sizhuvpolumrakeVANITY FEA: Blog de notas de José Angel García Landa (Zaragoza y Biescas) - Diciembre de 2014

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Miércoles 31 de diciembre de 2014

Last lasting diary


My trusty old steed

My trusty old steed


Un momento de Virginia Woolf

Un momento de Virginia Woolf

Un momento de Virginia Woolf

Este artículo es una lectura estilística detallada de un fragmento del ensayo de Virginia Woolf Una habitación propia, examinando la manera en que la autora expresa su teoría de la mente andrógina por medio de los procesos espontáneos de pensamiento de un yo focalizador o "centro de consciencia" durante un momento de "epifanía" modernista.

A Moment in Virginia Woolf

Abstract: This article is a close reading of a passage in Virginia Woolf's essay A Room of One's Own, examining the way in which the author expresses her theory of the androgynous mind through the spontaneous thought processes of a moment of epiphany in a "center of consciousness" or focalizing self.

Note: Downloadable document is in Spanish.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 12
Keywords: English literature, Androgyny, Woolf, Virginia Woolf, Epiphany, Gender, Stream of consciousness, Modernism, Moments

Date posted: December 28, 2014  

eJournal Classifications
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Cognition & the Arts eJournal - CMBO
CSN: Genre & Media (Topic) - CMBO
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English & Commonwealth Literature eJournal - CMBO
LIT: Twentieth-Century British Literature (Topic) - CMBO


Martes 30 de diciembre de 2014

Non monsieur je n'ai pas vingt ans



From George Sampson's Concise Cambridge History of English Literature (1970) :

(From Sampson— Some plays by major and minor 19th-c. poets and novelists:)

WORDSWORTH. (...) When the French Revolution passed into the Terror, Wordsworth lost his trust in immediate social reform. He turned to abstract meditation on man and society, and Godwin's Political Justice became a kind of Bible that comforted his distress. But the abstract anarchistic doctrine of Godwin was utterly useless to a creative poet; and the pessimism it produced bore fruit in his one dramatic work, The Borderers, written in 1795 though not published till 1842. The Borderers cannot claim intrinsic poetic or dramatic merit; but it enabled Wordsworth to write himself free from any perfectionist illusions.

COLERIDGE. (...). It was the hour of romance; and of pure, ethereal romance, the poetry of Coleridge is the supreme embodiment. He was indifferent to the medieval properties dear to Scott. It was in the subtler, more spiritual, regions of romance that Colerige found his home. Even the poetically moral conclusion of The Ancient Mariner is a sign of the spiritual presence which, in his faith, bound "man and bird and beast" in one mystical body and fellowhip. Oddly enough he showed some talent for the drama. Remorse (1813—an expansion of the earlier Osorio), in the style of Schiller's The Robbers, lacked the full courage of its theme and inclined to current stage sentiment, but it had a fair run. Zapoyla, "in humble imitation of The Winter's Tale", is less static, but less successful. More important are his translations (1799-1800) from Schiller's Wallenstein trilogy. The Fall of Robespierre by Coleridge and Southey can be dismissed as an efflorescence of revolutionary youth.

LAMB. (...). Lamb's first independent work in prose, A Tale of Rosamund Gray and Old Blind Margaret, was published in the summer of 1798. Already he had had some share in James White's Original Letters, etc., of Sir John Falstaff in July 1796. Rosamund Gray is a sombre and tragic narrative; but it can hardly be said to survive, except for Lamb's sake. The same must be said of his tragedy, called at first Pride's Cure, but named in its revised form John Woodvil (1802). Although without original merit or dramatic interest, the play bears witness to Lamb's careful study of the sixteenth and seventeenth century dramatists. In these pursuits Lamb gradually shook off his melancholy, and his life with Mary at this time is tenderly recorded in Old China, one of his best essays. (...) In 1802 the Lambs visited Coleridge at Greta Hall, without losing any of their attachment to London. The Tales from Shakespeare were begun in 1806, Mary doing most, Charles himself contributing only four tragedies. As Shakespeare whole and unmitigated for the young was at that time never thought of, the volume really gave many youthful readers their first acquaintance with a great poet. Before this classic appeared in January 1807, Lamb's silly farce Mr H. was given at Drury Lane without success. His true service to the drama was to be of a better kind. (...) Lamb's next literary venture was the justly famous Specimens of English Dramatic Poets who lived About the Time of Shakespeare (1808). This work rediscovered for its age the Elizabethan dramatists. Many people cannot share Lamb's entusiasm for these authors; some, on the other hand, have declared that Lamb ruined his authors by presenting as poetry what should be presented as drama. The objection is unreal and quite suppositious, as a glance through the book will show. The radical point is that the old dramatists were not known, and that Lamb sought to make them known in extracts chosen with sure dramatic instinct and enriched with notes that are little masterpieces of just criticism and eloquent prose. Now that the dramatists are known and acessible we need not go on reading extracts; but we must not be asked to revile the man who made them known and so helped to make them accessible. (...)

BYRON. To the years that succeeded his final departure from England belong his works in dramatic form. As in the poems, there is an alternation between the romantic and the classical modes. Manfred (1817), Cain (1821) and Heaven and Earth (1824) are romantic alike in spirit and structure; Marino Fallero (1820), The Two Foscari (1821) and Sardanapalus (1821) represent a deliberate attempt on the part of the author to break loose from the domination of the Elizabethan masters and to fashion tragedy on the neo-classic principles of Racine and Alfieri. This has nothing to do with date. When his theme is romantic Byron is romantic; when his theme is historical he is classical. In Manfred, as in the third canto of
Childe Harold, we recognize the spell which the Alps exercised on Byron's genius. Some influence from Goethe's Faust appears in the opening soliloquy; but the characteristic Byronic manner appears in the main story depicting an outcast from society, stained with crime, and proudly solitary. The play is as much and as little autobiographical as the other works. In Cain we witness the final stage in the evolution of the Byronic hero. The note of rebellion against social order and against authority is stronger than ever; but the conflict is one of the intellect rather than of the passions. In its day Cain was considered gross blasphemy; readers of the present time are more likely to admire its idyllic passages. Heaven and Earth, written in fourteen days, was taken as an act of repentance for the impiety of Cain; but as it is fragmentary, incoherent, and even uninteresting, the supposed repentance seems incomplete. When we pass from Byron's romantic and supernatural dramas to his Venetian tragedies and Sardanapalus, we enter a very different world. Here, in the observation of the unities, the setting of the scenes and in all that goes to constitute the technique of drama, the principles of classicism are observed. Sardanapalus is, from every point of view, a greater success than either of the Venetian tragedies. In Werner and The Deformed Transformed there is a return to the romantic pattern, but neither carries conviction.

SHELLEY. Since his arrival in Italy he had brooded over the plan of a lyrical drama. Of many competing themes he chose Prometheus; but not the Aeschylean Prometheus with its impotent conclusion. The story had to be transformed to fit Shelley's Godwinian faith in the perfectibility of man. Pain, death and sin were transitory ills. Religion, too, man would necessarily outgrow, for the gods were phantoms devised by his brain. So the tyrant Jupiter is thrust down, and his fall is the signal for the regeneration of humanity; man's evil nature slips off like a slough; Prometheus is "unbound". But, in a sense, his tragedy has newly begun, for in a series of visions he is shown what evil man will do to man; yet still the hope of final regeneration remains. Under forms of thought derived from the atheist and materialist Godwin, Shelley has given, in Prometheus Unbound, magnificent expression to the faith of Plato and of Jesus.
    Unlike Byron, Shelley had no historic imagination and he felt little interest in the metropolis of the Papacy. The one figure of medieval Rome that attracted him was Beatrice Cenci, and he resolved to make her the central figure of a poetic drama. In writing it he had in mind the great tragic actress Eliza O'Neill, and he sent the play to Covent Garden for performance. Not unnaturally it was declined. The Cenci as a tragedy for the stage does not really succeed. Cenci himself is a monster; Beatrice cannot justify her parricide, simply because the dreadful incentive is incapable of dramatic representation. Only in her death does Beatrice become a moving figure. The Cenci is a play for the study, not for the theatre.

Sir Henry Taylor (1800-86) led a long and honourable life which linked the French Revolution to the very eve of Queen Victoria's Jubilee. His main contributions to literature are the four tragedies, Isaac Comnenus (1827), Philip van Artevelde (1834), Edwin the Fair (1842) and St Clement's Eve (1862), Philip, his best play, was long high esteemed, and it gives us the familiar line "The world knows nothing of its greatest men"; but it is as finally dead as the other three. All contain numerous passages of something that looks like poetry, but does not keep on looking like it for long. One might call Taylor a belated Elizabethan who had wandered home through Germany. His Autobiography (1885) and his Correspondence (1888) are likely to outlast his poetry.
    George Darley (1795-1846) survives strangely as the author of a song not considered his. The compiler of The Golden Treasury found what seemed an anonymous song of the Caroline period, It is not beauty I demand, and included it among the seventeenth-century group of his book. The author, it is true, was not alive; but he might have been. Darley's pastoral drama Sylvia, or the May Queen (1827) was edited in 1892, and his poem Nephente (1836) in 1897. The dates are significant. There was a fashion in the Nineties for the curious clotted utterance of which Darley was a master. His stanzas beginning Listen to the Lyre seem to be the source of the exquisite rhythm of Meredith's Love in the Valley.
    Another favourite of the Nineties was Maria Edgeworth's nephew Thomas Lovell Beddoes (1803-49), whose chief work is a play entitled
Death's Jest Book or The Fool's Revenge, ready for publication as early as 1829 but not published till 1850. Beddoes, too was a belated Elizabethan, yet he is also modern. He was a physician and a physiologist and might himself have been a character by Ibsen. The blank verse of the Jest Book is likely to be less attractive now than some of its songs.
    Another dramatist is Charles Jeremiah Wells (1800-79), whose Stories after Nature (1822) fell flat, as did his poetical drama Joseph and his Brethren (1824) until it was drastically re-written and issued in 1876 with an eulogy by Swinburne which few modern readers have found justified.
    Richard Henry Horne (1803-84), who turned the "Henry" into "Hengist", endeavoured to live up to the more tempestuous name by adventures in mnay lands, including naval service in Mexico and gold-digging in Australia. His New Spirit of the Age (1844) was written with the help of his friend Mrs. Browning (then Miss Barrett). His tragedies, from Cosmo de' Medici and The Death of Marlowe (both 1837) to Laura Dibalzo (1880), are inevitably, like those of Taylor, Wells, and Beddoes, pseudo-Elizabethan, literary rather than dramatic. His jest of publishing his one poem of merit, the quasi-epic Orion, at the price of one farthing, may have had publicity value, but invited equally cheap epigram. Orion faintly suggests Hyperion, and The Death of Marlowe has at least one Marlovian line in the passage that begins "Last night a squadron charged me in a dream".
    Charles Whitehead (1804-62) gave us The Solitary (1831) in respectable Spenserians, The Cavalier (1836), a play, and certain quasi-historical novels, together with some "crime" literature, including The Autobiography of Jack Ketch (1834). The last was so successful that he was invited to contribute prose sketches to humorous writings by Robert Seymour. Whitehead made the great refusal, and recommended Dickens, who began to write Pickwick Papers. Thus Whitehead is, in a sense, immortalized by the work he did not write.
    The achievements of Moore and Praed in light verse were anticipated by James and Horace Smith, whose Rejected Addresses (1812) were supposed to have been received by the managers of Drury Lane in a competition for the honour of recitation at the reopening of the burned-down theatre. It is a series of pieces in the manner of the best (and the worst) writers of the day; and as a complete book of parodies has hardly been surpassed.

(...) Readers, from Tennyson down, admired Philip Jameson Bailey (1816-1909) and his Festus—first published 1839 and like Tupper's work steadily enlarged till 1889—because he was ambitious and appeared to be profound. Festus is a long verse drama written in imitation of Goethe's Faust: the first scene is laid in Heaven, the first speaker is God. The poverty of its intellectual content is matched by the poverty of tis poetic expression. The passages once quoted with admiration are mostly "purple patches" in the strictest sense—very purple and very patchy.

(...) In a brief consideration of Disraeli's literary achievement we must at once dismiss The Revolutionary Epick (1834, reissued 1864) and Count Alarcos, a Tragedy (1839). The former (far from unreadable) shows that he admired the sentiments of Byron and the allegories of Shelley; the latter shows nothing but what may be called "common form" in literary tragedy—opera without music. But we should not forget, in estimating the prose compositions of Disraeli, that he wrote and published ambitious verse, and that both Shelley and Byron contributed to the formation of his mind.

(...) The life of Charles Kingsley (1819-75) was, in outward circumstances, as simple and modest as the career of Disraeli was world-embracing in its renown. Yet each dealt, after his own fashion, with the same social problems—the peasant, the operative, the landlord, the mill-owner, how they were to live in peace and grow towards a shared and beneficient prosperity. Kingsley was, in spirit as in fact, a country parson, an honest, limited, hasty impulsive man, without the least personal ambition. He drew his first social inspiration from Carlyle; but in 1844 he met Frederick Denison Maurice, who soon became "the Master" to him and a band of fellow enthusiasts. His actual first publication was a drama in prose and verse, The Saint's Tragedy, which appeared in the year of the Chartist fiasco. Kingsley, Maurice, and other devoted, chosen spirits took up the cause of the over-worked, under-nourished men, women and children, who in fetid homes and filthy factories wore away their short lives in the sacred cause of commercial prosperity. (...)

[Bulwer Lytton (1803-73)]: (...) Even in an age of voluminousness, Lytton was extraordinarily fertile. To his novels must be added a great mass of epic, satirical and translated verse, much essay-writing, pamphleteering and a number of successful plays, three of which are theatrical classics, Richelieu (1838), The Lady of Lyons (1838) and Money (1840). Had he concentrated his powers Lytton might have taken a more considerable place in the history of literature.

Charles Reade (1814-84), playwright and novelist, was at all points the opposite of Trollope. He was no improviser of pleasant stories. He was always a fighter. He took up causes. He attacked abuses. He made almost every novel a document, fortified by authorities. He turned novels into plays and plays into novels—usually performing the former course as he could then more easily pursue his imitators by legal process, for which he had a limitless appetite. His first novel Peg Woffington (1853) was made from his play Masks and Faces (1852). Christie Johnson (1853), his most idyllic story, delineates life in a Scottish fishing village, and appears to have no stage counterpart. Reade was deeply in sympathy with the impulse towards realism which was at work in fiction in the middle of the century, and in his methods anticipated Zola. His documentary novels are not all of one kind. There are, first, those in which he makes use of his knowledge, Defoe-like in it sintimacy, of trades and occupations; such are The Autobiography of a Thief (1858), Jack of All Trades (1858) and A Hero and a Martyr (1874). Secondly, there are stories of philanthropic purpose; in these, Reade sweeps aside Godwin's theories and Lytton's sentiments, replacing them by fact irrefutably established and by fierce denunciation. The ghastly cranks and collars and jackets of It is never too late to mend (1856) were things he had seen in the gaols of Durham, Oxford, and Reading. He could cite precedent for every single horror of the asylum scenes in Hard Cash (1863); on all the other abuses which he attacked—"ship-knacking" in Foul Play (1869), "rattening" in Put Yourself In His Place (1870), insanitary village life in A Woman Hater (1877)—he wrote as an authority on scandals flagrant at the moment. Pitiless, insistent hammering at the social conscience is the method of these novels, which remind us at times of Victor Hugo, at times of Eugène Sue and at times of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Reade's habit of challenging attention by capitals, dashes, short emphatic paragraphs, and so forth, accentuates the general impression of urgency and anticipates the devices of modern journalism. But his novels, however documentary, are masterly as narratives, and contain scenes of "actuality"—fire, flood and shipwreck—that are as thrilling in print as they would be on the stage. The greatest triumph of his documentary method is the historical novel, The Cloister and the Hearth (1861), enlarged from the first version tamely entitled A Good Fight, which, as it does not contain Denys, omits one of his greatest creations. The remoteness of the scene helps to mitigate Reade's indignant crusading, but even here he is "out" against one abuse, the celibacy of the clergy, to which he recurred in Griffith Gaunt (1866).

TENNYSON. (...) Of Tennyson's dramas it may be said briefly that they are not dramatic. In Queen Mary no single character arrests and dominates our interest, and the hero of
Harold, as of many later plays, resembles Hamlet without being Hamlet. The storngest in interest and the most impressive in performance is Becket. Tennyson's plays came upon the stage with every chance of success; but they are muffled in their own wordiness and have no quality of permanence.

SWINBURNE. Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909) announced his allegiance to Rossetti in the dedication of his first book—The Queen Mother and Rosamond (1860), two poetical dramas written in elaborate blank verse. Swinburne, born in London of an old Northumbrian family, was, as befits the son of an admiral, a lover and singer of the sea. At Eton and Oxford he developed his love of poetry, and when he came into association with the Rossetti circle it was with a taste already formed for many kinds of verse. He was a good classic, and his poetical patriotism was bestowed equally upon ancient Greece and Elizabethan England. His sympathy with republican freedom was learned from Landor and Shelley and, last but not least, from Victor Hugo, who shared with Shakespeare the shrine of his lifelong idolatry. With all his metrical originality, Swinburne was in substance an "echo" poet; and there was no writer who so completely furnished him with inspiration as Victor Hugo. He began with youthfully daring atheism and youthfully spoken republicanism; and he never quite grew up. His convictions were always passionate and always literary. It is a curious fact that no influence coloured the language of the atheistic republican so richly as the sacred literature, biblical and liturgical, of the religion whose professors were the objects of his tireless invective.
    Atalanta in Calydon and Chastelard in 1865 and Poems and Ballads in 1866 won Swinburne both celebrity and notoriety. Chastelard, the first of his three plays upon the life of Mary Queen of Scots, is a romantic drama in the style of his two earlier works. Atalanta, classical in subject, is an attempt to reproduce the characteristic forms of Greek drama in English verse. The avowed atheism of Atalanta might pass unchallenged, as long as it was partly veiled in the decent obscurity of its antique setting; but Poems and Ballads shocked most readers by its open flouting of conventional reticence. Here indeed were fleurs du mal flagrantly planted on English soil! The apparition of Swinburne shamelessly chanting his songs of satiety gave respectable England the dreadful sensation of finding Tannhaüser hymning the joys of Venus in the glazed courts of the Great Exhibition. And the curious fact is, that as Rossetti's religious poems had everything except religious conviction, so Swinburne's sensual poems had everything except sensual conviction. But the new metres captured the young, who chanted the music of Dolores without quite knowing what it was all about.
    Sagacious friends tried to divert the poet's ecstasies to other channels. He was persuaded to be active in the cause of Italian fredom. All the elements needed to excite him were there—the Papacy, the Austrian Empire, and, above all, Napoleon the Little, dearest enemy of Victor Hugo. And so the ardent poes whose hymns of lust and satiety had dazzled the young turned suddenly and sang the praises of Mazzini and Garibaldi in A Song of Italy (1867). Songs Before Sunrise (1871) was a collection of poems written during the final struggle for Italian freedom. It includes much of Swinburne's best work, the majestic Hertha, the lament for captive Italy in Super Flumina Babylonis and the apostrophe to France in Quia Multum Amavit. Songs of Two Nations (1875) continued his fierce political strains. But there is no conviction in his ardours. A sudden jolt would have made him write as hotly on the other side. It would be difficult to maintain that his poems of liberty are better than his poems of lust. After the achievement of Italian hope in 1870 and the fall of Napoleon III, which he hailed with savage delight, Swinburne had leisure for other interests. In the length and rhetoric of Bothwell (1874), sequence to Chastelard, he followed the example of Hugo's Cromwell. As Bothwell followed Chastelard, so Erechtheus (1876) followed Atalanta with equal eloquence and with closer relation to the spirit of Greek tragic form. The lyric choruses of Erechtheus, less enchanting than those in Atalanta, have a more constant loftiness and majesty. A second series of Poems and Ballads (1878), as musical as the first, was more chastened in matter. Studies in Song and Songs of the Springtides, in 1880, were full of love of the sea, the prevailing passion of the poet's later verse. As if he had become aware of his own excess in utterance, he turned to parody, and in the anonymous Heptalogia: or The Seven Against Sense (1880) produced gravely elaborate burlesques of Tennyson, Browning, Rossetti, Patmore and others, as well as himself. His touch was a little too heavy for perfect parody; and of his own Nephelidia it may be said that he was always capable of writing some of its lines in poems not intended to be amusing.
    Most admirers of Swinburne felt that the Tristram of Lyonesse volume, published in 1882, was the crown of his mature work. The title-piece is, like Morris's Jason, a long narrative in couplets; but with the kind of music that Morris could (and perhaps would) not have made. Tristram of Lyonesse is Wagnerian. It is a glorification of bodily passion. In form it is a marvellous study in the use of the couplet; in substance it is most permanently successful in its sea passages. That it is verbose, excessive, extenuated and monotonous can hardly be denied. The same volume also contained the series of sonnets on the Elizabethan dramatists, sometimes uncritical in enthusiasm but always memorable in expression. A Century of Roundels (1883) is remarkable as an exhibition of poetical dexterity which makes much of a slight metrical form. In 1881 Swinburne concluded with Mary Stuart the trilogy begun with Chastelard and continued with
Bothwell. After A Midsummer Holiday (1884), he returned to drama in Marino Faliero (1885), a subject which he felt had been handled unworthily by Byron. Locrine (1887), his next drama, was an original experiment in which each scene was presented in rhymes of a recurring stanza form; it is more intricate than dramatic. Two years later came the third series of Poems and Ballads (1889). In its lighter pieces and especially in such ballads as The Jacobite's Lament there is much of the accustomed freshness of spirit; but there are signs of flagging energy; nor did the poet recapture his inspiration in the later volumes, Astrophel (1894), A Tale of Balen (1896), A Channel Passage (1904) and the plays, The Sisters (1892), Rosamund Queen of the Lombards (1899) and The Duke of Gandia (1908). A surprising development was the sudden flaming of "Imperialism", at the time of the South African War, in a poet hitherto dedicated to republicanism.
   In addition to his poetry, Swinburne published from 1868 onwards several volumes of literary criticism. His Essays and Studies and Miscellanies bear striking testimony to his knowledge and love of poetry and his scholarly insight. Of his numerous monographs and essays upon individual writers, A Study of Shakespeare takes the first place. His criticism, howerver, was too much charged with the white heat of enthusiasm to be always judicious. A specially notable volume is the study of Blake, first published as long ago as 1868, a warm and generous appreciation of a poet who is sometimes thought to be a modern discovery. Swinburne even wrote a novel which appeared serially and pseudonymously in a forgotten weekly during 1877 and was republished as Love's Cross Current: A Year's Letters (1905). It has a faint suggestion of Meredith and is quite readable. Swinburne was not a great critic, but his essays contain passages of great criticism.
    Swinburne was always true to himself as a poet. Receptive of manifold influences, classical, English, and foreign, he reproduced them in a style wholly individual. He was fearless in the poetic proclamation of his ideals of liberty and justice, and tireless in the metrical ingenuity with which he fashioned his astonishing fluency into poetic forms both musical and memorable.

ROBERT BRIDGES. (...) Bridges had the advantage over Hopkins of attaining publication in his lifetime, but for some years shared his friend's obscurity so far as the general reading public was concerned. His verse dramas on classical themes (1883-94) won him a reputation among scholars—Hopkins found his Return of Ulysses "a fine play", though (like other plays of the kind), unreal in character and too archaic in language—but it was not until the Shorter Poems of 1896 that he first began to be at all widely known beyond university circles. Even as late as 1913, when he succeded Tennyson's succesor Alfred Austin as Poet Laureate, the more popular newspapers complained that no one had ever heard of him—which was perhaps another way of saying that, compared with Kipling, "the Poet Laureate of the British Empire", Bridges (like Austin in 1896) was still known to very few readers. (....)


Of nineteenth-century drama it may be said that though it is important in the history of the theatre, it scarcely concerns the history of literature. Much of it belongs to the region of the penny novelette. If original, it manufactured an artificial world unvisited by any gleams of intelligence; if adapted from work originally intelligent, it removed or overlaid the intelligence as a hindrance to success. The larger figures in literature whose work includes acred plays are considered in their own place [SEE ABOVE]. We are concerned here with those whose theatrical compositions are their chief claim to notice.

The theatre of Congreve and Sheridan appealed to an educated public, but there was always an uneducated public that wanted amusement of the crudest kind; and that kind of public rapidly increased during the nineteenth century. As a public institution, the theatre was still under the control of the Court, and the only recognized establishments were the "patent" houses, Drury Lane and Covent Garden, and the theatre in the Haymarket. These were insufficient for the public. The patent houses, especially Drury Lane, were enlarged till any play not of the roaring kind was engulfed; and other theatres furtively struggled into existence by the simple expedient of pretending not to be theatres, but "places of entertainmen." Not until 1843 did the Theatre Regulation Act legalize the position of "illegitimate" houses. An immovable obstacle to the development of later drama as a serious criticism of life was the power of the Lord Chamberlain, unchallengeable and irresponsible, to forbid the performance of any play on the grounds of alleged immorality, blasphemy or sedition. This power, conferred by the Licensing Act of 1737 as a political retort to Fielding (see p. 421), was capriciously used to suppress plays that were challengingly serious, when light entertainments reaching the extreme of lubricity were allowed. The plays of the nineteenth century are therefore, in general, unimportant either as literature or as drama. Tragedy lost its greatness and multiplied its excesses. Romance coarsened into elaborate make-believe. Comedy loosened into loud farce and boisterous horse-play. What was new was a homely, crude melodrama, very moral, very sententious, and entirely unreal. Nevertheless, tragedy was a favourite exercise with men of letters. Wordsworth had already tried his hand; Coleridge, Godwin, Lord Byron, Mary Russell Mitford, Disraeli and others, composed tragedies, some of which were produced upon the stage while others remained polite exercises in a literary form.

The three most famous writers of stage tragedy in the first part of the century were Richard Lalor Sheil (1791-1851), like Sheridan a politician; Charles Robert Maturin (1782-1824), an Irish clergyman, and Henry Hart Milman (1791-1868), Dean of St. Paul's (1849). Sheil's chief plays are Adelaide (1814), The Apostate (1817) and Bellamira (1818), the last perhaps the best. One line from The Apostate,

This is too much for any mortal creature,

tells most of the truth about Sheil as a writer of plays. The influence of the German tragic romance of horror (typified by Schiller's The Robbers) went to the making of Maturin (see p. 507), whose three tragedies—Bertram; or, The Castle of St. Aldobrand, Manuel, and Fredolfo—were produced in London in the years 1816 and 1817. There was a strain of poetry in Maturin, but he has now only the interest of curiosity. Milman is of a higher order than either Sheil or Maturin. Fazio, acted in 1818, is good drama if not good tragedy, and had a long stage life. The Fall of Jerusalem (1820) and The Martyr of Antioch (1822) are both founded upon a legitimately conceived struggle between two passions or ideas. Belshazzar (1822) contains some good lyrics. James Sheridan Knowles (1784-1862) takes an honourable place in the history of nineteenth-century drama as the author of sincere if rather ingenuous plays owing nothing to German extravagance or to feats of wild and whirling verbiage. His chief tragedies and comedies—Caius Gracchus (1815), Virginius (1820), William Tell (1825), The Hunchback (1832) and The Love Chase (1837)—had genuine success on the stage and are not intolerable to read. The tragedies of Richard "Hengist" Horne (see p. 534), Cosmo de' Medici (1837), Gregory VII (1840) and Judas Iscariot (1848) were literary rather than dramatic. His one genuine success was a short piece, The Death of Marlowe (1837). Once acted with some success wre the now forgotten Ion (1835) and Glencoe (1840) of Sir Thomas Noon Talfourd, the biographer of Lamb.

The tragedies we have mentioned were all attempts to write in the manner of past centuries. John Westland Marston (1819-90)—father of the blind lyric poet Philip Marston, friend of Swinburne and Thomson—was the first writer of his time to attempt a poetical tragedy of contemporary life, The Patrician's Daughter (1842). Marston was a mystic, a poet, and a scholar; and he showed courage in writing what was so near to a political play as The Patrician's Daughter, with its opposition between the haughty, heartless world of high society and the meritorious life of the poor. Marston's other tragedies in verse, Strathmore (1849) and Marie de Méranie (1850) were the last of their kind that deserve consideration.

The pressure of public demand for entertainment caused brisk dramatic activity duing much of the century. Comedy, farce, extravaganza, burlesque, opera and melodrama were vamped up from any handy materials by practised hands. Scott, Dumas and Dickens were eagerly drawn upon, for no copyright then protected the unhappy authors of novels from the depredations of theatre hacks. Plays were liberally interspersed with songs and dances, in order that they might call themselves "entertainments" and so evade both the Lord Chamberlain and the lessees of the patent theatres. The special dramatic form evolved to fit the mid-ninetheenth-century audience was melodrama, a term borrowed from the French. Whatever part music had played in melodrama soon vanished, and the name stood, and still stands, for plays of a peculiarly stagey kind.  Melodrama divided human nature into the entirely good and the entirely bad. It was in its way a "criticism of life" as understood in the age of the French Revolution, Parliamentary Reform, Chartism, and the Corn Laws. It allied itself boldly with the democratic against the aristocratic. To be rich and well-born was, almost inevitably, to be wicked; to be poor and humble was a guarantee of virtue. To be a baronet was to be doomed to a life of crime. Hero, heroine and villain, comic and virtuous retainers, heavy father (with Scriptural curses), fading and ultimately dying mother, dishonest solicitor juggling with title-deeds and marriage-lines—these and similar figures were expected from any melodrama that desired success. The morals were unexceptionable. Virtue was sumptuously rewarded and vice punished with poverty or prison.

Isaac Pocock (1782-1835), the author of The Miller and his Men, took the subject of his innumerable melodramas from French or German drama and English novels. Edward Ball (1792-1873), afterwards Fitzball, was an equally prolific purveyor of borrowed plots. William Thomas Moncrieff (1794-1857) was for a time manager of Astley's Circus, to which he furnished one very successful equestrian drama, The Dandy Family, and won fame by supplying Drury Lane with a romantic melodrama called The Cataract of the Ganges; or, The Rajah's Daughter, in which real horses and a real waterfall appeared. With the dramas of Douglas William Jerrold (1803-57) we come to work not wholly unreadable. The most famous of his plays is Black-ey'd Susan; or, All in the Downs, which was founded upon the ballad by John Gay. The dramas of John Baldwin Buckstone (1802-79), most of them written for the Adelphi Theatre, are the origin of the familiar term, "Adelphi melodrama". They are extravagantly turgid and sentimental; but they are well constructed. Both The Green Bushes (1845) and The Flower of the Forest (1849) kept the stage till the end of the century.

The writer who gave melodrama the definite form that was to distinguish it completely from the drama of serious interest was Dionysius Lardner Bourcicault (1820-90) who shortened his name to Dion Boucicault. By all the rules he should have failed. Neither his plots nor his incidents are original. His characters are fixed theatrical types. But he had a sure instinct for what actors could deliver and audiences accept with conviction; moreover he could add to his fables what the unsophisticated took for romance. And so his three Irish dramas, The Colleen Bawn (which had a second life as Benedict's opera The Lily of Killarney), Arrah-na-Pogue and The Shaughraun, though belonging to the late Fifties and Sixties, lived on to the age of Shaw and Wilde. The Boucicault type of melodrama was carried on in the Adelphi plays of George R. Sims and Henry Pettitt and in the Drury Lane plays of the Augustus Harris regime, though these harked back to the "real horses" and "real water" of Moncrieff.

The next playwright to show distinctive merit was Tom Taylor (1817-80), who wrote melodrama suitable for polite society, as well as "costume" dramas. Very little of his work is original; but in Plot and Passion (1853), Still Waters Run Deep (1855) and The Ticket-of-Leave Men (1863), he proved himself a capable playwright. his one famous comedy is
Our American Cousin (1858), with the popular character, Lord Dundreary—a comedy which once had a tragic ending, being the play at whose performance in Washington in 1865 John Wilkes Booth assassinated Abraham Lincoln. Taylor's romantic "costume" plays, all founded upon other men's work, had great success. The best of them was Twixt Axe and Crown (1870). In the field of historical drama, his eminence was shared by William Gorman Wills (1828-91). For Wills, historical truth had no existence. His Oliver Cromwell in Charles I (1872) and his John Knox in Marie Stuart (1874) are almost farcical in the intensity of their villainy. Wills is further remembered for his adaptations Olivia and Faust—the last a mere pantomime caricature of Goethe—in which he owed his theatrical success to the genius of Irving, which sometimes shone brightest in the worst plays.

The comedy of the period, for the most part, is as unconvincing as the serious drama. Almost the only attempt to carry on the tradition of English high comedy was a feeble work of Boucicault's youth, London Assurance (1841). Sheridan Knowles, in The Hunchback (1832) and The Love Chase (1837), was more original than Boucicault, but his plots are as confusing as Congreve's. The nineteenth-century public liked to be thrilled by melodrama, but it also liked to be tickled by crude humour, and innumerable one-act farces were produced to be played, in the lavish fashion of the time, either as "curtain-raisers" or as "after-pieces". Adelphi "screamers" became, under J. B. Buckstone, as famous as Adelphi melodramas. One of the earliest and best of the farce-writers was John Poole (1786-1872), most famous as author of Paul Pry (1825), in which several actors (including J. L. Toole) found a suitable field for their comic talent. Indeed, without a natural comedian most of the farces are worthless and cannot be read with patience. The one outstanding exception is Box and Cox, adapted from the French by John Maddison Morton (1811-91), though it reads like an original work. Whether in Morton's farce Box and Cox, or in the Burnand-Sullivan opera Cox and Box, the pair of lodgers must be reckoned as part of the national mythology. James Robinson Planché (1796-1880), the historian of costume, is specially associated with the rise and development of burlesque and extravaganza. The gods and goddesses of Greece and Rome offered him many opportunities for spirited and topical fun.

Nicholas Nickleby gives us glimpses of the theatre in the early part of the century. The best short view of the English stage in the Sixties can be found in Pinero's comedy Trelawny of the Wells. Pinero, once a "utility" actor, had first-hand knowledge of what he sets forth. The sketches of the old-time "mummers" are perfect; but the main theme of the play is the coming of Thomas William Robertson (1829-71), called "Tom Wrench" in Trelawny. To the middle of the nineteenth century, the drama remained wholly stagey and spoke a language altogether its own. Robertson was really a "new" dramatist. Incurably old-fashioned as much of his work now seems, its naturalness of theme and simplicity of diction were revolutionary and were much resented by the orotund spouters of "platform" drama, who could find "nothing to get their teeth into". A new kind of actor had to be found for what was called the "cup and saucer" comedy of Robertson, and he was fortunate in being taken up by the Bancrofts, who produced Society in 1865, and brought the English stage into some relation with simple and normal life. The adventure prospered, and in quick succession came Ours (a play of the Crimean War) in 1866, Caste  in 1867, School in 1869, and others of less interest. Caste, the best of the series, though it evades rather than solvers the problems of caste implicit in the story, has genuine dramatic interest and feeling, and introduces some excellent sketches of character. The influence of Robertson did not produce further Robertsons, but it prepared the public for better plays than his own. Both Henry James Byron (1834-84) and James Albery (1838-89), author of  The Two Roses, in which Irving made his first great success, and adapter of The Pink Dominoes, in which Wyndham played with brilliance, followed Robertson. Albery had a natural gift for comedy which he failed to use fully: circumstances were too much for him. Byron was clever, but had not the genuine feeling of Robertson. His comedies, Our Boys (1875) and Uncle Dick's Darling (1869), were resoundingly popular and often revived. With the naturalistic plays came an attempt at naturalistic scenery instead of the cataclysmic scenes of melodrama.

The Bancrofts made comedy fashionable, and the Robertson period was followed by what may be called a French period, when the better-class themes based their productions on French plays, especially those of Sardou and Dumas fils. Sardou was an ingenious fabricator of "well-made" plays such as Diplomacy (1878); Dumas was more serious, and attempted some "criticism of life" of a narrowly limited kind. The fashionable comedies began to be increasingly artificial and concerned with the unimportant conventions and the sham emotions of "Society."

A unique place in the history of the English stage is held by William Schwenck Gilbert (1836-1911). His earlier pieces wre burlesques of no importance. To his second period belong The Palace of Truth (1870), The Wicked World (1873), Pygmalion and Galatea (1871), and Broken Hearts (1875). These plays are all founded upon a single idea, that of unaware self-revelation by characters under the influence of some supernatural interference. The satire is shrewd, but not profound; the young author had not learned to make the best use of his curiously logical fancy. His prose plays, such as Sweethearts (1874), Dan'l Druce (1876), Engaged (1877) and Comedy and Tragedy (1884), are incurably old-fashioned and lead nowhere. No one could predict from them The Bab Ballads (1869), a collection in the right line of English humorous verse, still less the famous series of comic operas (nearly all of them set by Sir Arthur Sullivan) beginning with Trial by Jury in 1875 and ending with The Grand Duke in 1896. Gilbert was a metrical humorist of a very skilful order, and he raised the quality of burlesque or extravaganza to a height never reached before. In some respects he was "common": he has moments that can only be called vulgar. The peculiarity of Gilbert's humour is a logical and wholly unpoetical use of fantasy. He carries out absurd ideas, with exact logic, from premise to conclusion. To the mind of an old-fashioned high-school headmistress he joined the fantastic logic of a fairy world. That he has given us the self-explanatory epithet "Gilbertian" is a tribute to his originality.

The last two decades of the nineteenth century saw a gradual rise in the general level of acted plays. Robertson and adaptations of contemporary French drama had brougth "Society" back to the theatre; but the player rather than the play was sometimes the attraction. Irving, Wyndham and the Bancrofts were fashionable actors and drew audiences for pieces of almost any quality. Still, plays were written, and two new authors began to attract attention, Henry Arthur Jones (1851-1929) and Arthur Wing Pinero (1859-1934). From the beginning there was evident in Jones a strain of the grandiose and the hortatory. His first London play, A Clerical Error, was acted in 1879; but his real success came with The Silver King (1882), which raised melodrama almost to the level of art. It remains his best play. Saints and Sinners (1884), The Middleman (1889), Judah (1890) and The Dancing Girl (1891) were all strong, heavy, and utterly stagey. Jones even attempted a blank-verse tragedy, The Tempter (1893), a most pretentious piece of fustian, and an equally pretentious religious play, Michael and his Lost Angel (1896). Pinero was more modest. He was an actor, and began with light comedies that could be easily performed. The Magistrate and Dandy Dick can still amuse. His first outstanding success was Sweet Lavender (1888), a lush sentimental comedy owing more than a little to the Temple scenes of Pendennis. In The Profligate (1889) he chose a more serious theme, but destroyed the whole efect of his story by surrendering to the popular demand for a happy ending. Indeed, the stage-work of Jones, Pinero and such less notable people as Sydney Grundy (1848-1914) had no artistic importance and made no contribution to the criticism of life. Their plays were theatrical inventions in which theatrically conceived figures behaved, at theatrical crises, in the expected theatrical manner. The literary counterpart of the popular play was not the novel, but the novelette. No contemporary English writer of the first rank paid any attention to the theatre. What shook the English stage into some recognition of its artistic ineptitude was the tremendous impact of Ibsen with his relentless, unsentimental criticism of life and his revealing exhibitions of the dramatic possibilities in the actual lives of commonplace people in commonplace circumstances. Several attempts had been made to introduce ibsen to the English public, but his plays did not become generally known till William Archer (with some assistance) translated the bulk of his work. In 1891 The Independent Theatre, founded by J. T. Grein, began its activity, and produced the work of Ibsen and other serious Continental dramatists on the English stage. It is difficult for a reader of today to understand the violence of execration with which Ibsen was greeted by the accredited critics of drama and the general playgoing public. "Muck-ferreting dog" was among the gentler terms applied to him. The prosecution of all concerned in the production of his plays was loudly demanded. But, detested as he was, Ibsen made it impossible for English playwrights to go on with their theatrical deceptions. Jones developed his unexploited vein of serious comedy and produced more reputable work in The Liars (1894) and The Case of Rebellious Susan (1897). Pinero made a bold attempt at stating social problems in The Second Mrs Tanqueray (1893), The Benefit of the Doubt (1895), Iris (1901), Letty (1903) and His House in Order (1906). But they appeared to express a conviction that the only problems for the theatre was that concerning women who had made, or were contemplating, breaches of the Seventh Commandment. Moreover, the plain fact is that, while Ibsen is a great writer, Jones and Pinero had no existence as men of letters. The one play of Pinero with genuine life is Trelawny of the Wells (1898), which, despite a muddled ending and some failure of character, is sincerely written and has actual relation to life. As we have already indicated, its theme is the passing of the old melodrama of the Sixties and the coming of a new dramatist, with the reactions of the change upon the lives of a group of players.

A brilliant interlude in the Jones-Pinero period was the sudden emergence as playwright of Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), who, in Lady Windermere's Fan (1892), A Woman of No Importance (1893) and An Ideal Husband (1894) showed that he could write with insolent ease and polished utterance better bad plays than the regular purveyors of dramatic fare could produce with their most laboured efforts. They could still be revived as period pieces and they can still be read for their sallies of wit. Wilde reached the height of his achievement in The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), the perfection of artificial comedy, produced in the year of his tragic downfall. It is one of the two best comedies written since the time of Sheridan. The other, Arms and the Man (1894) by Bernard Shaw, leads naturally to a consideration of that dramatist, whose main work, however, reaches forward to the next century and must be reserved for a later discussion.

Still another pleasing interlude was provided by the brief but definite success of Stephen Phillips (1808-1914) as a writer of poetical plays. Phillips had come into notice with his early publications Christ in Hades (1896) and Poems (1987). He seemed to be a new and original voice in the post-Tennysonian chorus, and some of his metrical irregularities aroused equal applause and reprobation. He was so far in the news as a poet that he was asked by George Alexander to write a play, and Paolo and Francesca (printed 1899, acted 1902) had great success. Herbert Beerbohm Tree then secured from him Herod (1901) and Ulysses (1902). But either the poet's inspiration failed or the actor's curious megalomania intervened unfavourably, for the two plays, successful dramatically, were less sincere as poems. They approached the region of grand opera and suggested Meyerbeer and Le Prophète. The Sin of David was poor, and Nero (1906), was almost pure Meyerbeer. Only the first three are important. Today they seem feeble and futile, but they cannot be entirely ignored. Phillips succeeded where Tennyson and Browning had failed—he put poetry of a kind on the stage and made it popular. Paolo and Francesca is the best of his plays. It is full of the lush diction which, at the end of the nineteenth century, seemed the proper idiom of poetic drama; but it could be spoken on the stage, and it could give an audience the sensation of hearing something that was beyond mere prose and brought an echo from the shores of old romance. Phillips provided an agreeable and successul interlude in the dead days of the drama.

The last decade of the century had better critics than writers of drama. William Archer (1856-1924) and Arthur Bingham Walkley (1855-1926), as well as Bernard Shaw, discussed plays in essays of the critical kind that later journalism had seldom a place for. Archer's work is preserved in The Theatrical World, 5 vols. (1894-8), and Shaw's in Dramatic Opinions and Essays,  1894-8, 2 vols. (1907). Both are readable for their own sake and invaluable as sources for the dramatic history of the decade. Walkley's Playhouse Impressions (1892) and Drama and Life (1937) are excellent.

Romance and Realism 1891-1914

Copa y mesa metálica

Copa y mesa metálica


Teatro en el Gran Teatro del Mundo


Lunes 29 de diciembre de 2014

Insight into Topsight

una publicación de José Angel García Landa.


Planète (3)

Hace 10 minutos en nuestro estudio de Abbey Road, tras meses de preparación con los técnicos y una banda elegida de magníficos profesionales, que es un honor trabajar con ellos:


Paloma y japonesa

Paloma y japonesa


Interdisciplinary evolutionary consilient narratology

—a posting to the Narrative-L:

Dear all,
There is a facebook group on EVOLUTIONARY NARRATOLOGY, and members are welcome. The site will be interesting for those with an interest in interdisciplinary narrative theory and narratology generally, for those interested in evoulutionary theory (both Big History and evolutionary sociobiology) and, well, for those with an interest on the interface between these fields, and in a consilient approach to the humanities. Please visit:

—while you have yourselves a merry little 2015.


This is the original description of the Facebook EVOLUTIONARY NARRATOLOGY Group: 

This group is for people interested in narratology and evolutionary theory, who want to see the first theory firmly embedded within the second. This group is also for people who strongly disagree with such a view. This group is even for people who confess to be "agnostic" about the issue, but is interested anyhow. Discussions, rants and recommendations are hereby encouraged.

Narratology, largely structuralist/formalist or cognitive in orientation, might well profit from a deeper anthropological framework, a Darwinian framework. Evolutionary approaches like evolutionary psychology, sociobiology, behavioral ecology, etc., have developed into a rich smorgasbord of great potential for understanding and explaining narrative activity in and by human organisms. Evolutionary Narratology studies the narrative animal.

The 1990s saw the birth of the Darwinian paradigm within literary theory and criticism. Prominent among the founders of 'Literary Darwinism' are Joseph Carroll and Jonathan Gottschall. Regarding stories and art in general, major contributions come from Ellen Dissanayake, Brian Boyd, Dennis Dutton, and others. (See this page for further detail and historical context:

Also, in film studies, a handful of academics walking under the cognitivist umbrella, draw upon evolutionary ideas, e.g., Joseph Anderson and Dirk Eitzen. Lately, David Bordwell, the cognitivist film professor par excellence, is also starting to make forays into Darwinia. Yet, narratology is particular neither to film nor literature. Narratology is about stories, storytelling and -consumption, regardless of medium.

Stories are told by human organisms, to human organisms, about human organisms. Whether telling, being told to, or told about, evolutionary approaches should be able to cast light upon the human psychology and behaviour in question. Furthermore, stories have been told ever since humans evolved the required linguistic and mental capacities, which might be as far back as 250,000 years ago. The implication is that narrativity should be fundamentally approached as a biological and evolutionary phenomenon.

What's more, Evolutionary Narratology should start out with questions pertaining to the 'epic Ur-situation', the basic, natural and unrefined situation of face-to-face, human storytelling and -consumption, whether the historical context of this activity be paleolithic or post-postmodern. This would be seen as a much-needed corrective to structuralist narratology's skewed generalizations from the highly artificial, modernist narrative experiments of the 1900s


And don't let's forget a "sister page" in Spanish and English, one I opened before I got accepted as an administrator and member of the above group:

Narratología evolucionista / Evolutionary narratology:

I'm so far the only active member of this page, and the most active in both. Everything in Evolutionary Narratology gets posted in Narratología Evolucionista, but not vice versa, as the Spanglish page is more catholic in both language and subject matter.

Domingo 28 de diciembre de 2014

The Origins of Political Order

una publicación de Narratología evolucionista - Evolutionary Narratology.

Introduction by inteviewer Marshall Poe: When I was an undergraduate, I fell in love with Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws. In the book Montesquieu reduces a set of disparate, seemingly unconnected facts arrayed over centuries and continents into a single, coherent theory of remarkable explanatory power. Alas, grand theoretical books like Spirit of the Laws are out of fashion today, not only because the human sciences are gripped by particularism (“more and more about less and less"), but also because we don’t train students to think like Montesquieu any more.
In his excellent The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2011), Francis Fukuyama bucks the trend. Of course, he’s done it before with elegant and persuasive books about the fall of communism, state-building, trust, and biotechnology among other big topics. Here he takes on the emergence of modern political institutions, or rather three modern political institutions: the state, the rule of law, and accountable government. He begins with human nature, takes us through a massive comparison of the political trajectories of world-historical civilizations (Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern, European), and, in so doing, tells us why the world political order looks the way it does today. His answers are surprising, and not directly in line with what might be called the “conventional thinking” about these things.


Fukuyama offers an evolutionary theory of political systems, attractive though somewhat biased in the direction of idealism, based not only on the development of political institutions and of the rule of law, but grounding them on the sociality of human nature, on the importance of symbolic thought, and of mutual recognition. Along the way, he offers suggestive insights on the role and significance of religions and of nations.
Need I say this is a significant and fascinating contribution to a consilient theory of politics?

Consiliencia, evolución, y anclaje narrativo


The Story of Earth


The Human Family Tree


Walking Man

Walking Man


The Mind's Big Bang - Evolution

Sábado 27 de diciembre de 2014

Miro la vida pasar (3)



Del huerto de Ronsard

Jamais l'homme avant qu'il meure
 ne demeure
bien heureux parfaitement;
toujours avec la liesse
la tristesse
se mêle secrètement.


Evolution for Everyone - The Human Social organism


Lee Smolin habla sobre El Renacer del Tiempo


Lectora y fotógrafo

Lectora y fotógrafo


Viernes 26 de diciembre de 2014

Darwin, God, and Dover: What the Collapse of 'Intelligent Design' means for Science and for Faith in America


Coming Out Skeptical


Notas sobre The Waste Land



Martha Nussbaum - Cultivating Humanities


Diez años de escribir blogs

Se me olvidó celebrar, si es que es de celebrar, que llevo ahora diez años—ya más de diez ahora—escribiendo este blog. Lo empecé en octubre de 2004, poco después de disponer de un espacio propio en la web de la Universidad de Zaragoza, y totalmente ignorante aún sobre las plataformas automatizadas de blogs. Luego lo pasé a Blogia, y seguidamente a Blogger, aunque también sigo haciendo el viejo blog "a pedales" en mi viejo sitio web, triplicando el esfuerzo inútilmente. Y luego han salido repositorios, facebooks, videoblogs y demás, multiplicándome las entidades de una manera que volvería loco a Occam.

En tiempos pensé que todo el mundo acabaría por abrirse un blog. Casi se realizó eso con el boom de facebook—pero son los menos los que escriben algo en su facebook, una vez inaugurado; y al final el whatsapp se presta más a mantener la red social auténtica de cada cual—de cada cual que la tenga. Y los blogs quedaron como una rareza para esperantistas, filatelistas, o radioaficionados—que parecen más chiflados a posteriori que a priori, antes de que se supiese en qué iba a parar la cosa. No sé si por intuición profética me quedé con el nombre de Vanity Fea para mi blog (aunque sigo dándole otros nombres en otros sitios), un poco como reducción al absurdo de la idea de un diario en red personal y público. Al final se vuelve a reducirse a su motivación original, que era señalar novedades o actualizaciones en mi web. Claro que si mi web incluye mi blog allí se abre la posibilidad de un bucle vicioso, o virtuoso, reflexivo en todo caso—y muchas vueltas le he dado a ese bucle que es uno mismo, sin ir a parar a ningún sitio. Sigo posteando novedades sobre mí, eso sí, aunque poco haya de nuevo; más de diez años me ha costado colgar mis Obras Completas, procurando alcanzarme a mí mismo, y algunas aún no han subido—las menos por no haberse escrito todavía. Claro que las subo por cuadruplicado a veces, a repositorios y demás, por miedo a que haya too little of a good thing. Y así es el cuento de nunca acabar, con mohosas novedades siempre desempolvadas.

Los primeros años incluso me dediqué a imprimir el blog, y perdí la comba cuando ya llevaba un estante lleno de volúmenes, pesados como Biblias. Porque esto ocupa espacio en los estantes, si se pone uno, y no sólo tiempo y bits. Pero perdí fuelle, y la impresión se quedó a mitad. Del mismo modo he perdido fuelle a la hora de escribir cosas, en general. Primero se ha vuelto menos diarístico y menos opinativo, o menos opinionated quizá también, el blog y uno mismo. Antes divagaba improptu mis opiniones, las noticias de a diario, ensayos tentativos, y despotriques varios, contra la profesión y el entorno y la naturaleza de la realidad. Pero de todo eso ya queda poco, y somos mera sombra de nuestras anteriores actividades. Antes no pasaba película que viese, o libro que leyese, sin escribir aquí sobre él. Luego perdí la fe, o el interés, o el impulso—y el interés se perdió conmigo. Han desaparecido también de auí los escasos comentadores que había los primeros años (muchos de ellos negativos). Desde luego, las remotas tentativas de "crear comunidad" o convertir esto en un foro de intercambio de opiniones han encontrado su refutación más contundente en el silencio y la indiferencia absoluta. Como analogía sólo se me ocurre el paralelo con mi Fotoblog, que contiene unas 30.000 fotos y apenas una decena de comentarios en total en estos diez años. Mira, en Facebook sí que me ponen algún me gusta a las fotos a veces, aunque ya se sabe que los me gusta de facebook son de buen quedar.  Creo que ni uno solo de mis conocidos, o familiares, o colegas, o gente interesada (?) en las cuestiones que trato ha puesto un solo comentario en los miles de artículos que he escrito en el blog. Algún troll, y pocos incluso de esos. Por el eco obtenido, desde luego, no lo haré, lo de seguir con el blog; podría aspirar en todo caso a un éxito de fracaso, pues ni siquiera Krapp fracasó mejor. Con lo cual va terminando todo esto, como empezó, como un diálogo a solas conmigo mismo. Pero dudo que ni yo mismo me escuche al final. Los mensajes secretos prefiero dirigírmelos en el blog interno del stream of consciousness, y no vale la pena dejar registro de ellos aquí.

Con lo cual el balance de estos diez años ha de ser de un éxito digamos modesto, sólo avalado por la continuidad inexplicable.  Es lo más cerca que he estado de la modestia, dirían algunos.

Refutación de la vanidad (Hegel)

Jueves 25 de diciembre de 2014

Día de mucho rodar

No por esta carretera, pero qué más da. Todas las carreteras son parecidas.

Día de mucho rodar 2


Miércoles 24 de diciembre de 2014

José Emilio Pacheco - El cuento y la novela como formas de conocimiento humano


Nos vamos de Galicia

Nos vamos de Galicia


Poética y narrativa de Javier Cercas


Paco Vera, "El chino"

Un ejemplo de mise en abyme paradoxale concentrante, que diría Lucien Dällenbach. Y felices navidades:


Biography: James Joyce


No Need to Purchase Purchas

The first edition of Purchas, his Pilgrimes; or, Relations of the World and the Religions observed in all Ages was published in 1613, and the work went through a convoluted series of reprints, continuations and additions. But you can have his second edition (enlarged of course) for free at the Internet Archive, or here. And the full title, which I love, for your benefit:


Places discovered, from the CREATION
unto this PRESENT.


THIS FIRST CONTAINETH a THEOLOGICALL and Geographical Historie of ASIA, AFRICA, and AMERICA, with the Ilands adiacent.

Declaring the ancient religions before the FLOVD, the
Heathnish, Jewish, and Saracenicall in all Ages since, in those parts professed, with their seuerall Opinions, Idols, Oracles, Temples, Priests, Fasts, Feasts, Sacrifices, and Rites Religious: Their beginnings, Proceedings, Alterations, Sects, Orders and Successions.

With briefe descriptions of the countries, nations, states, discoveries; Priuate and Publike Customes, and the Remerkable Rarities  of Nature, or humane Industrie in the Same.

The second Edition, much enlarged with Addition through the whole Worke;

by SAMVEL PVRCHAS, Minister at Eastwood in Essex.

Vnus Deuvs, vna Veritas.

London: Printed by William Stansby for Henrie Fetherstone, and are to be sold at his shop in Pauls Church-yard at the Signe of the Rose.


Online facsimile at Internet Archive:

"Samuel Purchas." Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia.*

A no confundir con otro Samuel Purchas, del siglo XVII, autor de A Theatre of Political Flying-Insects. Nuestro primer Purchas es todo un roll model, una de esas figuras casaubónicas que han querido (noble empeño) ofrecernos la clave de todas las mitologías, contener un mundo en un libro, o contarnos la historia de todas las cosas.

Historia(s) de todo


Martes 23 de diciembre de 2014


Estaba por aquí oyendo a Edmundo Rivero, que por cierto se parece mucho al abuelo Penas. Y me he acordado también de aquel disco de Malevaje de hace treinta años. No hará falta que aclare que tampoco yo sé más quien soy.


Pronto me voy de aquí

Pronto me voy de aquí


El juez Castro sienta a la Infanta Cristina en el banquillo


Lunes 22 de diciembre de 2014


No soy muy dado a las efemérides, y eso que todo es efímero. beckettgafasPero oigo que Samuel Beckett terminó su vida prepóstuma hace 25 años. Hace 26 leí yo mi tesis sobre Beckett—y le dieron o me dieron un premio. También le dieron premio (otro) al libro que salió de la revisión de la tesis, Samuel Beckett y la narración reflexiva (1992). Todo lleva su tiempo—vivir, escribir, y hasta morir. Ahora el libro lo he ido subiendo por capítulos a la SSRN. Aquí están uno tras otro y, en cierto modo, también el libro—en su vida póstuma o angélica.



Capítulo 1: Conceptos básicos de narratología

Capítulo 2: Entrando en la trilogía: La narración en Molloy

Capítulo 3: El status narrativo en la trilogía

Capítulo 4: Movimientos narrativos

Capítulo 5: El narrador autorial y las otras voces narrativas

Capítulo 6: Narración autodiegética

Capítulo 7: El narrador impersonal

Capítulo 8: Saliendo de la trilogía: El final de The Unnamable

Capítulo 9: Imágenes del lector

Capítulo 10: La escritura como trabajo sobre los códigos semióticos

Más anexos y bibliografías.


Ephemera et aeterna


Mañana de hoy
Mañana de hoy


Domingo 21 de diciembre de 2014


Ulysses. Dir. Joseph Strick. Adapted from the novel by James Joyce by Fred Haines and Joseph Strick. Cast: Milo O'Shea as Leopold Bloom, Barbara Jefford as Molly Bloom, Maurice Roëves as Stephen Dedalus, T. P. McKenna as Buck Mulligan and Sheila O'Sullivan as May Golding Dedalus. 1967. Online at YouTube (Cultur na hEireann) 16 June 2013.*


Federico el 10-N: La doble epopeya delictiva del 9-N


Cataluña tras el 9-N en Teatro Crítico


Crítica de la teoría literaria de Javier Cercas


Tiempo del relato


Mujer mira al oeste

Mujer mira el oeste


Sábado 20 de diciembre de 2014

Vérone (5)


La escritura como trabajo sobre los códigos semióticos

La escritura como trabajo sobre los códigos semióticos 

(Samuel Beckett y la narración reflexiva, 10)

Jose Angel Garcia Landa

Universidad de Zaragoza

Samuel Beckett y la narración reflexiva. Zaragoza: Prensas Universitarias de Zaragoza, 1992.

Es éste el último capítulo de Samuel Beckett y la Narración Reflexiva, un estudio en profundidad de la escritura experimental de Beckett, en especial de la trilogía novelística Molloy, Malone Dies, and The Unnamable, desde la perspectiva de la narratología estructuralista y las teorías estructuralistas sobre la enunciación. Resulta de allí no sólo una mejor comprensión de la técnica utilizada por Beckett para transmitir su peculiar visión de la realidad, sino también toda una nueva gama de significaciones en estos textos. La escritura de Beckett se revela como una escritura reflexiva, que juega deliberadamente con las convenciones de la representación para trascenderlas y transformarlas. Su sentido se construye en gran medida mediante la desconstrucción paródica de los procedimientos narrativos tradicionales. La metodología estructural desarrollada para el análisis narrativo resulta así ser especialmente adecuada para enfrentarse a la escritura metaficcional de Beckett: debido a la extremada reflexividad de esta obra, el poder explicativo del método va más allá de lo que tradicionalmente se considerarían cuestiones formales, ya que la forma se ha tematizado, ha pasado a a ser el contenido mismo de la obra de Beckett, la base de su articulación narrativa. En este capítulo concluimos con unas observaciones finales sobre la estética metaficcional y reflexiva de Beckett en tanto que supone un trabajo de reelaboración de las convenciones de la representación literaria y de las modalidades narrativas, y un trabajo sobre los códigos semióticos con los que interpretamos la realidad. Siguen a esta conclusión las secciones finales del libro: una sección de ejemplos de episodios de la Trilogía que admiten una lectura metaficcional, una bibliografía de las obras de Beckett, y una bibliografía crítica de obras citadas.

(Writing as Work on Semiotic Codes (Samuel Beckett and Reflexive Narrative, 10))

Abstract: This is the last chapter of Samuel Beckett and Reflexive Narrative, an in-depth study of Beckett's experimental writing, more specifically of the novelistic trilogy Molloy, Malone Dies and The Unnamable, from the standpoint of structuralist theories of narrative and of enunciation. An increased insight is thereby obtained into the technique used by Beckett to articulate his peculiar view of reality, and a new dimension of signification of these texts emerges. Beckett's writing is revealed as a reflexive writing, playing deliberately with the conventions of narrative representation in order to transcend and transform them. Its sense is largely built through the parodic deconstruction of traditional narrative procedures. The structural methodology deployed for narrative analysis is, then, most adequate to deal with Beckett's metafictional writing: because of the extreme reflexivity of these works, the explanatory power of this method extends beyond the traditionally formal aspects, given than form has become thematized and has become the subject matter of Beckett's writing, the basis of its narrative articulation. This chapter concludes the book with some final observations on Beckett's metafictional and reflexive aesthetics, understood here as a reworking of the conventions of literary representation and narrative modes, and a labour effected on the semiotic codes that are used to interpret reality. This conclusion is followed by the back matter of the book, including a section collecting examples from the Trilogy which admit a metafictional reading, a bibliography of Beckett's works, and a list of critical works cited.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 42
Accepted Paper Series 

 Introducción a Samuel Beckett y la narración reflexiva


Niña de Sorolla

Niña de Sorolla


Viernes 19 de diciembre de 2014

Federico les da un repaso a los jueces


God, the Universe, and Everything Else


La orilla blanca, la orilla negra (2)


Sobre la corrupción en la Universidad

 Un comunicado de ATU, Asociación para la Transparencia Universitaria:

La corrupción en la Universidad no es algo reciente sino que, por el contrario, goza de un notable pedigrí. De hecho, nunca se ha intentado acabar realmente con la corrupción. Las escasas veces que se han destapado algunos casos flagrantes no respondían a un planteamiento sistemático sino a reyertas internas entre reinos de taifas que libraban batallas entre sí y trataban de aprovechar la oportunidad de tener un competidor menos.

     Pero la corrupción no es el único problema de nuestra Universidad. La sistemática conversión de todas las instituciones públicas en negocios privados supone el mayor de los ataques de la historia.

     Por esto mismo pensamos que puede ser el momento idóneo para intentar acabar con la corrupción. Pero con rigor y determinación, sin dejar fuera ningún tipo de corrupción y estableciendo prioridades entre unas y otras.

     Denunciar los casos de corrupción requiere la colaboración de todos. No sirve mirar a otro lado. Es imprescindible recopilar los casos de corrupción que conozcáis, que nos enviéis la documentación correspondiente para sacarla a la luz, a la vista de todos y así aumentar la transparencia en la Universidad.   

     Por nuestra parte, nos comprometemos a atender todos los casos que recibamos, completar la documentación y hacerlos públicos cuando tengamos la información suficiente.

   En los próximos meses se va a celebrar el “VCongreso sobre la Corrupción y el Acoso en la Universidad Pública." Uno de los objetivos es establecer un calendario de actuaciones al que puedan incorporarse vuestras sugerencias.     

No cabe esperar más. Si no asumimos nuestra responsabilidad en denunciar y luchar contra la corrupción, no queda espacio para la esperanza en una Universidad que, mediante un ejercicio de transparencia y autocrítica, promueva una sociedad más justa


Casos de corrupción en
         Twitter de ATU:

          Mail de contacto de ATU:


Ralph Vaughan Williams, Riders to the Sea


Sheridan - The Rivals (Bristol Old Vic)


On Shared Universes

On "shared universes" it is always a question of more or less —just as in "real life" we share our universe to a certain extent, always partially so, but perhaps never in a complete way. In the case of fictional worlds, an explicit reference to characters or events in another novel is taken as a sign that the author wants to emphasize the continuity between both novel worlds, and this may be either central or anecdotal (perhaps just a mark of the author's personal affection for his own tiny "comédie humaine"). But in the last analysis, all human universes, fictional or not, are partially shared by the fact that we live in a common and interconnected semiosphere. If there were any universe which was completely autonomous or non-shared, not resting on a common ground with our universe, then that's an issue similar to the multiverses in cosmology. They are a mathematical or logical problem without any demonstrable physical connection to our own universe. That is, if we make abstraction of the fact that these problems have been thought out IN OUR UNIVERSE, and in that sense they are also subordinate hypothetical worlds resting on the common world of shared experience.
Or at least that's the way it looks if we see it from here.
A paper (in Spanish) on the multiverses of Stephen Hawking and Olaf Stapledon in The Great Design and Star Maker:

 From a thread in the Narrative-L. David Richter adds:

Sometimes a writer creates a world which is largely coherent but with occasional inconsistencies, of which the most canonical is Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha novels.  Kirk and Klotz in Faulkner's People (1965) index all the characters, with special treatment for ones that are handled inconsistently.  One example of inconsistency involves Quentin Compson, who in The Sound and the Fury (1929) commits suicide while at Harvard at the age of 19--the Anderson Bridge over the Charles River actually has a plaque commemorating this fictional event; but Quentin also narrates the short story "That Evening Sun," from These Thirteen (1931), and he is 24 years old as narrator (9 years old at the time of the story which is timestamped "fifteen years ago").

Close readers can overread these inconsistencies through elaborate midrash that creates implausible storyworlds.  The Baker Street Irregulars, who read the Sherlock Holmes stories ("the canon") as though they represent a coherent and consistent world have presented theories that Watson (who marries Mary Morstan in The Sign of Four) was married three or four times because the dates of action of particular stories (as inferred from details in the stories) suggest that Watson was married, then unmarried, then married again, then unmarried....  Or that his middle name is Hamish (Scottish for James) because his name is John H. Watson and his wife, at one point, calls him "James."  I should mention that such research findings generally have their tongue firmly in their collective cheek.

Similar close reading in Biblical studies takes place without irony.  For example, Isaac has been determined to be 37 years old at the time of the aborted sacrifice in Genesis 22, though his age is never mentioned in that chapter and the dialogue with Abraham would suggest that he is a boy of ten or so.  The inflexible logic of 37 proceeds from Sarah's age at Isaac's birth (90), and her age at her death (127) at the beginning of Genesis 23.  Since Sarah is not mentioned at all in Genesis 22, it is inferred that the cause of her death was finding out--in some midrashim from an evil angel--that Abraham has gone off to sacrifice Isaac--and if that is so Isaac must be 37.  Similar midrash is created in New Testament studies to reconcile inconsistencies in the Gospels, e.g. who carries Jesus's cross to Golgotha: the Gospel of John says that Jesus carried it; the other three (synoptic) Gospels say it was carried by Simon of Cyrene.  To remove the inconsistency, the midrashic process creates an emplotted event (Jesus falls while carrying the cross, the Romans find a man in the crowd, Simon, and draft him to help) that is so vivid that it is often pictured in religious paintings (like Breughel's Way to Calvary) and has been filmed in practically every Jesus movie I know of.

And me:

Some aspects of this fictional-world-managing are dealt with by Marie-Laure Ryan under the heading of "transfictionality", e.g. in "Transfictionality Across Media." In Theorizing Narrativity. Ed. John Pier and José Ángel García Landa. (Narratologia, 12). Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2008. 385-417. On the other hand, the mental or discursive operations involved in "fitting" a narrative within a larger narrative, historicizing it, or building an overal chronology out of disparate narratives, may be seen as an aspect of what I call "narrative anchoring." See e.g. here, "Harry Thompson, 'This Thing of Darkness': Narrative Anchoring"
Jueves 18 de diciembre de 2014

The Sad Café (The Long Run)


Ao the Last Neanderthal


James Joyce's Ulysses (Documentary)


El Gran Diseño y Hacedor de Estrellas

El Gran Diseño y Hacedor de Estrellas:
Especulaciones sobre el multiverso y la única realidad

Exponemos y comentamos en este artículo la teoría cosmológica presentada en el libro de Stephen Hawking y Leonard Mlodinow El Gran Diseño (The Great Design, 2010), una perspectiva global sobre la física y el universo que pretende dar cuenta de la excepcionalidad aparente del mismo, y reducirla a parámetros racionales recurriendo al concepto del multiverso. Señalamos algunas analogías del multiverso de Hawking con las hiperficciones ergódicas, así como con las figuraciones del multiverso presentadas en la novela de ciencia-ficción especulativa de Olaf Stapledon Star Maker (1937). Situamos las concepciones de ambos libros en las tradiciones de la teodicea, viéndolas en concreto como una actualización de las teorías sobre la plenitud de la naturaleza.


Note: Downloadable document is in Spanish.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 81


The Grand Design and Star Maker: Speculations on the Multiverse and the Sole Reality

This paper expounds and comments the cosmological theory put forward in Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow's book The Great Design (2010), a global perspective on physics and the universe which tries to account for the apparent exceptionality of the physical universe and reduce it to rational parameters, by resorting to the concept of the multiverse. We point out some existing parallels between Hawking's multiverse and ergodic hyperfictions, as well as previous figurations of the multiverse presented in Olaf Stapledon's speculative science-fiction novel Star Maker (1937). We situate both books within the traditions of theodicy, more specifically as a bringing up to date of traditional conceptions on the plenitude of nature.


Date posted: December 09, 2014

eJournal Classifications
AARN Subject Matter eJournals
Cultural Anthropology eJournal - CMBO
AARN: Human Borders - Animals, Science & Technology, & Material Culture (Topic) - CMBO
AARN: Science & Technology Studies (Sub-Topic) - CMBO
CSN Subject Matter eJournals
Cognition in Mathematics, Science, & Technology eJournal - CMBO
CSN: Science (Topic) - CMBO
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English & Commonwealth Literature eJournal - CMBO
LIT: Twentieth-Century British Literature (Topic) - CMBO

El Gran Diseño y Hacedor de Historias (1)


Miércoles 17 de diciembre de 2014

Andando por la arena mojada

Andando por la arena mojada


Cosmos (Carl Sagan, 1980)

Serie completa en español. Episodio 1: En la orilla del océano cósmico


Martes 16 de diciembre de 2014

Puente de Rande

Puente de Rande


Nicholas Hytner - How to Do Shakespeare


Lunes 15 de diciembre de 2014

Imágenes del lector (Samuel Beckett y la narración reflexiva, 9)

Imágenes del lector (Samuel Beckett y la narración reflexiva, 9)

"Samuel Beckett y la Narración Reflexiva" es un estudio en profundidad de la escritura experimental de Beckett, en especial de la trilogía novelística "Molloy," "Malone Dies," y "The Unnamable", desde la perspectiva de la narratología estructuralista y las teorías estructuralistas sobre la enunciación. Resulta de allí no sólo una mejor comprensión de la técnica utilizada por Beckett para transmitir su peculiar visión de la realidad, sino también toda una nueva gama de significaciones en estos textos. Este capítulo examina la transformación metaficcional a que se ven sometido el papel del receptor en la escritura de Beckett, con su uso de la figura del narratario y el papel del lector implícito o textual.

(Images of the Reader (Samuel Beckett and Reflexive Narrative, 9))

"Samuel Beckett and Reflexive Narrative" is an in-depth study of Beckett's experimental writing, more specifically of the novelistic trilogy "Molloy," "Malone Dies" and "The Unnamable," from the standpoint of structuralist theories of narrative and of enunciation. An increased insight is thereby obtained into the technique used by Beckett to articulate his peculiar view of reality, and a new dimension of signification of these texts emerges. This chapter examines Beckett's metafictional reworking of the role of the receiver, his use of narratees and the image of the textual or implied reader.


Reference Info: Samuel Beckett y la narración reflexiva. Zaragoza: Prensas Universitarias de Zaragoza, 1992. 229-36.

Date posted: December 03, 2014 

eJournal Classifications

CSN Subject Matter eJournals

LIT Subject Matter eJournals

LIT Subject Matter eJournals


John Beatty - Narrating Chance


Una lejana fuente de 'Kubla Khan'

O dos—una lejana, y otra cercana. Aquí, como preliminares, podemos leer el poema de Samuel Taylor Coleridge 'Kubla Khan', y el artículo de la Wikipedia ('Kubla Khan') que lo explica y contextualiza.  Allí se señalan como fuentes remotas del palacio soñado en el poema (y luego construido "en el aire") los viajes de Marco Polo citados por Samuel Purchas en Purchas's Pilgrimage, un libro que nos dice Coleridge que estaba leyendo cuando se quedó dormido y soñó el poema.

Sobre este sueño puede leerse (en Otras Inquisiciones) el ensayo de Borges "El sueño de Coleridge", y sobre el poema y su origen y fuentes el extenso estudio de John Livingston Lowes The Road to Xanadu. Algo comenté sobre ese libro y sus fuentes subterráneas en un par de artículos, "The Road to Xanadu" y "La Gloriosa y los ríos sagrados". La cuestión es que también hay una fuente subterránea, y una corriente subterránea, en 'Kubla Khan'.

Creo que esa corriente fluye desde una fuente más remota, a saber, la supuesta Carta del Preste Juan que también debió conocer Marco Polo, un falso informe sobre las maravillas de Oriente que circuló por Europa a partir del siglo XII. Lo reproduce Umberto Eco en su Storia delle terre e dei luoghi leggendari, libro que me compré en Venecia en italiano (Bompiani, 2013), pero que ya ha salido también en español. Reproduzco el pasaje relevante de la carta, con la fuente maravillosa, y seguidamente la sección que dedica Eco a la leyenda y carta del Preste Juan. Como se ve, no sólo está en este apócrifo medieval el origen (o un origen) de la maravillosa corriente subterránea, sino también del palacio soñado e incluso, quizá, de la Leche del Paraíso, el hidromiel (u opio) que ha de insuflar al poeta energía demoníaca o sobrenatural, para que a su vez inspire temor reverencial a quienes contemplan "his flashing eyes, his floating hair". Cada cual su Xanadu. Así describe el suyo el Preste Juan:Fonthill
Possediamo un altro palazzo, superiore al primo non in lunghezza ma in altezza e bellezza e edificato in seguito a una visione avuta, prima che noi nascessimo, dal padre nostro al quale, per la santità e la giustizia che in modo straordinario prosperavano in lui, era dato il nome di Quasidio. Infatti gli venne detto in sogno: "Edifica un palazzo per il figlio che stai per avere, che sarà re dei re terreni e signori dei signori di tutta quanta la terra. E per volere di Dio al palazzo sarà attribuita questa virtù: qui mai nessuno patirà fame né infermità, nessuno che si trovi al suo interno potrà morire il giorno in cui vi sarà entrato. E se qualcuno che fosse sul punto di morire di fame entrasse nel palazzo e li si fermasse un poco, se ne andrebbe sazio come se avesse mangiato cento portate e sano come se mai in vita sua fosse stato malato." Al suo interno nascerà anche una fonte, gustosa e odorosa più di ogni altra cosa al mondo, che non uscirà mai dal palazzo; da un angolo, dal quale si originerà, essa scorrerà invece attraverso il palazzo sino a un altro angolo sul lato opposto e lì la terra la accoglierà e sotto terra tornerà alla sua origine, allo stesso modo in cui il sole da occidente sotto la terra ritorna a oriente.
E avrà il sapore, sulla bocca di quanti ne gusteranno, di qualunque cosa essi desidereranno mangiare o bere. Infatti riempirà il palazzo di un profumo motto intenso, come se ogni sorta di droghe, di aromi e di unguenti fosse lì convogliata e smossa, e anzi molto di più. Se qualcunco gusterà l'acqua di quella fonte por tre anni e tre mesi e tre settimane e tre giorni e tre ore, ogni giorno per tre volte a digiuno, e nell'arco di tre ore ne gusterà in modo che né prima né dopo questa ora, bensì nello spazio che c'è tra l'inizio e la fine di ognuna di queste tre ore, per tre volte a digiuno ne gusterà, certamente prima di trecento anni e tre mesi e tre settimane e tre giorni e tre ore non morirà e sarà sempre nella sua prima giovinezza [...]  (En Eco 134-35)

Quizá incluso la fórmula del encantamiento que hemos de aplicarle al poeta desmelenado, "weave a circle round him thrice", puede estar inspirada en la obsesión ternaria que rige este palacio, según la carta del Preste Juan. Pero quién sabe, en un sueño la intertextualidad se combina de manera impredecible con todas las otras fuentes a las que se remonta Lowes. Con Bartram y las fuentes del Nilo, por ejemplo. O quién sabe si incluso conocería Coleridge ese otro sueño de Beckford al que alude Lowes.

Este es el pasaje de Purchas que al parecer leía Coleridge cuando el opio medicinal, o la prosa del historiador, pudo con él:
In Xanadu did Cublai Can build a stately palace, encompassing sixteene miles of plaine ground with a wall, wherein are fertile Meddowes, pleasant springs, delightful Streames, and all sorts of beasts of chase and game, and in the middest thereof a sumptuous house of pleasure, which may be removed from place to place.
Aquí anota Lowes el parecido con un texto que Coleridge no conocía, y transcribo aquí su nota:
There is a singular coincidence to which Henri Cordier has called attention in his edition of Yule's Cathay and the Way Thither. In a thirteenth-century Arabic account of Xandu (Shang-tu), which was not translated into any Occidental language until years after Coleridge had dreamed his dream, occurs this statement: 'On the eastern side of that city a karsi or palace was built called Langtin, after a plan which the Kaan had seen in a dream and retained in his memory." (6). In ancient tradition the stately pleasure-dome of Kubla Khan itself came into being, like the poem, as the embodiment of a remembered vision in a dream.
Una nota a pie de página ésta que inspiró el ensayo clásico de Borges sobre "El sueño de Coleridge". Ahora bien, el libro de Lowes es el único que conozco que contiene notas en las notas al pie. Ese número (6) nos remite a esta nota textual o divagativa al final del libro:

(6). See the extract from the Jami'-ut-Tawáríkh (Djami el-Tévarikh), or General History of the World, of Rashiduddin (Rashid ed-Din, born about 1247 A.D.), in Yule, Cathay and the Road Thither, ed. Cordier (Hakluyt Society, 1914), III, 107-33, esp. 117-18, and II, 227, n. 1. For D'Ohsson's reading of the statement about the dream, see Yule-Cordier, III, 117, n. 4. Rashid describes the building of Kubla's palace over 'a certain lake encompassed with meadows near the city." The lake having been filled up and covered over and the palace built above it, "the water that was thus imprisoned in the bowels of the earth in the course of time forced outlets in sundry places, and thus fountains were produced." That is a singular parallel with the subterranean waters of the poem, yet Coleridge could not have known the Jami'-ut-Tawáríkh. Rashid's account of the palace is also quoted in The Geographical Review (Am. Geographical Soc.), XV (1925), 591, and in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, new series, VII, 329-38. The text of Rashid's works is being edited by E. Blochet for the "E. J. W. Gibb Memorial." See Volumes XII and XVIII, 2 of the Memorial series. 
    The site of Xanadu has recently been explored; see the article by Lawrence Impey on "Shangtu, the Summer Capital of Kublai Khan," with interesting plates and plans, in The Geographical Review XV, 484-604—a reference for which I am indebted to Dr. H. J. Spinden of the Peaody Museum of Harvard University. The site was visited in the autumn of 1872 by Dr. S. W. Bushell, Physician to H. B. M. Legation, Peking, whose reports of his expedition may be found in the Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society, XVIII (1873-74), 156-58; Journal of the Royal Geog. Soc., XLIV (1874), 73-97, esp. 81-84; Journal Royal Asiatic Soc., new series, VII, 329-38. See also Henri Cordier, Les Voyages en Asie au XIVe siècle du . . . Odoric de Pordonone (in Recueil de Voyages et de Documents pour servir à l'histoire de la géographie depuis le XIIIe jusqu'à la fin du XVIe siècle), X, 313-15. For Friar Odoric's account, see ibid., X, 371-72, and esp. Yule-Cordier, Cathay and the Way Thither, II, 227-28. 
     The coincidence of the dreambuilt palace becomes still more curious when we read, in a Diary of J. Payne Collier: "we talked of dreams, the subject having been introduced by a recitation by Coleridge of some lines he had written many years ago upon the building of a Dream-palace by Kubla-Khan" (Lectures and Notes, p. 17; italics mine). But obviously Collier's note represents merely a confused recollection.
En su ensayo "Koublaï Khan, Coleridge, et Borges" Paul Bénichou (traductor del ensayo de Borges) comenta esta nota y cree atribuir a un error de traducción (de las fuentes persas usadas por Yule) la cuestión del palacio soñado. No es explicación suficiente ni necesaria, pues también hay palacio soñado en este texto del Preste Juan, anterior en siglos a las traducciones usadas por Yule, a las versiones europeas de la historia contada por Rashid-ed-Din, y también muy anterior a este historiador persa (de hacia 1300) al que se hacía remontar la noticia del palacio soñado.

 Otra nota curiosa (qué digo, muchas) introduce Lowes a este respecto. Comentando las asociaciones fugitivas del "Mount Abora" de Coleridge con el "Mount Amara" de Milton en Paradise Lost, añade este dato pasajero:

46. There is an extraordinary document which is evidence enough that such associations were less remote than we might think. It was written by a boy of eighteen, just twenty years before Coleridge's dream was dreamed. On December 4, 1778, ("being the full of the Moon") William Beckford, five years later the author of Vathek, wrote down, at Fonthill, an amazing reverie. It was not printed till 1910, and obviously Coleridge never saw it. As a "psychological curiosity" it is interesting to the last degree; but I may quote here a  few pertinent sentences only (Lewis Melville, The Life and Letters of William Beckford of Fonthill, London, 1910, pp. 62-63):
Meanwhile my thoughts were wandering into the interior of Africa and dwelt for hours on those Countries I love. Strange tales of Mount Atlas and relations of Travellers amused my fancy. One instant I imagined myself viewing the marble palaces of Ethiopian princes seated on the green woody margin of Lakes. .  . . Some few minutes after, I found myself standing before a thick wood listening to impetuous water falls.  . . . I was wondering at the Scene when a tall comely Negro wound along the slopes of the Hills and without moving his lips made me comprehend I was in Africa, on the brink of the Nile beneath the Mountains of Amara. I followed his steps thro' an infinity of irregular Vales, all skirted with Rocks and blooming with an aromatic vegetation, till we arrived at the hollow peak and . . . a wide Cavern appeared before us .  . . . We entered the Cavern and fell prostrate before the sacred source of the Nile which issues silently from a deep Gulph in the Rock
We may not forget, moreover, that the Happy Valley of Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia, was "in the kingdom of Amhara" (Rasselas, chap. i), not far from the Nile. And Rasselas (with its strange cavern and its stream which "entered a dark cleft of the mountain . . . and fell with dreadful noise") may at least have helped to fix the name in Coleridge's memory. The great cavern, it may be added, had a massive iron gate which "was opened to the sound of musick" (chap. i), and there was in the Happy Valley "instruments of soft musick . . . of which some played  . . .  by the power of the stream" (chap. vi). But for many reasons I do not believe that this curious music has any connection with "the mingled measure from the fountain and the caves." 
The cave at Corycos of which Purchas (Pilgrimage, 1617, p. 382), following Pomponius Mela (Lib. I, cap. xiii), gives an account, "terrifieth those that enter, with the multiplied sounds of Cymbals and uncouth mintralsie"; it has a subterranean river, and it is holy (vere sacer). Mela's description is very vivid, and some recollection of it may have lingered in Coleridge's memory. But I know no evidence that it did.

Es más que probable, sin embargo, que Coleridge, si no conocía el sueño de Beckford, sí conociese los trabajos de edificación del Xanadu ideado por Beckford, Fonthill Abbey. Miren el artículo de la Wikipedia al respecto, o este sitio dedicado a Fonthill en Beckfordiana—porque ni el edificio ni su historia tienen desperdicio. Tras unos años de vida como expatriado por un escándalo homosexual, el riquísimo y decadente Beckford comenzó la construcción de su mansión neogótica hacia 1796-98, los mismos años en que Coleridge soñó con Kubla Khan. Y algún detalle es revelador:
Shunned by English society, he nevertheless decided to return to his native country; after enclosing the Fonthill estate in a six-mile long wall (high enough to prevent hunters from chasing foxes and hares on his property), this arch-romantic decided to have a Gothic cathedral built for his home. (Wikipedia)
Apuntemos que el mero nombre de Fonthill (lo más cercano que pudo llegar a Coleridge de esta "abadía") puede combinarse con las otras fuentes y los otros montes, con las otras lecturas de Coleridge, para producir esas asociaciones subterráneas que tanto apreciaba Lowes.

Marco Polo es una de las fuentes incluidas en Purchas's Pilgrimage y pudo llegar directamente también a a Coleridge. Y Marco Polo sí conocía la carta del Preste Juan. A Marco Polo lo cita Lowes en una de sus voluminosas notas (al cap. VII):

4. In the heart of Asia lies the huge and sinister desert of Lop or Gobi. It had been traversed from even Chinese time immemorial by one of the mysterious ancient trade-routes stretching dimly into Central Asia, the long lost and recently rediscovered Kan-Suh imperial highway between the Orient and the West. Six hundred years ago Marco Polo crossed, on the road to Cathay, the phantom-haunted sands of Gobi by this very highway. And Marco Polo's travels found a place in Purchas His Pilgrimes. And Milton, like Coleridge, was a diligent reader of Purchas, as his Commonplace Book attests. One thing which Milton read of the Desert of Lop was this: "They say that there dwell many spirits which cause great and mervailous Illusions to Travellers to make them perish. For if any stay behind that he cannot see his company, he shall be called by name, and so going out of the way is lost . . .  Consorts of Musicall Instruments are sometimes heard in the Ayre" (Purchas, XI, 216). And it was these goblin voices from the uncanny borders of the Mongol wold which were transmuted into quintessential poetry, as the Lady in "Comus" speaks, losta and alone in the wood at night:
               A thousand fantasies
     Begin to throng in my memory,
     Of calling shapes, and beckoning shadows dire,
     And airy tongues that syllable men's names
      On sands and shores and desert wildernesses.
But the Desert of Lop has a longer poetical history.... (etc.) (Lowes, 445)

La fuente de esta nota también parece haber inspirado a Shakespeare en La Tempestad. Pasajes inspirados por este texto de Marco Polo (o quizá por sus secuelas) se encuentran cuando Caliban habla de los espíritus invisibles y músicaos de la isla. En la carta del Preste Juan, que pudo conocer bien directamente bien por influjo indirecto, vemos además la fuente del reino utópico soñado por Gonzalo. En el complejo de textos que inspiraron a Coleridge también se oyen las músicas tocadas por el aire que tanto encantaron a Caliban en su isla, y le inspiraron sus deseos de no despertarse de su sueño, para volver a soñar.

Pero derivamos, como Lowes, porque aquí un eco nos lleva a otro, aunque (como dice Hobbes) "Not every Thought to every Thought succeeds indifferently".

Aquí queda, en suma, mi propuesta, que quizá no le haya escapado antes a algún medievalista ignoto. En todo caso, no encuentro esta referencia ni en la Wikipedia (artículo "Kubla Khan") ni en el mismo Coleridge (que sólo cita a Purchas), ni en John Livingston Lowes, ni en Orson Welles, ni en Olivia Newton-John. Eco conoce la carta y la reedita, pero no la relaciona con el poema de Coleridge. Tampoco la menciona Bénichou. A las posibilidades que enumera Bénichou para explicar el misterio que comenta Borges (el sueño del palacio como prefiguración del sueño del poema) hay que añadir, evidentemente, la que aquí señalamos: la posibilidad de que tanto Rashid-ed-Din como Coleridge, o bien otra fuente usada por Coleridge si no él directamente, bebiesen de una fuente común, anterior y bien conocida en su momento—la carta del Preste Juan.  Y que estas corrientes se mezclasen, en las corrientes del sueño, con otra surgiente profunda de las profundidades del pensamiento, el arquetipo repetido de los sueños que nos llevan a crear algo que (quizá) otros hayan creado ya antes, inspirados por otro sueño suyo y por la misma corriente subterránea, le sorgente irrazionali del pensiero.

Pero son muchos los que han soñado con palacios. Algunos incluso los han construido, ya sea en el aire, o en cimientos apenas más sólidos.



Y aquí reproduzco en anexo, según decía, el comentario de Eco sobre la carta del Preste Juan y su mítica figura:


Narra la Cronaca di Ottone di Frisinga che nel 1145 in una visita al papa Eugenio III, nel corso di una ambasciata armena, Ugo vescovo di Gabala gli aveva parlato di un Gianni, Rex et Sacerdos cristiano nestoriano, discendente dai Magi, incitandolo a indire una seconda crociata contro gli infedeli.

Nel 1165 inizia a circolare quella che sarà chiamata la Lettera di Prete Gianni dove il prete scriveva a Manuele Comneno, imperatore di Oriente. Ma la lettera era pervenuta anche al papa Alessandro III e a Federico Barbarossa e aveva certamente impressionato i suoi destinatari se Alessandro III, nel 1177, aveva inviato, tramite il suo medico Filippo, una missiva al mitico monarca esortandolo ad abbandonare Peresia nestoriana e a sottomettersi alla Chiesa di Roma. Poco si sa di questo Filippo, né se avesse raggiunto il prete, né se il prete avesse risposto, ma l'intero episodio rivela l'interesse che la lettera poteva rivestire sul piano politico oltre che su quello religioso.

La lettera raccontava come nel lontano Est, al di là delle regioni occupate dai musulmani, al di là di quelle terre che i crociati avevano cercato di sottrarre al dominio degli infedeli, ma che al loro dominio erano tornate, fioriva un regno cristiano, governato da un favoloso Presbyter Johannes, rex potentia et virtute dei et domini nostri Iesu Christi.

Se esisteva un regno cristiano oltre le terre controllate dai musulmani, si poteva pensare a un ricongiungimento tra la Chiesa romana d'Occidente e il lontano Oriente e si legittimavano tutte le imprese di espansione ed esplorazione. Pertanto, tradotta e parafrasata più volte nel corso dei secoli seguenti, e in varie lingue e versioni, la lettera aveva avuto una importanza decisiva per l'espansione dell'Occidente cristiano. Nel 1221 una lettera di Jacques de Vitry al papa Onorio III menziona il Prete Gianni come un alleato quasi messianico in grado di rovesciare la situazione militare a favore dei crociati, mentre nel corso della settima crociata Luigi IX (secondo la Storia di san Luigi di Joinville) lo vede piuttosto come un possibile avversario mentre spera di allearsi ai tartari. Ancora nel XVI secolo a Bologna, all'epoca dell'incoronazione di Carlo V, si discuteva di Gianni come alleato possibile per la riconquista del Santo Sepolcro.

La leggenda del Prete Gianni viene ripresa continuamente da chi cita la lettera senza interrogarsi sulla sua veridicità. Del regno del prete parla John Mandeville (che scrive un Viaggi, ovvero Trattato delle cose più meravigliose e più notabili che si trovano al mondo). Questo autore non si era mai mosso da casa propria, e scriveva quasi sessant'anni dopo che Marco Polo si era spinto sino al Catai. Ma per Mandeville raccontare di geografia significava ancora raccontare di esseri che devono esserci, non che ci sono, anche se da alcune sue pagine si può pensare che tra le sue fonti ci fossero anche i resoconti del testimone oculare Marco Polo. Non è che Mandeville dica sempre e solo panzane: per esempio parla del camaleonte come di una bestia che cambia colore, però aggiunge che è simile a una capra.

Ora, è interessante paragonare la Sumatra, la Cina meridionale, l'India di Mandeville con quelle di Polo. C'è un nucleo che rimane in gran parte identico, salvo che Mandeville popola ancora queste contrade di animali e mostri umanoidi che ha trovato sui libri precedenti.

Verso la metà del XIV secolo il regno di Prete Gianni si sposterà da un Oriente impreciso verso l'Africa, e certamente l'utopia del regno di Gianni ha incoraggiato l'esplorazione e la conquista del continente. Infine i portoghesi avevano creduto di identificare il regno del prete con l'Etiopia, che di fatto costituiva un impero cristiano, anche se meno ricco e favoloso di quello descritto nella famigerata lettera. Si veda per esempio la relazione di Francisco Alvarez (Verdadera Informaçam das terras do Preste Joam das Indias, 1540), che tra il 1520 e il 1526 era stato in Etiopia, membro di una'amgasceria portoghese.

Come nasce, a che cosa mirava la lettera di Prete Gianni? Forse era un documento di propaganda antibizantina, prodotto negli scriptoria di Federico I (dato che usa espressioni abbastanza dispregiative nei confronti dell'imperatore d'Oriente), o una delle esercitazioni retoriche che tanto piacevano ai dotti dell'epoca, cui poco importava se ciò che davano per vero fosse davvero tale. Ma il problema non è tanto quello della sua origine, bensi quello della sua ricezione. Attraverso il fantasticare geografico si è via via rafforzato un progetto politico. In altre parole, il fantasma evocato da qualche scriba fantasioso ha agito come alibi per l'espansione del mondo cristiano verso Africa e Asia, amichevole sostegno del fardello dell'uomo bianco. Quello che ha contribuito alla sua fortuna era stata la descrizione di una terra abitata da esseri mostruosi di ogni sorta, ricca di materiali preziosi, splendidi palazzi e altri prodigi, di cui possono dare un'idea i brani che pubblichiamo in antologia. Chiunque abbia scritto la lettera era al corrente di tutta la letteratura antica sulle meraviglie dell'Oriente e aveva saputo sfruttare con abilità retorica e narrativa una tradizione leggendaria che aveva più di mille e cinquecento anni di vita. Ma sopratutto scriveva per un publico per il quale l'Oriente afffascinava in particolare per le ricchezze inaudite che custodiva, miraggio di abbondanza agli occhi di un mondo dominato in gran parte dalla povertà.2

Era del tutto falsa la lettera del Prete? Certamente riuniva tutti gli stereotipi sul favoloso Oriente ma diceva qualcosa di vero circa l'esistenza, se non di un regno, di molte comunità cristiane tra Medio Oriente e Asia. Si trattava delle comunità nestoriane.

I nestoriani aderivano alla dottrina di Nestorio, patriarca di Costantinopoli (ca. 381-451), che sosteneva che in Gesù Cristo convivevano due distinte persone, l'Uomo e il Dio e che Maria era madre solo della persona umana, rifiutandole pertanto il titolo di Madre di Dio. La dottrina era stata condannata come eretica ma la chiesa nestoriana aveva avuto una grande diffusione in Asia, dalla Persia al Malabar e alla Cina.

Como vedremo, quando i grandi viaggiatori medievali si spingeranno sino alla Mongolia e al Catai, nel corso del loro viaggio sentiranno parlare dalle popolazioni locali di un Prete Gianni. Di sicuro quei popoli lontani non avevano mai letto la lettera del Prete, ma certamente quella del Prete Gianni era come minimo una leggenda che circolava presso le comunità nestoriane che, a sostegno della lora identità, vantavano quella discendenza come titolo di nobiltà, per manifestare il loro orgoglio di cristiani in terra pagana.

Ultimo elemento della lettera era che Gianni si proclamava come Rex et Sacerdos, re e sacerdote. La fusione di regalità e sacerdozio è fondamentale nella tradizione giudaico-cristiana, che si rifà alla figura di Melchisedec, re di Salem e sacerdote dell'Altissimo, a cui lo stesso Abramo rende omaggio. Melchisedec appare anzitutto nel Genesi 14, 17-20: "Quando Abramo fu di ritorno, dopo la sconfitta di Chedorlaomer e dei re che erano con lui, il re di Sodoma gli uscì incontro nella Valle di Save, cioè la Valle del re. Intanto Melchisedec, re di Salem, offrì pane e vino: era sacerdote del Dio altissimo e benedisse Abramo con queste parole: Sia benedetto Abramo dal Dio altissimo, creatore del cielo e della terra, e benedetto sia il Dio altissimo, che ti ha messo in mano i tuoi nemici. Abramo gli diede la decima di tutto."

In quanto offre pane e vino Melchisedec è subito apparso come figura del Cristo e come tale lo cita in numerosi passi san Paolo il quale, definendo Gesù come "Sacerdote in eterno dell'Ordine di Melchisedek" ne anunnuncia il ritorno come Re dei Re. E, per venire ai tempi nostri, Giovanni Paolo II, nella udienza generale del 18 febbraio 1987 aveva detto: "Il nome Cristo che, come sappiamo, è l'equivalente greco della parola Messia, cioè Unto, oltre al carattere 'regale', di cui abbiamo trattato nella catechesi precedente, include, secondo la tradizione dell'Antico Testamento, anche quello 'sacerdotale'.... Tale unità ha la sua prima espressione, quasi un prototipo e una anticipazione, in Melchisedek, re di Salem, misterioso contemporaneo di Abramo."

Chi ha scritto la lettera del Prete aveva anche presente questa idea di una regalità sacerdotale e di un sacerdozio regale—e ciò spiega perché questo lontano imperatore fosse indicato come Presbyter o Prete.


(2). Per le varie versioni della lettera e per la sua fortuna vedi Zaganelli (1990).


Bénichou, Paul. "Koublaï Khan, Coleridge et Borges." In Cahier de l'Herne: Jorge Luis Borges. Ed. Dominique de Roux et al. 1989. 444-51.
Borges, Jorge Luis. "La flor de Coleridge" y "El sueño de Coleridge." En Borges, Otras inquisiciones. 1960. Madrid: Alianza, 1985. 17-25.
Coleridge, S. T. "Kubla Khan: Or, A Vision in a Dream. A Fragment." c. 1797-98, pub. 1816. En The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ed. gen. M. H. Abrams y Stephen Greenblatt. Vol. 2. Nueva York: Norton, 1999. 439-41.
_____. "Kubla Khan." Bartleby 1993-2014.
Eco, Umberto. Storia delle terre e dei luoghi leggendari. Milan: Bompiani-RCS Libri, 2013.
"Fonthill Abbey." Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia.
García Landa, José Angel. "The Road to Xanadu."  Vanity Fea 4 dic. 2005.
_____. "La Gloriosa y los ríos sagrados." Vanity Fea 5 dic. 2005.
"Kubla Khan." Wikipedia: The Free  Encyclopedia.
Lowes, John Livingston. The Road to Xanadu: A Study in the Ways of the Imagination. 1927. Londres: Pan Books-Picador, 1978.
Purchas, Samuel. PVRCHAS his PILGRIMAGE. OR RELATIONS OF THE WORLD AND THE RELIGIONS OBSERVED IN ALL AGES Places discovered, from the CREATION unto this PRESENT. / In foure parts. THIS FIRST CONTAINETH a Theologicall and Geographical Historie of ASIA, AFRICA, and AMERICA, with the ilands adiacent. / Declaring the ancient religions before the floud, the Heathnish, Jewish, and Saracenicall in all Ages since, in those parts professed, with their seuerall Opinions, Idols, Oracles, Temples, Priests, Fasts, Feasts, Sacrifices, and Rites Religious: Their beginnings, Proceedings, Alterations, Sects, Orders and Successions. / With briefe descriptions of the countries, nations, states, discoveries; Priuate and Publike Customes, and the Remerkable Rarities  of Nature, or humane Industrie in the Same. / The second Edition, much enlarged with Addition through the whole Worke; / by Samvel Pvrchas, Minister at Eastwood in Essex. / Vnus Deuvs, vna Veritas. / London: Printed by William Stansby for Henrie Fetherstone, and are to be sold at his shop in Pauls Church-yard at the Signe of the Rose. / 1614.
Online facsimile at Internet Archive:
Milton, John. "A Mask Presented at Ludlow-Castle, 1634. & c." [A.k.a. Comus ]. From Poems of Mr. John Milton. 1645. In The Poems of John Milton. Ed. H. Darbishire. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1961. 43-75.
"Samuel Purchas." In Web Writing That Works
"Samuel Purchas." Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia.
Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. c. 1611, pub. 1623. In The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. Online at MIT.
Zaganelli, Gioia, ed. La lettera del Prete Gianni. Parma: Pratiche, 1990.

Oscuridad, fracaso, Persona de Porlock

Domingo 14 de diciembre de 2014

Roger Scruton - Scientism and the Humanities


Something Stupid (3)


Sábado 13 de diciembre de 2014

Cognition in Mathematics, Science, & Technology eJournal

— Donde sale uno de mis últimos artículos. Con google seguro que se encuentra:



Le reste du temps (5)

Hoy en el estudio de grabación con toda la banda. Ronco, pero bueno, tampoco canto mucho mejor cuando no lo estoy:


Raymond Tallis: Aping Mankind? Neuromania, Darwinitis, and the Misrepresentation of Humanity


Addison on Aliens

(On the Origins of the Evolutionary Epic)

Antropocentrism is displaced in Addison´s essay on the Scale of Being. The human is no longer the center of God´s plan, and it is only a limited perspective we can have on the whole of nature. The world is no longer made for us; it also belongs to a variety of animals, angels, and aliens. 

 Addison's essay on the Scale of Being (Spectator no. 519, 1712), is an excellent exposition and instantiation of the notion of the FULL NATURE. It puts forward a view of the natural world which is completely purpose-driven, providential, a version of the Intelligent Design that Paley will still be holding a hundred years later. It goes back to age-old concepts of the Great Chain of Being, insisting on the fullness of the chain as a providential design. Every possible nook and pigeonhole of the world of nature has its place and every possible creature has been instantiated in this full productive system, whose very abundance is proof, for Addison, of the perfection of the creative plan. It is, then, a classical version of theodicy, and the world-view it offers is that of the static Scala Naturae, God's mind expressed in nature and culminating (at least as far as the Earth is concerned) in the human being as the closest expression of the divine will, and the one who can best understand the divine plan of which he is a subordinate part.

On the whole, Addison's views have been dismissed from a twentieth-century stance as a form of naive and complacent anthropocentrism, a prolongation of classical or medieval views into the age of enlightenment. But there may be some form of historical myopia at work here, once we take the historical context into account. There are highly interesting elements to be found in Addison, just as there are in the comparable takes on this idea of a Full Nature formulated by his contemporaries—Leibniz first, perhaps, then Shaftesbury, Bolingbroke, and Pope in his Essay on Man. And in Mandeville in another sense. The notion of full nature is not merely a justification for this seemingly anthropocentric view of mankind in its place in nature—just like some aspects the Linnaean (static, non-evolutionary) system will seriously question man's exceptionality in nature.  Antropocentrism is, instead, displaced. The human is no longer the center of God's plan, and it is only a limited perspective we can have on the whole of the scale of nature. There is, by the way, an apparent contradiction here, quite prominent in Pope's Essay on Man: the overall plan is divine, and it therefore escapes the human scope, which is necessarily limited—but these thinkers present themselves as providing a perspective on the divine plan which transcends (the "ordinary") human scope. Such reasoning leads to the paradoxical doctrine that we live in the best of possible worlds. The best—only not for us; it is the best from a divine stance we cannot share or comprehend.

Still, the notion of "the best of all possible worlds" and its concomitant "full nature" serve their function as an explanation of human limitations and of the fact that the world cannot be reduced to a moral order defined in human terms. What is more, we see that some elements in this world view are on the very brink of settting in motion the System of Nature, and transforming the static scale of creation, a natural taxonomy of diversity, into an epic of evolution, far in advance of the Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation and in advance of Diderot and Buffon (though not ahead of Ibn Khaldun and other proto-evolutionists. It is an evolutionary epic conducted, sure enough, by the mind of God unfolding its plan through nature. The opposition between evolutionary and non-evolutionary thinkers is in many respects not as clearly-drawn as it might look at first sight, and many of the principles of the evolutionary thought of Darwin, or of Spencer, rest on the notions developed by eighteenth-century thinkers, or, indeed, their predecessors. To name but a few: the reasoning on public benefits arising from private vices in Mandeville's Fable of the Bees is a reflection on the indirect and unplanned results of action, resulting in complex self-organization. Adam Smith's Invisible Hand, a concept emhasizing the emergence of spontaneous order from a multiplicty of conflicting forces —an order not planned by the intention of the (nonetheless conscious) agents. Malthus's reflections on the dynamics of population and resources, and on their effects on social dynamics, not just as regards such phenomena as war or famine, but also institutions, customs and beliefs. Or, again, the principle of the Tangled Bank which is so memorably formulated in the last paragraph of Darwin's Origin of Species. It is from the variety (the fullness of nature), from the tangled nature of the bank, that competition and ecological integration result, further biological complexity emerges and ever more beautiful forms may arise. As in an expanded Mandeville, public good results from the "private vice" of the struggle for life.

This principle of complex dynamics resulting from (and into) a Full Nature is also formulated in a memorable way in Oliver Goldsmith's story "Asem the Man-Hater". This is a squib against idealism which asserts the divine Providence and its working through indirect means and Secondary causes, far from any simple-minded projection of a moral order on the world.  One of these days I will put down in writing a detailed commentary of this story, which I take as a memorable fable of complexity and evolutionary dynamics avant la lettre. There we see, again, that the very existence of complex human society rests on the predatory dynamics and self-interest that enable the emergence of a human order in the first place. And the existence of a multiplicity of creatures involves the dynamics of hunting and preyiing; ultimately, even the forms of human cooperation rest on non-altruistic self-interest and derive from it. If Goldsmith is a proto-evolutionist, he does nail down some of the complex dynamics driving evolution. And not every aspect of this reasoning is formulated by explicitly evolutionary eighteenth-century thinkers, like Buffon or Erasmus Darwin.

All in all, Addison's essay on the Scale of Being, while being firmly planted in the thought of the past, seems on the brink of inventing evolution in the very process of its reasoning. Addison's central belief (that inanimate nature is merely the support of life, and that there is no inanimate nature without life) is a direct consequence of Robert Hooke's Micrographia (1665) and the new awareness of the microbial world. It also draws on the cosmological speculations of Fontenelle and other continental theorists of the Plurality of Worlds (the 17th-century equivalent of today's multiverses), who were drawing the intellectual consequences of the new discoveries in astronomy. But in spite of its progressive outlook around the year 1700, the assumption of a fully peopled universe is of course mistaken. We now know that most of the material universe, at least insofar as we can observe it, is inanimate and lifeless—that life, far from being spread everywhere, is an extremely exceptional development. Both life and intelligence are much more exceptional than Fontenelle or Addison would seem to think—the exception, rather than the rule of the universe. A century and a half later, William Whewell recognized as much—if the Universe is conceived as the purposive basis for this, then it is extremely wasteful and, well, pointless.   Addison's teleology and his providentialism are likewise the relics of an earlier age. And yet there are elements in this essay which look to the future, as well as to the past. And these go far beyond Addison's speculations on Aliens (and Angels). Evolution did not evolve in a single day, and this essay is one of my favourite texts on eighteenth-century proto-evolutionism, with human thought gathering the materials of the past and moving further towards a new perspective on nature and man's place in it. Beyond its apparent self-complacency we can detect a bold step in the decentering of man and of human thought. This is apparent in these thinkers discerning a universe which, while it exhibits a cosmic order, is not guided by human priorities or aims. A mighty maze,  not without a plan, indeed, but one whose plan is neither of human proportions, nor intended with an eye to human priorities.  This  is thought in evolution, soon to become fully evolutionary.

Note, for instance, the use of such notions as "adaptation" and "progress", the "transitions" from one species to another, or his description of the emergence of the senses in higher beings of the scale of nature. It is the very rhetoric of Addison's essay, his speculative journey through the Scale of Nature, that invites his reader to see that scale as an emergent or evolutionary system. He stands so much on the very brink of explicitly formulating an evolutionary interpretation, that this interpretation seems to be forming at the back of the author's mind, and to come to the fore in the consciousness of his reader as a natural development of Addison's reasoning. It is not clear whether the "advance" of the world of life through these stages, the "progress" of the scale of nature, is only the progress of Addison's examination from simple to complex, or the historical-evolutionary progress of the emergence of biological complexity, a reading it seems (perhaps cautiously) to invite—much more indeed than the Locke text he quotes. The "software" of life, the instincts or mental capacities of animals, are for Addison likewise on a rising scale of complexity which admits or invites an evolutionary interpretation. Bergson, indeed, observed in L'Évolution créatrice that the idea of the Scale of Nature was preparing the ground for the birth of evolutionism.

Or consider, indeed, the closing statement of Addison's essay, asserting the fundamental kinship between Man and Worm, and their common origin. Clearly, no reader of Addison will understand him to claim that worms are descended from humans—but didn't take such a big step for Charles Darwin to assert that humans evolved from worm-like creatures, and ultimately from inanimate matter. Many a reader of Addison, beginning with Darwin himself, was more than ready for such a claim.

Addison's displacement of anthropocentrism is, paradoxically enough, a mode of thought which is in a way quite naturally in keeping with traditional Biblical wisdom, when he observes that it is not for man to question the acts of God. The divine design, as he sees it, far transcends our limited outlook as creatures too narrowly centered on their own priorities, and unaware of their complex integration with all other beings in a cosmic order we can barely begin to discern.

Here is Addison's text , then, from the Norton Anthology:

JOSEPH ADDISON: [ On the Scale of Being]

The Spectator, No. 519, October 25, 1712

Inde hominum pecudumque genus, vitaeque volantum,
Et quae marmore fert monstra sub aequore pontus. (1)
—VIRGIL, Aeneid 6.728-29

Though there is a great deal of pleasure in contemplating the material world, by which I mean that system of bodies into which nature has so curiously wrought the mass of dead matter, with the several relations which those bodies bear to one another, there is still, methinks, something more wonderful and surprising in contemplations on the world of life, by which I mean all those animals with which every part of the universe is furnished. The material world is only the shell of the universe: the world of life are its inhabitants.

If we consider those parts of the material world which lie nearest to us and are, therefore, subject to our observations and inquiries, it is amazing to consider the infinity of animals with which it is stocked. Every part of matter is peopled. Every green leaf swarms with inhabitants. There is scarce a single humor in the body of a man, or of any other animal, in which our glasses (2) do not discover myriads of living creatures. The surface of animals is also covered with other animals which are, in the same manner, the basis of other animals that live upon it; nay, we find in the most losid bodies, as in marble itself, innumerable cells and cavities that are crowded with such imperceptible inhabitants as are too little for the naked eye to discover. On the other hand, if we look into the more bulky parts of nature, we see the seas, lakes, and rivers teeming with numberless kinds of living creatures. We find every mountain and marsh, wilderness and wood, plentifully stocked with birds and beasts, and every part of matter affording proper necessaries and conveniences for the livelihood of multitudes which inhabit it.

The author of The Plurality of Worlds (3) draws a very good argument upon this consideration for the peopling of every planet, as indeed it seems very probable from the analogy of reason that, if no part of matter which we are acquainted with lies waste and useless, those great bodies, which are at such a distance from us, should not be desert and unpeopled, but rather that they should be furnished with beings adapted to their respective situations.

Existence is a blessing to those beings only who are endowed with perception and is, in a manner, thrown away upon dead matter any further than as it is subservient to beings which are conscious of their existence. Accordingly, we find from the bodies which lie under our observation that matter is only made as the basis and support of animals and that there is no more of the one than what is necessary for the existence of the other.

Infinite Goodness is of so communicative a nature that it seems to delight in the conferring of existence upon every degree of perceptive being. As this is a speculation which I have often pursued with great pleasure to myself, I shall enlarge further upon it, by considering that part of the scale of beings which comes within our knowledge.

There are some living creatures which are raised but just above dead matter. To mention only that species of shellfish, which are formed in the fashion of a cone, that grow to the surface of several rocks and immediately die upon their being severed from the place where they grow. There are many other creatures but one remove from these, which have no other sense besides that of feeling and taste. Others have still an additional one of hearing, others of smell, and others of sight. It is wonderful to observe by what a gradual progress the world of life advances through a prodigious variety of species before a creature is formed that is complete in all its senses; and, even among these, there is such a different degree of perfection in the sense which one animal enjoys, beyond what appears in another, that, though the sense in different animals be distinguished by the same common denomination, it seems almost of a different nature. If after this we look into the several inward perfections of cunning and sagacity, or what we generally call instinctl, we find them rising after the same manner, imperceptibly, one above another, and receiving additional improvements, according to the species in which they are implanted. This progress in nature is so very gradual that the most perfect of an inferior species comes very near to the most imperfect of that which is immediately above it.

The exuberant and overflowing goodnes of the Supreme Being, whose mercy extends to all his works, is plainly seen, as I have before hinted, from his having made so very little matter, at least what falls within our knowledge, that does not swarm with life. Nor is his goodness less seen in the diversity than in the multitude of living creatures. Had he only made one species of animals, none of the rest would have enjoyed the happiness of existence; he has, therefore, specified in his creation every degree of life, every capacity of being. The whole chasm in nature, from a plant to a man, is filled up with diverse kinds of creatures, rising one over another by such a gentle and easy ascent that the little transitions and deviations from one species to another are almost insensible. This intermediate space is so well husbanded and managed that there is scarce a degree of perception that does not appear in some one part of the world of life. Is the goodness or wisdom of the Divine Being more manifested in this his proceeding?

There is a consequence, besides those I have already mentioned, which seems very naturally deducible from the foregoing considerations. If the scale of being rises by such a regular process so high as man, we may by a parity of reason (4) suppose that it still proceeds gradually through those beings which are of a superior nature to him, since there is an infinite greater space and room for different degrees of perfection between the Supreme Being and man than between man and the most despicable insect. This consequence of so great a variety of beings which are superior to us, from that variety which is inferior to us, is made by Mr. Locke (5) in a passage which I shall here set down after having premised that, notwithstanding there is such infinite room between man and his Maker for the creative power to exert itself in, it is impossible that it should ever be filled up, since there will be still an infinite gap or distance between the highest created being and the Power which produced him:

That there should be more species of intelligent creatures above us than there are of sensible and material below, is probable to me from hence: That in all the visible corporeal world we see no chasms or no gaps. All quite down from us, the descent is by easy steps and a continued series of things that, in each remove, differ very little from the other. There are fishes that have wings and are not strangers to the airy region; and there are some birds that are inhabitants of the water, whose blood is cold as fishes and their flesh so like in taste that the scrupulous are allowesd them on fish days. There are animals so near of kin both to birds and beasts that they are in the middle between both: amphybious animals link the terrestrial and aquatic together; seals live at land and at sea, and porpoises have the warm blood and entrails of a hog, not to mention what is confidently reported of mermaids or seamen. There are some brutes that seem to have as much knowledge and reason as some that are called men; and the animal and vegetable kingdoms are so nearly joined that, if you will take the lowest of one and the highest of the other, there will scarce be perceived any great difference between them; and so on, till we come to the lowest and the most inorganical parts of matter, we shall find everywhere that the several species are linked together and differ but in almost insensible degrees. And when we consider the infinite power and wisdom of the Maker, we have reason to think that it is suitable to the magnificent harmony of the universe and the great design and infinite goodness of the Architect, that the species of creatures should also, by gentle degrees, ascend upward from us toward his infinite perfection, as we see they gradually descend from us downward; which, if it be probable, we have reason to be persuaded that there are far more species of creatures above us than there are beneath, we being in degrees of perfection and much more remote from the infinite being of God than we are from the lowest state of being and that which approaches nearest to nothing. And yet of all those distinct species we have no clear distinct ideas.

In this system of being, there is no creature so wonderful in its nature, and which so much deserves our particular attention, as man, who fills up the middle space between the animal and intellectual nature, the visible and invisible world, and is that link in the chain of beings which has been often termed the nexus utriusque mundi (6). So that he who, in one respect, is associated with angels and archangels, may look upon a Being of infinite perfection as his father, and the highest order of spirits as his brethren, may, in another respect, say to corruption, "Thou art my father," and to the worm, "Thou art my mother and my sister" (7).


1. Thence the race of men and beasts, the life of flying creatures, and the monsters that the ocean bears beneath her smooth surface (Latin).

2. Microscopes. "Humor": fluid.

3. Bernard de Fontenelle (1657-1757). This popular book, a series of dialogues between a scientist and a countess concerning the possibility of other inhabited planets and the new astrophysics in general, was published in 1686 in France and was translated in 1688 by both John Glanvill and Aphra Behn.

4. A reasonable analogy or equivalence.

5. John Locke, in his Essay Concerning Human Understanding, 3.6.12.

6. The binding together of both worlds (Latin).

7. Job 17.14.


ADDISON ON ALIENS at Ibercampus.

Are Humans Necessary?


Mi bibliografía sobre el origen del lenguaje

A veces estas cosas van que vuelan y duran poco en Internet, pero de momento ha aparecido un sitio llamado Smartsheep que recicla y redifunde varias bibliografías mías, procedentes de mi bibliografía de tres metros de alta. Esta va sobre el origen del lenguaje, ese Newspeak que suena a través nuestro como si fuésemos una arpa de Eolo.

—from A Bibliography of Literary Theory, Criticism, and Philology.

A pie de esa página se encuentran otras bibliografías mías sobre temas diversos. Y aprovechando las felices fiestas para darles carpetazo por anticipado,

Yo es que soy más de los ochenta que de hoy en día, aunque aún me arrastre por la superficie de esta pantalla.

En Oxford University


Historia de la Filosofía Occidental


Viernes 12 de diciembre de 2014

Javier Sánchez in memoriam

Ha aparecido el volumen 50 de la revista Miscelánea—de la que en otro siglo fui editor—, y es un volumen dedicado a la memoria de Javier Sánchez Escribano, compañero de departamento, y de cafés, mientras vivió y mientras no se fue a la orilla del mar dejando atrás Zaragoza y el departamento. Muchas desgracias (y chistes de la vida también) comentamos esos últimos años hasta que se jubiló. Pero tuvo mala suerte Javier, y poco le tocó disfrutar de la jubilación. Javier fue profesor mío ya desde que pisé la universidad en 1979. Aún tengo por ahí un trabajo que hice para una asignatura suya más adelante en la carrera, el primero que aparece en mi lista de publicaciones. Para este número de la Miscelánea escribí esta presentación:

Este volumen está dedicado a la memoria de Javier Sánchez Escribano, compañero y amigo del Departamento de Filología Inglesa y Alemana de la Universidad de Zaragoza, recientemente fallecido. Casi todos los profesores de este departamento conocimos a Javier Sánchez Escribano primero como profesor nuestro en la carrera. Ha sido para nosotros uno de los old timers que estaban ya en el departamento y en el área de Filología Inglesa en Zaragoza desde sus primeros tiempos; y enseñó Javier a muchas promociones de estudiantes desde los años 70. Siempre fue un excelente compañero, al que incluso en los momentos difíciles no le fallaban el buen humor, la amistad, y el trato amable. Era parte de esta vida cotidiana en la universidad—tantas reuniones, tantas clases y también muchos cafés que tomamos juntos; la vida sólida de cada día en la que confiamos pensando que nunca nos va a faltar, ese día a día que se vuelve la sustancia misma de la realidad. Damos por hecho no nos va a faltar sin pensarlo siquiera, como nadie había pensado que Javier pudiera morir tan pronto, a destiempo—como tampoco lo pensaríamos sobre nosotros mismos. Se retiró todavía joven, parecía que con mucho tiempo por delante, a disfrutar de una jubilación temprana y una vida que prometía ser feliz y tranquila, a orillas del Mediterráneo. Aunque lo perdimos de vista contábamos con volverlo a ver, cualquier día, en cualquier visita. Y no había de ser. Nunca sabemos si ya hemos visto a alguien por última vez, si ya hemos hablado por última vez con una de esas personas que han sido, con su compañía y con su amistad, la trama misma de nuestra vida diaria, y así nos sucedió con Javier.

Te echamos de menos, Javier, y sentimos no haber podido despedirte mejor, aunque es cierto que es imposible despedirse bien de quien no esperamos ni queremos despedirnos. Los académicos realizamos en estos casos rituales dedicatorios, ceremonias que no valen más que otras, pero que tienen el valor de mantener simbólicamente esta relación con nuestro compañero, de poder decirle adiós con aprecio y tristeza mientras reconocemos su labor y seguimos dirigiéndonos a él como uno de los nuestros, alguien que sigue ahí, en nuestra memoria, en ese tiempo fuera del tiempo en el que el mundo y las personas tienen una eternidad y una permanencia, y todo sigue siendo como debería ser, como era antes. Para eso son los textos—incluso los textos académicos, que estudian estas cosas—y la literatura, que es el mejor ejemplo de esa pervivencia.

De la literatura y la lengua inglesas disfrutó Javier, estudiándolas y enseñándolas, en sus clases y en sus publicaciones académicas. Y también disfrutó, a ratos al menos, como hacemos los académicos, con textos y estudios filológicos, en congreso con sus compañeros—estas cosas de la academia— cosas nuestras, a veces incomprensibles hasta para nosotros mismos, pero a ellas nos dedicamos, e incluso las dedicamos. A la Filología se dedicó Javier muchos años, toda una vida. Además de sus propios trabajos académicos, fue el fundador de la Sociedad Española de Estudios Renacentistas, que ha contribuido de modo tan significativo al desarrollo de la anglística en España. Y en esta parcela de nuestros estudios hizo su contribución Javier, desde lo que son ahora ya los tiempos heroicos. A estos estudios, sin embargo, se debió de ver atraído originalmente Javier más bien por la literatura que por la filología misma, pues su gran afición eran los escritores del renacimiento inglés, y el contacto que tuvieron con España, un contacto que él mantenía vivo y que nos sigue hablando desde sus escritos— And of this book, this learning mayst thou taste.

Nos despedimos como podemos, porque de alguna manera hay que despedirse. Por qué no, conversando con Shakespeare, como a menudo conversó Javier, con una de sus obras favoritas, Ricardo II—para darnos voz cuando falla la voz, y para servir como imagen de nuestro dolor al perderlo.

“The shadow of my sorrow? Ha? Let's see,
'Tis very true. My grief lies all within,
And these external manner of laments
Are merely shadows to the unseen grief
That swells with silence in the tortured soul.
There lies the substance.”


Allan Megill - Paradoxes, Presuppositions and Proposed Uses of the Evolutionary Epic

Although E. O. Wilson seems to have invented the phrase “evolutionary epic,” Lightman and others have shown how pervasive the evolutionary epic (EE) was in Victorian England, long before Wilson appeared. The 19th-century EE was hybrid: it was rooted in the implicitly unifying religious idealism of Linnaean natural history (although proponents of the EE denied that species are immutable), and it flourished under the impact of “Darwinism” (although Darwin’s 1859 theory assumed a completely materialist natural universe, devoid of unifying purpose). It is thus not surprising that 19th-century proponents of the EE added an idealist surplus to Darwin, either through a quasi-divinization of nature, as in Herbert Spencer and Winwood Reade, or through out-and-out providentialism (A. R. Wallace). Notions of embedded rationality that were all but endemic in the 19th century helped to obscure from our forebears the gap, even the gulf, between material process and purposive aspiration that we post-Nietzscheans so easily see in such writers as Spencer, Reade, and Wallace. Present-day proponents of the EE are much more knowing. Wilson, readily admitting that his EE exceeds what genetics can justify, declares it to be a useful myth. Chaisson, Brown, and Christian emphasize that their essential concern is to tell good stories, which they likewise do not hesitate to characterize as myth. And the fact that Dowd’s Thank God for Evolution is prefaced by five closely-packed pages of supporting blurbs, fifty-seven in all, shows that he lacks Wallace’s implicit confidence that the material world is suffused by divine purpose.



Christian Pluhar & L'Arpeggiata - Bertali & Sances


Jueves 11 de diciembre de 2014

En el Puente Internacional

En el Puente Internacional


Mi bibliografía sobre Lacan

Lacan. Bibliography by Michael H. Hejazi


Miércoles 10 de diciembre de 2014

Being There CFP

una publicación de Narratología evolucionista - Evolutionary Narratology.

Soldados con mapa

Soldados con mapa


Martes 9 de diciembre de 2014

To begin with

To begin with, by Claire Bijou —from CSMS Magazine


As strangers we began
Then acquaintances we became
Then friends we were
To round back to being strangers
What did I do to you?
I know I didn’t do anything wrong
I acted as I always acted
I smiled like I always smiled
I talked like I always talked
Yet, now you change toward me
But I suspect why
Did you love me till the point you wanted more?
Were you hoping for a passionate night in the hay?
I am sorry, you were disappointed
But if this was the case, I totally understand
For when we can’t have what we want
We chase it away like it never existed
The truth is now factored in
I will keep my distance
For I can’t give you what you want
I will never be able to
But I can give you your distance
You said I am too much of an attraction
That I am too attachable
So I’ll be gone, estranged!
I’ll be gone like the wind blowing west
Cherishing the memory of our friendship
And praying that GOD bless you well
For after all, we were nothing, but strangers to begin with

Claire Bijou, Port-au-Prince 12/4/2014


Centro de Valença do Minho

Centro de Valença do Minho


Universal Criticism: Arbuthnot, Swift

Louis Cazamian on John Arbuthnot and Jonathan Swift. From A History of English Literature, by E. Legouis and A. Cazamian (Classicism: The Spirit of Controversy):

Controversy begets controversy; it also produces scepticism. In the atmosphere of party strife and of the clashing of ideas, the average mind is drifting towards the lassitude, the jaded indifference which will mark the mid-years of the century.

With vigorous thinkers, who give themselves up wholly to their beliefs, and ardently live through their intellectual adventures, doubt cannot be superficial and easy to bear; the universal irony with which they envelop themselves, and which seems to dissolve all the disappointments of heart of brain into a mere play of the critical intellect, disguises but ill the inward torment born of a moral restlessness. One must not, in all probability, lay too much stress on the moral kinship between Swift and the Romanticists, who were inclined to recognize in him one of themselves. But one can see in him, along with the triumph of the rational lucidity with which classicism wanted to light up the correct order of life and art, the symptom of the inner uneasiness which a reason too well armed for destruction could not escape, while it only met on every side with rival negations.


John Arbuthnot, born in Scotland (1667), taught mathematics in London, then practised medicine; attached to the person of Queen Anne (1709), he played an important part under the Whig ministry (1710-14) and in 1712 wrote numerous pamphlets: The Art of Political Lying, The History of John Bull, etc. In 1713 he formed with Pope the Scriblerus Club, which produced the Memoirs of Scriblerus (published in 1741). After the death of the queen and the fall of his party (1714), he retired into private life, but continued to collaborate in the literature of the opposition, in a way that still remains obscure. He died in 1735. His Miscellaneous Works (1750) are only partly authentic. The History of John Bull, Cassell's National Library; ed. by H. Teerink, 1925. See Aitken, The Life and Works of Arbuthnot, 1892.

Arbuthnot is inseparable from Swift. He was his friend and lived in mental companionship with him; from the circle to which both belonged there issued works united by an affinity of inspiration, and many a hint whicvh others knew how to put to profit. A supple, alert, original, seed-sowing intelligence, he has influenced Swift to a greater degree than he has been influenced by him. Or less pronounced features, but not without a certain family resemblance, he deserves to be  remembered by the side of his great friend.

It is not easy to estimate the share of Arbuthnot in the common fund of ideas, images, symbols, and pleasantry to which not only he and Swift, but also Pope, Gay, and others contributed. His John Bull recalls in several places the Tale of a Tub; on the ther hand, Gulliver's Travels owes its birth to Martinus Scriblerus, a general theme, no doubt of collective origin, but the most direct development of which seems to be due to Arbuthnot. As for the echoes and variations of this theme in the literature of the day, there still subsists about them a great deal of uncertainty.

One thing is clear, and that is the frame of mind to which these diverse works give expression. Keen and critical thinkers, instinct with the intelelctual craving for realities, find themselves in contact with one another, mixed up with the politics of an age when all the devices of government are laid bare, when power is transferred to parties, when opinion, oficially in the ascendant, is subjected to all the caprices aroused in it by secret manœuvring; when public life is the triumph of insincerity and fraud. Stimulated by the analysis of the deceit which social appearances serve to cloak. Arbuthnot, Swift, Pope, and Gay encourage each other to the ironical search after false intellectual values. Before their tribunal are summoned wretched poets, false savants, quack doctors, pretentious scholars, humanists puffed up with bookish learning. A sort of general revision of science and art is instituted; and this universal criticism, so bold that it dares assail the superstitious obsession of ancient literatures, takes up again the charges of Hudibras against an obstinate scholasticism that will not die.

Like Butler's satire, Martinus Scriblerus exaggerates the whims, the oddities, the wrongs of pedantic ignoramuses, overlooking the soul of healthy curiosity that is often to be found in them; above all, it obstinately attacks adversaries who have been conquered time after time, and it pursued them under their already obsolete forms rather than under the new forms with which they manage to invest themselves. In this excellent fancy, there is a somewhat forced air of caricature. But the claims of intellect against foolishness are affirmed with a clear, robust, and sovereign good sense.

Arbuthnot has left his mark upon this common fund of doctrine. Through his John Bull also, his Political Lying, and the pictures of his personality that we find in the works of his friends, he possesses a distinct literary physiognomy. He has the gift of humour, transposes into impassive observation a full and concrete sense of the innumerable absurdities of life, and his sober art, vigorous, often bitter and realistic, recalls the tonality of that of Swift. A doctor, he knows the intimate connections of body and soul, and looks on the caprices of character from a physical point of view; and yet his vision of moral things is direct and profound; his portrait of John Bull has definitively drawn the first outline of this national English type. He has a creative imagination for allegory, and sustains the portraits of his symbolical characters with an accurate sense of the relationship between the sign and the thing signified. With him, experience and reflection have not soured the power of feeling, but have matured it into a humane and tolerant philosophy, the kindly radiation of which was felt by all who came near him. His rationalism is refined into a humility of the intelligence. He is a writer through the firmness, the precision, the incisiveness of his style; and his artistic invention has been fruitful. The figure of Martinus Scriblerus, ridiculous, pitiable, and obscurely appealing, and the episodes of his childhood, are additions to the unforgettable types of human comedy; Sterne remembered them in Tristram Shandy, Carlyle in Sartor Resartus.


Jonathan Swift, born in Dublin in 1667, came of a family of Yorkshire origin; lost his father at an early age, studied at Kilkenny and Trinity College, and was attached as secretary to Sir William Temple, until 1699. Already in 1696-7 he had written a great portion of A Tale of a Tub, and The Battle of the Books, published in 1704. It was at the home of Temple that he met Esther Johnson, the future Stella. He took orders, was appointed to the small living of Laracor in Ireland, but for the most part we find him in London, actively engaged in religious and political controversy. He defended the rights of the Irish clergy, and this led him to desert the Whig party for the other side, shortly before the Tory ministry of 1710. For a period of almost four years Swift, an intimate of Harley, was the influential adviser of the Government; collaborated in the Examiner (1711) and prepared public opinion for the peace with France (The Conduct of the Allies, etc.). Appointed Dean of St. Patrick's (Dublin) in 1713, he retired to Ireland on the fall of the Tories, whither he was followed by Hester Vanhomrigh (Vanessa), whom he had known in London; the false position of Swift between the two women who loved him, and of whom (it is possible, but improbable) he may have married one (Stella), was relieved by the death of Vanessa; that of Stella, in 1728, came as a still greater blow. He sympathized, meanwhile, with the sufferings of the Irish people, and wrote in their favour the Drapier's Letters (1724). Gulliver's Travels, which originated at a much earlier date, appeared in 1726, and had a great success, which, however, only brought greater suspicion upon the writer from a Government made uneasy by his satirical verve. His health, which had been failing for some time, grew worse; he was a victim of cerebral troubles and became more and more morose; after a few years of a life bordering on insanity, he died in 1745. Prose works, ed. by T. Scott, 1897-1908; Selections, ed. by Craik, 1892-3; Correspondence, ed. by Ball, 1910, etc.; A Tale of a Tub, etc., ed. by Guthkelch and Smith, 1920; The Battle of the Books, ed. by Guthkelch, 1908; Gulliver, ed. by Aitken, 1856; Craik, Life of Swift, 1882; Leslie Stephen, Swift, 1882; H. Cordelet, Swift, 1907; S. Smith, Dean Swift, 1910; R. F. Jones, The Background of the Battle of the Books, 1920; Vanessa and her Correspondence with Jonathan Swift, ed. by Freeman, 1921; Eddy, Gulliver's Travels, a Critical Study, 1923; E. Pons, Swift, la Jeunesse, le Conte du Tonneau, 1925; Carl Van Doren, Swift, 1931.

Swift is the greatest writer of the classical age by the force of his genius; the concern for art and the care of form are not in his case the essential motive of creation. His work owes an exceptionally broad scope to the freedom and penetration of its thought. He carries the rational criticism of values to a point where it menaces and impairs the very reasons for living. In his case, therefore, lucidity and the search for balance are suffused with an intellectual emotion, concentrated and intense, which at times cannot be distinguished from an impassioned bitterness, and the expression of which, despite the restraint of irony and humour, possesses a pathetic vehemence. Attaining thus to the utmost limits of satire, he leaves the normal, simple plane of a literature of reason; the stifled, repressed voices of sensibility and instinct, which reality in its baseness and cruelty afflicts with many wounds, supply the subdued accompaniment of soul-stirring chords to the clear accents of the intellect. And just as the language of Swift has this mixed tonality, so his thought goes beyond the stage of pure criticism; it finds itself at work conserving, if not constructing; it clings to the relative and provisional truths which can shelter the being of man. Beyond the spirit of classicism, of which he is the supreme mouthpiece, one perceives in Swift the latent powers of a virtual Romanticism; and further still, the audaciously humble solutions of the most modern wisdom.

It is permissible to think that these attenuations of the spirit of criticism, these voluntary sacrifices to good sense, are not the most original part of Swift's work. His practical adhesion to moral or social beliefs which his merciless perspicacity saw through and through is to all appearances a sincere act, and one which no logical need can lead us not to respect. But he has not explained the submission of his reason on principle; the lesson of his intellectual destiny is uncertain; his example, deprived of all contagious virtue, remains strictly individual and less fruitful. His life, with the shadow which overcasts it and keeps gradually thickening, is in spite of all more significant than the wholly superficial tranquillity of his mind. The moral figure of Swift is that of an eager demand for truth that destroys one by one all deceitful illusions, and of the suffering which accompanies that destruction. This demand has been carried far in all directions; further, it would seem, than it itself desired to go; further, perhaps, than it was aware of at times.

As a Church dignatary, mixed up in the controversies which separated the Anglicans from the dissenting sects, and within Anglicanism itself set several tendencies at variance with each other, Swift had to take a side. His career was a choice; he lived and died as Dean of St. Patrick's in Dublin. He wrote numerous religious treatises, which one is usually too much inclined to overlook, besides doctrinal sermons, sensible and calm in tone; he acquitted himself scrupulously of the duties of his charge, and practised his religion, with more hidden regularity than apparent zeal. He recommends a judicious form of piety; extremes repel him, and his preferences lie in the observance of a golden mean; to follow the religion of the majority of one's country, is in Swift's opinion to act as a well-behaved man. He rails against the arguments of the Catholics, the strife and the fanaticism of the various sects; his nature leads him to embrace a doctrine of average reason. But he rebels with all his energy against the ambitious and rational attempt of Deism; he harshly refutes Collins. And in his reaction against the looseness of morals, he goes to the extent of extrolling, not without a suspicion of irony, the benefits accruing from a purely exterior and social submission to the attitude of belief, for hypocrisy is, after all, better than cynicism.jonathan swift

This is only a sudden outburst. Despite the conformity of his declarations and principles, analogous to that of a Voltaire, Swift stirred up a deep and secret unrest in the minds of those in power during his time, the patrons of Church and State; Queen Anne, above all a devout Churchwoman, refused to recognize his political services in a fitting way; the favourite of a minister, he did not obtain the bishopric he believed he could expect; at the critical moments in his life, an unkind destiny always seemed to baffle his desires; it was with the bitterness of a long series of disappointments that he withdrew from court intrigues. His great works, those in which his genius is laid bare, terrified or scandalized all orthodoxies; in A Tale of a Tub, his religious thought is instinct with a movement of pitiless negation; and the impulse which carries it on is too strong not to overthrow all the barriers which he himself would like to set up. In the preface which he wrote for this work, Swift is indignant that he should be classed among the Deists by superficial readers. To us of to-day, the error appears very natural. To point out shades and degrees of difference between the sects who contest each other's rights to represent the pure teaching of the Gospel, is to make it possible to select that which is least removed, on an average, from the sacred text; but such a choice is only a makeshift of resignations, the solution of despair; for too startling allegories picture to our eyes the unconscious or intentional work of human instinct, in all ages and in all the churches, bent on deforming, twisting, mutilating, contradicting the letter and spirit of the admirable and terrible message beneath which the flesh of man groans and faints.

And not only are religious organizations built up on half-conscious acts of cowardice, and the surrender of the highest aspirations of faith; but the very ardour which exalts the most enthusiastic of believers—the Quakers, the Ranters, and those Huguenots, refugees from France, who at this time are making a public show of their convulsions—is bound up with the turbid fermentations of animality. The Discourse concerning the Mechanical Operation of the Spirit no doubt admits, in passing, that prophetic inspiration can be an immediate gift from the Godhead; but everything encourages the conjecture that this is a purely formal reserve; for an over-zealous spirit in religion, from the orgies of the ancients to the frenzies of the moderns, is called back with too mercilessly sharp an analysis, too keen an intuition of the deeper link between certain spiritual raptures and erotic moods, to the appetites alone of the flesh. The spirit of this treatise, under its form of concentrated irony, is that of a modern study of the pathology of mystic states. And with the taste for sound, even if bitter truth, there is mingled in it the keen and secret joy of a moral revenge, the protest of a free mind against conventional lies, even should these lies be sacred.

But the works of reason are treated with no better respect. The Battle of the Books is fired by an anger still aimed at a special object—at certain forms of intellectual ambition and error. Pedantry, false erudition, rabid controversy, are connected with the thesis of the 'moderns,' the insolent, mean enemies of the glory of the ancients; the despiser of Phalaris, Bentley—who yet was not wrong—is overwhelmed with classical contumely; the verve of this pamphlet, full as it is of allusions to the images and devices of the epic, is another example of the fecundity at this epoch of the mock-heroic theme. Gulliver's Travels singularly broadens the indictment of the very effort by which the human mind claims to know and understand. Philosophy appears in the light of an ambitious jargon; metaphysics, of a mystication; while theory, that sterile activity, shackles the efficient play of practice in all domains and in a hundred and one different ways. This satiric realism is given free scope in the painting of the illusory kingdom of Laputa. The fever of financial speculation, of rational inquiry, and already, of mechanical progress, which the society of that day freely shows, is presented as the agitated ardour of over-heated brains, in which an unceasingly hatched all manner of 'projects' and inventions, preposterous chimeras.

Swift does not seem to put any trust in science, either in its present or in its future; he derides equally the erudite interferences of bentley, and Newton's theory of gravitation; these hypotheses, he holds, are the playthings of thought; fashion upholds them, and then they pass away. Like Samuel Butler, he joylessly witnesses, in the first flush of the modern age, the the awakening of the mental unrest which will produce the scientific conquest of the world; his attention, turned towards the past, is above all aware of the innumerable failures of scholastic charlatanry. The moderns, according to him, have added nothing which really matters to the sound reasoning added nothing which really matters to the sound reasoning of the ancients. His rational criticism of knowledge has not positive counterpart; it tends to scepticism.

It is less surprising to find only shadows in the images which Swift paints of political institutions and manners. His experience had revealed to him the hidden springs of power, the part played by corruption and intrigue. He writes on the opposition side, under the despised administration of Walpole. Elsewhere, in his didactic treatises, he shows himself alive to the necessity for a strong authority, sustained by the prestige of religion, and in its turn sustaining the spiritual hierarchy. While he has nothing about him of the uncompromising Tory, he is a friend of order. But Gulliver's Travels throws the light of a superior and destructive irony upon the smallness of the means, the vanity of the motives, the illusion of the catchwords, through which kings retain their thrones and magistrates their offices; and from one end of society to the other the fearful influence of man upon man is exercised. It is not only the English political life of his time which he thus dissects; the monarchy itself, the paraphernalia that surround it, the courts and courtiers, the debating assemblies, the struggles of parties, the wiles of the favourites of both sexes—everything upon which, in fact, rests the contemporary administration of Europe—is irremediably damaged by this corrosive satire. To serve the needs of his allegory, and in order to vary the perspective by reversing the scale of his transposition, Swift carries us from the country of the dwards to that of the giants; in the former, everything was the grotesque and despicable parody of that human reality which convention invests with an august prestige; in the latter, it is our reality which reveals itself, directly, as ridiculous and infinitely small. But Brobdingnag and its patriarchal manners are not an ideal seriously proposed to man; this fancy vanishes as soon as one graspts its thin texture; it is only invented to show us better our littleness, to crush us under a sense of our miseries. Whatever the standard chosen for the comparison, mankind cuts a sorry and ugly figure.

The reason is that it is in itself vile and corrupt. In order to realize ever so little the idea of a noble existence, Swift has to it that one must forsake the human species. Animal life will supply us with the figures of reasonable beings. In the land of the philosophical horses, we at last come upon something that in the countries known to us we have looked for in vain. When explained to these wise quadrupeds, our civilization is not intelligible to them; for our perversity surpasses all understanding. And in the lower depths of their civilized society, the ignoble race of two-footed monsters drags itself along; let us look at it without prejudice, and we shall recognize ourselves. What we call bestiality is the very attribute of man. With relentless cruelty, Swift drives our thought back towards the sordidness of physical existence. Here is an instinctive trend of his attention, almost an obsession of his fancy, of which his poems, like the great allegories, bear the traces, and which has been often connected with the morbid tendencies of his nature. No element in his work is more characteristic; none is better known, this delight in what is foul spreading itself out with cynical frankness on the very surface. In what measure have we here the sign and the germ of a pathological state? Or is it the need for the whole truth, a realism of mind, an ironic lesson of the moralist aimed at the vanities of mankind, a psychological and medical attention to what links up soul and body, or again the lucid, voluntary pessimism of a mind that is resolutely and cooly Christian? Nothing is more difficult than to attempt an exact answer to these questions.

On the other hand, there is among these elements one which dominates the others too much, which emanates too distinctly from all this work like a bitter essence, not to rightly serve to define it: pessimism. Swift does not pass judgment upon the universe or upon the world of man in the absolutely negative way which makes philosophic pessimism; his mind mistrusts general affirmations, and at the same time his status as a priest does not permit him, with regard to creation as a whole, to pronounce one of those explicit words of despair which faith reproves. Yet he is intellectually hostile to what exists; his emotions have a much larger share in his judgments when he condemns than when he accepts reality. His verdict on life is of the psychological and moral order. It bears upon the quality of men in themselves, and upon the use they make of the occasions to act which society offers.

It is in the souls that the evil lies; thence it is that it radiates over all the relations of human beings with one another. This pessimism is so clearly coloured by individual experience, that one has been able to see it in the generalized after-effect of the shocks felt by the sensibility, or more precisely by the ambition of Swift; it is so personal in its expression, that one is tempted to find in it the painful consciousness of an impaired psychological and mental health, the echo of inner sufferings which have ended by ruining the balance of a mind. Perhaps there is even at bottom the hidden influence of one of those secret sores of personality, the possible effects of which are revealed to-day by the study of subconscious states.

And yet, Swift has not been always the prey of this bitterness; at least, not to the same degree. His intimate life, and his literary life, both betray moments, or phases, of animation, of expansiveness, almost of gaiety. It is when he comes out of himself, out of his concentrated and solitary meditation, that his thought appears to relax. At the time in which he is wholly engrossed in political strife, from 1710 to 1714, Swift is carried onward by the tide of action. The Journal to Stella, a collection of letters in which he jots down familiarity the story of his life for the girl to whom he is attached by an affection that has remained rather mysterious, is one of the most taking documents of its kind; an effusion in which one catches the note of a strange temperament, somewhat ailing; but a not full of playfulness and tender puerilities. Whether it be the bustle of public affairs, or sentiment, which then occupies Sift more, something is lifting him above that fund of aggressive reflection to which A Tale of a Tub already bore witness.

Ireland also saved him at moments from this gnawing disquietude of mind. Deeply moved by the miserable lot of the country which saw his birth, which he does not look upon as his own, and for which he evinces a somewhat scornful sympathy, he at least knows how to speak out in its favour. He advises the Irish (1720) to reply to the economic pressure of the English by refusing to buy the products of their manufacture. In 1724, he publishes a series of Letters (signed 'M. B. Drapier') against the new copper currency which an Englishman had obtained the privilege of coining, and the weight of which did not correspond with its official value. With an admirable divination of the popular mind, he there wrote a language full of such simple and just sense, and roused so cleverly the mistrust of the practical instinct, that the Government had perforce to yield before a general protest. On this occasion, Swift was the accepted mouthpiece of a people; and he always remained proud of it.

In many subjects, his fertile talent as a polemist was able to expose with clearness and coolness the ideas of a lively and original but balanced judgment. There is in Swift a literary critic, a political writer, a theorist of the rights of the Church. But his work has a physiognomy as a whole; and it is right that its dominant traits should be furnished by the most marked characteristics of his genius. He is above all great by his allegorical invention as applied to satire, by his humour and irony, by the marvellous ease and precision of his style.

Irony and allegory are here fused into one. What is unique, is the suggestive power which radiates from the play of symbolical imagination; and more than in the symbols themselves, more than in the forms chosen to illustrate the theses, the interest here lies in the discovery of these forms, in the act of the mind which chooses them, which loads them with a meaning prodigiously rich and insulting. The apologues on which are founded A Tale of a Tub or The Battle of the Books have nothing original about them. Gulliver's Travels is first of all a novel of adventure and a tale of wonder, and as such is of no more value than many others; the sources utilized by Swift have been discovered or are suspected; in this domain he had a long series of predecessors. But the working out of these data is with him incomparable. The verve, the ingenuity, the concrete invention, which embroider these general themes with uninterrupted variations, give to the least detail a restrained and irresistible eloquence, and store it with a world of allusions; which also render the supernatural acceptable and normal; such are the elements of an art which Swift carries to the highest degree. And these elements themselves are derived: their common source is a passionate analysis which, with an indefatigable effort, scrutinizes reality, at the same time as it judges and condemns it with a harsh and angry feeling. The figured representations among which Swift's satire moves are like an embittered poetry, the value of which lies less in its form than in the philosophic meaning thorugh which it develops and achieves itself.

An art of implicit expression, contained as to its methods, expansive as to its results, is by its main device closely akin to humour. It has usually been the custom to treat Swift as a master of irony, because his mockery has not the kindly aftertaste which would appear to be, according to some judges, the distinctive note of the humorist. But while his effects are very often more in the nature of irony—which depicts the ideal, and pretends to believe that it is real—they are also very often enlivened by humour—which depicts the real, and pretends to believe that it is ideal. The working of transposition, which is common to them, brings these two literary kinds very close together, and their boundaries are shifting. Swift likes to hover playfully over these limits, and to pass from one domain to the other. He is no less a master in one than in the other. He handles humour in a superior manner because being keenly alive to all the virtual value od the concrete, to all the reactions which the real sets up in our emotion or in our intelligence, he knows how to evoke it in all its crude force, to allow these reactions their widest play, and to efface himself entirely behind the the facts he presents to us, enhancing their eloquence with his impassibility. The best-known piece—the practical commercial proposal to utilize the flesh of Irish children as butcher's meat—has all the precision of an estimate and the calm of a financial statement.

Thus it is that Swift's style conveys the impression of a tense energy, but one which commands and directs itself. A morbid element may have been found in his thought; his personality is a problem which has not as yet, perhaps, revealed the whole of its secret; it certainly contains both grief and instability, a deep trouble which finally led to madness. But this anguish and this unrest are dominated by the force of an extraordinarily lucid intellect, of a will that knows how to govern passion even when it delivers itself up to it. Upon a temperament that possessed all the germs of moral incertitude, and which no doubt, in the following century, would have blossomed out into an ardent Romanticism, Swift builds up a work that is wholly classical in its form. The inner tension reveals itself only in the compactness of the expression, in the number of the intentions, in the restrained violence of some effects. Everything is clear in this style, despite the use made of allusion; it is bathed in an intellectual light; everything in it seems sound, normal, self-controlled. It is only in some familiar effusions, such as the Journal to Stella, that we meet with the signs of an oddity in the manner of writing and in the terms which is excessive, at time disquieting.

Everywhere else, the language is that of reason itself, of a reason that is sensible to reality, nurtured by it, and in no way abstract and dry. Swift possesses the concrete world, knows how to utilizae it, and here again he is the humorist. He knows how to employ the racy word, sometimes the coarse word; he frankly collides with the proprieties, or, as the case may be, veils the realism of his subjects with ironic periphrases. But the concrete facts of experience, as well as the ideas, the sentiments, and the shades of meaning, are enveloped, harmonized by the limpid flow of the most simple, vigorous and straightforward prose. Each word in its place, quite naturally; the most fitting word is always chosen, withoug effort, through an instinct that seems spontaneous. A great variety of tone is obtained by means of a supple adaptation of the language to the theme. If one remembers the extent of Swift's work, the ease with which it passes from the most naïve exposition to the pseudo-epic style, from the weightiest discussion to the freest pleasantry, the fact that the parts of his correspondence which were the most hastily dashed out are still astonishingly spirited and immediately, inevitably clear, one will the better gauge the greatness of the writer.

To be consulted: Cambridge History of English Literature, vol. ix. Chaps. IV, V, VIII, IX, XIII; vol. x. Chap. XV; Bergson, Le Rire,  etc., 1900; W. H. Durham, Critical Essays of the Eighteenth Century, 1700-25, 1915; Elton, The Augustan Ages, 1899; Farrar, Critical History of Free Thought, 1862; Hunt, Religious Thought in England, 1892; F. B. Kaye, ed. of Mandeville, The Fable of the Bees, 1924; Laski, Political Thought in England from Locke to Bentham, 1921; Nichols, Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century, 1812-15; Paston, Lady Mary Wortly Montagu and her Times, 1907; Pons, Swift, la Jeunesse, le Conte du Tonneau, 1925; De Rémusat, L'Angleterre au XVIIIe siècle, 1856; Rigault, History of Free Thought, 1906; Saintsbury, History of Criticism, 1906; Sichel, Bolingbroke and his Times, 1902; Leslie Stephen, History of English Thought in the Eighteenth Century, 1902.



Jonathan Swift: His Life and World



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

SWIFT, Jonathan (1667-1745), born in Dublin after his father's death. He was son of Jonathan Swift by Abigail (Erick) of Leicester, and grandson of Thomas Swift, the well-known Royalist vicar of Goodrich, descended from a Yorkshire family. He was a cousin of *Dryden. He was educated with *Congreve, at Kilkenny Grammar School, then at Trinity College, Dublin, where he was censured for offences against discipline, obtaining his degree only by 'special grace'. He was admitted (1689) to the household of Sir William *Temple, and there acted as secretary. He was sent by Temple to William III to convince him of the necessity of triennial parliaments, but his mission was not successful. He wrote Pindaric *odes, one of which, printed in the Athenian Mercury (1692) provoked, according to Dr *Johnson, Dryden's remark, 'Cousin Swift, you will never be a poet.' Chafing at his position of dependence, and indignant at Temple's delay in getting him preferment, he returned to Ireland, was ordained (1694), and received the small prebend of Kilroot. He returned to Temple at Moor Park in 1696, where he edited Temple's correspondence, and in 1697 wrote *The Battle of the Books, which was published in 1704 together with *A Tale of a Tub, his celebrated satire on 'corruptions in religion and learning.' At Moor Park he first met Esther Johnson ('Stella'), the daughter of a servant or companion of Temple's sister. On the death of Temple in 1699, Swift went again to Ireland, whre he was given a prebend in St Patrick's, Dublin, and the living of Laracor. He wrote his Discourse of the Contests and Dissensions between the Nobles and the Commons in Athens and Rome, with reference to the impeachment of the Whig lords, in 1701. In the course of numerous visits to London he became acquainted with *Addison, *Steele, Congreve, and Halifax. He was entrusted in 1707 with a mission to obtain the grant of Queen Anne's Bounty for Ireland, and in 1708 began a series of pamphlets on church questions with his ironical Argument against Abolishing Christianity, followed in the same year by his Letter Concerning the Sacramental Test, an attack on the Irish Presbyterinas which injured him with the Whigs. Amid these serious occupations, he diverted himself with theseries of squibs upon the astrologer John Partridge (1708-9, see under BICKERSTAFF), which have become famous, and his 'Description of a City Shower' and 'Description of the Morning', poems depicting scenes of London life, which were published in the *Tatler (1709). Disgusted at the Whig alliance with Dissent, he went over to the Tories in 1710, joined the Brothers' Club, attacked the Whig ministers in the *Examiner, which he edited, and in 1711 wrote The Conduct of the Allies and Some Remarks on the Barrier Treaty., pamphlets written to dispose the mind of the nation to peace. He became dean of St Patrick's in 1713. He had already begun his Journal to Stella, a series of intimate letters (1710-13) to Esther Johnson and her companion Rebecca Dingley, who had moved to Ireland in 1700/1; it is written partly in baby language, and gives a vivid account of Swift's daily life in London where he was in close touch with Tory ministers. Swift's relations with Estella remain obscure; they were intimate and affectionate, and some form of marriage may have taken place. Another woman, Esther Vanhomrigh (pro. "Vannumery") , entered his life in 1708; his poem *Cadenus and Vanessa suggests that she fell deeply in love with him ('She wished her Tutor were her lover') and that he gave her some encouragment. She is said to have died of shock in 1723 after his final rupture with her, inspired by her jealousy of Stella. Stella died in 1728.

Swift wrote various political pamphlets, notably The Importance of the Guardian Considered (1713) and The Public Spirit of the Whigs (1714), in reply to Steele's Crisis; and about the time of the queen's death in 1714 and the fall of the Tory ministry, several papers (published much later) in defence of the latter. In the same year he joined *Pope, *Arbuthnot, *Gay, and others in the celebrated *Scriblerus Club. He returned to Ireland in Aug. 17814 and occupied himself with Irish affairs, being led by his resentment of the policy of the Whigs to acquire a sense of their unfair treatment of Ireland.

to be continued...


Lunes 8 de diciembre de 2014

Uma iglesia portuguesa, con certeça

Uma iglesia portuguesa, con certeça


Mis mejores resultados en el SSRN

Iba a titularlo "tocando techo", pero quién sabe, ya no digo nada. Lo cierto es que termino este año con mis mejores resultados hasta la fecha desde que se uso el SSRN. El Social Science Research Network, aclaro, es uno de los principales repositorios académicos del mundo—el primero del mundo habitualmente, y siempre el primero para las ciencias sociales y humanidades, según la Ranking Web of Repositories. La sección de humanidades se abrió en 2007 y empecé a utilizarla inmediatamente. Y he ido mejorando los resultados constantemente, en visitas y en número de artículos—quiero decir en sentido tanto absoluto como relativo. No sólo tengo más visitas y artículos (raro sería que tuviese menos) sino que subo en proporción a otros usuarios, al menos en algunos parámetros. No destaco ni en citas ni en el Eigenfaktor ése que utilizan como un (atípico) índice de clasificación. Pero sí estoy bien posicionado por ejemplo en número de descargas recientes, quizá el principal parámetro que utilizan. Allí estoy en el puesto 729 (de entre 270.000 autores—lo cual viene a ser en el 0,27 % superior—puntuándome sobre 10, una nota de 9,9.  Si sólo contamos como indicativos los 30.000 autores más activos, allí salgo con un 9,6 más o menos. Resultados excelentes, internacionales y objetivos, qué les voy a decir.

Son resultados que no tienen nada que ver con las puntuaciones que me han dado estos últimos años aquí, close to home, las corruptas comisiones de evaluación dirigidas por nuestros catedráticos. A ellos, por cierto, no los busquen por aquí.

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De posicionamiento general aquí aparece una cifra que es el 2230, y que es el índice de más autoridad.  Según él estoy bien de lleno en el 1% superior en descargas totales Alrededor del 0,8 % más bien. (Hay que decir que en Academia, otro repositorio multimillonario en número de usuarios, estoy en el 1por MIL superior). Este índice va actualizándose y es ligeramente diferente hoy en mi página del SSRN, en la que se me informa en su modo de visionado interno que "Jose Angel Garcia Landa Author Rank is 2,174 out of 268,046"—algo mejor, y subiendo—a estas alturas.

Si esto no está mal, y quiere decir que alguien va leyendo mis artículos allí, aunque sean cuatro gatos académicos, mejores resultados todavía obtengo según otros parámetros. Este cuadro que sigue muestra  la clasificación general (los 30.000 autores principales) clasificados por número de contribuciones subidas al SSRN. Muy trabajador he sido, y estoy en el puesto 25. Veinticinco de 30.000—o de 270.000, si prefieren. (Si abundo ahí más de lo que soy leído, ése es un triste parámetro en el que no voy a entrar—que lo haga Rita). Disfrutemos de la portada:

ssrn 2014 1

El siguiente gráfico presenta los resultados recientes (del último año se entiende) según el mismo parámetro, número de contribuciones. Ahí aún destaco más, pues ocupo el puesto 19, el más destacado que he logrado jamás en este repositorio. Ya sé que al 19 no le dan medalla en ningún pódium.... mais quand même!

ssrn 2014 3

Aquí otra visualización del mismo posicionamiento, con gráfica de Wall Street.   ESTE TORNEO, lo llaman aquí—y no salgo nada abollado del mismo:

ssrn 2014 2

Me doy por felicitado por estos resultados.  ¿Me creerán si les digo que menos da una piedra?

Seguimos en la Cima de la Cima


The Psychiatrist Is In - Clip from God Help the Girl


Domingo 7 de diciembre de 2014

Dicen - La Ronda de Boltaña en Biescas


Sábado 6 de diciembre de 2014

Patrullera frente a Sanxenxo

Patrullera de la Marina frente a Sanjenjo


La 'justicia' española excarcela a los mayores criminales

Tenemos a jueces en los puestos de más alta responsabilidad que literalmente pierden el culo por sacar de la cárcel a los asesinos más sanguinarios, en especial si son etarras.  El olor a tigre les puede y les derrite, a estos felones con puñetas. Lástima no los encierren a todos, etarras y jueces, en la misma celda, que es lo que merecen, y así disfrutarían—al menos los jueces. Hatajo de criminales, con y sin togas... 

Las indicaciones y apaños de los gobiernos de Zapatero y de Rajoy, indignos y traidores, son las que posibilitan que sucedan estas cosas: crean la atmósfera adecuada, y las leyes que lo permiten. Y la gente (quizá incluso vosotros) ahí votándoles. Luego no os quejéis.

Aquí lo comentan en EsRadio:

No a la negociación con bandas terroristas


En Tulsa

También me dedico al Far-West en ocasiones, como Mark Twain. Aquí aparezco (o subsisto desde hace varios años) en la Universidad de Tulsa:


I (not me)


A nadie le interesan mis rollos

A nadie le interesan mis rollos, para qué escribir.


Liane Foly - Au fur et à mesure


Derrida, Limited Inc, Normativity

una publicación de Narratología evolucionista - Evolutionary Narratology.


Viernes 5 de diciembre de 2014

Bérénice Hamidi-Kim, "Théâtre, Savoir, Politique"


Saliendo de la trilogía: El final de The Unnamable

Seguimos subiendo capítulo a capítulo el libro sobre Beckett:

Samuel Beckett y la Narración Reflexiva
es un estudio en profundidad de la escritura experimental de Beckett, en especial de la trilogía novelística Molloy, Malone Dies, y The Unnamable, desde la perspectiva de la narratología estructuralista y las teorías estructuralistas sobre la enunciación. Resulta de allí no sólo una mejor comprensión de la técnica utilizada por Beckett para transmitir su peculiar visión de la realidad, sino también toda una nueva gama de significaciones en estos textos. En este capítulo examinamos la clausura de The Unnamable (El Innombrable) entendida como un experimento de representación metalingüística aplicado a la función misma de la clasura narrativa.

Saliendo de la trilogía: El final de The Unnamable

(Leaving the Trilogy: The Ending of The Unnamable)

Samuel Beckett and Reflexive Narrative is an in-depth study of Beckett's experimental writing, more specifically of the novelistic trilogy Molloy, Malone Dies and The Unnamable, from the standpoint of structuralist theories of narrative and of enunciation. An increased insight is thereby obtained into the technique used by Beckett to articulate his peculiar view of reality, and a new dimension of signification of these texts emerges. This chapter examines the ending of The Unnamable understood as an experiment in metalinguistic representation applied to the notion of narrative closure itself.

Reference Info: Samuel Beckett y la narración reflexiva. Zaragoza: Prensas Universitarias de Zaragoza, 1992.

eJournal Classifications - Date posted: November 21, 2014 
CSN Subject Matter eJournals
LIT Subject Matter eJournals
PRN Subject Matter eJournals
PRN Subject Matter eJournals

El narrador impersonal


La ría en día gris

La ría en día gris


La maschera

Everybody's wearing a disguise 

Come sono belle queste maschere
Come sono brutte queste maschere
Si sono io le faccio io
Mi chiamano mascheraio
Metto pezzettini di carta
Comencio dal bordo
Dopo le sopracciglia, poi il naso e la bocca

Un giorno faccio una maschera che ride
Un giorno faccio una maschera che piange
Un giorno faccio una maschera bella
Un giorno faccio una maschera brutta

Come facile fare una maschera con diverse espressioni
Ma che peccato che non hanno il cuore
Che non hanno la circolazione del sangue
Che non sentono né fredo né caldo
Che non possono dire perché piangono o ridono

Ma con me sono diverse
Quando metto pezzettini di carta sugli occhi
mi guardano e mi danno i loro sentimenti
Quando metto pezzettini di carta sulla bocca
mi parlano e mi dicono tante cose
Quando metto pezzettini di carta sul naso
vedo che respirano
che sono vive

Ma allora, forse loro sono vere e noi siamo 

(H. —
Venezia - Primavera 1988)

A truth of masks


Jueves 4 de diciembre de 2014

Madres y niñas en la playa

Madres y niñas en la playa


Bibliografía sobre teatro inglés del renacimiento

3.Renaiss.english.drama by Taibur Rahaman


Miércoles 3 de diciembre de 2014

Flotando en el cielo, volando en el mar

Flotando en el cielo, volando en el mar


Much Ado About Nothing and its afterlife

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

Much Ado about Nothing,
a comedy by *Shakespeare, written probably 1598-9, first printed 1600. Its chief sources are a novella by *Bandello and an episode in Ariosto's *Orlando Furioso. The play has always been a popular one in performance.

The prince of Arragon, with Claudio and Benedick in his suite, visits Leonato, duke of Messina, father of Hero and uncle of Beatrice. The sprightly Beatrice has a teasing relationship with the sworn bachelor Benedick. Beatrice and Benedick are both tricked into believing the other in love, and this brings about a genuine sympathy between them. Meanwhile Don John, the malcontented brother of the prince, thwarts Claudio's marriage by arranging for him to see Hero apparently wooed by his friend Borachio on her balcony—it is really her maidservant Margaret in disguise. Hero is publicly denounced by Claudio on her wedding day, falls into a swoon, and apparently dies. Benedick proves his love for Beatrice by challenging Claudio to a duel. The plot by Don John and Borachio is unmasked by the 'shallow fools' Dogberry and Verges, the local constables. Claudio promises to make Leonato amends. Claudio promises to make Leonato amends for his daughter's death, and is asked to marry a cousin of Hero's; the veiled lady turns out to be Hero herself. Benedick asks to be married at the same time; Beatric, 'upon great persuasion; and partly to save your life, for I was told you were in a consumption', agrees, and the play ends with a dance.

From the Oxford Dictionary of Shakespeare, by Stanley Wells:

Much Ado about Nothing.
Shakespeare's comedy ws first printed in *quarto in 1600, probably from the author's manuscript. This edition was reprinted in the First *Folio (1623). The play was not mentioned by *Meres in 1598, and is usually dated 1598-1600. It is based on a traditional story which had been told by Ariosto in his Orlando Furioso (1516, translated 1591), and by Bandello, translated into French by *Belleforest. It was played at Court in 1613, and a poem by Leonard *Digges printed in 1640 suggests that it remained popular. William *Davenant adapted it as The Law Against Lovers (1662), with little success.

The original play was performed in 1721, and there were further revivals in 1739 and 1746, but it did not fully regain its popularity until David *Garrick first played Benedick, in 1748, after which he revived it regularly until he retired in 1776. His first, and greatest, Beatrice was Mrs. *Pritchard. 

During the later part of the century Frances Abington and Elizabeth Farren shone as Beatrice. Charles *Kemble succeeded as Benedick from 1803, and the play's popularity during the nineteenth century culminated in Henry Irving's *Lyceum revival of 1882, in which Ellen *Terry gave her legendary Beatrice, which she went on playing for a quarter of a century.

The most famous twentieth-century production is John *Gielgud's at Stratford-upon-Avon, first given in 1949, when he did not appear in it, but revived in 1950 with himself as Benedick and Peggy *Ashcroft as Beatrice, and repeated several times during the 1950s.

Much Ado about Nothing
has proved to be one of Shakespeare's most resilient plays. Twentieth-century productions have frequently updated the action. Hugh Hunt directed it in modern dress in 1947. Douglas Seale, at Stratford-upon-Avon in 1958, in costumes of about 1851, Franco *Zeffirelli, at the *Old Vic in 1965 in a farcical version set in late nineteenth-century Sicily, John *Barton at Stratford-upon-Avon in 1976 in a setting of nineteenth-century British india with Judi *Dench an unusually serious, and wholly credible, Beatrice, and Terry *Hands, also at Stratford-upon-Avon, in 1982. Susan Fleetwood and Roger Allam played Beatrice and Benedick in Bill *Alexander's production (Stratford, 1990) and Kenneth *Branagh directed a lively and successful film in 1993, playing opposite Emma Thompson as Beatrice. The play was enjoyable in all these varied interpretations. Critics have been troubled by the moral ambiguities of the Hero-Claudio plot, but theatrically the sub-plot characters of Beatrice and Benedick, along with Dogberry and the Watch, have always carried the play to success.


Martes 2 de diciembre de 2014

Cuadro de gaviotas 7

Cuadro de gaviotas 7


Lunes 1 de diciembre de 2014

El principio del Tiempo

El principio del tiempo: una nota sobre Stephen Hawking

principio del tiempo


 Comentario de la conferencia de Stephen Hawking "El principio del tiempo" sobre las implicaciones cosmológicas de la teoría de la relatividad y el Big Bang. Exponemos algunas implicaciones metafísicas y representacionales en relación a la existencia de singularidades, y notamos el problema conceptual planteado por la asimetría del Universo, inexplicable desde la teoría de un origen absolutamente simple. 


English abstract:

(The Beginning of Time: A Note on Stephen Hawking)

A commentary on Stephen Hawking's lecture "The Beginning of Time" on the cosmological implications of the theory of relativity and the Big Bang. The paper points out some metaphysical and representational implications as regards the existence of singularities, and notes the conceptual problem posed by the assymetry of the Universe, which cannot be derived from an absolutely simple origin.

Está ahora además en un par de revistas del SSRN, con fecha 19 Nov. 2014  

PRN Subject Matter eJournals
Added to eLibrary
PRN Subject Matter eJournals
Added to eLibrary


The Newly-Created Day

The Newly-Created Day


Notes on Ian Watt's The Rise of the Novel

 1: Realism and the Novel Form

The novel arises in the 18th c. becasuse of favourable social conditions. it's a new literary genre; we must define its characteristics.

Realism. This term has come to mean "fiction that portrays low life" (from Flaubert). But the novel's realism doesn't reside in the kind of life it presents, but in the way it presents it—a scientific scrutiny of life. Epistemological value: in the 18th ce. universals have been rejected; truth comes through the senses (Locke, Descartes). But the method is more important: for the realists, the individual investigator studies the particulars of experience. Importance is given to the relation between words and reality. Descartes followed an individualist method. For the novel, individual experience is always unique, new. It can't be analyzed by referring it to the accepted models. Traditional plots are rejected for the first time (Shakespeare, Milton, the Greeks, the Romans—all considered human life basically unchangeable adn complete). Plot, character and morals are still not perfectly interpenetrated in Defoe, Richardson and Fielding. Tradicional characters (universals) are also rejected (cf. Berkeley: "everything that exists is particular"). Shaftesbury still rejects particularity and the taste of the peculiar. But in Defoe and Richardson we find a particularity of descriptions of characters and environmnet. Individual identity is a matter of controversy to the philosophers of this time. Characters are given particular names and surnames, not generic or descriptive names. (Nevertheless, Richardson's and Fielding's characters still preserve msome of that tradition. But that is a secondary function already. In Amelia names are natural, assigned in a random manner.

Locke and Hume analyze personal identity, and identify it with the identity of consciousness through duration. Both ideas and characters become general by separating them from their particular circumstances of time and place.The novel uses stories set in time: past experience is the cause of present action; time scale is more minutely discriminated. Realism is associated to the slowness of virtual time (stream of consciousness carries it to an extreme). Also, a respect arises for a coherent time-scheme which didn't exist in the classics. Defoe's plots are rooted in time; in Richardson we find a date at the heading of each letter. Fielding mocks Richardson's exactitude, but uses a time-coherent scheme: the Jacobite rebellion in 1745 and the phases of the moon in Tom Jones, etc. Time and space are inseparable. Dfoe is the first writer to use a definite space and objects. In Richardson provides description of interiors: settings are, like in Balzac, a pervasive force. Fielding is more conventional, but gives an exact topography. Prose must be adapted to give an air of authenticity. Up to them, rhetoric ws used to embellish in an artificial way. Locke attacks the deceitfulness of rhetoric. Defoe and Richardson are often clumsy, because they want to be real. Fielding is more orthodox and polished But his stylistic virtues bring a selectiveness of vision which is far from the uncompromising application of the realist point of view in Richardson and Defoe. Like La Fayette and Laclos, he is too stylized to be authentic. The novel works more by exhaustive presentation than by selection—more so than other genres. It is also more translatable.

The formal realism of the novel is, too, a convention, but it allows a more immediate imitation of actual experience than other literary forms. It makes less demands on the audience. Predecessors of the novel: Homer, Chaucer, Apuleius's The Golden Ass, Aucassin et Nicolette... But this aesthetic had never been followed systematically. 

Chapter 2: The Reading Public and The Rise of the Novel

There is a gradual extension of the reading class. About 80,000 in the 1690s— unreliable figures? But it's still a progress. There weas a very limited distribution of literacy. School for the lower classes was intermittent and limited. It was not a necessity to learn. Books were very expensive: circulating libraries appear. The middle class grows, and there are more and more women readers. They read mostly religious works: readers of fiction are a different group. Readers of periodicals, too—a miscellaneous taste, a mixture of improvement and entertainment. Booksellers achieve a strong fiinancial standing, and can influence authors, who are their employees. Richardson was commissioned by them; Johnson was promoted by them. The commercial laws favour prose and copiousness rather than verse: this helps the novel. Writers are independent and not oriented to the Court asin France: there is a lesser force of tradition.

 To be continued....

Notes from Ian Watt's book 

 The Rise of the Novel: Studies in Defoe, Richardson and Fielding. (Berkeley: U of California P; London: Chatto & Windus, 1957) Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1963.

Notes taken c. 1983.


Microblog de diciembre 2014

Saliendo con el chavalín de mañana

31 dic 14, 18:43
JoseAngel: En la web de HERAF:
31 dic 14, 18:26
JoseAngel: III Muestra de Teatro Amateur Villa de Biescas:
31 dic 14, 18:25
JoseAngel: Yesterday was the day.
31 dic 14, 01:33
JoseAngel: Thackeray, "The End of the Play":
30 dic 14, 01:37
JoseAngel: Mira que hay que ser miserable para ir en un piquete a coaccionar al personal. Y miserable para darles facilidades.
30 dic 14, 01:36
JoseAngel: Minuto 30: debate sobre la cancha (aún mayor) que se da a los piquetes violentos:
29 dic 14, 21:42
JoseAngel: Obligatorio aprobar a 6 alumnos de cada 10, MINIMO, hagan lo que hagan:
29 dic 14, 11:10
JoseAngel: Rafael Catalá, ministro de "justicia", quiere rebajar las penas (como si las hubiera) a los piquetes que coaccionen en las huelgas #canalla
29 dic 14, 09:39
JoseAngel: Addison on Aliens:
28 dic 14, 20:55
JoseAngel: El último Sin Complejos del año:
28 dic 14, 17:30
JoseAngel: Biblio XIX:
28 dic 14, 17:01
JoseAngel: The English Language: Specific topics:
28 dic 14, 13:59
JoseAngel: En la Wikiwand árabe (Lingüística):
28 dic 14, 09:02
JoseAngel: The mimic octopus (min. 9):
27 dic 14, 23:49
JoseAngel: Hay que joderse con estos americanos—coño!
27 dic 14, 23:49
JoseAngel: Wolf & Heller on ****s & vaginas:
27 dic 14, 23:31
JoseAngel: Viendo You Never Can Tell de Bernard Shaw—muy recomendable.
27 dic 14, 15:21
JoseAngel: Plantinga on the Science vs. Religion debate:
26 dic 14, 22:13
JoseAngel: The Collapse of Intelligent Design:
26 dic 14, 17:43
JoseAngel: Alan Kerby on the new paradigm we live in:
26 dic 14, 17:27
JoseAngel: Promesses:
26 dic 14, 17:23
JoseAngel: Martha Nussbaum, "Same-Sex Marriage and Constitutional Law"
26 dic 14, 13:32
JoseAngel: Reseña de HOUSE OF LEAVES, de Mark Z. Danielewski:
25 dic 14, 23:48
JoseAngel: Comida navideña con cuñados y con concuñados en Sigüenza—¡misión cumplida!
24 dic 14, 11:30
JoseAngel: Barton Whaley, Detecting Deception:
23 dic 14, 22:51
JoseAngel: Walk the Line:
23 dic 14, 14:50
JoseAngel: Pablo Iglesias entrevista a Javier Krahe:
23 dic 14, 11:30
JoseAngel: Brian Friel's Dramatic Artistry (libro en que me citan):
22 dic 14, 21:27
JoseAngel: Cada dia hago contra el nacionalismo lo poco que puedo, y por eso hago BOICOT A PRODUCTOS CATALANES. Otros no hacen lo que pueden, y así nos va.
22 dic 14, 11:02
JoseAngel: La Infanta al banquillo—pero no por blanqueo de dinero, que aún hay clases.

22 dic 14, 10:04
JoseAngel: Empezamos bien el invierno.
21 dic 14, 22:32
JoseAngel: La dimisión del melindroso y cegato selectivo Fiscal:
21 dic 14, 19:47
JoseAngel: Independenca de Cataluña en Teatro Crítico:
21 dic 14, 18:45
JoseAngel: Cataluña tras el 9-N. en Teatro Crítico:
21 dic 14, 09:55
JoseAngel: Hay que actualizar los enlaces viejos de Academia. A Comparison between the French and RP English Vowel Systems:
21 dic 14, 09:00
JoseAngel: One man's superstition is his friend's solid truth and common sense.
20 dic 14, 17:55
JoseAngel: She Cries over Rahoon:
20 dic 14, 10:03
JoseAngel: Borges: Conferencia sobre Joyce:
19 dic 14, 21:26
JoseAngel: The John Milton Reading Room:
19 dic 14, 19:38
JoseAngel: Got one follower on Vimeo! Unheard of. Sometimes I wonder what's the reason for this chorus of indifference.
19 dic 14, 18:49
JoseAngel: La Fiscalía pide procesar a Monedero:
19 dic 14, 18:44
JoseAngel: Iremos subiendo a Academia algunos artículos de blog. Por ejemplo este sobre Garrick, Shakespeare, y la paradoja del comediante:
19 dic 14, 15:42
JoseAngel: Críticas a la nueva norma de profesorado:
19 dic 14, 10:09
JoseAngel: 2014: el año más caluroso de la historia:
19 dic 14, 09:46
JoseAngel: Estudiando el cuadro:
18 dic 14, 23:40
JoseAngel: 文学理论,批评和语言学书目(萨拉戈萨大学)
18 dic 14, 23:20
JoseAngel: Ayer este blog pasó de mil visitas en un día (cosa aquí no frecuente).
17 dic 14, 22:41
JoseAngel: Algunos 'historical scholars' del XIX:
17 dic 14, 15:30
JoseAngel: No tenemos ni pa bombillas.
17 dic 14, 11:45
JoseAngel: Íbamos a ver STAGE BEAUTY— pero no viene ningún estudiante. En fin...
16 dic 14, 22:11
JoseAngel: Matanza de niños a manos de los talibanes. Estos son alimañas con dos patas.
16 dic 14, 21:13
JoseAngel: Jesús Ezquerra, "En defensa de la Filosofía":
16 dic 14, 18:28
JoseAngel: El periódico de hoy...
16 dic 14, 18:13
JoseAngel: Corrupciones en las universidades (andaluzas):
16 dic 14, 17:06
JoseAngel: El sexo del pensamiento. Lo siento, señoras, pero no hay color. Si quieren demostrar la igualdad, AHORA es el momento.
16 dic 14, 17:01
JoseAngel: Y malas notas a las universidades españolas. También dicen que yo no investigo, claro.
16 dic 14, 16:58
JoseAngel: Críticas al corporativismo de la universidad:
16 dic 14, 15:02
JoseAngel: Adrian Lester on OTHELLO:
16 dic 14, 10:26
JoseAngel: Resulta que según parece tengo un libro en iTunes. Y vale casi 50 euros:
16 dic 14, 10:16
JoseAngel: Me citan en este artículo de la universidad de Ankara: "Criticism as manifesto versus criticism as science"
16 dic 14, 09:56
JoseAngel: Autobúsqueda en RefSeek:é+Angel+Garc%C3%ADa+Landa%22
16 dic 14, 00:23
JoseAngel: YO:
15 dic 14, 22:23
JoseAngel: Beckfordiana:
14 dic 14, 22:15
JoseAngel: ¿No es secreta una asociación cuya lista de miembros no es pública? Para mí que sí.
14 dic 14, 22:14
JoseAngel: Se prohíben las asociaciones secretas. Pues la de políticos que están secretamente asociados entre sí, ni les digo.
14 dic 14, 15:47
JoseAngel: Wandering Star:
13 dic 14, 19:37
JoseAngel: Michael Ruse, Are Humans Necessary?
13 dic 14, 12:08
JoseAngel: Mi bibliografía de crítica sobre Vladimir Nabokov:
13 dic 14, 12:00
JoseAngel: Mi bibliografía sobre gays y homosexuales:
13 dic 14, 01:01
JoseAngel: A China llegó nuestro libro:
13 dic 14, 00:56
JoseAngel: Fin del Diario del Año de la Peste:
12 dic 14, 16:07
JoseAngel: A los que "no investigamos" nos van a poner más horas de clase. Como si pudiese uno fiarse de los sinvergüenzas que acreditan "que no investigamos":
12 dic 14, 14:54
JoseAngel: The Scriblerus Club:
12 dic 14, 14:16
JoseAngel: Con estas malas bestias nunca se hace justicia. Como señal quizá de que no hay que esperarla en ningún caso en el mundo:
12 dic 14, 11:28
JoseAngel: Aparece el volumen 50 de la MISCELÁNEA, dedicado a Francisco Javier Sánchez Escribano. Lástima que no lo leerá.
11 dic 14, 22:03
JoseAngel: Una atmósfera asfixiante en Cataluña:
11 dic 14, 15:44
JoseAngel: Diario de una facultad terrorista:
11 dic 14, 15:22
JoseAngel: Y cierra Google News, por los Zopencos. No, si estos querrían que Google les pagase cuando hacen una búsqueda. Tontos de baba.
11 dic 14, 08:49
JoseAngel: ¿Rajoy cobra menos que su secretario? Jetas—la desmostración PALMARIA de que la "transparencia" es PANTALLA DE HUMO—para engañar a los memos
10 dic 14, 20:32
JoseAngel: Lo mediocres que somos los profesores enseñando, etc.:
10 dic 14, 19:16
JoseAngel: I'm being quoted in POETICS TODAY, doi 10.1215/03335372-1375198
10 dic 14, 19:05
JoseAngel: Los bajos índices de los rectores... y de los que no somos rectores:
9 dic 14, 21:40
JoseAngel: Aplauso obligatorio a Mas, además. Hay que joderse.
9 dic 14, 15:37
JoseAngel: 36 años de constitución (César Vidal):
8 dic 14, 22:33
JoseAngel: Qué musical tan BUENO, qué soltura y qué sprezzatura.
8 dic 14, 22:27
JoseAngel: Aparece en la página web del departamento el recordatorio de la vida y la muerte de Javier Sánchez:
8 dic 14, 18:09
JoseAngel: 'El Gran Diseño' y 'Hacedor de Estrellas': Especulaciones sobre el multiverso y la única realidad:...
8 dic 14, 18:08
JoseAngel: Pressed for Time:
8 dic 14, 17:14
JoseAngel: CNR Newsletter:
8 dic 14, 15:29
JoseAngel: La 'hoja de ruta' (al guano) de Rajoy: vía @esradio
8 dic 14, 13:21
JoseAngel: Nos vamos a ver God Help the Girl, musical estilo Belle and Sebastian:
8 dic 14, 11:52
JoseAngel: Dicen.
8 dic 14, 11:35
JoseAngel: Tenemos nuevo disco de la Ronda de Boltaña: "La huella que el tiempo deja" - ¡Enhorabuena, y gracias Montse, la del acordeón!
7 dic 14, 22:57
JoseAngel: Biescas and back.
7 dic 14, 00:34
JoseAngel: ¿Seguro que sabes dónde está Europa?
6 dic 14, 21:50
JoseAngel: Radio Materialista - Sobre las propuestas económicas de ("Nos creemos que") Podemos:
6 dic 14, 15:58
JoseAngel: Las víctimas responden a la excarcelación de etarras:
6 dic 14, 15:47
JoseAngel: De constitución frágil:
6 dic 14, 13:45
JoseAngel: Bibliografía de Derrida, muerto hace 10 años ya. "We career graveward at a breakneck rate":
6 dic 14, 11:59
JoseAngel: Abre un Facebook la Sociedad Internacional para el Estudio de la Narración... a ver si dura más que su blog:
5 dic 14, 18:21
JoseAngel: Mi ordenador se ha vuelto rosa. Tengo que llevarlo al taller, harto de ver la vie en rose.
5 dic 14, 17:48
JoseAngel: Derrida, Limited Inc, Normativity:
5 dic 14, 10:05
JoseAngel: Les faux soleils (2):
4 dic 14, 23:54
JoseAngel: Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Nihilism and Arbitrariness:
4 dic 14, 22:00
JoseAngel: Sensibility (IN OUR TIME):
4 dic 14, 12:57
JoseAngel: La inicua red catalana:
4 dic 14, 11:36
JoseAngel: Una biblio sobre Byron:
3 dic 14, 15:18
JoseAngel: Richard III's back is back:
3 dic 14, 09:21
JoseAngel: Me citan en POLITISCHE NARRATIVE:
2 dic 14, 21:19
JoseAngel: Sigue el lento desplome de nuestra Facultad:
2 dic 14, 21:16
JoseAngel: Aquí metiéndose con la casta universidad:
2 dic 14, 20:40
JoseAngel: El irresponsable y delirante programa económico de Podemos—a la medida de la estúpida España:
2 dic 14, 10:02
JoseAngel: Tengo dos artículos en el Top Ten de Language, Culture & Power:
2 dic 14, 08:22
JoseAngel: Radio Nacional comentando con toda tranquilidad cómo avanza la independencia de Cataluña. Al guano nos llevan estas actitudes de traidores. Las grandes traiciones, y las pequeñas. Todas ayudan.
2 dic 14, 00:39
JoseAngel: La España Federal (receta):
1 dic 14, 21:48
JoseAngel: An unwanted insight: Social Life as a Poor Play staged by Poor Players.
1 dic 14, 14:01
JoseAngel: Robinson Crusoe (In Our Time)

Microblog de noviembre 2014