detail in its latter half, while still upholding Yankee Stadium as the most famous ballpark in the country (646), and a beacon of hope and cultural pride in a desolate landscape. 25 Compare this with the abandoned warplanes that constitute the massive art project in the Long Tall Sally section of Underworld These warplanes never actually took an active part in
178 the warfare the bombs were not released. The missiles remained in the rotary launchers. The men came back and the citi es were not destroyed (122). Jameson notably insists that the modernist form as the absolute has a genuine function to redeem and transfigure a fallen society (Existence 178). However, while an abandoned warplane leaves a city in tact, an aban doned stadium lays waste to one. 26 Compare d with the unease of Frank Sinatras character at having t he crowd watch his reactions in The Triumph of Death, this luxury box experience aligns itself effectively with Michel Foucaults panopticon; the allure lies in being able to watch the game action (or not watch it) while knowing that others cannot watch you. With the proliferation of the luxury box, major league baseball effectively expanded its stream of revenue by expanding its viewing public, as it now catered to the rich, the famous, and the corporate. 27 This also presents an interesting parallel to the image of the World Trade Center on the cover of Underworld Lewis Mumford famously denounced the World Trade Center as an "example of the purposeless giantism and technological exhibitionism that are now eviscerating the living tissue of every great city." The absolute environmental autonomy established by the Astrodome, as well as such addendums as luxury suites and an exploding scoreboard, render it vulnerable to the same critique. 28 As was its unofficial nickname, and as it is still referred to today. Again, had it remained the only domed stadium in existence, this moniker might not today seem exaggerated and unwarranted. 29 It is important to not e that the practice of holding football and baseball games in the same stadium was not a novel concept at this time. A number of ballparks were in the practice of hosting football games, beginning with the Polo Grounds in 1921 (which because of its horses hoe shape, was ironically in many ways better suited as a football venue). All of the most famous realist ballparks still in existence --Fenway Park, Wri gley Field, and Yankee Stadium -hosted football games at some point, but all of these parks had been or iginally intended for baseball. RFK Stadium (which was named District of Columbia Stadium upon until 1969) was the first facility built expressly with these two sports in mind, and its seating configurations serve as a model that other parks copied over t he next decade. 30 In an ironic nod toward the cover of Underworld each of these stadiums was unveiled over the time that the World Trade Center was under construction (which also intriguingly draws attention to how the periodization of the modernist ball park effectively aligns itself with that of the modernist skyscraper) Much as Carlo Strasser says of the World Trade Center in Underworld these late modernist ballparks are a very terrible thing but you have to look at it, I think (372) 31 As such, th e seats in these stadiums are not oriented toward home plate (as in the traditional ballpark), but rather toward the center of the playing field. Such stadiums offer seating for both baseball and football, but do so with the understanding that the seats o ffered will not be ideal for either. This is further evidence that while such structures are an exercise in efficiency, they just as surely exhibit a resignation to mediocrity.
179 32 Some of the more notable of these experimental features included a retracta ble dome, an on -site fitness club, a luxury hotel, and over $5 million of commissioned artwork positioned strategically around the stadium. Such architectural and commercial creativity, however, cannot overshadow the fact that SkyDome is in many ways more aesthetically analogous to The Mall of America than to Fenway Park. 33 By 2008, all of the late modernist stadiums mentioned here had been either demolished or abandoned, in most cases little over thirty years after their construction. Much as the demoli tion of St. Louis Pruitt Igoe housing project represents, for Charles Jencks, the day Modern Architecture died in its symbolic abandonment of the modernist project ( Language 9), this event has been replicated -to an almost farcical extent -in Major League cities across the county throughout the 1990s and 2000s. 34 Bermans statement is ironic, given that his book was published the same year (1982) as the opening of the Metrodome in Minneapolis, the first (and, to date, only) major league stadium to have an inflatable dome. 35 It bears mentioning that a fourth major Hollywood film, John Sayles Eight Men Out (1988), offers an anti -nostalgic take on the banished White Sox players from the 1919 World Series that are the inspiration behind Field of Dreams I n Sayles film, baseballs nostalgic purity is shown to be largely an illusion, with a focus instead lying in manageme nt and (corrupt) economics, some thirty years in advance of the era depicted in The Triumph of Death. 36 Indeed, Camden Yards offers the quintessential example of this: in their last ten years at Memorial Stadium (the Orioles former modernist home) the team drew an average of 25,722 fans per game; in their first ten years in Camden Yards, the Orioles average attendance per game jumped to 43,490. 37 In an ironic parallel to the changing names of the ballparks it has designed, in January 2009 HOK Sport was renamed Populous -the result of a management buyout from its parent company that now leave s the firm as independently owned and operated.
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192 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Carl Miller, originally from Sandusky, Ohio, earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from Wittenberg University in 1999, his Master of Arts in English from The Ohio State University in 2002, and his Doctor of Philosophy in English from the University of Florida in 2009. He has accepted a position at the University of Alabama teaching literature and composition.