1 RESISTANCE, REVOLUTION, REDEMPTION: MESSIANIC MODERNISM IN THE STATE OF EMERGENCY By CAMELIA RAGHINARU A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2012
2 2012 Camelia Raghinaru
3 To Alex, for whom all things are possible
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank my committee, Brandon Kershner, Phillip Wegner, Susan Hegeman, an d Dragan for their guidance and support, and Galili Shahar, for putting me on this path. I would also like to thank my past and present mentors, Richard Gaughan and Daniel Erlanson, for their invaluable encouragement. I thank my husband, Dan, for his unwavering belief in me, and sweet little Alex for speeding me along
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 6 CHAPTER 1 MODERNISM AND MESSIANIC UTOPIA: THE DIALECTIC OF LAW AND JUSTICE ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 8 2 NOSTROMO .................... 32 3 MODERNISM AND GENDER AS STATES OF EXCEPTION: READING VIRGINIA WOOLF ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 58 To the Lighthouse ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 60 A Room ................................ ................................ ............................ 86 The Waves ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 95 4 THE PLUMED SERPENT ................................ ................................ ............................. 124 5 MOLLY BLOOM AND THE COMEDY OF REMARRIAGE ................................ ... 151 6 CODA ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 181 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................. 185 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 191
6 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requiremen ts for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy RESISTANCE, REVOLUTION, REDEMPTION: MESSIANIC MODERNISM IN THE STATE OF EMERGENCY By Camelia Raghinaru May 2012 Chair: Brandon Kershner Co chair: Phillip Wegner Major: English ption: Messianic Modernism in the State of concept of the state of emergency. Framed thus, modernism is suspended between its success the emergency of the radical new, and its f ailure the deferred actualization The dissertation attempts to develop a narrative of periodization as well, marking the four phases of modernism in its four chapters: n egative dialectic, reform, proto fascism, and radical experimentation. In the first chapter, I posit modernism as a space of interruption and resistance that engenders a utopian disruption of the status quo, in the traditions of Walter Benjamin, Giorgio A gamben, and Alain Badiou. The second chapter discusses Joseph Nostromo as a text representative of the first stage of modernism the negative dialectic of history on the verge of catastrophe. The third chapter focuses on the second stage of moderni sm To the Lighthouse and The Waves reveal the material, gendered and liminal nature of
7 the state of suspension. The idea of the female caught up in the dialectic of power and weakness resurfaces in the The Plumed Serpent which draws the dissertation into the third stage of modernism the temptation to fascism. In a totalizing move, the text desires the actualization of its deferred messianism, falling into a proto fasci st tendency to obscure its own utopian event and Ulysses initiates the last stage of modernism radical experimentation. This chapter looks at the negative dialectic of weak messi experiment that gives form to the impossibility of naming the love event, lest one should betray it.
8 CHAPTER 1 MODERNISM AND MESSIA NIC UTOPIA: THE DIAL ECTIC OF LAW AND JUS TICE he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the pas t. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing in from Paradi se; it has got caught in his wings with such a violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call p rogress. Walter Benjamin, On the Concept of History This introductory chapter sets up the theoretical framework for my discussion of modernism under the sign of utopian messianism. As a starting point, I consider the dialectic between the imminent emerg ence of the messianic and its deferred actualization, and the way this state of suspension drives the modernist project of the British novel at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century. I argue that, throughout four form s of expression negative dialectic, reform, proto fascism, and radical experimentation the modernisms of Joseph Conrad, D. H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf and James Joyce bear the mark of messianic deferral. In various ways throughout my chapters, I posit tha t the modernist movement is bound up with a sense of its necessary failure, which, however, bears the potential for its success. modernism are not successes but failures, catast rophes that dereify the institutions they represent and maintain the promise of messianic rebirth in their quest for the New, while also sharing complicit ideologies with their systems of production. I look at the way modernity becomes the site of catastro phe, as it mirrors the double striving of
9 reestablishment the messianic as a positive form, but also as something imperfect and incomplete the not yet, a negative space which turns out to hold the only potential for the messianic. This vacuum becomes the site of the messianic, the new, but also, in its infinite deferral and radical suspension of the law of the old tradition, it becomes the site of anarchic, antinomian, nihilistic impulse. The radical new can irrupt without warning, revolutionary and restorative, but, as a negative category, it is stuck in the gap of its own impossibility: of imagining Utopia, of the failure of its representation, of the new that can only come through the se izure of the ruin. From the very beginning, I would like to establish the importance of Walter and will, be found in various forms in the works of other theoreticians, as elaborated later in the chapter, his secular messianism is foundational to my understanding of modernism and my subsequent readings of the literature. Principally, I note that there is a theological dialectic between weakness and power at the core of t he Benjaminian Scholem, Jacques Derrida, and Giorgio Agamben note the theological in Benjamin. Ju daism, and on the other, to deconstruct modernity, revealing its illusion of progress beyond reason. His early essays on language refer to something mystical, obscure, and in reconstructing myth, he uses concepts almost beyond rational criticism. Because myth for Benjamin functions both politically and theologically, communities are built on
10 its structures of belief, and thus, myth acquires redemptive power. For Benjamin, in a neo romantic turn, the deconstruction of myth is the deconstruction of human existence, contribution to Marxist dialectic, and a paradoxical endeavor in itself, is his attempt to find a way to save Marxist dialectics from secularism. Thus, his writings are condensations of the paradoxes of modernism, with its strands of the avant garde, the socially progressive, the ultra democratic, the secular, but also the anti enlightenment Though not a religious thinker himself, Benjamin uses theology to recharge secular Marxism with mythic redemptive power. with identifying a true state of emergency in the political moment, in which the government declares suspension of the law due to political cris is. Thus, radical means of power come into use, without parliamentary approval. In a time of the secular deus ex machina, theology plays the erstwhile role of God, with its possibility of divine intervention (as in Biblical times the angel of God would int ervene without mediation, enacting justice, with no other rules). In modern times, secularization takes the place of providence. However, as Carl Schmitt, from whom Benjamin derived his theory of the state of emergency notes, the secular is empty, and the divine power of intervention is transferred onto the political sovereignty. According to Schmitt, dictatorship is a political theology involves the idea of justice. The real in the state of emergency is not a
11 commitment to power, but to the victims of history. It does not consider the power of the sovereign. Benjamin considers the modern subjectivity of the alienated individual, whose empty, homogenous being stakes his or her hopes on the illusion of progress. A community that preserves the singularity of the individual through struggle and tension places the subject in relation to the Other, thus defining the individual not through singularity, but the endless dialectic of th e other. The modern nation is a corrupt from of community. Though indicting progress for its oppressive, violent, and manipulative control, Benjamin redeems a certain dimension of the machine, that which can bring prosperity without oppression and violenc e, by changing the logic from repressive to progressive. A reader of inverted forms, Benjamin proposes that, for progress to serve the good, it must be brought into a dialectical standstill first. One of the ultimate goals of the standstill is to overcome homogenous time and create a new order that measures time organically, similar to the Jewish calendar, full of events marking the suffering of the nation and its subjectivity. Thus, Benjamin proposes a timetable structured on the national subconscious the end goal of the revolution. between eros and thanatos pleasure and catastrophe. Though it ends the history of progress, the messianic expresses not a will to death, but rather the desire of the the repressed, Benjamin notes that in its search for happiness, human life returns to a pre life form where pleasure disappears. The struct ure realizes itself in life through the suspension of pleasure in trauma. Politically, this structure of trauma results in a nihilism
12 that can only be challenged by the messianic, that which is outside the law, the end of politics, since messianism marks t he end of history. Messianism is thus a theological, not a political moment, and so the messianic ends the structure of the political and its selfish, narcissistic pleasure, which takes the forms of nationalism and patriotism. e is bound up with his discourse of messianism, and both are discourses of absence, rather than happiness. There is no positive search for happiness in Benjamin. It is always expressed in the negative, and there is a tragic dimension to it. His term for mi sfortune, Ungluck has the tonality of the not yet, the negation of happiness, though not outright catastrophe. There is always a potential, but always in the negative. Its power is that which remains unrevealed. The messianic not yet is also connected wit h the imminent but deferred coming of the Jewish Messiah, a messianic moment in the negative, bound up with the suspension of possibilities of the profane order. It is also the messianic structure of modernity (best illustrated by Waiting for Godo t ), the site of disappearance, of critique of representation, of the not yet at the intersection between questions of aesthetic and politics, exactly where I situate my literary readings in the rest of this project. state of emergency in the political moment, when the law is suspended in the moment of crisis. His is a secular theology that allows, however, for the possibility of quasi human history in the times of th Political suspension: even though the messianic marks the end, and not the goal, of history, the profane order strives for the state of exce ption of the messianic that is, for the irruption
13 justice. However, against the background of a weak and corrupt system of parliamentary power, the suspension of that order can be also appropriated by a dictatorship (i.e., fascism) that invokes the same nostalgia as a return path to justice. As Jameson points out in Marxism and Form however, the religious nostalgia inherent in of nostalgia generally associated with fascism. community might appear to share similariti es with fascist nostalgia. However, in Benjamin the leap is not to something that existed in the past, to a community that can be reconstructed, but to a past potential that was never fulfilled and whose utopian projection anticipates that future fulfillme nt. Certain patterns of this past potential are preserved in the structures of the theological myth (the appeal to which constitutes a critique of Enlightenment and rationalism as well), which, if rescued, could correct forms of injustice and deconstruct t he repressive orders forged by the religious and the political. Thus, theology bears the power of resistance that could be activated through sacred time casts the future a s the gate through which Messiah might enter at any point. Thus, the idea is not that of a nostalgic return (which is, after all, impossible, and the residue of a Romantic myth of original unity that results in the dialectic of the Enlightenment), but that of redemption, which bears the structure of the rupture and the split enacted by the Fall; it is within this very tradition of suffering that Benjamin anticipates a messianic kingdom that does not attempt to reenact the original
14 paradisiacal fantasy, but rather, to allow the opening for the secular intervention at the Angelus Novus of On the Concept of History functions as a link between past and present, in its of history.) This theological structure, which for Scholem remains exclusively mystical and Jewish, for Benjamin turns into a negative philosophy of messianic nihilism with theological dimensions, that revolves around the return of the repressed (in the structures of trauma, politics of shock, or miracles). In the context of justice that the Judaic traditio to the recuperation of the nihilistic structures embedded in Judaism. the fragment as a potential utopian site. In this respect, The Origin of German Tragic Drama theological and the political in Benjamin: on one hand, the Angelus Novus is carried Fall, seemingly with no prospect of return; on the other, replacement of the theological miracle that has the power to suspend the law. indeterminacy between anomie and law, in which the sphere of creatures and the juridical order are caught up in a single ca State 57), I make the distinction between two kinds of states of exception in modernity. On one hand, Benjamin has in
15 his purview the development of the fascist state of exception; on the other, he urges the attainment of an appropriate concept [ wirklich State 57) the kind of exception that brings the machinery of the system to a stop, an interruption. At the intersection between the two, modernity becomes an empty loc us of transcendence, catastrophe, but also of opening. Origin 16) that can easily turn into martyr, the new historical epoch can only be brought about through the suspension of the law and the abolition of state power, the agent of this change being revolutionary violence. In this case, messianic time takes the form of the state of exception, when law enters into perpetual suspension. In The Messianic Idea in Judaism, Gershom Scholem discus ses the anarchic element in the nature of Messianic utopianism, found in tension with the laws of unredeemed world. On one hand, messianism announces the completion and perfection of the law in a perfectly redeemed world; on the other, perfection cannot find expression in the law of the unredeemed world. Consequently, though the law is perceived to be perfect in its ultimate realization in the Messianic future, that plen itude is only possible in the not yet of the utopian messianic horizon. I further expand on the dialectical tension between law and justice in the context of understanding of this dialectic. On a larger scale, law will be posited as that which is the ruler as a god figure who remakes the order and the law of the secular order by having recourse to
16 divine preroga posited in its Benjaminian aspect as the path of escape (divine justice as divine violence), as that which does not presume to create a new order or system, does not draw upon a pol itical legacy or tradition, and which deconstructs in order to create a new moment, rather than a new system. I am thus interested in modernism as the attempt to institute a moment of exception in which justice suspends the functional order of the law, whi le maintaining, rather than annihilating, the ultimate perfection of the law in that utopian dimension of the future, the not der. This moment institutes the divine, Messianic order (in the Benjaminian context in which Political by messianism That is, nihilism as suspension of the Self (state, nation, law, order) in the interest of the Other (justice, Messiah); nihilism as the Messianic moment, yet in its negative aspect, as the suspension of the political order, but with a theolo gical structure; nihilism as traumatic, yet as a path of redemption (escaping from law into justice); nihilism as the mark of a theological crisis (in the sense in which the Jewish moment itself is nihilistic, since Judaism encrypts its own site of resista nce and negation); nihilism as the not yet moment of modernism. In a larger scope, the law/justice tension as the site of Messianic nihilism (or Messianic antinomianism) tells the story of modernism as not only a pure question of art but of politics and th eology, of the moment when the anarchic element enters Messianic utopianism.
17 I am using the theoretical texts below as a framework that articulates a particular through fra gmentariness, repetition, failure, and ruin. More specifically, I am using sovereign power, to draw out the implications of the suspension of the law and the inclusion /exclusion of sovereignty from the realm of law. As an ambiguous space of resistance, the state of exception employs the law in order to suspend it marking, in the name of necessity, the emptiness of the force of law, which brings the juridical to a stands till, where law is neither executed nor transgressed, where the sovereign power is revealed to stand on weakness and the impossibility to decide, and where the machine of state power is unmasked to the core of its empty center. The anomie of this condition opens up the space for catastrophe, which can very well turn out to be also the passage through which the Messiah might enter after the deactivation of the law. The Messianic itself becomes an aporetic space in modernism: the transcendental trapped in imm anence gives way to a new, secularized transcendence, developing in the space of interruption left behind in the vacuum of an absolute no longer localizable in the beyond. This vacuum becomes the site of the Messianic, the new, but also, in its infinite de ferral and radical suspension of the law of the old tradition, it becomes the site of anarchic, antinomian, nihilistic impulse. The radical new can irrupt without warning, revolutionary and restorative, but, as a negative category, it is stuck in the gap o f its own impossibility: of imagining Utopia, of the failure of its representation, of the new that can only come through the seizure of the ruin finally, of the affirmation of Messianic utopia as a place promesse de bonheur that
18 marks both its crisis and its potential, both identified with nihilism and with the inverted dimension of messianism. By looking at modernism as a state of exception, I approach specific literary texts that develop this vein, I show that, far from merely debilitating, the freedom that arises from the transgression of the law becomes the site of justice opening toward the properly political gesture of the modern messianism. Radical no less than violent, pure withdrawal moves toward a politics that opens up a new space outside the hegemonic order of the law, preparing the stage for the formation of a new passage to justice. In continuing this project, I look at my object of study in light of the fact that the difficulty of imagining the New in this moment is the of for Benjamin already. In State of Exception Giorgio Agamben uses the same concept to discuss a cen tral problem shared by modernist art and politics: that of the state of exception as a state of anomie in the law, manipulated by the sovereign power to make possible the regulation of the real. The state of exception is also, conversely, a kenomatic place of standstill whose ambiguous content marked by a juridical void makes possible the space of resistance where the force of law becomes a force of law marking the suspension of the juridical that makes possible the eruption of revolutionary time, or the t ime of justice. Marking the limit between democracy and absolutism, the suspension of the juridical in the name of necessity, of exception, inaugurates the democratic revolutionary tradition, and with it, the creation of the modernist state. In
19 taking up A resistance, I am attempting to frame a certain reading of modernism (prevalent in exception gets to the c ore of the project of modernism: the dialectic between law and will be useful to help me articulate a broader understanding of the modernist British novel at a parti cular historical juncture: in the years immediately before and after the mark of a real state of emergency in the political moment, akin to the suspension of law in a period of crisis. In The Origin of German Tragic Drama the secular is simultaneously empty and sacred, because sacrality and divinity have been transferred onto sovereignty. n, is bound up with the imminence of revolution as expressed by the state of suspension as messianic standstill. My dissertation takes this anomie as its starting point: the dialectic between the imminent emergence of utopia and its deferred actualization into suspension, and the way it drives the modernist project of the British novel at the end of the nineteenth catastrophe, modernism could be read as a state of exception mark ed by the impossibility to decide, which has to defer the miracle of the messianic, of justice, and to foreground the law to cover up what the state of exception threatens to reveal. The Arcanum imperii to borrow the term from Agamben the fiction that gov erns the ark of
20 power masks the fact that the secular sovereign occupies essentially an empty space and runs a machine with an empty center. State of Exception and Homo Sacer violence, sovereignty and exception to the political project of modernism. Homo Sacer lays the groundwork for an understanding of modernity as constituted at the intersection between law and the sovereign power, which results in a double bind in modern power that of subjectivization and totalizatio n, which is ultimately rendered as biopolitical power that produces both law and its subjects. Exception is the element in Critique of violence posits and preserves the law, and the necessary third to break the divine violence poses the law. Agamben returns to a consideration of the theological element of power and violence in the figures of exception of the homo sacer and the sovereign, who are both excepted from sacred and profane life and from natural and juridical order. Thus, modern politics itself is caught in this double bind, where totalitarian states politicize the bare life within the biological body of every huma n being. trajectory of my argument, which claims that modernism is the site of resistance and commitment, ultimately the definition of the political a realm of condensed pow er, a site of change, which recalls the past theological patterns into the secular present. This ability to alienate, found at the origin of the theological political in modernism, turns upon the dialectic between violence and radical pacifism. It also dec onstructs the powerless structures of liberal democracy that cannot work for justice, but only toward
21 maintaining an illusion of order, repressive and void of libido and desire for power. Thus, in Benjamin, the discourse of justice is nihilistic because it does away with the law, though not in the guise of simple anarchism, which presupposes the disappearance of the law, but in a nihilism of the messianic, which suspends the law. Both totalitarian sovereignty and the liberal democratic state are mere parodi c mimicries of this suspension of the law, because at their core lies the paralytic trope of impotence. Both liberalism and totalitarianism reduce the question of justice to law, disregarding its s baroque sovereign embodies the state of exception in its impossibility to decide, which becomes the space of catastrophe rather than that of the miracle of the messianic. However, the anomie of the state of exception opens up the passage to justice after the deactivation of the law. It also opens up the space for a discussion of the state of exception as a revolutionary time, because it reveals the fiction of sovereign power as an essentially empty space in (Agamben State 86). The same problematic of sovereign exception as catastrophe is taken up in abilities though here the messianic element is foregrounded in the presentation of the cat justice. Caught in the historical bind of secularization, the sovereign of the mourning play is rendered impotent by the hopeless d eferral of the mourning play trial, a dramatic of exception become the secular marks of messianism in the baroque, as the
22 interruption/suspension of the decision opens up the only space with messianic potential. Modernity mirrors the double striving of the baroque: to be recognized as a process of restoration and reestablishment (the messianic in its positive) but also as something imperfect and incomplete (the not yet a negative space which turns out to hold the only potential for the messianic). The shape of modernity is, thus, both restorative and utopian. In its structure we an Unde conservative (preservation of the law), restorative (recreation of ideal past conditions), and utopian (vision of a future which has not yet existed) the latter two form an interesting rel ationship with each other, because there exists no harmony between the restorative and utopian factors. Each contains the other in some measure: the completely new order has elements of the old order, while the old order of the past is transfigured by the utopian ideal. Thus, apocalyptic thinking contains both dread and consolation. The lack of transition from history to redemption is emphasized: no progress in history leads to redemption; rather, history perishes, transformed in ruin, when transcendence br eaks in upon it. The messianic order turns from a restorative conception of the reign of law to a utopian view in which restriction is replaced by the unpredictability of free fulfillment. Scholem describes messianism as the intrusion of a new dimension of the present redemption into history, which enters into a problematic relation with tradition. Messianism is not a continuation of the law, but comes from a different source that posits that, in the time to come, the Messiah will dissolve the law and allow the forbidden.
23 e, which would destroy the law, to mythical violence (Greek), which would install and preserve the law. foundations. Founding violence appears savage because it cannot be justified by any preexisting legality. On the other hand, the critique of founding violence is made difficult by the fact that it cannot be summoned to appear before the institution of any preexisting law: it does not recognize existing law in the moment that it founds another. Between these two limits, there is the question of the ungraspable revolutionary instant, of the exceptional decision that belongs to no historical, temporal continuum, but in which the foundation of the new law nevertheless plays o n something from an anterior law that it extends, radicalizes, deforms, metaphorizes. To the violence of Greek mythos decidable, revolutionary, yet it does not lend it self to human determination, knowledge, or decidable certainty; it is not known in itself, but only in its effects. The theoretical consequences of this philosophy reverberate in contemporary theory as well. In The Modernist Papers, Jameson pursues the con sequences of for the absolute as utopia. He starts from the premise that the canonized works of classical modernism are not successes but failures e valuation consists in the fact that they make possible the dereification of the institutions
24 the emergence of the New. The crisis of modernity enacted by the fact tha t the utopian dimension of literary or cultural work can never be separated from its ideological existence and its complicity with the production system retains the conviction that the New is still possible and imminent, in a veritable Benjaminian approach to the lenses of catastrophe and its renewed promise of messianic rebirth, while also factoring in the ideological complicity of the work of art within the system of production. commitment to radical Novum in A Singular Modernity where in fact he defines modernity its elf as utopian since conception, given that modernity emerges as a temporality in the present, modernity both configures and distorts the utopian standing of modernity continues along the path traced by Benjamin i.e., that of modernism as a negative process, a fuite en avant rendered in conditions of capitalism. F rom this perspective, the backward glance perceives modernism in negative categories, the only ones available to describe it: as content subsisting in the work in its canceled or overwritten, modified, inverted or negated form; as disorientation, disintegr ation of the familiar, fragmentation, annihilation, dislocation,
25 alienation; or, in Adornian terms, as a taboo gesture rather than one of discovery or innovation ( A Singular Modernity dialectic of the stan dstill, the messianic, or inverted forms, rejects modernist art movements and their obsession with the aesthetic and proposes an art of intervention, whose structures of power are theological, whose revolutionary violence goes beyond the law, though, in es sence, whose fantasy of redemption is not paradisiacal, but secular and profane. (Jameson Pos tmodernism X). As Jameson argues in Postmodernism, Or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism this is a period in which the necessity for the reinvention of utopia in contemporary politics is also associated with the awareness that utopian visions are not themselves a politics and that a genuine avant garde movement is imagining ut opia in terms of limits, restrictions and repressions that gesture at the most testify to the ways a culture contains its movement toward transcendence. But such limits are concr ete and articulated in the great Utopian visions: they do not become visible except in the desperate attempt to imagine something else a process that of the production of representations and the fullness of detail afforded by every representation Thus, the modernist movement is bound up with a sense of its
26 necessary failure that bears the potential for its new success and tri Fables of Aggression, Jameson takes up the concept of fragmentation as site of failure and possibility by pointing to the fragmentation generated by the psychic division of labor as an aspect of modernism that both reflects and reinforces the commodification of the psyche as its basic precondition. This is a reification that various modernisms also seek to overcome through the invention and exploration of new utopian experiences. Slavoj Zizek also treats the problem of the law in The Parallax View By political parallax, Zizek understands the parallax gap between law and its superego obscene supplement. The parallax gap is not the polar opposition of two p impossible to conceive from the standpoint of nihilism. The moderns cannot enter the dialectic of law and its transgression. Its promise to restructure the patterns of freedom emerging from the Fall, and not merely subvert or destroy them, is the messianic revolutionary promise. The messianic revolutionary moment emerges, thus, in the very
27 Zizek proposes passive aggression as the properly political gesture that is, the violence of the gesture of pure refusal gesture of interruption or suspension of the actual order: the parallax shift is the gesture expressed as a position of power. Thus, Zizek connects the messianic moment gesture is what remains of the supplement of In light of this historical and theoretical progression of my argument, I outline here the applications to literature in the rest of this project. In the first chapter, I look at Nostromo history, at the point of catastrophe, turns into a form of messianic weakness when Gould, inhabiting the role of the sovereign in a simulacrum state of exception -the revolution -reinstates the norm. I argue that although revolutions fail repeatedly in Nostromo order fail spectacularly when they succeed. It is at the intersection between failure and success that a utopian vision in the negative develops in Nostromo and it consists of the moment of standstill, before it is engulfed in the failure of its success. I argue that, at the critical moment when Ch arles Gould is prepared to blow up the mine rather than surrender it to Montero, the revolutionary moment presents itself in its potentiality. The destruction of the mine could bring economic and imperial progress to a halt. The
28 messianic arrest of this ge sture, however, is thwarted. I argue that the real catastrophe (but also the messianic potential) is the continuum of history. Progress maintains the status quo; status quo is catastrophe. Along with Benjamin, Conrad seems to argue that progress consists i n interferences rather than continuity, and I argue that messianism is necessarily tied to a conception of history as discontinuity. The second chapter focuses on the second stage of modernism, reform, in three To the Lighthouse and The Waves. Starting with To the Lighthouse I delve into the implications of reading gender as a modernist state of exception, and complicate this idea in in the context of the female as the homo sacer of moderni sm. Th e Waves brings these two strands together in a complex presentation of modernism as messianic event, transcending the issue of gender in the loss of the self. To the Lighthouse deals with the emergence of the New resulting from the messianic change. This latter concept is the messianic, undergoing a revolution in the production of the Novum, yet remaining seemingly unchanged. The deferred messianic is well illustrated by the three parts of To the Lighthouse I view the second part as a contracted moment that recapitulates the p ast and also contains the In the break with masculine trad ition necessitates a female tradition of writing, which takes us back to the idea of a community of homo sacer who
29 pose a challenge to the establishment that confines them to the Void. The challenge is that of the modernist New: to invent a female form of writing that reflects its material regimes blur the limit between inclusion/exclusion in regards to women and rely on the female as homo sacer for the foundation of their patriarchal regime, one way to escape gender politicization for Woolf is to do away with gender distinction. The androgynous figure punches a hole in the law, ins tilling a state of interruption, and thus opening the path to justice and Utopia through a new aesthetic of the novel. In The Waves, I look at the dialectic between success and failure, power and weakness, particularly as manifested in the concept of the m is an illustration of failure, weakness, the breakdown of the human being into death the ultimate failure of life, as the ultimate opening into grace, potentiality, and the New. Utter impotence in death becomes ultimate potentiality in its conserved force. The idea of the female caught up in the dialectic of power and weakness The Plumed Serpent which draws us into the third stage of modernism the tempt ation to fascism. Lawrence is preoccupied with femininity in its mystical and abject dimensions. Female abjection connects the catastrophic utopia of the feminine in modernity to messianism, at the center of which lies the female as void, kenoma vision of a national Mexican utopia, and ultimately of a cosmic one, is apparently
30 premised upon a revolution of the sexual dynamic between the sexes, which should ultimately culminate in sexual intercourse as the archetypal union between ancient fails to achieve its messianic potential. Since the mystery of the new religion is very directly related to the dark blood of male sexuality and female submission, the emergence of the New as fascist tendency to obscure the event and turn it into a simulacrum. Thus, his intended redemptive messianic subjectivity falls into Ulysses continues the idea of the n process, but it also initiates us into the last stage of modernism, radical experimentation. In Pursuits of Happiness that an event is necessarily missed the first time because it is too traumatic. I read encounter with Bloom and subsequent marriage as her love event, asserted through repetitio messianic mark in its deferred commitment to marriage, gesturing at the possibility of moral or spiritual revelation through her attempt at maintaining fidelity to the love event. as Cavell writes that the only true marriage is the second marriage to the same person. naming the event. By being named, the event attains a certain efficacity and presence, but this intervention splits the event in two: on one hand, in the tendency to
31 yes result ed in marriage); on the other hand, to resist legitimacy in order to maintain the charisma and the original creative impulse of the event. This reappropriation of the love event gestures toward a weak messianism. The dissertation argues for a utopian drive in canonical modernism that keeps in balance catastrophe and messianism, success and failure a dialectic that explains not just the nature of modernity but also the reopening of the modernist project in postmodern British literature.
32 CHAPTER 2 HISTORY IN RUINS: READING JO NOSTROMO The dread and peril of the End form an element of shock and the shocking which induces extravagance. This catastrophic character of redemption, which is essential to the apocalyptical conception, is picture d in all these texts and traditions in glaring images: in world wars and revolutions, in epidemics, famine, and economic catastrophe; but to an equal degree in apostasy and the desecration of God's name, in the forgetting of the Torah and the upsetting of all moral order to the point of dissolving the laws of nature. Gershom Scholem, The Messianic Idea in Judaism Nostromo in relation to The Origin of German Tragic Dra ma In this latter text, the primary representation of history in the baroque (during the Counter Reformation, 1545 1648) is that of sovereignty. Insofar as Conrad uses the figure of Gould and his silver mine as representations of imperial sovereignty, I a rgue that Nostromo is an effect of incipent modernism born under the mark of a state of emergency. At the intersection between revolutionary failure and capitalist success, a utopian vision in the negative develops in Nostromo creating a state of suspensi on a sign of the authenticity of the missed opportunity. Though the continuum of history marks the catastrophic failure of messianism, progress is the imperial impulse that drives the engine of history toward rrative of periodization of modernism into its first modality, that of the negative dialectic of messianism. The modernism of Nostromo involves discussions of sovereignty, imperialism and exception, as well as what happens when the old passes into the new and history is unable to make that transition. In The Origin of German Tragic Drama, Benjamin views the nature of sovereignty through the pattern of the naturalistic rise and fall of history, eber notes. Weber also
33 Nostromo ) hinge the point at which it encounters the other, the ex Nostromo does not quite complete this passing because, as Benjamin shows in The Origin of German Tragic Drama ultimately, history is a repetitive process whose rising and falling, patterned on the nature of fallen creation, does no t culminate in a redemptive interruption. one who decides on the state of exception. State of exception is not any state of emergency, danger or threat, but most specifically a threat to the survival of the state. Sovereignty thus decides upon the state of exception in two ways: that a state of exception exists and that the state of law previously in force must be suspended so that the state may survive the threat of the state of exception. This act of determining the legal limits of the state constitutes the power of political sovereignty, according to Schmitt. The state and its survival is posited as superior to the law, and the state suspends the law in the name of self pres ervation. The aporia consists in the fact that in order for the state to suspend its laws, it must appeal to the norms constituting it, in order to justify its decision. In breaking with the norm and separating what belongs and what does not belong to the norm, the authentic decision acts as exception. It does not belong either to chaos or anarchy, nor to legal status. The paradox is that the state, the basis of law and order, is constituted by a premise that evades considerations of law and order. The sove reign, however, is he who is able to reappropriate exception within the norm.
34 In The Origin of German Tragic Drama, Insofar as his gold mine makes history in Sulaco, Charles Gould is akin to the sovereign. He has the ability to initiate a potential state of suspension of the status quo of Costaguana when he contemplates the blowing up of the San Tom mine. That moment has the attribut es of decision as a pure act. It would suspend the norm, were it not reappropriated by it. Ultimately, Gould chooses to go on with his simulacrum revolution, whose aim is to strengthen his hold on the mine rather than annihilate it. to institute law and order in Costaguana through the agency of the mine makes the mine into a legal and economic instrument of the land. The potential explosion of the mine and the Costaguanera revolution become the polar opposites of history as catastroph e or redemption. As sovereign, Gould has the power of decision: to blow up the mine and to institute a state of exception by suspending the r 12), and replacing it with a simulacrum of interruption the revolution that strengthens the imperialist hold on Costaguana. The messianic potential vision of the es chatological in The Origin of German Tragic Drama The simulacrum utopia of prosperity, law and order that follows in the wake of the Costaguanera revolution gives way to catastrophe. This chapter reads history in Nostromo at the point of catastrophe turni ng into a form of messianic weakness, with Gould inhabiting the role of the sovereign whose simulacrum state of exception, the revolution, reinstates the norm.
35 Benjamin compares the exclusion of transcendence in the baroque with the exclusion of the state of exception by the sovereign. In excluding transcendence (akin to a religious state of exception), the sovereign consigns himself to a state of malfunction. Trapped in immanence, he is nothing more than a creature lording over other similar creatures. He no longer transcends the state, as God transcends creation. Nature, the other face of history, is for the baroque the state of exception. Refuge in nature is thus a temporary solution to the loss of the eschatological. It is this secularization that becom es the permanent state of exception. The sovereign is caught in the aporia between his status as a rule and his incapacity to rule, his inability to make a decision and proclaim a state of emergency to seek control over the interruption of history brought about by the displacement of the transcendental. Incapable of making a decision, he gathers more power to himself, tottering between becoming a tyrant or a martyr. The sovereign falls victim to the disproportion between the unlimited power inherent in his status and the limitations of his status as a creature. The splitting of the sovereign caused by secularization is completed by the third figure of the plotter, the Intrigant Nostromo is just such a figure. the fact that within a world that has lost its transcendence, exception becomes that transcendence; the suspension of law is the path to justice and the opening for the Messiah. Instead of seeing the moment of suspension as a threat to be redressed, as do es Schmitt, Benjamin sees it as the instance to be preserved and used for revolution. Immanence itself becomes a kind of transcendence while the latter, emptied of all representation and thus denied, goes in the repressive mode from which it emerges even m ore powerfully.
36 In the baroque, the sovereign is not governed by his conscious decisions and intentions but is buffeted, from one extreme to the other, by forces independent of him. The unpredictable shifts determine the plot of The Origin of German Trag ic Drama revolutions without redemption, similar to this idea of the standstill. The standstill is the place of interruption and suspension, itself akin to a utopia or revolution, though in the negative. The Gould silver holds a privileged place in the legal system of Costaguana. The silver is endowed with the power to institute the law of material interests which, like every law, ; it is without rectitude, without the The determinism of the law seems embodied almost mystically in the San Tom mine and its silver, beginning with the curse Gould invokes to exp and his own intricate involvement with the mine. conflict is (112). Arnold. E. Davidson points out the fatalistic law at work in the trajectories of most characters Nostromo, Gould, Decoud, Linda, Emilia, Hirsch who run into the very fate they are trying to escape. The dialectical relationship between law and justice is revealed in the fact that the existence of the law must precede that of justice, and the two are intrinsically bound. Law is involved in the deconstruction of the self. Those held in the power of the silver undergo a splitting of the self, but it is in this very fragmentation that justice emerges as a possibil ity. Ursula Lord argues that with the
37 reversed process of identity. He starts off as fully integrated in his community. He disintegrates as a self when he awakens from his metaphoric slumber, under the weight of the law of the silver. Decoud, Gould and Nostromo all have a hidden side, and they are split, schizophrenic, as Helen Funk Riese lbach also notes. In fact, Gould fashions his identity in terms of the law of the silver as well. As the possessor of the silver and Hernandez in the realm of the campo of their actions become interchangeable, e xposing lawlessness as the exception at the core of the law. Conrad does not advocate political revolution in the conventional sense, but rather calls for a suspension of action, law and order and the institution of a state of exception the standstill. Opp ressive history ends in a moment of radical rupture akin to a negative transcendence. For Benjamin, although the eschatological is denied and ignored, the return of the repressed happens in the form of the standstill. Revolutions repeatedly fail in Nostrom o plans for law and order fail most spectacularly when they succeed. It is at the intersection between failure and success that a utopian vision in the negative develops in Nostromo and it consists of the moment of standstill, before it is engulfed by the failure of what appears to be its success. I am referring here to the critical moment when Charles Gould is prepared to blow up the mine rather than surrender it to Montero. The revolutionary momen t presents itself in its potentiality when the
38 prepared, if need be, to blow up the whole San Tom mountain sky high out of the hat moment concentrates a number of realizations regarding the importance of the mine and its wealth for all those involved in edged with the (Conrad 403). For Nostromo, the wealth of the mine has the same hypnotic power he persevere, and will curse the day he ever heard of it, and will let his last hour come e is dead and even then 366). All these encounters with the silver result in failure, paradoxically because each attempt at appropriating the wealth of the mine succeeds. The idea of circularity evident in the rise and fall of endless revolutio ns reappears in the idea of progress as well. For Benjamin progress is the eternal return of the perpetual catastrophe of human existence. The standstill of the utopian image is the only way to counteract this cycle. To understand history as progress is to conform to the and order ensure the chronological development of history toward a peak of achievement and success. This understanding of history enables the ruling clas ses to perpetuate the myth of progress and improvement, while continuing exploitation.
39 The notion of catastrophe is integral to the purpose of the mine in the narrative. From the beginning, the mine is identified with an ill omened treasure that destroys Theses on the Philosophy of History the progress of history amounts to a catastrophe that piles wreckage upon wreckage, as a result of the failure to abandon the tradition of the oppressed. The single catastrophe of history is captured in the image of the pile of debris reaching to the sky and then being blown away toward the future by the wind of progress. The wings of the angel of hi story, Angelus Novus, are notoriously entangled and immobilized in the debris. This same catastrop he concentrates a weak messianic power akin to the messianic conception of the present as now time. The tradition of the oppressed, the dead and the broken, as well as the tradition of failed revolutions, has the potential to develop a new concept of histo ry. This is where the Gould Concession steps into the history of oppression of i n materialism is followed by disaster. Disillusioned, Charles Gould describes the mine 294). His deception consists in insisting on pairing two distinct categories justic e and material interests in an inextricable link: Anyone can declaim about these things, but I pin my faith to material interests. Only let the material interests once get a firm footing, and they are bound to impose the conditions on which alone they can continue to exist. making is justified here in the face of lawlessness
40 and disorder. It is justified because the security which demands it must be shared with an oppressed people. A better justice will come afterwards. y of hope. (Conrad 80) Gould attempts in Costaguana his own materialistic revolution of the condition of the oppressed. He views his involvement there as an adventure, a material for profit adventure, but he endows it with revolutionary potential, not in t he least because he is a upbringing, he perceived that he was an adventurer in Costaguana, the descendant of adventurers enlisted in a foreign legion, of men who had sought for tune in a (Conrad 295). Thus, from the beginning his revolutionary ideals are tinged with on these mercenary grounds. He assists in the planning of a revolution that will save and have qualms about founding an idea of justice based on the perpetuation of opp ression of the mozzos pass through the aporetic standstill, is thwarted by the historical pr ogress of capitalism and imperialism. Interestingly, however, the messianic standstill is connected to the mine as the locus of wealth and progress. The revolutionary moment presents itself in its potentiality when Gould could bring progress to a halt by wing a lighted match into the
41 on the mine, Gould loses the chance to gain possession of history by arresting it in its moment of crisis. The moment of danger, the cat astrophe, bears tremendous political potential for the redeemer, he comes as the version, messianism is necessarily tied to a conception of history as discontinuity. The moment of interruption blasts out the continuum of history, the same way the destruction of the San Tom mounta in would finally end the cycle of failed revolutions all begun in the pursuit of the San Tom wealth and present the potential of catastrophe in its messianic inverse. The real catastrophe (but also the messianic potential) is the continuum of history in C maintains the status quo; status quo is catastrophe. In the Arcades Project Benjamin postulates a true concept of progr [N9a,7]. The nineteenth century myth of progress is important to the narrative, and it is tied up with the dynamics of failure and hope As Suresh Raval observes in The Art of Failure in the novel, the forces of history are generated by matter: The novel is the need for technological and scientific advance, but recognizes as well that social historical forces do not harmonize with such advance. In their
42 catastrophic. Thus the vision of hope puts into motion forces that tend to subvert The narrative ends with the reign of stability and progress, yet remains skeptical of this progressive vision of history. Nostromo retains the bitterness of the failure of history e. He is not the bearer of a transcendental role, and neither is history or society. Historical progress is the and inefficacious. On this view matter unfolds its own hi story, and the whole world is (Raval 78). The idea of progress as continuity is revealed in the fact that Gould repeats the ite of state of emergency (which itself marks the discontinuity of history) is the continuum of history. Thus, things continuing on in the the oppressed indicates that th e state of emergency in which we live is not the emergency, which the revolution can produce. The revolution that would bring about the end of history in this real stat e of emergency is the eschatological event. Critics, like messianism seriously or be translated into politics, miss the dialectical aspect of his politics. Tiedemann argues tha even if Benjamin is calling for a secularized version of the messianic age in the
43 In the Arcades Project however, Benjamin insists that one cannot understand history without theology. According to Scholem, whose Jewish theological views shaped tikkun Jewis h messianism, contains both the movements of anarchy/utopia/the radical new and a restorative move of a golden edenic past. Michael Lwy and Rene B. Larrier argue that, when devoid of religion, talgia for past pre revolutionary anarchism. With a hint of romanticism, he feels like an adventurer who harkens to the revolutionary and utopian new. In Jewish messianism, a catastrophe opens the door for the Messiah. In terms of the imagery of catastrophe developed by Benjamin, the storm of progress blows from Paradise. Thus, there appear s to exist a relation between the pile of debris that represents progress (the storm) and Paradise. The further the angel is blown along the path of progress, the higher the pile of ruins that accumulates, and the further it seems to travel away from Parad ise. The catastrophe originating in Paradise is reminiscent of the Kabbalistic eschatology, which announces the Messianic era. Failure and catastrophe concretized in world wars, epidemics, revolutions, apostasy, and the dissolving of the law are the birth pangs of redemption at the moment of irruption of the messianic. The destruction of the mine would play the role of messianic catastrophe in the success with the mine prese nt the kind of catastrophe that prevents the emerging of messianic justice. At the convergence between these two forms of catastrophe lies the
44 dialectical nature of redemption that does not takes place in temporal history, but rather ess cycle of failed revolutions implies that this cycle itself is messianic. The failed revolution also stands at the gate at any moment, like the Messiah. This can be understood in terms of possibilities: each possibility that was missed in the past becom es an opening in the future, precisely because it has failed to find fulfillment. Werner Hamacker notes, Time historical time is nothing but the capability of the possible to find its than the implicit hypothesis of the missed possible that there has to be an instance to correct the miss, to do the undone, to regain the wasted and actualize the has postulate of fulfilability and, in this sense, of redeemability that is immanent in each missed opportunity and distinguishes it as a possibility. (41 2) Thus, the messianic potential springs from the point of missed possibilities and of their demand for fulfillment. But it is a weak power also because it (Hamacker 42). Nostromo stands in a negative dialectical way to its historical and utopian object, in that the failure at its core the silve all the possibilities that remain unfulfilled, point all the more vehemently to the hope embodied in a messianic rearranging, ever so slightly, of the world. Interestingly, the text performs its own fa ilure in its erasure of the potential of the female body in modernity. Emilia, Linda, Giselle, are women whose lovers cheat on them with the silver. Dr. Monygham, for example, is loyal to the mine because it female body and commodity intersect, as Christine Buci Glucksman notes. Silver as courtesan prostitutes itself to different owners, who pay for it with the bodies of their
45 female lovers (all childless). This is the ultimate vengeance of the commodity over the to the limits as dead body, fragmented body petrified Glucksman 249). The Glucksman 250). The female prostitute as fragment is endowed with the same weak messianic f orce contained in the fragmentariness of the modern work of art. The ideology of the fragment undercuts the illusion of historical progress and perfectability of the human being by exposing the corruption and depravity of the human condition. For Benjamin, the Angelus Novus and the pile of ruins increasing with the passing of time. Yet, redemption is the other pole of the continuum of history, next to catastrophe. Th ere is an inherent critique of modernity and its compulsion to repetition under the guise of modernization. Benjamin sees modernization caught in the repetitive structures of r epresentation of the same as new, under the pressure of consumption of commodity in capitalism. The fragment disrupts this cycle and marks the only power of modernity: that of weakness, failure, and brokenness, as a sort of messianic harbinger of redemptio n. catastrophe:
46 genius of the magnificent Capataz de Cargadores dominated the dark gulf containing his conquests of treasure and love (Conrad 444). whose innermost instant falls away proving thus at once irrevocable and impossible, a The silver itself is another such hole, a bearer of failure and unfulfilled hopes. Throughout the narrative the silver is endowed with expectations which it is unable to fulfill. engineer in chief during the revolt. Charles Gould thinks he has no illusions when he that motivates Holroyd that of a simulacrum utopia, brought about by progress bas ed on thriving business: Universe. We shall be giving the word for everything: industry, trade, law, t ake in hand the outlying islands and continents of the earth. We shall run it and neither can we, I guess. (Conrad 77) Along the lines of this vision of success, Gould constructs a notion of false justice for the mine, more akin to the mythic than the messianic: The Gould Concession was symbolic of abstract justice more, in the private budgets of many officials as well. It was traditional. It was known. It was said. It was credible. Every Minister of Interior drew a salary from the San Tom mine. It was natural. (Conrad 322)
47 The gradual corruption brought about by the mine reinforces the idea of d isaster in the wake of progress and natural history marked by catastrophe. If, according to Jameson, Nostromo meditates on History, it does so on a history that encrypts its own the same object of disaster. The couple start on the ruins of the life of the father and reject the hopeful love, which to the most sensible minds appears like triumph o f good over all the It is a prohibition that must be disregarded for the cata strophe to ensue, for in Nostromo prohibition imposed the they predict and eventually achieve. Through this catas trophe, however, the prohibition gives way to the messianic new anticipated by the father in his warning, the meaning of to the ruinous thing, waiting for just some such c hance, and waste my life miserably. That was the true sense of his prohibition (Conrad 72). Prohibition instigates the cycle of trespass, crisis, and messianism. As Hamacker human condition, [refutes] the false semblance of reconciliation in fallen, historical life, in order to appeal all the more imperatively to the ppens capitalism arrives in Sulaco even though it is
48 transindividuality of the institutions it is ne failure applies to the contemplation of History. Jameson argues: Nostromo is thus, ultimately, if you like, no longer a political or historical novel. No longer a realistic representation of history; yet in the ve ry movement in which it represses such content and seeks to demonstrate the impossibility of such representation, by a wondrous dialectical transfer the According to Benjamin, th e structure of allegory is dialectical. It proceeds by way of antitheses. In theological terms, it provides the key to a negative theology whereby fragments of profane life are transformed into emblems of salvation. Emilia Gould has a vision of this when s he sees through the illusion of success of the mine to the disaster veiled beneath it: He was perfect perfect. What more could she have expected? It was a necessities of successful action which carried with it the moral degradation mine possessing, saw herself surviving alone the degradation of her young life, of love, of work all alone in the Treasure House of the World (Conrad 411). ed of mortification. As feminist critics have observed, Emilia Gould perpetuates a vision of imperialist progress through the perfectness of her Victorian womanhood. Nostromo dramatizes the wretched nature of the human attempt at progress and perfectabili ty on several levels. First of all, because as Monygham grimly observes, There is no peace and no rest in the development of material interests. They have their law, and their justice. But is it founded on expediency, and
49 it is inhuman; it is without rect itude, without the continuity and the force that can be found only in a moral principle. Mrs. Gould, the time approaches when all that the Gould Concession stands for shall weigh as heavily upon the people as the barbarism, cruelty, and misrule of a few ye ars back (Conrad 403). Second, because as Gould has to admit eventually, he has both the spirit of a buccaneer and the lawlessness of the indomitable bandit Hernandez. The Origin of German Tragic Drama is seated in the w orld of the fall and of the baseness of human nature, ready to be admitted into the eternal via this very degradation, so is the corruption of the mine a venue and opening a case in point. His metaphoric awakening from the deep slumber of lack of self acabo! Ya acabo! it is of the ill omened bird, the first sound he was to hear on his return, was a fitting welcome Nostromo, a part of his community, a coherent self, disintegrates under the wei ght of his betrayal and becomes a split self another point of messianic potential that is bound up The Origin of German Tragic Drama which dram atizes the depravity of earthly life in order to contrast it to the purity of redemption in the hereafter. Thus, there is a directly proportional relationship between the honesty of the avowal of the baseness of the human condition and its possibility to q ualify for redemption and eternal life. The break between history and salvation is only seemingly absolute. Even the fact that the law of material interests is inhuman and eventually returns to barbarism, cruelty and misrule, is complemented by the fact th at, as Marx points out,
50 capitalism itself turns out to be a revolutionary and anarchic force that pushes towards futility of earthly existence, points towards the complem entary vision of atonement and Treasure House of the World are fragments of negati ve utopia charged with redemptive meaning. The cycle of rise and fall of revolutions and their constant failure in Conrad draws attention to the fact that the utopian value of history in Nostromo is bound up with its fallen state. Sulaco is never lifted o ut of fallen history. For Jameson, s ince the founding act of the new history and society in Sulaco is left to the imagination, the novel becomes profoundly Historical and Utopian. Thus, modernist utopia is largely the result of the disappearance of History in the underground of allegory, as Sara Danius also points out. Revolution fails in Nostromo because redemption is encrypted (allegorized, in The Origin of German Tragic Drama ). The silver occupies a privileged place in this allegory, at the intersection presence and absence to prevent the revolution. It functions in its kenomatic role, as an absence that exerts fascination by the fiction of its power silver as the zero degree of value, value in its deactivation. To live in the messianic time is to put the presence of value under erasure and to activate its absence. The suspension of the law of silver a
51 law of symbolic value absence would be then complete, and would not exert a sick and binding fascination on Gould, Nostromo, and the members of the government. But that would be the end of history, and redemption does not take place in fallen history, though history points towards it. As long as hope is bound to the silver, it prevents the emergence of true kenomatic time that remains. It is the Ideal Act that never materializes and which relegates the Historical in the underground of Allegory, making the novel Utopian. This returns us to the theology of history in The Origin of German Tragic Drama and modernity, to ruin and failure. Another dimension of the allegorical supported by Jameson is the fact that Nostromo e the political in the utopian, and vice versa. For Benjamin, utopia is only discovered in ruins or fragments. Allegorical meaning is reconstructed from fragments s imagined but not performed, remaining in potentiality, allegory exists in the fragments and ruins of language that might arrest the eternal moment in the flow of history. Jameson seems to argue that Nostromo is a recuperative move, where History as absen ce becomes
52 In Theo Political Fragment there are two forces at play in history: the desire for happiness that marks secular time, and which is fulfilled in history, and the messianic order of redemption, which runs counter to the historical. But there is a catastrophic side to redemption as well. It is the catastrophe of the world, in its utter negativity, as perceived from the moment of redempt ion, that gives us an image of its positivity. History is a pile of debris, of the dead and the smashed, and the end of history an opening toward redemption. The continuum of history is that of the oppressors. Revolution as apocalypse triggers the emergenc y brake of the history of oppression. For the oppressed, history progresses on in the time of the victors. The present that bursts out the continuum of history is brought about not by catastrophe (which consists of history going on as is) but by the messi anic event that enters time in order to bring it to a stop. At this moment, time undergoes a standstill and contracts, so that the whole past is contained in that now time, the revolutionary moment. For Benjamin, the meaning of history is best perceived in its wreckages and fractures, especially its messianic meaning, which is revealed in flashes and in unpredictable moments. Since the oppressed wait for redemption and this arrives in the fragmented time of the messianic, history is experienced as discontin uity. Thus, the standstill moment is revolutionary in essence, and fragmentation (modernism) similarly revolutionary in form. The coming of the Messiah is not the telos of history, but its ending. The entire novel works up to the moment of crisis: the re volt in Sulaco. It marks the crisis of modernity the break with the old and the beginning of the new. In the ruins of the failed revolution, Conrad captures this aspect of modernity: the moment it opens to its utopian possibilities is also the moment of c atastrophe. The island is spoiled for
53 feudalism and capitalized. Therefore, it is ripe grounds for catastrophe, crisis, and remarks on the conclusion of Moby Dick apply to the ending of Nostromo as well: In the end, there is no anagnorisis and no fulfilling catharsis, but only a dangerous surplus of crisis. After the shipwreck of the Pequod and after the end of Moby Dick one is left with a world that has become permanen surfaces after the sinking of the Pequod along with regurgitated detritus and ) In The Origin of German Tragic Drama, crisis is associated with the satanic initiation in knowledge. The satanic temptation in The Origin of German Tragic Drama is akin to that of capitalism in Nostromo : the illusion of freedom in the exploration and app ropriation of that which is forbidden; the illusion of independence; and the illusion of infinity in the empty abyss of evil (the gorge of San Tom is a metaphorical abyss of evil). In The Origin of German Tragic Drama, materiality marks the continuum of b oundless spirituality that destroys itself the moment it separates from the sacred. Material interests as the means to achieve law and order fail to achieve justice. The turned into allegory leaps forward to the idea of resurrection. Ultimately, though lacking in utopian fulfillment, the failure of the revolutionary cycle points to it. Gould brings mankind into
54 the Paradise of snakes, the San Tom gorge, where lawlessness meets material then forms the basis of culpable behavior. This knowledge is best revealed in Nostromo who has his awakening as a consequence of the capitalistic law of t he Master instituted by Gould. silver. This idea applies to Nostromo and its intersection between pleasure and work, ccording to which the questions of pleasure and crisis are related. Engaging in pleasure is a way to subvert capital and bring about a crisis, a state of emergency. This is precisely what Nostromo does once he takes possession of the silver so in that sens e at least he enacts a Empire Casarino calls this engagement in pleasure the sphere of non work. Non work produces both joy and crisis in capital (179). In The Origin of German Tragic Drama Satan is at the center of modernity itself. drives are for power of a limitless sort, and this isola tes them from their community. Out of this isolation and drive for material knowledge, they emerge as modern selves which is to say, as illusions. In Benjamin, the emergence of the satanic self turns out to be illusory, because it is caught between the ext remes of absolute spirituality and soulless materiality. Matter and spirit are tied together by the subject who has been promised absolute autonomy, freedom, and infinity claims eroded by doubt in the
55 Reformation period, when redemption through knowledge p roved unattainable. Like the same law by which he sacrifices his wife and the community of Costaguana. In the sense in which Gould contributes to the failure of yet anothe r revolution, he is associated with weak messianic power, which for Benjamin manifests itself in the eternally passing nature of the world. The satanic is the divide between contemplation anic moment when he only contemplates the blowing up of the mine. At the end of the novel, Costaguana has entered a classic state of exception, in which the government has more power and the people fewer rights. Ironically, this is the consequence of the r evolution, which itself becomes a state of exception that justifies a perpetual state of emergency consisting of the expansion of economic and political capitalist powers. Derek Reveron and Jeffrey Stevenson Murer note that, circumstances th and rule making powers are restored to the legislature, many of the instruments of government depicted as roles instituted durin revolution is the state of exception, but it fails to interrupt the status quo and open the path to justice, as Benjamin predicts. The failure of the revolt contains its promise. Arnold Davi dson notes that the groundwork for a new revolution is laid out in the last chapter, seeking to undo precisely what the previous revolution had accomplished. This recalls the fact that capitalism in Costaguana does what Marx predicted of capitalism all alo ng: it acts as a revolutionary
56 novel, but rather further revolution based on class consciousness fueled by capitalist of capitalist social structure depends Nostromo the crisis of the state of exception gives birth to new messianic potentiality. Silver divides and disturbs the status quo much like, as we shall see To the Lighthouse Capitalism destabilizes politics, society, and individuality just like a revolutionary force. It crushes the individual under the goals of production. Even though it seems like Conrad has an avers ion of revolution, Ursula Lord contends that this belief is at odds with the praise of the old Garibaldino. The problem is not revolution per se, but the way power is realigned afterwards. Revolution remains a problematic notion in Nostromo Even for Benj amin, revolution is a form of violence and terrorism. Benjamin is against terror and violence, and his concept of divine violence puts an end to legally sanctioned violence. While enjaminian interruption in the novel, as the opening for the messianic moment, rather than the failed outside historical change in chronological time. According to Anson Rabinach, from the French revolution and the gradualism that seeks to replace one form of state nisms: rejection
57 its not yet characteristic, by its impossibility to be transformed into a clear program of political emancipation. Conrad demystifies progress along the same lines as Benjamin. The storm of progress carries us to a repetition of the past catastrophe the expulsion from paradise. The eviction initiates chronological time, while paradise past and future remains outside temporality. He who attempts to undo a past catastrophe is doomed to repeat it. Rabinach notes that the melancholy of the modern stems from t he fact that the new is in fact eternal sameness. For Lwy, hell is the repetition of the same, in the vein of progress. The moment Gould the son decides to go against the prohibition laid down by the law of the father, he engages in his own catastrophic, yet necessary, cycle for the advancement of the messianic revolution.
58 CHAPTER 3 MODERNISM AND GENDER AS STATES OF EXCEPTI ON: READING VIRGINIA WOOLF The Hassidim tell a story about the world to come that says everything there will be just as it is here. Just as our room is now, so it will be in the world to come; where our baby sleeps now, there too will it sleep in the other world. And the clothes we wear in this worl d, those too we will wear there. Everything will be as it is now, just a little different. Walter Benjamin, Collected Writings Contrary to the apolitical image of her cultivated by the New Critics, Virginia Woolf was a deeply political writer, focusing pa rticularly on the injustices perpetrated against women and the way their lives were regimented in the service of patriarchy and fascist politics. To the Lighthouse 1927, (but also 1929 Three Guineas 1938, and The Waves 1931), parti cularly lends itself to a reading of political modernism as a gendered state of exception. Unlike other studies of modernism and gender, this one links the crisis of gender to the idea of emergency or exception in the context of the crisis of empire. While gender constitutes the case study of the modernist state of exception, it is linked to questions of fascism in politics, the emergence of the New in aesthetics, and the messianic vision of a utopian project inherent in the politics and aesthetics of moder nism itself. This chapter looks at the material, gendered, and liminal nature of the state of suspension, and the disruption the female artist as homo sacer creates within patriarchal law, introducing the second form of modernity reform. ell known reading of To the Lighthouse is among the first, historically, to bring to the fore the problematic that I plan to restate in contemporary theoretical terms: the relation between fascist politics and the emergence of modernism. On one hand, he bl ames the rise of fascism on the apprehensions caused by irruption
59 entrust oneself to a sect which solved all problems with a single formula, whose power of suggestion i mposed solidarity, and which ostracized everything which would not fit in the political problem of the time, paired with the fact that fascism at first made more use of charisma rather than force, led to the crisis that ensured the break with the old order. Against this background, the new ensuing order seemed endowed with messianic and cult ural leveling process is taking place. It is still a long way to a common life of mankind on earth aesthetic go hand in hand, taking the form of a new literature seeking to cap ture an cultural equality that relies on a type of representation that runs count er to the mimetic that of the individual consciousness, whose aesthetic expression is fragmentation. The resulting New cuts across class, gender, and race, but also individuality, subjectivity and identity to achieve a cross section of human life defined n writing. From To the Lighthouse to A Room of and The Waves I argue that her understanding of gender as a moment of crisis that is, as a modernist moment gains in nuance and complexity. Starting with To the Lighthouse I delve into the implications of reading gender as a modernist state of e xception, and complicate this
60 idea in my reading of Th e Waves brings these two strands together in a complex presentation of modernism as messianic event, transcending the i ssue of gender in the loss of the self. To the Lighthouse The second part of To the Lighthouse capturing the dialectic future, arrival. This remainder of time could also be understood as the suspension of exception continu Gewalt in Critique of Violence pure or divine or, in the human sphere, revolutionary violence, which cannot be recognized by means of a decision. For Benjamin, the state of exception is catastrophic, marking eskhaton as an empty end of time that knows neither redemption nor hereafter, but remains immanent to this world. Benjamin resituates the state of exception as no longer the threshold between inside vs. outside or between the anomie vs. juridical context, but rather as a zone of absolute indeterminacy between anomie and law, in which creatures and the juridical order are caught up in a single catastrophe. understanding of law and it s suspension in the moment of resistance or insurrection. Within exception, law becomes that which cannot retain its legal form and employs its own exception the suspension of law itself. At its limit, law reveals its emptiness, its kenomatic state. Ordina rily posited as law, in exception law exceeds its own norms and enters a state of anomie, characterized by the suspension of juridical order,
61 paradoxically still inscribed in the juridical order. Thus, the state of exception is neither internal nor externa l to the juridical, but caught in a zone of indifference where inside/outside do not exclude each other, but rather become blurred. Such a paradox is justified by the law of necessity, which justifies transgression by means of exception and makes licit tha t which, under the law, was previously not licit (through special dispensation not subject to the law). The state of exception ensues when a particular case is released from the observance and the literal application of the law and becomes judged by its ve ry particularity. No longer exception, necessity becomes the ultimate ground of the law. From the point of view of the extrajuridical posed by these new norms, juridical order is preserved even at the moment of its violation. The principle of necessity is thus revolutionary, and yet it also reinforces the law. The aporetic nature of the attempt to resolve the state of exception into a state of necessity comes from the fact that necessity is based on making a decision, but that on which it decides is somethi ng undecidable, given that the juridical order is not exhausted into law. It is important to note that the state of exception does not emerge in response to a normative lacuna but as a fiction of that lacuna, whose purpose is to safeguard the existence of the norm and its applicability to the situation. Juridical law is the expression of a fracture between norm and its applicability, and in extreme situations, the fracture can only be filled by the state of exception that is, by a zone in which application is suspended, while law as such remains in force. Even if juridical order is suspended in the state of exception, order still exists, rather than its being replaced by juridical anarchy and chaos. What is inscribed within the law, and this order, however, is something essentially exterior to it: the suspension of the juridical itself. The aporia of
62 exception consists in the fact that, by suspending the juridical, it creates a space in which the juridical sense of order can exist, even if not the juridical itself; it separates the norm from its application in order to make the application of the norm possible; and it introduces a state of anomie in the law in order to make the regulation of the real possible. Thus, the state of exception is the place where t he opposition between norm and its realization reaches the greatest intensity. For the purpose of my argument, I complicate the issue of legality with that of messianism, and ask the question, What becomes of the law after its messianic fulfillment? Also, I investigate how the suspension of the law in the state of exception is very much akin to a messianic event, or at least the opening through which the Messiah can arrive, to paraphrase a famous Benjaminian statement. If, in extremis, law is an expression of its kenoma its emptiness, the fiction of power on which it rests, its exception must then open the way for that other aporetic moment in history: the emergence of the messianic. The kenomatic aspect of the state of exception derives from its quality t he anomic trait in which at stake is a force of law without law -or what Agamben designates as force of law where potentiality and act are radically separated. In its kenomatic state, exception represents law not as fullness of power but as standstill and emptiness law in the juridical void, where actions neither execute nor transgress law, but rather inexecute it, remaining undecidable, beyond the sphere of law. State of exception is not a dictatorship, but a space devoid of law, a zone of anomie in which legal determinations are deactivated. The force of law is akin to a degree zero of law, a fiction through which law attempts to encompass its own absence and appropriate the
63 state of exception. Thus, what opens the passage toward justice is not the erasur e of law, but its deactivation. Force of law keeps law working beyond its formal suspension. The path to justice presupposes freeing the law from canonical use and finding instead not a more proper and original use of the law, but rather a new use that is born only after it. This results in a type of justice that cannot be appropriated and made juridical. On the path of justice, the political machine that runs at the center of power must be exposed as a machine with an empty center. Agamben holds that we ca nnot return to a state of law from the state of exception, but we can halt the machine and show its central fiction the Arcanum imperii and the fact that the state of exception both institutes and deactivates the law. The tension between anomie and nomos t akes us to the heart of the fiction. It results from the fracture of something to which we have no access other than through the fiction that determines it. The only truly political action severs the nexus between the anomie and nomos, violence and law, an d opens a space from which we can explore the use of law after its deactivation. The time of justice ensuing in the wake of the deactivation of the law, the messianic, is, according to Scholem, a mere setting of things straight rather than a radical chang e. The Novum resulting from the messianic change in To the Lighthouse illustrates this setting of things straight in the final moments of Part III: the completion of e moments through another understanding of the messianic state of exception in the no The Time That Remains 2), a time characterized by its contraction and which,
64 involves the transformation of every juridical aspect of the worldly condition. The messianic calling can apply to any condition, but by the same token, it annuls every cond time that has contracted itself, those that are weeping, buying, rejoicin g, etc. should be as not hollows it out, nullifying it in the very gesture of maintain altering their form. All properties (circumcised/uncircumcised; free/slave; man/woman) opriation does not form a new identity. yet it renders it inoperative. Thus, the juridical condition of the slave is not replaced by something else, but is deactivat ed. For example, the deaths of Mrs Ramsey in To the Lighthouse and Percival in The Waves enact the rendering inoperative of the law, while Lily and Bernard, who had been kept under a state of weakness under the old law, continue to be who they are artist a nd storyteller but rendered operative, while the law of the defunct protagonists has been disabled. They still continue in a space of ambivalence Lily still has to struggle with the status quo as a maid, Bernard is still to face his doubts about telling st ories, but they are also able to accomplish their art,
65 all juridical factical conditions through the form of the as not Woolf has to question the condition of the female artist in and urge the female to write as not female, as not under oppression, as not enraged, etc. As a consequence, the androgynous becomes a type of messianic condition. In the The slave remains a slave, yet he is free of all bonds, which might as well apply to the androgynous female artist in modernity. Gender is relegated to the status of the messianic, undergoing a rev olution in the production of the Novum, yet remaining seemingly unchanged. The coming of the Messiah signals that all things and subjects messianic vocation dislocates and above all, nullifies the old law. To further relate gender to the messianic, I would assert that the difficulty of the androgynous is that of the messianic calling: to live in the world as female and function as not Similarly, the difficulty of the cal ling of the messianic is to live in the world not as though (as if) it were saved, but to see salvation as a way of losing oneself in that which cannot be saved. as if The time of The Time That Remains 61). The messianic is also different from the eschatological: the messianic is not the end time, but the time of the end; not the last day, or the instant time ends To the Lighthouse
66 rendered in the following quote spoken by Mr Bankes (as the opening line of the break upon the present, in this particular context, signifies the beginning of the time of the end, the time when future, present, and past are compressed together in a recapitulatory mood. The condition of the house encapsulates a vision of the new order changes related to the gradual degradation of the house and revealed in a set of larger scale, they announce the downfall of the empire. Domesticity supervised by Mrs Rams ey as the consummate wife and mother, and potentially undermined by Mr presents the status quo of the house on the island as a microcosm of England under the shaky rule of a Vic torian Empire threatened by the political waves of change revolutionary, on one hand, and fascist the false comforts pr I inducing remarks to the contrary. In the n feelings, Mrs Ramsey perpetuates a fiction that does not allow for the Real to break through the moment of crisis and enact the event that will ultimately only take place after her death th e actual trip to the lighthouse.
67 Like the force of law that maintains itself through the fiction of its power, Mrs Ramsey reinforces the fictional values of a crumbling empire those of patriarchy. She ct that they negotiated treaties, ruled India, controlled finances; finally, for an attitude toward herself something Her daughters exhibit suspicion towards t was in their minds a mite questioning of deference and chivalry, of the Bank of England course, her admiration for Empire is directly linked to her class and unwillingness to lose her status. Mrs Ramsey stands for the law of Empire that reveals its emptiness only in moments of crisis: her obsession with order is challenged by a constant feel ing of disorder and degradation of her house, mirroring the degradation of the Empire. Her struggle is to maintain a semblance of order and (31). The disintegration of this artificially maintained order the entire edifice constructed on imperial values crumbles down: Prue dies in childbirth, thus signifying the dissolution of a certain ideal of marital and maternal happiness; Andrew dies in the war, giving the lie to patriotic death in the bloodiest of wars; and ge fails as such and thrives in the shape of a mnage trois. The fact that the new order comes through violent change nothing less than the death of Mrs Ramsey is required signals the need for revolutionary violence to annul the
68 legal force of the old or the old principles of necessity are suspended, making room for a kenomatic, or aporetic, state in which anything can happen. As Agamben notes, the state of exception emerges in response not t goal is to safeguard the institution of Empire: marriage and chivalry, commerce and political involvement in India. Her death and the crumbling of her house reveal the vacuous core of he r edifice. As a consequence, Mr Ramsey himself, dependent on the same structures, is temporarily lost and dysfunctional in the absence of the fiction seeming state of chaos, it i s this suspension of order that, in fact, ends the previous threat to chaos an interim space in which Lily and Mr Ramsey learn to behave irrespective of their old gender role scripts, no longer subject to the laws of chivalry and deference to the patriarch al rule (for Lily), or dependent on the sympathy, admiration harmony of the sexes, the two undergo such a change in respect to their interaction with each other that, on hi when Lily holds her ground and offers no sympathy, even at the risk of appearing to be previously u makes room for an empty space in which utopian potentiality can be enacted and where the previous law s can be inexecuted and deactivated. Justice can only appear in the space freed from the disappearance of the law. The time of justice, the messianic
69 moment, is in this case, indeed, a mere setting of things straight, as is evinced by the new interaction b etween Lily and Mr Ramsey, Mr Ramsey and James, James and Cam, who all undergo radical changes in relation to one another. To understand messianic change, we must look at the temporal context in which this change takes place a condition Agamben calls the time of the now. This is preceding the actual trip to the lighthouse. The messianic time, t is characterized by its contraction and by a period in which the previous juridical and social conditions have been suspended all conditions fulfilled by the Ramsey household at the moment in which we find them in section two. The s messianic compression of time, as that which does not radically change anything but merely sets things straight. In this fragment, the forces that gently sweep through the abandoned house resemble the messianic breeze that merely creeps through and touches a wall here, a letter or book or flower there, not changing anything in particular, imagine them, as they ent ered the drawing room questioning and wondering, toying with the flap of hanging wall paper, asking, would it hang much longer, when would it preceded by a version of the eschatological visible in the breakdown of the house. On the other hand, the house does not crumble, but must remain steadfast through the sweeping change (just like the remnant of messianic time in the midst of the time that
70 visible in the winds sweeping through the house and questioning its fate, while asserting its steadfastness sim time that remains is captured best in the contrast between the lengthened description of those bracketed instances in which time stands still for humans, frozen in a significant moment, in the midst of its passing. The three most representative such moments are those refe bracketed points in the narrative puncture the endless unraveling of time that passes unhurriedly toward a cyclical eternity, with no concern for merely human tragedy. In the spaces left behind by the puncturing we get a glimpse of this transformative remnant of time that concentrates past, present and future in one exceptional moment. Messianic time is neit her chronological nor eschatological time, but a remnant. These episodes are perfectly described as remnants of time between two times chronological and eschatological when time itself is divided by a caesura. These are contractions of time that mark the b eginning of the time of the end. After all, in the empty spaces left by Mrs Ramsey, Prue and Andrew, a new order is about to be established: in matrimony, maternity, and Imperial malehood. Their deaths mark the beginning of the end; that is, they are the c parousia or the full presence of the messianic new. They are punctual explosions, or
71 interruptions, of the chronological time that passes, and the voids they leave behind are windows, the instants through whi ch the Messiah might come. Take for example the ominous sounds like the measured blows of ha mmers dulled on felt, which, with their repeated shocks still further loosened the shawl and cracked the tea slightly felt and barely noticed, yet effectuates the messianic change, the setting of things straight, right beneath the he effects of this intrusion]; to abolish their significance in the landscape; to continue, as one walked by the sea, to marvel what starts as a mere hint of a change bec omes a full (135) and marking the Day of Wrath as a state of exception, or the transformative contraction following the emergence of the messianic. to an evangelical account of the disciples who fail to recognize the Messiah after his resurrection and continue behaving in the same manner as before the Event. S he puts the house in order as if ignoring the fact that the change has already taken place. Her as
72 he feather had fallen, if it had tipped the scale downwards, the whole house would have plunged to the depths to lie upon the sands of oblivion. But there was a force working; t urges the time that time takes to come to an end or, more precisely, the time we The Time That Remains The messianic calling is caught up in this operational time, and therefore can take the The messianic is not The messianic moment is decomposed into two times: resurrection and parousia ( The Time That Remains 69). The deferred messianic the antinomy between the is well illustrated by the three parts of To the Lighthouse I view the second part as a contracted moment that recapitulates the past and also
73 messianic event has already ha messianic event has already happened, but its presence contains within itself another The Time That Remains 71) that does not defer parousia but makes it introduces a remnant, a zone of undecidability, in which the past is dislocated into the rediscovers ac tuality and becomes unfulfilled, and the present (the incomplete) acquires which produces the pleroma, as the saturation and fulfillment of messianic time. It is th e incomplete moment of both past and present that bridges the two to the future. As Lily points out, there is something unfinished about the expedition, as if people are never they were going to the Lighthouse Mr Ramsay, Cam, and James. They should have gone already they had to catch the tide or something and Cam was not ready and James was not ready and Nancy had forgotten to order the sandwiches and Mr Ramsay had lost his temper and banged out 145). The disorder associated with the preparations for the trip recalls the disorder of Part II, when the messianic enters the time of the present to prepare the proper messianic parousia of Part III, embodied in the expedition itself, which had been
74 defe and people or circumstances are never quite ready for it. Even at the very end as Lily caesura that divides the division between times and introduces a remnant, a zone of undecidability, in which the past is dislocated into the present and the present is ncompletion, of the expedition extends back into the past to recall the many failures of the expedition to completion of her painting another messianic moment. The moment is crowned by suffering of mankind; she thought he was surveying, tolerantly and compassionately, produces a pleroma a saturation and fulfillment of kairoi Messianic pleroma is an anticipation of eschatological fulfillment, when the past is conta ined in the present.
75 The W aves The messianic reconfigurates the old order. The law of faith is contrary to the law non ( The Time That Remains katargeo inoperative, not energeia similar to the sabbatical suspension of works (96). The messi anic enacts an inversion: telos not in the form of force or ergon but in the form of astheneia weakness. The telos of power realized in weakness is that privation and im potentiality weakness. Messianic dynamis through its weakness that it may enact its ef the potential inexecutable, the Messiah represents the telos of the law as both end and fulfillment, by rendering the law inoperative, fulfillment a katargesis does not and pull force in t he messianic is that between fulfillment and incompletion. The messianic deactivation
76 of the law, of dynamis, of potential, is the necessary precondition of its fulfillment. Mrs s, the void, and the katargesis of Part II represent instances of deactivation of the old order. recalls the last words on the cross (Lat., Consummatum Est ), in the moment of utmost (209). It is not that she accomplishes the perfect representational painting, finally, after all these years of waiting; on contrary, what she accomplishe s is a vision, since the (208). State of exception is the state of law under the effect of messianic katargesis : law that is simultaneously suspended and fulfilled, giv en that the paradigm that properly The Time That Remains tion in the form of its own self inclusive exclusion an ex unobservable and unformulatable. It no longer has th e form of a prohibition or prescription. It is impossible to know or articulate what is licit or illicit. Law in the state of
77 of prohibitions and duties. The weaknes form of knowledge or dogma. To the contrary, it acts in its own weakness, rendering the Using Aga problem of the dialectic, however, because while Agamben shows that the state of exception is a dangerous and violent condition to be in (in which the government or the sovereign can disenfra nchise a group by silencing it, in order to allow another group the power, thus invoking exception to suspend freedoms in the suspension of the law), the messianic presupposes that the law be suspended in order to activate the discourse of justice. If from the legal point of view the law is unobservable and unformulatable in the state of exception, it no longer has the form of a prohibition or prescription. It is it The Time That Remains 106), and not by a new set of prohibitions and duties. The suspension of law confuses the boundaries between licit and illicit, making room for the illicit. This is the sine qua non conditio n of the messianic: that the boundaries between outside and inside of the law be blurred by the introduction of a remnant, precisely because in this disapplication the gesture of (107). The law of faith is the exclusion of the law of works. Faith is both the preservation and and fulfillment, the pleroma
78 The problem of does it mean to act politically? It is the explicit problem of and Three Guineas but also of To the Lighthouse and The Waves and an answer to this question, framed in Aga secondary question to ask specifically in To the Lighthouse is how Mrs Ramsey is key to an understanding of the state of exception in this novel. One important aspect of state of exception is that, under the effect of messianic katargesis, law is simultaneously suspended and fulfilled. In some current readings, Mrs Ramsey is perceived as a version of fulfilled femininity. this, Mrs Ramsey a ppears not as the Symbolic that must be suspended and deactivated to make room for the Real, but as the Symbolic that is simply innovated and replaced with a better order of the law, something in the line of reformation vs. revolution. As Hill says, the on ly way Lily can supercede her impulse to merge with Mrs Ramsey is by only solution i If messianism represents a struggle within the law, where the constituent power tries to emancipate itself from the norm, then Mrs Ramsey acts as the law, the norm, and Lily as the messianic power. What does it mean for Mrs Ramsey to enact the norm,
79 a licit, non repressive dimension to the law. Ag amben differs from Badiou in that the the state of exception, the norm is suspended or ev en annulled; but what is at issue in this suspension is, once again, the creation of a situation that makes the application of application in order to make its application possib le ( State of Exception messianic possible? For Agamben, the messianic is explained in terms of the law: a complex relationship between grace and law, never reaching a complete schism, but The Time That Remains 120). Thus, Mrs Ramsey and Lily cannot, indeed, be dissociated from one ano ther. Even though Lily marks the by Mrs Ramsey. latter combines in one person the state o f exception and the law, annexing the state of exception within invokes the suspension of the law in the name of legal necessity. This is the road to fascism and totalitarianism. The s overeign ignores the law externally and produces a state of exception internally, nevertheless still claiming to be applying the law. Benjamin seeks to separate the state of exception from the juridical order and to maintain the
80 state of exception as a Sta te of Emergency that masks the mythico juridical violence that attempts to join the two together into the totalitarian state. Following Benjamin, the juridical order, gi ven that legal order itself emerges out of an anomic space like the Bejaminian: by keeping the two states (law vs. state of exception) separate, we interrupt the func tion of the political machine of the West by severing the nexus between political violence and law. If that were ever to happen and perhaps this is the equivalent of then in this space we could sp eak of a possible use of the law in the wake of its deactivation. Agamben and order presides over them. One way to address the character and role of Mrs Ramsey in the n ovel is through her obsession with putting order in chaos. This puts her right into the middle of the frame discussed above that of totalitarianism as a joining together of law (order) and state of exception (chaos). But there is another interesting aspect a lower class woman, she presents an interesting double of Mrs Ramsey (except for the and thus, in the space opened by the suspension of the law). Mrs McNab, then, enacts a different kind of deactivation. After all, the servant woman has no domestic power of her own, and whatever power she has, is given her by the suspension of the previous order and the
81 fact that Mrs Ramsey, who would have taken away her initiative and given her orders, is dead. The relationship between the two women is dialectic: while in P art I the dominant presence of Mrs Ramsey obscures that of Mrs McNab, Mrs Ramsey herself enacts a Mrs McNab, in invoking Mrs Ramsey repeatedly with nostalgia while restoring the house the house fantasy of law and order. The idea is that law at its core con tains its deactivation, while the state of exception, as Agamben argues, contains the core of law in its activated form, ready to take over the void. In Modernism and Mass Politics move into a darkness that emphasizes the breakdown of barriers between social groups, unlike the previous part, where social gatherings like the dinner party only brought together people of one class. Even though the unity is one seemingly beyond the barriers of class and property, Tratner points out that this unity is an illusion, and the barrier is that of the kitchen door, where Mildred the cook and Mrs McNab are isolated and found washing the dishes. This is a reminder that the class unity around the dinner table is made possibl e by the exploitation of those excluded from it. As Tratner points into the drawing room and [allowing] a woman of genius to write books instead of (54). The latter could as well be replaced by a woman artist freed from the demands of married life and motherhood. Tratner emphasizes that the two To the Lighthouse the emergence of obscure
82 parts of society is a necessary part of the process that would allow Lily Briscoe to paint emerge in the re alm of the visible after her death, we can talk about a potentiality of the II, e tentativeness with which Lily approaches her painting in Part III. Even when the painting is finished, it is achieved without a clear finishing touch. The drawing of the line in the middle is the equivalent of a quivering vision threatening to dissolve i nto thin air, rather with a type of order based on planning and forcing vs. a type of labor that gets the work importance of female labor in the history of England echoes this idea. He argues that Woolf gave women credit for than it had been, and this visibility was crucial in bringing about the passage of the Reform Bill of 1918, which gave women that fundamental voice in the social order, the during the General Strike of 1926 (according to Flint cited b y Tratner 57), and she was writing letters requesting amnesty for strikers as she finished this section of the novel. She might have framed the state of exception as an explicit context for this section of
83 the novel, with the implication that out of this v oid a change would arise that would women) could be extended to encompass the vis ion of a much more extensive outcome of the General Strike. When peace descends after the storm, Mrs McNab is heard to ith hands that had stood in the wash (130). She makes her presence felt with a new kind of freedom, itself disruptive of the temporary peace. Noise and disorder are always present in the novel and threaten the peaceful existence of upper class Mrs Ram sey in one way or another, while she is striving to contain it. After her death, storms and disorder are no longer containable. allowed to enact the state of exception. Diso rder is the expression of the force of law or law in its deactivated from the only path of resistance and entrance of the messianic working class fails, insofar as Mrs McNab, who was originally intended to represent the Similarly, just as the summer house, at the end of the novel, falls apart and is then rebuilt, so the hierarchy of t The reconstruction of the house still houses servants and masters, which is not indicative of a messianic or revolutionary new order of the sort achieved by Paul and he realm of marriage (though this other institution is flawed by the fact that Paul is the one who takes a mistress and not Minta, who has to continue to
84 is consis break up the stake culture, but then must be incorporated within the culture it has 0). The break, however, is significant, and it dominates the last two parts of the novel. Woolf constructs the modernist narrative as break and interruption, to allow more voices to be heard or to make room for voices that were not even recognized to exist in the previous order of Part I. This pluralist structure postulates discontinuity and incorporate the political pluralism in its structure after the war. The expression of this new order is the fragmented and incoherent individual self, which Tratner points out, is embodied in the cut square with which to bait his hook. Like the fish, the individual self become vis the larger text. Lily herself is curiously divided as she paints, and th e painting is a matter of disconnectedness that must somehow be kept together (the left side disjointed from the right). The dialectical tug of war at the heart of modernism between the messianic promise of the New and its failure has something to do with petrified or paralyzed messianism that, like all messianism, nullifies the law, but then maintains it as the Nothing of Revelation in a perpetual and interminable state of Potentialities 171). Thus, we can read the social emancipatory core of the
85 novel, involving Mrs McNab as the working class female. She impersonates the double of both Mrs Ramsey and Lily (her housework is presented as artistic work, as Tratner argues), Lily as the androgynous female artist, and the ultim ate failure to destroy the house of England altogether. This dialectic is at the heart of messianism itself because, of which is consumed in the consummation of his tory and the other which happens, so Potentialities 174). This disjunction serves to answer the dilemma according to which the messianic belongs to historical time and its law, while at the same time putting an en Messiah coincide with historical time yet at the same time not be identified with it, effecting in the eskhaton To the Lighthouse is also a novel about the artistic embracing the chaotic and the by transgressing it. The state of exception she is the law, but the law in force without significance, because she herself is canceling herself out, taking advantag e of her position as a female to manipulate the males, yet pretending that she has no power at all, that she lives in a state of exception in which exterior circumstances have all the power, while she has none. In acting this way, though, she is able to in stitute a law of domestic tyranny that contends with every form of chaos and desire, and to put those under her order and discipline. By putting a stop to every little stirring of revolt in the name of maternal care,
86 she allies herself with Tansley, the fa scist, who invokes brotherly love in order to oppress and discriminate. This reading of an essay based on two lectures Woolf o f the state of exception homo sacer The female is the homo sacer out of the patriarchal social structure. Woolf uses the figure of a looking glass to ta lk excluded from it. According to Agamben in Homo Sacer bare life is that which is excluded in the process of founding the polis. Homo sacer is the bare life that may b e killed but not sacrificed, that which is excluded by being captured in the political system. Because it marks the foundation of the political system, bare life is both the object and the subject of the political system. Homo sacer or the sacred man, is the human representation of the state of exception. A taboo figure, both august and damned, s/he is a limit figure, between human and divine law. As sacred, or bare, unpoliticized life, s/he is excluded from both the divine and the political realm. In mod ern politics, homo sacer is neither divine nor become incompatible with the human world. Its residue of bare life must be excluded and exposed to a death not rede emable as sacrifice or rite. The killing of homo sacer is neither capital punishment nor sacrifice, but merely the killing of bare life; its death is configurated neither within law, nor religion, but biopolitics. Thus, it is not natural life that is polit ical, but bare/sacred life, because it is life exposed to death. Totalitarian states
87 politicize life so that bare life is found within the biological body of every human being. However, the problem is not the way the state politicizes life, but the fact th at in the process the limit between inclusion/exclusion becomes indistinguishable. Thus, in the totalitarian state, or modern state, homo sacer is essential to political life because it marks the foundation of law: it is the object and subject of the polit ical system. Just like the sovereign (who is outside, but also inside the law, and thus crucial to the foundation of law), homo sacer is the state of exception. As such, it is that which cannot be codified, norm alized, legal ized, and yet has juridical fo rm. While it seeks to punch a hole in the law, it also creates and guarantees its validity. that does not belong and yet it is crucially necessary to the institution of the ge nder that does belong. As that which is excluded, the female enacts a state of exception used to justify the enactment of emergency measures that strengthen the rule of the law of 35), women mirrors enlarge the reflected male image while maintaining the female as other. Moreover, women must be deceitful mirrors in order to preserve the fiction of male superiority. On the other hand, this very condition allows them to be sites of po ssibility (e.g., in a different place, Woolf speaks of the looking glass as a messianic metaphor). If shattered, the mirrors will also shatter this very illusion of superiority. It is telling, therefore, that the reflection in the mirror is dependent on ma terial conditions and financial freedom. If these conditions were to be satisfied, they would replace the need new possibilities for women. That, however, would impl y the inclusion of women in the
88 political life. As it is, their exclusion/inclusion marks them as figures with no room of their own in the political and economic life. In every century, creative women resurface as variants of the homo sacer From witches o th century to the female artist of the 20 th century, creative women are demonized, made monstrous, and thus eliminated from political life. Homo sacer the creative woman of the 16 th century as witch or devil possessed, is linked to the state of exception and the void. In the 16 th century, the dominant discourse framed the creative female as a female under exception, the witch, as a type of homo sacer bare l ife that could be killed, but not sacrificed. In this case, the state of exception is created to get rid of the creative female and continue to proliferate the norm of the domestic female. Judith Shakespeare is the fictional figurehead of this female whom patriarchy is capable of creating when it institutes the state of exception of female as homo sacer The creative woman is framed as impure and guilty of the crime of attempting the frighten putting the notion of her chastity at stake and opening a new age, a new break with the past: the 18 th century creative woman who begins to earn money by her writing. With this figure, a new form of homo sacer en, Bront, and Eliot, are made possible by these monstrous forerunners. This recounting of the past allows Woolf to emphasize the collective nature of writing and take a stab at two
89 fictions of the patriarchal establishment: first, that of the lonely male genius, inherently art are devoid of material, political, and economic concerns. It is tradition that gives birth eizes the event opening up in his or her present Void. Thus, in the 19 th century, a new Void opens. By now, novels written by women (largely women of the middle class, who enjoy a certain amount of leisure) are quite the norm, but that is not the case for poetry written by women. Woolf emphasizes the material conditions of creation once more: in a public, rather than private room, visited by all sorts of interruptions, it is easier to write prose rather than poetry, since the middle class sitting room is co status as homo sacer related to relocation, trav el, and exposure to the outside world, thus rejecting the then continues with various ree nactments of the resurrected Judith Shakespeare, up Mary Charmichael represents an interesting moment in this tradition of excluded Void, however, reope ns into a new Void once a previous Event becomes the further and broken the sequen ce
90 tied to the previously mentioned themes of the excluded female, the materiality of art, and the condition of the female as a mirror to male achievement. To write like a woman, instead of like a man, pr esupposes that one resist male pressure and the break with the idea of the female as reflection of the male. However, this break necessitates a female tradition of writing, which takes us back to the idea of a community of homo sacer who pose a challenge to the establishment that confines them in the Void. The challenge is that of the New, and in this case, as Woolf proposes, that of the modernist New: to invent a female tradition and female form of writing that reflects the material conditions of writing. internalizes the nature of its production and exposes the fact that it is the product of many interruptions. Writing the modernist prose for a female presupposes creating the New by f fiction, that breaks with the traditional sequence, depends on the necessity of a room of Given that totalitarian regimes blur the limit between inclusion/exclusion in regards to women and rely on the female as homo sace r for the foundation of their patriarchal regime, one way to escape gender politicization for Woolf is to do away with gender oppressive system by not playing accord woman, but as a woman who has forgotten that she is a woman, so that her pages were
91 injunction is to all her followers to maintain the same fidelity to the Event, even if it means jumping into an unprecedented Void and creating a suspension in the status morning of the twenty female mind: a suspension, an interruption of the ordinary. In this suspension (a momen t of being, or a present moment shot through with a splinter of the now time a suspension of the chronological time, as Benjamin would call it) the world changes: o verlooked. It seemed to point to a river, which flowed past, invisibly, round the corner, achieving the androgynous of the human mind and with it, the New, in both fiction and politics. At this juncture, gender undergoes its Event, announcing the imminent arrival of boring and ushers in a new, modern sensibility: that of the androgynous woman. From the position of exception as homo sacer excluded by the very princip le of her inclusion
92 extimacy, both inside and outside of the political structure it subverts. The political power that produces the female as homo sacer turns out to produce th e androgynous Subject who undoes the law of necessity that had created it and introduces a moment of suspension in the law. The double bind of subjectivization and totalization is dissolved in this new state of interruption and transformed in exception by virtue of its purity. The androgynous figure transcends patriarchal law by suspending it. However, unlike the sovereign that manages to maintain himself in relation of exteriority to the law through ynous figure suspends the system that politicizes life and gender and exempts him/herself from its demands of gender labeling. It turns the concept of homo sacer on its head and becomes that which cannot be codified, norm alized, legal ized, and also has n o juridical form. This is interruption, and thus opens the path to justice and Utopia through a new aesthetic of 2). Currently forbidden by the patriarchal order and radically different from the order they have established, this 103), which Woolf identifies as manly or man
93 Shakespeare and leading into the heart of the Real, is kept open by those intent on perceiving reality as a manly soul. The new androgynous figure now has the opportunity to give her a body, a voice, and the possibility to express her creation. More than simply a matter of aesthetics, the New in is the New material discourse on woman that displaces and reveals the romantic/chivalric discourse as illusory. This discourse aims to mask the ruin of Judith Shakespeare at the hands of pa triarchy (her father as lord and master, the theater manager as gate keeper of the profession, and the likes of Nick Greene as seducer and abandoner). The material discourse is linked to the emergence of modern poetry, which appears in complete contrast wi th, and as a break from, the romantic poetry of the pre war period. The post war sensibility is as suspicious of modern poetry as it is about framing the female within a material discourse (that of granting her the right to property a room of her own and t o earning her existence 500 pounds/year). This happens despite the fact that the war constitutes a radical break with the pre war romantic past, therefore making possible the emergence and implementation of the new discourse. Naomi Black 113). A type o women too, points to the revolutionary potential of androgynous writing, which has a double potential: one, for changing female circumstances, and two, for changing the world. In
94 ale material conditions influence the change in female creativity, the ultimat e purpose of the Revolution is the Female Poet. Politics and aesthetics form a solid entity. According to Black, activism is only a marginal issue in (as opposed to Three Guineas potential of this text, which is such that it moves the discourse from the realm of creativity into the realm of the material, thus dislodging the myth that talk about the female could only be tolerated within the narrow realm of the romantic, the chivalric, or the sentimental (which was the case with pre war poetry). The new poetry o f the modern female would grow from such ferment as issues of lesbianism, the suicide of the female trapped in categories of the patriarchy, lack of opportunity in the marketplace or real estate. outlines a new poetic of the female, whi ch of the already existing this is precisely the formulation of the New: property and money in order to have the freedom to produce a new kind of fiction that breaks the boundaries, breaks the sequence, the sentence, and the old expectations.
95 The stress on the importance of material conditions in creativity is important in By introducing a state of exception in the material conditions of the female, she introduces an interruption in the status of the female in the political life: excluded as androgynous and as a female poet, she becomes subversive to the old system. Throug h the domino effect, the existing laws and norms will be suspended and reconfigured. Through the redistribution of material possessions, gender, literary hierarchy, and the politics of gender are overthrown. The revolution, unregulated and unjuridical vis vis the law of the state against which it is directed, is regulated by its own law. However, revolution remains revolutionary only as long as the new law the law rem State of Exception 31] as its kenomatic place, as its suspension, which opens up the space for justice), and does not become a state of necessity (the state of exception is always tempted to resolve itself into a state of necessity The Waves The Waves I take a look at the dialectic between success and failure, power and wea kness, particularly as manifested in the concept of the messianic remnant. A preliminary discussion of The Waves in terms of The Wave s epic and elegy in praise of the he Along these lines, she sees The
96 Waves British ruling class. The Waves house, leisure for creativity provided by the security of the fixed class position of Her version of weakness resulting out of strength is that of imperialist politics leading to fragm The Waves are directly r The Waves T he weakness Marcus studies is quite the reverse of the messianic katargesis I analyze in this section It is the weakness of the crumbling British Empire, the weakness and immobilization of Indian natives as an explicitly patriarchal act of Cambridge that it is through the making of law and the rigorous application of it in India that t he British were able to govern and to create a native governing class. We see again the law being used to reinforce racism and colonialism and to further the aims of Empire. Marcus links the fall of the Empire to the fall of Percival off his horse, and I w ould further linked to the transgression of the Law. In her reading, Marcus attacks the idea of individual genius and cultural elite, whose power is derived from sex, class, and racial
97 privilege. She reads Bernard as the cultural inheritor of imperial power, and while I agree with her basic premise regarding the issue of class as being a powerful undertow in the narrative, I propose a reading of Bernard as a deconstruct or of Empire and ruling class ideology through the dialectic between katergesis and dynamis justice and law. Gabrielle McIntire assigns to Bernard a similarly forceful imperialist stand, this time from the position of fascist monologism. She claims that displaces the diversity of the community of speakers in favor of one to approximate the f at the organizing center of the story, Bernard exercises narrative control throughout the text, and not just in the final section, like Louis shows a repeated, albeit insecure, desire to the group occupies a slippery ground betwe en a kind of spiritualized Romanticism that figure, because he never uses his eloquence as his his desire to level out embodies the State and fascist induced oneness of the crowd. My reading of Bernard and his summation through the perspective of the messianic remnant will displace this
98 understanding of him as a fascist organizer and reposition him at the heart of the messianic weakness that undermines law in favor of justice. control, or lack thereof, is Patrick He argues that in the process of undermining the symbolic order as the Law of Culture and disrupting the production of value, Woolf privileges the Other in its unrepresentable Through his narrative, Woolf eliminates patriarchal law, represses the symbolic order in McGee 243). Thus, it is Bernard who unmasks Percival as the embodiment of the ideology of British imperialism, and through him Woolf protests against power as totality. McGee introduces the idea of Elvedon as a Utopia rising out of the waste of patriar chal power an idea similar to my argument in this section. Other readings put less emphasis on fascism and imperialism, but these issues still resurface. For example, the master narratives of hetero sexuality, Christianity, and imperialism. Percival fulfills also touches on as a listener rather than Romantic author and solitary genius, whose stories of himself
99 and hi experiences and attributes in his own body. According to Agamben, messianic time is neither chronological time, nor ns between these two times, The Time That Remains katargesis of his writing, the event, is the impossibility of his task, which is itself utopian: to represent life in art. His task is doomed from t he start, and yet he attempts it, aware of like a globe, which we turn about in our fingers. Let us pretend that we can make out a plain and logical story, so that wh en one matter is dispatched love for instance we go outside our illusions yet cannot stay them, is changed by them for the moment, yet that cannot be incorporated into the imaginary of art, because utterly resistant to representation, is however, divided by an Apelles caesura when, in turn, it is challenged by illusions, only to remain stable, still and stern. This remnant of representation has its flux has something to do with the flow and change of nature as represented in the swelling and ebbing of the waves themselves, but also in the connection Bernard makes
100 between the failure of language, of phrases to capture this flow and perhaps control it, or stave it and Deat that changes with the least breath, night and day, and all night and all day. While I sat changing no more. Now no one sees me and I change no more. Heaven be praised for solitude that has removed the pressure of the eye, the solicitation of the body, and all 295). The full presence of the katargetic moment, the event, cannot be felt until the Real is stripped of all the illusions of the Imaginary and the Symbolic section attempts t he representation of this remnant time contracting not because it recapitulates life with the purpose of leading to the end moment of Death, but because it attempts to render the moment/process in which an author realizes that representation of time, of li pretense. The illusion of verity that underscores the artistic endeavor and undermines it from within captures both the failure and the messianic potential of modernism. It comprises the death of the self, the illusion of storytelling, the questioning of artistic identity, the
101 impossibility of representation. Messianic time is thus the time of writing itself, writing with a remainder, because Bernard goes on writing/speaking past the point where he decides to throw away the notebook and stop writing down phrases, l ies. His actual writing time, thus, comes to an end much later than the time in which he decides to stop writing. Thus, in order to achieve his representation of the failure to write and the decision to stop writing, he must keep on writing, on carrying on an impossible task, a task that has already failed and ceased, in a sense. This Beckettian difference between which parousia an evental presence, emerges. This pres ence has the transformative power of the messianic. It is a time that begins to end, but a time that undergoes a the time that time takes to come to an end or, more precisely, the time we take to bring to an end, to achieve (Agamben Time as not a self, as not male or female, as not a writer healing of the modern subject begins. For Agamben the messianic event is decomposed into two times: resurrection and parousia but it still needs to be fulfilled in an additional ti me -a delay or deferment into the The messiah has already arrived, the messianic event has already happened, but its presence contains within itself
102 parousia aiming toward fulfillment, the messianic recapitulates, or sums up, all things, from The Waves owl of Minerva flying at dusk and the idea that the time gr asped through this loop extends to the past, returns through the present, and opens into the future. The story recapitulates the history from creation Elvedon, the Edenic Garden or childhood to the present Jetztzeit through which the messianic parousia ent ers. The question to ask totality, his fullness of presence, has to be dealt a blow to a llow for the void in which the messianic event can emerge and with it, the dissolution of totality. pleroma or fullness, and its dispersion causes the messianic to emerge. Two sections of the novel, the d inner at section, in which he reminisces about that dinner c tension without release in which nothing can be achieved. Yet, that time is not spent in deferment of the messianic parousia but as a means of grasping it. This presence -a zone of undecidability that affects definitions of completion and incompletion:
103 the past (the complete) rediscovers actuality and becomes unfulfilled, and the present appears complete is challenged to open up and render visible the illusory core of its moment contains all the past in the move of summary or pleroma a saturation and fulfillment of kair oi Images of plenitude abound in the dinner section. On the train, Bernard muses: se meaning for all [his] observations a line that runs from one to another, a summing up ining the structure of his identity as it is threatened by dissolution in the tableau of modern London. The way to maintain the inner coherence and centrality of the self depends, paradoxically, for Bernard on maintaining the illusion of a community, an au sparkle, many een traversing the sunless territory of non
104 sistible desire to understanding of the self: on one hand, reflected through the many faceted Other, he lacks comprehension of his own self. It is only wh en experiencing an eclipse of the self that he feels at peace a peace ruined by the desire to attain coherence. It does seem as though through the mediation of the Other, Bernard is able to construct a sense of self, which feels, however, tentative, and di others, they only accentuate the d issolution he feels, though they also mask it. The the need to be channeled and mediated by the real presences of others in order to maintain the fiction of the self, even though it is only in the void opened by this fiction that he finds the kairos time of plenitude. His mixing with others is a necessary evil, as it were: a simulacrum of presence, a totality that masks a differen t kind of being in the world heteroglossic, rather than monoglossic. plenitude an
105 remember; I am enga now time, which anticipates into this room this prickly light, this intensity of being so that things have lost their presence, a light that goes agains t the sun eclipse image in the last section, because will be an annulment of any messianic potential, which is only accomplished through weakness, impotence, an d incompletion. The restaurant swing door, that keeps opening, holds a messianic potential that will only be fulfilled at a later moment, when the six meet again and Percival fails to enter through that door. Neville summarizes most cannily the effect of P false Jetztzeit impediment is removed. The reign of chaos is over. He has imposed order. Knives cut isolation, our preparation, is over opening but an ending, a summation. Bernard feels as if he has finally attained the ther, at a particular time, to this particular spot. We
106 communion is the fact that it is based on a presence that does not allow for a remnant: presence, good will, and love, thus annulling any possibility for acknowledging the void. In Perciva to incorporate the presence of them all to realize his absolute presence. Louis keeps from the others, of his hatred for them, of his resentment (128); Neville blames Jinny for tend and mimic in order to fit it; Susan is torn with jealousy and hatred for Jinny, over her red hands and bitten nails; and Bernard feels his lack of substance acutely in the absence of words and the stimuli provided by other people. vision of the false plenitude at the Hampton Court dinner is he does at the dinner table: the natives, passive, brooding, useless, and caught simulacrum results from the fact that he is too much of a presence, a surfeit of power that leaves no r steel presence, Rhoda
107 and make a possible foreshadowing of her suicide. Susan returns t Something irrevocable has happened. A circle has been cast on the waters; a chain is order, Louis b communi on, and unity over his audience, reveals the impermanence of his fake (145) are i leaving no room for resistance or difference. As Bernard notes, just like Percival, w on our hats and push open the door, stride not into chaos, but into a world that our own imagery is clearly imperialistic and p rogressivist, subjugating the heart of darkness with the imperialistic project of lights. Once gone, Percival, the lighted globe, leaves behind a
108 promise of a void, o f a potential messianic opening. katargeo actuality and meets up with its telos not in the for m of force or ergon but in the form of astheneia The Time That Remains privation and im potentiality maintain a kind o f potentiality. Messianic power remains powerful in the form of weakness. Messianic dynamis is, in this sense, constitutively on of the potential nothing but what you see perceived in all its failures and degradat ions: Lord, how unutterably disgusting life is! What dirty tricks it plays us, one moment free; the next this. Here we are among the breadcrumbs and the We have been taking into our mouths the bodies of dead birds. It is with these greasy crumbs, slobbered over napkins, and little corpses that we have to build. (292) The allusions to old age resembling infancy add another dimension to the messianic as the time of the future that recap itulates the time of the origin. By way of representation of time, bringing it to an end. One way in which the end of representation with the death of old self/ former identity and also, more directly, with the death of representation in writing/art/fiction:
109 It lies deep, tideless, immune, now that he is dead, the man I called he made notes phrases for the moon, notes on features; how people looked, turned, dropped their cigarette ends; under B, butterfly powder, under D, ways of naming death. (291) The death of the old self relates to the deactivation of the previous laws of ex istence that prevented the new from coming into existence. One of the things that inhibited the new was the one to one representation of the world. Another was the illusion of chronology and the changing nature of the human being that comes with a linear c onception of time. In the messianic dimension Bernard stops changing, and his fiction becomes inoperable, de being seen i s interesting for the same reason: it has to do with representation. Being seen is being reconstructed as a self through other selves, something Bernard emphasizes throughout his narrative fragments: the fact that he can only exist as mediated by other peo ple. Similarly, his fiction can only feed off people around him. In the messianic, representation breaks down at this basic level as well: when Bernard is finally alone he stops changing, because representation becomes nullified by the fact that the last p erson to see him, his dinner companion, has finally left. The second thing has to do with representation through art. Once he gives up with phrases, has dropped to the floor. It lies under the table to be swept up by the the search of a different vocabulary that will capture the new messianic reality: What is the phrase for the moon? An d the phrase for love? By what name are we to call death? I do not know. I need a little language such as lovers
110 T he state of law under the messianic katargesis is that of law simultaneously suspended and fulfilled, taking us back to state of exception. The distinction inside/outside (Jew vs. non Jew) no longer holds in the messianic. By introducing a remnant, Agamben makes the inside and outside of the law undistinguishable. The remnant, non non of messianic deactivation of the law, the cipher of its katargesis The Time That Remains 106). Law the law without law is not the negation of law, but the realization and fulfillment, the pleroma of Two things characterize the messianic: the inoperativity of the law and the form of knowledge or dogma. To the contrary, it acts in its own weakness, renderin g the of the human being into death the ultimate failure of life, as th e ultimate opening into grace, potentiality, and the new. Utter impotence in death becomes ultimate potentiality this rubbing of my nose along the surfaces of thin gs, even I, an elderly man who is
111 getting rather heavy and dislikes exertion must take myself off and catch some last wal, the incessant rise and fall and fall and rise In The Coming Community Agamben discusses the issue of death as the peak however, into a final obstacle, absurdity, death itself is the experience in which they of individuality. We can thus drawing attention to itself. I argue that there are two reasons for this emphasis: one has to do with a resurgence of life in the self, a new messianic self that repeats the old, only with a difference a new energy that rises out of weakness, out of the the incessant rise and fall and fall and rise again. And in me too the wave rises. It swells; it arches its back. I am aware once more of a new desire, something rising beneath me like the proud horse w 297).
112 The other reason for the emphasis has to do with the prospect and specter of Death itself. Death seems to rise at the same time with the surge of life renewal. The two forces seem to coexist and depen d one on the other: the galloping rider on the all, it is the specter of death t hat marks the awareness of life in the petty bourgeois, which Bernard was before his awakening to the non identity of the self. Death confronts The Coming Community 64), but als o to life in its impropriety and exteriority. This move between the external and the internal mirrors something about the state of exception in the messianic. Here the distinction inside/outside no longer holds due to the insertion of the remnant, which ma kes the inside and outside of the law undistinguishable. The remnant, non non of messianic deactivation of the law, the cipher of its katargesis The Time That Remains 106). It is with this difference, this remnant, that Bernard defies death in the moment of his final confrontation. Out of his weakness, old age, and time to die proper, activ possible to speak of the petty bourgeois as using death to cover the secret that they must resign themselves. They must acknowledge that even life in its nakedness is, in ( The Coming Community 64
113 knowledge or dogma, and if it cannot impose itself as a law, it does not follow that it is passive or inert. To the contrary, it acts in its own weakness, rendering the word of law T he Time That Remains old law inoperative the old struggle of life against death and activating a new form of power that relies on its weakness. Dying as not dying is another type of confronting death with life. It has to do with an erasure of biography, identity, the old self, singularity, face, and entering into a new community without these presuppositions. This is the community of the messianic, formed of singularities with out identities. Thus, to return to The Coming Community 65), but for a new identity of resistance. tes its own identitarian predicates and the historical traditions that have sacralized an d sacrificed possibility and not subscribe to any positive identitarian projects, be they historical, political, spiritual, or biological. In flinging himself against Death, with no other backing than his own will arising out of weakness, Bernard accomplishes this task. Agamben adds a dialectical twist: our very destitution is the condition for a radically different way
114 of life rooted in hope and conviction, which is w Agamben, to reach the state of bare life, humans must destroy a certain type of linguistic representation. Language and politics c ome together in the figure of the State. A singularity that appropriates its being in a language other than the representational language of the system and thus rejects the identity that came with linguistic representation is the enemy of the State, becaus e it is perceived as a being devoid of a representable identity that can be used for the purposes of the State. Agamben asserts that bare life does not gain its freedom from the State naturally. It is not a natural state of being, but it gains it in confr ontation with it. This accounts for the State, for a certain type of political conditioning? Agamben believes that the metaphor of infancy contains the vision of redeemed hum anity, and we see this becomes an opportunity in the struggle for freedom, a necessary component, a catalyst, which might explain the return to the imperialist image o f Percival galloping in India with a spear in his hand, which Bernard uses to represent his own bold dash against Death. As Prozorov argues, Sovereignty is not dismantled but rather reappropriated by the subjects of bare life in their refusal of biopoliti cal care. The fact that sovereignity remains even after the dissolution of the diagram as a result of anti biopolitical resistance only means that the power of the diagram has been successfully reduced to its pure, originary form, maintaining its presence but losing all its substance (123) activated presence at the end, when he embodies either a non operative function of law and State, or a moment of resistance
115 emark, according to which if Percival had continued to stay alive, he would have turned against the authorities. Ironically, of course, it is only because Percival is dead that the new messianic state can take place and in it, the resistance against the St Percival as a symbol of de activated power. It is also important to remember that, for Agamben, what is left in the wake of the apocalyptic and the eschatological is human life, and not its ruins. Thus, we should read a life affirming move, a new life in which even Percival finds redemption in a reconfiguration of the State. Just as the new Bernard is a product of the confrontation with the State, so is the new Percival: he i s that from which Bernard had to liberate himself. Another interpretation of death in the context of state of exception can be viewed through the angle of Antonio Negri. He claims that for Agamben the state of exception is a state of death and he denounce s it as involving structures of Power that nullify every definition of demo cracy. He calls this kind of state of exception the imperial condition. This throws some light on B ernard and that he will fight it like the young P ercival in his Indian expedition. If death is the imperial condition, then P ercival becomes a metaphor of the anti Empire. However, that is the first A gamben The second A gamben goes beyond the state of exception when he discusses the prim out the other side of imperial power and enslavement, destroying them by hollowing seems that B ernard wou ld be able to go through the experience of Empire with P ercival
116 and out and beyond it, on the other side, to where he would only recuperate the youthful impetuosity of the imperial leader. Also, in invoking P ercival B ernard perhaps shows that he is able t o de activate Empire of its force and go beyond its conditions, to neutralize it, as it were, and to retain only the life force out of P ercival It is significant that this is a P ercival who died young, before he had a chance to actually accomplish the imp erial task of oppression in India. In fact, this is a P ercival whose task failed before he even got it started and whose energy was neutralized during its very attempt at completion. In The Coming Community Agamben also addresses the issue of power and i mpotence. to not be potentia potentiae the passage from potentiality to action can only come through own power to not be. A power acts with its potential to not not act. Mastery conserves and exercises in the act not the potential to act, but rather the potential to not act. Thus, impotence, or potentiality to not be, is what is being conserved in the act. To act the potentiality to not act is to act with this conserved potentiality, which is the messianic weakness or impotence and from which all power or action derives. P ercival thus fits A gamben f there was any potentiality in him, it became annulled at his death. This annulment perhaps, is the redeeming feature of P ercival act and what enables B ernard to recuperate him for the causes of messianism: he is
117 law in its utter de activation. This de activated potential of the law passes into B ernard account, and B ernard can take credit for an energy that is not his. P ercival potentiality. Agamben discusses the issue of death in the context of what he ca lls the dissolved: The petty bourgeoisie has inherited the world and is the form in which B) has Paradoxically, they still look for the content they have lost, searching for the ident ity that arrogance, conformity and marginality remain thus the poles of all their emotional inal ultimate frustration of individuality: life in all its nakedness, the pure incommunicable, where their shame can finally rest in peace. Thus they use death to c over the secret that they must resign themselves to acknowledging that even life in its nakedness is, in moving forward toward its humanity: Because if instead of continuing to search for a proper identity in the already improper and senseless form of individuality, hu mans were to succeed in belonging to
118 this impropriety as such, in making of the proper being thus not an identity and an individual property but a singularity without identity, a common and absolutely exposed singularity if humans could, that is, not be th us in this or that particular biography, but be only the thus, their singular exteriority and their face, then they would for the first time enter into a community without presuppositions and without subjects, into a communication without the incommunicabl e. (65) In his summing up section Bernard recalls the dinner at Hampton Court, and his thus in this or that pa rticular The Coming Community diversity of languages, dialects, customs, ways of life have been exposed as 64). As he approaches, in memory, the time of the m of dressing, of holding or not holding a stick, of affecting a set of manicured nails (Jinny) ([Neville] 276). The image of complete identification with the particulars of individuality is soon undercut by the failure of this identity to survive its own attempt at existence. As he complete human being whom we have failed to be, but at the same time, cannot forget. All that we might have
119 particular identity that separates the six from their counterp art class, the working class, continues in a trajectory suggestive of the angel of history, blown backwards, toward the future, by the wind of progress: And, half way through dinner, we felt enlarge itself round us the huge blackness of what is outside us of what we are not. The wind, the rush of wheels became the roar of time, and we rushed where? And who were we? We were extinguished for a moment, went out like sparks in burnt paper and the blackness roared. Past time, past history we went. (277) The u se of surprisingly concrete signifiers to relay the historical transition from one paradigm (Victorian and imperial/national social identity) to another (Modernist and global/planetary) marks the obsessive insistence with which Bernard returns to the issue popular The Coming Community 63) before the moment out of what measureless abundance of past time and time to come, burnt t here surrender, when identity breaks apart (like the waves markers of dissolution, span of this interruption, Bernard grasps the dissolution in terms of the present moment, recover myself from that endless throwing away, dissipation, flooding forth wit hout our ( The Coming Community 65). The failure to achieve a proper identit
120 operty but a singularity (65). Agamben underlines (64) but also with the fact that individuality itsel f is bankrupt when faced with the pure nakedness and incommunicability of life itself, which thus becomes the improper and purely exterior that which is shameful and which represents the ultimate expropriation, merge into a continuum that reveals an this then, this streaming away mixed with Susan, Jinny, Neville, Rhoda, Louis, a sort of messianic and the New are linked to the death of an old social identity, no longer viable given the crumbling of the Empire, and opening into another form of identity that inherits the nihilism of the former and assumes it as a form of survival. This is an identity whose survival depends, dialec tically, on its embracing its own shame, impropriety, and lack of
121 begins anew, or Come away, come away, death mingling nonsense and poetry, quote from Means without End: Notes on Politics can singularities form a community without claiming an identity, that human beings co identity less singularity or community formed of such singularities is a threat to the state, be it Imperial or Fascist. This throws a new light on the unity of self the six form in inny, Neville, Rhoda, Louis, a sort of death? A new assembly of elements? Some hint of what the community formed of singularities that do not claim an identity and that has the potenti al return to the past in the present to open toward the future is significant for the messianic pow er of this The Coming Community 65). The individual in this community is able not to control the state, but to exceed it and escape it into unrepresenta bility. This is explained by Agamben in The Coming Community The State can recognize any claim for identity within the State, but what it cannot tolerate is that singularities form a community without affirming an identity, that humans co belong without State, therefore, what is important is never the singularity as such, but only its inclusion in some identity, whatever identity. A being radically devoid of
122 any representable identity would be absolutely Whatever singularity, which wants to appropriate belonging itself, its own being in language, and thus rejects all identity and every condition of belonging, is the principal enemy of the State. (86 87) There is a messianic dime nsion to this, which Agamben, through Benjamin, presents as a reality very similar to our current world, only a little bit different, since in the messianic everything repeats itself as the same, minus its identity as such. The ity have no origins, no properties, no need for a state, and they dispense with the properties of objects and subjects. This is what enables Bernard to become a collector of quotes, or a plagiarist of sorts. He redefines identity or nullifies it, makes and remakes it, to the point that it becomes so shifty, so proteic that it no longer has a stable essence. Thus, Bernard can say that he is neither male nor contemplate t he silence of his self, indeed, the death of the self, which he likens to the without (285). The stripping of the self is the stripping of illusion. The world without self is the new world. The eclipse of the sun (the evental break) is followed by a return of the light upon a new world that repeats the old one perfectly, except with a difference: the loss of self. Bernard is no longer representable: So the landscape returned to me; so I saw fields rolling in waves of colour beneath me, but now with this diffe rence; I saw but was not seen. I walked where I trod, perceiving merely, I walked alone in a new world, never one syllable. (286)
123 h of, this
124 CHAPTER 4 THE PLUMED SERPENT Hungarian master[,] the Shek hinah and the Messiah arrive unexpectedly at rabbi recognizes them, but his guests, visiting Hasidim, do not recognize the bride and groom and do not assent to the marriage, thus los ing another opportunity to unite the Messiah and the Shekhinah, repair the universe, and ultimately usher in the messianic age. Karla Suomala, Understanding Jewish Devotion to the Land The mysticism of D. H. Lawrence is widely documented. In this chapter I plan to show the totalizing effect mysticism has on the utopian thrust in The Plumed Serpent (1926) takes a high view of nature, its oneness, and its sense of divine energy and immortality, and his mysticism ascends toward a supposed blissful, mystical union with the world. Due to his desire for the actualization of deferred messianism through mysticism of the phallus and the abjection of the female body in submission to male virility, Lawrence succumbs to the temptation of the simulacrum. As such, his te ndency to betray the and initiates the third form of modernism: proto fasicsm. Though only one strand of a multiplicity of mystical traditions, the Kabbalah has been encountered Kabbalah literature as early as 1908, including techniques for mystical and magical practice. Already, there is a tension between destruction and reconstruction in ritings, in regards to messianism and eschatology. As Charles Burack
125 The Rainbow for example) tends to use Kabbalah ticism magic distinction is important because Lawrence associated mysticism with an unselfconscious, receptive, unitive experience while he identified magic with selfish, manipulative, knowledge est in the Kabbalah and his development of a pseudo messianic utopia in The Plumed Serpent sets up the frame for a discussion of gender relations as a way to propagate this utopia on a cosmic scale. In Kabbalah, the revelation of secrets and mysticism is c onnected to eschatology. When secrets are known, the messianic is near. The mystical tradition is the portal, the conduit, to deeper channels. The secrets are salvific on an individual level, fashioning a small group of converts that will be saved. Moreove r, mysticism brings about a shift in the condition of divinity a shift that, as we will see, takes place in very overt ways in The Plumed Serpent I argue that The Plumed Serpent deals, very self consciously, in magical and mystical secrets whose purpose i s to enact a messianic eschatology, but which is betrayed through totalization and the simulacrum of female abjection. Gender plays a distinctive role in this process. First of all, Lawrence is preoccupied with femininity and its significance in the mysti cal sense. One of the sephirot in Kabbalah is called Shekhinah (Presence), and its nature is feminine. The dual nature of the feminine in Lawrence is related to Shekhinah: on one hand, the female is Parousia the fullness of Presence; on the other hand, th e female is abject, weak, a form of kenomatic messianism. For the purposes of my argument, I will start with the feminine
126 The novel is concerned with the abject in various instances, as Kate experiences a specifically, this revulsion is emphasized in her encounters with the Mexican female: Their soft, untidy black hair, which they scrat ched for lice; the round eyed baby joggling like a pumpkin in the shawl slung over the woman's shoulder, the never washed feet and ankles, again somewhat reptilian under the long, flounced, soiled cotton skirt; and then, once more, the dark eyes of half cr eated women, soft, appealing, yet with a queer void insolence! (77) Lawrence endows Kate with an obsessive fear of, and loathing for, these women. like and fearful: being able to find full demonic proportions: And the inevitable mistrust and lurking insolence, insolent against a higher creation, the same thing that is in the striking of a snake. Kate, as a woman, feared the wo men more than the men. The women were little and insidious, the men were bigger and more reckless. But in the eyes of each, the uncreated centre, where the evil and the insolence lurked. (77) In psychoanalytic theory, abjection is done to the mother, the part of ourselves we exclude the most in order to establish an identity. The Plumed Serpent is replete with weeping mothers. Kate herself is a mother of estranged children and a mournful widow. The mother, particularly the mother of Jesus, the Virgin Mary, but also Doa Carlota, another weeping female and mother of suffering, is identified with abjection. The mother appears invariably as the one who sheds many tears, culminating in the religious archetype of Mary, the Mother of Sorrows. In the case of Doa Carlota, she is identified females, ultimately consigned to death, in the words of Cipriano: You stale virgin, you spinster, you born widow, you weeping mother, you impeccable wife, you just woman. You stole the very sunshine out of the sky and the sap out of the earth. Because back again, what did you pour?
127 Only the water of dead dilution into the mixing bowl of life, you thief. Oh die! -die! -die! Die and be a thousand times dead! Do nothing but utterly die! (347) The abject is thus linked to mothering femininity. In the novel, the mother is hypostatized in three roles: Virgin Mary, the Indian woman, and Kate herself; and, on a larger scale, the country of Mex ico itself. The Virgin and her Mexican protges are the maternal figures that Kate, as the Western emancipated woman, thinks she must overcome. Ultimately, in the conclusion of the narrative, Kate seeks to emerge as a daughter of Mexico, rather than an i mperial mother. But in the process, as she attempts to overpower herself, a Virgin Mary, ethereal, detached type, and become Malintzi, of the same blood as her despised Kate comes from a Christian culture to restore a Mexican deity. This makes her revulsion at the Indian mothers all the more interesting. She behaves both like a daughter seeking to revive her old Mexican mother (as Malintzi), and like a maternal figure, Empire to colonies. In her dread of the Mexican women, Kate is clearly overpowered by a primitivism she cannot comprehend. Kate returns to the corn mothers the moment she decides to follow Cipriano and become Malintzi. Virgin Mary is not necessarily a usu rper, but rather an ineffectual mother. Though Kate embraces the male aspect of her new culture, she rejects its female counterpart the primitive corn mothers and the real women of Mexico. To Juana, Maria and Concha, Kate relates as to objects of disgust a nd revulsion, to be despised, precisely for that which one could term the essentially feminine. She, on the other hand, is interestingly compared to Santa Maria de la Soledad by Cipriano, in a bout of reminiscence from his childhood past, when he used to w orship the Santissima:
128 He looked at her soft, wet white hands over her face, and at the one big emerald on her finger, in a sort of wonder. The wonder, the mystery, the magic that used to flood over him as a boy and a youth, when he kneeled before the bab yish figure of the Santa Maria de la Soledad, flooded him again. He was in the presence of the goddess, white handed, mysterious, gleaming with a moon like power and the intense potency of grief. (71) Feminine abjection is prevalent in the novel, and is linked to regression and the primitivism of the Mexicans from speech to violence and thus has imperialistic overtones, as when linked to the fear, dread, abject terror posed by the Mexicans to the whites. The Virgin and the Mexican girls are complementary images of the abject femininity: the Virgin is clean and pretty, the girls are repulsive and dirty, but they are all stupefied and hopeless and helpless with the implication that the passivity of the Virgin is responsible for the hopeless condition of the Mexican women. Female abjection connects that catastrophic utopia of the feminine in modernity to messianism, at the center of which lies the female as kenoma Christine Buci m and within which the female body appears as a ke nomatic allegory of modernity. For most critics judging the novel on its gender premises, at the heart of this allegory lies the kenoma of the liberated femal e the absent core of the n ovel. The novel is about the restoration of the phallus in patriarchal society and about the politics of gender in heterosexual relationships based on male domination and female submission. As Hugh shown to be indulging in such delirious, erotic appreciation of the naked dark male
129 creates not a woman, but a fetish of female abjection. Cipriano teaches Kate the deligh ts of vaginal orgasm as opposed to clitoral. Lack of vaginal orgasm is associated rea ding, the revolution of Don Ramn Carrasco culminates with the subjugation of Kate as Malintzi (presented in the novel as her apotheosis). Kate exchanges her modern self and European self assertiveness for an old form of consciousness that ultimately amoun ts to sexual subjugation. Mexican utopia, and ultimately of a cosmic one, is premised upon a revolution of the sexual dynamic between the sexes, which should ultimately culminate in sexual intercourse as the archetypal union between ancient gods, deified men and women. In connotations. For Lawrence, abjection is part of the messianic keno ma that opens the portals of mystery to another, new world. The mystery of the new religion is very directly related to the dark blood of male sexuality and female submission, both described repeatedly in terms of mystery and secrecy, as well as religious e mystic powers of blood could rise up that pillar of cloud which swayed and swung, like a rearing serpent
130 or a rising tree, till all the earth below was dark and pron upon, as Cipriano himself emphasizes several times, the fe submission, on her part, [that] this huge erection would imply! Submission absolute, like the earth under the sky. Beneath an over he finality of death, and yet His male ch of power in hybrid form: religious (his portrait combines motifs from the Old Testament and the Aztec religions, as Stevens points out since he is both a Lucifer and God figure ), as well as physical and sexual (Kate places emphasis on his dark and full self sufficient and self justifying value seemingly uncontained by any larger system of in him. And she knew he was strong. No men in the world can carry heavier loads on
131 viewed through Western female eyes, a fact that complicates both the gaze and the object of the gaze. While Kate works Cipriano out into the commodified, primitive, sexualized, and almost pornographic body of indigenous labor, she is in turn worked over by this image and made into an Imperialist figure resisting encounters with abject ion her own and that of the Other she encounters. Mexicans are fetishized as erect, handsome, dark, with warm associated wit h strength, and both with the masculine. The simulacrum of the dialectic between power and weakness is essential to my argument. Kate embodies it in the way she internalizes her submission at times, and revolts against it at other times, all the while vic abjection in the service of the male. Either oblivious or indifferent to the feminist objections to her submission, it seems as if Lawrence intended for Kate to enter through the portal of mystery of the new religi on through her annihilation as a woman, and thus become Malintzi. As such, it is only in those moments when she loses herself that she gains new understanding of Mexico and its people, as well as the Quetzalcoatl. Her abjection is total: she loses her lang had abandoned her, and she leaned silent and helpless in the vast, unspoken twilight of
132 darkening into new shapes, each one s with the dark, half visible face of the g od suspicious, emancipated Westerner, but as a new creature whom Ramn calls the First repeatedly. She feels elusive to herself and others, the boatman glances at her as if she were not there, and in the boat she loses her consciousness in the silence around her. The mystery of her wedding to Cipriano, where each of them impersonates his and her divine nature, he as Huitziloppochtli, she as Malintzi, is that of the twilight place of the in between, where woman is enveloped as if in darkness by the mystery of the man dominating her. feminine runs counter to the messianic modernity that bears the mark of androgyny. Modernized urbanity redistri butes the traits between the feminine and the masculine, and the result is the uniformity of sexes as a result of the integration of women in the processes of wage labor and urbanization. While urban commodification disrupts with the purpose of emphasizing its power, performs its own commodification fantasy that reduces Mexico to an erotic commodity (as Stevens also notes). attempt to look for a utopia ou tside the Western urban setting, we notice an impulse to
133 explode a certain social order he associates with the old, and to recreate it in a new, supposedly pure and untainted setting. In his work, messianism fails to be born out of the weakness of fragment ation and alienation. Rather, a simulacrum of messianism comes out of the abjection of Mexico and its feminine counterparts. In this sense, Kate performs a kind of sexual and existential abjection toward her two headed Indian lover (a collage of Ramn and Cipriano because, as Stevens points out, her marriage to Cipriano is mediated through a desire for Ramn.) She is ready to annihilate herself in her rapturous desire for the forbidden male object of desire and undergo an erasure of self consciousness and s ubjectivity. Under the guise of irony, she embraces her de trop Male strength is the essence of the new religion, whose aim is to help Mexicans which they lost when they submitted to the gringos. In fact, the gringos are said to have exploited this second strength by cunning, obtaining it in the form of a secret from its original owners. Ramn and Cipriano have rediscovered it in the form of a series of rituals that reopen the access to the secret. The new religion involves forms of discipline manifested through incantatory poetry and animistic dance during which they gain power over the forces of the earth. The emphasis is continually on the secrecy and losing of the self is characteristic of the men subjected to Cipriano as well, though for man that is man is more than a man
134 will the will cease to exist as an individuality. At this juncture, the simulacrum dialectic between strength and wea kness takes place, because Kate is fascinated and seduced by this relentless power, even passion of the will in men! She knew herself under the spell, but not utterly betrays the utopian project and determines her fate for the rest of the novel: But where was woman, i n this terrible interchange of will? Truly only a subservient, instrumental thing: the soft stone on which the man sharpened the knife of his relentless volition. Ah yes, it was wonderful. It was, as Godhead as a sheer and awful Will she could not respond. (388) Lawrence would have us see Kate as losing her access to her new state of divine potency. Julia Kristeva ta lks about an apocalyptic side to the abject, and The Plumed Serpent millennium. According to Kristeva, "On close inspection, all literature is probably a version of the apocalypse that seems to me rooted, no matter what its sociohistorical conditions might be, on the fragile border (borderline cases) where identities (subject/object, etc.) do not exist or only barely so double, fuzzy, heterogeneous, animal, metamorphosed, altered, During the time he was writing, Lawrence was interested in eschatology Revelation, and a return to the Old Testament. The Plumed Serpent is both an end of the world and the institution of a new
135 Eden. Kate is the initiate, Ramn her savior. He is an avatar of a latter day Christ in the process of being supplanted by the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl. D. H. Lawrence himself was very concerned with the apocalyptic both in the Christian and the Jewish, Kabbalistic sense. In this novel, Lawrence is not concerned only about the sexual encounter of this particular couple, but also about the way they function as an archetype of the renewal of a religion of the old gods, who are in fact a type of Genesis story for a new world, following an eschatological ev ent the death of the Christian religion and its weak economic liberalism, that reduces men to puppets in the hands of commercial capitalism and women to grisly old harridans who lose themselves in their own egotism and enclosed spaces of their sterile sexu ality. Lawrence aims for a pagan version of the new millennium. Virginia Hyde notes The Book of Revelation in the middle and late 1920s. His interest in apocalyptic themes emerges as early as 1923 in Women in Love intensi Revelation. This happened between the two revisions of The Plumed Serpent This work and two others, David and the Boy in the Bush deal with the ending of one world and the shiftin g towards the beginning of another. Many Lawrence characters yearn for a new condition. There is a regard for the New and the apocalyptic in The Plumed Serpent with the concern for a developing movement that weaves together different religions and mystici sm: The soul is also a thing you make, like a pattern in a blanket. It is very nice while all the wools are rolling their different threads and different colours, pattern of her sou l. Or she is only just starting: with Ramn. (234)
136 For Lawrence, The Plumed Serpent as a magical incantation was supposed to change the world; it was to do with tikkun the vision of redemptive restitution. Kate as Malintzi, as well as Shekhinah, introduce s the theme of the feminine abject, on one hand; on the other, the Kabbalah introduces the contradiction embodied in the plumed serpent as evil and redemption. Hyde notes that in a passage discarded from the novel, after the terrors of the Apocalypse. The return of the tree is the regaining of paradise, pagan dispensation after the ascet Nanette Norris argues that The Plumed Serpent ambitious projects because it was intended to change the world: If his words have life, in the Kabbalic sense, then there is a balance between eart h and heaven today that can only help to heal wounds, right of literature of transformation, and Helen in Egypt includes new, mythopoeic, narrative creation in the threads of which are woven the text of another belief system, in this case that of Jewish mysticism, and its inherent magical According to Kabbalah, the purpose of magic through the secret text is tikkun or the vision of redem ptive restitution, and this is the purpose of the novel as well: the tikkun of the Mexican people. Kate, the Kabbalic character, undergoes the self exploratory trip around her fortieth birthday (the age when Isaac Abarbanel thinks one is ready to undergo t
137 time for her to move forward into her mythic role as hero, may offer a partial explanation of the ambiguity of her positioning vis a vis Cipriano, and her reluctance to accept h er role as his bride and as Malintzi. One can understand on what grounds D. H. Lawrence set this novel up as a utopia, and where he succumbed t the temptation of proto fascism, if one takes into account the messianic value of a certain kind of female abje ction, though, granted, not in its simulacrum form of totalizing submission to the phallus. In The Powers of Horror Kristeva argues that abjection is kenomatic. It goes through death, but also through an attraction to otherness. It renders the self loath some to itself, and it inaugurates a loss. This loss is linked to the messianic because it has catastrophic undertones, which devise the New. The abject has to do with loss of identity and with emptiness the kenoma urrection that has gone through death (of the ego). It is an alchemy that transforms death drive into a start of life, or new Abjection, while it does not have an object, has the quality of the object, in that it is e such it imagines to be the desire of the other. It causes a split subject is constituted by this inaugural loss. The loss becomes the want on which being, meaning, langu age and desire are founded. Want and the abjection of self are
138 connected. The deject never stops, though, but constantly devises new territories and Lawrence would have us believe that the same the the more she strays, the more she is found. The more she becomes abject and loses herself, the more she finds herself in a new divine persona, as Teresa later explains. ownward however also struggles against it: Yet she could not be purely this, this thing of sheer reciprocity. Surely, than that! Surely he and she were not t wo potent and reciprocal currents Surely she had one tiny Morning Star inside her, which was herself, her own very soul and star self! (388) is stuck in a mode of oppositions and contradictions: male vs. female. In this view, his writing does not proliferate the feminine, but restricts it to its conventional patriarchal meaning. The female remains the passive body, a negative space against whic come to accept until the very end pure female corresponding to his pure male, did she signify. As an isolated individual, she had little or no significance. As a woman on her own, she was repulsive, and even evil, to him. She was not re Unlike Teresa, who readily accepts her role as the submissive female who loses herself in her lover and husband and god, Ramn, Kate must embody and reconcile paradoxes. She maintains her individuality even as she experi ences her abjection to the
139 individual, like the perfect being, does not and cannot exist, in the vivid world. We are all fragments. And at best, halves. The one whole thing is the Morning Star. Which can fragments of two or more is the essence of the new religion of the Quetzalcoatl, who himself is the God of the two ways. Norris argues that th e most prominent Kabbalistic figure is the plumed serpent, which joins two symbols in one image: the phoenix a Christic figure, which is complicated by the serpent, a symbol of evil in Christianity. In Judaism, however, the forces of evil are necessary for tzimtzum ). Evil enables enlightenment and redemption. Norris notes that gnosticism and alchemy also argue for the necessity of evil, but she thinks Lawrence preferred to have recourse to Kabbalah because the latter also offers the magic of words. Unlike Teresa, who abjects herself with no pursuit of knowledge in mind, Kate abjects herself in order to enter a new dimension of knowledge over Ramn, a form of ca eyed woman had almost an uncanny power, to make Ramn great and gorgeous in the flesh, whilst she herself became inconspicuous, almost invisible save for her Kabbalistic literature makes much of the carnal relationship of God a nd the Shekhinah. The relationship between God and Shekhinah is mirrored in the relationship
140 between man and woman, and it provides a great deal of information on both the Shekhinah and the mystery of sex. Interestingly, the Shekhinah is also connected to the cult of Virgin Mary. In Kabbalah and Eros Moshe Idel talks about a possible identification of the Shekhinah with Mary in the context of divine consorts. He also talks sexual rituals performed by Cipriano and Kate in view of their transformation into Quetzalcoatl and Malintzi another evidence of the fact that D. H. Lawrence saw his text as perfomative, to some degree. In the Kabbalah, the nightly union of Shekhinah with her husband is a major aspect of her function. It is interesting to note that, according to Idel, the love between God and Shekhinah has ethnic aspects as well, as it continues a tional drama is central in shaping the nature of Shekhinah. If Kate is in some ways representative of Shekhinah, she continues an interesting parallel to Virgin Mary and the abject, also in the way Mary replaced the corn mothers. Kate is now in a position to enact a spectacular role: to represent the nation of Mexico as Malintzi, though as a European in the same time. Problematic is her conflicted relationship with Mexico, and her queasiness, her feeling of revulsion toward the female Mexican. The climax of insists on the fact that she should maintain a life of her own, in the Western tradition of the emancip precious body! And to carry his precious seed in her own womb! Herself, apart from
141 12). The counterpart of this, however, Kate realizes in a moment of cleverly as a man and who never gave her soul: who did not believe in giving her soul. woman requires th more repulsive. This realization initiates an event like transformation in Kate, which, however, transformation that, the living result will be a new germ, a new conception of human life, that will arise from the fusion of the old blood and vertebrate consciousness. The sinking of both beings, i sacrality, but also expresses the horror and pain of the eschatological event. When symbolic appearance starts to disintegrate, simulated reality casts a veil over the Real Kate refus es to confront, obscuring the main issue at the core of her abjection: the fact that, as a disappearing Kate and emerging Malintzi, she will be placed in an in between space of the two deaths. In the advent of her complete abjection, Kate experiences revul sion and nausea, mainly at the thought that she is to become undifferentiated from Mexico:
142 But meanwhile, a strange, almost torn nausea would come over Kate, and she felt she must go away, to spare herself. The strange, reptilian insistence of her very se rvants: Blood is one blood. We are all of one blood stream English, Germanic idea of the intrinsic superiority of the hereditary aristocrat. Her blood was different from the common blood, anot her, finer swept away all individualism, and left her immersed, drowned in the grand sea of the living blood, in immediate contact with all these men and all these women. And she could not submit, off hand. It had to be a slow, a strange, marginless death of her individual self. (417) These are the two dimensions of abjection in Lawrence: the abject superio rity of the Westerner over the Mexican, and the renunciation of this superiority in order to rejudices is not redeemed in the name of messianism, because her overcoming is overshadowed by the knew she must go back to Europe, to England and Ireland, very soon. The necessity was imperative. The sense of menace that Mexico put over her, and the feeling of inner palpable, though obscured in its utopian purport by the fact that it i s enacted in the which was changing, it was her body, and the constitution of her very blood. She could feel it, the terrible katabolism and metabolism in her blood changing her even as a over and recreates reality into a fundamental fantasy of a completely meaningful universe, ushering in a simulacrum of tikkun ime in her life she felt
143 had sunk to a final rest, within a great, opened out cosmos. The universe had opened out to her new and vast, and she had sunk to the deep bed of pure rest. She had body is mystical and has cosmic valences, just as that of Cipriano and Ramn enacts a tion into Malintzi is supposed to be read as a cosmically redemptive act. Her marriage to Cipriano is finally completed in this absolute act of abjection, which redeems the entire cosmos. Moshe Idel recounts that, according to Primo Levi, in a story taken from Kabbalah, when God created the first woman for Adam, he also created a companion for himself, became the mother of all people, and when the Temple was destroyed, the Sh ekhinah herself be enslaved and is here around us, in the exile within exile, in this home of mud and sorrow. So God has remained alone: as happened to many He has not been able she and this is the cause of evil on earth. The story continues by connecting the the one we are all presence, and also redeem the exiles. In her posture of emancipated Western er, a Virgin Mary type, whose serene, ineffectual, detached pose is superior to the dirty abjection of her Mexican protges, Kate appears as a Lillith figure who has come to supplant the corn mothers in the affection of their male gods. As Caterina rather than
144 Lillith figure, must be annihilated to make room for Malintzi, the real Shekhinah. Charles Burack argues that because in the Zohar Primal Adam was androgynous, th Kabbalah theory of procreation involves an explanation of the emergence of t he New that involves the Shekhinah, or divine presence. According to that, it is the immanent God, who in the form of the Shekhinah, the divine Presence, resides between the male and female who make love with holy intent and whose union engenders a human s oul. Even though the fertilized egg contains already existing material from mother and father, it also contains its own Holy Ghost, unique and intangible, which forms a new by Burack 56). Even though Kate and Cipriano do not conceive a child, their union is described in terms of conception, to signify that they are conceiving the New. Interesting ly, the description is not just of their sexual union, but also of the union of two cultures, of two dark will, the unconcern for death, the subtle, dark consciousness, n on cerebral, but vertebrate. When the mind and the power of man was in his blood and his back bone, and there was a strange, dark inter communication between man and man and man a new world is united, the
145 mental spiritual life of white people suddenly [flourishing] like a great weed will be a new germ, a new conception of human life, that will aris e from the fusion of the old blood and present mental spiritual consciousness. The sinking of both beings, into a new being. (415) Though she fetishizes the old and associates it with a kind of mysterious, dark potent, Just as the Shekhinah is involved in the production of the New, the union between Kate and Cipriano is also with Cipriano is finally this divine union, unlike everything else she has known before, is expressed in the way she perceives sex as New: no longer clitoral, but vaginal orgasm, and this time no it Malintzi, Kate is supposed to become a true Shekhinah, with access to the divine secret of redemption just like Cipriano and Ramn. Her abjection is directly related to her feminine will and desire subsided in her and swept away, leaving her soft and powerfully pote nt, like the hot springs of water that gushed up so noiseless, so soft, yet so As Lawrence intends it, feminine abjection should lead to the kenomatic state of messianism: it empties the self of itself, in s aintly tradition; it transgresses the law; it final when she empties herself of her Western individualism and abandons her ego. Her abjection, her emptying, preempt
146 messianic abjection, however, is obscured by her dissolution into another kind of nothingness that is much more final and ultimately abject. Her abjection is her loss into the masculine other, desi beak and removes Kate entirely away from that and into a different yielding and submission over which she ha s no control. Louise Nelstrop argues that for Kristeva, the female body is a privileged site of the concerned as it is threatened with spiritual annihilation. The abject is experienced with the complete disappearance of the self into another object. The abject i s that which is low and debased through experience, or fear of, biological waste and death. We confront death in our bodies through waste and excrement. There is abjection of the self in Kristeva through the debasing and corrupting presence of an Other su bject the self subjugated to the presence of the Other. In seeking a connection with an outside self, whether connection with the abject desirable because sublime (its power to engulf inspires fear). In the way she subjects herself to Cipriano, Kate experiences a simulacrum of the abject, and her pseudo abjection takes mystical proportions.
147 Cristina Mazzoni argues that the history of religion is about purification of t he abject. At the same time, abjection attests to the weakness of the symbolic to obliterate abject. Mazzoni argues that the abject is the gateway to religion: though it rej ects the unclean, the symbolic cannot exclude it in any final way. To preserve its identity with the symbolic (the law) the subject must continually harness it to reject the abject and preserve its identity in the symbolic. The disgust entailed by abjectio n leads to the Quetzalcoatl requires the abject, just as the Christian relig ion of Mary requires her fascist totalization. Kristeva describes Christian mysticism as an important modality of the abject, founded on exclusion rather than desire, and questioning the boundaries between inside/outside. It becomes a marker of borderline discourse. As her Western emancipated persona, Kate rejects the mystic possibilities posed by her encounter with the Mexican girls and women, whom she regards with disgu st. Sien drinking of a cup of pus which she also associates with jouissance. opportunity to attain mystic abjection lies in connecting with the Mexican women, from which she shrinks away. As a Westerner, Kate is no mystic, and no subject of the
148 alone causes the abject to exist as such. One does not know it, one does not desire it, reach a new mystic reality is through an abjection other than sex with Cipriano, in her own flesh. The abject is directly connected to the flesh (thus my emphasis on the bodies of body corporeality is elevated and spiritualized, and the osmosis between spiritual and material takes place. This can happen because the Christian conception of the flesh, as Kristeva points out, is not the least one, is to have gathered in a single move perversion and beauty as the lining and cloth of one and the ing sinned does the mystic topple of Christianity, because mysticism engages i that is to say, the enunciation of sin in the presence of the One, reverberate not as a denunciation but as the glorious counterweight to the inquisitorial fate of confession (131). Mystics find freedom in trans gression, in the fact that they can say the unsayable. Cipriano aims for this kind of religion of transgression. Abjection is transgression, but also jouissance. It announces the impotence of messianism. On the jouissance of the abject, Mark Taylor talks of apocalypse in Cline as the opposite of the Hegelian telos the presence of absolute parousia
149 whose ecstasy is not enjoyment of perfection or completion, but rather the jouissance Jouissance alone makes the abject as such exist. One does not know it, one does not desire it, one borderline between subject/object (the place inhabi ted by the abject) where identities dissolve, become altered, blurred, heterogeneous, animal, abject. Though systems work hard to repress abjection, it returns with a will to deconstruct (philosophical, theological, social, political, cultural, or economic intended for the text to perform the mystical: two opposed gods, Good and Evil, are joined to enact the redemptive messianic moment through the agency of the abject. Had his idea of transgression and jouissance could have explained the secrets of the plumed serpent, bringing toge ther Kabbalah, messianism, and the abject. The text traces its thwarted messianism through its Kabbalistic focus and its hymns that were supposed to have the power to alter the universe, evincing the fact that, for Lawrence, this was not just a love story against an exotic backdrop, but a text that was supposed to have incantatory and magic powers that would change the world and bring about the (60). The very act of writing, of using words, becomes a
150 immediate, and to him real, experience of the divine, of ultimate reality, or who at least strives to attain such The mystic returns to the worldly plane to articulate his experience for others to follow. The attempt to establish the new religious authority of Quetzalcoatl is evidence in The Plumed Ser pent of the attempted articulation of mystical experience. Cipriano claims to have had just such an experience. Norris argues that generally the credibility of both Cipriano and Kate are regarded as problematic in the novel, but not if we understand them t hrough Kabbalah, which through the Bride the wife in this world, Shekhinah in the other. Frederick Carter enetration in David vision is of a world beyond suffering and death. It is echoed in the Hasidic sense that (Carter qtd. in Norris 113). The traces of Kabbalah in The Plumed Serpent point to a kind of mysticism that includes magic. The novel engages metaphor, mythopoeisis, mythic language, and beneath it all, the ironic performance of t he magic incantation which is the Kabbalah. Lawrence may have embraced the complex system of Kabbalah with its idea that words might have the power to alter the very substance of the physical universe, touch the fabric of the universe of souls, to make its power his own, but the redemptive power of language succumbs to the worship o f the master phallic signifier
151 CHAPTER 5 MOLLY BLOOM AND THE COMEDY OF REMARRIAGE To a child returning home from a holiday, home seems new, fresh, festive. Yet nothing has c hanged there since he left. Only because duty has now been forgotten, of which each piece of furniture, window, lap, was otherwise a reminder, is the house given back the Sabbath peace, and for minutes one is at home in a never returning world of rooms, no oks and corridors, in a way that makes the rest of life there a lie. No differently will the world one day appear, almost unchanged, in its constant feast day light, when it stands no longer under the law of labor, and when for homecomers duty has the ligh tness of holiday play. Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia In this final chapter, I bring the dialectic of modernism that I have been tracing out Ulysses and the er in particular. The first half of the dissertation focused on a progression from the negative dialectic of Conrad to the progressive reform in Woolf, while the latter half focused on the reverse side of modernism: the positive expressions of Lawrence and Joyce. However, whereas Lawrence's messianism ultimately resolves into the simulacrum of fascism, in Ulysses we see the fullest expression of an affirmative, "Yes," a positive messianism opening up onto the potentiality of a radically other future, one un bound and undetermined. My treatment of this positive form of messianism relies on what might appear unusual or surprising to many readers a form of the heuristic genre the philosopher and film critic Stanley Cavell names the comedy of remarriage. As Slavo j Zizek argues in In Defense of Lost Causes for Hollywood at least, the family drama is the fundamental venue for reaching the historical Real and its utopian remarriage comedies and their utopianism, in his discussion of films such as Notting
152 Hill Groundhog Day and Stalker Starting from the classic structure of the remarriage comedy as a struggle for reciprocity and equality between man and woman, Wegner capitalizes on the series of crises in these love relationships to point toward the utopian significance of the films. In Stalker he capitalizes on the link between faith and the possibility of a utopian transformation of the world. The ideal locus for the authentic act of the leap of faith is marriage the last signpost of affirmation of faith in a world devoid yes! in this Ulysses is a comedy of remarriage that seeks to get in touch with the love ev ent through the same affirmation and renewing act of yes saying. event either has been disputed or seen as an the love event holds the pl ace for psychoanalysis, theology and philosophy itself. It can be further categorized, Zizek holds, through the responses it elicits: fidelity, which leads to normalization and integration through marriage; rejection, leading to libertinage and the transfo rmation of the event into sexual adventure; rejection of sexual love leading to abstinence; obscurantist suicidal mortal passion; and, finally, resurrected love, or reencounter, which is the remarriage itself. I place the relationship between Molly and Blo om on a continuum of fidelity, rejection (in its two guises libertinage, for Molly, and abstinence, for Bloom), and remarriage, with the weight of the argument falling on the latter.
1 53 Thus, according to Badiou, the event is necessarily missed the first ti me, and end of monologue is the true event of her remarriage to Bloom, just as Cavell writes that the only true marriage is the second marriage to the same person. Ziz ek, however, also points out that the event disturbs the balance of an ideological situation, arising out of, and creating its own, crisis. The reading of an event depends on whether it is falsified or recognized in that moment of crisis. From the capitali st point of view, crisis can be read as a mere glitch in the system, temporary and correctable, while from the Marxist view point, crisis is the moment of truth, the exception which allows us to grasp the functioning of the system. The two are readings of the same event, and the difference between them is minimal, purely virtual precisely the description of the Benjaminian messianic difference. Incalculable and unexpected, this minute difference can trigger a radical evental transformation of the whole fie ld, amounting to what Zizek calls the momentous found through a chance encounter. It is marked by a fidelity to something that is hard to explain in who intervenes, who dec Being and Event 229). amid confusion and obscur ity, and clarity is the result of repetition (as in remarriage). As
154 (inconsistent) being as being as anything else. An event can be only a multiple, but it is one that count Because the event belongs to the situation, it is undecidable and unpresentable from within the situation. Only subjective intervention decides if the event belongs to the situation or not. The event reveals the void of a situation and names it as a truth event. When an event irrupts for the first time, it is perceived as so traumatic that its significance is missed. In The Sublime Object of Ideology Zizek talks about the event asserting itself through repetition after a process of misrecognition the initial failure of opinion to recognize the true character of the event. Through repetition the event is la takes flight in the evening, after the end of the age. Originally mistaken for co ntingency, the event realizes itself through Boylan. event encompasses both the Lacanian and the Badouian approach to truth: the latter when she met Bloom, and the forme r during her While, for Lacan, Truth is this shattering experience of the Void a sudden insight into the abyss r illuminating shock, in for Badiou, Truth is what comes afterward: the long arduous work of fidelity, of enforcing a new law onto the situation
155 (Jttkandt 110) to betray the event something both Molly and Leopold do. naming it directly. Alex Callinicos argues that there is a tension in fidelity: on one hand, resulted in marriage); on the other hand, in resisting legitimacy in order to maintain the the stance or which is what Molly does throughout her episode. Callinicos like empty time. Interpreting, rather than naming, an event, makes the event visible without that blasts through the continuum of history in the tradition of the Pauline grace that liberates Christianity from its subordination to the Jewish Law and gives it its universal dimension. surrounding being named, the event attains a certain efficacity and presence, as the name becomes the trace of the event in the situation, since the event is not and c annot be presented as such. Ed Pluth claims that, according to Badiou, the name of the event is generated neither by the situation, nor from outside of it, but rather it comes from the void itself. A completely new word or name emerges from the void. Namin g the event is akin to an intervention that splits the event in two: on one hand, we have the actual event, which
156 cannot stand presentation and becomes subtracted, and then the naming of the event, which ends up doubling the event through a repetition of t he event within the situation, presentation. struggle between a man and a woman who fight for reciprocal recognition and equality in the relationship happens through a series of mishaps that lead from one misunderstanding, disappointment and desire for revenge to another a series of events that ends up with the two hitting a wall. This is the realization of their need for reciprocal forgiveness and personal change, which involves the relinquishing of personal control as well, as Fischer notes. The event emerges through divorce. In the threat of separ becomes the free willed decision that authentificates the marriage. In their search for each other, the two have to engage in a series of avoidances and recognitions that culminate in the moment of crisis. As Cavell remarks in his discussion of the necessity of testing the marriage, of taking it to court, as it were, in the open, in another, to remember beginning, to remember that you are strangers; but it is only worth subjecting to this examination if the case is one of intimacy, which you might Another name for this intimacy is familiarity, which for both Cave ll and Joyce is a process of bringing off the pedestal the goddess made of stone or bronze and turning her into a woman of flesh and blood. Interestingly, this transformation is marked by the
157 conversationality between the two in the couple their ability to talk together as the the ability to allow and entertain a potential intruder i domesticity. In His Girl Friday Cavell shows that Hildy and Walter have the kind of past and familiarity with each other that makes them entertain Bruce, the romantic intruder, as dinner guest. Bloom does that with Boylan in a s ense, preparing his way as a guest appreciate one another more than either of them appreciates anyone else, and they would rather be appreciated by one another more than by Walter has created Hildy from a the sun shines for you he said the day we were lying among the rhododendrons on Howt h head in the grey tweed suit and his straw hat the day I got him to propose to me yes first I gave him the bit of seedcake out of my mouth and it was leapyear like now yes 16 years ago my God after that long kiss I near lost my breath yes he said I was a flower of the mountain yes so we are flowers all a womans body yes that was one true thing he said in his life and the sun shines for you today yes that was why I liked him because I saw he understood or felt what a woman is and I knew I could always get round him and I gave him all the pleasure I could leading him on till he asked me to say yes (Joyce 18.1571) But it is precisely because Bloom has created Molly that he has to release her, and she would have to return to him of her own volition rather than merely because he wants her and claims her back. In fact, Bloom demonstrates the validity of his claim by releasing Molly from it and giving her her freedom. In the case of His Girl Friday Cavell e herself from her divorce, to
158 Molly enact her freedom by providing opportunities for her tryst with Boylan. In effect, by enacting her scene of engagement on the mountain, and her willingness to give Bloom all the sexual pleasure he wanted of her own accord and initiative, Molly brings into contrast her present affair with Boylan as counterfeit, less than voluntary through a different kind of constriction, as if she is aski ng Bloom to save her from the phony happiness Boylan would offer her. This present realization comes only through the repetition of her past realization of happiness. with self knowledge, indispensable in comedies of remarriage. Learning, accepting, and discovery placed in the service of authorizing and authentificating the marriage. Cavell notes that, in his films, women are b knowledge and education, a form of sexual exploration. As critics have noted, we have very little evidence of any previous and Boylan. Though certainly not virginity, it is possible that the issue of chastity co uld chasteness or innocence comes in the acknowledgment of phallus as an object of terror Lady Eve descriptions of sexual encounters of the past, it is interesting to note that, in fact, in some episodes she is afraid to let the man touch her, and imagines pregnancy and
159 v enereal disease. In the final scene of the monologue, in her love encounter with Bloom, she is not exactly afraid, but she fetishizes the penis. Even her obsessive detailing of the sexual intercourse with Bloom seems to stave off some inherent fear of her insufficient femininity, which seems to trigger an additional series of encounters, where she boasts of her overly sufficient femininity, in a suspiciously vehement insistence indicating a lack of confidence. Her lack of sexual intercourse with Bloom might bring this lack of confidence into the marital bed. Out of this insecure female, Bloom recreates a new woman. His didacticism throughout Ulysses the relationship is that of a father as well, charged to supply his daughter with her education. The lover as father figure must be overcome as well, in order for the couple mother figure is absent, becau idea that the creation of the woman is the business of men; even paradoxically, when the creation is that of the so creation of the new woman is r equired in the revolution and accomplishment of the male desire. The idea of Molly as the creation of the new woman is worth exploring further, Amanda desires that equality at home be made public, Amanda wants of the world that as a professional woman she does not already have is evidently for the world to know that she is an equal at home, an equal in intimacy and in
160 exposure. And just like Aman ridiculous, without thereby losing his sense of worth, is what makes him worth listening to, what gives him the authority to lecture the woman, to be chosen by her for her Howth, followed by a prolonged crisis their marriage. In Lady Eve Cavell talks about the film as a comic ver sion of the expulsion from the Garden of Eden. In a sense, leaves an exotic peninsula on which she had been devoted to the pursuit of sexual knowledge, but, more significa ntly, Bloom himself pursues the supposedly virginal temptress in search of sexual knowledge, in Ben Howth. Molly herself appears as a native seducer, a native inhabitant of a long forgotten paradise, and she too clunks Bloom on the head with the apple of h er sexuality. Cavell notes that the myth of the identification as flower. The fact that Blo om tells her she has the body of a flower, and that she recognizes all women in that description, is consistent with her sexual stories, which involve the female body opening to men like flowers in various hypostases. as such, at the end of the section. Also, Cavell describes the female profile as that of an adventuress precisely what Molly is throughout her section, while the man is described
161 as a gullible dupe, a mu g and a sucker. Though Bloom does not seem to merit this mountain, but also throughout her monologue. He is a pseudo scientist type, just like Hopsy/Charles. As Cavell monologue is a debunking of romance. Thus, I equate her monologue with a picture of the marriage in crisis, but also with the void opening in the crisis to make room for the a return to Ben Howth, home to her true marriage to Bloom return to the past, but rather a remaking of the past into the present. It takes into account the crisis of her marriage and all the changes she and Bloom have undergone in these almost twenty years. If we look at the evental encounter between the two lovers as a pivotal moment followed by crisis, we perceive this crisis as a period of flight and pursuit, successively. nsforming itself into a process of pursuit, as Cavell notes of the two characters in Bringing Up Baby plus the need to hide the embarrassment of the sexual act under laughter, giv en that both characters emerge into adulthood from sexless childhoods. The fact is, however, that as much as the woman pursues, the man repeatedly tries to extricate himself, in a metaphorical divorce from her. Quite the opposite is true of Molly and Bloom Though Bloom is the one in pursuit, theoretically, his desire for his wife is rather passive. On the
162 played this teasing game before, with both Bloom and Boylan. W ith Bloom, for example: O Maria Santisima he did look a big fool dreeping in the rain splendid set of teeth he had made me hungry to look at them and beseeched me to lift the orange petticoat I had on with the sunray pleats that there was nobody he said he d kneel down in the wet if I didnt so persevering he would too and ruin his new raincoat you never know what freak theyd take alone with you theyre so savage for it if anyone was passing so I lifted them a bit and touched his trousers outside the way I use d to Gardner after with my ring hand to keep him from doing worse where it was too public I was dying to find out was he circumcised he was shaking like a jelly all over they want to do everything too quick and take all the pleasure out of it (U18.306 317) And with Boylan: O let them all go and smother themselves for the fat lot I care he has plenty of money and hes not a marrying man so somebody better get it out of him if I could find out whether he likes me I looked a bit washy of course when I looked cl ose in the handglass powdering a mirror never gives you the expression besides scrooching down on me like that all the time with his big hipbones hes heavy too with his hairy chest for this heat always having to lie down for them (U18.405 412) The cycle of flight and pursuit is precisely what Cavell means by the comedy of remarriage. And, to complete the cycle, Bloom has done his share of prevarication: like all the things he told father he was going to do and me but I saw through him telling me all the lov ely places we could go for the honeymoon said whatever I liked he was going to do immediately if not sooner will you be my man will you carry my can he ought to get a leather medal wit h a putty rim for all the plans he invents then leaving us here all day youd never know what old beggar at the door for a crust with his long story (U18.983 991) Infidelity and recommitment are processes by which the characters revalidate their marriage, t (1
163 the pair back into a particular moment of their past lives together. No new vow is required, merely the picking up of an action which has been, as it were, interrupted; n ot who are already married can genuinely marry, Cavell argues, because they realize that our lives but through its excessive familiarity. It is the most poignant testimony of marital bickering in the Bloom household in the ent ire novel. As Cavell notes of It Happened One Night another important point in the genre of the comedy of remarriage is the question of what really constitutes a marriage. (In this film, it is clear that the legal act does not always constitute it. The tw o act as married in the auto camp before the actual marriage, which is not legally performed during the film). One thing that does constitute a marriage is familiarity, according to Cavell: the familiarity with which the two prepare for bed on the night of their second auto camp, undressing behind the hanging blanket. This recalls the charade of marriage they gave on their first auto camp night, when the detectives busted in. The bickering and screaming at each other is another proof of their married state. And this bickering in turn, though mocking the state of marriage, recalls a bickering that is itself a mark, not of bliss exactly, but say of caring. As if a willingn ess both quarrels and romance, desire and despair, another question occurs: what is a
164 does together is less important than the fact that they do whatever it is together, that they know how to spend time together, even that they would rather waste ti me together than do anything else One can recognize the relationship between Molly and Bloom in this pattern of Bringing up Baby presents the purest e xample of a relationship in which the pair do next to nothing practical throughout our s and encouraging erotic fantasies in his wife. Their sexual life is highly dramatic and theatrical as well another proof of their intimate familiarity. Familiarity is co nnected to intimacy and hunger for sex through hunger of food. The seedcake episode ties in It Happened One Night Food is a major thematic development in this film. Refusal of food is refusal of parental love and p rotection; acceptance of food is acceptance of intimacy. By ordering the box of chocolates away, Gable (Peter) instructs the woman in what is worth eating or not, what is worth consuming. When Peter denies her something to eat, it is for a moral reason. Be cause she rejected carrots before, when she does eat the carrot, Peter is won over. For him this is an expression that she does not exempt herself from the human condition due to nity, of true need call it the creation of herself as a human being. No doubt, he is also won because eating the carrot is an acceptance of him, being an acceptance of food from
165 him. It is also an acceptance of equality with him, since he has been living o Kearney likens it to a Passover/Eucharist moment, which encapsulates b oth a past and future tenses in a typical kairological way scatological memories are repeated forward to the rhythm of eschatological tim Kearney goes on to talk about a parodic Mass that has already begun with the cup of cocoa shared by Bloom and Stephen in Ithaca. This, ultimately, opens up a space where the kiss of the seedcake on Howth Head reinflates the Eucharistic promise fa iled through various deconstructions recurring throughout the novel, and reinstates the final secular, profane time (chronos) in terms of the sacred time (kairos). As Kear ney argues, issing, Molly of transcorporealization of future foundation Head that their genuine marriage is celebrated in their reciprocal attribution of existential
166 Mark Osteen sees the se edcake exchange as a powerful illustration of the gift, a accept the gift of the other; it is a double loop in which each individual is subsumed into the unity of reciproci economy, as erotic commerce. He admits it is a powerful memory that resuscitates her commerce regenerat es her by reviving the feeling of expansion that it brought sixteen has gained her freedom. Osteen claims that Molly has gained her freedom in the fact that her body is her own asset to give and to retract. Paradoxically, she retains a sense paradoxically retains control of her corporal assets, because within her assent lies the possibility th at she will withhold. In giving her assets she proclaims that they are hers only hers the gift giving moment, however, depends on the freedom presupposed by the relationship between the two couples, and the commitment is strongly tied to its invalidation in divorce. As Cavell notes, the comedies of remarriage are premised on the idea that the couples are free to marry, once kinship and affinity has been established, and this freedom i s expressed in terms of the divorce. Some of the characters in these films are portrayed as having grown up together or having established marital like intimacy from which they need to break free again in order to marry out of freedom. But this natural rel ationship is a kinship from which freedom to marry is precisely to be won. Without the kinship, the eventual marriage would not be warranted; without the separation or divorce, the marriage would not be lawful. The intimacy conditional on narcissism or inc estuousness must be
167 ruptured in order that an intimacy of difference or reciprocity supervene. Marriage is always divorce, always entails rupture from something; and Insofar as Molly Joyce abhorred the instituti on of marriage and linked it to expressions of power wielded infidelity and subversion of her marriage falls short of a full declaration of independence. He points out that M that, even so, she is not particularly keen on statements of resistance. However, he posits that Mol submission. The utopian possibilities of this arrangement are pointed out by others, as to rela te to his wife as a human being and a new mode of interaction with the world that encounter between Leopold and Molly, the anal kiss and retraction into aversion and sleep strong feelings about her one way or the other. Other critics point out the fa Lisa Ruth Sternlieb argues that in one version of the myth, Penelope is banished by her husband after she prostitutes herself to the suitors and gives birth to the god Pan. Apparently, it becomes evident that he was familiar with this alternative.
168 Because Molly is one of the many versions of Penelope, rather than irony or parody of in order to sustain language in order just as invested in preserving her marriage as Bloom is, and her weaving is an act of consummation of her love for Bloom in the memory of her final yes on Ben Howth. Fidelity can only come about through adultery. In order to arrive at the end of the novel at delight in wild mountains, fields of oats and wheat, flowers of all sorts and shapes and sme lls and colours, Molly must construct a narrative which follows the logic of the loom, which goes against nature Elisabeth Sandhaus argues that Molly and Bloom abstain from sexual relations not from a lack of physical attraction but from psycholog ical problems stemming from the death of their son. The loss of their son was a great shock they could not manage, hence their fear of another death, should another child be conceived of them, which explains their seeking sexual intimacy with strangers. H (52) in the way the ending celebrates the marriage proposal and female sexuality. She, nal ending aimed to satisfy masculine desire. It is true that Molly and Bloom reconcile in a happy ending, but beyond the fact that Molly is seemingly continuing a contract in which
169 ion to fidelity to the event of her initial vows to Bloom. that reveals her as bei ng stuck in her own personal nightmare of a history due to her treatment from critics. Through careful reading, Callow reveals that Marion of the bountiful bosoms may have in actuality lost most of her looks, and that most accounts of her shapeliness and b eauty are dated and go back as early as her teenage years. This fact is supplanted in order to argue that, indeed, Molly is not on top of her wave Molly, and who has receiv ed much more sympathy traditionally from the critics, while claims that both Molly and Bloom are lonely, isolated, and deeply vulnerable individuals. Thus, according to Callow, Joyce has encouraged us to err, in the hope, perhaps, that error will become for us what Stephen claims it is for the man of genius face with our own received ideas our expectations, well developed by nineteenth century novels and society, that authoritative male voices should be trusted and flighty female voices should not, our notion that beautiful women generally cheat on their husbands in novels and in life that adulteresses are voluptuous, not obese [albeit, an arguable description of Molly], and that characterization, once established, will be maintained. (475) Richard Brown notes that Joyce was both fascinated and disturbed by the theme of adultery, in t he context of which the Odyssey itself becomes a bourgeois situation at whose core is the issue of marital separation and fidelity. But, in comedies of remarriage, the bourgeois setting with its notions of good and evil, morality and indecency, is displace
170 community. Moral evil is to be condemned insofar as it isolates the individual from the community. With the recasting of morality comes the recasting of gender difference, ultimately culmin ating in freedom and equality. Cavell opens an essay entitled of God and of the world, humans conceive of themselves as limited and inherently subject to transgression, com mandments and prohibitions that can be obeyed or evil is not merely a matter of falling short of the dictates of the moral law: our sensuous nature indicates to us that for all we know we always fall short. The matter is rather one of choosing ev moral evil debars us from the social, isolates us from the human community, and has to argument ap community require the recognizing or the dismantling of limits; not knowing what it means that these limits are sometimes picturable as a barrier and sometimes not; not knowing whether we are more afraid of being isolated or being absorbed by our this is the background of consideration for the film. that puts marriage on hold in Ulysses in order to put his erection on display. Waiting to be admired, he slaps her behind as he
171 leaves the house, and enters into fits of temper that serve as further demonstrations of allegory, because it is the woman who brings the wall of Jericho down. Just as Clark Gable declares he has no trumpet and invites the woman to join the Israelites, so Bloom must extend a mute invitation for Molly to break up her affair with Boylan, and nothing more. If the The film leaves it open to decide who is the passive or active party in the comedy of remarriage the man or the woman. Because this genre blurs the gender distinctions, Cavell calls reassertion of her initial fidelity to Bloom is to transform Ulysses into the fairytale it was not meant to be. This narrative would bring cl osure to a space that opens up precisely in mere re rather than puts forth, the ut opian values of this repetition. As Jacques Derrida notes in of yes as an affi rmation of memory the gramophone effect, which sets in motion both a desire for memory and a mourning of it. All of these dimensions threat, desire, mourning, are to be found in the space of difference between the two repetitive yeses a yeses is so
172 and last w ord. This gap encrypts a presence of meaning, of history, of the symbolic, of languages, and of writings, the great cycle and the great encyclopedia of cultures, scenes, and affects, in short, the sym total of all sum to even negative, yes and condemns itself, sometimes sadistically, sardonically, [with] the laug the utopian work. It is this space of tautological repetition of the two yeses that is neither fully the presence of death, nor of life, that I rstanding of the place between two deaths. A dimension of the real of this repetition must be brought to light, and what I have be given a place in the order of the li Lacking representation, the real does not appear as part of reality as such. It remains unnamable, incalcula ble, and uncountable. Felix Ensslin explains that the place between two deaths is annihilated in the symbolic order, in which the fragmentation of the mirror stage, with its horror of fragmentation, lack of mastery, anxiety, and undifferentiation, is broug ht to closure through the fantasy of unity, of forming the
173 fragmented body and its drives into a unity that leads to the possibility of self control s Rimbaud puts it, and what Lacan calls the Imaginary. In the place where the symbolic meets the real, a split opens the space between two deaths. In fact, R omantic idea of the artistic wife. In terms of morality, or even aesthetics, the paradigms of marital fidelity or infidelity in modernism, of virtue and excellence in general, have lost all applicability. They are merely historical, romantic topoi, stemmin g nostalgic look back, to a romantic ideal. Joyce suspends Molly in a void in which the ties with nature are broken. It is the space between two deaths, the space w here subjectivity as such is produced and is productive. In this space, through Molly, Joyce produces existence. However, precisely this space opens up the possibility, not to recover that loss, the self, but rather to empty out completely the messianic of the abject. Since the space between two deaths is a transitory space, but also a space with no exit, subjectivity itself plays out an unending fa ntasy of either nostalgic restitution or utopian repetition. The empty place of subjectivity cannot remain trapped between the two deaths, a place of the undead, after all, where nobody lives. Rather, subjectivity acknowledges this gap as the space of poss ibility. Out of it, one either becomes a hysterical melancholic subjectivity in the tradition of Judith Butler, attempting the nostalgic restitution of the self under the guise of ideologies of the symbolic, thus betraying the space of suspension and its e ventual possibilities. Or, one
174 sees the utopian dimension of repetition that lies beyond restitution, and that moves beyond the merely ironic and parodic forms of restitution into what Ensslin calls the Re petition, on the other h and, opens up a gap, or thematizes a gap, which no longer must be thought of as a wound. Desire is substituted by drive, melancholy by the potentiality of the act, and the fetish by the gap it closes. With and through this, it is utopian, not only f or its inscription of a future yet to come, but by radically reopening that which, in all the options and normalistic choices available each and every day, is fundamentally closed: a ny new symbolic order must arise. (10) merely romantic or ironic, but rather, it is a new space for play, which produces its rules as it goes along. It is this movement f rom restitution to repetition that marks the space between two deaths, and that opens the utopian space. The price to pay for it is the renunciation to Subjectivity without being able to quite let go, as Ensslin puts it. What Transgression through carnal knowledge that transports subjectivity into the space of an irreducibly empty real appear s elsewhere in Joyce as well. Brandon Kershner points out the episode in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in which Stephen consciousness. In the spirit of the verse or by His representative, the church the sinner no longer exists as huma
175 careful and sadistic note of the torture of the proportions. As Kershner argues, he floats between the gazes of, first the divine, then decomposition, in line with degeneration theories of the time. Cast into utter darkness, he now inhabits the same space of crisis and potential described by Lacan as the space between the two deaths. openness and instability of experimentation and opportunity, of conflict and insecurity a place, in other words, wherein history might move in a number of very different erotic fantasy, transposed into reality, accomplishes quite the opposite of anchoring her into a particular situation, but rather unties her from her marriage to Bloom, placing her into an endle ssly repetitive cycle of erotic memories, some consummated, some purely fantastical. (In fact, critics have noted that her affair with Boylan is the only one which Groundhog Day as the undead perspective and comes to view his existence outside of history proper as a tremendous opportunity, both for self remaking, developing new talents and becoming another kind
176 o f subject altogether, and to experiment in the creation of community and new truly infidelities places her outside her marital history with Bloom, with its failures the d eath of Rudy, the boredom and suffocation of the housewife whose dreams of becoming a prima donna have been stifled and rendered slightly absurd in an open space in which at the end of the novel can only come as a consequence of her period of exile from her commitment to Bloom, when anything, including infidelity, was possible. And yet, as Wegner points out regarding Groundhog Day the event occurs only in retrospect, visions of the coming of the messianic Other are not free from anxiety: In any free collective action, in any radical project of actively remaking history, li es the terrible possibility that things may turn out badly, that they move to the bad side, a lesson the events of the previous century bring home again and again: the messianic rupture may open up onto either demonstrate there is no a priori guarantee as to which destination we will arrive at. (Wegner 151) days of courtship and love with Bloom, in qui te a bit of detail, which then leads to a counter list of his present defects that stand in the way of repositioning him in that earlier posture: I wonder was it her Josie off her head with my castoffs hes such a born liar too no hed never have the courage with a married woman thats why he wants me and Boylan though as for her Denis as she calls him that bitch hes got in with even when I was with him with Milly at the College races that Hornblower with the childs bonnet on the top on his nob let us into by the back way he was throwing his sheeps eyes at those two doing skirt duty up and down I tried to wink at him first no use of course and thats
177 the way his money goes this is the f ruits of Mr Paddy Dignam (Joyce U18.1296 1305) and of manufacturing other possibilities, albeit adulterous, with Boylan, which will only infidelity and later claim to renewed fidelity is not so much a going astray as it is her (Wegner 216) inherent in the s eemingly mad project of fidelity, even before that event changes the world and invents a new form of subjectivity and community, Wegner community, always already marks its achi that her exile from history into the fantasy of the erotic is the loop through which she returns to her confession of fidelity to Bloom. It contains its own mark of the utopian in the fact that she was always already returning to Bloom. Regarding the space of suspension between two deaths in which the subjectivity is ecomes possible only when the shadow of death, in terms of her marital infidelity. Indeed, Molly is living in an in between state, and not only because she is caught between Bloom and Boylan. As a
178 fictional character, she is flesh and ideal, satire and romance, archetype and individual, ion is her verbal hysteria, which is a symptom of her entrapment between the symbolic and the real, once she has committed the adultery out in the open. After all, the second death is that of the individual separated from all her previous symbolic systems case are all connected to Bloom and her marriage to him. She uses her affair with Boylan both to expose the fragility of this dependency and to strengthen it. One could extimiti to describe this phenomenon in Molly: her affair is her attempt to draw a line between interior and exterior, psychological and real, and to minimize her anxiety. deaths, in an interview with Rex Butler, some of these female characters have refused to compromise their desire, which has driven them to a place beyond their deat could be explained in terms of their uncompromising desire. In response, Cavell discusses the way his comedy of remarriage desire to its ultimate consequences marks a kind of death. Of course, these two types of females belong to two opposite realms: c omedy and melodrama. However, since one form is the inverse of the other, Cavell makes this correlation in the introduction to the aforementioned book, when he places the women of melodrama in imaginary dialogue
179 with the women of comedies, with the former yourselves lucky to have found a man with whom you can overcome the humiliation of Contesting Tears is the fact that she escapes into a therapy of conversation and wit Contesting Tears 5). Unlike her melodramatic counterparts, Molly rem akes herself not by death and resurrection through the suffering and struggle involved in following her desire to its bitter end, but by remaking her surroundings to match herself as a new creation. In comedies of remarriage, the new creation of the woman and the creation of the new product of such an education. This is the comedic equivalent of dying. As such, Molly is caught between the two deaths: initially, on the cli ffs of Gibraltar, she becomes the is negated in melodramas, and so is conversation. The se women redefine themselves through other routes than marriage. Their death dealing realizations come from the fact that they have to cut their ties to acceptable and conventional society. It is the reverse for Molly and remarriage comedies. These women r enew their condition by coming to Another utopian dimension to this novel is its subversion of marriage as a
180 gets his girl back in the end another trait of remarriage comedy. This is the utopian deferral that, according to David R. Shumway, the happy ending functions bo th as that has been constructed as erotic tension seeking to be relieved in orgasm. In this
181 CH APTER 6 CODA Though it may seem obvious to talk about modernism in terms of its striving for the messianic new, a concluding discussion is in order, that should explain not just the nature of modernity, but also its effects on postmodernity. In this coda, I would like to look forward to the way the messianic dialectic reopens the modernist project in postmodern British literature, particularly as it seeks to incorporate developments in ond half of the century is marked by the literary response to modernism and its tenets alienation, uncertainly, instability, mechanization, fragmentation, cosmopolitanism, utopianism, and revolutionary strivings although it is certainly true that postmoder nism does not situate itself in a context distinct from modernity, but rather, it continues a troubled relationship with it. While writers like Iris Murdoch, David Lodge, Malcom Bradbury, Muriel Spark, A.S. Byatt, Margaret Drabble, etc. counter with an ant i modernist, anti avant garde John Fowles, Jeanette Winterson, etc. continue in the more experimental, metafictional vein we term as postmodernist. That the lines are blu rred, and that there are authors in scholars that a certain type of modernist aspiration to radical experimentation exhausted itself in the years prior to the second World War and was superseded by a more parochial, more inward utopian aspirations are mutating into a new form to accommodate new content. Rather than parochial, in its global purport postm odernism seeks to overextend beyond the previous Eurocentric sphere and become postcolonial, trans Atlantic, and circum
182 Atlantic. Rather than inward looking and declining, it maintains its utopian aspirations through explicit utopian or dystopian texts. Tw entieth century British fiction continues the modernist tension between the aesthetic and the political in a revised form. Formal experiments make house together with highly politicized agendas. Transnational resistance narratives account for the new pheno mena of the modern global age through movement stories that inspire and sustain activism. These stories align the personal and the collective, and use cultural dimensions of movements, like identity, ideology and rhetoric to foster collective action and ch allenge the state system, enacting their own states of emergency in the contemporary political moment. Through narratives of protest or subversion, these Wilson Harris, De rek Walcott, V.S. Naipaul) create themselves in opposition to the mainstream, inventing a new world after demystifying the old, in the tradition of Benjamin, Woolf and Joyce. Also keeping gender at the forefront of the postcolonial enterprise, a wave of m ulticultural women writers have received significant critical attention. High profile writers like Zadie Smith and Andrea Levy, along with others like Ravinder Randhawa, Monica Ali, Farhana Sheikh, Atima Srivastava, Meera Syal, etc., explore the unstable n ature of identities and gender, as they come to terms with hybridity, prejudice, and intergenerational conflict. In addition to challenging cultural constructs as gender, identity, sexuality, motherhood, they also consider the violence plaguing ethnic mino myth of the distinct, homogenous, and racially intact communities, and the tension that
183 comes with being caught in the ethnic, national, and racial limbo of two cultures one can neither fully accept, nor completely reject. All of these political narratives dramatize the way we are unable to relate or even conceive of the Other, and they are, thus, highly utopian, but here I must add that postmodernism contains an explicit utopian streak as well a science fiction allegorical literature dramatizing the political tensions of trans Atlantic and circum Atlantic postcolonialism. failure of modern ity. As with messianic modernism, however, the failure of utopian literature is its strength, as these texts anticipate that which is about to come. Politically, utopia measure the failures of the imperialist cultures of the West, in the spirit of Walter B expressed in the messianic now moment whose actualization is however deferred into the not yet. Thus, just as modernism was the expression of the political crisis of empire, so contemporary utopian literature expresses the political crisis of liberalism and global empire. It does so through anti capitalist utopianism expressed in end of the world utopias, easier to imagine than end of capitalism utopias, according to Jameson. These are also the modern forms of pre messianic apocalypses, or what Zizek terms as forms of Western apocalypticism: Christian fundamentalism, the techno digital post human, and the New Age. In these forms, utopia proliferates in the postcolonial discours e outlined above, by exploring the way social movements are expressions of utopian projects. It, however, goes beyond that, to exploring the post human as an expression of the ontological and metaphysical despair of the human and its limitations. Thus, uto pian narratives reappropriate the modernist narratives about the modern condition of
184 the individual trapped in the modern nation state, and revise them in terms of the postmodern condition as well.
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191 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Camelia Raghinaru completed her Bachelor of Arts in English literature from Transilvania University, Romania in June 1999, her Master of Arts in English from Universit y of Central Arkansas, Conway in May 2005, and her PhD in English from the University of Florida, Gainesville in May 2012. Her doctoral dissertation addresses the influence of messianic theology in its secularized form on British modernist literature.