Vanity Fealargo camino: Blog de notas de José Angel García Landa (Biescas y Zaragoza) - Enero 2013


 



Far Too
Continental

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Blog no pensado para ser visto con Chrome. Los comentarios se pueden poner en mi otro blog
  Free counter and web stats Estadísticas    Mi web    Indice    Fotoblog    Videoblog    Lecturas    Enlaces y blogs    Bibliografía  — Música que viene: Let's leave this town (Chip & Carrie) -   Y vuelve: Anytime, Anywhere (Sarah Brightman)  -  y vuelve: Carefree Highway (Gordon Lightfoot)

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Blog de hoy AQUÍ

Jueves 31 de enero de 2013

Una de expectativas autocumplidas

Veo que aparece en una de las revistas electrónicas del SSRN, llamada Rhetorical Theory eJournal, mi artículo sobre Erving Goffman subtitulado "La realidad como expectativa autocumplida y el teatro de la interioridad." Que versa sobre la aplicación de la teoría de marcos a la construcción del mundo exterior, y del interior también. El título aparece en inglés, "Goffman: Reality as Self-Fulfilling Expectation and the Theatre of Interiority"—pero está en español. También apareció el artículo en otra revista, Literary Theory and Criticism eJournal. Esta perspectiva sobre lo que llamo "el teatro de la interioridad" puede completarse con la que presento en otro artículo sobre Goffman, "Somos teatreros: El sujeto, la interacción dialéctica y la estrategia de la representación según Goffman."

El tema de las expectativas autocumplidas quizá lo siga desarrollando, en relación con la teoría de la narración, en un proyecto de investigación sobre hermenéutica en el que tengo pensado participar. Venciendo mi pereza y mi alergia a los proyectistas. O quizá no, porque es bastante previsible que no se van a conceder muchos proyectos de investigación este año que viene, a tenor de las últimas noticias. Ni muchos, ni pocos tan siquiera—en cuyo caso investigaremos sólo por aquí y en nuestro teatro interior, crowded & cold.

Versiones de la realidad







Dos de mis sisters

Dos de mis sisters





Cbox 2000


Hoy cumplo 2000 días y más de 500.000 visitas en mi microblog, que aún no lo he cambiado por un Twitter, pero en cualquier momento lo hago. Aquí queda de futuro souvenir:

cbox 2000

Los cobros en dinero negro de Rajoy, la noticia bomba de hoy, nos dicen que son de 25.200 euros anuales desde hace muchos años. Todo el mundo niega haber recibido nada. Claro, si no hay recibos.... Contra el vicio de pagar en negro, está la virtud de no dar recibos.  Se nos junta la noticia con otra de corrupción en la Casa Real. Y con la negociación del gobierno con la ETA a través de Urkullu.  Además, ni el rey ni el presidente reaccionan contra el secesionismo catalán. Está el país hecho unos zorros, dirigido por mangantes y traidores.

Blogs: La conservación de la conversación





Miércoles 30 de enero de 2013

Arás

Arás







Martes 29 de enero de 2013

Closing Time (2)



Closing Time (2) from Jose Angel García Landa on Vimeo.






Todos los días es sábado


Vale, no es cierto, pero como si lo fuese. También me gusta imaginarme que estoy en un día de junio un poco fresquito, incluso en enero. Al menos si no sábado hoy es San Valero (al menos en Zaragoza lo es), día de salir a dar una vuelta al sol de invierno. Y he encontrado que mi artículo sobre Saturday de Ian McEwan está en el English and Commonwealth Literature eJournal del SSRN.

Ayer vimos por cierto Amor, de Haneke. Más o menos lo esperable y previsto. Recomendable para quien no tema qué esperar al final de su vida, cuando el orden se desmorona—pero es temible. Y previsible.


On Chesil Beach







Desde el puente del Aurín 2

Desde el puente del Aurín 2



Lunes 28 de enero de 2013

Searching for The Search

John Battelle, "The Search"

Date posted: April 13, 2008   

http://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=1118628 

eJournal Classifications


Innovation Areas eJournals
    
        

Innovation Areas eJournals
    
        

Innovation Disciplines eJournals
    
        

Innovation Disciplines eJournals
    
        

Innovation Disciplines eJournals
    
        



RCRN Subject Matter eJournals
    
        



Estas son al parecer las revistas electrónicas del Social Science Research Network que han incluido en sus fondos mi artículo-reseña sobre el libro de John Battelle, The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture. Acuérdense que no hace ni quince años, no se buscaba nada en Internet porque no se encontraba nada. Vaya diferencia.

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REGENESIS —Y otras reseñas de John Battelle.

Hiperhipertexto: Hipertextualizar todo el texto













Spitfire Years


Spitfire Years












Domingo 27 de enero de 2013

Narrative Theory en Google Scholar

A estas alturas de la película, aparezco prominentemente si se busca la etiqueta "Narrative Theory" en Google Scholar.  En "Narratology" aparece Susana Onega, de mis conocidos. En "Narrative" aparece Robyn Warhol, y mucha gente de psicología, business studies, etc. La gente más activa en la cuestión del campo filológico parece estar missing.

Estoy vigilado


Bajtín se fuma su manuscrito

En humo se fueron, es de suponer, inapreciables reflexiones sobre el dialogismo y el cronotopo. Si ya dicen que fumar es muy malo.



Mijail Bajtín: El problema del texto en la lingüística, la filología y las ciencias sociales: Ensayo de análisis filosófico
   






Do Animals Have Temporal Maps?






Mapas del tiempo




A Time-Lapse Map of Every Nuclear Explosion since 1945

(1945-1998). Se aprecia el calor de la guerra fría. Hoy nos hemos olvidado. Algunos quizá se acuerden que por los primeros ochenta temíamos que empezase la Tercera Guerra Mundial en cualquier momento. Claro que la mayoría ni se enteraron entonces, tampoco.













Blogs and the Narrativity of Experience


Descubro que aparece este artículo mío, "Los blogs y la narratividad de la experiencia", en la revista electrónica del SSRN eBusiness & eCommerce Abstracts—con tres editores del MIT, oigan:

ebusiness blogs

En realidad aparece ahí en español. También figura en el Information Systems eJournal, en el Literary Theory and Criticism eJournal y en el Philosophy of Langauge eJournal (sección "Pragmatics") y en el Writing Technologies eJournal. O sea que vettings & checkings ya ha pasado, por los más variados expertos. Una versión más breve se publicó en Estudios sobre el Texto (Peter Lang, 2008) y la versión inglesa, aunque existe, está pendiente de que se decida una revista a ver si la coge o no. Procedimientos de gestión de la atención. Según donde aparezca, vale lo suyo, y si no no vale nada, ya ven, aunque diga lo mismo—así es la vida. A los editores les cuesta a veces meses, a veces años decidirse. Yo apenas lo aguanto ya, este asunto.  Be as it may, por aquí por el SSRN aparecerá también el artículo en authentic English, antes o después, cuando termine de ordenar mis publicaciones, o de publicarlas, o de escribirlas.

Los blogs y la narratividad de la experiencia


The émigrée
The émigrée






Sábado 26 de enero de 2013

Un grácil bucle, o dos

Una cosa que me dejo en el tintero al cerrarse el congreso sobre "Darwin: del Big Bang al hombre"; ya que no la puedo comentar allí, que estaban las palabras medidas y la gente con muchas ganas de hablar, me lo cuento a mí mismo aquí. Se ha hablado mucho de la gran contribución de Darwin al pensamiento evolucionista: la selección natural, que consigue explicar la creación espontánea de formas vivas complejas a partir de las simples, y la diversificación de las especies. Y, extrapolada o entendida en un sentido más amplio, la selección natural se convierte en un principio que a otros niveles de  complejidad explica la formación de estructuras astronómicas, químicas o geológicas.

El denostado contemporáneo de Darwin, Herbert Spencer, propuso otro principio de orden general para explicar el surgimiento de la complejidad: la conservación de la Fuerza. Habría que entrar más despacio en la cuestión de si la selección natural es reducible al principio de conservación de la fuerza; hoy no tiengo ni tiempo ni formación para eso, aunque sí escribí unas cogitaciones preliminares al respecto en este artículo, La lucha por la vida y la ley del mínimo esfuerzo, en el que comparo otros dos principios darwiniano y spenceriano muy relacionados con los aquí aludidos. Sirva eso de discusión preliminar para este artículo, que hoy tengo poco tiempo y aún no he hecho la cena.
evolution love
No se ha subrayado suficientemente en las jornadas una paradoja o bucle reflexivo que se produce en el concepto de la selección natural una vez ésta se aplica a entes con mentes—a los que podríamos llamar (m)entes si aplicamos la ley del mínimo esfuerzo. Como digo en el artículo aludido, "se producen interesantes efectos de retroalimentación cuando el producto de la selección natural (el cerebro, la cultura) efectúa a su vez una selección deliberada (y por tanto artificial, pero natural también). Lo cual nos deja alguna paradoja que no acaba de ser bien tratada por la teoría evolucionista—por ejemplo, cómo el hombre es en parte un ser autodiseñado, un self-made man, en mayor medida que otras criaturas, y precisamente por su capacidad intencional y su tendencia a la planificación." Para más vayan allí, pero recapitulo o reformulo: la selección natural no es un concepto unitario o coherente, pues opera de modo diferente según de qué tipo de fenómenos estemos hablando. Por poner un ejemplo darwiniano: la producción de razas y variedades artificiales por parte de ganaderos, agricultores y criadores (de palomas por ejemplo) la utiliza Darwin a modo de analogía para explicar el modo de operar de la selección natural en la que no hay ganadero agente ni otro sujeto que no sea la Naturaleza, esa dama alegórica, o la Mano del Mercado de Adam Smith. A lo que voy es que la analogía es útil pero contiene un fallo de lógica o quizá de retórica: es una metonimia que se quiere hacer pasar por metáfora. La selección artificial del ganadero no es como la selección natural ("según y como", etc.)—sino que más bien es selección natural, pues el ganadero es un fenómeno natural. Quizá se vea allí lo que quiero indicar cuando señalo el carácter paradójico del concepto. Un grácil bucle reflexivo problematiza la definición de selección natural cuando aplicamos el concepto a cualquier entorno en el que intervienen seres pensantes, (m)entes. Algunos de los fenómenos producidos por selección natural son a la vez productos, incluso (o monstrum horrendum) del diseño inteligente. Aunque yo diría más bien del diseño parcialmente inteligente, pues incluso la idea mejor pensada tiene efectos colaterales no pensados, y el hombre, al diseñarse a sí mismo siguiendo su inspiración, o al trazar sus bellos campos cuadriculados en la pradera, produce no exactamente lo que quería sino otra cosa, o produce ese cultivo y otra cosa también.

El otro bucle de la selección natural se produce cuando Darwin introduce el concepto de selección sexual. También ésta resulta ser una variante o sub-tipo de selección natural, y no tanto un principio totalmente distinto o alternativo. Pero claro, esto no queda claro. Véanse algunos pasajes donde Darwin habla de la diferencia entre los dos (?) tipos de selección:

"Cuando los dos sexos siguen exactamente los mismos hábitos de vida y el macho posee los órganos sensoriales o locomotores más desarrollados que los de la hembra, puede ser que la perfección de éstos le sea indispensable al macho para encontrar a la hembra; pero en la inmensa mayoría de los casos sirven sólo para dar a un macho ventaja sobre otro, porque con el tiempo suficiente, los machos menos bien dotados conseguirán aparearse con las hembras. (Muy lentos los veo yo). A juzgar por la estructura de la hembra, estarían en todos los demás aspectos igualmente bien adaptados para sus hábitos de vida ordinarios. Puesto que en tales casos los machos han adquirido su estructura actual no por estar mejor adaptados para sobrevivir en la lucha por la existencia, sino por haber obtenido una ventaja sobre otros machos, y por haber transmitido esa ventaja únicamente a sus descendientes masculinos, aquí tiene que haber entrado en acción la selección sexual. (Obsérvese un aspecto del desliz conceptual aquí: la selección natural se entiende aquí como selectora de individuos, no de especies, porque de lo contrario incluiría a la selección sexual. Pero en otros contextos la selección natural selecciona a una especie, y es el resultado de todas las circunstancias que operan sobre esa especie, incluida la selección sexual).  Fue la importancia de esta distinción la que me llevó a designar esta forma de selección como selección sexual. De forma que, si el servicio principal que prestan al macho sus órganos prensiles es evitar que la hembra escape antes de la llegada de otros machos, o cuando es asaltada por ellos, dichos órganos se habrán perfeccionado mediante selección sexual, es decir, por la ventaja que determinados individuos adquieren sobre sus rivales. Pero en la mayor parte de los casos es imposible distinguir entre los efectos de la selección natural y los de la selección sexual" (OHSRS 279). (no queda claro si es difícil por lo borroso del origen , o por anulación de la diferencia entre los dos principios).

Darwin menciona como caracteres o instintos desarrollados por selección sexual las armas de los machos para luchar con sus rivales, su valentía y belicosidad, por un lado, pero también sus adornos, sus dispositivos para producir música vocal "o instrumental", y sus glándulas para emitir olores—es decir, también medios de atracción a la hembra, aunque a veces las armas o la belicosidad pueden resultar muy atractivas, y poner a algunas hembras a cien—otro efecto de retroalimentación, por cierto.

"Es claro que estos caracteres son el resultado de la selección sexual y no de la selección ordinaria, puesto que los machos desarmados, no ataviados o poco atractivos (los gafapastas o pagafantas de la Naturaleza, vamos) tendrían el mismo éxito en la batalla por la vida y en dejar una prole numerosa si no fuera por la presencia de machos mejor dotados. Podemos inferir que éste sería el caso porque las hembras, que carecen de armas y de adornos, son capaces de sobrevivir y de procrear a su especie." (279-80).

Como se ve, se produce aquí una vez más el bucle de los (m)entes: la selección tiene ahora un sujeto que no es Mother Nature, y su complejo de circunstancias, sino (cherchez la femme) otra hembra, no alegórica ésta: una hembra pensante y con gustos especiales, "a radiant Being / with a brain far-seeing". La selección sexual no es toda una cuestión de elección por parte de la hembra (o del macho, como aclarará Darwin luego), quiero decir que no es toda una cuestión en la que interviene la elección  o la mente.
De hecho es de por sí la selección sexual, como la natural, una colección de principios de diversos órdenes. Pero sí es este tema de la selección sexual uno de los episodios del pensamiento de Darwin en los que más se acerca al problema antes mencionado—qué sucede cuando las mentes se encuentran entre los principios de la selección. Otro famoso pasaje al respecto lo encontramos en The Descent of Man cuando habla Darwin de cómo un grupo altruista guiado por una ideología de sacrificio del individuo puede obtener ventajas competitivas frente a otros grupos en la lucha por la vida. (Darwin y la guerra, podríamos llamar a este pasaje, o Darwin y el tribalismo, o Darwin y la religión—vienen a ser aspectos de lo mismo). Aquí se ve la selección de la hembra pensante:

"Sin duda ello implica capacidades de discriminación y gusto por parte de la hembra que, a primera vista, parecen muy improbables; pero, mediante los datos que a continuación se ofrecerán, espero ser capaz de demostrar que las hembras poseen realmente dichas capacidades. Sin embargo, cuando se dice que los animales inferiores poseen un sentido de belleza, no debe suponerse que dicho sentido sea comparable al de un hombre culto, con sus ideas multiformes y complejas asociadas. Una comparación más justa sería entre el gusto por lo bello en los animales y el que tienen los salvajes más primitivos, que admiran y se englanan con cualquier objeto brillante, reluciente o curioso." (280-81).

Desde el momento en que hay varios machos compitiendo por la hembra, la hembra tiene la oportunidad de seleccionar uno de entre varios machos, "suponiendo que su capacidad mental baste para ejercer una elección". Selección por elección, por tanto, es un elemento prominente en la definición de selección sexual, con los bucles retroalimentativos que mencionábamos en cuanto hay conciencia, o gusto estético. Otros pasajes que aclaran o complican lo que entendía Darwin por selección sexual frente a selección natural, y con eso ahí lo dejo:

"La selección sexual actúa de manera menos rigurosa que la selección natural. Ésta produce sus efectos por la vida o la muerte a todas las edades de los individuos que tienen más o menos éxito. De hecho, no es raro que la muerte sea el resultado de los conflictos de machos rivales. Pero por lo general el macho que tiene menos éxito simplemente no consigue obtener una hembra, o bien obtiene una hembra tardía y menos vigorosa en un momento más avanzado de la estación, o, si es polígamo obtiene menos hembras; de forma que deja menos descendientes, o menos vigorosos, o no los tiene." (300)

La selección sexual puede modificar adornos o armas hasta límites extraños o llamativos—y se diferencia ahora de la selección natural por el hecho de que es esta última la que actúa de mecanismo de contención para el tamaño de los cuernos del alce irlanés o de la cola del pavo real:

"la selección natural determinará que dichos caracteres [sexuales secundarios] no sean adquiridos por los machos victoriosos si han de ser muy perjudiciales, ya sea porque significan gastar gran parte de sus capacidades vitales, ya sea porque los exponen a cualquier peligro grande. Sin embargo, el desarrollo de determinadas estructuras (por ejemplo, de las cuernas de algunos ciervos) ha sido llevado a un extremo fantástico, y en algunos casos a un extremo que, en lo que a las condiciones generales de la vida se refiere, puede ser algo perjudicial para el macho. De ello deducimos que las ventajas que los machos favorecidos consiguen al vencer a otros machos en la lucha o en el cortejo, y con ello al dejar una progenie numerosa, son a la larga mayores que las que derivan de una adaptación más perfecta a sus condiciones de vida. Veremos posteriormente, y esto es algo que nunca se hubiera podido prever, que la capacidad de cautivar a la hembra ha sido a veces más importante que la capacidad de vencer a otros machos en la lucha." (300)

Il n'a rien dit, mais il me plaît. Y esto se puede relacionar con otro principio más general: que más vale para un organismo estar adaptado a las condiciones específicas de su nicho ecológico, y a las reglas no escritas de su sociedad animal, que ser un todoterreno generalista, apto para la vida en general pero menos para la vida en sociedad. Más vale contar con la cooperación de las hembras, al menos en el caso de las hembras pensantes.


Defensa de la selección de grupo












Technologies of Temporal Manipulation

Debería estar este artículo en inglés pero no está sino en español, aunque aparece el título en inglés en el Information Technology & Systems Abstracts. En español es "Tecnologías de manipulación del tiempo"—entendiendo por ello las lingüísticas, textuales, narrativas y semióticas:
totm
 



Tecnologías de manipulación del tiempo




Una de colores



Una de colores






Viernes 25 de enero de 2013

Darwin: Del Big Bang al Hombre

   
Notas tomadas en las jornadas de la obra social de IberCaja con el Instituto Francés, "Darwin: del Big Bang al hombre" organizadas simultáneamente en el ayuntamiento de Brive.


Darwin: Contexto histórico-científico y su obra


Gloria Cuenca (U de Zaragoza). Poco habría podido hacer Charles Darwin por sí mismo de haber estado fuera de la comunidad científica. Darwin era enormemente moderno, leyendo a los científicos de su tiempo y anteriores y colaborando con ellos. Darwin se formó con la obra geológica de Lyell. El estudio de la variación en la fauna sudamericana había sido emprendido por naturalistas españoles como Félix de Azara. Darwin lo leyó con atención, y llegó a la conclusión de que la variación era el resultado de la selección natural, y que las variedades mejor adaptadas al medio eran las que sobrevivían. Hooker y Lyell, y la carta de Wallace, le animaron a publicar los resultados sus estudios de más de veinte años en 1858. Wallace había llegado a la misma conclusión (usa la expresión 'struggle for existence' para hablar del contexto en el que se seleccionan las variedades). Cerca de 20 personas habían propuesto esta teoría antes, según el mismo Darwin, pero Darwin dedicó el resto de su vida a probarla, haciendo experimentos y observaciones, recogiendo pruebas y escribiendo numerosas cartas. Y aplicándolo al origen de la humanidad: desciende de una forma anterior, semejante a los monos antropomorfos, originaria de Africa, y que era un ser social — todas ellas nociones que se han visto respaldadas por las pruebas fósiles halladas desde entonces (Atapuerca, etc.). Darwin realizó una gran labor de comunicación científica con sus libros y sus artículos (numerosos en Nature) y con su correspondencia con otros científicos.


(Lo que me gusta de la ponencia es el énfasis en la comunicación: una teoría vale algo si se inserta en un contexto institucional, comunicativo, si se comparte, se conoce y se vuelve influyente; cosa más complicada que ser meramente cierta o falsa o parcialmente cierta).



M. Victoria Arruga (U de Zaragoza). En el viaje de Beagle, Darwin observó la relación entre la distribución de las variedades y el origen de las especies, ese "misterio de los misterios". Dos obras rivales sobre el viaje: la de Darwin y la de Fitzroy. Darwin publicó muchas obras pero no publicó su teoría de manera inmediata. No se atrevía a publicarla, aunque dio instrucciones a su esposa de publicar lo que había redactado si él fallecía. Apoyo de Huxley, Lyell y Hooker. Solución amistosa con Wallace cuando éste quiso publicar sobre la teoría de la selección natural. Del artículo publicado por ambos en 1858 en la Linnean Society, pasó Darwin a publicar rápidamente en 1859 el Origen de las Especies. Las influencias de Darwin, evolucionistas previos: Anaximandro en el VI antes de Cristo, pensadores chinos en el IV a.C., o Aristóteles, idea de una evolución a partir de formas más sencillas que darían lugar a otras más complejas. También pensadores musulmanes en la Edad Media, y más recientemente Félix de Azara, y Lyell en sus Principios de Geología, enfatizando el efecto constante y lento de las fuerzas naturales para dar lugar a los cambios en la tierra. Malthus, al que leyó Darwin a su vuelta, con sus ideas sobre el desfase entre el crecimiento de la población y de los recursos. Y Lamarck, cuya Filosofía Zoológica se publicó en 1809, el año que nació Darwin; hablaba de la formación de caracteres y de especies en un proceso inconsciente y ascendente —incluida la especie humana. Las formas más sencillas daban lugar, mediante una scala naturae ascendente, hasta la especie humana. Se planteó Darwin el problema de cómo se mantenían constantes las poblaciones a pesar de la reproducción: la respuesta es la selección natural. Conocía muy bien la selección artificial de los criadores de variedades domésticas. La selección natural es equivalente en el sentido de que son seleccionados los que presentan los caracteres favorables. De esta selección y eliminación constante, van surgiendo las variedades y las especies. Si hablamos de Darwin y no de otros evolucionistas, es porque Darwin le dio cuerpo a la teoría; realizó un estudio mucho más en profundidad, y la demostró, la hizo científica. Ello lo hizo mediante una aplicación sistemática del principio de la selección natural y de la adaptación al medio (y no la herencia de caracteres adquiridos o tendencias de Lamarck). Usó la comparación de distribuciones geográficas, la anatomía comparada, la embriología, la sistemática, la paleontología, la selección artificial. [Hoy] la genética y la genética molecular. Darwin pudo observar la comparación entre especies fósiles y las actuales; los fósiles son representantes de formas ancestrales; la evolución no es en cadena, sino en forma de árbol , y el registro fósil sólo conserva parte de esas ramificaciones.  Los individuos dan lugar a descendientes semejantes a ellos pero ligeramente diferentes. En cada generación se producen más descendientes de los que pueden sobrevivir y de allí se van produciendo las variedades. Pero Darwin no conocía la genética ni la mecánica de la tranmisión de caracteres (Mendel).  Pero las teorías de Mendel no se aceptaron haste 1900, cuando De Vries y otros divulgaron las teorías mendelianas. Fischer desarrolló la genética de poblaciones: la evolución sólo tiene sentido cuando se estudia a nivel de grupo. 2 grandes líneas: los genetistas (Bateson, redescubridores de Mendel) y los biómetras y matemáticos (Fischer, Haldane, White) que matematizaban la distribución en poblaciones. Se acercan en el neodarwinismo o teoría sintética, Huxley et al., 1930s. Hasta 1944 no se descubre el ADN como soporte de los genes, y su molécula es descrita por Watson y Crick en 1953. La secuencia de bases del ADN del genoma humano fue descrita en 2003.  Características del ADN: 1) la réplica fiel de nuevas cadenas perfectamente idénticas; 2) se puede recombinar, permitiendo la reproducción sexual (una defensa de la naturaleza para aumentar la variabilidad); 3) Puede mutar, dando lugar a variedades tanto adaptadas al ambiente como negativas (que son eliminadas por selección natural). Los snips, polimorfimos de una sola base nitrogenada, que pueden dar lugar a patologías, e.g. la diabetes. Grandes mutaciones estructurales dan lugar a la evolución, así como las translocaciones, sobre todo en las plantes. 4) La característica de repararse: el ADN tiene un sistema de reparación enzimática que repara las mutaciones que se producen constantemente. Pero el cambio en un individuo no es suficiente: la evolución necesita una transformación del grupo. Necesario para la estabilidad y no variación: 1) que los cruzamientos se produzcan al azar; 2) que no haya mutación; 3) que no haya haya selección 4) Ni migraciones, 5) Que la población sea suficientemente grande. En la naturaleza rara vez se cumplen las cinco condiciones, y así hay casi siempre variación y evolución. Puede darse la selección artificial, o la selección natural que estudió Darwin en los sinsontes o los pinzones de las Galápagos, según el hábitat y la alimentación de las diferentes variedades de pinzones. Cuando hay poca población hay menor variabilidad y comienza la deriva genética, que da lugar a fenómenos como el efecto fundador y también a los cuellos de botella. Por ejemplo, en la población Amish de los EE.UU., en la que aparecen alelos negativos, como enanismo y polidactilia. Cuello de botella: el elefante marino se estuvo cazando en California, y quedaron 20 ejemplares. Hoy se ha recuperado la población, pero ha partido de un cuello de botella, con poca variabilidad; son poblaciones frágiles. Si el apareamiento no es aleatorio (gansos de la nieve blancos o azules) también dará lugar a menor variabilidad. Algo parecido sucede en los casos de autopolinización de las plantas. La mutación puede ser puntual pero dar lugar a grandes modificaciones en el organismo. Las migraciones o flujo genético es el ingreso o egreso de material gene´tico diferente. También puede haber barreras como mecanismos que impiden el cruzamiento: la selección sexual.  Aunque Darwin no conocía el mecanismo de estas variaciones, sí observó perfectamente sus efectos. Hay grandeza en la visión de una vida desarrollada a partir de formas simples y dando lugar a numerosas y hermosas formas.


Preguntas:


Especie humana: ¿accidente o necesidad? Una especie más entre las diversas y variadas resultado de la selección natural.


Selección artificial, ¿resultados? Puede traer beneficios pero también graves inconvenientes si no son.  (Gloria Cuenca dice que el hombre no puede crear nuevas especies).


¿Podemos frenar el deterioro de nuestro entorno del cosmos? Sí con nuestra capacidad de pensar, pero los intereses son muy complejos. Pero algunas cosas que hoy hacemos deben detenerse


¿Podría haber una nueva evolución del hombre sin la manipulación genética? No hay una dirección hacia la perfección en la evolución. Las formas aparecen al azar y sólo permanecen las adaptadas al ambiente. La especie humana claro que puede evolucionar.


Darwin era mal estudiante. ¿Copió a otros? Los intereses de Darwin no estaban bien orientados hacia sus estudios de medicina, quería ser naturalista. Pero sí era un magnífico estudiante de la naturaleza. Siempre aprendió de otros, pero eso es muy científico.






Luis Alberto Anel (U de Zaragoza): Darwinismo: de 1959 a nuestros días


Década de 1880: Huxley y Haeckel, más combativos que Darwin y radicales, llevando al darwinismo social, que llevaría al descrédito temporal del darwinismo. Traducción española en 1877, influyente en la izquierda.


Década de 1890: Weissmann desacreditó al lamarckismo, cuyos presupuestos había aceptado parcialmente Darwin. Estableció la idea de la barrera soma/german y propuso que los cromosomas contienen el material hereditario. Se encuentra en esta década el hombre de Java, primer homínido fósil.


Década de 1900: Difusión y redescubrimiento de los trabajos de Mendel. Se suple así una carencia de la teoría darwinista, la vía de transmisión de los caracteres hereditarios. Bateson (1861-26) acuñó el término genética, y defendió una escuela saltacionista, basada en grandes mutaciones normalmente letales (luego muy discutido).


1910s, Thomas Hunt Morgan, fundador de la genética moderna (genes y cromosomas), Nobel en 1933, acabó aceptando el gradualismo darwinista.
 

1900-1910, "eclipse del darwinismo", se discutían o rechazaban muchos detalles de la teoría de Darwin (no el conjunto).


1920: escuela cuantitativa, Galton, Pearson, Fisher, Sewall Wright; genética de poblaciones. Los resultados trascenderán luego.


1925 el juicio de Scopes en Dayton, Tennessee: fuerte repercusión mediática, posturas algo panfletarias, y Scopes fue condenado. (Película La Herencia del viento, con Spencer Tracy y Gene Kelly, 1960).
 

(Aquí una interrupción por falta de sonido).


1930s, la teoría sintética de la evolución (Julian Huxley, Evolution, the New Synthesis). Evolución gradual, debida a pequeños cambios genéticos acumulados, selección natural como principal mecanismo de cambio; importancia de la separación de poblaciones por accidentes geográficos, etc.


Pero en los años 40 repunta el lamarckismo, que es reconocido en la URSS en la teoría de Lysenko, absurdo científico. La asociación entre el darwinismo social y los campos de exterminio nazi llevó al descrédito de algunas tesis asociadas al darwinismo.


Pero mientras se desarrolla la etología, con Lorenz y otros: diferenciando los comportamientos ancestrales de otros adquiridos recientemente.


1950s: la llegada de la biología molecular. Pero no hay métodos de secuenciación del ADN. El impacto será posterior. Muchas reticencias hacia el darwinismo con ocasión del centenario de la publicación de El Origen de las especies.


La evolución de la globina: hallazgo de una base molecular para la evolución.


1960s. Fenética y cladística, tablas de datos morfológicos complejos, para la clasificación de las variedades y especies.


Desde 1960 se estudia la duplicación del ADN a través del ARN mensajero, y actualiza las ideas de Weissmann. Así se descarta la herencia de los caracteres adquiridos y el lamarckismo.

 

En los 70, se demuestra que la filogenia se puede demostrar en la secuencia de los genes (e.g. el ADN mitrocondrial).


Otro golpe a la teoría clásica viene del descubrimiento de la discontinuidad de biodiversidad entre el cretácico /terciario. Nuevo papel de las catástrofes. (Vuelve Cuvier, frente al gradualismo de Darwin, que no estaba pues tan en lo cierto).


1970s. Kimura: la mayoría de las mutaciones no implican selección. El papel de la selección natural es menor que el de la deriva genética.


1970s. Lynn Margulis y su teoría de la endosimbiosis: Los elementos de las células eucarióticas derivan de organismo externos integrados en una célula huésped (e.g. los clorplastos a partir de cianobacterias). Se da un nuevo papel a la cooperación frente a la lucha por la vida.


1980s. Dawkins, "el gen egoísta", selección natural pura y dura como único agente. Frente a ello, Gould mantiene el "equilibrio puntuado".


En los 90 los creacionistas dan guerra con el "diseño inteligente". Nociones extracientíficas, pero que dan lugar a grandes debates públicos; pátina seudocientífica para un programa político-religioso.


Siglo XXI: secuenciación del genoma humano, y hallazgo de datos más complejos de lo esperado. Las secuencias genómicas están disponibles en interenet y hay posibilidad de establecer los propios árboles genómicos con o sin formación científica.


Importancia de la epigenética (muchos expertos españoles). Mecanismos: metilación de bases en el ADN, Acetilación de histonas, etc. : mecanismos que regulan la expresión o no expresión de determinados genes; la manera en que se transmiten da lugar al fenómenos como la transmisión o no del cáncer. Con lo cual vuelve en cierto modo el lamarckismo, al menos a nivel al menos de hongos y plantas (en los animales superiores se sigue manteniendo la reprogramación de la línea germinal para regular la transmisión a la generación siguiente).


Con ello se ha visto a la vez complicada y defendida la teoría de Darwin. Y a pesar de eso siguen los juicios en USA sobre el carácter científico de la teoría de la evolución (e.g. en Dover, Pennsylvania, juicio ganado en 1006). El Tea Party defiende la enseñanza del diseño inteligente en las esculeas y la objeción religiosa a la teoría de la evolución. Y todavía más en los países musulmanes o países del Tercer Mundo.


Terminamos con Prometheus, que contribuye a la teoría del origen de la vida en la Tierra y del hombre en particular. (¿? eings? Yo así lo veo.)



Preguntas:


¿Por qué existen seres no viables, como personas con síndrome de Down, etc.? No sobrevivirían si no los atendiéramos, o no llegarían a reproducirse (¿?). Los humanos no funcionamos sólo con la selección natural descarnada.


¿Puede haber variaciones que no se manifiestan, que no sean favorables o desfavorables? Sí. A veces un cambio súbito de circunstancias favorece a seres marginales (e.g. la extinción de los dinosaurios).


¿Nos encaminamos a un nuevo Big Bang?  No.  (Aplausos). (Yo en cambio creo que no lo sabemos).


¿Cómo ha influido en la evolución humana la solidaridad? Ha sido muy influyente, por nuestro carácter social y nuestra capacidad de usar la inteligencia.


¿Cómo se explica la variación de todas las formas a partir de un solo tipo de material genético (ADN) y no otras formas de material?  Que conteste Luis Boya.


La conferencia de Mariano Moles, astrónomo, "Implicaciones de Darwin en el Universo", se suprime por imposibilidad de bilocación, o incomparecencia del astrónomo.


Ana Isabel Elduque (Decana de la Facultad de Ciencias, Zaragoza) habla sobre la formación de moléculas: Del Big Bang a la materia: asociacionismo atómico y molecular.


La realidad que nos rodea tiene un poso mucho más profundo de lo que pensamos. La evolución nos afecta a todos, y podemos tener una visión más curiosa sobre cada aspecto de la realidad que nos rodea.


Desde el principio de los tiempos, un proceso creativo de adaptación y combinatoria, adaptación a las circunstancias. La vida sólo es un capítulo de este proceso. (Gráfico del modelo del big bang caliente). Formación de los primeros núcleos atómicos minutos después del Big Bang. Hace 13.700 millones de años formación de los primeross elementos, y las reacciones nucleares quedaron confinadas a los núcleos de las estrellas, donde se siguieron formando elementos nuevos. Universo en expansión: Materia bariónica, frente a materia oscura y exótica. No sabemos la causa del desequilibrio entre materia y antimateria. Sí sabemos que el universo es dinámico, una interacción continua, asociación de unas estructuras con otras de forma adaptativas a las circunstancias (asociacionismo).  Estudiar esto es estudiar el proceso evolutivo en el contexto da cada una de las condiciones imperantes. La biología es un estudio de la evolución de los sistemas complejos en unos márgenes muy estrechos, pero no es sino una sección de la gran evolución universal. Formación de los planetas tras la explosión de una supernova, y estructura del sistema solar similar desde hace más de 4000 millones de años. La vida original debió ser algo parecido a una asociación entre elementos y sustancias sencillas. No sabemos dónde se formó, pero el proceso ha de ser similar en un sitio o en otro. Tendencia a formar compuestos estables: pero las condiciones de estabilidad son más estrechas cuanto más complejo es un sistema. Los grandes sistemas requieren cierta estabilidad ambiental para poder subsistir. Los sistemas complejos son sensibles, pero su capacidad de evolución y formación de sistemas nuevos es sorprendente. Gran capacidad de asociacionismo. Todo sistema químico da una respuesta (reacción) a estímulos exteriores: una supervivencia del más apto desde el punto de vista darwinista, o (termodinámicamente) el hecho de que la flecha termodinámica siempre avanza en el mismo sentido. La supervivencia de los individuos se crea a costa de crear un equilibrio diferente—pero éste es una situación de movilidad, no estática. Constante transformación de unas moléculas en otras diferentes, nunca hay estasis; el asociacionismo es absolutamente inherente a nuestro universo; movimiento, cambio, ya a nivel del universo mismo. No hay límite para la capacidad de cambio del universo. Las moléculas encuentran nuevas formas de asociación que exceden la reactividad química tradicional. E.g. las proteinas y sus propiedades de especificidad, estructuras secundarias, terciarias o cuaternarias, superestructuras nuevas (e.g. hemoglobina). No surge de una fuerza vital, sino que el asociacionismo complejo también se da en sistemas inanimados. Por ej. los silicatos y sus estructuras cristalinas, que forman el 90% de la corteza terrestre. Es una adaptación espontánea a nuevas condiciones, fruto de la reactividad, no un impulso de trascendencia. Otro ejemplo: los cristales líquidos y estructura que han trascendido los sistemas de agregación más usuales de la materia (entre sólido y líquido) debido a la capacidad de asociación entre moléculas más sencillas, gran capacidad de reacción y sensibilidad al medio externo. Los sistemas complejos siguen las mismas reglas que los más sencillos (reactividad, asociacionismo…) Las galaxias se asocian en grupos locales, etc. A cualquier nivel. ¿Relación con el darwinismo? El darwinismo nos enseñó que la visión estática del mundo no es la más adecuada para describirlo, ni tampoco los planteamientos teleológicos.  Hoy Newton está superado, o Darwin, pero sus planteamientos han hecho posible la comprensión científica actual. Énfasis en la capacidad de adaptación al entorno, darwinista, subyace a lo más profundo del comportamiento de los elementos naturales. La tendencia natural de los seres vivos a la supervivencia es lo que llamamos vida; todo tiende a buscar una posición en la que estar en situación estable (e.g. la desintegración espontánea de los grupos de protones aislados, pero supervivencia en los núcleos atómicos). Los elementos químicos "aprenden" a crear condiciones que les permiten sobrevivir. Los instintos de supervivencia de los seres vivos son la manifestación a nivel complejo de fenómenos de estabilidad y adaptación al medio que se dan a nivel simple. El Darwinismo junto a la comología ha demostrado que la evolución es lo esencial del universo, todo es dinámico y no hay estructuras ajenas a la reacción, a la asociación, y al resultado de una nueva situación , evolución: Heráclito—todo es devenir, no podemos bañarnos dos veces en el mismo río.






Miguel Angel Sabadell (de Muy Interesante) habla sobre Darwin, selección natural y física.
 

Cómo han integrado los físicos la visión de Darwin. Darwin formuló el mecanismo por el cual las cosas cambian: la adaptación al medio, la selección natural. Lynn Margulis: Selección natural como "editoria" de la evolución; ella le daba el papel más creador de tejidos a la simbiogénesis.   Desde el punto de vista de la física también puede funcionar la teoría de Darwin para explicar el universo físico. Darwin nos coloca en nuestro sitio—Copérnico nos descentralizó, nos quitó del centro del universo. Se desarrolló a la vez la diferencia entre ciencia y fe—la capacidad de demostrar alguna explicación sobre el universo, poniéndola a prueba experimentalmente. Nos cuesta a los seres humanos desechar las ideas que no nos gustan.  A principios del siglo XX se demuestra (Shapley) que no estamos en el centro de la galaxia. Hubble demuestra que no hay centro en el universo, hay millones de galaxias. No somos nada especiales para el universo. Somos accidentales, y superfluos para el universo. Los físicos describen el mundo subatómico con conceptos poco intuitivos. El gato de Schrödinger—el problema de la medida. (Los límites del conocimiento, el colapso de la función, etc.). El mundo subatómico es así; ¿cómo integrar estas extrañas propiedades subatómicas con nuestro universo macroscópico? Una de las explicaciones para solucionar este problema de la medida viene de Darwin, a través de Wojciech H. Zurek (Darwinismo cuántico). No toda la información del mundo subatómico llega a un ser macroscópico; sólo utilizamos parte de la información. Sólo sobrevive la información que es capaz de sobrevivir al ambiente que nos rodea. Sólo unas pocas leyes subatómicas pueden llegar a nosotros. Otra noción: la selección natural cosmológica, diseñada por los físicos teóricos para especular sobre universos fecundos (The Life of the Universe)—¿Por qué hay vida, se pregunta Smalling?  Especula que detrás de cada agujero negro sale un universo bebé. Nuestro universo está detrás de un agujero negro de otro universo. Y sobreviven los universos que dan lugar a más agujeros negros, más universos bebé. Las propiedades de esos universos perviven, mientras que otros no dejan descendencia.  Un universo sin agujeros negros no pueden tener vida; ésta surge como un epifenómeno del proceso de los universos, y de la formación de agujeros negros. (No demostrado). Smalling quiere demostrar la razón del ajuste fino de las constantes fundamentales. Fred Hoyle demostró la existencia del ajuste fino. Hoyle demostró que los elementos se forman en las estrellas, así como la nucleosíntesis del carbono. Para que el carbono fuera estable y no desapareciera, era preciso un ajuste fino, que parece diseñado a propósito.  Ese ajuste hay que explicarlo y la multiplicidad de universos es una manera. Martin Rees habla de los 6 números fundamentales o ajustes finos a seis niveles: la gravedad vs. electromagnetismo, la fuerza fuerte, el ritmo de expansión del universo, la energía oscura, la planitud del universo, y las tres dimensiones. Variedades del principio antrópico: cuatro versiones—débil, fuerte, participativo y final. El fuerte: las constantes son como son porque tiene que haber vida. Participativo: el universo es como es porque tiene que haber vida inteligente, solo hay universo si hay observadores. Y el final: es vida inteligente va a modificar el universo.  Yendo más allá, Gardner propone el biocosmos egoísta. "La vida es capaza de hacer ingeniería cosmológica. Los procesos de autoorganización, emergencia y selección natural son capaces de explicar esta capacidad". Otra visión: el darwinismo universal propuesto en los años 50-60 por Donald T. Campbell. Principios de variabilidad ciega y retención selectiva. Es una ley fundamental del universo, se aplica a todos los entornos. El mecanismo de la evolución se aplica a todo el universo, a todo lo que evoluciona. La evolución funciona como el algoritmo de un ordenador, que incluye variación, selección y herencia. Dennett: La idea más peligrosa de Darwin (1995), obtienes evolución, un diseño espontáneo sin necesidad de una mente superior.  Evolución no implica progreso, sino cambio. Esta es la conexión entre la idea darwinista de la selección natural y la evolución de todo lo que existe.





Luis Joaquín Boya, "Darwin y el origen de la vida"


La gradual desparición de la idea del élan vital en los seres vivos, o la integración de las ciencias físicas y la biología, fue posible gracias a muchos fisiólogos, entre ellos Darwin. Debate entre los materialistas estrictos, que creían en la reducción de la vida a los fenómenos físico-químicos, y los vitalistas.  El propio Darwin inició el debate sobre el origen de la vida en una carta a Hooke en 1871; habla de "a little warm pond" que reacciona con los componentes adecuados y una fuente de energía. Hasta 1924 hay un hiato; Oparin es el primer autor de un libro sobre el origen de la vida. La ideología subyacente a la obra de Oparin era que el comunismo debe abordar el origen de la vida como el problema científico crucial.  Hoy se plantea el problema como un problema científico más, en el seno de la bioquímica.  Debe integrarse en el proceso habitual de la ciencia. Pero no sabemos mucho de cómo se formó en concreto, en qué lugar, con qué compuestos y en qué momento.  Tras Oparin, Haldane (1929), en la revista The Rationalist Animal habla de una atmósfera reductora primitiva, no oxigenada, para la formación de las moléculas complejas. Esa idea se ha cambiado; hoy se habla de una atmósfera neutra. 1950: Stanley Miller, a sugerencia de H. Urey, sintetiza aminoácidos en laboratorio simulando una atmósfera primitiva.   Juan Oró (1961) explica la síntesis abiótica de la adenina, compuesto del ADN, y de otras purinas, por condensación catalítica del ácido cianhídrico. (Ácido cianhídrico en el origen de la vida?). S. Spiegelman (1967) muestra la evolución del RNA del fago. Baltimore y Temin (1970) la transcriptasa inversa RNA – DNA, y la inserción de segmentos en las cadenas de DNA. Así se explican ciertos fenómenos previos a la vida pero necesarios para ella.  P. Sharp y Chambon (1977), los intrones o segmentos no codificantes o no sintetizantes  del genoma; hoy se les han hallado otras funciones. Lynn Margulis (1979), la endosimbiosis como origen de la célula eucariota, modelos de formación de órganos complejos en las eucariotas a partir de simbiosis de organismos más simples.  Algunos órganos de supuesto origen endosimbiótico no están demostrados. C. Woese (1979) define el superreino de las arquiobacterias, las eucariotas derivan de las arqueobacterias. T. Cech y S. Alman (1982)  Ribozimas, W. Gilbert (1986) muestra cómo el mundo RNA precedió al mundo DNA, pudiendo explicar tanto el fenotipo como el genotipo. Hoy se concibe el paso del RNA a la codificación por proteínas y luego al DNA.  R. Benne (1986), el "editado" del RNA; Carl Sagan (1990-92) promovió la teoría meteorítica, incluyendo aminoácidos y nucleótidos (¿?). A. Noller (1992) muestra que en la célula primitiva el RNA sintetizó las primeras proteínas. Y J. Szostak (1993) "provoca" la evolución del RNA en un tubo de ensayo; discutidos resultados. S. Miller (1995) realiza la síntesis abiótica de las primidinas. J. Ferris y L. Orgel hipotesizan la síntesis abiótica en sustratos arcillosos (la montmorillonita). Corriente minoritaria. A partir de 2000, F. Collins etc. la secuenciación del genoma humano.   Pasamos a hablar de la cronología del universo hasta el homo sapiens.  Origen del universo hace 13.700 millones de años – Origen del sistema solar hace 6000 años – Formación de la Tierra (hace 4.550 millones de años) y de la luna – Primeros minerales hace 4250 millones de años – Rocas más antiguas hace 3.800 millones de años– Origen de la vida hace cerca de 3700 millones de años. Formación de la vida por heteroquimiotrofismo, es decir, con una fuente externa de calor. La célula primitiva era tipo procariota, se le llama progenote. Microfósiles en estromatolitos, etc. los más antiguos. Primeros fósiles de algas hace 2.250 millones de años. Fotosíntesis, que escupe oxígeno a la atmósfera, transformó el ambiente, imprescindible para la vida posterior. Tardó la naturaleza mil millones de años en pasar de los seres unicelulares a los multicelulares. Esto parece descartar totalmente cualquier tipo de finalismo en la evolución. Primeros metazoos en las islas Spitzberg, de Noruega, un tiempo relativamente corto después (200 millones de años). La fauna de Ediacara apareció y desapareció en el Precámbrico, no se sabe si alguna de las formas actuales provienen de esa fauna.  Explosión del Cámbrico. Extinción masiva del Cámbrico (y luego del Pérmico). Burgess Shale, uno de los registros fósiles más antiguos y mejor conservados, con rastros de los principales phyla. Especies marinas: la conquista de la tierra viene después—es posible que la vida se originase en el agua del mar, pero no forzosamente; no sabemos. Extinción de los dinosaurios, descubrimiento del límite K/T.  Separación del hombre del mono (que se parece al hombre, a algunos más que a otros) hace unos (¿cientos de miles o millones de años?). Estos desarrollos fueron posibles por la liberación de nichos ecológicos tras la extinción de los dinosaurios.  Sigue el Paleolítico, el desarrollo de cultivos en el neolítico, y el desarrollo de la cultura urbana. Información en las distintas unidades biológicas: paso del número de bases del RNA al DNA, a los virus——la capacidad informativa se multiplica con el número de bases.  A pesar de la exploración del universo, no hay señales de que haya vida en ningún otro planeta extrasolar. El poco interés que hay sobre el origen dela vida es porque este siglo XXI será de paralización si no de decadencia. Ha habido otros, por ejemplo toda la Edad Media.





Manuel J. López Pérez (Rector de la Universidad de Zaragoza), "La Evolución molecular: El caso del ADN mitocondrial humano"


La evolución molecular es el fundamento molecular de los mecanismos que sustentan la evolución. La molécula que sustenta los cambios en otras moléculas que sustentan la mejor adaptación al entorno es el ADN, molécula fundamental. Los demás cambios moleculares están supeditados al los cambios en el ADN. Por ej., la epigenética, también se basa en última instancia en el ADN. En última instancia, mutaciones puntuales, cambios en la cadena de ADN, por cambio de una base individual, por adición, o por supresión de elementos. Un libro escrito con cuatro letras: ATCG. Frases, palabras, frases nuevas: las secuencias codifican la gramática y la puntuación de este libro. Un gen y un gen mutado son dos alelos del mismo gen. La selección natural consiste en la selección del alelo mejor adaptado al entorno del organismo y que así se reproduce mejor. Dos conceptos cruciales: la deriva genética, que se aprecia muy bien en los cuellos de botella. Una población con determinada composición genética se ve diezmada, y su crecimiento subsiguiente tiene un efecto fundador, con una distribución genética diferente de la originaria. Se han seleccionado individuos no representativos de toda la especie. Puede darse la fijación de alelos, si sólo uno de los alelos queda fijado en la población resultante.  Surge una nueva especie cuando un conjunto de individuos ya no puede reproducirse con la población original. Selección natural: las mutaciones producen variaciones neutras, un polimorfismo; la población es así genéticamente diversa, y a partir de esa diversidad la selección natural puede producir una nueva especie; la especiación puede resultar de una especificidad en un entorno determinado. Un ejemplo de todo esto podemos verlo en la selección natural de las mitocondrias. Derivan de una bacteria endosimbionte. La simbiosis de Lynn Margulis y la selección natural son perfectamente compatibles. Los restos de vida primigenia hallados en los estromatolitos son antecesores de las actuales cianobacterias.  Estas cambiaron en su momento la estructura de la tierra. La complejidad actual camina sobre fenómenos evolutivos producidos anteriormente a nivel planetario; el cambio en el entorno ha dado lugar a la aparición de formas más complejas; la vida es un fenómeno tan complejo debido a la propia vida. Surgimiento de la célula eucariota con mitocondrias a partir de las células protoeucariotas. Una simbiosis con una cianobacteria (adicional) viene a dar origen a las plantas, con cloroplastos además de mitocondrias. El ADN bacteriano de las mitocondrias (y de los cloroplastos) tiene las mismas características moleculares que el del núcleo de la célula. Hoy están perfectamente secuenciados los ADN mitocondriales de múltiples especies, y se puede establecer la filogenia de las bacterias actuales con la de las arqueobacterias y con la del ADN mitocondrial, desarrollando una única filogenia: los grupos son las arqueobacterias, las bacterias, los eucariotas unicelulares, y los eucariotas pluricelulares (hongos, plantas, animales). Todos los ADNs de los organismos vivos están emparentados, y todas sus mitocondrias tienen plausiblemente un origen bacteriano. EL ADN mitocondrial es muy pequeño: 16,000 pares de bases, 30 genes en lugar de 30.000 en toda la célula. Menos del 1/1000 del mensaje genético de una célula humana. No tiene intrones, es una forma extraordinariamente aprovechada de codificación génica. Codifica genes distintos en la misma cadena con la cadena antiparalela. Sintetiza algunas proteínas y péptidos que producen la oxidación y transporte de nutrientes; son la gran fábrica energética las mitocondrias, produciendo una moneda energética que es el ATP, la moneda universal para todas las células.  Característica singular: todos tenemos el ADN mitocondrial de nuestra madre: el de nuestro padre no se ha transmitido. La especie humana es una gran filogenia de línea materna. [Aunque hay que mencionar también el ADN de línea paterna conservado en el cromosoma Y de los hombres]. Otra característica del ADN mitocondrial son sus variaciones. Se pueden estudiar las variaciones y diferencias entre los individuos, la relación genética entre los humanos, o animales de una especie; comparaciones estadísticas. Hace unos 20 años, se estudiaron unos 200 ADNs mitocondriales para establecer su relación genética. ¿Cuántos efectos fundadores hay, cuántos cuellos de botella? La respuesta sorprendente….   Imagen de los haplogrupos mitocondriales caucásicos. Sólo existe UNA población fundadora, todos derivamos de un origen común en Africa subsahariana oriental. Hipótesis out of Africa del hombre moderno (homo sapiens). Así se reconstruye la historia de las migraciones primigenias de la Humanidad, a partir de unos 160.000 años atrás. La mitad (pongamos) se pasaron en Africa, y luego se distribuye una población a partir de Mesopotamia, hacia Europa , hacia el norte, India, Asia oriental…  Todo reconstruido a partir de haplogrupos diferentes del ADN mitocondrial. Gran variedad en el ADN mitocondrial, pero numerosos efectos fundadores producidos por las migraciones y por la situación geográfica. Hoy se ha podido identificar esa diversidad antes de que esta diversidad desaparezca por efecto de la globalización. Las mutaciones en el ADN producen la diversidad de las especies, la aparición o no de una nueva especie, y en el caso de la especie humana el ADN mitocondrial es un excelente medidor de la variación humana desde su origen como especie diferente.





Viernes tarde: Sesión de preguntas


¿De dónde salió la energía del Big Bang? 
Antes del Big Bang no hay ningún punto de referencia , sino una simetría total, el Big Bang es la primera singularidad, y no tenemos puntos de referencia para poder describir lo que le precede.


¿El tiempo es evolución?
Desde el punto de vista de la física el tiempo surge en el big bang.
Desde el punto de vista de la filosofía, la temporalidad juega para la teoría de la evolución como un giro cualitativo de escala. Es la concepción de la temporalidad la que produce el problema de la adecuación de los fenómenos a la teoría, y  así exige reformular la teoría.


¿Es ética la transgénesis en los animales o en el hombre?
Es variable la relación entre ciencia y ética. Las cuestiones éticas han de ser replanteadas en cada momento. Si se refiere a que el hombre manipule la evolución, habría que ver las consecuencias que podría traer. Habría que analizar las consecuencias en cada caso (replicar individuos, eliminar enfermedades, etc.).


¿Se pueden recuperar especies extinguidas a partir del ADN?
Sí es posible de encontrarse restos de ADN que se puedan clonar.
 

Si la explicación teológica no es plausible, ¿cómo es posible que todo en la Naturaleza tienda a la vida?
A partir de Occam las cuestiones de razón y fe se separan. Otra cuestión es la direccionalidad o teleología en el evolucionismo, que es un prejuicio teórico. Sin embargo es fecundo, pues muestra el punto en que la teoría es insuficiente o débil.


Si el oro se crea en la explosión de las supernovas, ¿cómo llega a la Tierra?
No llega, el que hay se formó en la explosión de la supernova que dio lugar a la Tierra.


¿Cómo se explica que todas las formas hayan evolucionado a partir de una forma común? ¿Por qué no hay formas que vengan de 'otros tipos de ADN?

Hoy hay una filogenia clara, del virus al hombre, todo viene de una célula original. Lleva a pensar la improbabilidad de la vida fuera de la Tierra, aunque no podemos pronunciarnos al claro. Es muy difícil que se use otra base muy diferente para la vida.


Se expande el universo, y por tanto avanza en un espacio determinado. ¿qué hay más allá de ese espacio? ¿Tiene límite?
El espacio se crea a la vez que el universo, no se hace grande dentro de otro espacio.
 

El concepto de tiempo ¿existía antes del Big Bang, o existía como parámetro ajeno a la materia?
Nace con el Big Bang.


El gen FoxP2 no es suficiente para explicar la capacidad de hablar. ¿Qué otros factores se dan?
Ahora se investiga la capacidad de oír, por la conservación del oído. El oído de los Antecessor tenía los huesecillos muy similar al de los hombres actuales, mucho más cercano que los chimpancés. Eso no quiere decir que pudieran hablar; hasta el hombre moderno y su mente simbólica no podemos tener constancia de habla en el sentido moderno.  // Los genes tienen efecto aditivo, y están muy en contacto con el ambiente. Nuestros ancestros emitían sonidos semejantes a los nuestros, pero se han ido seleccionando los alelos que permitían la producción de lenguaje tal como lo hacemos hoy. El ambiente no hace los caracteres (no lamarckismo) —es la base genética, y su interacción con el medio ambiente.


¿Por qué no se conservan las mitocondrias masculinas?
Porque el espermatozoide tiene muy pocas mitocondrias, y no en la cabeza, que es la única parte que penetra en el óvulo. El ovocito tiene muchas mitocondrias (de línea femenina) que son las que se transmiten.


¿Cuánto tiempo pasa desde que aparece una mutación en un individuo hasta que se transmite a toda la población?
Muchísimo tiempo, muchas generaciones. Claro que depende de las especies y su ritmo de producción de generaciones.


¿A qué situación lleva la superpoblación de los humanos en el planeta tierra?
No lo sé. Una situación muy incómoda // Podría llegarse a guerras de destrucción masivas por el dominio de los recursos, que esperamos que no lleguen. Es de esperar un control de la población con menos crecimiento, aunque no por imposición política que es indeseable.








Santiago Merino (Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, CSIC): Coevolución: Interacciones entre distintos organismos.


Simbiosis: distintos tipos de interacciones entre organismos vivos; clases basadas en si sus efectos son positivos para uno u otro o los dos.  (Árbol clasificatorio). Foresia (traslado) sin interacción trófica; Comensalismo (cuando no se produce daño), Explotación, o Mutualismo. Explotación: Depredación, parasitoides (cuando uno muere); o bien si raramente muere el organismo (microdepredación, parasitismo).  La coevolución es un interacción estrecha, una adaptación evolutiva producida entre dos o varias especies como resultado de su influencia recíproca por relaciones simbióticas. (Wikipedia). Janzen 1980: "aquel proceso por el cual dos o más organismos ejercen presión de selección mutua y sincrónica, en tiempo geológico, que resulta en adaptaciones específicas recíprocas." Es un proceso evolutivo en respuesta a factores tanto bióticos como abióticos.  Los cambios resultan en un proceso de selección que da lugar a una contraevolución en la otra especie. A veces, si hay muchos organismos de diversas especies, hablamos de coevolución difusa (posiblemente el más común). Por ej. Los distintos tipos de parásitos que habitan un ave, el ave se adapta a la población que la parasita. La hipótesis de la Reina Roja: "se necesita correr a toda velocidad para quedar en el el mismo lugar". La mejora continua es necesaria para sólo mantener el ajuste a los sistemas con los que un organismo está coevolucionando. Ejemplos de coevolución: entre mosquitos y un parásito sanguíneo que transmiten; cada línea de parásito corresponde a veces a un solo mosquito, otras son transmitidas por diversas variedades.  O los cambios entre la forma del pico  de las aves nectarífagas y las formas de las flores. También se puede generar dimorfismo sexual por coevolución. Un ejemplo de Darwin en La Fecundación de las orquídeas: la orquídea estrella de navidad. Darwin planteó la hipótesis de que debería existir un insecto con una larga trompa capaz de polinizarla. (Se la bautizó como polilla praedicta). Coevolución de líquenes (hongo y alga que han interaccionado estrechamente). Y la endosimbiosis ya mencionada de las células eucariotas, con sus mitocondrias y cloroplastos. Podemos ver la endosimbiosis como un mecanismo de generación de variación, pero está guiado por la selección natural. Darwin planteó diversos casos de coevolución en la polinización de las plantas, y mostró su estrecha relación con los insectos polinizadores. Demostraba experimentalmente que era necesaria la polinización de los insectos para la producción de semillas.  La interacción resulta en ventajas adaptativas, a través de mecanismos de atracción de insectos. Darwin mostró cómo la evolución llevaba a una dinámica retroalimentativa de desarrollo de diferencias, que llevarían a la selección natural en diversas direcciones. Formuló cómo mediante ligeras desviaciones de estructura ligeramente favorables, los individos se adaptaban mutuamente. No utilizó el nombre pero sí el concepto de coevolución.  También señaló que si hay coevolución es porque hay algún tipo de beneficio para las dos especies, aunque no sea evidente. Aunque sí hay casos de parasitismo, etc. Las  plantas que ofrecen néctar pueden hacer llegar su polen más lejos, y así se benefician.  En suma, las interacciones son una fuerza evolutiva de primera magnitud; todas están subordinadas a la selección natural. Son seleccionadas estas relaciones porque permiten explotar un nuevo nicho o generar una ventaja adaptativa frente a otros organismos en la competencia por recursos.



Hay simbiosis también si uno de los dos muere?

Hay distintos usos del término. Algunos utilizan "simbiosis" como sinónimo de "mutualismo".  Es mejor esta definición más amplia.






Juan Pablo Martínez: Implicaciones de la ecología en la evolución.


La ecología es el eje y fundamento de la evolución. La obra de Darwin es básicamente ecológica (si no se entiende como ecologismo político, sino como una ciencia). Selección natural y lucha por la vida son dos términos ecológicos, ya desde el título de su obra. Y trata fundamentalmente de ecología, igual que otras de sus obras—no existía el término pero sus obras son básicamente de ecología. La práctica de la ecología, por supuesto, precede a su teoría. La ecología evolutiva es toda una disciplina de la cual sólo podemos tocar aquí un aspecto: las asociaciones entre distintos organismos. Aquí hablaremos de "consorcios" y reservaremos "simbiosis" para los casos en que se benefician mutuamente los organismos. Haeckel, gran continuador de Darwin, definió la ecología como la ciencia conjunta de las relaciones con el medio ambiente que los rodea, y cuyos elementos influyen en todos los sentidos en el desarrollo de su existencia; pueden ser factores orgánicos o inorgánicos (Generelle Morphologie der organismen, 1866).  Tipos de consorcios: 9, y si tenemos en cuenta el número de individuos…. Salen cientos de tipos. Reduciendo al máximo,3 tipos: explotación, competencia, o cooperación. Hablaremos sobre todo de los últimos. Hay diversos tipos: tróficos o de alimentación, otros referidos al uso del territorio, etc. Los consorcios son bastante estables: por ej. Las poblaciones de depredadores y presas se mantienen unos niveles prolongados en el tiempo. Al mantenerse en el tiempo, se convierten en objeto de la selección natural.


Abreviando, hablaremos del parasitismo, que muchas veces evouciona tendiendo a la simplificación de los parásitos. Las dinámicas de competencia  no son estables: una de las especies acaba por desplazar a la otra. Esto lleva a la multiplicación y diferenciación de nichos ecológicos. La noción de "lucha por la vida" debe aplicarse más bien a la competencia que a la explotación.  El parasitismo puede también provocar la muerte del huésped, per al no ser ello beneficioso tiende a convertise en un simple comensal o un simple simbionte.


No existen sistemas de pura competencia o cooperación durante un tiempo suficiente para que actúe la selección, aunque sí pueden exsitir pocesos complejos y que uno de los dos neutralice al otro.
 

Tesis de Margulis de diversos orgánulos de movimiento o la reproducción sexual, también originados por endosimbiosis. También la noción de la aparición de la pluricelularidad. Hoy aún hay 9 tipos de organismos primitivos que parecen estar próximos al origen del pluricelularidad.   Con la aparición de las células reproductoras, aparició la distinción soma/germen, uno de las piedras angulares de la biología moderna, aunque últimamente se ha hablado de ciertas transiciones genéticas entre el citoplasma y el núcleo. Niveles de integracióin cooperativa: 1) algas verdes en simbiosis con una hidra. 2) Celentéreos (sifonóforos) especializados para formar distintos órganos. 3) Superorganismos (termiteros) y 4) Megalópolis moderna, el nivel máximo de la integración cooperativa.







Luis Alvarez (Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, e Instituto Grande Covián) , Filosofía y evolución.


Algunas obviedades que es necesario resaltar. La evolución es un hecho, aunque su teoría es un problema como no puede ser de otra manera.  ¿Es la teoría de la evolución un cajón de sastre? ¿Una teoría de 'errores' (Feyerabend)? No es así. Desde la filosofía, la evolución es un proceso fenoménico en marcha, que intentamos adaptar a nuestras propias ideas. A veces exige un cambio de racionalidad frente a la racionalidad dominante. A veces parece que hablamos de metafísica; a veces parece que exige una ampliación, un cambio de escala. Diferentes escalas de análisis, y en cada una hay diferentes fenómenos; no hay que confundir los niveles de análisis ni usar categorías ilegítimamente de una escala a otra.  Bacon hablaba de los ídolos del conocimiento, prejuicios o errores, de los que hay que librarse, falsas nociones que crean una falsa perspectiva sobre lo existente. Su clasificación es muy interesante: los "ídolos de la evolución" pueden venir de la mente humana, del medio social, del lenguaje o de los dogmas y falsas demostraciones. Max Scheler añadía los "ídolos del conocimiento interno", según los cuales cada uno crea una realidad adecuada a su conocimiento. Y habría que añadir un ídolo de la temporalidad en el caso de la evolución.  Tendemos a suponer más regularidad en la naturaleza, a generalizar demasiado, a imponer ideas debidas a nuestra tradición, educación, etc. Es difícil para empezar distinguir los distintos niveles fenoménicos, y los distintos niveles de subjetivación (donde la subjetividad aparece). Cada transición supone cambios de escala y da lugar a conceptos que se trasponen inadecuadamente a otros niveles. El evolucionismo surge de una ampliación de la propuesta taxonómica de Linneo; Darwin parece proponer un darwinismo. Luego encontraremos los problemas del continuismo, de la direccionalidad, de la causalidad, de la reciprocidad, ideologías del mecanicismo, del racionalismo, del determinismo…. Las ideas de competencia, de lucha por la existencia, se confunden entre los niveles de las relaciones sociales y las teorías liberales. De fondo están las ideas como la de progreso, idea ilustrada que da lugar a "lestrigones" cuando confluya con la noción de evolución. Una idea esencialista de la humanidad y de una noción de la historia como institución simbólica sobrevuelan sobre toda esta concepción.   La propia noción de fenómeno y de su representación debería analizarse, así como la noción de qué requiere una teoría para ser científica (Popper, Lakatos, Kuhn, Feyerabend). Hay muchos antropomorfismos en esta historia, y algunos teomorfismos, a pesar de alguna falsa secularización que se ha producido. El realismo político maquiavélico y hobbesiano también es un ingrediente que debería tenerse en cuenta al  hora de analizar la teoría. El darwinismo ya era una ampliación de la teoría de la evolución (y deberíamos entender qué supone la ampliación de una teoría). Cuatro ejemplos de la primera década del siglo XX-
 
- En física Max Planck y la cuántica.
- En música el paso al atonalismo de Schoenberg.
- Arte: ampliación del clasicismo en el modernismo.
- En filosofía el desarrollo de la fenomenología
- Y en biología el paso de los individuos y organismos al genoma.

Se exige en cada caso un cambio de escala en el paso de lo clásico a lo postclásico; pero siempre se ve  junto a una ampliación la pérdida correspondiente. En filosofía se pasa a un dispositivo universal de síntesis, que será la intencionalidad. Y en evolución la genómica supondrá una crisis del darwinismo.

El nuevo sistema resulta inestable porque se basa en conceptos heredados de la fase anterior; es necesario en la ampliación de una teoría el pasar a un nivel clásico a uno postclasico (e.g de lo continuo a lo discreto, en las unidades usadas, o viceversa).

El cambio de paradigma a veces divide una ciencia en varias, pero sobre todo marca la continuidad de una teoría y la necesidad de un nivel de fenómenos que exigen nuevos recursos metodológicos, una revolución científica.  La física clásica explicaba el mundo macroscópico; la cuántica se divide en tres períodos (Planck, Heisenberg, Gell-mann)…  En darwinismo pasamos de la fase clásica a la genómica, y de ahí al sintetismo de Lynn Margulis y otras fases que se  abrirán. La teoría de la evolución exhibe que no hay simetría entre el progressus y el regressus—al estar implicados en el proceso mismo evolutivo nosotros mismos, no hay posibilidad de esa simetría.  Distintas conceptualizaciones se suman: la lucha por la vida, el altruismo de Kropotkin, el énfasis en el egoísmo de Dawkins…. Diversos giros copernicanos que permiten explicar los fenómenos de otra manera; es tan sencillo como cambiar de escala y no forzar los fenómenos a la teoría. Surgen las mecánicas no euclídeas; a veces se necesita una ampliación y un salto a otro nivel para dar cuenta de los fenómenos. Pero muchas veces, para salvar los fenómenos, transcategorizamos de modo ilegítimo, o utilizamos categorías antropomórficas donde no son aplicables.  Por ej. La gravedad es inobservable en el nivel cuántico, por lo débil que es, y llegamos a límites en los que las leyes físicas se vuelven inexplicables. ¿Una teoría no-clásica de la Evolución en el seno de teorías no clásicas de la ciencia?  Cf. la intervención de Gustavo Bueno en el congreso sobre Racionalismo y Evolucionismo.   Hacía una cítica de la evolución pensada a escala de las especies, pues podíamos decir que es una noción la de evolución creada a escala de las especies.  Y de la continuidad de la scala naturae.  En la actualidad el proyecto de la scala naturae se ha renovado con el evolucionismo, una escala de seres que van desde el quark hasta el hombre. Es una doctrina incompatible con el materialismo clásico, por el uso del emergentismo y de distintos tipos de entidades de órdenes de explicación diferentes.  La idea de una evolución superorgánica se presenta como un proyecto difícil porque puede dar pábulo a todo tipo de importación de nociones teológicas y también a quienes pretenden denostar el propio hecho de la evolución. 


(Un ejemplo de importación teológica podría ser la siguiente ponencia...)






José Luis Febas Borra: Implicaciones de Darwin en la antropología


Hemos pasado de temas estrictamente científicos, abriendo el zoom a implicaciones filosóficas, y ahora pasamos a la antropología. La antropología tiene muchos apellidos: científica, estructural, social (y habría que nombrar a Spencer aquí), antropología filosófica, teológica, cultural, biológica, etc. Aquí nos centaremos en el común denominador, el de humanidad o fenómeno humano (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin). Febas hizo la tesis doctoral sobre Teilhard, y había entonces un fervor alrededor de Teilhard, más de dos mil publicaciones sobre él en pocos años. El interés de lo prohibido explica este fenómeno editorial.  Su padre le inculcó las ciencias, su madre la religión, y siempre intentó integrar estos dos ámbitos de la experiencia. Se hace religioso, enseña en Egipto, se hace sacerdote y pasa cuatro años como camillero en Verdun. "La Vie Cosmique" (1916), primer opúsculo sobre la evolución y el hombre. En Etudes, revista jesuita, escribe sobre cómo entender la creación desde una perspectiva evolutiva; y reformula la idea del pecado original en base a la especie humana. Sus superiores lo destinan a China, y le prohíben publicar textos no estrictamente científicos. En Pekín, en Java, participa en importantes congresos y excavaciones.  El medio divino, El fenómeno humano, El grupo zoológico humano. Termina trabajando en Nueva York, donde muere. A su pensamiento lo llama fenomenología, no antropología. Pretendía conciliar la fascinación con el universo con la adoración de Dios como entidad única fuente de todo. Su esquema final: Kosmos = cosmogénesis, antropogénesis, noogénesis, cristogénesis. Elementos de su sistema de pensamiento A) Fenomenología: Fases de la fenomenología: Divergencia, luego convergencia, y emergencia. La evolución es por ello creadora, pues encierra la potencialidad de que desde los estados iniciales se llegue a la Noosfera, la capa pensante del universo.  B) Dialéctica: el Punto Omega como punto al que tienden los vectores ascendentes de la evolución: tiene que ser absoluto, irreversible, y personal (es decir, tiene que recoger las ambiciones de los individuos pensantes). Cristo como "todo en todos" es el punto en que culmina el proceso evolutivo de la creación. C) Metafísica: - Crear es unir; - Amorización del universo;  - El mal como regresión). D: Mística: - El Medio Divino, - La comunión por la acción (elementos positivos) y – las pasividades transformadoras (elementos negativos).  El pensamiento de Teilhard se basa en parte en Bergson (y éste en parte en Spencer). Patrick Tort, Misère de la sociobiologie (1985) habla del efecto reversivo de la evolución que se da a partir del hombre, una noción también presente en Darwin. En el compromiso de Teilhard tanto con la religión como con la ciencia está su principal mensaje, en la voluntad de integración que a título personal él consiguió.



(Me parece que deberían haber cambiado el orden de estas dos conferencias últimas para una progresión más adecuada. Teilhard me parece meritorio y a veces sugerente, pero fundamentalmente confuso e irremediablemente Teilheológico).





Más preguntas


La integración entre un órgano y su organobioma, ¿se considera una integración cooperativa?

El hombre ha intervenido en todos los ecosistemas, y ha pasado a controlar muchos de los mecanismos evolutivos que los regulaban. La gran pregunta, ¿podremos convertir la relación del hombre con el bioma en una relación cooperativa? ¿O seremos sólo capaces de relacionarnos con el entorno en términos de explotacion? 


(Bien, me temo que la respuesta es una verdad que aunque no responde a lo que se preguntaba sí merece la pena enunciarse en este contexto).




_________



 Un breve intento de comunicación con Brive crea más confusión que comunicación en la sala. El público no entiende francés y se va. Los de Brive nos piden conclusiones y aquí no las hay claro, apenas ha habido debate integrado. Así que nos presentan ellos sus conclusiones, de las que destaco dos puntos:



- La consciencia de una mayor integración de fenómenos a diversos niveles de complejidad, en estructuras de niveles superiores cada vez más complejas, lo cual requiere a su vez un énfasis en los mismos conceptos de comunidad y de cooperación, para permitir el uso de estos conceptos en contextos cada vez más integradores y a la vez diversos.


- La molestia y malestar que se sigue notando cuando se provocan interferencias entre la comprensión científica y la teológica: se recomienda encarecidamente mantener estos ámbitos separados para impedir serios fallos de comunicación.  (Y sin embargo, si integramos, aquí hay que disentir).


Por un momento estoy por tomar la palabra y contarles algo a los de Brive, pero me pueden la pereza y la modestia. No tengo tanto afán de protagonismo como podría parecerle al lector, y eso que estaba entre los mejor ubicados de la sala, me ha parecido ver, en cuanto a conocimiento simultáneo del francés y de la evolución.


Sigue un coloquio en el que se tratan animadamente diversas cuestiones, esta vez de modo más integrador, y hacia ahí va un poco mi intervención, que va a ser la única que me molesto en resaltar no por su importancia sino para aclarar un poco más mi postura.


Llamo la atención sobre un nivel explicativo que deberíamos tener en cuenta, y ha sido poco mencionado a no ser de modo implícito: el relativo a la direccionalidad de la evolución, descartada en principio por Darwin, de hecho es su idea central la supeditación de la evolución a fuerzas ciegas; pero hay un hecho que hay que tener en cuenta una vez tenemos seres conscientes: la consciencia, la intencionalidad, sí que genera procesos de intencionalidad, diseño (inteligente) a su propio nivel, y direccionalidad. (En parte el mismo Darwin reconoce estos fenómenos al diferenciar de la selección natural la selección sexual, guiada por la elección diferencial, intencional en parte, de los sujetos reproductores. Recuérdese la importancia que le da al análisis de los fenómenos humanos, asociándola en la misma publicación, El origen del hombre y la selección en cuanto al sexo). Bien, la consideración de fenómenos intencionales (arguyo) supone un giro reflexivo de la teoría de la evolución, y es a este nivel en el que nos podemos plantear una integración de los distintos fenómenos evolucionistas tratados por las diferentes disciplinas—integración en tanto que objetos de conocimiento, algo tratado en parte al menos en la ponencia filosófica de Luis Álvarez.  Después de todo, también podemos hablar de una selección no natural, sino intencional, que dirige la evolución de las teorías de la evolución, pues se seleccionan las más integradoras o explicativas. Y así nuestra reflexión traza un panorama en el que el pensamiento evolutivo o evolucionista es un nexo de unión para reconsiderar los más diversos fenómenos cósmicos y las diferentes disciplinas del conocimiento. Es una integración a nivel de "noosfera" que me parece más adecuada que el puenteo teológico-místico que proponía Teilhard, aunque retoma algunos de sus elementos de reflexión. Por ahí hablaba otro de Monod y de F. Jacob.


Me da la réplica Miguel Angel Sabadell, rechazando la confusión de diferentes tipos de evolución: evolución cultural, evolución cósmica y evolución biológica; dice que son conceptos distintos que deben manternerse separados y son imposibles de integrar.


Yo arguyo que en gran parte se ha intentado integrarlos en estas jornadas, y que es un reto para el proyecto evolucionista (o para el pensamiento en general, vamos) el integrar los distintos niveles de explicación.  Aquí sólo apuntaré (como ejemplo del bucle reflexivo aludido) que el pensamiento sobre la evolución es inseparable de la reflexión sobre el evolucionismo—como bien sabía Stephen Jay Gould al titular su obra magna The Structure of Evolutionary Theory.


También rechaza Miguel Angel Sabadell la noción de que pueda haber ciencia en ámbitos distintos de la ciencia experimental. Allí  disiente José Luis Febas, que plantea una noción de ciencia (en el sentido de conocimiento o comprensión) mucho más inclusiva, que abarca las humanidades e incluso la Teología, si humanidad es la Teología. Sabadell parece concebir sólo la idea de una teología dogmática y primitiva, y parece creer en un contexto único de planteamiento de los problemas, mientras que Febas insiste en la diversidad de contextos y de funciones del conocimiento y de las explicaciones.


El rector insiste en la necesidad de reduccionismo o limitación de las ciencias a su propio ámbito, matizando la ponencia de Luis Álvarez, en lo que no hay desacuerdo (y sin embargo siempre se producen transformaciones en las ciencias al cruzarse ámbitos o necesidades explicativas disciplinarias distintas, ahí estoy más con Álvarez; el rector parece estar pensando sólo en la ciencia normal, que para el científico es, naturalmente, la ciencia).


Y una postura más integradora y que me gusta la ofrece Juan Pablo Martínez mediando un tanto (eso es lo bueno, mediar) entre la visión de Sabadell y la mía. Alude al principio ya formulado en los años 20 que extendió la noción de selección natural a los fenómenos inorgánicos y físicos. (Quizá se encuentra allí la integración entre el principio de conservación de la energía destacado por Spencer y la selección natural de Darwin). Básicamente está de acuerdo conmigo Martínez, creo, en la necesidad de una perspectiva desde la que se comprendan e integren todo tipo de fenómenos, desde los más simples hasta las explicaciones y teorías como elementos de comunicación más o menos exitosos, o maneras de "rentabilizar la energía."   Comunicar, integrar, y rentabilizar la energía. Todo un reto, o tres retos que quizá sean uno, por decirlo con lenguaje uno y trino.

(Por cierto que entre tanto Darwin y tanto Big Bang echo en falta una mención al único Darwin que habló del Big Bang—¡o sea, Erasmus Darwin!)

Darwin's Big Bang





 







Jueves 24 de enero de 2013

Becoming Invisible


Becoming Invisible



Albert Rivera en defensa de la democracia

Dándoles donde más les duele (si exceptuamos la cartera):



Y encima en español. Si es que no hay respeto. Empieza uno saliendo desnudo en los carteles electorales, y ya no se sabe en qué puede acabar la cosa.

Y aquí el comentario de Libertad Digital sobre la grotesca declaración de soberanía catalana.












Scribdizado!


Aparece cada poco tiempo por Scribd (o por Docstoc) alguien que ha seleccionado, por sus propios intereses, supongo, alguna de las páginas de mi bibliografía para publicarla (o coleccionarla, o difundirla, o scribdizarla) como un monográfico.

Hoy encuentro (gracias al buscador de imágenes de Google) estos archivos scribdizados:

Bibliografía sobre lectores y lectura literaria: http://es.scribd.com/doc/119015422/Readers-reading

Bibliografía sobre Bach: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/37963802/From-A-Bibliography-of-Literary-Theory_-Criticism-and-Philology---DOC

Bibliografía sobre Haydn: http://web5.docstoc.com/docs/106640479/From-A-Bibliography-of-Literary-Theory-Criticism-and-Philology----DOC

Bibliografía sobre Tchaikovsky: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/40367675/From-A-Bibliography-of-Literary-Theory_-Criticism-and-Philology---Get-as-DOC

Bibliografía sobre crítica feminista (general): http://es.scribd.com/doc/56509111/z-on-Feminist-criticism

Bibliografía sobre Derrida: http://es.scribd.com/doc/56022387/Derrida-J

Bibliografía sobre Forma, Estructura y Contenido: http://es.scribd.com/doc/50898673/Form-Structure-Content

Bibliografía sobre Jane Austen: http://es.scribd.com/doc/51270087/Austen-j-doc-universidad-de-zaragoza

Bibliografía sobre los Sonetos de Shakespeare: http://es.scribd.com/doc/78642341/Sonnets

Bibliografía sobre T. S. Eliot: http://es.scribd.com/doc/79122897/Eliot-T-S

Bibliografía sobre clausura y finales narrativos: http://es.scribd.com/doc/50228925/null

Bibliografía sobre M. H. Abrams: http://es.scribd.com/doc/77971933/Abrams-M-H

Bibliografía sobre estilística española: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/121007781/Spanish-Stylistics---Universidad-de-Zaragoza

Bibliografía sobre crítica cultural española: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/112850105/Spanish-cultural-criticism---Universidad-de-Zaragoza



Y así mi bibliografía, publicación única en su género y especie, lleva camino de convertirse en cuatro mil publicaciones distintas. Sin contar con que estas publicaciones van sumando más lectores quizá que el original mismo.... o a menos que sus originales en el original, de eso no me cabe la menor.

Y otra de las bellezas attending this situation es que puedo incluir la bibliografía en sí misma, en una bella regressio ad absurdum. Ya estaba incluida, claro, globalmente: ahora la engasto en sí misma por partes.


En años veinticuatro





Miércoles 23 de enero de 2013

Rendez-vous d'automne

Aquí entre canciones de Françoise Hardy. Pero no le pillo el punto, claro.


Rendez-vous d'automne (2) from Jose Angel García Landa on Vimeo.




Rendez-vous d'automne from Jose Angel García Landa on Vimeo.


Top tracks for Françoise Hardy (100 videos).




Rayo de Luna



Sube la Luna







Becas Fulbright


55ª CONVOCATORIA DE BECAS FULBRIGHT DE AMPLIACIÓN DE ESTUDIOS
EN LOS ESTADOS UNIDOS DE AMÉRICA PARA TITULADOS SUPERIORES
EN CUALQUIER CAMPO DE ESTUDIO, CURSO 2014-2015


La Comisión de Intercambio Cultural, Educativo y Científico entre España y los Estados Unidos de América convoca hasta un máximo de 25 becas Fulbright destinadas a titulados superiores que estén interesados en programas de Master's, Ph.D. o, excepcionalmente, en proyectos de investigación predoctoral en una universidad estadounidense durante el curso académico 2014-2015.
 
Fecha límite de presentación de solicitudes: 21 de marzo de 2013.
 
Dotación para: viaje, compra de libros y materiales; manutención; matrícula; seguro médico y de accidentes.
 
Patrocinadores: Gobiernos de España y de Estados Unidos, Junta de Andalucía, Comunidad de Madrid, Fundación Ramón Areces, el Corte Inglés y Universidad de Maryland-Baltimore County.
Impreso de solicitud: En la página web de la Comisión Fulbright: http://fulbright.es/convocatorias/ver/1390/ampliacion-de-estudios/2014-2015
 
Más información:
Página web:    www.fulbright.es
Asesoría Académica: http://fulbright.es/ver/formulario-informacion
Tel.91-319-1126
Comisión de Intercambio Cultural, Educativo y Científico entre
España y los Estados Unidos de América
Calle General Oraa, 55. 28006 Madrid



El catalán obligatori


Un artículo de EL MUNDO sobre el crecimiento de la obligatoriedad del catalán en la universidad catalana. Bueno, con su pan se los coman ellos y los que les votan y los que no les protestan, etc. Qué decir a estas alturas de este virus mental del nacionalismo.

Pero lo que me ha parecido de chiste auténtico es esto que dice el Secretario de Universidades de Cataluña sobre los estudiantes Erasmus que van a Cataluña:

 "La mayoría sabe perfectamente dónde viene. Aprender una lengua románica en un año es de lo más normal. Con el nivel cultural de un universitario se le presupone capacitado para hacerlo"

 ¡ANDA VETE A ESPARRAGAR,  FALSARIO!








Martes 22 de enero de 2013

RSA Animate - 21st Century Enlightenment









RSA Animate - The Secret Powers of Time












Silhouette and Cathedral
Silhouette & Cathedral






ESSE Facebook

Resulta que existe el Facebook ESSE y yo sin enterarme. Aquí es:

http://www.facebook.com/essenglish

ESSE (la European Society for the Study of English) es una de las pocas sociedades académicas a las que pertenezco, que no está el horno para cuotas. Hace años que dejé de intentar convencer a las sociedades académicas para que se abrieran un blog o una red social, pero, a medida que van siendo más conocidos y usados, parece que poquito a poco van llegando por su propia cuenta. Pues hale, no hay que forzar la cosa, ya irán llegando. De momento ni siquiera creo que se vaya a usar mucho—los universitarios (al menos los españoles) parecen activamente refractarios a la cuestión, al menos en las humanidades que son lo que más conozco.

Les acabo de poner a ESSE un anuncio de mi bibliografía http://bit.ly/abiblio, visto que el webmaster de la asociación (y de esta página) siempre se ha negado por la vía de la callada a incluirla en su página de enlaces y recursos.  No me pregunten por qué: a las editoras de Atlantis (que me eliminaron de la suya) se lo pregunté y les debió de parecer tan ofensiva o molesta o improcedente la pregunta que ni siquiera me contestan a los correos.

En ESSE, por cierto, no se privan de poner abundantes noticias sobre cosas que la gente intenta vender, libros, congresos, etc. Todo lo que mueve dinero levanta menos sospechas que lo gratuito.

Pues por allí escribiré de vez en cuando, porque este facebook de ESSE sí que va a mi página de enlaces. Hay que poner la página en algún tipo de favoritos, o ir directo, porque curiosamente no aparece en Facebook ni buscando "ESSE" ni buscando "essenglish" que es su nombre.


Esse est percipi



Amors de terra lohndana
pillow talk





Amors de terra lonhdana,

per vos toz lo cors mi dol;
e no'm puesc trobar mezina
si non au vostre reclam
ab atraich d'amor doussana
dinz vergier o sotz cortina
ab dezirada companha.

(Jaufré Rudel)















Lunes 21 de enero de 2013

The Empathic Civilisation








Homines honesti

Qué divertido cómo con el caso Bárcenas que ha sobresaltado al PP, los principales líderes salen desmintiendo con la boca pequeña y a la vez señalando cómo les crece la nariz. Es un caso muy bonito de esa observación de Goffman según la cual el mentiroso no puede mentir sin más y a la perfección, sino que tiene a la vez que mandar señales "extraoficiales" que comunican, pragmáticamente hablando, cuál es la verdad.

Así, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría nos comunica que "a ella no le han dado ningún sobre" o que "no ha visto que den ningún sobre a nadie." Claro, con un pestañeo a tiempo, se resuelve pronto esto. Cospedal también emite signos ambigüos, que no se diga que dijo.

Y Rajoy, en lugar de desmentir en persona, se remite a lo que han declarado sobre el particular sus vicepresidentes y vicepresidentas, alegando que le consta que son declaraciones que vienen de "personas honestas."

Sobre esto habló Poe en La carta robada, otra historia de una cosa supuestamente escondida que estaba a la vista de todo el mundo, riéndose de alguien interpretase las palabras "homines honesti" como "hombres honestos." Una nota en The Purloined Poe nos aclara que "homines honesti is Cicero's term for men of his party."

Así que permítanme aventurar que de la auditoría que se va a hacer el PP a sí mismo, y de la que van a encargar a unos honestos auditores externos, van a salir unas cuentas inmaculadas. Y es que el que no es sinvergüenza no llega a esas esferas de la política, ya lo apean antes.

País de idiotas—y de golfos












Figura en la parte vieja 2


Figura en la parte vieja 2





Financiando piratas

O subvencionando a bandas armadas. Es lo que estuvo haciendo el gobierno del PSOE, so guisa de colaboración humanitaria. Como observa Juan Abreu, el grupo terrorista que asaltó a la plataforma petrolífera de Argel había recibido abundantes millones del rescate pagado por instrucciones del gobierno Zapatero/de la Vega:

El líder del grupo que organizó el asalto a una planta de gas argelina es el terrorista Mojtar Belmojtar. ¿De dónde conocemos a este tipo? Bueno, es el mismo que secuestró en 2009 a tres llamados cooperantes españoles en Mauritania.

Cuatro años después, aquí le vemos, secuestrando y matando ciudadanos europeos en Argelia y al frente de tropas bien equipadas en Mali. Vaya. Parece que ha mejorado la financiación del grupo terrorista de Belmojtar. Como se sabe, la política del Gobierno de España es pagar millones de euros por la liberación de españoles secuestrados.

Veo que nadie hace la pregunta, así que la haré yo: ¿en que medida es responsable el Gobierno español del financiamiento de estos terroristas?
Es perfectamente razonable pensar que parte de los millones de euros pagados como rescate por los tres españoles en 2009 ha servido para aumentar la capacidad operativa de estos fanáticos religiosos, amén de mejorar su armamento.

Repito. ¿En que medida es responsable el Gobierno español del financiamiento de estos terroristas?

De aquellos polvos del desierto vienen estos lodos. Esto, si me preguntan a mí, también es corrupción (de criterio) y desde luego malversación de fondos públicos, colaborando con el criminal mientras se alega que así se minimizan daños. Pero a estos colaboradores con banda armada no los va a procesar nadie. Y aún los volverán a votar, no se lo pierdan.

La solución del Alakrana








Black Diamond Bay



Black Diamond Bay from Jose Angel García Landa on Vimeo.













Domingo 20 de enero de 2013

El modo del género narrativo: Diversas interpretaciones



El modo del género narrativo: diversas interpretaciones by José Angel García Landa




Un artículo que escribí en los años 80 y que he encontrado por Scribd. Como se ve pequeño, pulsar en la esquina inferior derecha.





Too much attention to fictional violence


—says Jonathan Gottschall in The Storytelling Animal, arguing that fictional violence is not what leads to real violence. And I agree in part, but

There's an issue still

Submitted by JoseAngel on January 20, 2013 - 12:29pm.

Your point is well argued and at least partly right. The representation of violence is involved with the nature of society in ways which cannot be simplistified by a foregone solution. But there remains one highly significant issue for debate. Does the representation of violence act like an addiction for our attention? Does it engage far more attention than it's worth? Isn't the proliferation of scenes of violence in films and video games one of the lowest ways to engage and hook up attention (a kind of cheap pornography for the most part). Shouldn't our best attention be directed elsewhere, and cheap representation of gratuitious violence be discouraged (especially by intellectuals with a social responsibility) more systematically? There is no possible end to the debate on the artistic necessity of representing violence. And yet I think that violence, real or fictional, attracts much more attention than it deserves. Ignoring cheap fictional violence and turning your attention elsewhere is a way of fighting a real evil resulting from violence, too— the evil of wasting our attention on the worst things and keeping it away from the best things.



A Quiet Mind

A quiet mind

But can we have a quiet mind with Twitter twittering, and Facebook sharing, and blogs blogging? We do need a spot of concentration and reflection. However, the circulation of information also does a lot of thinking for us, and we need that in order to get sufficient clues on how to live in our world today. The world itself is a perpetual conundrum, perhaps less intense than the mysteries solved by Holmes, but far more extensive and continual. It's hard enough to keep up with it, not to mention cracking up its ultimate mystery!





Iluminado por pantalla

Iluminado por Pantalla




En años veinticuatro


by
José Ángel 
G
ARCÍA LANDA

Universidad de Zaragoza 
Facultad de Filosofía y Letras
50009 Zaragoza - Spain
almez
Of writing
many books
there is no end



—oOo—

Publico hoy esta 18ª edición de mi bibliografía, que empezó en 1989 ocupando un diskete de 3 pulgadas en un ordenador sin disco duro, y hoy llega a 350 Mb de texto, o sea un buen par de estantes de libros gordos, virtualmente hablando. 

Llevo más de 100.000 visitas desde 2004, fecha en que puse el contador actual. No son muchas, pero hay que tener en cuenta que ésos son sólo los usuarios que pasan por la portada principal de la bibliografía, la "puerta delantera". Son muchos más los que llegan por la puerta trasera, a través de Google directamente, localizando alguno de los miles de archivos incluidos en la bibliografía que responda a sus criterios de búsqueda. Google ha indexado de diversas maneras la bibliografía con sus propias copias, haciendo pdfs, etc., y lo mismo han venido haciendo últimamente otros servicios de documentación como eBookBrowse. Aparte, mucha gente incluye archivos cogidos de la bibliografía sobre algún tema de interés en sus propios Scribd, o sea que a estas alturas está la bibliografía en una fase de crecimiento incontrolado por esas vías. El otro día me daba Google 715.000 resultados de búsqueda por este título entrecomillado.

Y yo sigo sin cobrar un solo duro por hacer la bibliografía, porque no crean que esto me lo tienen en cuenta para nada a la hora de concederme un sexenio de investigación, ni de darme un proyecto ni nada parecido, que jamás he tenido ayuda ni reconocimiento oficial por estos años de trabajo en la bibliografía. Que ya son años veinticuatro, pasando de las musas al teatro.

Claro que para eso somos funcionarios, ¿no?  Además hago otras cosas, aparte de bibliografías.

Lista por extenso



























Sábado 19 de enero de 2013

Chica con torres 2

Chica con torres 2







En el 1,5 %

Bueno, hasta aquí he subido puestos en el Social Science Research Network:

Jose Angel Garcia Landa Author Rank is 3,226 out of 215,174

—Lo cual quiere decir que me ubico en el 1,5% superior (hoy en el 1,4999%) de los autores más consultados en este repositorio, que es el número uno mundial. Lástima que no me paguen, claro que en el puesto 3000 y pico no te paga nadie en ningún sitio, aunque vayas por delante de otros doscientos mil usuarios.

También veo hoy pasando por el SSRNque mi artículo "Wilde y el enigma de la esfinge" ("Wilde and the Riddle of the Sphinx") lo han añadido al Sexuality and Gender Studies eJournal, de reciente o futura creación.

Hace seis meses estaba yo




Viernes 18 de enero de 2013

Things Invisible


Como últimamente no escribo mucho en el blog, ni de mí ni de nada, una de las cosas que más hago es hacer fotos. Acabo de descargar al ordenata una tanda de casi mil fotos, y una vez repasadas, subiré algo más de cuatrocientas al fotoblog de Flickr. Por partes, claro, que ya le dedico a todo esto demasiado tiempo y no me queda apenas para los fragmentos de vida que se puedan insertar entre sesión y sesión de pantalla.

A veces se me genera el título de una foto mientras la hago (ya sea mentalmente o con cámara incorporada) y a veces al repasarla, seleccionarla o colgarla. Sea como sea, el título sale imprevisiblemente de la interacción entre la foto, el momento en que se hizo, y asociaciones mentales más o menos contingentes e imprevisibles, pero en última instancia determinantes—cada foto elige así su propio título. De las que he subido hoy, ésta ha decidido llamarse "Things Invisible":


Things Invisible

(Hablando de 'things invisible', una de las mayores ventajas de la fotografía es la manera en que centra y enfoca la atención, a veces con macro y a veces con teleobjetivo, haciéndote ver muchas cosas que estaban allí seguramente, pero que eran invisibles hasta el momento en que decides fotografiarlas, o que se vuelven visibles sólo en la fotografía, como si fuesen ectoplasmas de una sesión espiritista, o electricidad estática despedida por médiums. La realidad fotografiada se expande en intensidad, se vuelve mucho más densa y con más capas de sentidos ocultos).


Volviendo a los títulos...

.... esta otra imagen exigió ser conocida como "Típica foto de concurso fotos":



Típica foto de concurso fotos


Sé que canso, con las fotos. Pero bueno, igual un día desaparecen, igual que ha desaparecido e impulso o la necesidad de contar mis especulaciones mentales, o mis actividades diarias.
De momento, aún me he comprado cámara nueva, y supongo que la usaré. Disfruten mientras dure de lo que hay, si existen Vds.


Un Carpe Diem







Jueves 17 de enero de 2013

Polibio y el tiempo geológico

Interesante es en muchos sentidos la lectura de Polibio. Oscar Wilde vio en él el máximo exponente del desarrollo de una visión crítica de la historia en Grecia. También podemos ver en el a un proto-evolucionista, al menos en el sentido del evolucionismo cultural. Como pensador político, es un antecesor de Maquiavelo, un desengañado y a la vez un posibilista. Considera la paz uno de los mayores bienes de la humanidad, pero no el mayor: a veces hay que avenirse a hacer la guerra, para evitar la servidumbre. Y mucho se hace la guerra en las historias de Polibio, bastante más de lo que parecería necesario; pero leyéndolas al menos se le abren a uno los ojos sobre la auténtica naturaleza de la Grecia clásica—que en absoluto era el paraíso filosófico de artistas y pensadores que Occidente tiende a imaginar, llevado de sus fantasías intelectuales. Ayer leía en una reseña del Archipiélago de Hölderlin cómo esa Grecia idealizada es una ficción creada retroactivamente—pero hay que leer a Polibio para darse cuenta hasta qué punto. Consideraba Polibio el dominio romano, la Primera Globalización podríamos decir, como el acontecimiento crucial de la historia reciente, y a su análisis dedicó su obra. Dado el carácter férreo y explotador del imperio romano, podría no apreciarse mucho qué ventajas le veía Polibio (al margen de la cuestión pragmática de que él era uno de los beneficiarios)—pero, como digo, la larga pesadilla de saqueo y masacre que describe como el estado de cosas habitual entre los miles de pueblos, gentes, razas, ciudades-estado y micro-reinos en el periodo inmediatamente anterior al auge romano da la medida de en qué puede consistir el progreso, aunque se haga manu militari. Polibio habla como un hombre de su tiempo, de una cultura basada en el esclavismo (nos dice en el libro IV que "las regiones del Ponto nos proporcionan de manera abundante y lucrativa lo que resulta indispensable para la vida: rebaños y muchos hombres reducidos a la esclavitud; la cosa es bien notoria. Nos aprovisiona también copiosamente de artículos más bien superfluos, miel, cera y salazón."). Sin esclavos no hay Roma, sin Roma no hay Polibio, y sin Polibio no contamos una Historia—así de desagradables son las cosas.

Como digo, hombre de su tiempo era Polibio, pero con una comprensión de los acontecimientos muy superior a la de (casi?) todos los hombres de su tiempo. Ya no me refiero a su análisis militar de las campañas, o a su amplia visión de por qué fue posible el auge romano, basado a su juicio en la fortaleza de la constitución romana y el equilibrio de poderes. O a su amplia perspectiva de la anaciclosis, según la cual las culturas pasan por momentos de formación, desarrollo, auge, decadencia y vuelta al caos o a caer bajo el dominio de otros. Hoy me voy a centrar en otra de sus grandes intuiciones que diríamos que se adelantan mucho a su tiempo si no fuese que es Polibio el que hace adelantar a su tiempo con ellas. Me refiero a la idea de tiempo geológico, y de cómo enfocar su medición.

En este caso es una intuición a la que no le conozco muchos paralelos ni mucha progenie—de hecho, hasta el mismísimo siglo XVII, con las reflexiones de Edmund Halley sobre la salinidad de los océanos (Nota 1), no vuelvo a encontrar un razonamiento tan avanzado al respecto como el de Polibio. Hay que tener en cuenta que entre uno y otro hay muchos siglos de relato bíblico que, proporcionando una explicación "satisfactoria" de la historia del mundo, no incitaba a hacer más reflexiones al respecto—cuando no las suprimía violentamente, como en el caso de Giordano Bruno. 

Las reflexiones geológicas de Polibio están en un excurso auxiliar del libro IV de las Historias—vienen al hilo de una descripción de la situación de Bizancio, de la importancia estratégica de esta ciudad. Polibio la relaciona con su situación geográfica, con una discusión muy detallada de por qué el Bósforo es el punto estratégico que permite dominar la navegación, y por qué una ciudad que esté en la orilla oeste del Bósforo tiene, por la configuración de la costa y el sentido de las corrientes, unas ventajas para la navegación que no tiene la ciudad de enfrente situada en la orilla este. Este análisis geoestratégico es de por sí fascinante por su originalidad, pero todavía más cuando consideramos las reflexiones geológicas a que da lugar. Desde luego que contienen éstas varias inexactitudes—por ejemplo, Polibio desconocía que a la corriente superficial del Bósforo que va del Mar Negro ("Ponto Euxino") al Mar de Mármara y al Mediterráneo se ve compensada en gran medida por una corriente submarina, invisible para la navegación, que va en sentido contrario, del Mar de Mármara al Mar Negro. Tampoco participa Polibio de la teoría (sea correcta o no) según la cual hubo una gigantesca inundación procedente del Mediterráneo que dio lugar al Mar Negro, tras una apertura catastrófica del Bósforo. Precisamente el interés de su reflexión está en el gradualismo y en el tiempo profundo geológico, y hasta apunta una manera de medirlo (una medición algo más complicada en la práctica), comparando la diferencia de salinidad de los mares. No sólo una teoría innovadora y clarificadora, sino también una teoría falsificable experimentalmente—y allí hay otro punto de originalidad y clarividencia en Polibio.

Con respecto al tiempo geológico y a las transformaciones lentas del paisaje me viene a la cabeza otro pasaje clásico, uno de la Eneida, donde se describe el estrecho de Messina, y otro de la Jerusalén Liberada de Tasso, que lo homenajea. Aquí hablo algo al respecto. Pero veamos la descripción que hace Polibio de la geografía y "larga historia" del Ponto. Destaco en negrita las ideas que me parecen más llamativas. (Y en cursiva mis comentarios. Trad. y notas de Manuel Balasch).

Lo que llamamos Ponto Euxino tiene un perímetro de cerca de veintidos mil estadios y dos embocaduras, situadas una frente a otra, la de la Propóntide y la del Lago Meótido (95); esta última tiene un perímetro de ocho mil estadios (96). Muchos grandes ríos de Asia y otros todavía más caudalosos y en mayor número, europeos, desembocan en estas dos cuencas; la del Lago Meótido, rebosante por estos ríos, vierte en el Ponto Euxino por una de sus bocas, y del Ponto Euxino a la Propóntide. La embocadura del Lago Meótido se llama Bósforo Cimerio (97); tiene unos treinta estadios de ancho y sesenta de largo; toda ella es poco profunda. La boca del Ponto se llama, paralelamente, Bósforo Tracio; su longitud es de ciento veinte estadios, su anchura no es en todas partes la misma. El paso que hay entre Calcedonia y Bizancio, situadas a catorce estadios una de otra, empieza en la embocadura de la Propóntide. Por el lado del Ponto Euxino empieza en el llamado Hierón (98), en cuyo lugar dicen que Jasón cuando regresaba de la Cólquide ofreció un primer sacrificio a los doce dioses. Está situado en la costa de Asia, a una distancia de doce estadios de Europa, donde se levanta, precisamente enfrente, el Serapeo de Tracia.

Dos son las causas por las cuales el agua fluye continuamente del Lago Meótido y del Ponto Euxino. Una de ellas es obvia y evidente a todo el mundo: si muchas corrientes caen dentro de la circunferencia de unos recipientes limitados, entonces el nivel del agua sube continuamente. Ésta, si no encuentra salida por ninguna parte, necesariamente se elevará cada vez más y ocupará un área cada vez mayor de la cuenca. Pero si hay salidas, el agua sobrante irá creciendo y se verterá ininterrumpidamente por estas bocas. La segunda causa es que los ríos aportan gran cantidad de material de aluvión de todo tipo hacia las cuencas en cuestión; ello es debido a la intensidad de las lluvias. (Note in passing: Polibio no parece creer en la alimentación subterránea de los ríos, teoría clásica—aparece en Séneca, por ej.— que gozaría de gran predicamento hasta la época moderna. Ver La  Gloriosa y los ríos sagrados).  Entonces el agua se ve obligada a desplazarse por la presión de los bancos que se acumulan, y por eso crece continuamente, y se vierte de la misma manera por las desembocaduras existentes. puesto que el depósito y el vertido de materia de aluvión son incesantes y continuos, se sigue de ahí que también ha de ser constante y continuo el vertido por las bocas. (La verdad de esto no queda desmentida, antes bien al contrario, por el hecho de que las corrientes subterráneas del Bósforo antes mencionadas también aportan aluvión arrastrado por el fondo del mar hacia el Mar Negro, según han mostrado los recientes estudios de la Universidad de Leeds).

Éstas son las razones verdaderas por las cuales el agua del Ponto Euxino vierte hacia afuera. Su credibilidad se funda no en narraciones de comerciantes, sino en una explicación natural: no sería fácil encontrar otra más exacta.

Puesto que nos hemos detenido en este punto, no hay que dejar nada que no se haya fundamentado, ni tan siquiera lo que está en la propia naturaleza, que es lo que suele hacer la mayoría de los historiadores; debemos usar más de una exposición apodíctica (99), pero no dejar dificultades a los interesados en nuestra investigación. Esto es lo indicado para nuestra época, en la que todos los parajes se han convertido en accesibles por tierra o por mar, y no sería adecuado usar como testigos de regiones desconocidas a poetas y mitógrafos. Esto lo han heho casi siempre nuestros predecesores, quienes, según el dicho de Heráclito, "aportan como garantías, en puntos discutidos, a unos que no merecen crédito" (100). Debemos intentar que nuestra historia ofrezca por sí misma confianza a sus lectores. (Aunque no quedan claras las fuentes usadas por Polibio, al margen de la propia experiencia y de las "narraciones de comerciantes", hay que resaltar la voluntad de asentar el conocimiento en el saber acumulado y en las nuevas fuentes disponibles; así como la consciencia clara de que el conocimiento del mundo físico y la interpretación de los fenómenos progresan históricamente, gracias a las comunicaciones y en parte gracias al nuevo orden político romano, globalizador, que es el tema de la obra de Polibio; hay la consciencia de una historicidad de las explicaciones: las que eran adecuadas o suficientes antes ya no lo son ahora, pues la información circula de otra manera).

Afirmamos, pues, que ya antiguamente, y también ahora, en el Ponto Euxino se acumula material de aluvión y que, con el tiempo, él y el Lago Meótido se llenarán por completo si continúa la misma disposición de estos lugares y las causas de este acumulamiento van actuando ininterrumpidamente. Efectivamente: el tiempo es ilimitado, (El tiempo nunca es ilimitado, diríamos hoy, pero sin embargo podemos apreciar esta supuesta infinitud del tiempo como una nueva percepción de la escala geológica de los fenómenos temporales, ilimitados en relación a las medidas humanas) pero las cuencas son limitadas por todos lados. Luego es evidente que por mínima que sea la acumulación, con el tiempo se llenarán. Es ley de naturaleza que una cantidad limitada que crece o decrece continuamente durante un tiempo ilimitado, aunque se haga en proporciones mínimas, forzosamente llegue al término previsto segu nsu sentido. Y si el aluvión que se acuula no lo hace en cantidades mínimas, sino muy grandes, esto que anunciamos ocurrirá dentro de poco. Y se ve que ha ya ocurrido, pues el Lago Meótido ya ahora se ha rellenado; en su mayor parte tiene de cinco a seis brazas de profundidad, y no es navegable por naves de gran calado si no las guía un práctico. Al principio era un mar que comunicaba con el Ponto Euxino, según el testimonio unánime de los antiguos, pero ahor es un lago de agua dulce, pues la del mar se vio impulsada por aluviones, y ha prevalecido el agua de los ríos. Algo semejante ocurrirá en el Ponto Euxino, es más, ocurre ya, pero todavía hay muchos que no lo comprenden por la enormidad de su cuenca. (Ejemplo de una comprensión gradualista que permite ver la similitud de fenómenos análogos, una vez se tiene en cuenta la escala geológica del tiempo). Pero ya ahora es claro este hecho a los que se detienen algo a observarlo, por poco que sea. (Obsérvese: los fenómenos geológicos son para Polibio observables en sus transformaciones, aunque la observación haya de venir de razonamientos analógicos entre procesos que se hallan en distinta fase, y no de la percepción directa—como muestra a continuación con su interpretación de la forma de las barras).

En efecto, el río Danubio, procedente de Europa, desemboca en el Ponto por numerosas bocas, y frente a él se ha formado una barra de casi mil estadios, que dista de tierra firme un día de navegación; esta barra se ha formado por el aluvión transportado desde las bocas. Los que navegan por el Ponto Euxino corren, aun en alta mar, por encima de esta barra, y por la noche embarrancan en estos lugares, de los que no se han apercibido. Los navegantes llaman a este paraja Stethe (101). He aquí la causa que, según parece, hace que el limo no se detenga junto a la tierra firme, sino que es empujado mucho más lejos. Mientras las corrientes de los ríos, por la fuerza de su empuje, dominan y desplazan el agua del mar, es inevitable que la tierra y todo lo que transportan las corrientes se vea impulsado y no encuentre reposo ni estabilidad. Pero cuando las corrientes ya se diluyen por la profundidad y la masa de las aguas marinas es lógico que el limo caído hacia abajo por ley natural, se detenga y adquiera consistencia. Por esta razón las barras de los ríos grandes e impetuosos están lejos, y las aguas próximas a la tierra son profundas; las barras de los ríos pequeños y débiles se forman junto a las mismas desembocaduras. Esto resulta evidente especialmente en las épocas de las grandes lluvias: entonces aún las corrientes pequeñas, cuand por su fuerza vencen al oleaje, empujan el limo mar adentro, de modo que en cada caso la distancia resulta proporcional a la fuerza de las corrientes que desembocan. Sería necio dudar de las dimensiones del banco citado y de la cantidad de piedras y tierra que el Danubio transporta, cuando tenemos a la vista que un torrente cualquiera se abre paso en poco tiempo por lugares abruptos, y arrastra toda clase de maderas, tierra y piedras, y forma unas barras tan enormes que a veces varían el aspecto de los lugares y en poco tiempo los convierten en desconocidos.

Por todo ello no es natural extrañarse si unos ríos tan caudalosos y tan rápidos en su influencia ininterrupida producen el resultado antedicho y acaban por rellenar el Ponto Euxino. Si se razona correctamente, se ver claro que esto es ya natural, sino ineludible. Una señal de lo que va a ocurrir: en el mismo grado que ahora el Lago Meótido es más dulce que el Mar Póntico se ve que éste difiere del Mediterráneo. Esto evidencia que cuando el tiempo en que se ha llenado el Lago Meótido alcance una duración proporcional al tiempo que exige la cuenca en relación a la otra, ocurrirá que el Ponto Euxino se convertirá en un lago limoso y dulce, exactamente comparable al Lago Meótido. Y hay que suponer que éste se llenará más velozmente, por cuanto son más numerosas y mayores las corrientes de los ríos que desembocan en el Ponto Euxino (102).

Teníamos que decir esto a quienes son escépticos acerca de si se rellena ahora y si se rellenará el Ponto, y si este mar será como un estanque cenagoso. Y había que decirlo, todavía más, ante los embustes y las fantasías de los navegantes, para que, por nuestra inexperiencia, no nos veamos en la situación de atender puerilmente a cualquier cosa que se nos diga. Si disponemos de algún rastro de verdad, por él podremos juzgar si lo dicho es verdadero o falso.

A continuación pasamos a tratar de la ventajosa situación de los bizantinos. (...)
(Nota 2)

__________

Notas

(Nota 1). Stephen Jay Gould, "On Rereading Edmund Halley," en Gould, Eight Little Piggies: Reflections in Natural History, 1993 (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1994) 168-80; trad. española: "Relectura de Edmund Halley, en Gould, Ocho cerditos: Reflexiones sobre historia natural (Barcelona: Grijalbo Mondadori-Crítica, 1994) 157-69.
(Nota 2). El pasaje comentado aparece en el Libro IV de las Historias de Polibio (Biblioteca Gredos, 61-63; Barcelona: RBA, 2007), pp. 413-18.


Notas de Manuel Balasch:

(95) Son el Mar de Mármara, entre el Helesponto y el Bósforo de Tracia, y el actual Mar de Azov, respectivamente.
(96) Notan los comentaristas que las dimensiones indicadas por Polibio en todo este capítulo son notablemente próximas a la realidad.
(97) Hoy es el estrecho de Yenikale. El otro es el Bósforo propiamente dicho, delante de Constantinopla.
(98) Templo dedicado a Zeus Ourios (=limítrofe), en la costa asiática.
(99) Esta terminología de la época significaba exposición acompañada de pruebas. Referente a esto puede leerse con provecho DÍAZ TEJERA, Polibio, págs. LXXXV-XCI.
(100) Este fragmento de Heráclito no es conocido únicamente por este texto de Polibio. Cf. H. DIELS,  Fragmente der Vorsokrätiker, I, Berlín, 1951, pág. 149. Si Polibio ha leído directamente a Heráclito o bien ha tomado la cita ya de otro autor, por ejemplo, Eratóstenes, cf. WALBANK, Commentary, ad loc.
(101) Término griego, cuyo significado es "los pechos".

(102) El Dnieper, el Dniester.



Benefit of Hindsight: Polibio, Vico, Wilde, y el emergentismo crítico











Sonetos de Hondo Seso en el Poetry& Poetics eJournal

Mi nota sobre los sonetos de Shakespeare "Deep-Brained Sonnets" aparece en el Poetry and Poetics eJournal del SSRN. También aparece allí, justo al lado, un artículo sobre el soneto 77, "Soneto, espejo, reloj, bloc y libro"; los dos en español aunque el título esté en inglés.

Otro día los traduzco.... o no. La traducción al inglés sería "Sonetos de hondo seso."


Shakespeare y los cien clones








Miércoles 16 de enero de 2013

Árbol agitándose frente a la casa


Arbol agitándose frente a la casa




Los sindicatos, contra la nueva ordenación docente


Pasan este mensaje CC.OO y UGT, contra la aplicación del decreto Wert por parte del Rectorado de la Universidad de Zaragoza:

CC.OO. y UGT CONVOCAN Al PROFESORADO de la UZ A MANIFESTAR SU RECHAZO A LA PROPUESTA DE MODIFICACIÓN DE LA DEDICACIÓN DOCENTE DEL PROFESORADO MAÑANA JUEVES 17 DE ENERO, A LAS 13 HORAS, EN LA TRASERA DEL EDIFICIO PARANINFO (Facultad de Economía y Empresa, Entrada por Gran Vía nº2)


Por todo ello, CC.OO. y UGT INSTAN AL RECTOR A RETIRAR ESTA PROPUESTA Y CONVOCAN Al PROFESORADO A MANIFESTAR SU RECHAZO MAÑANA JUEVES 17 DE ENERO, A LAS 13 HORAS, EN LA TRASERA DEL EDIFICIO PARANINFO (Facultad de Economía y Empresa, Entrada por Gran Vía nº2)

______


CSI.F también ha expresado su oposición a esta medida. Ahora bien, como no cambien a Wert, como poco, y además deroguen el Real Decreto, mal veo yo que se vaya a poder inaplicar estar norma. Y por cierto, de la famosa comisión de trabajo que iba a crear el Ministerio, antes del verano, para estudiar la aplicación de la norma y sus ambigüedades, nada se ha vuelto a saber. Sólo que al parecer cada Universidad la está entendiendo a su manera, y la manera de la nuestra ya veremos en qué queda cuando hagamos el POD del año que viene—si las únicas descargas aplicadas son las que dice el decreto Wert, o si se les suman otras. Y si aparte de las descargas vienen las cargas, que para mí ahora mismo supondría dar una asignatura más.

Elucidación del Real Decreto-Ley







Self-Searching


Me encuentro gracias a Google en algunos sitios que desconocía, buscando la Bibliography of Literary Theory:

-  entre los recursos seleccionados de KWSnet para crítica literaria: http://www.kwsnet.com/literary_criticism_literary_theory.html
-  bibliografías sobre hermenéutica y sobre muchos más temas se ven en eBookBrowse, a cientos: http://ebookbrowse.com/he/hermeneutics-and-criticism



- Registro de mi Bibliografía en Digital Preservation Europe: http://www.digitalpreservationeurope.eu/registries/repositories/view/?id=1439



 - Recomiendan la Bibliography of Literary Theory etc. en Girlworks, "the magazine for smart girls":
 - Aparezco citado como "ejemplo" (ejemplificador, no ejemplar) en SUNY Geneseo:
 http://t.co/9zEeTeUx
- Esta bibliografía sobre historia de la Filosofía (re)aparece en CoolEssay:
http://coolessay.org/docs/index-127181.html
- Aparece la biblio entre los recursos seleccionados de dominio público en Instructional Design:
http://www.instructionaldesign.org/public_domain.html
 - Sitios como PDF download transforman mis .docs a pdf. Por ejemplo esta sección de una bibliografía sobre postestructuralismo en inglés:
http://pdfreedownload.com/doc/a-bibliography-of-literary-theory-criticism-and-philology-8427623.html

Y, en suma, la búsqueda en Google de "A Bibliography of Literary Theory, Criticism and Philology"—entrecomillada, es esencial para el filtraje—
que llega a mostrar las primeras 54 páginas, da aproximadamente 715.000 resultados:

https://www.google.es/search?q=%22A+Bibliography+of+Literary+Theory%2C+Criticism+and+Philology%22

Otro día los miro.



______


También veo que sale en la información de una página sobre ATLANTIS, la revista de AEDEAN, en un directorio de American Studies Journal:

http://www.theasa.net/journals/name/atlantis/

Allí aparece mi bibliografía como una de las bases de datos que referencian Atlantis. Hace un par de años la suprimieron de esta página, y de la revista impresa. He pedido explicaciones a la directora, Isabel Carrera, y a la subdirectora Esther Álvarez, pero primero me han contestado con evasivas y largas, y a continuación han dejado de contestar a mi correo. Así que, visto que la comunicación es imposible, con eso que me quedo: con que no me quieren dar razones para haber quitado la referencia a la bibliografía, o peor aún quizá... que no las tienen, pero que la quieren quitar anyway por alguna razón que no desean poner por escrito.  Y si no, que me lo expliquen por favor.


Vanity Fea: Internet





Edward Gibbon

From The Oxford Companion to English Literature:

 Edward Gibbon (1737-94), born in Putney of a good family. He was a sickly child and his education at Westminster and at Magdalen College, Oxford, was irregular; in his posthumously published Memoirs he paints a vviid portrait of the 'narrow, lazy and oppressive' spriti of Oxford, and of the 'idle and unprofitable' time he spent there.  He became a Catholic convert at the age of 16, perhaps through reading Conyers Middleton and Bossuet, perhaps through reading the works of the Elizabethan Jesuit Robert Parsons, and was sent off to Lausanne by his father, where he was reconverted to Protestantism. There he continued to read voraciously, as he had done since boyhood, his 'blind and boyish taste for exotic history' maturing into serious study of French and Latin classics; he also became attached to Suzanne Curchod (later Mme Necker, mother of Mme de Staël), but his father persuaded him to break off the engagement and he returned to England in 1758 after an absence of nearly five years. In 1761 he published his Essai sur l'étude de la littérature, of which an English version appeared in 1764. From 1759 he served as a captain in the Hampshire Militia until he left again for the Continent in 1763; it was in Italy, while 'musing among the ruins of the Capitol' that he formed the plan of his The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. His improvident father's death left him in some difficulties, but he was able to settle in London in 1772 to proceed with his great work. He entered Parliament in 1774, voted steadily for Lord North, and was made a commissioner of trade and plantations, but his parliamentary career added nothing ot his reputation. He was also elected to Dr. Johnson's Club in 1774. In 1776 appeared the first volume of the History which was very favourably received, although his chapters on the growth of Christianity provoked criticisms from those he mockingly dubbed the 'Watchmen of the Holy City'. To these theological critics Gibbon replied in 1779 in A Vindication of Some Passages in the XVth and XVIth Chapters. The second and third volumes appeared in 1781, but were less warmly received; he himself suspected he had become prolix through 'superfluous diligence'. He retired to Lausanne in 1783 to share the home of his old friend Deyverdun, who died not long afterwards. There Gibbon completed the work; he wrote as memorably of its completion as of its inception, describing his sense of freedom followed by a sober melancholy at taking 'an everlasting leave of an old and agreeable companion'. The last three volumes were published in 1788.  He returned to England and spent most of his remaining days in the home of his friend the Earl of Sheffield (John Baker Holroyd), who put together his remarkable Memoirs from various drafts and fragments, publishing them in 1796 with his Miscellaneous Works. The memoirs reveal Gibbon's sense of vocation as a historian, and record on several occasions his gratitude at having been born 'in a free and enlightened country'. The Decline and Fall is a work which responds to the full range of the culture of the Enlightenment, in both its English and its European aspects, and Gibbon has been seen as one of the last of the great Augustans. The standard edition of the History is by David Womersley (1994) and the standard biography is by Patricia Craddock; see also the life by D. M. Low (1937).



The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, a work by Gibbon, vol. 1 of the first (quarto) edition published 1776, vols. ii and iii 1781, and the last three vols. 1788.

This, the most celebrated historical work in English literature, falls into three divisions, as defined by the author in the preface, according to a plan that expanded during composition: from the age of Trajan and the Antonines to the subversion of the Western Empire; from the reign of Justinian in the East to the establishment of the second or German Empire of the West, under Charlemagne; from the revival of the Western Empire to the taking of Constantinople by the Turks. It thus covers a period of about 13 centuries, and comprehends such vast subjects as the establishment of Christianity, the movements and settlements of the Teutonic tribes, the conquests of the Muslims, and the Crusades. It traces in fact the connection of the ancient world with the modern.

Gibbon's great erudition, breadth of treatment, and powerful organization, render this a lasting monument, of substantial accuracy as well as elegance. His measured and dignified prose is cool, lucid, and enlivened by ironic with, much of it aimed at the early Church and the credulity and barbarism that overwhelmed the noble Roman virtues he so much admired. J. B. Bury's editions (1896-1900, 1909-14, 1926-9) are supplemented with notes incorporating subsequent research, but most of Gibbon's scholarship remains unchallenged. There is an edition by D. Womersley, 3 vols. (1994).

Gibbon y la Decadencia








Erasmus Darwin

From The Oxford Companion to English Literature, ed. Margaret Drabble: 

DARWIN, Erasmus (1731-1802), educated at Cambridge. He spent part of his life as a physician at Lichfield, where he established a botanical garden. Declaring that 'the gneeral design . . . is to enlist imagination under the banner of Science, he embodied the botanical system of Linnaeus in his long poem The Loves of Plants, published 1789. The work reappeared as Part II of The Botanic Garden (1791), of which Part I was 'The Economy of Vegetation'. The poem is in heroic couplets, in imitation of Pope. The goddess of Botany, descending to earth, expounds various natural phenomena throughout the four cantos of Part I, while Part II describes 'the Ovidian metamorphosis of the flowers, with their floral harems', stamens and pistils figuring as beaux and belles. The work contains an interesting embryonic theory of evolution, similar in many ways to that developed by the poet's grandson, Charles Darwin. The poem was ridiculed by Canning and Frere in 'The Loves of the Triangles', published in the Anti-Jacobin in 1798. In his prose Zoonomia (in which Wordsworth found the story of Goody Blake) published 1794-96, Darwin further describes the laws of organic life, both plant and animal, on an evolutionary principle. His heretical views on creation brought him into some disrepute. Anna Seward published Memoirs of him in 1804, and his grandson Charles published a life in 1879.

From The History Today Companion to British History: 

 Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802), scientist and writer. Grandfather of Charles Darwin, he studiesd medicine at Edinburgh, practised as a doctor in Derby, and was a notable botanist. Associate of English radical dissenters such as Joseph Priestley, he also corresponded with Rousseau, was a member of the Lunar Society and maintained an interest in psychology as well as deistical and atheistical speculation. In addition to composing scientific treatises, he provided a popular account of 'The Economy of Vegetation' and 'The Loves of the Plants' in his poem The Botanic Garden (1789-91)

LUNAR Society, a small informal club, formed about 1775, which met in Birmingham regularly (when the moon was full) for dinner and discussion. The original members comprised Boulton, Erasmus Darwin, Joseph Priestley, Watt, Wedgwood, Thomas Day, Richard Lovell Edgworth, Samuel Galton and six others. Historians have represented it as illustrative of the social milieu in which a new culture conducive to the Industrial Revolution was forged; recently, however, it has been stressed that similar societies met in country and cathedral towns, and were attended by gentry and clergy. Interest in science was by no means confined to dissenters and industrialists.



Darwin's Big Bang




Martes 15 de enero de 2013

Watching this street


Watching This Street







Samuel Beckett: Catastrophe









John Barth

From Hart and Leininger, Oxford Companion to American Literature:

BARTH, John [Simmons] (1930-). Maryland-born novelist, educated at Johns Hopkins, whose fiction set on the Eastern Shore of his native state includes The Floating Opera (1956), the experiences of a man recalled on the day in 1937 when he debates suicide, and The End of the Road (1958), another existential and nihilist view of experience set in a travestied conventional love triangle. Although placed in the same setting, his third novel, Th The Sot-Weed Factor (1960) is more fantastic and funnier in its lusty parody of an 18th-century picaresque tale re-creating the life and times of Ebenezer Cooke. This was followed by  Giles Goat-Boy (1966), another lengthy, complex, and comic novel full of ingenious parody in its satirical allegory of the modern world conceived in terms of a university campus. Lost in the Funhouse (1968) consists of 14 pieces of fiction related in part by their concern with what happens when a writer writes (he makes himself a persona) and a reader reads. Chimera (1972) is also a volume of short fiction, retelling in elaborate style tales of Scheherazade, Perseus, and Bellerophon dealing with social and psychological problems of modern life, also introducing the author Barth along the way. The last-named work won a National Book Award. Barth returned to the long novel in Letters (1979), an unusual development of epistolary fiction, in which seven more or less parallel narratives are reveales through correspondence written by seven characters from his earlier fiction, including the author himself as just another imaginary figure, the intricate story comprising an inquiry into the patterns into which the characters have been previously set and the degree of freedom they may possess. Sabbatical: A Romance (1982) tells of the adventures and ideas occasioned by a long cruise of a college professor and her husband, an aspiring novelist. The Friday Book (1984) collects essays and other nonfiction. The Tidewater Tales (1987) is a lengthy novel about a novelist who claims he cannot write a projected novel as he and his wife sail full of friction along Chesapeake Bay. The Last Voyage of Somebody the Sailor (1991) probes the connection between memory and reality in a postmodern style of narration.


The Sot-Weed Factor, novel by John Barth, published in 1960 and in a revised version in 1966.

In a lusty picaresque tale that satirizes conventional historical fiction, the novel creates a fictive biography of the real Ebenezer Cook, endowing him with a twin sister, Anna. After failing in his studies at Cambridge, though abetted by a tutor, Henry Bullingame, Ebenezer is ordere by his father to manage the family tobacco plantation in maryland. There he spends most of his time writing poetry and protecting his virginity, both of which are under constant assault. Finally he achieves fame as a writer while simultaneously losing his poetic inspiration and his virginity.



Giles Goat-boy, or, The Revised New Syllabus, novel by John Barth, published in 1966.

In the metaphoric world called the University, control is held by a computer, WESAC, which is able to run itself and to tyrannize people, for it has the ability to subject them to a radiating and disintegrating force, that is, to EAT them, an acronym for its power of "Electroencephalic Amplification and Transaction." WESAC is so out of hand that one of its developers, Max Spielman, believes it can only be controlled through reprogramming by a Grand tutor, a prophet, who will bring a "New Syllabus," that is, a new philosophy. For this role and this purpose he selects George Giles, whom he had raised among goats as a goat, though he was actually a human found as an infant in the tapelift of WESAC. In his undertaking George has to contend with a troublemaker, Maurice Stoker, who alone fully understands the operation of WESAC, and with a minor poet, Harold Bray, who contends that he is a Grand Tutor. George enters the computer to destroy it, and learns to confound WESAC by answering its questions thorugh paradoxes that paralyze the machine. When George emerges, authorities eager to put WESAC back into operation seize him and send him back to the animal site of his boyhood, for he is now the University's scapegoat.



::::::

Later works (Wikipedia: John Barth):

Nonfiction


 Watching Nothing: Postmodernity in Prose








Lunes 14 de enero de 2013


'39



'39 from Jose Angel García Landa on Vimeo.





Kate Bush Christmas Special

Ya sé que se han pasado las navidades.... pues anda que las de 1979. Y sin embargo siempre se puede ver a Kate Bush en su programa especial de aquel año:






—Y aquí otra música invernal, "Snowflake," más reciente:

 





The New Theatre


It was assumed at the time, and it continues to be assumed, that John Osborne's play Look Back in Anger, which opened at the Royal Court Theatre in London on 8 May 1956, marked either a 'revolution' or a 'watershed' in the history of the modern British theatre. The play certainly shocked its first audiences, as well as some of its more perceptive critics, into responsive attention. It is also sometimes claimed that the play single-handedly provoked theatre managers and theatre companies out of their complacent faith in the middle-class virtues of 'the well-made play' and into a response to a new kind of drama which grappled with 'the issues of the day'. Osborne's play was revolutionary neither in its form nor in its politics; it was, however, by the standards of its time, alarming in its rancour, its language, and its setting. After Look Back in Anger, out went the country drawing-room with its platitudes and its sherry; in came the provincial bed-sitter with its noisy abuse and its ironing-board. The accepted theatrical illusion of a neat, stratified, and deferential society was superseded by dramatic representations of untidy, antagonistic, and disenchanted groups of characters grating on one another's, and on society's, nerves. The social class of these characters may not have changed, but their social assumptions and their conversation had.

The transformation of the English theatre in the late 1950s and early 1960s was both more gradual and more truly radical than can be explained by focusing on a single production or on the work of a single playwright. Before 1956 British drama, and the London stage in particular, had been far more open to new influences, both from home and abroad, than is often supposed. The theatre could, and did, fall back on its inherited tradition of plays and acting styles, notably in its rethinking of Shakespeare and in its revivals of more recent English, Irish, and European dramas. Although the record-breaking run of Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap at the Ambassadors Theatre may tell us something about the resilience of certain theatrical conventions and styles (the play opened in November 1952 and is still going strong in the 1990s), it does little to illustrate the real challenges that a discriminating theatre-goer might have discovered in the London theatres of the late 1940s and early 1950s. The repertoires of West End theatres and their provincial counterparts may, for the most part, have been selected so as not to offend the sensibilities of audiences happy with a pattern of light-hearted banter divided into three acts by two generous bar-intervals, but that does not tell the whole story. The work of two native playwrights, Christopher Fry (b. 1907) and Terence Rattigan (1911-77), belies the accusation of theatrical blandness with which some literary historians have damned the immediate post-war period. Since the 1960s, however, the dramatic achievement of both writers has been commonly belittled as irredeemably genteel. Fry's attempts to revive the fortunes of poetic drama both derived from, and was contemporary with, T. S. Eliot's later experiments in the same genre. Like Eliot, Fry saw poetry as the vehicle for a re-exploration of religious mystery in the theatre; unlike him, he never quite found a voice or a subject whicvh satisfactorily echoed the esentially agnostic prosiness of modern life and thought. He put his considerably international success in the early 1950s down to what he saw as a reaction against 'surface realism' in the theatre, with its 'sparse, spare, cut-and-dried language', and to a post-war world which longed again for a poetry of 'richness and reaffirmation'. With hindsight, it now seems that his hopes of re-creating an Elizabethan ambience, in which 'the accent of the living' was placed firmly on 'the adventuring soul', proved as ephemeral as his once inflated reputation. Nevertheless, the original commercial success of the comedies A Phoenix too Frequent (1946), The Lady's Not for Burning (1948), and Venus Observed (1950) and of the church pageant A Sleep of Prisoners (1951) (performed throughout England as part of the Festival of Britain), cannot be put down solely to the excellence of their original casts. At its worst, Fry's verse can seem mannered, arch, and effete; at its best, it enables him to distance his dramatic discourse from 'surface realism' in order to play with the effects of alienation, of the unexpected, and of metaphysical oddity.

Rattigan is a far more impressive dramatist. He was neither an innovator nor a particularly cerebral writer, but he was a profound sympathizer wit hthe cause of the victims of what he saw as the tyrannous hypocrisies, the double standards, and the emotional coldness of 'respectable' British society. Although his first theatrical success, French Without Tears (which ran for 1,039 performances in 1936), made few real demands on either the emotions or the intellect, his equally 'well-made' post-war plays took up the themes of vulnerability and victimization. The upper-class Rattigan's sympathy with the wounded outsider, and with the insider compromised by his or her emotional choices, can certainly be related to his own discreet homosexuality (discreet in the sense that he made no parade of it, though he later acted as an appreciative and generous champion of Joe Orton). In The Winslow Boy (1946), a middle-class father determines to play by constitutional rules in battling atains t the oppressive weight of the British Establishment. In The Deep Blue Sea (1952), however, an equally middle-class character, the wife of a judge, determinedly breaks social rules by having a passionate affair with a bluff, down-at-heel RAF officer and by desperately attempting suicide. If this is not quite the world of Look Back in Anger, the play is set in a furnished flat which has 'an air of dinginess, even of squalor, heightened by the fact that it has, like its immediately blitzed neighbourhood, so obviously "come down into the world"'. People and places which have come down in the world also figure in the pair of one-act plays, Separate Tables (1954), set in the ironically named Beauregard Private Hotel near Bournemouth. The second pair of the two, 'Table Number Seven', highlights the complementary emotions of two of the Beauregard's 'guests', a represssed girl and a bogus major who has been found guilty of molesting women in a local cinema. It exposes a communal pretence to 'virtue' which is far more damaging to society than the major's assumption of respectability, but it also affirms the possibility of a new strength emerging from the dismantling of protective illusions.

In the early 1950s Christopher Fry enhanced his already considerable reputation by translating into English two plays by Jean Anuilh (Invitation au château in 1950 and L'Alouette in 1955) and one by Jean Giraudoux (La Guerre de Troie n'aura pas lieu also in 1955). The London staging of all three translations bears witness to the fact that the British theatre was not as insular as it is sometimes made out to be. The new French drama, which so impressed post-war visitors to Paris by its energy, sophistication, and political directness, had a sustained impact on supposedly unreconstructed British audiences (Anouilh's Antigone and Sartre's Huis Clos had been performed in 1946 and Camus's Caligula in 1948). Even though the influential critic, John Lehmann (1907-87), had wondered in 1946 whiether or not 'a vigorous theatre can exist on the cerebral subtleties of Huis Clos and Caligula alone', the much vaunted intellectuality of Paris did not prove completely alien to London. Nor did the sometimes shocking vitality of the new American drama. Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie (1945) was produced in 1948 and A Streetcar Named Desire (1947) in 1949 (with Vivien Leigh as Blanche du Bois).  Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955), having been refused a licence by the Lord Chamberlain in 1958, had, however, to be privately performed under the auspices of a 'theatre club'. Less controversially, Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman (1949) appeared at the Phoenix Theatre in 1949. His The Crucible (1952) at the Bristol Old Vic in 1954, and his A View from the Bridge (1955) at the Comedy Theatre in London in October 1956. Perhaps the most striking theatrical event of all was the visit to London of the Berliner Ensemble in august 1956, some two weeks after the death of its founder, Bertolt Brecht. The company brought with them their celebrated productions (in Germman) of Brecht's Mother Courage, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, and his lessr-known adaptation of Farquhar's The Recruiting Officer—Pauken und Trompeten. Brecht's work, which proved so influential over a new generation of British playwrights, was, up to that time, little known to British theatre audiences (though there had been an amateur production of Galileo
in Birmingham in 1947 and a professional staging of Mother Courage in Barnstaple in 1955).

With benefit of hindsight, it is arguable that by far the most significant 'foreign' novelty to be performed in London in the years immediately preceding the appearance of Look Back in Anger was Samuel Beckett's
Waiting for Godot. The play opened to largely dismayed reviews at hte small Arts Theatre in August 1955, but reports of the sensation it had caused in Paris to years earlier, coupled with a real enough and discriminating curiosity, allowed it to transfer for a longer run at the Criterion Theatre a month later. The success of Waiting for Godot in London cannot be simply put down to a yearning for innovation on the part of a theatre-going intelligentsia; the play also contained distinct echoes of a truly 'alternative', but often despised, British theatrical tradition, that of music-hall comedy. In Beckett's hands, however, that tradition had been transformed by a sparse, but none the less definitive, musicality and by a dialogue rich in literary resonance. Beckett (1906-89), born near Dublin, educated (like Wilde before him) at Portora Royal School and at Trinity College, and since 1937 permanently resident in Paris, cannot be slickly or imperially fitted into a narrowly 'English' tradition of English writing and English theatre. He was an English-speaking, Protestant Irishman, and, as the full range of his work demonstrates, his highly literate, cricket-playing, Bible-reading, Irish background had a profound bearing on what and how he wrote. Having worked closely with James Joyce and his international circle in Paris in the late 1920s, Beckett also remained part of a polyglot and polyphonic world of literary innovation. His earliest publications (which, apart from his work as a translator and a novelist, include an essay on Joyce and a study of Proust) also testify to his espousal of a Modernism which transcended frontiers and what were often presumed to be the impassible barriers between languages. Beckett continued to work in both English and French, with French often taking precedence over his native tongue. His work, however, ceased to be tied to a monoglot environment once it had undergone the scrupulous linguistic metamorphosis which marks his own acts of translation (his puns, for example, are often exclusively and inspiredly English).

Although his trilogy of novels, Molloy and Malone meurt (1951) and L'Innommable (1953) had established Beckett as amongst the most discussed and respected of the avant-garde Parisian writers in the early 1950s, it was Godot (also originally written in French) that gave him a wide international reputation. That reputation was cemented by his later work for the theatre, notably the plays known by their English titles as Endgame (1957), Krapp's Last Tape (1960), and Happy Days (1962). He also wrote innovatively for the radio (All that Fall of 1957, Embers of 1959, Words and Music of 1962, and Cascando of 1963) and for BBC television (Eh, Joe of 1965 and Ghost Trio of 1977). His one foray into the cinema, Film (a complex 'script' designed as a tribute to Buster Keaton in 1964), was remarkable not simply for its nods to a cinematic comedy rooted in music-hall and for its visual puns on the philosophical ideas of being and seeing but also for its silence broken only by the sound of a voice saying 'sssh'.

Beckett was consistent in his use of drama as an extension of his wider interest in the gaps, the jumps, and the lurches which characterize the functioning and the malfunctioning of the human mind. In his plays—as much as in his novels—ideas, phrases, images, and minds overlap; voices both interrupt and inherit trains of thought begun elsewhere or nowhere and separate consciousnesses both impede and impress themselves on one another. Beckett's dialogue, for which Waiting for Godot is particularly remarkable, is the most energetic, densely layered, and supple written by any twentieth-century playwright; his comedy, whether visual, verbal, ritual, or even, at times, slapstick is amongst the most subtle and surprising. The set of Waiting for Godot may, for example, require simply the suggestion of 'a country road' and 'a tree'; Engame  may take place in a 'bare interior' and the designer of Happy Days may be instructed to aim for a 'maximum of simplicity and symmetry' in the representation of an 'expanse of scorched grass rising centre lo low mound' but the static baldness of Beckett's visual statements serves both to counterpoise and complement the animation of his verbal ones. When Beckett uses blindness, as he does with Hamm in Endgame, he suggests that one kind of deprivation may alert audiences to the force of alternative ways of perceiving. When, by contrast, he uses silence, as in Film and the mime play Act without Words II (1967), he seems to be directing his audiences to explore the value of new sensory and physical formulations. Beckett never plays with minimalism and reductionism simply for the sake of the aesthetic effects he could achieve. In parallel to the work of certain Modernist architects and composers, if without their Puritan frugality, he was exploring the radical potential of the idea that 'less is more'.







Time-present, as when Beckett represents it in his plays, is broken, inconsistent, and inconsequential. Nevetheless, in each play he allows for the intrusion of a past which is oppressively rich in the larger inconsistencies of private and public history. Krapp's Last Tape and the two far sparser later plays, Footfalls and That Time (both 1976), make much out of the involuntary, untidy, quirky, and even ghost-haunted memories of the old. These memories negate linear concepts of time and of ageing as much as they disturb old assumptions about 'plot'. The structural principles on which he built both his plays and his novels can be related back to the pattern of ideas explored in 1931 in the dense critical essay on Proust. When, for example, he insists on Proust's 'contempt for a literature that "describes"', or when he affirms that 'ther is no escape from yesterday because yesterday has deformed us, or been deformed by us', or when he describes 'the attempt to communicate where no communication is possible' as 'merely a simian vulgarity, or horribly comic', it is possible to recognize the extent to which his theatrical innovation was rooted both in a literary precedent and in a coherent Modernist philosophical statement. Beckett continued to be fascinated by what he saw as Proust's concern with the protective significance of habit: 'Habit is a compromise effected between the individual and his environment, or between the individual and his own organic eccentricities, the guarantee of a dull inviolability, the lightning-conductor of his existence.'  His own dramatic repetitions and iterations, his persistent echoes and footfalls, emerge not from a negative view of human existence, but from an acceptance of 'dull inviolability' as a positive, if minimally progressive, force. As his inviolable and unsentimental Krapp also seems to have discovered, a path forward lay in exploring the resonances of the circumambient darkness.

Although Beckett gradually came to be recognized as the most important dramatist writing in English in the latter half of the twentieth century, his work initially struck many early critics as emerging from a largely foreign tradition of symbolic and philosophically based drama. If the purely British shock waves radiating from John Osborne's Look Back in Anger in 1956 need to be accounted for, it was because Osborne's work was more obviously a response to, as much as a reaction against, an established native theatrical tradition. His was the rebellion of an insider. Osborne (b. 1929) had served his apprenticeship as an actor in provincial touring companies and his plays show an appreciation both of the craftsmanship that went into the making of the respectable 'well-made play' and of the art that allowes a Wilde, a Shaws, a Coward, and a Rattigan to transcend conventions while exploiting them. Osborne's sometimes painful witticisms can be as carefully and devastatingly placed as are those of Wilde and Coward, his confrontations and surprises can be as telling as those of Rattigan, his invectives and monologues can be as provocative as Shaw's. However, the origins of Osborne's style do not lie exclusively in what was once known as 'the legitimate theatre' but are also found in the noisier, often impromptu and far more various world of vaudeville. Where Beckett's debts to an inherited tradition of music-hall lie in his appreciation of dead-pan humour and careful timing, Osborne's are revealed in his love of the outrageous, of the suggestive and, above all, of loud-mouthed repartee. It was a debt acknowledged in his forceful juxtaposition of a shabby and increasingly outdated type of theatre with a faded and redundant British imperialism in The Entertainer (1957).

Look Back in Anger introduced the noisiest of what contemporary journalists dubbed the 'angry young men' to theatre audiences. Osborne's hero, Jimmy Porter, is 25 and 'a disconcerting mixture of sincerity and cheerful malice, of tenderness and freeboting; restless, importunate, full of pride, a combination which alienates the sensitive and insensitive alike'. He was for the 1950s what the restless, idealistic, public-school misfits had been to the 1930s (porter's father, we learn, had fought in Spain, but Porter himself is neither an idealist nor an ex-public schoolboy). He is, and his wife's friend Alison recognizes, 'born out of his time.' He is a revolutionary without a revolution, or, to put it in terms readily grasped in the 1950s, he is a rebel without a cause. He fulminates against the crumbling authority of what he identifies as Establishment values; his wife's middle-class and ex-Indian army parents; his Sandhurst-educated, Member of Parliament brother-in-law (characterized as 'the platitude from outer space'); bishops and church bells; the intellectually pretentious Sunday newspapers; English music (Vaughan Williams) and English literature (Shakespeare, Eliot, 'Auntie Wordsworth'). Nevertheless, Jimmy Porter is the protagonist in an othewise affirmative play, one in which love and loyalty are tested and are found, despite the strains, not to be wanting. He may be a new type of character, classless, restless, and aimless, but his dramatic context was largely conventional. When a middle-aged Jimmy Porter returned to the stage in Osborne's play Déjà Vu in 1992, the force of those dramatic and philosophical conventions became self-evident.

In many ways Osborne's most impressive 'angry young man' is the title character in his historical play Luther (1961). When Martin utters his clasic avowal of personal integrity—'Here I stand; god help me; I can do no more. Amen'—we sense that it has been refined by his latent anger: anger with his parents, his Church, and even with the demands of his God. Osborne's Martin may periodically clutch his bowels in agonies of constipation, and he may have flashes of theological insight in the latrine, but he is the quintessential Protestant, the lonely rebel whom God has graced with a cause. In Inadmissible Evidence (1964) Osborne asked for a location 'where a dream takes place . . . a site of helplessness, of oppression and polemic', in essence an office-cum-courtroom in which an angry, sex-obsessed, middle-aged solicitor lurches rhetorically towards a private and professional breakdown. In the first volume of his pungently observant, and equally pungently spiteful, autobiography, A Better Class of Person (1981), Osborne observed of himself as a schoolboy that he already had a gift for smoking out 'the prigs, hedgers and dissemblers' and that he had a complementary talent to vex rather than to entertain, a talent 'not to amuse but to dissent, although I possibly thought I could do both'. The anger, the dissent, the vexatiousness, the protest, and the theatricality of Osborne's characters has always been an extension of his perception of himself.






Drama since the 1950s



The Ape and the Lady

A Darwinian song from Princess Ida (1884), by Gilbert & Sullivan, a comic version of Tennyson's The Princess, about a feminist academy. Man (though not woman, apparently) descends from an ape, and is therefore ape-hearted.

—That's rather strong!
—The truth is always strong.

answers Ida:




The Ape and the Lady

A LADY fair, of lineage high,
Was loved by an Ape, in the days gone by -
The Maid was radiant as the sun,
The Ape was a most unsightly one -
So it would not do -
His scheme fell through;
For the Maid, when his love took formal shape,
Expressed such terror
At his monstrous error,
That he stammered an apology and made his 'scape,
The picture of a disconcerted Ape.

With a view to rise in the social scale,
He shaved his bristles, and he docked his tail,
He grew moustachios, and he took his tub,
And he paid a guinea to a toilet club.
But it would not do,
The scheme fell through -
For the Maid was Beauty's fairest Queen,
With golden tresses,
Like a real princess's,
While the Ape, despite his razor keen,
Was the apiest Ape that ever was seen!

He bought white ties, and he bought dress suits,
He crammed his feet into bright tight boots,
And to start his life on a brand-new plan,
He christened himself Darwinian Man!
But it would not do,
The scheme fell through -
For the Maiden fair, whom the monkey craved,
Was a radiant Being,
With a brain far-seeing -
While a Man, however well-behaved,
At best is only a monkey shaved!



Long hammering at single thoughts




The Unforgivable

In Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses, Saladin Chamcha se reúne tras la catástrofe con su futura ex, Pamela:

'I suppose,' she addressed her glass, sitting at the old pine table in the spacious kitchen, 'that what I did was unforgivable, huh?'

Chamcha le contesta, "I don't think I can say what I'm capable of forgiving"... Pero acuerdan el divorcio. Y luego, cuando se va Chamcha (To be born again, first you have to die) le viene a la cabeza una historia sobre lo imperdonable:

Alone, he all at once remembered that he and Pamela had once disagreed, as they disagreed on everything, on a short-story they'd both read, whose theme was precisely the nature of the unforgivable. Title and author eluded him, but the story came back vividly. A man and a woman had been intimate friends (never lovers) for all their adult lives. On his twenty-first birthday (they were both poor at the time) she had given him, as a joke, the most horrible, cheap glass vase she could find, its colours a garish parody of Venetian gaiety. Twenty years later, when they were both successful and greying, she visited his home and quarrelled with him over his treatement of a mutual friend. In the course of the quarrel her eye fell upon the old vase, which he still kept in pride of place on his sitting-room mantlepiece, and, without pausing in her tirade, she swept it to the floor, smashing it beyhond hope of repair. He never spoke to her again; when she died, half a century later, he refused to visit her deathbed or attend her funeral, even though messengers were sent to tell him that these were her dearest wishes. 'Tell her,' he said to the emissaries, 'that she never knew how much I valued what she broke.' The emissaries argued, pleaded, raged. If she had not known how much meaning he had invested in the trifle, how could she in all fairness be blamed? And had she not made countless attempts, over the years, to apologize and atone? And she was dying, for heaven's sake; could not this ancient, childish rift be healed at the last? They had lost a lifetime's friendship; could they not even say goodbye? 'No,' said the unforgiving man.— 'Really because of the vase? Or are you concealing some other, darker matter?' —'It was the vase,' he answered, 'the vase, and nothing but.' Pamela thought the man petty and cruel, but Chamcha had even then appreciated this curious privacy, the inexplicable inwardness of the issue. 'Nobody can judge an internal injury,' he had said, 'by the size of the superficial wound, of the hole.'


Salman Rushdie


Leaf for a Print

Leaf for a Print






Salman Rushdie



From The Oxford Companion to English Literature:

Rushdie, [Ahmed] Salman, (1947-), novelist and short story writer, born in Bombay to a Muslim family, educated at the Cathedral School, Rugby, and King's College, Cambridge. He worked for a time in television in Pakistan, as an actor in London, and as an advertising copywriter. Rushdie's bicultural upbringing informs all his work. He draws on the allegorical fable-making traditions of both East and West and is often classed amongst the exponents of magic realism—the narrative style in which the realistic mingles with the fantastic and the inexplicable. His first novel, Grimus (1975), was a fantasy based on a medieval Sufi poem and was followed by Midnight's Children (1981), the book that brought him to literary prominence and which won the Booker Prize. It tells the story of Saleem Sinai, born on the stroke of midnight on the day India was granted independence and whose life becomes emblematic of the political and social destiny of the new nation. In Shame (1983) the subject is Pakistan, the struggle between military and civilian rule, and the culture of shame and honour which oppresses women; the historical figures wear satirical and allegorical disguise, but the narrative is interrupted by direct autobiographical interventions from the author. The Satanic Verses (1988) is a jet-propelled panoramic novel shich moves with dizzying speed from the streets and film studios of Bombay to multicultural Britain, from Argentina to Mount Everest, as Rushdie questions illusion, reality, and the power of faith and tradition in a world of hijackings, religious pilgrimages and warfare, and celluloid fantasy. Certain passages were interpreted by some Muslims as blasphemous and brought upon Rushdie the notorious sentence of death, or fatwa, invoked by the Ayatollah Khomeini in February 1989, which obliged him to seek police protection. Haroun and the Sea of Stories, a novel for children about a boy-hero who has to combat the enemy of storytelling, Prince Kahttam-Shud, was published in 1990 (adapted for the stage at the National Theatre, 1998), and Imaginary Homelands, a collection of critical journalism and interviews, in 19921. In 1994 Rushdie published his first collection of short stories, East, West, which, written on the cultural cusp between two traditions, also confronts the  conflicting claims of the real and the imagined. The Moor's Last Sigh (1995) is a dense and exuberant study of cultural and personal inheritance narrated in the first person by Moraes Zogoiby—the 'Moor' of the title—who ages at twice the normal rate.


From Michael Gorra in The Columbia History of the British Novel, ed. John Richetti:

Rushdie's novels are as keenly attuned as Naipaul's to issues of cultural fracture, of worlds and histories and values in collision. Yet his work suggests not a tragic awareness but a ready acceptance of the fact that cultures are never inviolate. "Perhaps we are all," he writes, "black and brown and white, leaking into one another . . . like flavours when you cook." Hence his gloriously ramshackle sentences, in which Bombay street slang flirts with Oxbridge English, a style in which, as in the poems of Baal in The Satanic Verses, "the demotic force[s] its way into lines of classical purity and images of love [are] constantly degraded by the intrusions of elements of farce." That style grows from Rushdie's attempt in Midnight's Children to use the English language as a way of imagining a from for India itself, "that 5000 year old country that has never before existed." But to do that he must first free English from its colonial past, remaking it into a new Indian language called Angrezi, the master's tongue appropriated for his own subversive purposes. Yet Angrezi's essential impurity contests not just the ideology of colonialism but that of India's "folkloristic straitjacket" as well. For Rushdie's refashioning of the language puts English at the heart of modern India's national identity in a way that challenges the nativist assumption that one can be perfectly non-Western. His style is an attempt to acknowledge India's heterogeneous history and complex heritage, to envision a structure in which all its multiple divisions of region and religion and language and caste can be contained. And his work as a whole stands as a model of what Mikhail Bakhtin calls the "dialogic" novel: a linguistic carnival, a polyphony of voices that turns all ideological certainties upside down, a quite literally heteroglot forum for an encounter not just between opposing characters but between different beliefs, languages, levels of discourse, and indeed whole cultures.  

The Satanic Verses takes up such issues through its critique of the idea of cultural purity, the "terrifying singularity" of Islam, in a way that enacts within the novel itself the very storm that has grown up around it. It recasts Midnight's Children in terms of the individual migrant whom Rushdie takes as the emblematic figure of our times. Migration makes the self indeterminate. For the migrant has chosen to translate one identity into another, and in doing so has set out "to make himself up." What Rushdie suggests is that such postcolonial selves should actively choose the hand that history has dealt them. If for Naipaul mimicry is a sign of cultural violation, for Rushdie a self-concious mimicry becomes a way to shuttle between the hybrid selves of the postcolonial condition, to acknowledge that one lives in two worlds at once. And in that acceptance of discontinuity he sees not tragedy but liberation. It does not help the postcolonial man or woman surmount dependency so much as it denies its relevance, for without an ideal of culturl  purity against which to measure the self, there can be no mimicry per se. Instead Rushdie posits a self that is rather like one of his own sentences, Indian and yet English too. And indeed he suggests that we all reject what Lawrence called "the old stable ego of the character" and learn instead to revel in its instability, even as we do in his style. The self becomes a pastiche, like the India Rushdie describes as "borrowing whatever clothes seemed to fit," a collage, a set of masks improvised for different occasions. It is the point at which the postcolonial and the postmodern coalesce.

Where Naipaul sees a cultural violation, Rushdies sees at least the possibility of freedom from an imprisoning authenticity. The pursuit of such an authenticity has led, in India, to the rise of linguistic and religious separatism on the one hand, and Hindu fundamentalism on the other. It has led, most famously, to the Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa against The Satanic Verses, to demands for its author's death, and to Rushdie's continued life in hiding. And in England it has led to the nativism of the National Front, with its cries of "Wogs out!" Throughout this chapter we have seen the ways in which English writers drew, blurred, and insisted on the lines of racial difference that separated them from the subject peoples of their empire. Rushdie's work challenges those barriers, and in doing so helps construct an identity for a kind of man or woman that Kipling could not have imagined. Along with several other writers of his generation—Timothy Mo, Hanif Kureishi, Caryl Phillips—he shows the ways in which it is possible to be English and yet not white. And that is even one of naipaul's themes in The Enigma of Arrival, an account of how he finally came to see himself at home in the chalk hills of Wiltshire.

"They have the power of description," a tiger-headed character in The Satanic Verses says of the white society in which he lives, "and we succumb to the pictures they construct." For seeing India, or Africa, or the Caribbean is indeed a way of ruling them. One consequence of the end of the British Empire is that they have started to describe themselves.

From Michael Wood's chapter, "The Contemporary Novel" in The Columbia History of the British Novel:

MIDNIGHT'S FICTIONS

"London is full of short stories walking round hand in hand," the narrator says in Martin Amis's Money (1984). And not just London. The 1980s witnessed an astonishing rebirth of storytelling in British fiction. The stories might be desolate, or even insane, but there were plenty of them, and they were full of emotional or intellectual energy, untapped for generations while novelists attended to more serious matters. "Oh dear, yes," Forster had said, "the novel tells a story"—a regrettable necessity rather than any sort of challenge. What vanishes in recent British writing is the note of polite regret, to be replaced by a slightly febrile  excitement: everyone has a story, always has had, what we are waiting for.

This shift cannot be attributed to a single writer, but if it could that writer would be Salman Rushdie, whose Midnight's Children (1980) effected a massive, garrulous liberation in British fiction—the tall tales of Waterland, for instance, are scarcely imaginable without it. Rushdie himself declared his debt to Günter Grass ("he opened doors in my mind"), and wrote appreciatively of García Márquez, and has predictably been labeled a magic realist. The debts are real enough, but the label is misleading. Fiction for Rushdie, in Midnight's Children as in Shame (1983) and The Satanic Verses (1988) is a means of interrogating the real rather than celebrating its variety.

The central fable of the early novel, a telepathic generation of 1,001 children born in the first hour of India's independence in 1947, which is also the first hour of the partition of India and Pakistan, is a metaphor for missed possibilities rather than found marvels. They are the India that might have been, the promise that difficult midnight was unable to keep. This is what the narrator calls "the fantastic heart" of his story:

Reality can have a metaphorical content; that does not make it less real. A thousand and one children were born; there were a thousand and one possibilities which had never been present in one place at one time before; and there were a thousand and one dead ends. Midnight's children can be made to represent many things . . . 



And again: "Who am I? Who were we? We were are shall be the gods you never had." That, despairing as it may seem, is the optimistic reading, and at other times Rushdie's generally cheery narrator has darker thoughts: "Midnight has many children; the offspring of Independence were not all human. Violence, corruption, poverty, generals, chaos, greed . . . I had to go into exile to learn that the children of midnight were more varied than I—even I—had dreamed." 

India itself is imaginary for Rushdie, "a country which would never exist except by the efforts of a phenomenal collective will—except in a dream we all agreed to dream." But then the imaginary is not opposed to the real, it is a large part of it. Agreed dreams are just what countries are, India is exemplary but not exceptional, and Rushdie's later work, addressing the dictatorship in an imaginary nation that much resembles Pakistan, and the crazed redrawings of the world in which fundamentalisms of all kinds indulge, continues to mingle fiction and history, or rather to confront those two forms of narative with each other, revealing the (rather tawdry) novels that pass for historical fact, and the deep historicity of what seem to be wild imaginings.

The terrible fate of The Satanic Verses, banned in India and many other countries, burned by Muslims in Bradford, England, announces the even worse fate of its author, sentenced to death by an outraged Iranian government, and at the time of this writing still living in hiding, with round-the-clock police protection. Such a situation confirms Rushdie's own darkest intuitions. In this sprawling and bustling novel, which takes us from Bombay to South London, from Argentina to Everest, a group of monsters, humans half-turned into tigers, demons, snakes, wolves, water buffalo, meet up in a hospital, and offer a simple explanation of their monstrosity. "They describer us," them monsters say. They: the others, the white, the normal, the officers of a homogenized culture. We might add: the tyrants, the bigots, all who care more for their own mythologies than for the discernible reality of others. "That's all. They have the power of description, and we succumb to the pictures they construct." We succumb. There is passivity here and Rushdie is implicitly arguing against it, but there is also a precise evocation of how description works when it becomes effective currency, or the only currency; how diffeicult it is to escape even the most fantastic and unlikely identity once it is firmly ascribed to you. And once someone has a stake in the ascription

Rushdie's fiction tells a story, but it allso tells the story's story; the narrator narrates his narrating. It could not be otherwise in a world so saturated with stories, and yet Martin Amis manages to go Rushdie one better. His Money is subtitled "A Suicide Note," and the idea, it seems, is that the narrator, the boisterous, violent, drunken, unlovable John Self, will be dead by the time we get to the end of the text. "You can never tell, though, with suicide notes, can you?" Amis writes in a preface, and sure enough John Self seems to survive, a beneficiary of life's kindness to bastards. But then within this rambling, pushy, often very funny tale, a tribute to Amiss's ability to find an English that is not mid-Atlantic but transatlantic, and amazing mixture of American slang and British snot, there is tis writer, a fellow called . . . Martin Amis. Does he survive along with Self? What would Self have made of Flaubert's parrot?

Money is probably the strongest of all Amis's very clever novels, because the sheer nastiness of the central character fuels a seemingly inexhaustible wit. John Self on the tennis court, John Self trying (in vain) to rape his girlfriend, John Self exploring pornography, John Self throwing up in various choice locations—these are all set pieces that argue a kind of dark love for the horrors of the contemporary world, as if its very tackiness made it a candidate for affection. And the prose has fine, fulsome metaphors: "I am still a high-risk zone. I am still inner city." 

My head is a city, and various pains have now taken up residence in various parts of my face. A gum-and-bone ache has launched a cooperative on my upper west side. Across the park, neruralgia has rented a duplex in my fashionable east seventies. Downtown, my chin throbs with lofts of jaw-loss. As for my brain, my hundreds, it's Harlem up there, expanding in the summer fires.   

There are cities and cities, though. Glasgow is described in Alasdair Gray's Lanark (1981) as "the sort of industrial city where most people live nowadays but nobody imagines living." It would be hard to imagine. The gloom and drabness of Gray's Glasgow is paralleled only by that of the same city seen by his grimly amused companion James Kelman. Both Glasgows make Amis's sleazy London and Ne York seem perfectly pastoral places by comparison. Yet, gloomy as the scene is, it provokes some of the most stylish and imaginative writing to have appeared in Britain recently. Gray and Kelman, like Rushdie and Amis, are writers for whom literature exists; they don't hide their reading as a previous generation was wont to do.
Indeed they flaunt their allusions with a carelessness that is the reverse of the pretention British writers have always so feared. "To be alone and without gods is death says Hölderlin," we read in Kelman's Dissafection (1989), "but Hölderlin was wrong and is a poor bastard  . . . Fuck Hölderlin he's deid and buried." Lanark has a long mock note of its own "plagiarisms," runing from Anon and Borges to Xenophon and Zoraster. Hamlet is an influence, we learn, because it is a play "in which heavy-handed paternalism forces a weak-minded youth into dread of existence, hallucinations and crime." The story of Lanark, no less.

Apart from their Glasgow and their wit and their literayr resources Gray and Kelman are quite different; Gray an experimentalist, juggling time and tones, starting his book at a late stage of his story, placing his prologue in the middle, Kelman a sort of dour, demotic Kafka, dryly observing the follies of terminally bewildered people. Patrick Doyle, in A Disaffection, is a Latin teacher in a bleak school, worrying a little about his age, and Kelman's language catches Patrick's complicated awareness of his own comic status, the self-mockery amid the gloom: "He did not wish to dwell continually on the passing years. Here he was turning thirty years of age. Thirty years of age is regarded as a landmark, a watershed, a stage of departure. At that age Jesus Christ entered the teaching profession and Joseph K. worked out his guilt."

Fiction in these novels is not an alternative to history, it is a reading of history's failures, a mode of irony. From Rushdie's teeming India through Amis's hustling England and America to Gray and Kelman's northern dampnesses, the imagination asks us to think about what is missing from these worlds, what strange losses have occurred in what ought to be human. In a lighter though not less brilliant vein the early novels of Peter Ackroyd (and indeed Ackroyd's biographies of Eliot and Dickens) explore a similar question through travels to the past, whether in the impeccable Wildean pastiche of The Last Testament of Oscar Wilde (1983), the historical crime-world of Hawksmoor (1985), or the intricate literary fakeries of Chatterton (1987). It's not that the past is another country, as L. P. Hartley memorably said in The Go-Between. The past is our country, scarcely disguised, the angled mirror of our diffuse and distressed present.



Some works by Salman Rushdie


Rushdie, Salman. Grimus. Novel. London: Gollancz, 1975.

_____. Midnight's Children. Novel. London: Cape, 1981. (Booker Prize for 1981; Booker of Bookers awarded 1993)

_____. Shame.Novel. London: Cape, 1983

_____. The Jaguar Smile: A Nicaraguan Journey. London: Viking, 1987.

_____. The Satanic Verses. Novel. London: Viking, 1988.

_____. Haroun and the Sea of Stories. London: Granta/Penguin, 1990.

_____. In Good Faith. New York: Viking Penguin, 1990.

_____. Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism 1981-1991. London: Granta/Penguin, 1991.

_____. East, West. Stories. London: Jonathan Cape, 1994.

_____. The Moor's Last Sigh. Novel. London: Cape, 1995.

_____. Fury. Novel. London: Random House-Jonathan Cape, 2001.

_____. Shalimar the Clown. Novel. London: Jonathan Cape, 2005.

_____. The Enchantress of Florence. Vintage, 2009.

_____. Luka and the Fire of Life. Children's book. 2010.

_____. Joseph Anton: A Memoir. New York: Random House, 2012.



The Satanic Verses

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Satanic Verses
1988 Salman Rushdie The Satanic Verses.jpg
First edition cover
Author(s) Salman Rushdie
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre(s) Magic Realism, Novel
Publisher Viking Press
Publication date 1988
Media type Print (Hardback and paperback)
Pages 547 pp
ISBN 0-670-82537-9
OCLC Number 18558869
Dewey Decimal 823/.914
LC Classification PR6068.U757 S27 1988
Preceded by Shame
Followed by Haroun and the Sea of Stories
The Satanic Verses is Salman Rushdie's fourth novel, first published in 1988 and inspired in part by the life of Muhammad. As with his previous books, Rushdie used magical realism and relied on contemporary events and people to create his characters. The title refers to the satanic verses, a group of alleged Quranic verses that allow intercessory prayers to be made to three Pagan Meccan goddesses: Allāt, Uzza, and Manāt.[1] The part of the story that deals with the "satanic verses" was based on accounts from the historians al-Waqidi and al-Tabari.[1]
In the United Kingdom, The Satanic Verses received positive reviews, was a 1988 Booker Prize Finalist (losing to Peter Carey's Oscar and Lucinda) and won the 1988 Whitbread Award for novel of the year.[2] However, major controversy ensued as conservative Muslims accused it of blasphemy and mocking their faith. The outrage among some Muslims resulted in a fatwā calling for Rushdie's death issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, on 14 February 1989. Although Rushdie himself has never been attacked as a result of the book's creation, extremists have attacked several connected individuals such as translator Hitoshi Igarashi (leading to, in Igarashi's case, death).

Plot

The Satanic Verses consists of a frame narrative, using elements of magical realism, interlaced with a series of sub-plots that are narrated as dream visions experienced by one of the protagonists. The frame narrative, like many other stories by Rushdie, involves Indian expatriates in contemporary England. The two protagonists, Gibreel Farishta and Saladin Chamcha, are both actors of Indian Muslim background. Farishta is a Bollywood superstar who specializes in playing Hindu deities. (The character is partly based on Indian film stars Amitabh Bachchan and Rama Rao.[3]) Chamcha is an emigrant who has broken with his Indian identity and works as a voiceover
At the beginning of the novel, both are trapped in a hijacked plane flying from India to Britain. The plane explodes over the English Channel, but the two are magically saved. In a miraculous transformation, Farishta takes on the personality of the archangel Gibreel, and Chamcha that of a devil. Chamcha is arrested and passes through an ordeal of police abuse as a suspected illegal immigrant. Farishta's transformation can partly be read on a realistic level as the symptom of the protagonist's developing schizophrenia.
Both characters struggle to piece their lives back together. Farishta seeks and finds his lost love, the English mountaineer Allie Cone, but their relationship is overshadowed by his mental illness. Chamcha, having miraculously regained his human shape, wants to take revenge on Farishta for having forsaken him after their common fall from the hijacked plane. He does so by fostering Farishta's pathological jealousy and thus destroying his relationship with Allie. In another moment of crisis, Farishta realizes what Chamcha has done, but forgives him and even saves his life.
Both return to India. Farishta kills Allie in another outbreak of jealousy and then commits suicide. Chamcha, who has found not only forgiveness from Farishta but also reconciliation with his estranged father and his own Indian identity, decides to remain in India. artist in England.

Dream sequences

Embedded in this story is a series of half-magic dream vision narratives, ascribed to the mind of Gibreel Farishta. They are linked together by many thematic details as well as by the common motifs of divine revelation, religious faith and fanaticism, and doubt.
One of these sequences contains most of the elements that have been criticized as offensive to Muslims. It is a transformed re-narration of the life of Muhammad (called "Mahound" or "the Messenger" in the novel) in Mecca ("Jahilia"). At its centre is the episode of the so-called satanic verses, in which the prophet first proclaims a revelation in favour of the old polytheistic deities, but later renounces this as an error induced by Shaitan. There are also two opponents of the "Messenger": a demonic heathen priestess, Hind, and an irreverent skeptic and satirical poet, Baal. When the prophet returns to the city in triumph, Baal goes into hiding in an underground brothel, where the prostitutes assume the identities of the prophet's wives. Also, one of the prophet's companions claims that he, doubting the "Messenger"'s authenticity, has subtly altered portions of the Quran as they were dictated to him.
The second sequence tells the story of Ayesha, an Indian peasant girl who claims to be receiving revelations from the Archangel Gibreel. She entices all her village community to embark on a foot pilgrimage to Mecca, claiming that they will be able to walk across the Arabian Sea. The pilgrimage ends in a catastrophic climax as the believers all walk into the water and disappear, amid disturbingly conflicting testimonies from observers about whether they just drowned or were in fact miraculously able to cross the sea.
A third dream sequence presents the figure of a fanatic expatriate religious leader, the "Imam," in a late-20th-century setting. This figure is a transparent allusion to the life of Ayatollah Khomeini in his Parisian exile, but it is also linked through various recurrent narrative motifs to the figure of the "Messenger".

Literary criticism and analysis

Overall, the book received favourable reviews from literary critics. In a 2003 volume of criticism of Rushdie's career, influential critic Harold Bloom named The Satanic Verses "Rushdie's largest aesthetic achievement".[4]
Timothy Brennan called the work "the most ambitious novel yet published to deal with the immigrant experience in Britain" that captures the immigrants' dream-like disorientation and their process of "union-by-hybridization". The book is seen as "fundamentally a study in alienation."[2]
Muhammd Mashuq ibn Ally wrote that "The Satanic Verses is about identity, alienation, rootlessness, brutality, compromise, and conformity. These concepts confront all migrants, disillusioned with both cultures: the one they are in and the one they join. Yet knowing they cannot live a life of anonymity, they mediate between them both. The Satanic Verses is a reflection of the author’s dilemmas." The work is an "albeit surreal, record of its own author's continuing identity crisis."[2] Ally said that the book reveals the author ultimately as "the victim of nineteenth-century British colonialism."[2] Rushdie himself spoke confirming this interpretation of his book, saying that it was not about Islam, "but about migration, metamorphosis, divided selves, love, death, London and Bombay."[2] He has also said "It’s a novel which happened to contain a castigation of Western materialism. The tone is comic."[2]
After the Satanic Verses controversy developed, some scholars familiar with the book and the whole of Rushdie's work, like M. D. Fletcher, saw the reaction as ironic. Fletcher wrote "It is perhaps a relevant irony that some of the major expressions of hostility toward Rushdie came from those about whom and (in some sense) for whom he wrote."[5] He said the manifestations of the controversy in Britain "embodied an anger arising in part from the frustrations of the migrant experience and generally reflected failures of multicultural integration, both significant Rushdie themes. Clearly, Rushdie's interests centrally include explorations of how migration heightens one's awareness that perceptions of reality are relative and fragile, and of the nature of religious faith and revelation, not to mention the political manipulation of religion. Rushdie's own assumptions about the importance of literature parallel in the literal value accorded the written word in Islamic tradition to some degree. But Rushdie seems to have assumed that diverse communities and cultures share some degree of common moral ground on the basis of which dialogue can be pieced together, and it is perhaps for this reason that he underestimated the implacable nature of the hostility evoked by The Satanic Verses, even though a major theme of that novel is the dangerous nature of closed, absolutist belief systems."[5]
Rushdie's influences have long been a point of interest to scholars examining his work. According to W. J. Weatherby, influences on The Satanic Verses were listed as Joyce, Italo Calvino, Kafka, Frank Herbert, Pynchon, Mervyn Peake, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jean-Luc Godard, J. G. Ballard, and William Burroughs.[6] Chandrabhanu Pattanayak notes the influence of William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell and Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita (influences Rushdie admitted to).[5] M. Keith Booker likens the book to James Joyce's Finnegans Wake.[5] Al-'Azm notes the influence of François Rabelais' works.[5] Others have noted an influence of Indian classics such as the Mahabharata and the Arabic Arabian Nights.[5] Angela Carter writes that the novel contains "inventions such as the city of Jahilia, 'built entirely of sand,' that gives a nod to Calvino and a wink to Frank Herbert".[7]
Srinivas Aravamudan’s analysis of The Satanic Verses was perceived by other scholars as hailing the book as a proof "demonstrating the compatibility of postmodernism and post-colonialism in the one novel."[5] Aravamudan himself stressed the satiric nature of the work and held that while it and Midnight's Children may appear to be more "comic epic", "clearly those works are highly satirical" in a similar vein of postmodern satire pioneered by Joseph Heller in Catch-22.[5]
The Satanic Verses continued to exhibit Rushdie's penchant for organizing his work in terms of parallel stories. Within the book "there are major parallel stories, alternating dream and reality sequences, tied together by the recurring names of the characters in each; this provides intertexts within each novel which comment on the other stories."[5] The Satanic Verses also exhibits Rushdie's common practice of using allusions in order to invoke connotative links. Within the book he referenced everything from mythology to "one-liners invoking recent popular culture" sometimes using several per page.[5] Chapter VII was especially noted by for such usage.[5]

Controversy

The novel caused great controversy in the Muslim community for what some Muslims believed were blasphemous references. Rushdie was accused of misusing freedom of speech.[8] As the controversy spread, the import of the book was banned[9] in India and it was burned in demonstrations in the United Kingdom. In mid February 1989, following a violent riot against the book in Pakistan, the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Supreme Leader of Iran and a Shi'a Muslim scholar, issued a fatwa calling on all good Muslims to kill Rushdie and his publishers, or to point him out to those who can kill him if they cannot themselves.[10] Although the British Conservative government under Margaret Thatcher gave Rushdie round-the-clock police protection, many politicians on both sides were hostile to the author. British Labour MP Keith Vaz led a march through Leicester shortly after he was elected in 1989 calling for the book to be banned, while Conservative MP Norman Tebbit, the party's former chairman, called Rushdie an "outstanding villain" whose "public life has been a record of despicable acts of betrayal of his upbringing, religion, adopted home and nationality".[11] Meanwhile the Commission for Racial Equality and a liberal think tank, the Policy Studies Institute held seminars on the Rushdie affair. They did not invite the author Fay Weldon who spoke out against burning books, but did invite Shabbir Akhtar, a Cambridge philosophy graduate who called for "a negotiated compromise" which "would protect Muslim sensibilities against gratuitous provocation". The journalist and author Andy McSmith wrote at the time "We are witnessing, I fear, the birth of a new and dangerously illiberal "liberal" orthodoxy designed to accommodate Dr Akhtar and his fundamentalist friends."[12]
Following the fatwa, Rushdie was put under police protection by the British government. Despite a conciliatory statement by Iran in 1998, and Rushdie's declaration that he would stop living in hiding, the Iranian state news agency reported in 2006 that the fatwa would remain in place permanently since fatwas can only be rescinded by the person who first issued them, and Khomeini had since died.[13]

Violence, assassinations and attempts to harm

Rushdie has never been physically harmed for the book, but others associated with it have suffered violent attacks. Hitoshi Igarashi, its Japanese translator, was stabbed to death on 11 July 1991. Ettore Capriolo, the Italian translator, was seriously injured in a stabbing the same month.[14] William Nygaard, the publisher in Norway, was shot three times in an attempted assassination in Oslo in October 1993, but survived. Aziz Nesin, the Turkish translator, was the intended target in the events that led to the Sivas massacre on 2 July 1993 in Sivas, Turkey, which resulted in the deaths of 37 people.[15] Individual purchasers of the book have not been harmed. The only nation with a predominantly Muslim population where the novel remains legal is Turkey.[citation needed]
In September 2012, Rushdie expressed doubt that The Satanic Verses would be published today because of a climate of "fear and nervousness".[16]



Review of The Moor's Last Sigh








Domingo 13 de enero de 2013

Krapp's Last Tape

Una de las obras de lectura obligatoria para este curso de literatura inglesa y teatro, "La última cinta de Krapp", de Samuel Beckett (1956).






"Till Nohow On": The Later Metafiction of Samuel Beckett






Paseo a lo impresionista



Paseo a lo impresionista





Sábado 12 de enero de 2013

Love is a Plaintive Song

Viendo hoy Patience de Gilbert & Sullivan (Sydney, 1995).  Esta es otra producción, con toses incluidas.




Y aquí el principio de otra producción, también australiana, "Twenty Love-sick Maidens":








Interacción internalizada - en repositorios y eJournals

Este artículo sobre neuro- y psicolingüística se titula "Interacción internalizada: el desarrollo especular del lenguaje y el orden simbólico", y ha sido aceptado (en español, a pesar de las apariencias) en varias revistas electrónicas de lingüística publicadas por el Social Science Research Network.

Internalized Interaction: The Specular Development of Language and the Symbolic Order

Date posted: December 17, 2007 ; Last revised: December 24, 2007 

http://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=1073782 

eJournal Classifications Message
AARN Subject Matter Journals
    
        
            
Added to eLibrary 
AARN Subject Matter Journals
    
        
            
Added to eLibrary 
AARN Subject Matter Journals
    
        
            
Added to eLibrary 
LING Subject Matter eJournals
    
Added to eLibrary 


RCRN Subject Matter eJournals
    
        
Added to eLibrary 

También está en otros dos sitios web o repositorios:
   
_____. "Interacción internalizada: el desarrollo especular del lenguaje y el orden simbólico." Zaguán 17 abril 2009.*
http://zaguan.unizar.es/record/3239
2009
_____. "Interacción internalizada: el desarrollo especular del lenguaje y el orden simbólico." ResearchGate 23 abril 2012.*
http://www.researchgate.net/publication/33419873_Interaccin_internalizada_El_desarrollo_especular_del_lenguaje_y_del_orden_simblico
            2012

Empezó como un comentario a un artículo de Arbib en este post.



  
Arbib, Michael A. "Co-Evolution of Human Consciousness and Language." En Cajal and Consciousness: Scientific Approaches to Consciousness on the Centennial of Ramón y Cajal's Textura. Ed. Pedro C. Marijuán. Nueva York: New York Academy of Sciences, 2001. 195-220.



           Al congreso ése de Cajal and Consciousness en Zaragoza no asistí por fin; lástima, supongo. Pero me leí las actas que editó Pedro Marijuán, me compré los volúmenes de Ramón y Cajal sobre Textura del sistema nervioso, y también me mudé a la casa de los Ramón y Cajal por esas fechas.




Redes neuronales y consciencia


 




Yo con dos sobrinetas

Yo con dos sobrinetas


Documental sobre Tolkien

"Inside Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring":






14 de marzo - Manuscrito


Viernes 11 de enero de 2013

Por la orilla un invierno soleado

Por la orilla un invierno soleado



Drama since the 1950s

From The Short Oxford History of English Literature, by Andrew Sanders:

After more than sixty years of proposals, high hopes, and false starts, Britain finally got its National Theatre in July 1962. More precisely, it got an official announcement that a National Theatre was to come into being. A Board was established and in October 1963 a National Theatre Company presented its inaugural production of Hamlet in the cramped, but venerable, surroundings of the Old Vic (the Company was not able to move the relatively short distance to its partially completed new building on the south bank of the Thames until March 1976). Since its inception, the National Theatre (from 1988, the Royal National Theatre) has always had serious rivals, in terms of both prestige and innovation. In the 1960s and 1970s Britain's other subsidized 'national' theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, established an enviable record of experiment (though it has since largely concentrated on the work of Shakespeare and his contemporaries). For a remarkable, if relatively brief, period, which began with the formation of the English Stage Company in 1956, one commercial theatre, the Royal Court, also seemed to lead the way in encouraging, commissioning, and presenting the work of new dramatists, both native and foreign. In their different ways, all three companies engineered a London-based theatrical revolution.

Although the National Theatre had called on the services of the unconventional Kenneth Tynan as its literary adviser, its choice of plays and directos wa initially somewhat cautious. The Royal Shakespeare Company, by contrast, startled oudiences out of any sense of stability and complacency with four particularly celebrated productions by the director, Peter Brook (b. 1925): a much admired and starkly Beckettian King Lear in 1962; a version of the German dramatist, Peter Weiss's, play known colloquially as the Marat/Sade in 1964; and, following Brook's exploratory 'Theatre of Cruelty Season', the experimental Artaudian commentary on the Vietnam war, US, in 1966. Perhaps most stunning and provocative of all was his complete rethinking of A Midsummer Night's Dream in 1970, a rethinking which swept away fairyland glades and gauzes and boldly substituted dazzling light, erotic gestures, and perilous acrobatics. When Brook declared that his production of the Marat/Sade had been designed to 'crack the spectator on the jaw, then douse him with ice-cold water, then force him to assess intelligently what has happened to him, then give him a kick in the balls, then bring him back to his senses again', he was stating an extremist principle of what has come to be known as 'director's theatre' (though it was a principle which could be said to have determined many of the effects of the 'political theatre' of the 1970s). It was not a principle on which the Royal Court generally worked. Its intellectual assaults were of a different, though not necessarily more subtle, order.

John Arden (b. 1930) was in many ways typical of a new generation of playwrights launched at the Royal Court: provocative, argumentative, brusque, and Anglo-Brechtian. Arden's
Live Like Pigs  (1958), a play about the resettlement of gypsies in a housing-estate, explores anti-social behaviour. It leaves the firm impression that 'respectability' and its official guardians, the police, were ultimately far more damaging to society than the unconventional mores of the play's gypsies. Arden's most celebrated and punchy play, Serjeant Musgrave's Dance (1959), addresses its anti-militaristic theme with a combination of Brechtian exposition and music-hall routines (dance, song, and monologue). Although the play grew out of contemporary circumstances (army conscripts, recruited under the system known euphemistically as 'National Service', had recently suffered casualties in the campaing of Cyprus), its setting is loosely Victorian. Its red military tunics, its black bibles, its narrow logic, and its unresolved social tensions are all designed to disconcert audiences and to raise questions about the principles of duty, rigidity, and order. When Arden reworked his play in 1972 as Serjeant Musgrave Dances On he gave it a far more overt and direct political message, one focused on the engagement of British troops in Ulster. Serjeant Musgrave Dances On may have grown out of Arden's steady questioning of British political, legal, military, and imperial traditions in plays such as Left-Handed Liberty (1965), The Hero Rises Up (1968), and The Island of the Mighty (1972), but it seems like a crude piece of agitprop in comparison to the rigorious skepticism of his earlier work.

Arnold Wesker's Chips with Everything, performed at the Royal Court in 1962, is also concerned with National Service, though in this instance with a fictional expansion on Wesker's own experience in the RAF. The play contains remarkable moments of concerted physical action by the group of recruits (notably a raid on a coke store), but it ultimately suggests that, despite official pretensions to the contrary, conscription was no leveller and no social panacea. Wesker (b. 1932) had earlier shown himself capable of creating a virtuoso visual theatre in his representation of alternating periods of action and inaction in a restaurant in The Kitchen (1959). Both kitchen and camp serve as metaphors for an unfair and hierarchical society in which the disadvantaged are forced to fall back on their chief resource, their proletarian vitality and their innate capacity for feeling. In his most substantial work, the so-called 'Trilogy' (Chicken Soup with Barley of 1958, Roots of 1959, and I'm Talking about Jerusalem of 1960), Wesker manages to to relate his intense respect for working-class community to a social, historical, and political perspective, stretching from the anti-Fascist protests of the Jewish East End in 1936 to the failure of a project to establish a new Jerusalem and a new idealist-socialist lifestyle in the Norfolk of the late 1950s. In all three plays, Wesker conveys an acute sense of place by capturing distinctive ways of speaking (both London Jewish and rural East Anglian) and representing the distinctive rhythms of urban and rural domesticity. In 1958 he announced that he would like to write plays not simply 'for the class of people who acknowledge plays to be a legitimate form of expression, but also for 'the bus drive, the housewife, the miner and the Teddy Boy [the type of adolescent who in the 1950s affected a fashion for vaguely Edwardian clothes]'. With this aim in mind, and with the high-minded hope of forging links between the arts, socialist action, and society at large, Wesker founded Centre 42 in 1960-1. The substantial Trade Union invovement that Wesker required was not forthcoming, but the project failed largely because popular taste proved to be more resistant to his ideals than he had expected. Centre 42 aimed at creating the conditions in which old-fahioned sweetness and light could filter down. It was checked by an upsurge of a new 'alternative' and genuinely popular culture and it foundered. With it, sank the urgency of Wesker's dramatic enterprise.

By far the most original, flexible, and challenging of the new dramatists of the late 1950s, Harold Pinter (b. 1930), was, like Wesker, the son of an East End Jewish tailor. Unlike him, however, he was an actor by training and profession. All Pinter's plays suggest a sure sense of the dramatic effect of pacing, pausing, and timing. Despite his determined protest against National Service as an 18-year-old, and despite his two brushes with the law as a conscientious objector, his early plays generally eschew direct political engagement and commment. They open up instead a world of seeming inconsequentiality, tangential communication, dislocated relationships, and undefined threats. Many of the dramatic non sequiturs of Pinter's first four plays—The Room, The Dumb Waiter, The Birthday Party (all written in 1957) and The Caretaker (written in 1959 and performed in the following year)—indicate how positive was his response to the impact of Waiting for Godot; their distinctive air of menace, however, suggests the influence of Kafka and the patterning of their dialogue a debt to the poetry and early drama of Eliot. In all four plays Pinter also reveals himself to be a master of a colloquial, vapidly repetitive, London English, one adept at varying the idioms of his characters' speech to striking and sometimes disturbing effect. In the most polyphonic of the early plays, The Birthday Party, he intrudes seemingly incongruous clichés about cricket and Sunday School teachers into Godlbert's volubly Jewish dialogue and he softens McCann's edgy bitterness with Irish sentimentality. Both characters threaten, and finally break, the inarticulate Stanley with a monstrous, staccato barrage of unanswerable questions and half-associated ideas: 'You need a long convalescence.' / 'A change of air' / 'Somewhere over the rainbow.' / 'Where angels fear to tread.' / 'Exactly.' / You're in a rut.' / 'You look anaemic.' / 'Rheumatic.' / 'Myopic.' / 'Epileptic.' 'You're on the verge.' / 'You're a dead duck.' / 'But we can save you.' / 'From a worse state.'

The Homecoming, first performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1964, marks something of a turning-point in his career. Though the play opens familiarly enough in an undistinguished room in a north London house and with a one-sided conversation, an indifferent exchange of insults, and an ostensibly comic reference to an advertisement for flannel vests, it steadily veers away from comedy. Everything in the play is unspecific. The rhythms of Max's speech ('One of the loves of my life, Epsom?') suggest that the family may be Jewish, but nothing definite is made of the fact. More significantly, there appears to be a family tradition of unfaithful women, for parallels are loosely established between the dead but adulterous mother and her living daughter-in-law, Ruth, who the male members of the family treat as if she where a whore. There are also often inexplicit frictions between generations and between the uneducated stop-at-homes and the homecoming son, Teddy, a professsor at an American university.
old timesThe Homecoming leaves a residual sense of sourness and negativity. Its most notable successors, Old Times (1971), No Man's Land (1975), and Betrayal (1978), all extend its calculated uncertainty and its (now gentrified) hints of menace and ominousness. All of them are distinguished by their teasing play with the disjunctions of memory and with unstable human relationships. Old Times presents its audience with an open triangle, defined not only by its characters, two women and a man, but also by silences, indeterminacies, and receding planes of telling and listening. In No Man's Land, two elderly men, and two younger ones, seem to shift in relationship to one another; they know and do not know; they remember and obliterate memory. Betrayal, cleverly based on a series of retrogressions, deals, ostensibly realistically, with middle-class adultery in literary London (though its reiterated ideas, words, and phrases reveal how artificially it is patterned). Since One for the Road (1984), Pinter's plays have shifted away from developed representations of uncertainty towards a far more terse and more overtly political drama. Both One for the Road and Mountain Language (1988) are insistingly concerned with language and with acts of interrogation. As in The Birthday Party, language is seen as the means by which power can be exercised and as something that can be defined and manipulated to suit the ends of those who actually hold power. Nevertheless, the two plays focus on individuals threatened no longer by an unspecified menace, as Stanley was, but by the palpable oppression of (unnamed) modern states. Where Pinter's earlier work had allowed for indeterminacy, his latest work seems to have surrendered to an insistent demand for moral definition. The ideas of 'them' and 'us', which were once open, subtle, fluid categories, have been replaced by a rigid partisanship.

'If I ever hear you accuse the police of using violence on a prisoner in custody again," Inspector Truscott announces in Joe Orton's Loot (1966) 'I'll take you down to the station and beat the eyes out of your head.' As all his plays suggest, Orton (1933-67) has quite as refined a sense of the potential of the state, its institutions, and its human instruments to oppress the citizen as has Pinter. He has good reason to distrust the political system under which he lived, and, by extension, all systems of authority and control. He was an active, not to say promiscuous, homosexual in a period when homosexual acts between consenting males were still regarded as a criminal offence. He was himself brutally murdered by his long-term companion and erstwhile collaborator, Kenneth Halliwell. In 1962 Orton and Halliwell had been prosecuted on the relatively trivial charge of stealing and defacing library books and sent to prison by a particularly authoritarian magistrate. Orton the artist fought back against authority with the two weapons he wielded most eficiently: anarchic comedy and priapic energy.

The five major comedies that Orton completed before his untimely death—Entertaining Mr Sloane (1964), Loot (1966, published 1967), The Ruffian on the Stair, The Erpingham Camp (both 1967), and What the Butler Saw (1969) were calculated to outrage. When, in whimsical mood, he took to writing to the press and to theatre managers under the nom de plume of Edna Welthrope (Mrs), he was parodying the kind of bourgeois respectability against which he had long defined himself. But what Edna described as his 'nauseating work' and his 'enlessly parade of mental and physical perversion' were not just sympomatic expressions of the liberal 1960s, but gestures of protest extrapolated from a long and perfectly respectable comic tradition. Orton never simply hid behind jokes. His comedy served not only to expose the folly of the fool, the double standards of the hypocrite, or the unbalanced humours of everyman, but to disrupt the very status quo. Pompous asses though they may be, Orton's villains, such as Erpingham, are no fools. Caught out though they may be, Orton's fools, such as Drs Rance and Prentice, are no innocents. Exploited, abused, and tormented thought they may be, Orton's innocents, such as McLeavy, are no wronged paragons. In The Erpingham Camp, the camp's owner may dream a vulgarian's dream of a future England sprouting 'Entertainment Centres' from coast to coast, but, as the play makes clear, Erpingham is as much in the business of social control as are the posturing psychiatrists, Rance and Prentice, and his sordid camp is as much a metaphor for an over-organized and explosively revolutionary state as is the private clinic of What the Butler Saw. Revolutions may be waylaid by guile and incompetence, but in no sense can the meek inherit Orton's earth. As McLeavy is dragged away by the police in Loot, he first protests his innocence and then wildly exclaims: 'Oh, what a terrible thing to happen to a man who's been kissed by the Pope.' In none of Orton's plays can innocence ever be a defence. For a man to be obliged to exit in the arms of police officers while recalling another man's kiss sounds more like carelessness than pathos.

Orton does not simply exploit the traditional forms of comedy and farce, but also dangerously transforms them. He takes an anarchist's delight in fostering disorder, but none at all in seeing why order can or ought to reassert itself. When he gestures to a Pinterian inconsequentiality at the opening of The Ruffian on the Stair he adds a double entendre of his own by giving Mike an appointment with a man in the toilet at King's Cross Station. Even when he uses the conventional embarrassments of farce—its undressings, its incongruous dressings, and its cross-dressings—he manages to render them not merely suggestive but distinctly suspicious. Kath's removal of Sloane's trousers in Entertaining Mr Sloane is accompanied by the knowing declaration: 'I've been doing my washing today and I haven't a stitch on . . . I'm in the rude under this dress. I tell you because you're bound to have noticed. . . '. Alternatively, when Mrs prentice finds her husband holding a woman's dress in What the Butler Saw, she first asks whether he had taken up transvestism and then adds: 'I'd no ide our marriage teetered on the edge of fashion.' Orton is at his most consistently risqué in the topsy-turvey world of Loot,  a play in which the Oedipal jostles with the necrophilic and in which the old buttresses of social order—love, medicine, religion, and law—are systematically sapped. Here, as in all Orton's work, moral floors dissolve leaving a space which is both amoral and, by extension, apolitical. If some of his critics po-facedly condemn him for never exploiting the consequences of the social questions he raises, it should be allowed that the very velocity of his verbal comedy never really allows him to stay for answers.

Where Orton's comedy is explosive, untidy, and unresolved, that of Top Stoppard (born in Czechoslovakia in 1937) is implosive, symmetrical, and logical. Where Orton disorders the traditional elements of farce, Stoppard takes a fresh delight in the kind of theatrical clockwork that was perfected by Feydeau. Unlike Orton or Feydeau, however, Stoppard seems to take a deep intellectual pleasure in parallels, coincidences, and convergences that extends beyond a purely theatrical relish. In an age which has exhibited a fascination with the often extraordinary patternings of mathematical and metaphysical theory, he has emerged as an almost exemplary artist, one with an appeal to the pragmatic and the speculative alike. At thir most brilliant, his plays are carefully plotted, logical mystery tours which systematically find their ends in their beginnings. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, which opened at the National Theatre in April 1967 (the year following its first, amateur, presentation at the Edinburgh Festival), begins, according to its stage direction, with 'two ELIZABETHANS passing the time in a place without any visible character'. This is Hamlet playfully reread according to Einsteinian laws, Eliotic negatives, and Beckettian principles. Everything is renedered relative. The perspective is changed, time is fragmented, the Prince is marginalized, and two coin-spinning attendant lords are obliged to take on the weight of a tragedy which they neither understand nor dignify. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead de-heroizes, but, despite its frantically comic surfaces, it never expels the impending sense of death implied in its title. Shakespeare's toadying gentlemen are transformed into two prosy commoners endowed with twentieth-century sensibilities, men trapped by their costumes, their language, and their characterless setting. Their tragedy, if tragedy it is, lies in their awareness of convergence, concurrence, and consequence: 'Wheels have been set in motion, and they have their own pace, to which we are condemned. Each move is dictated by the previous one—that is the meaning of order. If we start being arbitrary it'll just be a shambles. . .'.  However arbitrary life might appear to be, logic is relentless and the pre-existent and inescapable pattern of Hamlet determines that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern's strutting and fretting must end, like real life, with death.

Much of Stoppard's subsequent drama introduces characters who are as much out of their intellectual and social depths as are Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. In the short radio play,
If You're Glad I'll be Frank (1966), a bemused husband desperately tries to reclaim his wife who has become subsumed into a speaking clock. In The Real Inspector Hound (1968), a superbly poised parody of an English detective story, two theatre critics find themselves absorbed into a play and a murder which they assumed thy had come to observe. In Jumpers (produced by the National Theatre in 1972 a moral philosopher preparing a lecture on the existence of God, and on the related problem of the objectivity of good and evil, is confronted by the murder of an acrobat at a party in his own home. As its title so succintly and riddlingly suggests, Jumpers is about intellectual gymnastics, the making of mental and moral jumps and the construction of an unsteady philosophical architecture; it is also a tour de force of plotting. Henry Carr, the somewhat dim-witted central figure of what is perhaps Stoppard most sustainedly witty and inventive play, Travesties (1974), is equally overwhelmed by the events in which he becomes involved. The play begins with a historical footnote (the real Carr, British Consul in Zurich, had taken James Joyce to court, claiming reimbursement for the cost of a pair of trousers worn in an amateur production of The Importance of Being Earnest performed in Zurich in March 1918), and a historical coincidence (Joyce, Lenin, and the Dadaist poet, Tristan Tzara, all used Zurich as a refuge from the First World War), but it develops into a complex, totally speculative, extrapolation of political and literary history. Stoppard shapes his own play around echoes, parodies, and inversions of Wilde's comedy, and, to a lesser extent, of Joyce's Ulysses. None of his later plays has quite the same confident verve. His excursions into explicitly political drama—with the unwieldy script for actors and symphony orchestra, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (1977), and the clever television play, Professional Foul (1978)—demonstrate an (at the time) unfashionable concern with persecution of intellectuals by the thuggishly illiberal Communist regimes of Eastern Europe. Hapgood (1988), with its carefully deployed twins, its double-takes, and its spies who explain the particle theory of light, does, however, suggest something of a return to his old whimsy, albeit a singularly menacing whimsy.

Whimsy, intellectual gymnastics, and symmetry, are not
qualities that most audiences would readily associate with the work of Edward Bond (b. 1934).bond saved Bond has always rigurously cultivated plainness in both expression and design. His career began at the Royal Court Theatre with versions of plays by, and exercises in the manner of Brecht, and it is to the radical, didactic German tradition that he has remained faithful. If he later proclaimed that, in contrast to Brecht, he considered it necessary 'to disturb an audience emotionally' by finding ways to make what he called the 'aggro-effect' more complete, it has generally been to the bald agonies of Büchner and to the psychological aggression of Wedekind that he has looked. The Pope's Wedding (1962) and Saved (1965), the first of his own plays to be performed, both concentrate on a Woyzeck-like inarticulacy and on an inherited lexical and emotional poverty in the English working-class life whicvh finds a natural expression in violence. In Saved an unloved, unwanted baby is, almost gratuitously, stoned to death by a gang of grunting youths ('Right in the lug 'ole', 'Get its 'ooter', 'An its slasher'). Bond shows violence as the inescapable consequence of the brutalization of the working class in an uncaring, stratified, industrial society. in the authroial note prefaced to the play he nevertheless speaks of  Saved as 'irresponsibly optimistic', as a work which suggests the survival of innate goodness despite 'upbringing and environment' and despite the ostensible failure of inherited patterns of religion and morality. The lapidation, he provocatively insists, was a 'typical English understatement' compared to the 'strategic' wartime bombing of German cities and to 'the emotional deprivation of most of our children'. If, for writers such as Greene, Golding, Spark, and Burgess, the violence with which Bond habitually deals is rooted in the concept of original sin, for Bond himself that concept needed to be redefined as 'a doctrine of natural aggression', one determined by a manifestly unjust society. In Narrow Road to the Deep North (1968), Lear (1971), Bingo (1974) and The Fool (1976) anger and violence are seen not merely as the only means of self-expression open to the socially deprived but also as the engine of social change, both for good and for ill. These plays are concerned with power and the corruptions of power, and are all equally concerned with the stance of the artist who is faced with the evidence of such corruptions. In Narrow Road, the poet, Basho, a would-be detached idealist, is seen as indirectly responsible for the atrocities the play describes (his responsibility becomes far more direct in the 1978 revision of the play as The Bundle). In Bingo, Shakespeare, in his complacent bourgeois retirement, is complicit in the economic oppression of the poor, active in the emotional oppression of the women members of his family, but silent when it comes to effective social protest. In The Fool: Scenes of Bread and Love, John Clare, the working-class poet whose class anger is real enough, isforced into frustrated compromise and madness because he cannot find the ideological weapons with which to fight his oppressors. In the most emotionally challenging of Bond's plays, Lear, he not only drastically revises the King Lear story but also re-engages with Shakespeare's themes of blindness, madness, and the exercise of power. There is little room for what might conventionally or comfortingly be seen as 'poetry' or 'tragedy'. Bond's version is remarkable for its brutally stilted language, for its extravagant and unremitting representation of violence, and for its messy, clinical dissection of human nastiness. When Lear witnesses the autopsy performed on the body of one of his dead daughters, he declares that he has never seen anything so beautiful: 'If I had known this beauty and patience and care, how I would have loved her.' In Bond's Lear, love, like political and moral clear-sightedness, always remains a might-have-been.

'May 1968 was crucial', Howard Brenton wrote in an article published in 1975, 'It was a great watershed and directly affected me. . . [it] disinherited my generation in two ways. First it destroyed any remaining affection for official culture . . . it also destroyed the notions of personal freedom, anarchist political action.' For Brenton (b. 1942) the generation which matured in 1968, a generation 'dreaming of a beautiful utopia' was kicked, 'kicked awake and not dead'. The new, radical drama of the 1970s and 1980s, with which Brenton, Trevor Griffiths (b. 1935), David Hare (b. 1947), and David Edgar (b. 1948) were prominently associated, was essentially the product of the assimilated political and cultural lessons of the Parisian événements of May 1967. For Edgar, writing in 1979, the implications of what had happened in Paris were just as plain: 'Revolutionary politics was seen as being much less about the organisation of the working class at the point of production, and much more about the disruption of bourgeois ideology at the point of consumption.' Despite largely token attempts to take a new type of polemic drama to the factory floor, and despite the development of small, experimental theatre-groups and workshops, much of the new dramatic energy of the Left was specifically, but no less provocatively, addresed to a relatively élite, bourgeois audience and performed in relatively conventional theatre buildings. In 1976, when Brenton had begun to establish himself at the National Theatre, he proclaimed that he would rather have his plays presented to 900 people 'who may hate what I'm saying than to fifty of the converted'. Bourgeois ideology was indeed being challenged at its 'point of consumption', but, given the generally imperturbable quality of London audiences in the period, it was only minimally disrupted. Much of the political drama of the 1970s and 1980s was founded on the assumptions that rotten capitalist society was on the brink of collapse and that there was a widening division between 'them' (the surprisingly elastic ruling class which hung on to its inherited power with increasing cynicism) and 'us' (the ruled, for whom proper enlightenement preceded liberation). This perception of a deeply divided society was accentuated in the spring of 1979 by the Conservative victory in the General Election and by the twelve-year Prime Ministerial regime of Margaret Thatcher. The early Thatcher years were remarkable for the uniformity of theatrical protest against Government policies, philosophies, and philistinism (albeit a protest often voiced in state subsidised theatres). As Hare's The Great Exhibition (1972) and Griffith's The Party (1973) had already suggested, resistance to 'Thatcherism' went hand in hand with a sense of disillusion with the earlier compromises of the Labour Party and with the tendency to bickering and in-fighting amongst the British political Left.

Generally, the political drama of the period worked from a basis of Marxist theory informed by the example of 1968, but it rarely addressed problems beyond those of the local difficulties which beset post-imperial little-England. Much of it now seems distinctly time-locked. References to Ireland and to the troubles of Ulster were legion, but neither subtle nor especially direct (Brenton's The Romans in Britain of 1980 is a case in point). The world at large, and Europe in particular, tended to be glimpsed through carefully angled binoculars (as the somewhat conventional assumptions about the nature of Soviet influence in Eastern Europe in plays such as Edgar's Maydays of 1983 suggest). The implicit parallel between the manipulation of information in the Soviet Union and the corrupt control of the British press by an ambitious and unscrupulous newspaper tycoon in Hare and Brenton's collaborative play Pravda: A Fleet Street Comedy (produced at the National Theatre in 1985) is ultimately as slick as its criticism of capitalism is melodramatic. Hare's subtlety as a dramatist and a political analyst is more evident in Plenty (also produced at the National Theatre in 1978). Plenty (which was filmed in 1985) is a study of an intelligent and corrupted woman, a former undercover agent in wartime France who has pursued a career in advertising in post-war Britain ('In France . . . I told such glittering lies. But where's the fun in lying for a living? . . . Sold out. Is that the phrase?). His interest in character, and in how characters shape and are shaped by the institutions to which they give their loyalty, also determined the often elusive texture of Racing Demon, an amused, almost Trollopian, study of how power is manipulated by the smug hierarchy of the Church of England. Trevor Griffiths, always adept at articulating debate, if rarely given to comedy, made one supremely successful and ambitious stab at exploring the political nature of humour in the play Comedians (1975). Although the play ingeniously outlines a socio-political thesis, it also allows for singular variety of demonstration and exemplification. The retired comic, who has taught a class of aspiring comedians at a Manchester night school, devoutly insists that a true joke 'has more to do than release tension, it has to liberate the will and the desire, it has to change the situation', but his tuition is effectively subverted by the theatrical agent who favours those who support the status quo by retaining old racial and sexual stereotypes. The strength of Griffiths's play lies in its creative tensions and in its representation of a battle of wits in which no holds are barred.

Caryl Churchill's work has been equally rooted in opposition to a social system based on exploitation. Unlike her male counterparts, howerver, Churchill (b. 1938) has recognized an equation between the traditional power exercised by capitalists and the universal subjection of women. Her woman characters emerge as the victims of a culture which has regarded them merely as commodities or which has conditioned them to submit to masculine social rules. Her plays have systematically thrown down challenges either by reversing conventional representations of male and female behaviour (as in the Ortonian Owners of 1972) or by drawing disconcerting parallels between colonial and sexual oppression (as in Cloud Nine of 1979, with its ostensibly farcical shifts of gender and racial roles). In the multilayered Top Girls (1982) Churchill explores the superficial 'liberation' of women in the Thatcherite 1980s by contrasting the lifestyle of Marlene, a pushy, urban, woman executive, with that of her articulate, rural, stay-at-home sister. More pointedly, the first act of the play puts Marlene's supposed success in the context of the career of other 'top girls', historical women who either became famous by usurping male roles (Pope Joan, and the Victorian explorer, Isabella Bird) or remained obedient to male-imposed stereotypes (the Japanese courtesan, Lady Nijo, and Patient Griselda). All except Dull Gret, a figure taken from a painting by Brueghel whom Brecht had apotheosized as the representative of a peasant rebellion, have ultimately submitted and been sacrificed. The women rarely seem to understand how much their circumstances and experience overlap, though Gret, the uneducated rebel who later appears as Marlene's rejected daughter, seems to offer an angrier, vaguer, but more genuinely radical kind of liberation. Churchill's cultivated talent for documentary pièces d'occasion achieved considerable commercial success with the apocalyptic and, at the time highly topical, study of the effects of stock market deregulation in the City of London, Serious Money (1987). More remarkable was Mad Forest: A Play from Romania (1990), the outcome of her work with a group of British drmaa students in Bucharest in the immediate aftermath of the Romanian revolution. It is a powerful and demanding study of competing truths and half-truths, perspectives and distortions, aspirations and disillusionments.

Probably the most intelligent, challenging, and humane of the political playwrights who established a reputation in the 1970s and 1980s is the most senior, Brian Friel (b. 1929), an Irishman who has written almost exclusively about and for Ireland. Philadelphia, Here I Come (1964), written after he had abandoned his chosen career as a schoolmaster, deals with a young man's decision to escape fro mthe frustrations of village life in County Donegal by emigrating to America, but it does so by presenting a would-be emigrant's dilemma thorugh two actors who separately represent his public and private consciousnesses. The Freedom of the City (produced in 1973) is set in a dangerous Londonderry in 1970 as British troops attempt to disperse Catholic civil-rights marchers, three of whom take temporary refuge in the assertively Unionist mayor's parlour in the Guildhall. This same Guildhall has figured prominently in Friel's subsequent career as the prime venue for the productions of Field Day, a small touring theatre company which has had the distinction not only of transferring productions to London theatres but, far more importantly, of winning financial and popular support from both sides of the Irish border. The Field Day company has premièred two of Friel's most remarkably revisionist plays, Translations (its première production in 1980) and Making History in 1988. Translations opens in a hedge-school in an Irish-speaking community in the 1830s. Although the play's medium is English, it is built around an implied clash of languages (English, Irish, Latin, Greek), around attempts to find a common means of communication, and around juxtapositions of cultures. On one level, the British Army surveyors, working on the Ordnance Survey map of Ireland, are intruders who impose their fudged and alien nomenclature on pre-existent ways of seeing and naming; on another, they are the representatives of disinterested scientific advance, jumping the West of Ireland into European conformity. The play's ramifications are relevant to virtually every territory over which tribes, aspirant colonizers, and recalcitrant natives have disputed and claimed as their unique possession. Making History, by contrast, explores how the writing of history imposes ordered arguments, narrative patterns, and convenient interpretation on essentially disordered and inconclusive material. Friel's questioning of assumptions, manners, and inherited prejudices is also evident in his sublest and densest play, Dancing at Lughnasa (premièred at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin in 1990, and presented at the National Theatre in London later in the same year). The play's narrator, an adult looking back on and re-enacting his boyhood in a Donegal cottage, is faced with a series of confusions and half-truths, but Dancing at Lughnasa as a whole deals with far more than the altered perceptions of maturity. Its supposed date, 1936, removes it from simply nationalist preoccupations, but places it squarely on the margins of other conflicts: a Spanish civil war which causes Irish catholics to lean instinctively towards Franco, and Irish involvement in Catholic missionary work in Africa. The play does not simply question the inward-looking, self-protecting values of a tightly knit family, it also exposes the ostensibly Catholicized culture of rural Ireland to direct parallels with despised 'pagan' Africa. Its delicacy, sympathy, and lexical richness render it comparable to the plays of Synge. Its multiple layers of reference, its political tensions, and its open-endedness render recent English attempst to writer either about Ireland or about the rural working class patronizingly crude by comparison.

Broad as has been the theatrical appal of most of the dramatists discussed so far, none has been able to match the popular success and the prolific output of Alan Ayckbourn (b. 1939), who in 1976 managed to have five plays running simultaneously in London. Ayckbourn's success has been based not simply on his sure ear for ordinary conversation or on his sharp observation of the whims, vices, irrationalities, and snobberies of precisely the kind of people who come to see his plays, but on his ability to amuse and provoke without giving offence. He has few ideological axes to grind. Some of his rapport with the public at large can also be put down to the fact that his plays have become central to the repertoires of the numerous middle-brow, amateur theatrical companies which operate in a long and honourable (if generally non-innovative) English tradition.

Despita Ayckbourn's prominence on both professional and amateur stages, his work, like that of many other living and dead dramatists, has reached a mass audience only through the medium of television. Though it has often been despised as a vulgar and largely commonplace form of entertainment and though it has sometimes been disparaged as a mere popularizer, British television has consistently attracted creative talent. Whereas the London stage was remarkable in the 1980s for adaptations of classic novels—notably Edgar's dramatization of Nicholas Nickleby, produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1980, and the extraordinarily effective version of Laclos's Les Liaisons dangereuses, adapted for the same company by Christopher Hampton (b. 1946) in 1987—the tradition of high quality adaptation had been kept vigorously alive in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s both by the BBC and by commercial television companies. Though some critics have always deplored the idea of translating prose fiction into drama, it ought to be conceded that modern television companies were only continuing practices actively espoused by the theatrical contemporaries of Scott and Dickens. New serialized versions of novels by Dickens (originally a serial novelist, of course) and Jane Austen were the classic staples of early television, their evident appeal to viewers encouraging now celebrated, sometimes lushly visualized, adaptations of works by Galsworthy (The Forsyte Saga, BBC 1969), Trollope, Graves, and Waugh. These versions have had an extraordinary success outside Britain, notably so in America and when they were shown on Soviet and Eastern European state television. Both the BBC and Independent television have proved entreprising patrons of more run-of-the-mill, but none the less thoughtful and socially responsive, serials in the form of vastly popular, long-running soap-operas, the most established of which is Granada Television's Coronation Street (which began in December 1960).
the singing detective

It is, however, as a patron of new drama that British television has performed an invaluable service to working writers and to their prospective audiences. Although at one stage the BBC prudishly decided that Osborne's Look Back in Anger was 'not suitable for a television audience' (the play was, however, transmitted by Granada), it later made honourable amends by commissioning new work by Beckett, Pinter, and Stoppard. Nevertheless, television's most solid contribution to artistic innovation has been through the evolution of a specific kind of drama shaped by the special resources of the medium. This innovation has been especially associated with Alan Bennett (b. 1934) and Dennis Potter (b. 1935). Bennett, who has also maintained an active involvement with the theatre (his play The Madness of George III was produced by the National Theatre in 1991), has been adept at working with particular actors and particular themes.
His An Englishman Abroad (BBC 1983), a piquant re-creation of the brief encounter in Moscow of the British spy, Guy Burgess, with the actress Coral Browne (who appeared in the production), uses both small and large spaces, cramped rooms and suggestions of Moscow theatres, streets, and churches. His series of monologues, Talking Heads (BBC 1990), however, concentrated on intimacy, on suggestive camera angles, and, above all, on physiognomies, glances, and revelatory turns of phrase. Potter is far more exclusively associated with television. His Alice, a version of Lewis Carroll's stories, was the first of a series of relatively shocking 'Wesnesday Plays' broadcast by the BBC from December 1962, and his paired dramas about the career of an upwardly mobile Member of Parliament (Vote, Vote, Vote for Nigel Barton and Stand Up for Nigel Barton, both 1965) sugggested a quite new, far from deferential response to Establishment politics. Potter's later works—notably the six-part drama Pennies from Heaven (1978), and the supremely ingenious intermixture of music, fantasy, sex, crime, and physical disease, The Singing Detective (1989)—suggest how profoundly television has been able to contribute to a still developing dramatic literature.





Acting Strange
























Jueves 10 de enero de 2012

Marat/Sade

The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum at Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade. Trans. Adrian Mitchell. Royal Shakespeare Company, with Patrick Magee, Glenda Jackson, etc., dir. Peter Brook.








Peazo Cultura Urbana 2



Peazo Cultura Urbana 2






Miércoles 9 de enero de 2012

Inter-War Drama: O'Casey, Coward, Priestley, and Sherriff

From The Short Oxford History of English Literature, by Andrew Sanders:

The innovations of 'Modernism' or, more precisely, the dramatic experiments of the leading 'Modernists', touched the English theatrical mainstream in the twenty years between the two world wars only indirectly. Joyce's Exiles was rejected by the normally progressive Stage Society in London and had to await a first performance, in a german translation, at Munich in 1919. Eliot's Sweeney Agonistes, published in 1932, was, somewhat bizarrely, given its first performance a year later by the women students of Vassar College in the United States. His Murder in the Cathedral was first acted in 1935 not in a London theatre but in the chapter house of Canterbury Cathedral. Of D. H. Lawrence's three remarkable, if somewhat static, explorations of working-class life—A Collier's Friday Night (written c. 1909 and published 1934), The Daughter-in-Law (1912), and The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd (1914)—only the last received of a London performance, under the auspices of the Stage Society in 1926. This performance belatedly provoked George Bernard Shaw to write that its 'torrent of profuse yet vivid dialogue' made his own seem 'archaic in comparison'. Even the redoubtable Shaw's most challenging late plays, Heartbreak House (1919) and Saint Joan (1924), received their premières in New York (though highly successful London productions of both followed within months).

The three best-known plays of Shaw's younger compatriot, Sean O'Casey (1880-1963), were shaped by the new Irish theatrical environment rather than by the demands of the more conventional London Establishment. O'Casey (born 'John Casey', and, at the peak of his association with the nationalist Gaelic League, known as 'Sean O Cathasaigh') was the last of the major early twentieth-century Irish playwrights to be associated with the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. A poor Protestant Dubliner by birth, he wrote about what he knew best—the sounds, the rhetoric, the prejudices, the frustrations and the manners of tenement dwellers of the slums of the Irish capital. Unlike his Abbey predecessors he was not prepared to romanticize Ireland or to fantasize about it either its past or its bloody present. Nor was he inclined to 'poticize' the vigorously rhythmical language of the Dublin poor. The Shadow of a Gunman (performed in Dublin in 1923 and in London in 1925) is set ina a back room in 'Hilljoy' Square at the time of the 'Black adn Tan' repression in 1920. The action of Juno and the Paycock (Dublin, 1924; London, 1925) also takes place in a single room in a two-room tenancy, though the period has moved forward to the time of the Irish Civil War in 1922. The Plough and the Stars, which provoked nationalist riots at the Abbey in 1926 but was more placidly received at the Fortune Theatre in London in the same year, describes the prelude to the eruption of the Easter Rising and the disjunctions of the Rising itself in 1916. Its action takes place in and around the Clitheroes' rooms 'in a fine old Georgian house struggling for its life against the assaults of time, and the more savage assaults of its tenants'. Despite the exemplary nature of O'Casey's nationalist credentials, in none of these plays does he offer apologies for the troubles of Ireland, or take sides with its oppressors or its supposed liberators. The poor are seen as caught up in a struggle that disrupts their lives rather than enhances or transfigures them. They are never dumb victims, but their very garrulousness reveals them as incomprehending and unwilling sufferers for someone else's cause. All three plays are characterized by their author as tragedies, but in all three the shadow and the reality of death is relieved by a wit which is as instinctive as it is irreverent. This ambiguity is to some degree exemplified in Juno and the Paycock in Jack Boyle's blusteringly reiterated reflection that 'the whole world's in a state o'chassis'. In The Shadow of a Gunman the theme of deception and self-deception, taken up from Synge's rural Playboy of the Western World  (1907) is played ironically back in a revolutionary, urban setting. The play's title is itself ambifuous. Gunmen on both sides overshadow the characters, but the gunman of the play is a sham. It is not this supposed warrior, the 'poet and poltroon' Donal Daoren, who dies violently, but the girl who looks upon him as a hero, the 'Helen of Troy come to live in a tenement', Minnie Powell. The conflict between bravado and bravery and between swaggering and fighting also determines the complex interactions of The Plough and the Stars. The assaulted tenement is both partially detached from the political struggle taking place beyond its walls and inextricably bound up in its confusions, injustices, and bloody accidents (again it is the woman, the otherwise impressively resilient Bessie Burgess, who is the victim). When O'Casey's experimental comment on the First World War, the 'Tragi-Comedy' The Silver Tassie, was rejected by the Abbey Theatre, O'Casey found a London theatre for its première in 1928 (he himself had already moved to England two years earlier). With Charles Laughton in the lead role and with scenery for the stylized expressionism of Act II designed by the painter Augustus John, The Silver Tassie seemed set to launch the dramatist on a new phase in his career. Its accentuated paradoxes, and the jerky contrast between the naturalism of its first and fourth acts and the exposed alienation of its middle two, in reality merely formed a prelude to the uncertainty, the awkwardness, and the sociality rhetoric of his later work. Neither Red Roses for Me (1943) nor the gesturing anti-clerical, anti-capitalist analyses of modern Ireland, Cock-a-Doodle Dandy (1949) and The Bishop's Bonfire (1955) managed to recall the tense, unsentimental energy of his Abbey plays.

The work of the most representative English dramatist of the period, Noël Coward (1899-1973), contrasts vividly with that of O'Casey. Coward combined the talents of actor, composer, librettist, playwright, and poseur, and his long career allowed each aspect a more than ample expression. After uncertain theatrical beginnings in the immediately post-war years he achieved a double succès de scandale in 1924 with The Vortex, a high-flown exploration of the condition of drug-addict tormented by his slovenly mother's adulteries, and the equally melodramatic The Rat Trap, a study of the miserable marriage of a playwright and his novelist-wife. In what must have seemed to audiences an abrupt change of style, in 1925 Coward produced Hay Fever. This elegantly malicious comedy, in which absurdity meets incomprehension, exposes both the eccentric, self-centered rudeness of the Bliss family and the bafflement of their conservative guests. His subsequent smartly packaged excursions into Ruritania—The Queen was in the Parlour (1926), The Marquise (1927), and the musical comedy Bitter Sweet (1929)—though vastly well-received in their time, effectively loooked back nostalgically to the lost enchantments of the Edwardian theatre. In his three major plays of the early 1930s, however, Coward glanced freshly at the problems of the immediate past and the incereasingly uneasy present. The elaborately staged Cavalcade (1931) traces the fortunes and opinions of the Marryot family in twenty-one short scenes covering the years 1899-1930 and includes episodes set variously in drawing-rooms, theatres, bar parlours, railway stations, and even on board the Titanic. It concludes with two contrasting scenes, the first of which shows its now aged central characters toasting the future in the hope that 'this country of ours, which we love so much, will find dignity and greatness and peace again'. The second, called, 'Twentieth Century Blues', takes place in a nightclub and intermixes a song about 'chaos and confusion', popular dance, woulded war-veterans making baskets, and the cacophonous sounds of loudspeakers, jazz bands, and aeroplane propellers. The 'angular and strange effect' that Coward sought at the end of Cavalcade is minimally reflected in the dialogue of his two comic studies of fraught marital relationships, Private Lives (1930) and Design for Living (1933), though, alas, neither play ultimately fulfils the psychological promise of the situations Coward wittily establishes. The limited ambitions of both were summed up in 1931 in their author's insistence that 'the primary and dominant object of the theatre is to amuse people, not to reform or edify them'. His last great success, Blithe Spirit, written in five days in 1941, ran for 1,997 performances in the West End of London (a record for a non-musical play in its time) as well as touring the provinces. It offered an essential escape from the preoccupations of the 'Home Front' in the Second World War, though it included, through the ethereal presence of Elvira and the spiritual interference of Madame Arcati, the reassurance to families parted by the war that death did not necessarily mark the end of a relationship.

J(ohn) B(oynton) Priestley (1894-1984), like Coward one of the most familiar and popular figures of the realm of propagandist entertainment during the Second World War, established his reputation as a novelist with The Good Companions (1929) and Angel Pavement (1930). The first, an account of the vagaries of the life of a travelling theatrical troupe, was successfully dramatized (with the aid of Edward Knoblock) in 1931. It opened the floodgates to Priestley's career as a dramatist in his own right, a career which ultimately included more than forty plays. His stance as a no-nonsense populist and professional Yorkshireman, so self-consciously cultivated in his wartime radio broadcasts (published under the confident titles Britain Speaks (1940) and All England Listened (1968), belied his genuine sophistication and dedication as an artist and critic. His best-remembered and most commonly revived plays, Time and the Conways
(1937), When We Are Married (1938), and the mystery An Inspector Calls (1947) show  a mastery of the conventional 'well-made' form and a tolerant sporting with human folly. The two comedies in particular tend o reinforce the virtues of common sense and stolidity rather than to challenge preconceptions as to the nature of society or the role of the theatre.

R(obert) C(edric) Sherriff's distinctly unreassuring dramatic account of life in the trenches of the First World War in Journey's End was translated from the Apollo Theatre (where it had been produced in December 1928 by the Stage Society) to the Savoy in January 1929. It ran for 594 performances before transferring to yet another West End theatre. Sherriff (1896-1975) never wrote anything more striking (though he had some later success in the theatre and with screenplays for the film-director Alexander Korda). Journey's End combines realism with the kind of restraint which is expressive of far more than the stiff-upper-lip heroics of idealized British officers. Its novelty lay in its stark portrayal of male relationships strained by an uncomfortable intimacy with discomfort, physical dissolution, and death. It brought a frank representation of wastage and violence to the London theatre which served as effectively as Wilfred Owen's posthumously published poetry to stir unreconciled and unhappy emotions in ex-soldiers and to exemplify the pity of war to those who had not been required to fight.



An Introduction to Time and the Conways






Unos encapuchados pasantes

Unos encapuchados pasantes






'Fields we do not know': Bunting and Larkin

From Andrew Sanders's Short Oxford History of English Literature:

Basil Bunting (1900-85) has proved one of the most difficult to 'place' of the major English poets of the twentieth century. He is certainly one of its most determinedly 'provincial', proud of his Northumbrian roots and culture and insistent in his use of northern words and in hie echoes of northern speech rhythms (a note to Briggflatts insists that 'southrons [southerners] would maul the music of many lines' in the poem). He is at the same time one of the most sophisticated openers up of English Modernism, one attuned to an international recasting of literary forms and one whose work is informed by the countours of non-native landscapes (in Bunting's case particularly by his extended sojourns in Italy and Iran; he worked as a British spy in the latter country in the 1950s). He was one of a very select group of inter-war writers approved of by Ezra Pound, who in 1938 had jointly dedicated his Guide to Kulchur to him and Louis Zukofsky as 'strugglers in the desert'. His total output as a poet remains relatively slim, however. Bunting's first volume of poetry Redimiculum Matellarum was published in Milan in 1930 at the time of his closest association with Pound, but it was not until the appearance of his long poem Briggflatts in 1966 (followed by his Collected Poems in 1968) that he attracted due recognition and a wider audience for his sometimes elusive, often complexly referential, work.

In a sense Bunting's work can be characterized by the idea of rediscovery. Like that of David Jones, his poetry re-explores historical and personal pasts, interweaving archaeology and landscape, memory and a burgeoning and reawakened sensibility. Unlike the chaste, God-haunted Jones, Bunting rejoices in his sexual identity, an identity associated in Briggflatts with the recurrent phallic emblem of the slow-workm. He also delights in the conjunctions of times and places, and it is to the well-remembered fells and exposed sea-coasts of north-eastern England that the poem returns with a sense of exact, happy, even mystical, recall in which earthly shapes are caught up in celestial patterns:

Shepherds follow the links,
sweet turf studded with thrift;
fell-born men of precise instep
leading demure dogs
from Tweed and Till and Teviotdale,
with hair combed back from the muzzle,
dogs from Redesdale and Coquetdale
taught by Wilson or Telfer.
Their teeth are white as birch,
Slow under the black fringe
of silent accurate lips.
The ewes are heavy with lamb.
Snow lies bright on Hedgehope
and tacky mud about Till
where the fells have stepped aside
and the river praises itself,
silence by silence sits
and Then is diffused in Now.

Bunting's sharp detailing has reminded some of his readers of Wordsworth's, but the sensibility which determines that detailing is distinctly Modernist.


Philip Larkin's work, which so characterized the mainstream of English poetry in the 1950s and 1960s, stands in marked contrast to that of Bunting. Larkin's novel Jill (1946) is set in an Oxford from which Arnold's 'last enchantments of the Middle Age' and Waugh's douceur de la vie have been banished by the make-do-and-mend mentality of the Second World War. 'Life in college was austere', Larkin wrote in the introduction he added to the novel in 1963; 'Its pre-war pattern had been dispersed, in some instances permanently. Everyone paid the same fees . . . and ate the same meals . . . At an age when self-importance would have been normal, events cut us ruthlessly down to size." Jill is remarkable not simply for its picture of an Oxford forced into a dispirited egalitarianism by the war, but also for its introduction of what became a common theme in the literature of the 1950s and 1960s, the awkward self-consciousness of provincial, lower-middle-class England and the upward mobility of a grammar-school educated intelligentsia. Although Larkin (1922-85) was not of the generation which benefited most from the provisions of the 1944 Education Act, he was typical of a new breed of articulate university graduate. As the key poet of the post-war decades he was also to chart other social and cultural changes with a sardonic percipience. Larkin was the most significant of a loose group of writers known in the early 1950s as 'the Movement', a group assumed by those who disliked what it stood for to be the typical product of wartime planning and the Welfare State. Evelyn Waugh, not unexpectedly, complained in 1955 of a 'new wave of philistinism with which we are threatened by these grim young people coming off the assembly lines in their hundreds every year and finding employment as critics, even as poets and novelists'. 'The Movement', which also included the novelist Kingsley Amis (1922-95), the poet and critic Donald Davie (b. 1922), and the poet and novelist John Wain (b. 1925), was united not so much by its class origins or by its beer-drinking, pipe-smoking, and jazz-appreciating friendships, but by a sensibility shaped by a shared antipathy to the cultural pretensions of Bohemia and Blomsbury and to what it saw as the élitism of much Modernist writing. It would be preposterous to cast the self-effacing Larkin as a prototype of the 'angry young man' of the late 1950s, but his was a distinctive and to some degree representative new voice.

The six volumes of verse that Larkin published in his lifetime were all modest in size. His first, The North Ship, appeared in 1945; it was succeeded by XX Poems (published in a tiny edition in 1951), by a slim pamphlet containing five further poems in 1954, and in 1955 by the volume which first made his name as a poet, The Less Deceived. His earliest published poem, 'Winter nocturne' (printed in his school magazine in 1938), clearly shows the influence of Yeats, an influence, 'as pervasive as garlic', which Larkin claimed could also be felt in the poems in The North Ship. From the mid 1940s, however, he discovered a new model of poetic restraint in Hardy. It is Hardy's example which seems to inform even the title of The Less Deceived. Much of Larkin's subsequent poetry was to bypass Modernist experiment and high-flown language in favour of traditional metrical forms and a precise and plain diction. The two later collections, The Whitsun Weddings (1964) and High Windows (1974), point not simply to the sharpness of Larkin's ear for the inflexions of his own age, but also to a new and, at the time, deliberately provocative frankness. As the selection of his Letters published in 1992 reveals, Larkin had a private penchant for what was once coyly described as 'four-letter words'. If this vocabulary had only entered the 'polite' literary mainstream before, Larkin's long-established admiration for Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover may partly explain the plain speaking of certain of the poems published in High Windows. The language of the title poem stresses its contemporaneity: 'When I see a couple of kids / And guess he's fucking her and she's / Taking pills or wearing a diaphragm, / I know this is paradise / Everyone old has dreamed of all their lives'. 'Annus Mirabilis', an old man's sing-song ballad, sees the paperback publication of Lawrence's book as part of a wider shift in popular culture and manners: 'Sexual intercourse began / in nineteen sixty-three / (Which was rather late for me)—/ Between the end of the Chatterley ban / And the Beatles' first L.P.' What has since become Larkin's most quoted line ('They fuck you up, your mum and dad') opens 'This Be the Verse', a poem which at first sight appears to be a neat summary of Freudian theory and Hardyan pessimism, but one which moves into an intensely private disillusion: 'Man hands on misery to man. / It deepens like a coastal shelf. / Get out as early as you can, / And don't have any kids yourself.'

When he was asked by an interviewer in 1979 if he had felt like an outsider as a child, Larkin stressed that he had been fond enough of his parents even though 'they were rather awkward people and not very good at being happy'. 'These things rub off', he added ruefully. There is little exhilaration in Larkin's verse. Human history and human experience, as he observes them, provide few occasions for rejoicing. If he recognizes that certain inherited characteristics do indeed 'rub off', he nevertheless sees himself as alienated from both an uncomfortable past and a cheerless Godless present. In 'I remember, I remember' a series of negatives undoes the fond sentimentality of Thomas Hood's poem of the same name. In a later poem, 'To the Sea', Larkin looks back far more gaily to the seasides of his parents' courtship and of his own boyhood, but the line expressive of the continuities that the poem recalls ('Still going on, all of it, still going on') scarcely suggests a sense of liberation in or from time. The snapshots in 'Lines on a Young Lady's Photograph Album' record 'dull days as dull, and hold-it smiles as frauds' and stir a sense of alienation from 'a past that no one now can share'. Larkin's present, a late 1950s present in the poems 'The Whitsun Weddings' and 'Afternoons' , is that of an England of false cheer, cheap fashions, joyless wedding parties, drab recreation grounds, and 'estatefuls' of washing. His accounts of the past are marked by an awareness of a gulf fixed between then and now by death and ageing. In 'MCMXIV', a joint tribute to the art of Wilfred Owen and to the deceptions of photography, he describes an 'innocent' group of young recruits, 'grinning as if it were all / An August Bank Holiday lark', about to be bloodied by the Great War. The country church in 'Church Going' is inspected with an 'awkward reverence' by a 'bored, uninformed' post-Christian narrator who frets at the prospect of a future in which religion will have shrunk to a prevalent fear of death. In what is perhaps his most delicate and lyrical poem, however, history and time, an unease at the prospect of death and an uncertain glimmer of human hope are fused together into a new whole. 'An Arundel Tomb' describes a medieval funerary monument to a husband and wife who are shown lying side by side and hand in hand. The 'lengths and breadths of time' have not only marred the sculptural image, but have also served to alter the way in which all images are read and interpreted:

       Snow fell, undated. Light
Each summer thronged the glass. A bright
Litter of birdcalles strewed the same
Bone-riddled ground. And up the paths
The endless altered people came,

Washing at their identity.
Now, helpless in the hollow of
An unarmorial age, a trough
Of smoke in slow suspended skeins
Above their scrap of history,
Only an attitude remains:

Time has transfigured them into
Untruth. The stone fidelity
They hardly meant has come to be
Their final blazon, and to prove
Our almost-instinct almost true:
What will survive of us is love.

The Audenesque confidence of the last line is deliberately qualified by the two preceding 'almosts'. The provisionality is essentially Larkin's own.

Toads Revisited






Vladimir Nabokov

From Hart and Leininger's Oxford Companion to American Literature: 
 
Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), born in Russia of a patrician family, educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, came to the U. S. (1940) and was naturalized in 1945. He was a professor of Russian literature at Cornell (1948-59) until his own literary success allowed him to retire. His ingenious, witty, stylized, and erudite novels include Laughter in the Dark (1938), published in England as Camera Obscura (1936), after the original Russian title, about the moral deterioration of a respectable Berliner; The Real Life of Sebastian Knight (1941), in which the narrator, a young Russian in Paris, discovers the true nature of his half-brother, an English novelist, by writing his biography; Bend Sinister (1947), about a politically uncommitted professor in a totalitarian state who tries to maintain personal integrity; Pnin (1957), amusing sketches about the experiences of an exiled Russian professor of entomology at an upstate New York college; Lolita (Paris, 1955, U.S., 1958), a farcical and satirical novel of the passion of a middle-aged, sophisticated European emigré for a 12-y3ar-old American "nymphet," and their wanderings across the U.S.; Invitation to a Beheading (Russia, 1938; U.S., 1959), a Kafkaesque story of a man sentenced to die for some unknown expression of individuality and his resultant discovery that he has a real soul; Pale Fire (1962), a satirical fantasy called a novel, which is a witty, ironic, and complex tour de force concerning a poem about an exiled Balkan king in a New England college town and the involved critical commentary of the poem by the king himself; The Gift (Russia, 1937; U.S., 1963), a pseudo-autobiography about Russian expatriates in Berlin after World War I; The Defense (Germany, 1930; U.S., 1964), about a young Russian master of chess who treats life as another game; The Eye (1965), about a Russian emigré living in Berlin; Despair (1966), about a man who contrives his own murder; King, Queen, Knave (1968), his second novel, originallly published in Germany (1928), also the setting for the story of a young man's affair with his married aunt; Ada or Ardor (1969), a witty parody whose involved plot, set in a fanciful land, deals with a man's lifelong love for his sister Ada; Mary (1970), the author's first novel (Germany, 1926), about a young Czarist officer exiled in Berlin and his first love affair; Glory (1971), the fifth (Paris, 1932) of his nine novels written in Russian, a comic portrait of a Russian émigré's wanderings; Transparent Things (1972), a novella about a rootless American's marriage and murder of his wife; and Look at the Harlequins! (1974), a novel about an author who very much resembles Nabokov himself. His stories have been gathered in several collections; his light, witty verse appears in Poems (1959) and Poems and Problems (1971), the latter including also problems in chess, and The Waltz Invention (1966) is a play. Conclusive Evidence (1951), revised as Speak, Memory (1966), gathers autobiographical sketches of life in Imperial Russia. Strong Opinions (1973) prints replies to journalists' questions about himself, literature, and public issues. He wrote a study of Nikolai Gogol (1944) and made a translation with commentary of Eugene Onegin (4 vols., 1964, revised 1977). The correspondence of Edmund Wilson and Nabokov, much of it about his translation of Pushkin, appeared in 1979. Other posthumous publications include Lectures on Literature (1980) and Lectures on Russian Literature (1981).


Invitation to a beheading, novel by Nabokov, published in Russia in 1938 and in the U.S. in 1959.

Cincinnatus C. is in prison awaiting execution for his crime of "gnostical turpitude" or "opacity" since his soul has been impenetrable and not open to other people. There he recalls his past life, including marriage to Marthe, a nymphomaniacal mother of two defromed children, and his own teaching of crippled children in a kindergarten. He also spends time thinking of ways to escape or talking with the prison director, Rodrig Ivanovich, and M'sieur Pierre, ostensibly another prisoner but actually his executioner. In time he learns to avoid his confusion of dreams of the past with present reality and discovers how to surround his soul with a structure of words that permits him to communicate with others. Nevertheless he is led to his execution, but as one part of his puts his head on the block, another part leaves to join the onlooking crowd of people who are "beings akin to him."


Lolita, novel by Nabokov, published in Paris (1955) and in the U.S. (1958).

In the psychopathic ward of a prison while awaiting trial for murder, 37-year-old Humbert Humbert writes out his life story. Though once wed to a woman about his age, he has long been obsessed by a passion for nymphets: girls between the ages of nine and 14. Coming from Europe to the U.S. on business, he meeets and marries the widowed Charlotte Haze only to be near her 12-year-old daughter Lolita. To achieve this he considers murdering Charlotte, but when she is killed by accident he takes Lolita on a cross-country junket, planning to seduce her, only to be seduced by her, for she is no longer a virgin. Lolita escapes from his jealous protection, and he does not learn of her again until she is 17, married, and pregnant. Then she tells him that during her days with hem she had love Clare Quilty, a famous playwright. Even though their affair is long in the past, the infuriated Humbert Humbert murders Quilty and is jailed but dies of a heart attack before his trial.



Pale Fire, novel by Nabokov, published in 1962.

An unfinished poem of 999 lines of heroic couplets, titled "Pale Fire," by John Shade is the subject of an inept but lengthy exegesis of 160 pages by Charles Kinbote. Although ostensibly a literary scholar, Kinbote admits he is actually Charles Xavier, last king of Zembla (1936-58), overthrown in a revolution. One of the revolutionary leaders, Gradus, has pursued the monarch to New Wye, Appalachia, in the U.S., where as Kinbote he is teaching at Wordsmith College. There Kinbote has made friends with the poet John Shade in the hope of persuading him to write an epic immortalizing Zembla and its last monarch. However, Gradus accidentally kills Shade while trying to assassinate the ex-king. Charles makes off with the manuscript of the unfinished poem that he persuades himself is a cryptic version of the desired epic, and therefore in editing the work for publication he creates the very elaborate commentary that forms the body of the novel.

Cognición retrospectiva, intertextualidad e interpretación







I do not think that they will sing to me


Ganas de irse a navegar





Les Misérables


No perdérsela:






Lunes 7 de enero de 2012

Visto en un cartel


Visto en un cartel





Domingo 6 de enero de 2012

The Long and Winding Road




The long and winding road
That leads to your door
Will never disappear
I've seen that road before
It always leads me here
Lead me to your door

The wild and windy night
That the rain washed away
Has left a pool of tears
Crying for the day
Why leave me standing here?
Let me know the way

Many times I've been alone
And many times I've cried
Anyway you'll never know
The many ways I've tried

But still they lead me back
To the long winding road
You left me standing here
A long long time ago
Don't leave me waiting here
Lead me to your door

But still they lead me back
To the long winding road
You left me standing here
A long long time ago
Don't keep me waiting here
Lead me to your door



Watching Nothing: Postmodernity in Prose


From Richard Gray's History of American Literature:

When Wolfe was cataloguing the forms of the contemporary American novel that, he believed, had failed in the primary duty to the real, he picked out one group for particular condemnation. They were the postmodernists: those who, Wolfe scornfully suggested, wrote about "The Prince of Alienation . . . sailing off to Lonesome Island on his Tarot boat with his back turned and his Timeless cape on, reeking of camphor balls." For their part, some of those writers have returned the compliment. One of them, for example, clearly thinking of figures like Raymond Carver, has referred to the school of "Post Alcoholic Blue-Collar Minimalist Hyperrealism." The opposition is not universal, of course, not even inevitable. On the contrary, most contemporary American novelists exploit the possibilities of both realism and postmodernism, and others besides, as they attempt to navigate the two rivers of American history described by Mailer. Nevertheless, the opposition hs been there at times: between the New Journalists and the Fabulators, the dirty realists and the fantasists or systems builders. And it is mapped out clearly in the gap that separates Wolfe, Carver, and the Capote of In Cold Blood from the wholehearted postmodernists of contemporary American writing, notably Thomas Pynchon (19837) and John Barth (1930-). Pynchon is perhaps the most acclaimed and personally the most elusive of the postmodernists. Relatively little is known about him, apart from the fact that he studied at Cornell, for some of the time under Vladimir Nabokov (who did not remember him). and that he worked for a while for the Boeing Aircraft Company in Seattle. He has chosen social invisibility, the last known photograph of him dating from the 1950s. Although this is almost certainly motivated by a desire to avoid the pitfalls of celebrity and the publicity machine, it has given the figure of Pynchon a certain alluring mystery. It also adds to the mystique his fiction projects, since that projection is of a world on the edgeo of apocalypse, threatened by a vast conspiracy directed by or maybe against and established power elite. This conspiracy, the intimation is, is decipherable through a series of arcane sighs. The signs, however, require interpretation, decoding according to the rules of structural paranoia. And one of those rules is that structural paranoia is impossible to distinguish from clinical paranoia. So interpretation may be a symptiom rather than a diagnosis. Pynchon's novels are extraordinarily intricate webs, self-reflexive halls of mirrors, precisely because they replicate the world as text—a system of signs that must but cannot be interpreted. Each of his books creates a lexical space, a self-referential verbal system, that imitates the post-humanist space, steadily running down and losing energy, that all of us now occupy.

Pynchon has been his own fiercest critic. In an introductory essay to his early stories, Slow Learner (1984), he has said that his fundamental problem when he began writing was an inclination "to begin with a theme, symbol, or other unifying agent, and then try to force characters and events to conform to it." His books are certainly packed with ideas and esoteric references; and, whether one agrees with this self-criticism or not, it is clear that Pynchon laid down his intellectual cards early. The title of his first important short story is "Entropy" (1960). It contains specific references to Henry Adams; and it follows carefully the Adams formulation, "Chaos was the law of nature; Order was the dream of man." The use of entropy as a figure for civilization running down was to become structurally formative in his later fiction. So was his use of two kinds of characters, alternative central figures first sketched out here. The situation in "Entropy" is simply and deliberately schematic. There is a downstairs and an upstairs apartment. Downstairs, a character called Meatball Mulligan is holding a lease-breaking party, which moves gradually toward chaos and consequent torpor. Upstairs, another character, an intellectual called Callisto, is trying to warm a freezing bird back to life. In his room he maintains a small hothouse jungle, referred to as a "Rousseau-like fantasy." "Hermetically sealed, it was a tiny enclave in the city's chaos," the reader is told, "alien to the vagaries of the weather, national politics, or any civil disorder." The room is a fantasy, a dream of order, in which Callisto has "perfected its ecological balance." But the room leaves him in paralysis, the dream does not work; the bird dies, and Callisto's girlfriend, realizing that he is "helpless in the past," smashes the window of their hermetically sealed retreat, breaking the shell surrounding his fantasy life. Meatball Mulligan, meanwhile, does what he can to stop his party "deteriorating into total chaos" by tidying up, calming his guests, getting things mended.

"Entropy," in this way, mediates between binary opposites: which are the opposites of modern consciousness and culture. There is the pragmatist, active to the point of excess, doing what he can with the particular scene, working inside the chaos to mitigate it. And there is the theorist, passive to the point of paralysis, trying to shape and figure the cosmic process, standing outside as much as he can, constructing patterns for the chaos to explain it. Meatball is immersed, drowning in the riotous present; Callisto is imprisoned in the hermetically sealed glasshouse of the past. The text, which here and later is the dominant presence in Pynchon's writing, is the interface between these two figures, these two systems or levels of experience. As such, it sketches out human alternatives in a multiverse where mind and matter are steadily heading for extinction. Or, it may be, the alternatives of hyperactivity and containment, the open and the closed, between which the individual consciousness constantly vacillates. The two are not, in any event, mutually exclusive. To an extent, what Pynchon does in his work is to give a decidedly postmodernist spin to perennial American preoccupations. In the tradition of the American jeremiad, he presents a culture, if not bound for heaven, then bent toward hell, its own form of apocalypse or heat death. And in the grain of American writing structured around the figures of the wilderness and the clearing, he develops a sometimes bewildering series of systems, human and nonhuman, built around the fundamental, formaive principles of spatial openness and closure, immersion and separation, the flexible and the fixed, the signified and the signifier—a world that is a  totality of things, data, and a world that is a totality of fact, signs.

In his first novel, V (1963), Pynchon returned to two formative characters recalling Callisto and Meatball in the shape of Hubert Stencil and Benny Profane. The book confirms its author's sense of the modern world as an entropic waste land, inhabited by men and women dedicated to the annihilation of all animatedness. It is bounded by dead landscapes, urban, mechanical, underground. A populous narrative, it is also packed with characters who are ciphers; seeing others and themselves, not as people, but as things, objects, they lapse into roles, masquerade, and cliché. Blown along the mean streets and even meaner sewers of this story, Benny Profane is a schlemiel, the suffering absurd comedian of Jewish lore. A faded copy of a picaro, he drifts through life in such enterprises as hunting alligators underneath New York City; it is there, in fact, in the darkness and oblivion of the sewers, that he finds his greatest comfort and peace. Hubert Stencil, on the other hand, searches the world for V., the mysterious female spy and anarchist who is by turns Venus, Virgin, and Void and seems to be everywhere and nowhere. Stencil appears to be on a significant quest. Described as "a century's child" and born in 1901, he is pursuing the remnants of the Virgin in the world of the Dynamo. His father, a former British spy, has left behind enigmatic clues pointing to a vast conspiracy in modern history So, whereas Profane lives in a world of sightlessness without signs or discernible patterns, Stencil enters a world of elusive signs and apparent patterns, all gravitating toward an absent presence, the lady V. his quest is for a fulcrum identity. In a sense, he is given an outline identity by his search, since he thinks of himself as "quite purely He who looks for V. (and whatever impersonations that might involve)." It is also a quest for the identity of modern times. Using the oblique strategy of "attack and avoid," Stencil moves through many of the major events of the twentieth century, seeking to recover the master plot, the meanings of modern history and this book. The only meaning found, however, is the erasure of meaning: the emptying of a significant human history and its sacrifice to mechanism and mass. The purposiveness of Stencil, it turns out, and the purposelessness of Profane are both forms of "yo-yoing" movement, often violent oscillation, bereft of all significance except the elemental one of postponing inanimatedness.

At the heart of V, in short, is a paradox characteristic of all Pynchon's work. Its enormous historical bulk and vast social fabric is so constructed that it may be deconstructed, so complexly created that it may be doubted then decreated. The deconstruction is there, centrally, in the controlling sign of V. herself, "a remarkably scattered concept" as we are told. A human figure, passsing through many stages and identities, she comes down to Stencil's final dream of her as a plasticated technological object. A shifting letter attached to a historical process of progressive deanimation, the human figure is translated into a figure of speech. The other two compositional principles of the novel, Stencil and Profane, may apparently be opposed, just as Callisto and Meatball are, as the creator of patterns and the man of contingency, the constructive and the deconstructive, he who seeks and he who floats They are joined, however, not only in a failure of significance but a failure of identity. Stencil and Profane inhabit a textual world that simultaneously exhausts and drains meaning: there is a proliferation of data, in excess of possible systems and in denial of any need, any compulsion to explain. Not only that, they are created only to be decreated, just as that textual world is—and in the same terms as that elusive noncharacter V. herself. Their names are parodies, their words and gestures gamesome or stereotypical, their physcial bearing a series of masks. As such, they offer playful variations on a definition of life supplied during the novel: as "a successive rejection of personalities." In the simplest sense, V is not a book without a subject or a plot. Full of characters (of a sort) and events, it exploits a number of narrative genres to keep the action lively and the attention engaged: among them the mystery story, the tale of the quest, and science fiction. But in another, more elemental sense, it is. Not only a text about indeterminacy, V is an indeterminate text: its significance, its subject is the lack, the impossibility of one.pynchon

Almost the last reported words of V. are "How pleasant to watch Nothing." In his subsequent fiction, Pynchon has continued this watching and searching of the boundlessness of "Nothing" in a variety of fictional guises. In his second novel, The Crying of Lot 49 (1966), the main character, Oedipa Maas, learns that her onetime lover, Pierce Inverarity, has made her an executor of his estate. Now he is dead, she sets out to investigate Inverarity's property: an investigation that leads to the discovery of what she takes to be a conspiratorial underground communication systema dating back to the sixteenth century. Following the clues, she finally believes she will solve the enigma thorugh a mysterious bidder keen to buy Inverarity's stamp collection. But the novel ends with the enigma unsolved, the plot and its meaning unresolved, as Oedipa awaits the crying out at the auction of the relevant lot number 49. The subject, and its significance, still wait to be located. So do they in Gravity's Rainbow (1973), Pynchon's third novel. Set in the vlosing years of World War II, the story here, a complex web of plots and counterplots, involves a Nazi Lieutenant Weissman, disguised as a mysterious Captain Blicero, and an American sleuth, Lieutenant Tyron Slothorp, while V-2 rockets rain down on London. Weissman, it appears, was once the lover of V.—in this elaborate intertextual world, Pynchon's texts echo his own as well as the texts of others. The gravitations of mood are characteristic: from black humor to lyricism to science fiction to fantasy. So is the feeling the reader experiences, while reading the book, that he or she is encountering not so much different levels of meaning or reality, as different planes in ictive space, with each plane in its shadow box proving to be a false bottom, in an evidently infinite regression. So, also, finally is the suspicion of conspiracy: Gravity's Rainbow explores the possibility that, as one character puts it, "war was never political at all, the politics was all theater, all just to keep the people distracted."

In this fictivie maze, the V-2 rocket assumes an elusive significance. It answers "to a number of shapes in the dreams of those who touch it—in combat, in tunnel, or on paper"; each rocket, the reader learns, "will know its intended and hunt him . . . shining and pointed in the sky at his back . . . rushing in, rushing closer." The intimations of a conspiratorial system, here "dictated . . . by the needs of technology," is wedded, in a way characteristic of Pynchon, to a centrally, crucially indeterminate sign. Like V., the V-2 rocket is as compelling as it is mysterious, as beautiful as it is dangerous, constantly dissolving into nothingness, deadly. Compared to a rainbow arched downwards, as if by a force of gravity that is dragging humankind to its death, the rocket initiates the same need to find meaning as V. did. Similarly, it offers an excess of meaning, an excess that is an evacuation. Since Gravity's Rainbow, Pynchon has moved forward to the landscape of the 1980s and, through ample reminiscence, the 1960s in Vineland (1990), then back to the early twentieth century in Against the Day (2006) and forward again to the 1960s in his variation on the noir novel, Inherent Vice (2009). In between Vineland and Against the Day, he moved back to the early republic in Mason and Dixon (1997)_ to the days when men like the two famous surveyors mentioned in the title were trying to establish boundaries in the boundlessness of America, in order to appropriate it. America is memorably described in this novel as "a very Rubbish-Tip for subjunctive Hopes, for all that may yet be true". It is the world, the landscape that inahbits all Pynchon's fiction: the realm of measurelessness and dream, the indicative and the subjunctive, the closed and appropriated and the open And it is typical of the author that he should weave his speculations on legends, the rich "Rubbish-Tip" of dreams ("Does Britannia when she sleeps, dream? one character asks, "Is America her dream?"), into a densely populated social fabric and a meditation on historical decline. The fictive energy of Pynchon seems inexhaustible, not least because it careers with tireless energy between contraries. But to an extent, what drives it is summed up in one simple question one character asks the other in this novel: "Good Christ, Dixon. What are we about?"

The narrator of John Barth's second novel, The End of the Road (1958), begins the story he is to tell with a sly parody of the opening sentence of Moby-Dick: "In a sense, I am Jake Horner." That use of language to set up distances is characteristic. The distances are several: between reader and character (Horner is already asking us to look at him as only "in a sense" what he names himself), between the narrator and character (who only "in a sense" form a negotiable, nameable identity)—above all, between the world inside the text and the world outside Barth has proved to be his own best critic and commentator precisely because his is a fiction that continually backs up on itself, subverting any temptation to link that fiction to reality by commenting on form. HIs texts and characters are constatnly commenting on themselves, or inviting or insisting on such comment. His fourth novel, Giles Goat-Boy (1966), for instance, begins with fictive letters of introduction by several editors that suggest, among other things, that the author is "unhealthy, embittered, desperately unpleasant, perhaps masturbative, perhaps alcoholic or insane, if not a suicide." Or then, again, that he is a mysterious unknown, or even a computer.. Besides creating multiple dubieties, making the book a series of masks, the letters both liberate the author from the authority of authorship and advie the reader as to how to read this fiction. Which is, as fiction: a series of signs that have no reference to objects outside themselves, and whose value lies in their intrinsic relationship, the play between them. "This author," one editor complains, "has maintained that language is the matter of his books"; "he turns his back on what is the case, rejects the familiar for the amazing, embraces artifice and extravagance; washing his hands of the search for Truth, he calls himself 'doorman of the Muses' fancy-house'."

"What is the case" is a sly allusion to a famous remark made by the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. "The world is all that is the case." The world, Wittgenstein argues, is the sum of what we take to be true and believe that others take to be rue. We construct our world from the inside out; and the crucial weapon in those configurations, those patternings of things, is the system of language we have at our disposal. We cannot, in fact, get outside the prisonhouse of our language; all we can do, when we draw a picture of our world, is draw the bars. Inadvertently, one of the fictive editors revelas the project that is at the heart of all Barth's fiction, and all other work that is sometimes called postmodern and sometimes metafiction. Everything is only "in a sense" this or that it is named. The self is the sum of its rules, its locutions; the world is the sum of our constructions of it; any apparent essence, any "natural" baing or feeling or presence, is really a social construct, a sign of culture trying to wear the mask of nature (and "nature" is a cultural convention, too). And the text refers to nothing but itself. The ultimate postmodern protagonist is perhaps Echo in Lost in the Funhouse (1968), Barth's first collection of stories, who "becomes no more than her voice." That, together with the self-referential nature of his language and the self-reflexive character of his fiction, may make Barth's work sound abstract to the point of being ossified. It is not, on the whole, because the voice is vital: his novels and stories are packed with voices, energetic, comically ebullient, often ironic, as Pynchon's are with masks and figures. Not only that, in his hands, the prisonhouse of language does become a funhouse: a place for play and passionate virtuosity.

As for voices: these range from the tones of the narrator of Barth's first novel, The Floating Opera (1956), recalling his experiences on the day in 1937 when he debates suicide, to the multiple voices of his fifth novel, Letters (1979). As its title implies, Letters is an unusual development of epistolary fiction. In it, seven more or less parallel narratives are revealed through correspondence written by seven characters from Barth's earlier fiction, including the author himself as just another imaginary figure. The intricate story that emerges is a characteristic inquiry into enclosure and liberation: the patterns into which all seven characters have previously been set, the degree of freedom they may possibly discover and possess. Typical of Barth's voices, that of Jake Horner, in turn, is notable for its sometimes playful, sometimes angry irony, its humorous elusiveness. Horner is a man so aware of the plural possibilities of existence, the "game" involved in living, that he often finds himself incapable of reacting, acting out a role. He can always find a reason for doing something, or its complete opposite. And the action of The End of the Road concerns a time when, on the advice of his doctor, he attempts to remedy this by becoming a college teacher, to
"teach the rules. Teach the truth about grammar," the vocabulary of life. The novel circles around a disastrous travesty of a love triangle when Jake becomes briefly involved with the wife of a fellow teacher who does belive life can be contained within one version of it—who, as Jake marvels, is "always sure of his ground." Yet that triangular affair, and its dreadful outcome, is less in the foreground than Jake's sustained sense of the absence of identity, his or that of others, outside of roles, or the absence of action or meaning apart from performance. He—and we the readers—are constantly being reminded that this is a story, one possible version of the world among an infinite number. What gives the novel its power is the tricky movements of Jake's voice, always prone to tell us something and then confide "in other senses, of course, I don't believe this at all." And what gives it its passion is the vacillation, the constant movement Jake's awareness of his predicament instigates, between play and paralysis. The games enforced in The End of the Road with their painful consequences, conclude with Jake leaving the college and taking a taxi cab to the airport. Jake's last word is his ambiguous instruction to the driver, as he gets into the taxi: "Terminal."

Jake seems to step out of life and motion as he steps into the cab and out of the narrative. Life equals language equals story. That is the formula animating Barth's work. To cease to narrate is to die: a point that Barth makes more or less explicit in his use of the figure of Scheherazade in the opening history in his collecction, Chimera (1972). Scheherazade was, of course, the figure in the Arabian folktale who stayed alive simply by telling stories. Telling stories, in turn, spins into fantasy. Barth is fond of creating worlds within worlds, using parody and pastiche, verbal and generic play to produce multiple layered simulacra: copies, imitations of something for which the original never existed. It could and can never exist because there was and is no reality prior to the imitation, to tales and telling. So, in The Sot-Weed Factor  (1960), Barth takes up the author fo the 1708 Maryland poem with the same title, Ebenezer Cooke, about whom virgually nothing is known. He then uses Cooke as the hero of a lusty picaresque tale that is a pastiche of history, conventional historical fiction, autobiography, and much else besides. The Sot-Weed Factor also raises the issue of how history aand identity are known, by slyly eliding them with all kinds of literary "lies" from poetry to tall tales and braggadocio to mythology. Giles Goeat-Boy, after its initial framing in the debate over authorship, continues theis subversion through similarly comic devices. The whole modern world is conceived of as a university campus, controlled by a computer that is able to run itself and tyrannize people. The book is in part a satirical allegory of the Cold War, since it is divided into East and West. It is also a characteristically layered fiction, since it parodies everal genres (myth, allegory, the quest, and so on) and a variety of texts (including the Bible, Don Quixote, and Ulysses). Above all, it translates the earth into an artifice. The world, the intimation is, is a fable, a structure created by language and, as such, comparable to the artificial structures created by the author of this novel (whoever he or it may be) and by all his characters (who practice their several disciplines, their different roles and subject vocabularies). Works written since Giles Goat-Boy, such as Letters, Sabbatical: A romance (1982), The Tidewater Tales (1987), The Last Voyage of Sinbad the Sailor (1991), and The Development (2008), continue Barth's passionate play with various forms, the numerous ways in which we tell ourselves stories to live them and live in them. For him, that play is at once imperative and inspiring, a form of necessity and a liberation, something coextensive with breathing. Some of his characters sometimes may yearn, as one of them puts it, "to give up language altogether." But that, as Barth feels and indicates, is to "relapse into numbness," to "float voiceless in the wash of time like an amphora in the sea." It may seem attractive occasionally, but to evacuate voice is to erase identity, place, and prexence. To abandon language and its difficulties is to surrender to death.

Two writers who have sketched out very different possibilities for postmodernism, an, in doing so, created distinctive fictive landscapes, are Donald Barthelme (1931-1989) and John Hawkes (1925-1998). The distances between them, despite their common allegiance to work of art as object, an opaque system of language rather than transparnt account of the world, are suggested by two remarks. "Fragments are the only forms I trust," observes the narrator in one of the stories in Barthleme's second collection, Unspeakable Practices, Unnatural Acts (1968). "The need is to maintain the truth of the fractured picture." Hawkes insisted in an early interview. Hawkes is interested in creating strange, phantasmagoric landscapes, dreamscapes in a way, that evoke, always in their own terms, what he has called "The enormities of ugliness and potential failure within ourselves and in the world around us," "our potential for violence and absurdity as well as for graceful action." Barthelme is just as committed as Hawkes is to the displacement of the writer from the work. He is also committed to the displacement of the work from the world, so that the work becomes simply, as Barthelme puts it, "something that is there, like a rock or a refrigerator." But, whereas Hawkes's fiction has a quality of nightmare, entropic stillness, Barthelme's stories and novels are witty, formally elegant, slyly commenting on themselves as artifacts. Hawkes began his writing, he said, with "something immediately and intensely visual—a room, a few figures." Then, eschewing interest in plot, character, setting, and theme, he aimed for what he called "totality of vision or structure." Using corresponding events, recurring images and actions, and a prose style that seems to freeze things in times and retard readerly attention, he creates landscapes of evil and decay. As his characters traverse these landscapes almost somnambulistically, their and our feelings vacillate between fear, dread, and the bleakly, blackly, humorous. Barthelme, however, begins his writing in the verbal rather than the visual. "O I wish there were some words in the world that were not the words I always hear!" complains the title character in Barthelme's first novel, Snow White (1967). Barthelme obliges with a verbal collage, full of odd juxtapositions and unpredictable swerves: a linguistic equivalent of Pop Art, in a way, which picks up the shards and fragments, the detritus of modern life and gives them a quality of surprise. "We like books that have a lot of dreck in them," admits the narrator of that same novel. And it is precisely the dreck of contemporary conversation, from the commonest clichés to intellectual chatter, that is picked up in his books and turned all to strangeness by omitting or fragmenting the habitual arrangements and separations by which we seek to retain a feeling of control over our environment. Waste is turned to magic in his work, but the sense of magic is also accompanied by unease. Barthelme's fiction constantly fluctuates between immersion in trash culture and the impulse to evade, an impulse that finds its emotional issue in irony, disappointment, and a free-floating nostalgia. Everything doubles back on itself, nothing is not placed in implicit, ironic question marks in his fiction. Nevertheless, what Barthelme captures in his work, along with what one of his charcters called "the ongoing circus of the mind," is the suspicion that, after all, it may not be that easy to go with the junk flow—or to be what Barthelme has called himself, "a student of surfaces."

"Do you like the story so far?" asks the narrator of Snow White about halfway through. He then helpfully provides the reader with an opportunity to answer "Yes ( ) No ( )." This is followed by a further fourteen questions for the reader to fill in his or her preferences. Quite apart from reminding us that this book is, after all, an artifact, an object, the product of play and planning, the questionnaire offers a slyly parodic comment on the currently fashionable ideas of the work of art as open and the reader as co-producer rather than a consumer of the text. But the last question sounds a slightly melancholic note. "In your opinion, should human beings have more shoulders? ( )," the narrator asks. "Two sets of shoulders? ( ) Three? ( )." Any world has its stringencies, its absences, restricting the room for magic and play. The absence of several shoulders is not the most pressing of these, perhaps. But how else would Barthelme intimate these limits and lacks but in a manner that subverts, pokes fun at his own intimation? Barthelme is resistant to message. One of his stories, "The Balloon" in Unspeakable Practices, Unnatural Acts, even toys with the absurdity of meaning. An enormous balloon appears over the city. People argue over its significance. Some manage to "write messages on the surface." Mainly what people enjoy, though, is that it is "not limited and defined." It is delightfully random, amorphous, floating free above "the grid of precise, rectangular pathways" beneath it. And "this ability of the balloon to shift its shape, to change," the reader learns, "was very pleasing, expecially to people whose lives were rather rigidly patterned." Clearly, the balloon is a paradigm of the art object, the kind of free-form product, plastic and ephemeral, that Barthelme is interested in making: resistant to understanding, interpretation, or reflection. but, in its own odd, jokey way, as it floats over the citizens, it generates a ruefulness, a wry regret that carries over into Barthelme's other fictions. "I am in the wrong time," Snow White reflects "How does the concept of 'something better' arise?" the narrator of that same novel asks, "What does it look like, this something better?" It is remarkable that the sportive fantasy and verbal trickery of Barthelme are often at their best when he is playing with loss and longing: "Emily Dickinson, why have you left me and gone?" goes a passage in Snow White, "ah ah ah ah ah." Readers can certinly walk around a Barthelme verbal object, seeing in it above all a model of how to free language and feeling from stale associations. But what they are likely to catch, as they walk around, is a borderline melancholia. So, when Snow White writes a poem, the seven men who live with her have no doubt as to its theme. "The theme is loss, we take it," they ask causticlally. Her reply is simple: "I have not been able to imagine anything better."

Of John Hawkes's 1961 novel, The Lime Twig, his fellow novelist Flannery O'Connor has observed that "You suffer it like a dream. It seems to be something that is happening to you, that you wait to escape from but can't." That is true of all his fiction. His nominal subjects range far and wide—many of them, he has said, acquired from the newspapers or from other writers. So, for instance, The Cannibal (1949) explores the horrors of devastation in postwar Germany. The Lime Twig presents the psychopathic effects on a man of life during and after the blitz on London. Travesty (1967) is the monologue of a Frenchman that serves as a suicide note while he prepares to kill his daughter, his friend, and himself. Virginia (1982) concerns a girl who has experenced two previous lives in France, both marked by strange sexual experience. Adventures in the Alaskan Skin Trade (1985) is about a boy confronted with hunting and sexuality during a trip to Alaska. And
The Frog (1996) tells of a boy with a real or imagined frog in its stomach. What characterizes all thise and his other novels, however, is the vision of a dreamscape fractured by an appalling yet almost ritualized violence. Hawkes has said that he wanted, from the first, to create "a totally new and necessary fictional landscape." "My writing depends on absolute detachment," he has explained, "and the unfamiliar or invented landscape helps me to achieve and maintain that detachment . . . I want to try to create a world, not represent one." What he is after is objectification, not representation. As Hawkes puts it, his aim is "to objectify" the terrifying similarity between the unconscious desires of the solitary man and the disruptive needs of the visible world, so as to achieve "a formalizing of our deepest urgencies". His characters come and go across his frozen landscapes as if caught in a strange sort of repetition compulsion. They are not so much imitations of life as figures from an exhibition, waxwork curios from some subliminal house of horror. And the violence they inevitable encounter is as vivid and distant as violence seen through soundproof glass. in The Cannibal the primary act of violent negation is signaled by the controlling metaphor of the book, which also gives it its title. Although the main setting is Germany after the war, it reaches back to 1914 and forward to a future repetition of Nazi control, which will return the entire nation to an insane asylum. The dominant presence, and narrator, is Zizendorf, the leader of the Nazis. Set in contrast to him is a young girl, Selvaggia, who stands at a window, in innocent, impotent terror, watching the evil that men do. By the end, she is "wild-eyed from watching the night and the birth of the Nation." Zizendorf orders her to draw the blinds and sleep. The last sentence of the book gives us her response: "She did as she was told." The return to an evidently endless sleep, a nightmare of violent repression, seems inevitable, since there is no intimation in this or any other book by Hawkes, that things can change or get better. Just as character and setting appear paralyzed, so events are peculiarly without progression. Hawkes so rearranges the fractured elements in his fictive picture that the temporal dimension drains away into a spatial patterning of detail. And he so contrives his prose into complex sequences of baroque fragments that the reader too is held back, left in suspense. We are doomed to watch the world Hawkes creates just as Selvaggia does, with helpless, horrified wonder. Or, to return to that remark of O'Connor, we have to suffer it, like a dream.

Two other writers associated with postmodernism, Thomas Berger (1924-) and John Gardner (1933-1982), could hardly be more different from Barthelme and Hawkes, or from one another. Which goes to show, perhaps, that postmodernism is almost as capacious a term as realist. A prolific writer, Berger has produced a series of comic novels about his non-Jewish schlemiel hero Carlo Reinhart (Crazy in Berlin (1958), Reinhart in Love (1962), Vital Parts (1970), Reinhart's Women (1981)). He has written parodies of the detective novel (Who is Teddy Villanova? (1977) and Arthurian romance (Arthur Rex (1978)), replayed Oresteia (Ossie's Story (1990)) and Robinson Crusoe (Robinson Crews (1994)) for modern times, and engaged in satirical fables about, for instance, a man with the power to become invisible (Being Invisible (1987) or a man so discontented about his relationship with real women that he builds an ideal woman secretly at the animatronics frim where he works (Adventures of the Artificial Woman (2004)). Unquestionably his best novel, however, is Little Big Man (1964). The narrator of this novel, Jack Crabb, the Little Big Man, is by his own account 111 years old. He claims to be the sole survivor of Custer's last stand, knocked out Wyatt Earp, and to have been in a shootout with "Wild Bill" Hickock. Drawing on the traditions of frontier humor and the tall tale, Berger endows Crabb with a voice that is vernacular and vital, and a view of life that is shifty, amoral, and unillusioned. "Most of all troubles comes from having standards," he declares. So, he careers between roles and between cultures with "a brainy opportunism" as it is called by the prissy amateur historian, Ralph Fielding Snell, who frames the novel with a foreword and epilogue. Snell admits doubt as to whether Crabb is "the most neglected hero in the history of this country or a liar of insane proportions." From one point of view, however, that hardly matters. Either way, Snell and Berger intimate, Crabb is heroic: providing, either by deed or word, "an image of human vitality holding its own in the world amid the surprises of unplanned coincidence." Set in a classic American past though it is, Little Big Man (and, for that matter, The Return of Little Big Man (1999) is about the typical protean man of postmodern science fiction for whom there are no settled certainties, no sure codes, and roles are picked up or discarded like a set of clothes. There are no absolutes, no essences; that classic past and its myths are themselves demystified, mocked, and parodied. The only constant here is the constant self-fashioning: a self-exploratory, in flux, that casually acts or voices itself into being—that makes itself as it goes along.

As the title of one of his critical works, On Moral Fiction (1978), suggests, Gardner was nominally far from such moral relativism. "Art leads, it doesn't follow," he said in an interview in 1977. "Art does not imitate life, art makes people do things," he added, "if we celebrate bad values in our arts, we're going to have a bad society; if we celebrate values which make you healthier, which make life better, we're going to have a better world." Consistent with this, he produced in his 1976 novel, October Light, two interwoven stories concerned with the nihilism and alienation of contemporary life. One circles around popular culture: television, with its "endless simpering advertising" and "its monstrously obscene games of greed." The other focuses on high culture: the literature of absurdism and entropy with its assumption that "life . . . was a boring novel." What the protagonist in both stories has to learn is a deeply traditional lesson: the difference between false art and real life. He has to return from the false worlds of mass cvulture and amoral literature to the true world of relationship; and, finally, he does. Gardner's finest novel, Grendel (1971), however, does not entirely conform to his own expressed views about art. The book tells the story of the old English epic poem "Beowulf" from the point of view of the monster. Gardner himself was a medievalist scholar; and here he plays with medieval notions of psychology and numerological symbolism as he sets the materialism, nihilis, and sheer brutishness of Grendel against heroic Christianity. What emerges from this extraordinary tales is the revelation that Grendel is indispensable to the civilizing forces of science and the arts. He is the brute existence on which humans depend for their definition of themselves. "You stimulate them! You make them think and scheme. You drive them to poetry, science, religion, all that makes them what they are," a sympathetic dragon tells Grendel. "You are mankind, or man's condition: inseparable as the mountain-climber and the mountain." A source of power for humanity, apparently, Grendel is also the source of power for the book. Like Satan in Paradise Lost, he may lose but the author seems to be secretly on his side. Edgy, unnatural, unreliable, Grendle is a typically postmodern narrator. Constantly dramatizing or changing himself, his strong, seductive voice leaves the reader without sure ground. "I cry, and hug myself, and laugh," he declares, "letting out salt tears, he he! till I fall down and gasping and sobbing. (It's mostly fake.)." Gardner may have been suspicious of postmodernism and keen to give his work a moral dimension. Ironically, his finest character and narrator is irredeemably, necessarily amoral. And his best work is his best precisely because it has a postmodern edge.

The range of possibilities charted by writers as otherwise different as Gardner and Berger, Hawkes and Barthelme suggests that postmodernism is probably best seen, not as a unified movement, but as a cluster, a constellation of motives, a generic field. it is a field that is itself marked by skepticism about specific generic types; in its disposition to parody, ironic inversion, and metafictional insistence on its own modes of significance—and, in particular, language—it is the absolute reverse of the stable. The one constant in postmodernism, that is constant only in its inconstancey, was handily summarized by Ronald Sukenick (1932-2004) in The Death of the Novel and Other Stories (1969). There, he insisted that "the contemporary" lived in "the world of post-realism" and had "to start from scratch." "Reality doesn't exist," Sukenick argued. "God was the omnipresent author, but he died: now no one knows the plot." So, living in an age of epistemological redefinition, an urgently felt need to redraw the mental maps of the world, postmodernist writers thrive on the imperative of being abetrant, arbitrary—above all, different. And the loose, baggy monster of postmodernism can include such diverse radical experimentalists, aside from writers already entioned and Sukenick himself (Up (1968), 98.6 (1975), Blown Away (1986)) as Nicholson Baker (1940-) (The Mezzanine (1988), Vox (19992) The Everlasting Story of Wory (1998))), William H. Gass (1924-) (Omensetter's Luck (1966)), Steve Katz (1935-)
The Exaggerations of Peter Prince (1968), Moving Parts (1977), Clarence Major (1936-) (All-Night Visions (1969), No (1973)), Stephen Schneck (1944-1996) (The Nightclerk (1965)), Gilbert Sorrentino (1929-2006) (Imaginary Qualities of Actual Things (1971), Flawless Play Restored (1975), Aberration of Starlight (1980)), and Rudolph Worlitzer (1938-) (Nog (1969)). For that matter, it can incorporate Joseph McElroy (1930), whose Lookout Cartridge (1974) conveys a sense of formal systems functioning in a void and one of whose novels, Plus (1977), is about a mind suspended in space. And Robert Coover, who in his finest novel, The Public Burning (1977), transfers actual events, including the Eisenhower years and the execution of the Rosenbergs for spying, to the figurative realm. The execution of the Rosenbergs is turned into a public burning in Times Square, New York. Times Square itself is presented not just as a public meeting place but a source of a history, since it is here that the records of the New York Times are created. Coover goes on to analyze how historical record is made, in a bold imaginative gesture which shows that fiction does not only aid fact in the rehearsal of the past; it can, and does, draw it into subjective reality. In doing so, he offers what is in effect a postmodernist meditation on history, and on the urgencies, the origins of story.

Two other writers often associated with postmodernism, Russell Banks (1940) and David Foster Wallace (1962-2008), have taken very different paths. Banks's output is unusually varied. His first novel, Family Life (1975) is aa fragmented narrative set in an imaginary kingdom. With its rejection of traditional forms of characterization and its foregrounding of artifice, it bears many of the hallmarks of postmodernism. So do his second and fourth novels, Hamilton Starks (1978) and
The Relation of My Imprisonment (1983). With The Book of Jamaica (1980), however, and, even more, Continental Drift (1985), Banks gravitated toward realism while still using metafictional techniques. Continental Drift, perhaps his finest novel so far, combines two at first sight unrelated stories—about a Haitian woman's attempt to escape to America and an American man's relocation of his family to Florda—to explore class conflict and transnational migration. The shift toward realism has become even more marked in Banks's later novels, and so has his preoccupation with forms of violence ranging from the personal to the global. Affliction (1989), for instance, is an autobiographically based novel about family abuse; The Sweet Hereafter (1991) offers several perspectives on a fatal school-bus accident; Cloudsplitter (1998) tells the story of the radical abolitionist John Brown from the standpoint of his son; while The Darling (2006) is an account by an ex-member of a radical activist group, on the run from the law, of her encounter with a crisis-torn Liberia. What binds these different fictional experiments together is Banks's oncern with multiple varieties of abuse. As he has put it, "I see my life as a kind of obsessive return to the 'wound' of abuse,... going back again and again ... trying to figure out ... who is to blame and who is to be forgiven."

By contrast, Wallace only completed two novels during his brief lifetime. His major work, however,
Infinite Jest (1996), is over a thousand pages long. Wallace believed that the mass media exerted a determining, ironic influence on fiction; and his own work is steeped in irony, a blithe refusal to be confined to any particular voice or vision. Infinite Jest is set in a future world in which the United States, Canada, and Mexico form one unified state, and corporations buy naming rights to each calendar year. There is a vast range of bizarre characters, and such plot as the book possesses revolves around a search for the missing master copy of a film cartridge called "Infinite Jest" and referred to as "The Entertainment"—a work so entertaining to its viewers that they become lifeless, losing interest in anything other than the film. But Infinite Jest is less a novel with a plot than a labyrinth of language, a web of words that weaves together such diverse topics as substance abuse and recovery programs, tennis, film theory, child abuse and family relationships, and the relentless search of the corporate world for new products and markets. What compounds the intricacy of this web is the radical discontinuity of idiom. The language careers between the vernacular and the esoteric; there are wild neologisma, self-generated abbreviations and acronyms packed into elaborate, multi-clause sentences. There are nearly a hundred pages of footnotes designed, Wallace explained, to jumble our perception of reality while persuading us to read on. Infinite Jest the novel is like "Infinite Jest" the film referred to in its pages, a seductive maze capturing the reader within its world of funhouse mirrors. Like so many major postmodernist workd, it resists meaning but, while doing so, enerates strange feelings of loss and longing. Its characters, and perhaps its readers, are invited to yearn for innocent, unselfconscious experience while drowning in insignificance, captivated by artifice.

John Barth once suggested that the way postmodernism showed its distinctly American face was through its "cheerful nihilism," its comic and parodic texture. That is, of course, too sweeping. But across from radical experimentalists like McElroy and Coover, there are those many postmodern writers who have chosen to pursue an absurd humor, a dark comedy that deconstructs and demystirfies all it surveys. Apart from those already mentioned, such writers include J. P. Donleavy (1926-) (The Ginger Man (1955), The Beastly Beatitudes of Balthazar B (1968)) and Terry Southern (1926-2000) (Candy (1958), The Magic Christian (1959), Blue Movie (1970)), whose predilection for protean, amoral characters has got them into trouble with the censorship laws. Notably, there is also John Kennedy Toole (1937-1969) who, in his posthumously published novel A Confederacy of Dunces (1980), mocked everything to do with his region, the South and his hometown of New Orleans, making his hero, Ignatius Reilly, sound sometimes like a Southern traditionaliston speed. And there is Stanley Elkin (1930-1995), a novelist and storyteller who, during the course of a long career, produced satirical, surreal versions of the success story (A Bad Man (1967), The Franchiser (1976)), a picaresque tale about adventures in the media trade (The Dick Gibson Show (1971)), and comic fantasies about death (The Living End (1979) and reincarnation (George Mills (1982)).

Postmodernism as black humor or brave fantasy tends to merge here with contemporary confessional forms of male liberationists like John Irving (1942-) (The World According to Garp (1978),
The Hotel New Hampshire
 
(1981), A Prayer for Owen Meany (1989), A Son of the Circus (1994), Until I Find You (2005)) and female liberationists like Erica Jong (Fear of Flying (1973), Fear of Fifty (1994)) and Lissa Alther (1944-) Kinflicks ( (1976), Original Sin (1981)). At the other edge, postmodernism as radical, metafictional experiment is more inclined to reveal its international relations. Experiment is, of course, an American tradition and the subversion of fictional forms in particular goes back at least as far in American literature as Herman Melville. But the specific terms in which postmodernists have interrogated wordd and thing, language and its connection to reality, show the impact and sometimes the influence of writers from outside America. Like other cultural movements, more so than most, postmodernism is on one level an international phenomenon. And the sense postmodernist writers have of living after realism is one shard with, say, European poststructuralist critcis, writers of le nouveau roman like Michel Butor and Raymond Queneau, and Latin American magic realists. This international dimension is foregrounded in the work of those postmodern novelists whose own story is one of crossings between national boundaries, especially the European and American. The fiction of Vladimir Nabokov, born in Russia, spending long years in Europe before continuing his exile in America, is a case in point. So are the narrative experiments of the French-American Raymond Federman (1928-2009), whose Take It or Leave It (1976) announces itself as "an exaggerated second hand tale to be read aloud either standing or sitting," and the books of the Polish-born, Russian-reared Jerzy Kosinski (1933-1991) from The Painted Bird (1965), through Being There (1971) and Blind Date (1977), to his last novel, The Hermit of 69th Street (1988).

Another instance of international origins promoting international connections is the writing of Walter Abish (1931-). Abish was born in Austria and reared in China before taking US citizenship. His first novel, Alphabetical Africa (1974), invites a comparision with le nouveau roman in its stern attention to verbal structure. Every word of the first chapter begins with the letter A, the second with A or B, the third with A, B, or C, and so on. At Z, the process reverses, the final chapter beginning every word again with the letter A. Abish's second novel, How German It Is (1984), suggests other international relations. A postmodern political thriller, it concerns an American of German parentage who returns to a German town to investigate his father's wartime death and to answer his own question as to how German he is. The international influential presences here are several. They include American writers like Pynchon and French ones like Butor, who have used popular genres to break and undercut them. More deeply, persuasively, though, they are other, European writers such as Italo Calvino and Peter Handke. As in the work of Calvino and Hande, there is a bleak detachment, a flat materialism to How German It Is, the presentation of a world of signs without meanings under which dark meanings may hide. A writer like Abish, as he explores the crisis relations between history and form and pursues the task of unlocking some hidden code that might interpret those relations, shows how postmodernism—like any other movement in American literature, at some point—has to be perceived within a frame of reference other than the American. It has to be, not only because postmodernist writers skip across national boundaries with such calculated and consummate skill—and not only because some of them, at least, cannot or will not shakke off their own international origins. It is also and more fundamentally because—as it has been the peculiar fate of postmodernism to emphasize—no boundary of any kind is impermeable. No frame of reference, including the national one, is adequate, absolute, or terminal.




Theory of Reflexive Fiction




Tangled Up in Blue (2)


Tangled Up in Blue (2) from Jose Angel García Landa on Vimeo.




L'Ordre des Choses



L'Ordre des Choses








Sábado 5 de enero de 2013

Anclaje narrativo y círculo hermenéutico en un texto de Polibio

En el Libro III de las Historias de Polibio, el autor explica el plan de la obra y algunas cuestiones de concepto y método. Destaca en su exposición la idea de una historia universal que englobe a las historias parciales—lo que podríamos llamar un marco narrativo general que les proporcione un anclaje narrativo, o un contexto interpretativo, que permita entenderlas como episodios de un proceso más global.  Por otra parte, esta necesidad de establecer una relación entre las partes y el todo lleva a Polibio a proporcionar una versión temprana de la noción del círculo hermenéutico que según Ast, Schleiermacher y otros, es a la vez una descripción del proceso de la comprensión y, una vez se asume como proceso consciente, un método para mejorar esa misma comprensión.  Así comienza el libro III (con traducción y notas de Manuel Balasch):

En el primer libro de la obra tomada en su conjunto, es decir, el tercero anterior a éste, dejamos claro que establecíamos como principio de nuestro tratado la Guerra Social, la Anibálica y la de Celesiria: en el mismo libro expusimos, igualmente, las causas que nos hicieron componer los libros precedentes, remontándonos a tiempos anteriores a estos sucesos. Ahora intentaremos exponer científicamente las guerras citadas, las causas por las que surgieron y alcanzaron tan gran extensión; pero antes hablaremos brevemente acerca de mi trabajo. (1)

El tema sobre el que intentamos tratar es un único hecho y un único espectáculo, es decir, cómo, cuándo y por qué todas las partes conocidas del mundo conocido han caído bajo la dominación romana. Ésta tiene un principio conocido, una duración delimitada y un resultado notorio, de modo que creemos que va a ser útil recordar y recapitular brevemente las partes principales de este período, ordenadas de principio a fin. Es de suponer que así, más que de otro modo, se proporcionará a los estudiosos una visión adecuada del conjunto de nuestra empresa. En efecto, dado que el espíritu progresa mucho si desde el todo llega al conocimiento de los asuntos en detalle, y mucho también si desde éstos avanza en el conocimiento de la totalidad, creemos que el mejor método y visión es el que se hace desde ambas perspectivas. Por ello trazaremos un esquema preliminar de nuestra historia de acuerdo con lo apuntado. (Libro III.1, 1-7; Vol. 1, p. 219-20).

Este es el texto clave. Véase la noción según la cual una visión de conjunto de una serie de acontecimientos proporciona una comprensión mejor de cada uno de los acontecimientos que pertenecen a esa serie (concepto de contextualización, pero también más específicamente de anclaje narrativo, pues es una contextualización referida específicamente a secuencias temporales y a las narraciones que dan cuenta de ellas). También aparece la noción de la doble dirección de la comprensión: desde la visión global o panorámica hacia el detalle de los acontecimientos, por una parte— lo que podríamos llamar un proceso top-down— y, por otra, la perspectiva acumulativa o bottom-up, un modo de conocimiento quizá más al modo baconiano, o inductivo, partiendo de los datos individuales y acumulándolos para elevarse a una interpretación global de los mismos.  Obsérvese que  Polibio recomienda no atenerse a una de las dos vías, sino emplear ambas. Schleimermacher desarrollará enormemente este tipo de razonamiento, estableciendo explícitamente la noción de círculo hermenéutico como una circulación del todo a la parte y de la parte al todo, y a la vez como una alternancia entre lo ya conocido retrospectivamente, y lo intuido prospectivamente.  Sin pretender sugerir que ya lo había dicho Polibio, podemos ver en una semilla futura del desarrollo del círculo hermenéutico en la observación de éste al efecto de que "el mejor método y visión es el que se hace desde ambas perspectivas", considerando los asuntos parciales desde la visión de la historia global, y también construyendo la historia global mediante el estudio y ensamblaje de las historias parciales.

Polibio plantea así sus Historias como una obra dedicada a la exposición e interpretación de una gran narración, pues no es otra cosa la expansión de la dominación romana, o lo que podríamos llamar la primera gran globalización entre Oriente y Occidente. Y la interpretación consistirá en relacionar la solidez de Roma con la peculiar fortaleza y equilibrio de su constitucion. En el Libro I.1 observa Polibio que

la propia originalidad de los hechos acerca de los cuales nos hemos propuesto escribir se basta por sí misma para atraer y estimular a cualquiera, joven y anciano, a la lectura de nuestra obra. En efecto, ¿puede haber algún hombre tan necio y negligente que no se interese en conocer cóo y por qué género de constitución política fue derrotado casi todo el universo en cincuenta y tres años no cumplidos, y cayó bajo el imperio indisputado de los romanos? Se puede comprobar que antes esto no había ocurrido nunca. ¿Quién habrá, por otra parte, tan apasionado por otros espectáculos o enseñanzas que pueda considerarlos más provechosos que este conocimiento? (Vol. 1, p. 4).

Continúo y termino con la cita del texto de Polibio (III.1 8-10, III.2), ya no por su interés metodológico sino como resumen que ofrece la panorámica de su obra, los años en que se decidió que sería Roma quien dominase el mundo que rodea el Mediterráneo.  Y también por la justificación que proporciona Polibio sobre sus propias acciones en el seno de esta gran historia, acciones entre las que se incluye la propia redacción de la obra que le ocupa y nos ocupa. También esa dimensión reflexiva de la obra es una cuestión de interés para el estudio del anclaje narrativo.

Ya hemos señalado la forma y los límites de esta investigación (2). Por lo que se refiere a los hechos concretos ocurridos en ella, se empezará por las guerras ya citadas, y su final coronamiento lo constituirá la destrucción del reino de Macedonia; el tiempo abarcado son cincuenta y tres años (3), período que comprende acciones tan numerosas y de tanta envergadura que, en un lapso igual de tiempo, no se han dado jamás en épocas anteriores. Tomando como punto de partida la Olimpíada ciento cuarenta (4), en la exposición se seguirá el orden siguiente:

(III.2) Tras exponer las causas por las que estalló la guerra ya citada entre cartagineses y romanos, llamada Anibálica, se describirá la invasión de Italia por parte de los cartagineses, cómo arruinaron la dominación romana e infundieron a aquéllos un gran temor por sus vidas y por los fundamentos de su patria, mientras que los mismos cartagineses llegaron a abrigar grandes e imprevistas esperanzas de tomar por asalto la misma ciudad de Roma.

A continuación intentaremos explicar cómo, en esta época, Filipo de Macedonia libró una guerra contra los etolios, tras la cual dispuso los asuntos de Grecia y se lanzó a compartir las esperanzas de los cartagineses. Antíoco y Ptolomeo Filópator andaban a la greña y, al final, estalló entre ellos una guerra por la posesión de Celesiria (6). Los rodios y Prusias declararon la guerra a los bizantinos y les forzaron a cesar en el cobro de peaje a los que navegaban hacia Ponto (7).

Aquí detendremos nuestra exposición y trataremos de la constitución romana (8); demostraremos luego que las características de esta constitución contribuyeron al máximo, no sólo a que los romanos dominaran Italia y Sicilia, sino también a que extendieran su imperio a los iberos y a los galos (9), y además a que, tras derrotar militarmente a los cartagineses, llegaran a concebir el proyecto de dominar el universo. Paralelamente a todo ello aclaremos, en una digresión, el derrocamiento de la tiranía de Hierón en Siracusa. Enlazaremos con estos temas los disturbios occurridos en Egipto, la coalición, efectuada tras la muerte del rey Ptolomeo, de Antíoco y Filipo para repartirse el imperio legado al joven príncipe heredero, y cómo empezaron las insidias y manejos de Filipo contra Egipto, Caria y Samos, y las de Antíoco contra Celesiria y Fenicia.

A continuación, tras una recapitulación (11) de las operaciones de romanos y cartagineses en España, en África y en Sicilia, desplazaremos nuestra exposición a tierras de Grecia, con los grandes cambios que allí hubo. Narraremos las batallas navales de Átalo y de los rodios contra Filiopo y la guerra de éste contra los romanos (12), cómo se desarrollaron, sus causas y su desenlace. A esto añadiremos, sin interrupción, el recuerdo de la cólera de los etolios, con la que arrastraron a Antíoco y, desde el Asia, encendieron una guerra contra aqueos y romanos (13).

Después de aclarar sus causas y el paso de Antíoco a Europa, explicaremos, en primer lugar, cómo consiguió huir de Grecia; en segudo lugar, cómo, derrotado, abandonó los territorios que están a este lado de la cordillera del Tauro. En tercer lugar, cómo los romanos, tras haber humillado la soberbia de los galos, se aprestaron a dominar, sin admitir rivales, los territorios asiáticos y liberaron a los habitantes de la parte hacia acá del Tauro, del terror de los bárbaros y de la injusticia de los galos. Seguidamente, tras poner la vista en los desastres de etolios y cefalenios (14), entraremos en las guerras que Éumenes trabó contra Prusias y los galos (15); igualmente, en la guerra que hubo entre Ariarato y Farnaces (16). Luego haremos mención de la pacificación y concordia que reinó en el Peloponeso, así como del auge de la república de Rodas (17), y ofreceremos un resumen de toda nuestra exposición y de las acciones que contiene. finalmente, trataremos la expedición de Antíoco Epifanes contra Egipto, la guerra persa y el derrumbamiento del imperio macedonio. Paralelamente a todo ello se irá viendo cómo manejaron los romanos cada asunto y cómo lograron someter todo el mundo a su imperio.

Si por sí solos los éxitos o los fracasos permitieran emitir un juicio suficiente sobre los hombres o los gobiernos, despreciables o laudables, según el progrma inicial nosotros deberíamos pararnos aqui y concluir simultáneamente nuestra exposición e historia con las acciones citadas en último lugar. En efeto: el lapso de los cincuenta y tres años termina en ellas, y el progreso y el avance del imperio romano ya había culminado. Además, daba la impresión de que era notoria e ineludible para todos la sumisión a los romanos y la obediencia a sus órdenes. Pero los juicios sobre vencedores y vencidos extraídos simplemente de los propios combates son insuficientes. Lo que muchos han creído un triunfo insuperable, si no se explotó con acierto ha comportado grandes desastres, mientras qeu a no pocos que han soportado con entereza las desgracias más escalofriantes, éstas han acabado por convertírseles en ventajas. A las acciones mencionadas habrá de añadirse un juicio sobre la conducta posterior de los vencedores, sobre cómo gobernaron el mundo, la aceptación y opinión que de su liderazgo tenían los demás pueblos; se deben investigar, además, las tendencias y ambiciones predominantes en cada uno, que se impusieron en las vidas privadas y en la administración pública.

Es indiscutible que por este estudio nuestros contemporáneos verán si se debe rehuir la dominación romana o, por el contrario, si se debe buscar, y nuestros descendientes comprenderán si el poder romano es digno de elogio y de emulación, o si merece reproches. La máxima utilidad de nuestra historia, en el presente y en el futuro, radica en este aspecto (18). No hay que suponer que, ni en sus dirigentes ni en sus expositores, la finalidad de las empresas sea vencer y someter a todos. Nadie que esté en su sano juicio guerrea contra los vecinos por el sólo hecho de luchar, ni navega por el mar sólo por el gusto de cruzarlo, ni aprende artes o técnicas sólo por el conocimiento en sí (19). Todos obran siempre por el placer que sigue a las obras, o la belleza, o la conveniencia.

Por eso la culminación de esta historia será conocer cuál fue la situación de cada pueblo después de verse sometido, de haber caído bajo el dominio romano, hasta las turbulencias y revoluciones que, después de estos hechos, se han reproducido. En vistas a la importancia de las acciones que entonces se desarrollaron y al carácter extraordinario de los acontecimientos, pero también—y esto es lo más importante—en razón del hecho de que yo he sido no solamente espectador, sino unas veces colaborador y otras dirigente, he emprendido la redacción, por así decir, de una historia nueva, tomando un punto de partida nuevo también.



Notas

(1) Polibio considera que en este tercer libro empieza su verdadero trabajo personal. La guerra de los aliados ocupa la mayor parte del libro cuarto y buena parte del quinto. La anibálica es la segunda guerra púnica, como ya se ha notado repetidamente, que llena buena parte de este libro tercero. La guerra de Celesiria es la cuarta guerra entre Antíoco III el Grande y Ptolomeo Filópator. En cuanto a la fecha de iniciación, hay discordancia: mientras JULES DE FOUCAULT, en su edición del tercer libro de Polibio, París, 1971 (citado desde ahora FOUCAULT, Polybe, III), pág. 30, la pone en el 219, BENGTSON, Geschichte, pág. 368, la sitúa entre los años 221/217.
(2) Al principio mismo de la obra, I. 1, 5-6.
(3) En los años 210/168.
(4) Comprende los años 220/216. Es de notar que los libros XXII y XXIII de TITO LIVIO reproducen casi literalmente este tercero de Polibio.
(5) Filipo V de Macedonia.
(6) La Celesiria es una pequeña región situada entre las cordilleras del Líbano y del Antilíbano.
(7) Esto se narra en el libro IV 31-37.
(8) Ya se ha dicho más arriba, en una nota, que este estudio se verifica en el libro sexto. El lugar es, exactamente, VI 11-18.
(9) La narración polibiana de la campaña romana en la Galia no nos ha llegado.
(10) Cf. VII 2-8, y VIII 3-7 y 37. De los disturbios de Egipto no nos queda nada en los extractos restantes de Polibio.
(11) Aquí hay cierta divergencia en el vertido del verbo griego original. Mientras Schweighäuser traduce "in brevem summam contrahere", es decir, "resumir", WALBANK, Commentary, ad loc., traduce "recapitular". Foucault elude el problema con una traducción muy libre.
(12) Es la segunda guerra de Macedonia, narrada por Polibio en su libro XVIII.
(13) Todo esto nos ha llegado sólo en parte. Cf. XXI 17.
(14) Cf. XXI 35-32b.
(15) La guerra de Prusias de Bitinia contra Éumenes II de Pérgamo estaba en el libro XXII, pero su narración polibiana se ha perdido.
(16) Cf. XXIII 9, 1-3; XXIV 1, 1-3; 5; XXV 2.
(17) Cf. XXI 24, 7; 46, 8.
(18) Polibio insiste en conceptos ya expuestos, cf. I 1-3.
(19) Aquí hay ciertos ecos de doctrina estoica.




Lógica de la narratividad según Polibio











Cerca del río, cerca del río


Cerca del río, cerca del río




Va Pensiero


—un Va Pensiero a coro,  tras unas palabras de Riccardo Muti echando de menos la Italia que era o que podía haber sido.









Cámara nueva y álbum 2012

No contento del todo con mi cámara, pues a veces me hacía las fotos algo deslumbradas, me he comprado una nueva, de autorreyes; una Olympus relativamente plana pero con un zoom excelente de 24 aumentos. Sigue siendo de la gama bajita, y barateira para lo que se ve por ahí, pero para el tipo de fotos que yo hago ya me vale, que no voy a concursos ni hago exposiciones. Alguna vez me dicen mis fans familiares que las haga, que podría hacer una exposición. Y tienen razón, se expone cuaquier cosa, exactamente—sólo que dedicarse a expositor es toda una profesión y una actividad de buscar contactos y amistades y apegarse a círculos y echar telefonazos y que te incluyan en blabla.... que yo ninguna gana tengo de eso; lo que sí me gusta es hacer fotos, y hasta que las vea la gente, que para eso está Internet. Aunque mi fotoblog, con más de 13.000 fotos a estas alturas, debe tener una de las ratios más bajas ya no digo de visionado, sino de comentario por foto: salgo a un comentario que me pone alguien (normalmente mi madre) por cada quinientas fotos; mientras que en otros fotoblogs, fotos no peores que las mías despiertan múltiples comentarios: "oh", "¡ah!" "Love the light", "Nice treatment", "Muy bonita, saludos". Todo es hacerse un círculo normalmente de mutua admiración, lo reconozco. En Facebook alguna florecilla más sí que me echan, pero vamos, que con estas perspectivas mejor no monto la exposición; no iba a venir ni el de la prensa. Lo que sí dejo aquí es mi álbum de fotos seleccionadas del 2012: 610 fotos, dirás que no he seleccionado, pero es que ni te imaginas las que he hecho. Y aunque fuesen feas, me encantan las composiciones automáticas de imágenes que hace Flickr; vamos, que he tenido que refotografiar las fotografías, si es que fotografiar es lo que se hace con el SnapzScreen. Bueno, pues ahí va—alguna seguro que os gusta; esa te la regalo para Reyes.  Y tampoco hace falta verlas todas, eh... Que hay demasiadas fotos de hojas, que sin protestar (se) posan en el suelo.



album 2012


10001 fotos, y más






From Philology to General Hermeneutics: Schleiermacher

The rise of historicism in the early modern period is associated with philology and the historical study of modern languages. The philological approach to the classics had developed during the Renaissance (e.g. Lorenzo Valla’s historical stylistics). The 18th century had witnessed the rise of rigorous historical studies and of classical philology (Bentley, Wolff). The methods of philology and hermeneutics were introduced to the study of the modern literatures by August Böck (Enzyklopädie und Methodologie der Philologischen Wissenschaften). The rise of comparative grammar in the late 18th century is accompanied by a similar interest in comparative literature. Grimm's law and the Grimms' collection of folk tales are manifestations of the same spirit of historical enquiry: a search for the common Indo-Germanistic roots of European literature.

This historical investigation led in the long run to structural offshoots: Vladimir Propp's Morphology of the Folk Tale still has this end (historical investigation) in view; anthropological research such as Frazer's monumental The Golden Bough (1890-1922) also derives from the Romantic historical view. Nineteenth-century linguistics is primarily historical linguistics, and the approach to the modern literatures is above all a philological and historical one.

The sense of the term philology is sometimes restricted to historical linguistics, but originally it had a wider sense which can still be seen in the Spanish usage, or in this definition from the Diccionario de Autoridades:


PHILOLOGIA. s.f. Ciencia compuesta y adornada de la Gramática, Rhetórica, Historia, Poesía, Antigüedades, Interpretación de Autores, y generalmente de la Crítica, con especulación general de todas las demás Ciencias.

Issues of textual philology: discovery, edition and textual study of a medieval or an early modern work. Establishment of text, study of diverse manuscripts, variants, preferred readings. (Basic limitation in approach: the assumption that there is one text which is supposed to be better; modern textual criticism more attentive to different contexts and uses). . The scholarly edition of some forgotten work of the past becomes and remains for a long time the standard occupation of university scholars; a parallel work is being done in historical linguistics (e.g. The Oxford English Dictionary, 1884-1928; Fowler, A Dictionary of Modern English Usage, 1926; Wright, The English Dialect Dictionary; Bradley, The Making of English (1904).

The scholarly essays as we know them now, the philological reference works, the handbooks of literature, are a product of the nineteenth century scholarship; they did not exist before that except in rudimentary forms in the field of classical philology.

The nineteenth century saw the development of standard methods of textual criticism: the comparison (collation) and evaluation of the available texts of a work (manuscripts, editions); the drawing of a stemma of textual history; the establishment of text and of supplementary variants to be published; the intepretation of variants (either as authoritative or non-authoritative), the classification and interpretation of errors (author’s, copist’s, editorial transmission, typesetters’, etc.). We often find one prejudice among textual philologists: the notion that there is one text to be preferred on the basis of the writer’s authority (e.g. the assumption that the last text revised by the author is to be preferred to all others, etc.). In the late twentieth century textual critics are more relativistic, and pay more attention to the cultural role of variant texts. Textual philology is combined with historical research, paleography, bibliography and book history.

—oOo—

Hermeneutics is the theory or science of interpretation. The word derives from Greek hermeneuein: to interpret or traslate into one’s own idiom; to make clear and understandable, to give expression. In mythology, Hermes interprets the often cryptic messages of the gods to mortals. As a discipline, hermeneutics began as scriptural exegesis, closely associated to philology (cf. R. E. Palmer, Hermeneutics). Christian theologians developed the theory of plurisignification, according to which a Biblical text could have several senses:

- The literal or historical sense
schleiermacher

- The allegorical sense (an Old Testament event or person prefigures a New Testament one)

- The moral sense (a passage is read as a lesson on right or wrong behaviour)


- The anagogic sense (a passage is read as a revelation of the other world)

A line of thought deriving from the Pseudo-Dionysius was especially aware of the figural nature of religious language, requiring interpretation, and insisted on the need to avoid excessively literal readings of religious language (danger of idolatry, of mistaking the sign for the thing signified).

Modern theories of hermeneutics arise from the Protestant reaction to medieval hermeneutics. The Catholic church had claimed sole authority in the interpretation of the Bible. The Protestants insist that the holy text is self-sufficient, that it does not need to be mediated by the Church; it is intelligible. Protestants exegetes wrote many practical guides to Biblical interpretation. The Protestant tradition, in confluence with with the philological methodology of humanistic studies, evolved towards a systematic methodology of textual interpretation in the work of F. D. E. Schleiermacher.

In the late 19th century this became a broader philosophical theory stressing the crucial importance of interpretation to most if not all aspects of human endeavor and culture. Through the impetus of the early work of Martin Heidegger, hermeneutics developed into a general philosophy of human understanding, with implications for any discipline concerned with the intepretation of human language, action or artefacts.

Friedrich Schleiermacher, a German theologian, expands the hermeneutic theories developed during the Enlightenment period.  Schleiermacher seeks a general theory of interpretation which is applicable to all texts, not only to religious ones. He conceives hermeneutics as the basic framework where all linguistic understanding takes place.  This means that in his work hermeneutics is no longer an abstruse discipline having to do with special interpretive techniques to be applied to obscure texts: all hermeneutical processes are shown to originate from the common ground of linguistic understanding. Enlightenment theories are divided into a number of specific fields (law, religion, etc.).  Schleiermacher will speak of a general hermeneutics. 

The hermeneutics of previous authors are also partial in that they take understanding as a matter of course.  Schleiermacher, on the other hand, constantly takes into account the possibility that misunderstanding is equally possible. 

Linguistic understanding, whether it is used in the exegesis of a work or in following an ordinary everyday conversation, rests on the same principles.  It involves a negotiation, or a mediation (let us keep in mind here our conception of interpretation as translation) between a realm of generality, the linguistic system, and a realm of particularity, the personal message the speaker wants to convey.  Speaking involves articulating this particularity out of the generality of language, and understanding involves a similar shift between two sets of criteria, those of the system and those of the message.  Both speaking and understanding can be said to be hermeneutical activities in this sense.  The ground of Schleiermacher's hermeneutics is the concrete experience of how we come to understand somebody else's meaning.

A complete hermeneutical understanding consists of a play of two different operations, one more objectivistic, the other more subjectively oriented.  Schleiermacher calls these "grammatical" and "technical" (or "psychological") interpretation, respectiely.  "Grammatical" interpretation interprets a word or sentence as an instance of general language; "technical" interpretation as an instance of "style", as the expression of an individual mind and communicative intention. 

Just as every speech has a twofold relationship, both to the whole of language and to the collected thinking of the speaker, so also there exists in all understanding of the speech two moments: understanding it as something drawn out of language and as a 'fact' in the thinking of the speaker.

These different techniques and aims coexist in all interpretive enterprises; in fact, they work towards each other, and "In this interaction the results of the one method must approximate more and more those of the other" (Hermeneutics: The Handwritten manuscripts 190).  However, one or the other aspect can become dominant, and then we find different "schools" or kinds of interpretation--the second kind less subject to polemical discussion, in Schleiermacher's opinion (185). For Schleiermacher, "technical" (i.e. psychological) interpretation relies more on divination, on the imaginative projection of the interpreter to the mind of the author; he came to give more and more emphasis to this side of interpretation.

There are also two methods to grasp new meaning: the comparative, by which an author or text is compared with similar authors or texts, and the divinatory, which involves the interpreter's intuitive contact with the spirit of language and his insight into the individuality of the author.  Therefore, understanding is a complex process consisting in a mediation between system and message, and involving an interplay of linguistic versus psychological understanding on one hand, and comparison and divination on the other.  The scope of hermeneutics broadens gradually as emphasis comes to fall on the last term of the opposition.  Understanding a word is an operation closer to the realm of linguistics than to that of psychology.  But the intuitive, subjective and psychological side of interpretation becomes more significant as the object of our understanding expands into a text, a work, a set of works, and the whole personality of an author.

Besides, there is no understanding so simple as not to require this interpretive negotiation.  The whole of the sentence must be known before we know the precise meaning of the word; but in order to know the sentence we must know the individual words.  The same circular relationship is established between the sentences in a text and the complete text.  This leads Schleirmacher to formulate a crucial hermeneutic principle: understanding takes place through a hermeneutic circle. a part of something is always understood in terms of the whole, and vice versa.

When we consider the task of interpretation with this principle in mind, we have to say that our increasing understanding of each sentence and of each section, an understanding which we achieve by starting at the beginning and moving forward slowly, is always provisional. It becomes more complete as we are able to see each larger section as a coherent unity. But as soon as we turn to a new part we encounter new uncertainties and begin again, as it were, in the dim morning light. It is like starting all over, except that as we push ahead the new material illumines everything we have already treated, until suddenly at the end every part is clear and the whole work is visible in sharp and definite contours. (Schleiermacher, Hermeneutics: the Handwritten Manuscripts)

The hermeneutic circle defined by Schleiermacher could be described as this constant movement from part to whole as we try to intepret something, which also involves a constant shift from one aspect of interpretation (grammatical and technical) to the other, from one interpretive strategy to another.  This conception is very suggestive and it would be interesting to compare it to present-day theories of discourse processing, such as the opposition between "top-down" and "bottom-up" strategies.  Schleiermacher's hermeneutics has the additional merit of being oriented towards much larger prospects.  It deals even with children's acquisition of language, which according to Schleiermacher is also a hermeneutic process. 

We see then that the image of the hermeneutic circle is not wholly appropriate.   We move from part to whole through the help of analogies and divination; and then from whole to part.  But now that part is no longer the same: it is transformed by our better understanding, and it will provide a firmer grasp for another assault on the whole.  We see, then, that the famous hermeneutic circle is really a spiral.  Only those interpretations which do not produce new meaning are circular.

Given this spiralling definition, it is not surprising if perfect understanding can never be attained.  Indeed, from the moment a work is considered as  a part of a larger whole, the interpretive movement starts again; it is easy to see that trying to read the text of culture embarks us into an ever-expanding interpretive process. 

Heinz Kimmerle's thesis is that Schleiermacher shifted from a language-oriented hermeneutics towards a more subjectivist and intentionalist one.  Schleiermacher's definition of understanding is, in fact psychologistic: it is "the re-experiencing of the mental processes of the text's author." Even though this assertion is borne by the amount of attention given to each side of interpretation in Schleiermacher's early and later work, respectively, the conclusion is not so easily drawn.  We have already observed within the very structure of hermeneutical development as conceived by Schleiermacher a movement from the objective to the subjective side: it is not far-fetched to suggest that as his hermeneutical outlook broadened, the later emphasis on technical interpretation was only natural. 

A tendency of Schleiermacher's hermeneutics is pointed out by Kimmerle.  His emphasis on understanding as such, understanding as a universal process, led him to play down the element of historicity in both the object and the subject of interpretation.  This is not to say that he does not take into account the existence of such a difference; far from it, "For Schleiermacher, the historical text is not addressed directly to the present interpreter, but to an original audience.  The present interpreter is to understand that original communication in terms of its historical context."   Indeed, the emphasis is so great that it is placed completely on the retrieval of that meaning, leaving aside the question of its application to present-day circumstances.  The latter falls outside hermeneutics for Schleiermacher: in his view, hermeneutics is not the art of applying but the art of interpreting.  And it is precisely this conception of a pure and disinterested retrieval of meaning which is objected to when Gadamer opposes the tradition opened by Schleiermacher. 

In this tradition, understanding is pure and uncontaminated by the aims of the interpreter.  Pure comprehension must precede application of the universal principles it reveals, of the moment of judgment.  His attitude to historicity is utopian: he assumes that the interpreter can leap over historical distance and acquire the perspective of the contemporary audience, be absorbed in the view of past people.  However, we must take into account that Schleiermacher is presupposing an initial community of shared experience or interests at the root of his theory (Hermeneutics  180).

A problem that is left unsolved by Schleiermacher is whether attention to the process of composition affords a better grasp of the finished text.  His hermeneutics seem to endorse this conception, which is challenged by twentieth-century interpretation.  Certainly, for him one of the aims of hermeneutics is to understand the "intimate operations of poets and other artists of language by means of grasping their entire process of composition, form its conception up to the final execution"  (Hermeneutics  191). 



Bibliography

Ast, Friedrich.  Grundlinien der Grammatik, Hermeneutik und Kritik. Landshut: Thomann, 1808.

_____. Grundriss der Philologie. Lanshut: Krüll, 1808.

_____. "Éléments d'herméneutique et de critique." In Critique et herméneutique dans le premier romantisme allemand. Ed. and trans. Dennis Thouard. Lille: Presses Universitaires du Septentrion, 1996. 287-314.*

Boeckh, A. Enzyklopädie und Methodologie der philologischen Wissenschaften.    2nd. ed.  1886.

Dilthey, Wilhelm.  "Die Entstehung der Hermeneutik."  In
Dilthey, Die geistige Welt: Einleitung in die Philosophie des Lebens. Vol. 5 of Gessamelte Schriften. 317-38.
Frazer, James George. The Golden Bough. 12 vols. 1890-1915. Abridged ed. in 1 vol. London: Macmillan, 1922. 1954. 1956.

Grimm, Jakob. Deutsche Grammatik. 1819. Expanded ed. (with new section of phonetics and "Grimm's law") 1822. (Comparative and historical grammar of Germanic languages).

Grimm, Jakob, and Wilhelm Grimm (1786-1859), eds. Kinder-und Hausmärchen.  English trans.: The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales. Ed. Padraic Colum and Joseph Campbell. London: Routledge, 1983.

Oxford English Dictionary. Gen. ed. James A. H. Murray. Assoc. eds. Henry Bradley, William A. Craigie, Charles T. Onions. 10 vols. Oxford UP, 1884-1928.

Propp, Vladimir. Morfologija skazky. 2nd ed. Leningrad: Nauka, 1968.

_____. Morphology of the Folktale. 1st. ed., trans. Laurence Scott, introd. Svatava Pirkova-Jakobson. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1958.

Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite.  De Caelesti hierarchia.  Spanish trans. La jerarquía celeste. In Obras completas del Pseudo Dionisio Areopagita.  Madrid: BAC, 1995. 119-88.

Palmer, R. E. Hermeneutics: Interpretation Theory in Schleiermacher, Dilthey, Heidegger and Gadamer. Evanston: Northwestern UP, 1969.

Schleiermacher, Friedrich. Hermeneutik. 1819. Rpt. 1959. Trans. 1978.

_____. "Hermeneutics." 1819. In Schleiermacher, Hermeneutics. Ed. Heinz Kimmerle. 95-151.

_____. "The Hermeneutics: Outline of the 1819 Lectures." Trans. Jan Wojcik and Roland Haas. New Literary History 10 (1978): 1-15.

_____. From Hermeneutics (From "The Outline of the 1819 Lectures"). In The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. Ed. Vincent B. Leitch et al. New York: Norton, 2001.

_____. "On the Concept of Hermeneutics." 1829. In Schleiermacher, Hermeneutics. Ed. Heinz Kimmerle. 175-214.

_____. "Sur le concept et la division de la critique philologique." In Critique et herméneutique dans le premier romantisme allemand. Ed. and trans. Dennis Thouard. Lille: Presses Universitaires du Septentrion, 1996. 315-28.

_____. Hermeneutik und Kritik mit besonderer beziehung auf das Neue Testament. Part 1, vol. 7 of Sämmtiche Werke. Ed. Friedrich Lücke. Berlin: G. Reimer, 1838.

_____. Hermeneutics and Criticism. In Schleiermacher, Hermeneutics and Criticism and Other Writings. Ed. and trans. Andrew Bowie. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1998. 1-224.

_____. "General Hermeneutics." In Schleiermacher, Hermeneutics and Criticism and Other Writings. Ed. and trans. Andrew Bowie. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1998. 225-68.

_____. Hermeneutik. 1805-33. Ed. Heinz Kimmerle. Heidelberg: Winter, 1959.

_____. Hermeneutics: The Handwritten Manuscripts. Ed. Heinz Kimmerle. Trans. James Duke and Jack Forstman. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1986.

_____. Hermeneutics and Criticism and Other Writings. Ed. and trans. Andrew Bowie. (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy). Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1998.

Valla, Lorenzo. Elegantiae linguae latinae. c. 1435.

_____. Opera. 2 vols. 1540. Rpt. Turin: Bottega d'Erasmo, 1962.

Wolf, Friedrich August.  Prolegomena ad Homerum. Halle, 1794.

_____. Darstellung der Altertumwissenschaft nach Begriff, Umfang, Zweck und Wert. Vol. 1 of Museum der Altertumswissenschaft. Ed. F. A. Wolf and Philip Buttman. Berlin, 1807.

_____. Vorlesung über die Enzyklopädie der Altertumswissenschaft. Leipzig: Lehnhold, 1831.




La espiral hermenéutica










Viernes 4 de enero de 2013

Reading Messages in the Contortions of Trees


Reading Messages in the Contortions of Trees




Tomo y Obligo





Tomo y obligo from Jose Angel García Landa on Vimeo.














Jueves 3 de enero de 2013

Paseando por el Paseo 4




Paseando por el paseo 4






Miércoles 2 de enero de 2013

Sujetos, virtuosos y felices

Me doy de alta en el blog de Pío Moa y le pongo este comentario a su artículo sobre el sujeto y el deseo, en el que defiende las religiones y rituales sociales como maneras de regular el caótico deseo individual:

"Costumbres culturales, ritos, instituciones y religiones son en efecto maneras de regular el deseo y construir un yo socialmente eficaz y aceptable. De ahí se derivan beneficios para el individuo, como sugiere el artículo. Pero no hay que olvidar la cruz de toda cara, o sea, la cruz que suponen a veces esas instituciones, rituales y religiones, que también se prestan a ser maneras de sofocar disensión, crear frustración, y también (con su uso inteligente por parte de estamentos privilegiados) manipular y pastorear a los sujetos y tenerlos bien sujetos, bajo la excusa de hacerlos más virtuosos y felices."

Sujetos y sujetos... al equipo



Dos artículos sobre William Gibson

Dos artículos sobre William Gibson tengo, al parecer, en la misma página del American Literature eJournal (2007) del SSRN. En español, aunque allí aparecen con títulos en inglés como "William Gibson's Pattern Recognition: Jet-Lagged Intimations of the Present", y "Cyberspace Everting: William Gibson's Spook Country / 'Cyberspace Everting': Spook Country, de William Gibson."

Pattern Recognition de William Gibson: El presente presentido con jet-lag




Mi despacho cuando yo no estoy





Mi despacho cuando yo no estoy







Martes 1 de enero de 2013


Captain Nemo


— de Ace of Base:







Songwriter: Jonas Berggren

Captain Nemo is too good for you and me
Take a voyage to the bottom of the sea
He's a riddle you will see in the middle of the sea
If you ask him things about life, then he will say:

Oh no, I'm far too continental for mankind
I don't interfere in your life
See me as a searcher with the answers
To your world from under the sea

Captain Nemo knows the world be we don't know
What control of light and darkness means
He'll show
If we come in peace at heart
He may help us to restart what went wrong
So long ago from down below

Oh no, I'm far too continental for mankind
I don't interfere in your life
See me as a searcher with the answers
To your world from under the sea

See him as a searcher with the answers to mankind

He's far too continental

Though he's wiser than all man
He is curious about the plan
Violated by the man, the master plan

Oh no, he's far too continental for mankind
He doesn't interfere in your life
See him as a searcher with the answers
To your world from under the sea

Oh no, he's far too continental for mankind
He doesn't interfere in your life
See him as a searcher with the answers
To your world from under the sea

Oh no, he's far too continental for mankind
Under the sea







Husband to Mrs Milton


—artículo mío sobre Robert Graves y sobre Milton, que apareció, según veo, en noviembre de 2007 en el English and Commonwealth Literature eJournal.

También está aquí en la UZaguán:
    http://zaguan.unizar.es/record/2048


Corrigiendo Milton



Un onliyú


Un Onliyú





Microblog de enero 2012


Era otoño en Zaragoza



1 feb 13, 00:09
JoseAngel: Aparecen súbitamente vídeos en mi perfil de Twitter. Hasta ahora sólo fotos:https://twitter.com/JoseAngelGLanda
31 ene 13, 08:00
JoseAngel: Los cobros en negro de Rajoy y de la cúpula del PP - ¡A ver, dimisiones!http://politica.elpais.com/politica/2013/01/30/actualidad/1359583204_085918.html
30 ene 13, 21:40
JoseAngel: La desvergüenza catalana. Recuerden: BOICOT A CATALUÑA:http://fonoteca.esradio.fm/2013-01-30/editorial-de-cesar-vidal-30012013-54502.html
30 ene 13, 18:15
JoseAngel: ACKROYD'S SHAKESPEARE @ English and Commonwealth Literature eJournal:http://t.co/Pkm5q9DW
30 ene 13, 14:21
JoseAngel: Más problemas con la contabilidad de la UZ, y con las nóminas auguran:http://prensa.unizar.es/noticias/noticias.php?noticia=36692&enlace=1301/130130_z0_10.pdf&via=m&fecha2=2013-01-30
30 ene 13, 13:31
JoseAngel: Qué desastre en Lenguas Modernas. Sólo me ha aprobado un estudiante.
30 ene 13, 13:30
JoseAngel: Intertextuality:http://narrative.georgetown.edu/wiki/index.php/Intertextuality
30 ene 13, 11:06
JoseAngel: Un repaso al chanchullamen nacional:http://fonoteca.esradio.fm/2013-01-30/federico-a-las-6-imputan-al-secretario-de-las-infantas-54460.html
30 ene 13, 10:18
JoseAngel: ¿Cuánto petróleo nos queda?http://www.rtve.es/alacarta/audios/futuro-abierto/futuro-abierto-cuanto-petroleo-queda-hay-petroleo-canarias-20-05-12/1413549/
30 ene 13, 08:43
JoseAngel: Catalunya ens saquea, y encima el traidor del gobierno no les para los pies:http://www.lavanguardia.com/politica/20130129/54363228922/catalunya-pide-9-073-millones-fondo-liquidez-2013.html
29 ene 13, 22:53
JoseAngel: Comentario sobre "La Fama en la Grecia arcaica"http://diaporia.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/la-fama-en-la-grecia-arcaica-minipost/#respond
29 ene 13, 22:10
JoseAngel: ¡Cagüen la ley! Otra multa de zona azul al olvidarme el coche, 60 euros, como si fuese un peligro público. Y a Montoro nadie lo ha multado aún, ni lo multarán. Y a Mas, menos aún.
29 ene 13, 21:23
JoseAngel: International Conference on Narrative, Manchester 2013:http://www2.hlss.mmu.ac.uk/conferences/international-conference-on-narrative/
29 ene 13, 20:02
JoseAngel: Fray Josepho - Tres tristes trinques - Libertad Digitalhttp://t.co/jooDHVN5 vía@libertaddigital
29 ene 13, 20:00
JoseAngel: Reorganizo mis Collected Papers en Academia:http://unizar.academia.edu/JoséAngelGarc%C3%ADaLanda/Papers
29 ene 13, 19:29
JoseAngel: Se está pasando este día quieras que no. Volviendo del parque Bruil me encuentro a Vicente del Molino y señora.
28 ene 13, 19:36
JoseAngel: un AVE de rapiña:http://www.eldiario.es/economia/AVE-tren-ricos_0_82941811.html
28 ene 13, 17:16
JoseAngel: Después de PATIENCE, me compro de una tacada THE MIKADO, PRINCESS IDA, THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE, y TOPSY-TURVY, hala.
28 ene 13, 10:17
JoseAngel: Austenfilia:http://www.elmundo.es/especiales/2013/cultura/en-femenino/austenfilia.html
27 ene 13, 22:31
JoseAngel: Debate sobre la Revolución Francesa:http://fonoteca.esradio.fm/2013-01-27/debates-en-libertad-la-revolucion-francesa-54341.html
27 ene 13, 12:42
JoseAngel: Comentario sobre THE (LUZHIN) DEFENCE:http://bathtubsinfilms.blogspot.com.es/2013/01/la-defensa-de-luzhin.html
27 ene 13, 12:23
JoseAngel: Comentario sobre Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer: http://bathtubsinfilms.blogspot.com.es/2013/01/henry-retrato-de-un-asesino.html
26 ene 13, 20:51
JoseAngel: Sin Complejos: La merienda negros de Amy Marin, de Urdanga y de los catalanes:http://fonoteca.esradio.fm/2013-01-26/sin-complejos-programa-completo-26012013-54329.html
26 ene 13, 15:02
JoseAngel: Terminan las jornadas sobre Darwin. Yo termino con un recuerdo a su abuelo y a Herbert Spencer. Los científicos no los aprecian bastante, me parece—ni al trabajo de las ideas en general, me temo.
24 ene 13, 22:23
JoseAngel: EXPIACIÓN y adaptación ("Atonement and Adaptation") en el Film Studies eJournal: http://t.co/qtKREP5l
24 ene 13, 16:57
JoseAngel: El Estado, en estado de putrefacción:http://fonoteca.esradio.fm/2013-01-24/federico-a-las-8-montoro-desconoce-si-barcenas-se-acogio-a-la-amnistia-54227.html
24 ene 13, 15:43
JoseAngel: Top Tracks for Leonard Cohen:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3Fkuq5Lf0Q&list=AL94UKMTqg-9D0EnTkiR5PRGsnOVCQTI-i
24 ene 13, 13:57
JoseAngel: Life in a Day: http://www.youtube.com/movie?v=JaFVr_cJJIY&feature=player_embedded
24 ene 13, 13:25
JoseAngel: Shakespeare en una molécula de ADN: "From fairest creatures we desire increase"http://prensa.unizar.es/noticias/noticias.php?noticia=36547&enlace=1301/130124_z0_10.pdf&via=m&fecha2=2013-01-24
24 ene 13, 10:17
JoseAngel: La estúpida y delictiva sesión del parlamento catalán: http://fonoteca.esradio.fm/2013-01-24/tertulia-politica-analisis-de-la-sesion-en-la-parlamento-catalan-54215.html
24 ene 13, 09:52
JoseAngel: Narrative Fiction and Evolution en el Literary Theory and Criticism eJournal: http://t.co/RNKnAhia
23 ene 13, 20:13
JoseAngel: Los catalanes continúan haciendo el ridículo a la vista de todo el mundo.
23 ene 13, 13:44
JoseAngel: El multiverso según la UZ:http://www.unizar.es/actualidad/vernoticia.php?id=10685&idh=3425#
23 ene 13, 12:53
JoseAngel: El jueves a las 19.00 manifestación de funcionarios Plaza Paraíso:http://prensa.unizar.es/noticias/noticias.php?noticia=36533&enlace=1301/130123_z0_16.pdf&via=m&fecha2=2013-01-23
23 ene 13, 09:33
JoseAngel: "La noche de la Tempestad" en el Ethnic Studies eJournal:http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/JELJOUR_Results.cfm?form_name=journalBrowse&journal_id=949574
22 ene 13, 18:22
JoseAngel: Me invitan a dar una conferencia sobre Shakespeare y Verdi. Pero declino à la Bartleby. No estoy conferenciante.
22 ene 13, 18:18
JoseAngel: El amor cortés: De los trovadores a Dante:http://www.march.es/conferencias/anteriores/voz.aspx?id=2922&l=1
22 ene 13, 11:16
JoseAngel: "Hemingway Meets Beckett: THE ROAD, de Cormac McCarthy" en el American Literature eJournal:http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/JELJOUR_Results.cfm?npage=3&form_name=journalBrowse&journal_id=949535
22 ene 13, 00:48
JoseAngel: "El carácter oral de Le Bâtard de Bouillon."http://www.academia.edu/2438799/
21 ene 13, 21:03
JoseAngel: Se investigarán a sí mismos. Aunque seguramente el dinero negro no figurará en la contabilidad:http://www.emanaciones.com/1308
21 ene 13, 16:41
JoseAngel: "Philosophy: Ages." From A Bibliography of Literary Theory, Criticism and Philology. Online at CoolEssay 18 Sept. 2012. http://coolessay.org/docs/index-127181.html
21 ene 13, 16:34
JoseAngel: También ésta sobre autores árabes:http://es.scribd.com/doc/59726336/Arabic-authors
21 ene 13, 16:22
JoseAngel: Mi bibliografía sobre el carnaval (no el nacional, sino el de siempre), scribdizada:http://es.scribd.com/doc/118913330/carnival
20 ene 13, 21:29
JoseAngel: La corrupción de Rajoy, y otros:http://fonoteca.esradio.fm/2013-01-20/sin-complejos-programa-completo-20012013-54060.html
20 ene 13, 20:01
JoseAngel: Nos van a publicar la traducción del discurso del Nobel de Harold Pinter.
20 ene 13, 19:54
JoseAngel: In memoriam Aaron Swartz:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aaron_Swartz
20 ene 13, 19:25
JoseAngel: In memoriam Aaron Swartz:http://fonoteca.esradio.fm/2013-01-19/enlace-digital-190113-54040.html
19 ene 13, 22:41
JoseAngel: Las noticias sobre el PP son sobre-cogedoras.
19 ene 13, 20:15
JoseAngel: Las imágenes de Vanity Fea:http://t.co/03rMUg97
19 ene 13, 15:45
JoseAngel: Me aceptan un artículo para publicación (impresa): "Retroperspectiva y perspicacia".
19 ene 13, 10:32
JoseAngel: El gobierno de Rajoy ha indultado a más de 400 delincuentes en un año. ¿Para qué hay juicios aquí?
19 ene 13, 10:21
JoseAngel: No votes PSOE. No votes PP. No votes secesionistas.
19 ene 13, 10:19
JoseAngel: Dennett, "The Normal Well-Tempered Mind"http://edge.org/conversation/normal-well-tempered-mind
19 ene 13, 09:51
JoseAngel: Dice el PP que los "sobre"sueldos en negro no les constan. Claro, como son en negro...
18 ene 13, 23:58
JoseAngel: Of Mice and Men. Burns said that.http://www.elperiodicodearagon.com/noticias/escenarios/la-tragedia-de-ratones-y-hombres-llega-principal_822790.html
18 ene 13, 12:34
JoseAngel: Del Big Bang al Hombre. ¡Me apunto!http://t.co/HZ47ldOA
17 ene 13, 22:07
JoseAngel: Nos vamos a ver la de Bigelow:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero_Dark_Thirty
16 ene 13, 21:05
JoseAngel: Tom Stoppard hoy:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-21040546#
16 ene 13, 20:17
JoseAngel: Mi última clase de este semestre. Y mucho me temo que no viene ningún estudiante.
16 ene 13, 18:37
JoseAngel: Mi Bibliography, entre los recursos seleccionados de KWSnet para crítica literaria:http://www.kwsnet.com/literary_criticism_literary_theory.html
16 ene 13, 18:32
JoseAngel: Mis bibliografías sobre hermenéutica se ven en eBookBrowse:http://ebookbrowse.com/he/hermeneutics-and-criticism
16 ene 13, 14:45
JoseAngel: Registro de mi Bibliografía en Digital Preservation Europe:http://www.digitalpreservationeurope.eu/registries/repositories/view/?id=1439
16 ene 13, 14:11
JoseAngel: Masacre en la Universidad de Alepo:http://prensa.unizar.es/noticias/noticias.php?noticia=36361&enlace=1301/130116_z0_alepo.pdf&via=m&fecha2=2013-01-16
15 ene 13, 19:34
JoseAngel: A Phoenix too Frequent:http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/a-phoenix-too-frequent/Content?oid=874691
15 ene 13, 00:13
JoseAngel: Ensayando el blog-Qué aporta tu post (Essaying the Blog-Your Post's Contribution) en el Rhetoric Educator eJournal:http://t.co/nhDh0zxH
14 ene 13, 19:01
JoseAngel: Pío Moa sobre el Rey:http://fonoteca.esradio.fm/2013-01-12/involucion-permanente-con-pio-moa-53723.html … vía @esradio
14 ene 13, 00:26
JoseAngel: Norman Holland on HABLE CON ELLA:http://www.asharperfocus.com/Talkto.html
13 ene 13, 21:36
JoseAngel: Música y letra: Juliette Gréco:http://fonoteca.esradio.fm/2013-01-13/musica-y-letra-juliette-greco-53763.html
13 ene 13, 12:47
JoseAngel: Reseña de España contra España, de Pío Moa:http://www.elmundofinanciero.com/noticia/9183/Tendencias/Espana-contra-Espana.-Claves-y-mitos-de-su-Historia.html
13 ene 13, 12:02
JoseAngel: Una canción darwinista de "Princess Ida" de Gilbert&Sullivan:http://youtu.be/X6k8VBnEWoo
13 ene 13, 00:24
JoseAngel: Por el Tubo de copas y de fotos.
11 ene 13, 21:31
JoseAngel: Speech Acts in Literature/Actos de Habla en la Literatura - en el Rhetorical Theory eJournal:http://t.co/cs676Bx1
11 ene 13, 20:46
JoseAngel: Tertulia política. Inacción del Gobierno ante ETAhttp://fonoteca.esradio.fm/2013-01-11/tertulia-politica-inaccion-del-gobierno-ante-eta-53666.html vía@esradio
11 ene 13, 19:36
JoseAngel: PaperTab:https://literaturame.net/blog/2013/01/papertab-la-tableta-de-papel-digital-flexible-para-el-futuro/
11 ene 13, 13:52
JoseAngel: Reseña de AMOR de Haneke:http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2013/01/11/cultura/1357894291.html
11 ene 13, 11:20
JoseAngel: Al parecer cierra Ibercampus, donde venía yo publicando algunos artículos:http://www.ibercampus.es/articulos.asp?blog=226
11 ene 13, 09:41
JoseAngel: Outline of Linguistics (Wikipedia):http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_linguistic_topics
10 ene 13, 19:35
JoseAngel: Vanity Fea tiene cero votos en La Blogoteca de 20 Minutos:http://lablogoteca.20minutos.es/busqueda/lablogoteca/vanity+fea/
10 ene 13, 19:27
JoseAngel: 13 Lunas, 12 Noches, en el Sexuality & Gender Studies eJournal:http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/JELJOUR_Results.cfm?npage=14&form_name=journalBrowse&journal_id=950868
10 ene 13, 19:23
JoseAngel: Una reseña de Zero Dark Thirty:http://blogs.uab.cat/saramartinalegre/2013/01/06/a-perplexing-heroine-maya-in-kathryn-bigelows-zero-dark-thirty/
10 ene 13, 09:19
JoseAngel: Le pongo un comentario a "Somos de lo más":http://www.ibercampus.es/articulos.asp?idarticulo=16050
9 ene 13, 16:30
JoseAngel: ‎"Netiqueta, cortesía, estrategia y sabiduría" en el Writing Technologies eJournal: http://t.co/ovNTHUpr
9 ene 13, 13:47
JoseAngel: Applied Evolutionary Criticism (STYLE):http://www.engl.niu.edu/ojs/index.php/style/issue/current
8 ene 13, 00:29
JoseAngel: Un must see (cosa rara por aquí): LOS MISERABLES.
7 ene 13, 13:54
JoseAngel: 2013: Más recesión, más paro y más deuda:http://blogs.elconfidencial.com/espana/disparate-economico/2013/01/07/2013-mas-recesion-mas-paro-y-mas-deuda-7895
7 ene 13, 12:46
JoseAngel: "Atención a la atención" en el Psychological Anthropology eJournal: http://t.co/FOLvy7A5
7 ene 13, 00:13
JoseAngel: Políticos opositando: ahí los quiero ver:http://www.perezreverte.com/articulo/patentes-corso/696/politicos-opositando-ahi-los-quiero-ver/
6 ene 13, 23:44
JoseAngel: No Frontiers (minuto 48):http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ov6USLXwGA&feature=endscreen&NR=1
6 ene 13, 16:55
JoseAngel: Paseando por las orillas del Huerva.
6 ene 13, 16:54
JoseAngel: ‎"Be Copy Now"- retroalimentación de la vida y del teatro, en el Rhetorical Analysis eJournal:http://t.co/NQlBuRbE
5 ene 13, 12:22
JoseAngel: Dándole a Polibio. Mientras, Benefit of Hindsight en el Lit. Theory & Criticism eJournal: http://t.co/RNKnAhia
5 ene 13, 10:42
JoseAngel: Se siguen repartiendo los puestos, impertérritos, los amigos del Sistema. Ahora, Rodrigo Rato al consejo de administración de Telefónica.
5 ene 13, 09:40
JoseAngel: Denuncia presentada contra Rajoy por cobrar dietas de alojamiento, teniendo la Moncloa para vivir. Será sinvergüenza...
4 ene 13, 23:46
JoseAngel: Ramachandran on neurology and syndromes:http://edge.org/video/adventures-in-behavioral-neurology%E2%80%94or%E2%80%94what-neurology-can-tell-us-about-human-nature
4 ene 13, 23:19
JoseAngel: Dos artículos míos en el COGNITION AND THE ARTS E-JOURNAL:http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/JELJOUR_Results.cfm?form_name=journalBrowse&journal_id=1309387
4 ene 13, 23:12
JoseAngel: Aventuras de Jared Diamond en Nueva Guinea:http://edge.org/conversation/tales-from-the-world-before-yesterday
4 ene 13, 18:39
JoseAngel: Otra visión de mi Storify:http://storify.com/JoseAngel
4 ene 13, 16:49
JoseAngel: El carácter oral de "Le Bâtard de Bouillon":https://www.researchgate.net/publication/234035682
3 ene 13, 19:32
JoseAngel: Zombis de Eta:http://cronicasbarbaras.blogs.com/crnicas_brbaras/2013/01/zombis-de-eta.html
3 ene 13, 19:29
JoseAngel: Pío Moa defendiendo el español como lengua científica: http://www.intereconomia.com/blog/presente-y-pasado/excluir-espanol-ciencia-paco-fracaso-matrimonial-20130102
3 ene 13, 19:10
JoseAngel: Y mis mejores fotos de 2012:http://www.flickr.com/photos/garciala/sets/72157632418772193/
3 ene 13, 11:46
JoseAngel: Las mejores fotos de 2012:http://www.elmundo.es/resumen/2012/fotografias/
2 ene 13, 19:11
JoseAngel: El yo y el deseo: http://www.piomoa.es/?p=107
2 ene 13, 00:41
JoseAngel: My BackUp Pages:http://www.unizar.es/departamentos/filologia_inglesa/garciala/z12-12.html
1 ene 13, 22:33
JoseAngel: Balance de un año de mentiras del PPhttp://blogs.libertaddigital.com/enigmas-del-11-m/balance-de-un-ano-de-mentiras-11867/
1 ene 13, 22:30
JoseAngel: The Troy Stories, en el English&Commonwealth Lit. eJournal:http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/JELJOUR_Results.cfm?form_name=journalBrowse&journal_id=949552
1 ene 13, 19:40
JoseAngel: Por Arás de paseo con Ivo, Oscar y Víctor.

Microblog de diciembre 2012

Más atrás: Diciembre de 2012

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nada
menos.


Archivos:

Archivos de mi web desde 1995; bibliografía desde los 80.

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2012-12   2012-11   2012-10   2012-9   2012-8   2012-7  2012-6  2012-5  2012-4  2012-3  2012-2   2012-1
2011-12   2011-11  2011-10  2011-9  2011-8   2011-7  2011-6  2011-5  2011-4  2011-3   2011-2  2011-1 

2008-12  2008-11   2008-10  2008-9  2008-8  2008-7 2008-6  2008-5  2008-4  2008-3   2008-2  2008-1

  
2007-12  2007-11 2007-10   2007-9   2007-8   2007-7   2007-6   2007-5   2007-4    2007-3   2007-2   2007-1  

2006-12   2006-11 2006-10  2006-9   2006-8   2006-7   2006-6   2006-5   2006-4   2006-3   2006-2   2006-1   

2005-3   2005-2   2005-1  

 
  2004  



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  Bibliografía y webliografía 1984-1995-2003



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