Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Good Totalities, Good Subjectivities

This from Josh: "Yet I'm coming to feel that sheer indeterminacy, the infinite play of the signifier, and the postmodern sublime have also exhausted themselves. I am searching and searching right now, through all this philosophy and in my own writing, for what might follow the negative—for the recovery of subjectivity—for the ends of elegy."

Yes, yes indeed, and I'd add that, along with the recovery of subjectivity comes the recovery of totality, too, and the beginning of the end, perhaps, of the sometimes merely reflexive disjunction that characterizes so much postmodern poetry, a point that Christopher Nealon makes in his essay "Camp Messianism . . ." (American Literature, available from Project Muse). We might be able to distinguish between good and bad totality, as Adorno does, or distinguish between liberated subjectivity and a merely fragmented subjectivity. Fragmentation is a part of the violence of our age, too. And it ain't always good, as the layout of the more and more New Jersified Town of Ithaca reminds me.

But enough intellectualism for today. I'm going to go read James--"a mind so fine. . . no mere idea can penetrate it." (Eliot).

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