As a summer project, let’s compile a bibliography here. Are you joining me?
Gregory, H.F., on adaeseño, 1996.
MacCurdy, Raymond R. The Spanish Dialect in St. Bernard Parish. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 1950.
The institution of “the other slavery” — the thinking behind it, the ways in which laws were passed and interpreted, how the practice of slavery itself took on many different guises — is alive today and in a world where the richest people exercise so much authority (in the form of political influence, economic power, and cultural capital) over a vast (and growing) underclass; where more and more jobs are in the service sector; where the poor are subjected to so many disproportionately onerous taxes and fines and fees. To think about the enslavement of Indians over the last 500 years can help us think about the ways in which people are enslaved today.
This book is, arguably, one of the most profound contributions to North American history published since Patricia Nelson Limerick’s “Legacy of Conquest” and Richard White’s “The Middle Ground.” But it’s not necessary to be into history to understand its power: Our world is still the world Reséndez so eloquently anatomizes.
It was not disease but enslavement that wiped out the Indians. Read the whole review, and the whole book.
The “good” father is thus not the one who helps one find one’s own self but he who spares one inner conflict. He is the father who gives one permission to vent destructiveness, who releases one from struggling with one’s own conscience. in other words, the “good” father is the bad father, who completely destroys the remnants of the really good mother. This means that fear not love reigns supreme.
—The Insanity of normality. Realism as sickness: toward understanding human destructiveness. Trans. Hannum. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1992.
I am getting rid of this book because I have it photocopied and bound in a cover that hides what it is, so I forget that I have it. But it is a seriously good book and Arno Gruen is an important psychoanalyst.
The Scandal of the Speaking Body must be an update of The Literary Speech Act. Amazingly, we have the latter book in our library so I can recycle my old photocopy of it.
My notes in the margins, from the old days, say that promising turns out to be a big part of language (the book deals with Don Juan, that famous promiser). The performative is a different category of utterance than the constative; the constative utterance deals in truth and falsehood. The history of philosophy suggests that these are the only things at stake in language, but J. L. Austin says not.
There is a section starting on p. 92 called “Between Body and Language, or, What Is an Act?” Felman quotes a text of Mallarmé I have not read, “L’action restreinte,” where Mallarmé suggests that the act “is what leaves traces” (p. 93).
There are no traces without language, so there is no act without it, either. Mallarmé: “Your act always applies itself to paper.” Felman: “There is no act without linguistic inscription.”
Psychoanalysis also “explores acts as language effects” (p. 94), and a body according to Lacan “is speech arising as such” (“Le Symptôme,” qtd. in Felman, p. 94).
I should go on, but the point is to clear out files, not distract myself with new reading projects. Still I see why I held onto this photocopy for so long, and I clearly must study Felman.
On the policy of recycling a file a day, which I do not always remember to follow, today I am recycling a photocopy of several chapters of Linda Hutcheon’s A Poetics of Postmodernism (Routledge, 1988). It is an intelligent book that I would like to read again — as a book, however, not as a photocopy. I see I have read it all. There is so much in it that I marked, and that is smart. I am tempted to replace the photocopy by buying the book forthwith.
We have it in the library. I am not used to our library having books.
To counter the students’ love of Paulo Coelho I am to assign Pierre Bourdieu, The Aristocracy of Culture and Distinction.
I am wondering, though: if an author is as popular as this, should we not perhaps teach him … ? What is literature? What kind of canon should I work to create or protect?
I had a professor who would not teach testimonio.