21. desember

"I began with the desire to speak with the dead.

The desire is a familiar, if unvoiced, motive in literary studies, a motive organized professionalized, buried beneath thick layers of bureaucratic decorum: literature professors are salaried, middle-class shamans. If I never believed that the dead could hear me, and if I knew that the dead would not speak, I was nonetheless certain that I could re-create a conversation with them. Even when I came to understand that in my most intense moments of straining to listen all I could hear was my own voice, even then I did not abandon my desire.

It was true that I could hear only my own voice, but my own voice was the voice of the dead, for the dead had contrived to leave textual traces of themselves, and those traces make themselves heard in the voices of the living. Many of the traces have little resonance, though every one, even the most trivial or tedious, contains some fragment of lost life; others seem uncannily full of the will to be heard. It is paradoxical, of course, to seek the living will of the dead in fictions, in places where there was no live bodily being to begin with. But those who love literature tend to find more intensity in simulations - in the formal, self-conscious miming of life - than in any of the other textual traces left by the dead, for simulations are undertaken in full awareness of the absence of the life they contrive to represent, and hence they may skillfully anticipate and compensate for the vanishing of the actual life that has empowered them."

-- Fra Stephen Greenblatt: "The Circulation of Social Energy"

2 kommentarer

Alexandra

21.12.2010 kl.18:01

Jeg har egentlig aldri ftt sansen for Greenblatt, mest fordi jeg ikke kan fordra hans teoretiske standpunkt. Men n har du jammen gitt meg lyst til lese ham.

Inger Merete

24.12.2010 kl.15:23

Jeg har alltid likt dette essayet, men ble litt skuffet da jeg underskte litt nrmere og oppdaget hvor marxistisk anlagt fyren egentlig er. Men jeg har sans for det rause synet p litteratur, at man tenker at det er noe som tar opp i seg s mye, strmninger og trender og anekdoter og personlige kvaler og alt. Det autonomiestetiske blir for meg ofte for strengt og lukket.

Essayet som er sitert str forvrig i kompendiet som rommer teoripensummet til gamle litteraturhistorie mellomfag, om du skulle ha et eksemplar liggende.

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ingermerete

ingermerete

35, Oslo

Inger Merete Hobbelstad (f. 1980) er kulturjournalist, teateranmelder og filmanmelder i Dagbladet og burde egentlig vre lut lei av skrive etter endt arbeidsdag. Men den gang ei. Jo, og s har jeg mastergrad i Litteraturvitenskap med en oppgave som handlet om Homers "Iliaden". Hvilket jeg altfor sjelden fr sprsml om. Og s ns jeg p imh@dagbladet.no.

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