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张在新

John Zaixin Zhang

 
 
 

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Space as Text and Text as Space  

2008-03-20 20:57:23|  分类: 空间 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Space as Text and Text as Space

Chambers, A. B. “The Mind Is Its Own Place: Paradise Lost, I. 253-255.” Renaissance News 16.2 (1963): 98-101.

Foucault, Michel. “Of Other Spaces” (Lecture given in March 1967), trans. Jay Miskouiee. Diacritics 16.1 (1986): 22-7.

Lefebvre, Henri. The Production of Space. (La production de l’espace, 1974). Trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1991.

Mezei, Kathy and Chiara Briganti. “Reading the House: A Literary Perspective.” Signs 27.3 (2002): 837-46.

Mitchell, W. J. T. “Space, Ideology, and Literary Representation.” Poetics Today 10.1 Art and Literature I (1989): 91-102.

Rich Adrienne. Of Woman Born. New York: Norton, 1976.

Spelman, Elizabeth V. “Woman as Body: Ancient and Contemporary Views.” Feminist Studies 8.1 (1982): 109-31.

Stormer, Nathan. “Prenatal Space.” Signs 26.1 (2000): 109-44.

Foucault on time and space – nineteenth-century obsession with history vs. the present epoch of space

The great obsession of the nineteenth century was, as we know, history, with its themes of development and of suspension, of crisis and cycle, themes of the ever-accumulating past… The present epoch will perhaps be above all the epoch of space. We are in the epoch of simultaneity: we are in the epoch of juxtaposition, the epoch of the near and far, of the side-by-side, of the dispersed. We are at a moment, I believe, when our experience of the world is less that of a long life developing through time than that of a network that connects points and intersects with its own skein [thread]. (22)

Lefebvre on time and space

  “In nature, time is apprehended within space – in the very heart of space: the hour of the day, the season, the elevation of the sun above the horizon, the position of the moon and stars in the heavens, the cold and the heat, the age of each natural being, and so on… Each place showed its age and, like a tree trunk, bore the mark of the years it had taken it to grow. Time was thus inscribed in space, and natural space was merely the lyrical and tragic script of natural time” (95).

“With the advent of modernity time has vanished from social space. It is recorded solely on measuring-instruments, on clocks, that are as isolated and functionally specialized as this time itself…. Economic space subordinates time to itself; political space expels it as threatening and dangerous (to power). The primacy of the economic and above all of the political implies the supremacy of space over time” (95).

“Since time can apparently be assessed in terms of money, however, since it can be bought and sold just like any object (‘time is money’), little wonder that it disappears after the fashion of an object. At which point it is no longer even a dimension of space, but merely an incomprehensible scribble or scrawl that a moment’s work can completely rub out… Time may have been promoted to the level of ontology [study of the nature of existence] by the philosophers, but it has been murdered by society” (96).

Chambers on mind and body/space

  For Aristotle, ‘place’ is merely the ultimate limits of a contained body, and since all bodies are limited and contained, all bodies are in place. Still, ‘not everything that is’, Aristotle adds, ‘is in place, but only movable body’. So far as I am aware, Aristotle makes no mention of the place—or rather lack of place—of minds. But Descartes, building on Aristotle’s fundamental distinction, quite clearly does. ‘The mind by which I am what I am’, he writes, ‘has need of no place, nor is it dependent on any material things.’ Leibniz goes a step further; he argues that, since ‘mind is… not in place by itself’, it ‘can by its action be in many places at once’ (99).

Spelman on body and soul since Plato

  “According to Plato, the body, with its deceptive senses, keeps us from real knowledge; it rivets us in a world of material things which is far removed from the world reality; and it tempts us away from the virtuous life. It is in and through the soul, if at all, that we shall have knowledge, be in touch with reality, and lead a life of virtue” (111).

  “How are we to know when the body has the upper hand over the soul, or when the lower part of the soul has managed to smother the higher part? We presumably can’t see such conflict, so what do such conflicts translate into, in terms of actual human lives? Well, says Plato, look at the lives of women. It is women who get hysterical at the thought of death” (115).

  “As the soul or mind or reason is extolled, and the body or passion is denounced by comparison, it is not just women who are both relegated to the bodily or passionate sphere of existence and then chastised for belonging to that sphere. Slaves, free laborers, children, and animals are put in ‘their place’ on almost the same grounds as women are” (119).

  Betty Friedan in The Feminist Mystique (1963) “remarks on the absence, in women’s lives, of ‘the world of thought and ideas, the life of the mind and spirit.’ … Friedan thus seems to believe that men have done the most important things, the mental tings; women have been relegated in the past to the less important human talks involving bodily functions, and their liberation will come when they are allowed and encouraged to do the more important things in life” (122).

  In The dialectic of Sex (1970) Shulamith Firestone “traces the oppression of women to what she calls a ‘fundamental inequality’ produced by nature: ‘half the human race must bear and rear the children of all of them’” (123).

“But is the way to avoid oppression to radically change the experience of childbirth through technology, as Firestone suggested, and insist that woman not be seen as connected to her body at all, that is, to insist that woman’s ‘essential self,’ just as man’s, lies in her mind, and not in her body? If so, then we are admitting tacitly that the men – from Plato on down – have been right all along, in insisting on a distinction between mind or soul and body, and insisting that mind is to be valued more than body. They’ve only been wrong in ungenerously denying woman a place up there with them, among the other minds. Woman’s liberation, on this view, is just a much belated version of eh men’s liberation that took place centuries ago, when men figured out ways both to dissociate themselves from, and/or conquer, the natural world and that part of them – their bodies – which reminds them of their place in that natural world (123-4).

Both in her poetry, and explicitly in her recent book, Of Woman Born (1976), Adrienne Rich has begun to show us why use of the mind/body distinction does not give us appropriate description of human experience; and she has begun to remind us of the distance we keep from ourselves when we try to keep a distance from our bodies. She does this in the process of trying to redefine the dimensions of the experience of childbirth, as she tries to show us why childbirth and motherhood need not mean what they have meant under patriarchy (125).

The experience of childbirth can be viewed as a way of recognizing the integrity of our experience, because pain itself is not usefully catalogued as something just our minds or just our bodies experience…. The point of ‘natural childbirth’ should be thought of not as enduring pain, but as having an active physical experience – a distinction we recognize as crucial for understanding, for example, the pleasure in athletics (126).

p. 126

It has seemed to feminists, she implies, that we must either accept that view of being female, which is, essentially, to be a body, or deny that view and insist that we are ‘disembodied spirits.’ It perhaps is natural to see our alternatives that way:

‘We have been perceived for too many centuries as pure Nature, exploited and raped like the earth and the solar system; small wonder if we not try to become Culture: pure spirit, mind’ (Rich 285).

But we don’t have to do that, Rich reminds us; we can appeal to the physical without denying what is called ‘mind.’ We can come to regard our physicality as ‘resource, rather than a destiny’:

‘In order to live a fully human life we require not only control of our bodies (though control is a prerequisite); we must touch the unity and resonance of our physicality, our bond with the natural order, the corporeal ground of our intelligence’ (Rich 39).

Stormer on woman’s body as a site of discourse (a private space made for public scrutiny)

"A powerful, fundamental topic of feminist scholarship has been the relationship of the womb to society, particularly how the space created in and around the female body has been constituted by Western biomedical discourse” (109).

  “One of the most pressing of the many unanswered questions about prenatal [happening or existing before birth] space – how women’s bodies are articulated spatially with the general social topography – explicitly frames the relation of the womb to society in terms of space and discourse” (109).

Two rhetorics, two spaces

The nineteenth-century medical campaign against abortion and the twentieth-century popularization of the image of a floating fetus employ two different spatial rhetorics that arrange the womb with society. One is the rhetoric of erasure in fetal imagery, what Karen Newman has termed ‘woman in absentia’ (1996, 68), which effaces women as individuals from the process of gestation [development of a child while still inside the womb] and birth… For biomedical rhetoric that privileges a fetal individual, the disappearing woman is the condition of fetal visibility and publicity (Duden 1993, 50-55).

The second spatial rhetoric that I examine is an ancient part of Western discourse on reproduction that has been transformed and intensified in the modern era, especially by reproductive technologies. It reduces woman to her reproductive organs, a ‘woman-as-womb idea,’ as Nancy Theriot (1993, 7) puts it… Women are not removed from the birthing process; they are condensed, leaving only a birthing machine of sorts. (111-2)

Mitchell on time and space in literature

"The dominant tendency in Western literary theory is resolutely iconoclastic, that is, antipictorial, antivisual, antispatial, even, at the most general level, antimimetic. Aristotle makes it clear that, despite the obvious analogies between poetic and graphic mimesis, the truly distinctive feature of poetry is plot, the arrangement of incidents in time” (91).

  Gérard Genette (1982) divides the world of storytelling into ‘narrative and description,’ the former concerned with ‘pure processes,’ and the ‘temporal, dramatic aspect of the narrative,’ the latter serving to ‘suspend the course of time and to contribute to spreading the narrative in space’” (92).

“Narrative has a central and prestigious literary pedigree, certified by genres such as the epic and novel. But ‘there are no descriptive genres,’ and description is ‘a mere auxiliary of narrative’” (92).

“William Blake’s famous claim that ‘time is a man, space is a woman’ similarly registers the popular prejudice that places women in an ahistorical or prehistorical condition, a static space of passivity and visual display” (93).

For Georg Lukács (1971), “there are ‘ages of space’ and ‘ages of time,’ and the ‘age of space’ is generally located in a primitive, prehistorical past or in a decadent present that threatens to suspend historical progress” (94).

Insofar as words, time and textuality are imagined as a ‘properly’ male domain (whether securely held or not), however, literary space takes on what I would argue is a peculiarly subversive and utopian character in women’s writing. Gilbert and Gubar (1979: 7) ask the question ‘If the pen is a metaphorical penis, with what organ can females generate texts?’ I suggest that for many women the answer is the paintbrush. The painting of the self, of the body, was and is regarded as the proper channel for female artistry, and amateur painting was a respectable undertaking for proper Victorian ladies, when writing was still regarded as a province of masculinity; ‘painting’ had been a synecdoche for feminine cosmetics at least since the English Renaissance (see, for example, Shakespeare’s sonnets 62, 83, and 146). (98)

  About Jane Eyre: “Jane says her talent is for ‘analysis’, and she thinks that each ‘chapter in a novel is like a new scene in a play,’ a space of visualization” (100).

“If we ask how it is that Jane develops from a mere seeing subject to the speaking subject who narrates the novel, the answer is through painting. It is because Jane has been able to see, and to paint what she sees, that Rochester is able to see her for what she is, that she is able telepathically to ‘hear’ his cry for help, and that he is able to accept her words, her speech, as a substitute for vision” (100).

  “The ideological function of painting and seeing in Jane Eyre is to provide a mode of liberation for Jane, and ultimately for Rochester… Jane is liberated not just from the confined space of gender, of course, but from the socially ambiguous position of governess and, perhaps even more subversively, from the constraints of Christian piety” (100).

 

 

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