Am Psychol. Denes-Raj V, Epstein S. Conflict between intuitive and rational processing: When people behave against their better judgment. J Pers Soc Psychol. Pacini R, Epstein S. The relation of rational and experiential information processing styles to personality, basic beliefs, and the ratio-bias phenomenon. Biases in intuitive reasoning and belief in complementary and alternative medicine. Psychol Health. Assessment of magical beliefs about food and health. J Health Psychol. Creation Ministries International. Stephen Jay Gould on racism In: Creation. Morris HM. The remarkable birth of planet earth Minneapolis: Bethany Fellowship; Luskin C, Gage LP.
Intelligent design Leading experts explain the key issues. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications; Carrier R. Christianity was not responsible for modern science In: Loftus JW, editor. The Christian delusion: Why faith fails. Amherst: Prometheus Books; Popper K.
Natural selection and the emergence of mind. Johnson PE. Darwin on trial. In: TaleBooks. Was Charles Darwin psychotic? A study of his mental health. Morris JD. Just how well proven is evolution? Darwinism and Nazi race Holocaust. CEN Technical Journal. Intelligent design: The scientific alternative to evolution. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly. Grigg R. Harker BR. Science and rationality. Wolpert L. The unnatural nature of science: Why science does not make common sense Cambridge: Harvard University Press; Doyle S. Davis P, Kenyon DH. Of pandas and people: The central question of biological origins 2nd ed.
Dallas: Haughton; Evoluutio vai luominen? In: Pekkareinikainen. Webpage removed in Dinosaurian soft tissues interpreted as bacterial biofilms. MacCoun RJ. Biases in the interpretation and use of research results. Annu Rev Psychol. Nickerson RS. Confirmation bias: A ubiquitous phenomenon in many guises. Rev Gen Psychol. Reasoning independently of prior belief and individual differences in actively open-minded thinking. J Educ Psychol.
Myside bias, rational thinking, and intelligence. Curr Dir Psychol Sci. Life: The science of biology 7th ed. Sunderland: Sinauer Associates; Chimpanzee and human Y chromosomes are remarkably divergent in structure and gene content. Carter RW. The chimpanzee Y chromosome is radically different from human Dec 16 [cited 19 May ]. Thomas B. Are humans as close to chickens as they are to chimps? Jan 26 [cited 19 May ].
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Burgess S. Designer humans In: Evangelical-times. Humans: Purposely designed June 27 [cited 19 May ]. In: Answersingenesis. Gurney RJM. Is man a spiritualized hominid? Putz R, Pabst R. Sobotta: Atlas of human anatomy 14th ed. Muscles of facial expression in the chimpanzee Pan troglodytes : Descriptive, comparative and phylogenetic contexts. J Anat. On the origin, homologies and evolution of primate facial muscles, with a particular focus on hominoids and a suggested unifying nomenclature for the facial muscles of the Mammalia. Diogo R, Wood B. Soft-tissue anatomy of the primates: Phylogenetic analyses based on the muscles of the head, neck, pectoral region and upper limb, with notes on the evolution of these muscles.
Swenson K. Radio-dating in rubble: The lava dome at Mount St Helens debunks dating methods June 1 [cited 20 May ]. Wiens RC. Radiometric dating: A Christian perspective In: Asa3. Gould SJ, Eldredge N. Punctuated equilibria: The tempo and mode of evolution reconsidered. Darwin C. On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life London: John Murray; Landau M.
Dawkins R. The selfish gene Oxford: Oxford University Press; Mackie JL. Tiedekeskustelun avoimuuskoe [A test for openness in science discussion] Helsinki: Uusi Tie; The Bible and evolution. Available: www. Conway Morris S. Buchanan S. Gorilla, orangutan, chimp and human genomes: Population genetics and intelligent design. In: Letterstocreationists. Creationists and Y chromosomes. In: Pandasthumb. Evolution is racist.
In: Evolutionwiki. The alleged fallacies of evolutionary theory. Philosophy Now. TalkOrigins archive. Claim CA In: Talkorigins. Review of blueprints: Solving the mystery of evolution. New York Times. Claim CC Henke KR. Helens dacite: The failure of Austin and Swenson to recognize obviously ancient minerals. In: Noanswersingenesis. Mitroff II. Laudan L. Physics, philosophy and psychoanalysis. Dordrecht: D. Reidel Publishing; Boudry M, De Smedt J. In mysterious ways: On petitionary prayer and subtle forms of supernatural causation. Steering Committee on Science and Creationism.
Science and creationism: A view from the National Academy of Sciences 2nd ed. Washington, D. Sarfati J. Reinforcing the Darwin—Hitler connection and correcting misinformation about slavery and racism. Kahneman D. Thinking, fast and slow. Pennock RT. Should creationism be taught in the public schools? Sci Educ. Leisola M. Alusta viimeiseen aikaan [From the beginning to the last days]. Helsinki: KP-art; Hodge B. Finland school shootings: The sad evolution connection Nov 8 [cited 17 May ]. Evolution is religion—not science. Marsden N. The father of lies. Ontogeny and phylogeny Cambridge: Belknap Press; Dinosaurusten arvoitus ja Raamattu [The enigma of the dinosaurs and the Bible] 2nd ed.
Helsinki: Kuva ja Sana; The episodic nature of evolutionary change In: Gould SJ, editor. The panda's thumb: More reflections in natural history. New York: W. Eldredge N. Time frames: The rethinking of Darwinian evolution and the theory of punctuated equilibria New York: Simon and Schuster; Behe MJ. Henry H, Dyke DJ. Evolution and stamp collecting, part 2 of 2 June 10 [cited 17 May ].
Moreover, the restricted text in com- bination with reduced images reinforces the superiority of white space Adcock, ; Gudkova, Nevertheless, homogeneity of font type size was not fully supported in our study even though the literature review refers to the accu- racy and simplicity of elements Chave, ; Fennis et al. It provides visions of a typology of contempo- rary, minimal, print advertising, by summing up and focusing on the discrete, uncluttered characteristics of an advertisement.
It sets the basis for the construc- tion of a tool Table 2 that assesses textual and pictorial characteristics of min- imal, print advertisements. It is based on a sample of print ads, selected from a population of contemporary ads reflecting post-modern influ- ences. Hence, this intervenes in the definition of minimal advertising. Minimal- ism is a dynamic movement that incorporates specific characteristics of each era. As a result, there are descriptive characteristics of minimal ads that change over time, preventing the construction of a clear, consolidated definition.
Further research could apply this study and elaborate on other media such as television, online advertising, or websites in order to consolidate on the typology of minimal advertising. Moreover, it would be interesting to investigate the way and extent minimal advertising influences the advertising audience, by looking into attention, perception and attitude towards the ad. Again, this is interpretatively legitimate and precise, but it may also mark the repression of a loaded historical scenario, one which had had a peculiar resonance for de Man. What we can determine is that the pattern accords with an argument de Man is making in his essay on Hegel and Hugo and with the critique of aesthetics that informs his critical work.
The scenario of a triumph and a defeat stands behind the imagery of coupling and the figure of chiasmus that structures the ratio linking phenomenal aspects and semantic function. The notion of gain for loss that informs the conception of the work as an exchange of properties between semantics and syntax, meaning and form, and the notion of a dialectical recuperation of meaning through the loss of its immediacy, are argued by de Man to efface the most decisive quality of language, its materiality as the disjunction of signs and meaning.
One from There follows from this the demonstration of that ineluctable truth of history according to which, at certain moments, the weight of events becomes such that it draws nations in a certain direction, even when their will seems to oppose it. That is what has produced itself in this case: the politics of collaboration results from the present situation not as an ideal desired by all of the people but as an irresistible necessity which none can escape, even if he thinks he ought to head in the other direction.
I would argue that the reading of the essay is enriched by this supplementary set of marks.
For the differences that count are not just between but within the two texts37—within the very syntax of the sentence we have been reading. One has to go back to the technical terms of the rhetorical reading. There one can distinguish between the inscription and the deictic gesture of pointing it out. Yet the point is that inscription is not a signification, and that by themselves those inscriptions tell us nothing—not until they appear in a scenario set up in the text by means of a prosopopoeia.
This does not mean that fictional narratives are not part of the world and of reality; their impact upon the world may well be all too strong for comfort. What we call ideology is precisely the confusion of linguistic with natural reality, of reference with phenomenalism. Nevertheless, the distinctness of those figures is a representational effect of the prosopopoeia and an effect it also dissolves.
The drastically disorienting effect of prosopopoeia, in the readings of de Man, is to deprive us of a phenomenal or fixed distinction between ideology and the material conditions of cognition. It is not a symbol, but an inscription. It does not ensure, rather it interrupts cognition, the discursive understanding of the distinction that it cites. Much of literary theory has the peculiar precision and instability of a notation, of uncompleted discursive form, since literary theory, unlike political or aesthetic discourse, does not attempt to saturate the context of its assertions.
This does not mean that theorists need not take decisions, both aesthetic and political. On the contrary. But it also implies the critical theoretical imperative: because of the primacy of forgetting, forgetting will always take place, but let it not be of that one. Because of the material conditions of meaning, in other words, ideology will always recur, but let it not be that one: the aesthetic ideology.
This comes near an issue raised at the beginning of this essay, that of the difference between literary theory and literature, and between contemporary writing and Romanticism. And that lack of distinction is painful, not only because non-identity is painful, but because literature and Romanticism now carry a history, like politics and philosophy, that includes inconceivable suffering and disaster.
I quote: One of the differences between the situation of the translator and that of the poet, the first that comes to mind is that the poet has some relationship to meaning, to a statement that is not purely within the realm of language. The relationship of the translator to the original is the relationship between language and language, wherein the problem of meaning or the desire to say something, the need to make a statement, is entirely absent. RT, pp. Michael Shaw, and Toward an Aesthetic of Reception, trans. Fink, Ernst Behler Stuttgart: A.
Lynn Hunt Politics, Culture and Class in the French Revolution, Berkeley: University of California Press, , describes how the Revolution was consolidated through symbolic forms of political practice including a great variety of public festivities and rituals. The turn to a rhetorical terminology is legible in the revisions indicated in footnotes between an earlier and a later version of the text, which was the fourth of the series of lectures in the Christian Gauss seminar delivered by de Man at Princeton in Warminski, forthcoming from University of Minnesota Press.
AR, p. Hoffmeister Hamburg: Felix Meiner, ; trans. Michael Riffaterre, Text Production, pp. Peggy Kamuf, Critical Inquiry, 14 Spring , pp. Phenomenology of Spirit, sect. See The Critical Difference.
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Marcel Duchamp Theories of literary value fall into three categories: mimetic, expressive, and formalist. At the same time and in contrast, Russian Formalism has defined literary value in terms of the formal linguistic properties of the text. The question of literary value simply will not go away, despite recent arguments by a number of Marxist and poststructuralist critics. With different inflections these have put forward a common view: that literature is not an essence contained in the canonical text and independent of the way the text is read—value is a matter of construction in the present, a construction at once institutional and ideological.
As institutions within capitalist society, universities and colleges have a vested interest in maintaining existing relations of power; as part of this interest, Englit. One way the radical critique of literature has succeeded is by deploying the trope of rationalist demystification. It has taken claims that literary value is a kind of essence inhering in the great texts and been able to expose that essence as a consequence derived from the mode of construction of the text; it has got away without having to discuss at all how texts might lend themselves to that construction, and has dismissed any attempt to talk about texts and literary value as mere reaction and nostalgic attachment to the values of God, England, Shakespeare, and St George.
I mean to turn this procedure back on literature-as-construction theorists, start from the view that literary value is merely constructed, and only thereafter move to a discussion of literary value and literary texts. I shall do so because I find the literature-as-construction analysis one-sided. Negation of this form then always reaffirms what it denies, and most literature-as-construction theory takes this form. It reproduces essentialism by assuming with it that value could only be an unchanging identity fixed for ever in the text; therefore it can only deny value by denying the text any identity and value at all.
It does not attempt to change things, but merely to represent them, and it does so in a specifically literary language whose claim to value lies in its uniqueness. It is a persuasive argument, and one whose literary-political effect is definitely progressive. A reality in which the same text was thus really the same never existed and never will except in the transcendental domain supposed by the very literary criticism her argument seeks to oppose. Her denial—and the rhetoric of demystification—blocks any attempt to consider the identity of a text and how it might become available for the construction so well exemplified.
But this lively polemic exhibits a certain slide between acceptance that some texts are more literary than others and an outright claim that literature is anything we think it is. These methods have nothing whatsoever of significance in common. A natural science, such as chemistry, has both an object and a method; knowledge of the properties of substances is constructed through a method, a practice of proof and demonstration appropriate to that knowledge.
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But despite popular misconceptions, the object of chemistry does not consist of an essence such that we could always find all its essential features manifest in any one entity and common to all of them. For an object of knowledge to be real it does not have to have an essence. The range of methods felt appropriate for the study of literature may demonstrate that it is a very slippery object but not that it is not real. Is There a Text in This Class by Stanley Fish proposes the most thorough-going and radical version of literature-asconstruction and, far from this leading inexorably towards a progressive politics, its conclusion is resoundingly conservative.
As the papers collected in this book narrate, between and Fish began believing in literature as text and progressed to seeing it as only what the reader saw. Move one asserts that all textual properties are humanly perceived. Move two draws the consequence from move one, that it leads to a radical subjectivism and relativism. Subsequently, Fish undertakes move three. Nor would it work to suggest that there were divisions in the interpretive community arising from different levels of textual reading corresponding to signified and signifier so that local disputes over interpretation of meaning took place in different terms from agreement about the fixed formal properties of the text and the materiality of its signifiers.
There are no texts in this class, only readers, as an example might show. Fish recounts how a list of names was on the blackboard after one class when students came for another: Jacobs-Rosenbaum Levin Thorne Hayes Ohman? Which they did, pretty well in his account, by exercising their literary competence within the interpretive community.
We have reached degree zero of literature-as-construction. Fish is riding a winner and knows it. In claiming there are no texts, only interpretations, Fish denies that a reading is a reading of a text so that in this sense the reading refers to a text. At present it does not and so I can cheerfully pose the question, can we refer to the text, Is There a Text in This Class? I think we can, and have spent the past couple of pages trying to do so accurately. If I have succeeded we may be sure texts are real, we can refer to them, and the assertion that there is no literature and no literary value once again remains unproven.
Yet Derrida has warned against the dangers attendant on the method of critique rather than deconstruction. For a critique, in thinking it can stand outside the argument it rejects, especially risks reproducing unwittingly the most insidious attributes of what it would exclude, whether this is literature or what Derrida means by metaphysics. Yet my objection is not only strategic—it is also that the now conventional literature-as-construction argument is theoretically inadequate because it fails to acknowledge that every textual reading is a reading of a text.
Ray states that there can be no firm or final dichotomy between literary meaning as objective structure and meaning as subjective act. Rather, there is always a tension between our two common-sense intuitions of meaning, as both historically bound act, governed by a particular intention at a particular moment, and permanent textual fact, embodied in a word or series of words whose meaning transcends particular volition and can be apprehended in its structure by any individual possessed of the language. Texts not just literary ones are real. They consist of signifiers which are material effects of a given language, signifiers organized, as Saussure says, in a linear dimension so that in a particular text they occur in a single order.
Texts then are not just material but also necessarily physical, retaining their identity whether they are physically transmitted as writing, speech, on a tape recording, video or whatever. As such, they are subject to mutability. Its identity, then, is not an essence, fixed once and for all, but a relative identity, a repetition in and for the reader with all that the idea of repetition implies or should imply by way of difference. I shall turn now to four theorists of the text.
This, they argued, could not be analysed through mimetic theories in terms of what literature represented; nor was it a psychological effect; rather it ensued from a specifically linguistic feature which they defined as priem or device, occurring at the level of the signifier in all the formal properties of literature.
However, as Tony Bennett shows clearly in Marxism and Formalism,33 the trajectory of Formalism led from an attempt to define literariness as a fixed feature in the text towards recognition, first, that the effect of defamiliarization arose intertextually, from the juxtaposition of two discourses poetic or formed speech in contrast to ordinary speech, for example ; and second, that the effect was historically determined.
Literariness is an effect produced in the relation between text and reader. What may be meant as the quality of an essence and an unchanging feature turns out on inspection to be firmly relational. For Freud, art is primarily a mode of pleasure because it is a vehicle for wish-fulfilment and fantasy.
Somewhat in note form, Marx begins by pointing out that while other forms of social development are progressive, one superseding another, art is not like this. Whereas the introduction of a new mode of production renders the technology and social relations of a previous mode redundant, aesthetic texts continue to be reproduced beyond the epoch and conjuncture of their formation—he instances Greek tragedy and the plays of Shakespeare. Read in the present Marx is writing in London in the middle of the nineteenth century they take on a different meaning. The Rosetta Stone, for example, was discovered in Egypt in but not finally deciphered until by the French archaeologist, Champollion.
The operation of language ensures this continuing reproduction and reiteration. Literary value occurs as a function of the relation between itself and its contemporary reading, a function however which is different in degree from that of the non-literary or strictly less literary text. A text is less literary if it can only be reproduced now with a mainly historical meaning, as document or index of its own time of writing; it produces the effect of literary value to the extent that in a present reading it can give an effect of presence. The idea of significant contemporary meaning as an effect of presence sounds disappointingly vacuous.
A whole ideology of the aesthetic is active in making us feel that we should be able to say much more than that. Once again the ghost of literature shakes its hoary locks at us, exactly at the moment we thought we were performing a final exorcism. Literary value cannot be defined more precisely because good texts are not always the same but always significantly different. To be able to demonstrate literary value as a given feature or quality of the text would only be possible if it were that eternal essence frequently supposed.
The multiplicity of ways in which literary value has entered discourse, both in our own century and across history, far from showing that there is no such thing as literature, proves the opposite. Literary value is not presence but an effect of presence. A text of literary value can be distinguished from one with merely historical interest by the degree to which its signifiers actively engage with new contexts, contexts different ideologically but also different in the protocols of literary reading in which the text is construed.
This is a description of how literary value works, not a definition of what it is. Every era applies its own reading codes, its changed vantage points; the text continues to accumulate sign possibilities which are communicative precisely because the text is inside a system in movement.
Although most of the terms of analysis used to define literary value in greater detail make some sense in relation to the period in which they were variously deployed—typicality, representing general nature, organic unity, imaginative vision, defamiliarization, foregrounding, capacity to excite pleasurable fantasy, and so on—not much more can be said about it unless it is assumed as an essence.
And not much more needs to be said for I think we can live with this. I shall report rather than give a full example. Each translation reproduces the text within the ideological matrix and protocols of reading of their own conjuncture, evidence therefore that the poetry of Homer is functionally polysemous and of literary value, able to signify in a present reading. In conclusion, as far as the politics of literature is concerned, there are two benefits if this present argument becomes accepted.
Second, the aura of literature has been dispelled, or at least that was the intention. Since the magic of essence was the main reason why literature was preferred as the high cultural form, and the texts of popular culture correspondingly denigrated, literary value in my account loses its value. If literature consists merely of texts that are more functionally polysemous than some others, I can foresee no good reason why they should not be studied together as examples of signifying practice. This argument can come to an end by being more explicit about the question of essence.
Poststructuralism may be an intellectual fashion or it may be a comprehensive change of paradigm whose implications continue to be explored. If the latter, then we might distinguish a first from a second wave.
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In an earlier phase of poststructuralism it was strategically necessary to dismiss Nature and Truth through an obligatory gesture of anti-essentialism. Returning to some of the territory left scorched earth by the first wave, a second wave of poststructuralism criticism, justifiably less fearful of contamination by essentialism, should now be able to recapture and rework issues and themes previously surrendered.
Literary value may be one of these. Coleridge, Biographia Literaria, ed. Shawcross, 2 vols London: Oxford University Press, , vol. Williams, Marxism and Literature London: Macmillan, , esp. Bennett, Formalism and Marxism London: Methuen, , p. Bloom, P. Derrida, G. Hartman, and J.
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Jones and E. Miller et al. New York: Harcourt Brace, Cambridge, Mass. Lemon and M. Bennett, Marxism and Formalism London: Methuen, Jakobson and J. Matejka and K. Garvin ed. Freud, Standard Edition, vol. Marx, Grundrisse Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, , p. Such a suggestion would imply that, somewhere, there is still an absolute in place.
Richards to force his students to recognize the one, right, true meaning of the poem in front of them. Yet for every insight that literary theory achieves, it incurs a blindness, and the very act of insight is itself the act of shutting off a corresponding vision. Or, as Marshall McLuhan has recently argued,1 every discovery, as it retrieves, also obsolesces.
It is what literary theory has obsolesced that interests me in what follows. For the relentless argumentation against logocentricism and origin and presence has now made quite impossible for us the concept of authorial intention. Indeed, even to put it like that seems to beg two sets of questions, one for each term. Yet what kind of literary freedom is it that we have won, if as a result some questions have become unaskable?
That it is not meaningless is sometimes forced upon the reader by the text itself, as in the case I wish to present in some detail, The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford. The received tradition of reading a text is suddenly perceived as militating against observable features of the work. So far, this is itself a textual effect, but raises almost at once the perilous question of authorial intention. If this were not so, all acts of genuine literary discovery would be impossible. Yet any candid reader can remember coming across them.
One example of such a discovery would be that made by R. Crane, when, reading through the logic textbook that Swift would have used at university, he clearly saw the origin of the Yahoos and the Houyhnhnms in the chiasmic inversion of animal rational and animal hinniendi. But this act of sceptical hesitation may well in fact have hardened into a dogma. There may be a weak and a strong form of the Fishean embargo. In the weak form, a new reading would be accepted as just that, more convincing than its predecessors and hence privileged the kind of privilege he would accord no doubt to his own readings of Milton and Browne.
And yet, might this be one of those very points where one might choose a blindness and refuse an insight? Ought one not, in fact, to proceed regardless? Is this to assert of it that it has no intrinsic properties? What laws of reading is the text invoking in its own defence? Without such conventions, we could not recognize that we are reading a literary work in the first place. But with such conventions, could we sometimes perhaps become aware that we have misunderstood those conventions, are carrying out a consistent misuse of them, and arriving all the time at conclusions which those conventions do not endorse?
Whatever it is, it has a certain autonomy. It is a potential for reading which signals when that potentiality is being mistreated.
Writing in Context(s)
The text insists upon encounter and re-encounter. It has the power of passively signalling at the very least the way it does not want to be read. When it makes that signal, the reader recuperates the text as something which insists upon a reading which is itself a discovery.
Other events being what they were in , the novel did not get an attentive reading. Surely, the deconstructive argument would run, it is no longer possible to suggest that Ford finally intends the reading which I advance in the following pages? Is all good structure in a winding stair?
It is possible to conceive of a work where the structure exactly coincides with its own planned subversion. To insist otherwise would be to advance a theology of the text. Nothing which is outside the text is asserted to be in play. Second, the novel presents a series of cultural stereotypes— American heiresses, retired British Army officers—living at a fashionable German spa and making all the assumptions typical of their wealth and station.
Third, the plausibility of all the details and assumptions in the novel is faultlessly established. Fifth, the novel enters into relations of parody of, and irony at the expense of, the novels of his great contemporaries, though without announcing in any obvious way that the assumptions painstakingly built up in levels one to four are being methodically subverted to create a parody and an irony of a quite unsuspected kind. Indeed, so expert and deft is the misuse of the conventionalizations of parody and irony that there is a case for suggesting that Ford is not so much parodying or ironizing the narrative techniques of James and Conrad as putting a completely mendacious simulacrum in their place, a copy so good that no one ever suspected that it was not genuine, a latter-day Golden Bowl.
Not gold at all as it appears, but gilded crystal, and cracked into the bargain, it is a powerful symbol of the self-interest that flaws human relationships.
The structural relations between the characters, motives and events of The Good Soldier and The Wings of the Dove are so close that there is a case for suspecting that the one is a metastatement about the other. If then Ford adapts narratorial vraisemblance in such a way that the narrator is duplicitous, mendacious and deliberately misleading, the reader is, in an obvious sense, helpless against him. The kind of reading naturally accorded to a Jamesian or a Conradian narrator is subverted because Ford has not let on to his reader that he is using the old form while totally changing its content.
It is not so much that the Fordian narrator, Dowell, misuses the fifth kind of vraisemblance, it is rather that he substitutes a new kind of parody and irony for any that the reader would be expecting. Parody and irony that do not speak their name, indeed are invisible, have allowed for the tradition of misrepresentation which one will find repeated on the back, say, of the Penguin reprint, or in any history of literature, the account in the new Oxford Companion to English Literature being entirely typical.
So far as I can see, there is no term to cover the particular kind of abuse to which Ford subjects the fifth kind of vraisemblance, parody and irony, so I suggest, purely as a holding device until some better can be found, the term fauxsemblance. Again the shadow of Stanley Fish falls across the page. The reader can only be misled if he makes a choice. But if he can make a choice, then there was more than one way the reading could go. Conscious of the new dangers, I return to my original contention.
So, one final time, the concept of authorial intention has to be faced, though, if this proves to be the sticking point, it could be advanced as a function of the ironic play of the text itself, and thus could be reclaimed by a literary theory which regards all talk of intention as a self-deceiving essentialism. In view of the complex ironic device organized by Ford the disciple of James and the collaborator of Conrad how can we tell the dancer from the dance?
First and foremost, though it looks like a straightforward realist narrative, the fundamental structure of realist fiction, coherent and progressive characterization, is relentlessly dismantled. He was as devoted as it was possible to be without appearing fatuous. So well set up, with such honest blue eyes, such a touch of stupidity, such a warm goodheartedness! And she— so tall, so splendid in the saddle, so fair! Yes, Leonora was extraordinarily fair and so extraordinarily the real thing that she seemed too good to be true. To be the county family, to look the county family, to be so appropriately and perfectly wealthy; to be so perfect in manner—even just to the saving touch of insolence that seems to be necessary.
To have all that and to be all that! No, it was too good to be true. From now on the contradictory notations come thick and fast. God knows, perhaps all men are like that. And I trusted mine and it was madness. Not one of the good qualities mentioned at the outset is ever again mentioned. Edward is progressively shown as weak, lustful though no evidence of his affairs is ever offered , irresolute, dependent upon his wife, a drunkard, a suicide.
What can one make of a vraisemblance which offers itself in the guise of a realist fiction, yet refuses to deliver coherent and non-contradictory characterization? Whether this is a likely act on the part of the officer and gentleman is lost in the pure melodrama of what comes next. As a result Ashburnham has to face the local Beak, and suffers in social estimation. For what possible crime could he have got seven years? Would the nurse have screamed and pulled the communication cord? Would the perfect gentleman have kissed her?
This itself is so dissonant with the idea of the officer and the gentleman that Dowell has officially offered to give us, that even the narrator himself hesitates: His love affairs, until the very end, were sandwiched in at odd moments or took place during the social evenings, the dances and the dinners.
But I guess I have made it hard for you, O silent listener, to get that impression. Anyhow, I hope I have not given you the impression that Edward Ashburnham was a pathological case. He was just a normal man and very much of a sentimentalist. Would an officer and a gentleman like Ashburnham fall hopelessly in love with a whore, give her excessively generous gifts, feel obliged to her and dependent upon her, and finally get too drunk to recognize her? He would look after her for life if she would only abandon her career of prostitution.
There is certainly a version of the affair with La Dolciquita which is conceivable, and which would make sense, but Dowell does not tell it. This would be a passionate affair with La Dolciquita that was carried on in secrecy, without his wife getting to know of it, and which would have been ended in a gentlemanly way by a large gift of money. For obvious social reasons, Ashburnham would not have entertained for a moment the idea of an enduring situation which made public the previous liaison. The fact that Dowell proposes that Ashburnham might have considered this scenario is yet a further test of readerly attentiveness.
The narrator continues to test the reader. The fall and fall of Edward Ashburnham continues. His wife is always aware of his alleged infidelities, and in fact discovers on one occasion a blackmail letter. But we never see any evidence that Ashburnham is in fact carrying out any sexual activities. The next escapade we are asked to believe in is the adulterous affair with the wife of a certain Major Basil p.
As a result Major Basil begins to blackmail Edward Ashburnham. But there is no evidence at all that Ashburnham and Mrs Basil were lovers. Indeed, Dowell throws doubt on this possibility himself: Edward was pretty hard hit when Mrs Basil had to go away. He really had been very fond of her, and he remained faithful to her memory for quite a long time. This is certainly not the wording appropriate to describe the parting of a man and woman who had shared a violent physical passion. And then the Ashburnhams were moved somewhere up towards a place or a district called Chitral.
I am no good at geography of the Indian Empire. Typically, no evidence of a physical relationship is supplied, but the affair, if there is one, is carried on right under the eyes of Mrs Ashburnham herself. This is hardly the suggestion that a man having an affair with a woman would make to his own wife. I promised it to Charlie Maidan this afternoon.
The narrator simply feigns to forget that he has already told us this. And she thought she could trust Edward. Maisie is presented in this very passage pp. Yet it is even more improbable than any of the preceding affairs, and a dozen pages are produced to show that not even the machinations of Leonora could suffice to cause it to occur pp. Yet the narrator has succeeded in his aim, which is to present the sexual career of his ideal officer and gentleman as a series of descents into bathos.
Almost from the beginning of the novel, the reader loses his respect for Edward Ashburnham. But that loss of respect is not based upon the evidence which the narrator, Dowell, proffers. The loss of respect is due to the old Aristotelian formula for tragedy, the sight of a man, not pre-eminently clever or good, brought by a flaw in his own nature to a misjudgment which causes his downfall. That misjudgment was the marriage to Leonora. He runs the whole gamut of misery and humiliation, not because of what he does, but because of what he does not do.
Faced by a calculating wife, he sees that he possesses no resources to outwit her evil, and simply succumbs. The other major characters in the novel are presented in a similarly subverted manner. The only acts she undertakes are calculated to do harm to others, and to further her own material interest. As a result of her refusing her husband his conjugal rights, she is mortally afraid of Dowell, and retires early every evening, locking the door behind her.
I hate Florence with such a hatred that I would not spare her an eternity of loneliness. She need not have done what she did…. She should not have done it. It was playing too low down. She should not have done what? The reader is for a long time taken in by this punctiliousness, before it dawns on him that this temporal fussiness is itself another device used by the narrator to throw the reader off the track, not to give him further directions into the true meaning of the story.
Ford did require the reader to read this novel twice, which presumption modern critics have found extraordinary. But it is part and parcel of the method, that the devices with time only appear for what they are upon a rereading. It is not on a first reading that it becomes evident that two entirely different sets of events are being claimed to have taken place on a single day, the 4th of August I will preface what I have to say on this matter by inserting here a grid of the events so far as the narrator allows us to establish them at all: Edward Ashburnham marries Leonora Powys.
Marriage of Florence Hurlbird and John Dowell. They set out on their honeymoon that same day. Florence and Dowell arrive at Le Havre. This is the first time, allegedly, that the foursome have ever met, at dinner in the hotel at Nauheim on this day, 4 August Since both these sequences of events take place in the afternoon of a given day, they are not compossible.
No events mentioned at all?