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About Geoffrey Hartman.

I am concerned with the idea of history by which men live; and especially with the idea of history by which poets have lived. No one has yet written a history from the point of view of the poets--from within their consciousness of the historical vocation of art.... The plea for literary history merges here with that for phenomenology, or consciousness studied in its effort to "appear."

--"Toward Literary History," Beyond Formalism: Literary Essays, 1958-70 (Yale U. Press, 1970), 356, 368

Geoffrey Hartman came to Yale in 1968, the last year of my doctoral study there. Wordsworth's Poetry, 1787-1814 (1964) had already marked a decisive inflection in the study of Wordsworth and Romanticism, and I was of course eager to study with him. I had finished coursework but was allowed to audit the seminar on lyric poetry he offered in his inaugural year. The course was memorable--I have mined insights from the course notes for 40 years! It was evident to me that something about Hartman's style of interpretation was continuous with the approach I had absorbed as a Harvard freshman from Reuben Browers training ground for close reading, Humanities 6. But there was also something more I couldn't then name, something that went beyond the homegrown American formalism of the likes of Brower, Cleanth Brooks, or W. K. Wimsatt.

A European dimension in Hartman's reading was evident enough. The influence of Erich Auerbach was already witnessed by Hartman's first book The Unmediated Vision (1954), with its opening chapter on Wordsworth's "Tintern Abbey" (as the poem is misnamed in modern criticism). And one could also detect the example of Ernst Curtius, whose rich catalogue of "topoi" revealed that an image or motif that played a particular role in the economy of a single text was at the same time a recurrence, an echo, an island in an archipelago that stretched back across the whole course of European literature.

With the unexpected explosion of critical theory, I was among the multitude of scholars, especially in the younger generation, who seemed to find "something more" at first in structuralism but then in Jacques Derrida's deconstruction. But gradually, there seemed something questionable about the theory that a text contained within it, like a parasite or a Trojan horse, its own undoing, and that the text (and its author) was necessarily blind to that fact (to use Paul de Man's term). Nor did I find Stanley Fish's affective stylistics very satisfying. There seemed something obviously wrong with positing that a text lured a conscientiously attentive reader into an error that could be characterized not merely as a misreading but as a sin and then closed the trap by convicting him of the very error it had led him into. This felt like a version of my grandmother's semicomic threat when we children misbehaved that she would "knock us down and stomp us for falling." And all the more was it unpersuasive when the error could only be revealed by an even closer reading of the same kind that produced it.

At the end of the day, the "something more" couldn't be supplied by an even subtler or more philosophically sophisticated textual analysis. Under the stress of the civil rights and anti-Vietnam-war movements, many if not most of the young scholars of that generation were in fact haunted by politics, which is another way of saying history. Certainly, the older literary history seemed unsatisfactory--Whiggish at base or rather thoughtlessly modelled on evolution when it wasn't a mere accumulation of undigested facts. It could of course be argued that Auerbach had already been here, for instance in the remarks on the structure of French society in the chapter of Mimesis (1946) on seventeenth-century French literature even while he pursued through philological analysis his much larger historicizing thesis on the changing representation of reality in European literature. In that moment, however, to be haunted by history meant being haunted by the specter of Marx. But did this mean simply repudiating close reading?

The example of Georg Lukacs offered some hope--not so much the political theory of History and Class Consciousness, but the concrete analyses in "Narrate or Describe?" or "The Intellectual Physiognomy in Characterization" (in Writer and Critic). But it was disquieting to see him giving writers a thumbs-up or thumbs-down based on an inflexible standard drawn from a Marxism that had all the answers. And his reservations about Kafka, Joyce, even Thomas Mann showed a glaring deficiency. Walter Benjamin found a much subtler connection between history and poetry in "On Some Motifs in Baudelaire." But Benjamin became less the sponsor of a flourishing school than himself the object of a small scholarly industry.

Given this felt tension between reading and history, "Toward Literary History" leaped off the page for me. The line Hartman developed in that essay had a different starting point: consciousness, and, more specifically, the poet's consciousness. Given the contemporary critique of the subject, the term "consciousness" justifiably arouses suspicion, even though there is nothing intentionalist in Hartman's use of it and even when phenomenology rejects a terminal Hegelian Absolute Knowledge or understands itself, as Husserl insisted, as the opposite of psychology. Phenomenology attends to appearances, but in the case of Wordsworth, Hartman studied not just the appearance of nature but its disappearance. The writer for Hartman is not as radically disjunctive as in Maurice Blanchot, but for him the writer's consciousness inhabits, it does not hover over the poetry he writes (see "Romanticism and Anti-Self-Consciousness" in Beyond Formalism). The poet's consciousness is not given; it emerges as a vocation, a task, or even a burden. It is not an aspect of the poet's biography, even when the poet's poetry is relentlessly biographical. This peculiar form of consciousness Hartman terms "genius," evoking the ancient religious feeling for a spirit that hovers over the individual self.

Something further and even more important complicates Hartmans understanding of consciousness--more important because it prepares the transition to history. Husserl had already thought past a descriptive phenomenology of the unproblematic perception of objects in their self-givenness by a bare Cartesian consciousness in the natural attitude. With The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology (written in the mid-1930s), he opened a very different exploration of the ground of consciousness in a life-world laden with linguistic expressions in which a cultural tradition is sedimented. Paul Ricoeur carried forward this phenomenology-with-a-difference in The Symbolism of Evil, where the experience of fault comes to appearance through an interpretation of the symbols in which cultural memory is sedimented and which, in his memorable phrase, "give rise to thought" (The Symbolism of Evil, trans. Emerson Buchanan [Boston: Beacon, 1969], 19). Such a remembering, bringing to mind what symbols contain, enables the philosopher "to break out of the enchanted enclosure of consciousness of oneself, to end the prerogative of self-reflection" (356). It interprets the material of culture as expressions of what Hans-Georg Gadamer calls a "historically-effected consciousness" (Truth and Method, 2nd rev. ed., trans. and rev. Joel Weinsheimer and Donald G. Marshall [New York: Crossroad, 1989], esp. 300-7). In Hartmans case, breaking through the circle of self-consciousness included drawing on studies such as G. van der Leeuw's Religion in Essence and Manifestation (1933) and Mircea Eliade's Patterns in Comparative Religion (1958) and recovering the materia of the specifically Romantic poet's consciousness--motifs such as the evening star or the genius loci or forms such as the inscription. This is not at all simply intellectual history or a history of forms or topoi but an interpretation of the poet's experience brought into consciousness through these resources, though not mastered by it.

From the perspective of phenomenology, the poet's genius is, in its very existence, relation--namely, to what brings it itself into appearance by appearing to it. What appears to it is its world, the locale in which it is very distinctively and very precisely located. Hartman calls this the encounter between genius and genius loci. These two spirits are undivorceably married, but a marriage is constituted as much by conflict as by harmony. Hartman admits he is stretching the antique concept by incorporating temporal locale or situation into an evidently spatial concept. This certainly seems justified insofar as geography (environment) is the literal ground of history, the scene on which the theatre of the world is played out.

Hartman's readings of poems recover the poet's experience, which, because it is lived, encompasses or embodies the conscious and conceptual reflections that are only part of it. Politics is what we call the experience of agency in history. But the actions we are conscious of pull against a deeper current of human life, what Husserl called "the life-world," that is equally man-made but changes only over a long duration. Attending to that current is not a repudiation of politics, even though humans may return to it especially when political reform seems blocked or failed. It is here that the deepest determinants of human beings' life together are found (call it humans' "historicity"), comprising individual and collective experiences of displacement, oppression, violence, naming, inscribing, remembrance (the memorial), community and friendship, disruption in the relations of humans to their environment, progress and blockage, festival and riot, creation and decay, homecoming and vagrancy, work and leisure (otium), temporalities ranging from speeding up to stretching into endless delay and deferral, love and fear, terror and domestic tenderness, change and repetition. In his writings on Wordsworth, Hartman's intensely close analyses reveal the poet's work at this other level of history--not necessarily more important, but just as real as the level of deliberate action. In doing so, he shows us one way to bring reading and history together.

Donald G. Marshall

University of Illinois, Chicago

Wordsworth's poetry has many such figures, neither quite alive nor dead: Lucy and the Leechgatherer date from near this period. Yet in the case of the Danish Boy there is a literal reason for describing him as a visionary "shadow" or "spirit" who both "seems a Form of flesh and blood" and resembles the dead. For, according to a Cumberland superstition, he is dead: a ghost or revenant haunting that spot.

--The Unremarkable Wordsworth (U. of Minnesota Press, 1987), 61

Few critics can summon Wordsworth's undead without reducing them to sensation or horror. The Victorians' suspicion that Wordsworth had "murdered" Lucy in a "fit of passion" allowed them to skirt the very emotional intensity modern critics also avoid by displacing it onto the poet's "guilt" (for abandoning Annette, or desiring Dorothy). Readings of Lucy, the Leech-gatherer, or the Danish Boy that do embrace the affective motivations of Wordsworth's undead are indebted to Hartman's style, one that is at once conversational and theoretical, creative and critical,

literary and philosophical. The appeal of his style resides in its disclosing of its author, not as an aloof luminary who intends only to impress through critical wiles, but as a fellow traveller in the reading experience. Above all, Hartman comes across as a reader who writes, an attentive bystander who refuses the aggressive and demanding mode of those critics intent on proving their own expositions to instead favor discernment and contemplation. His gentle, sympathetic, and nuanced commentaries evince both a care for the text and also a will to communicate this care to others, his accessible prose resonating with endless echoes of meaning. No wonder Wordsworth's other undead figure, the Boy of Winander, occupies so much of his writing on the poet, his "mimic hootings to the silent owls" accommodated but not answered, reflected on but not fetishized. If Hartmans Wordsworth insists on responding creatively to everyday life by inviting us to reflect on its ethical meaning as a precursor to possible action, then Hartman the critic engenders a space in which perception and enquiry constitute political engagement by blocking indifference to the world.

What draws me to Hartman's criticism is its affectionate receptivity to the emotional and intuitive experiences to which many readers are opened by poetry. Long before the "affective turn" or "return to religion" debates, his work offered readers an alternative to a combatively historical mode that condemned the intuitive or spiritual as either blind transcendence or twisted doctrine. His phenomenology founded a way of critically investing in the affective experience of the otherworldly that was intimate with religion even as it rejected it as the basis of ethics or practice. Here was a politics that accommodated the categories of class, gender, sexuality, and race by refusing the orthodox and egoic to focus otherwise on the unremarkable and undistinguished. Like Wordsworth, Hartman directed the reader to the everyday as part of an ecology of being and phenomenal experience that can only be sustained through our capacity to feel for it. Displacing the conception of the critic as a neutral observer who robotically measures the text, Hartman endorsed the notion of a hospitable critic who is willing to explore thinking as relational and loving, as well as historical and cultural. In so doing, the critic rediscovers exegesis, not as that which garners consolation or market value, but as a way of representing and caring for the "wounds" of trauma, whether violent, torturous, economic, or environmental. Hartman shows us that Wordsworth's undead are one example of opening to traumatic reality through sense, soul, and the imagination, an experiential path towards the political on which the reader is guided by the spiritual, intuitive, paranormal, and affective.

How else but through an immersion in the affective can the reader engage with Hartman's account of "The Danish Boy" as "neither quite alive or dead?" The phrase does not invoke the mystical or gothic, but rather grants a familiarity to the reader through soft context (Hartmans dating of Wordsworths undead "from near this period") and folkloric rationale (Cumberland superstition tells us the Boy "is dead"). But in comparing the apparent certainty of this judgment with its reception by the local community, Hartman suggests the Boy is partially revived by their belief in him as "a ghost or revenant haunting that spot." This reading of "belief" through the spirit of place is connected to his conception of "spots" and "religion." "Spot" recalls Wordsworths "spots of time" as well as Hartmans "spot syndrome," both linked with an obsession with specific dwellings and memories constitutive of epiphanies or beliefs. While Wordsworth's "spots" "regenerate" and "fructify," spot syndrome describes a fixation on place that deems trauma (psychological crisis or separation from nature) as the basis of self-consciousness and belief.

In "The Danish Boy," Wordsworth's "spot" is an "open dell" sunk between "two sister moorland rills" (1-2), sibling rivulets that only half hide the vale, still vulnerable to storms and lightning. It is accepted as "sacred" (4) to the sky and flowers, but not to the birds and animals: the larks sing, but distantly in "clouds above" (12); the bees join them there, passing "high above those fragrant bells / To other flowers" (18-19); and the mountain ponies are at a remove from the Boy when they "prick their ears" (41) on hearing him alone in the dell (43). These details establish Hartman's conjuring of the spot as more than a topographical context for reading. While the reader is reminded that the poem was "written in Germany during the very last year of the eighteenth century," she is also made aware that its meaning is irreducible to numbers (1799) or geography (Goslar), and that dates and places count only as lived experience (UnW, 60). Hartman recalls history as the basis for intuition or accidental revelation just as Wordsworth adopted a clash between Viking rovers and Cumberland locals (a '"ballad upon the Story of a Danish Prince who had fled from Battle") to conjure what he later told Isabella Fenwick was "entirely a fancy" (William Wordsworth, The Fenwick Notes of William Wordsworth, ed. Jared Curtis [Penrith: Humanities-Ebooks, 2007], 58, 239). For Hartman and Wordsworth alike, a willingness to believe, or at least suspend disbelief, sets in motion a felt experience that "blesses" the reader as an intimate comrade alongside critic, poet, and the undead Boy.

The burden of anxiety the creative will suffers in wondering if it is capable of voicing this blessing is mediated by a mode of experience to which religious impulse is integral but not assertive. Hartmans invocation of an unacknowledged religiosity allows him, like Wordsworth, to neither celebrate nor deny the religious and sacred: they are "unremarkable" and undemanding in Hartmans writing, and refuse a theology of dogma. His awareness that many readers collapse religion and theology into a "junkyard of dark sublimities" prompts him to at once reserve and illuminate religious meaning without valorizing or arguing for it (UnW, 111). This is apparent in Hartman's prefacing of his reading of the undead with Wordsworths description of the young prince as "lovely" and "blest" (60), words that share a sacred resonance with Hartman's sense of the Boy as a "visionary 'shadow' or 'spirit'" who "'seems a Form of flesh and blood.'" His "seems" pauses the incarnation of either the Boy or the theological to advocate an alternative thinking of religion as an obscured and blurry presence the perception of which requires a register beyond the visual. This "seems" also connects with the final stanza's "seems," wherein Wordsworth has the Boy warble "songs of war, / That seem like songs of love" (63-64). The Danish Boy's appearance as a corporeal prince carolling love songs is here put into relationship with what the poem states he really is: a "spirit" (23) chanting "songs of war." In Hartman's reading, we can only understand the Boy as a "visionary" spirit--imaginative, speculative, revelatory--if we read his "flesh and blood" guise in relation to love. That this gives the Boy a form in which he "resembles the dead" corresponds with a reading of religion as that which must play dead if it is to figure as a blessing. If the "only philosophy which can responsibly be practiced in the face of despair is the attempt to contemplate all things as they would present themselves from the standpoint of redemption" (Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia: Reflections from Damaged Life, trans. E. F. N. Jephcott [London: Verso, 1974], 247), then Hartman goes some way to enacting such thinking, affirming as he does the potential of poetry to restore to us the affective, gentle, and perceptual.

Emma Mason

University of Warwick

The relation of character' in the world (domestic or political) to 'poetical character' (the imaginary relations to that same world which make up our image of a particular artist) is always elusive. Especially so in the case of Shakespeare, of whose life we know so little. A myth evolves, given classic expression by Keats, that the mystery or obscurity enveloping Shakespeare's life is due to the fact that a great poet has no 'identity,' that he is everything and nothing'.... What happens happens across the board, and can therefore settle expressively in a language with a character of its own--apart from the decorum that fits it to the character of the person represented.

--"Shakespeare's Poetical Character in Twelfth Night," in Shakespeare and the Question of Theory, ed. Patricia Parker and Geoffrey Hartman (New York: Methuen, 1985)

IN 1985, I WAS JUST RECENTLY BEGINNING to disappear down a rabbit hole marked "Shakespeare"--after writing on everything from romance and metaphor to Keats and Mallarme. And Geoffrey Hartman, who had directed my doctoral dissertation, Inescapable Romance, was a celebrated critic of later periods, not known as a Shakespearean. But our desire in Shakespeare and the Question of Theory (now 30 years in print) was to bring different perspectives to bear on the study of Shakespeare. And Hartmans own contribution to the volume--"Shakespeare's Poetical Character in Twelfth Night"--not only exemplified that aim but made it possible for me to glimpse the connections between the language of Shakespeare and the wonderfully subtle readings of Romantic poetry from which I had benefitted as a student in his classes as well as an avid reader of his work, including connections from the margins through inference and sound. The direction my own work took after 1985 was consistently influenced by his emphasis on language. And even though my writing on Shakespeare's language became more historical and political, 1 returned again and again to the attentiveness to nuance that has characterized all of his writings, including this essay on Twelfth Night.

I had already, under his direction, explored some of the implications of Keatsian "negative capability" in Inescapable Romance. But Hartman's sense of "a language with a character of its own--apart from the decorum that fits it to the character of the person represented" (in this essay on Shakespeare from 1985) also resonated for me, as a neophyte Shakespearean, with work by Randall McLeod and others on the variability of early printed texts, in which the question of who speaks a particular line remains radically uncertain and there is so frequently the sense of something spoken that needed to be released into the play, independent of the "character" of the speaker.

His essay's (typical) emphasis on the "fatal Cleopatra" of the pun and on slippages of sound included Welsh Fluellen's apparent slip of the tongue in calling the English conqueror Henry V "Alexander the Pig" rather than Alexander the Great or Big, a "fertile and leveling pun" (to use his own term) that anticipated subsequent work on this Welsh stage vernacular and its resistance to the "containment" that was a critical watchword of early New Historicist approaches to Shakespeare's history plays. The essays exploration of the inferences of sound in Twelfth Night--and of the "riot of metaphors," as he put it, "working against distinctions"--ranged from the "full" that could sound to the ear like "fool" to the "buttery bar" that resonates with "bar(ren)," "breasts," and "butt," and the "madam" that slides into "mad-dame" and "madman," eliding the "distinctions" between Olivia and Malvolio as characters separated by social distinctions.

Hartmans emphasis on such slippages--including of sound--had a major influence on my own attention to language in relation to the apparently "marginal" (in Shakespeare from the Margins) and to sound itself in a piece called "Sound Government, Polymorphic Bears: The Winter's Tale and Other Metamorphoses of Eye and Ear" for The Wordworthian Enlightenment, edited by Frances Ferguson and Helen Elam in 2005. More recently, it inspired my more extended exploration of "Shakespeare's Sound Government: Sound Defects, Polyglot Sounds, and Sounding Out" for Oral Tradition (2009) and Michael Saenger's collection on Interlinguicity, Internationality, and Shakespeare (2014). "Sound government" in both of these pieces comes from Hippolyta's famous line on Quince's mispunctuated Prologue in A Midsummer Night's Dream--that it is "sound" but "not in government." But the sense in both of the impossibility of governing sound, and the implications of this for the language of Shakespeare's plays, have for me been part of the abiding impact of Hartman's influence as both teacher and critic.

I came to Yale in 1971, from three years of teaching in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where President Julius Nyerere had been translating Shakespeare into Kiswahili, an experience that influenced my decision to apply to comparative literature, after my previous studies had been only in English. From the very beginning, having the model of Hartman as an interpreter of both English and non-English literature was for me definitive. I had learned so much from The Unmediated Vision (including its chapter on Valery, which inspired my own pages on Valery when Inescapable Romance became a book in 1979) and from Beyond Formalism, whose extraordinary essay on "Milton's Counterplot" became the inspiration for my chapter on Milton in that book. But what was signally influential for me as a beginning scholar straddling both English and comparative literature--as I have continued to do in appointments at Toronto and Stanford since--was the way in which his teaching as well as his scholarship inspired attentiveness to the multilingual dimensions of language, including the polyglot and macaronic wordplay at work in English poets. The 1985 Twelfth Night essay itself--in its exploration of "the tumult of words" and "funny, made-up words" whose "sense" remains "to be guessed at"--includes Feste's "Quebus," whose linguistic potential the essay unpacks as encompassing the corruption of "quibus" ("a word of frequent occurrence in legal documents"), "mock Latin connection that Shakespeare scholars have for the most part only recently begun to explore, even though borrowing into English from the Low Countries was ubiquitous in the period. What the Twelfth Night essay defines as the "gift of tongues" might stand as the best description of Geoffrey Hartman's consummate gifts as an interpreter of the play of language through which, as the essay itself observes at its end, "There is always more to say."

Patricia Parker

Stanford University

The art of the Romantics, on the other hand, is often in advance of even their best thoughts. Neither a mere increase in sensibility nor a mere widening of self-knowledge constitutes its purpose.

--"Romanticism and Anti-Self-Consciousness," Beyond Formalism: Literary Essays, 1958-70 (Yale U. Press, 1970), 303

THE FOLLOWING REMARKS BEAR ON AN ESSAY that, I'll propose, plays an important transitional role between Geoffrey Hartman's precocious first book, The Unmediated Vision (1954), and his early masterpiece, Wordsworth's Poetry (1964). Neither this essay, "Romanticism and Anti-Self-Consciousness" (first published in 1962), nor the passage within it that I've isolated, may rank among the texts and moments in Hartman's oeuvre that have most deeply influenced me over time; for that, I would have to sift through some of those spots of hermeneutic grandeur in Wordworth's Poetry (while reluctantly leaving aside a clutch of essays from Beyond Formalism [1970] and The Fate of Reading [1975] that have shaped my sense of what literary criticism, at its very best, can be). But having worked on this essay, I now find it fascinating, and I would like to draw on it to offer a reflection about the development of Hartman's thought in the crucial first decade of his professional writing.

The Unmediated Vision affirms the modern poet's "effort to gain pure representation through the direct sensuous intuition of reality" (UV, 156). In many respects, Hartman's argument bears a broad family resemblance to a number of other penetrating mid-twentieth-century accounts of post-eighteenth-century literature (for instance, Jean Paulhan's diagnosis in Les fleurs de Tarbes [1941] of a modern "terror in letters"--that is, the "terroristic" for the tail or male," and the "slang for fool in Dutch ('Kwibus')," a "Dutch" desire of post-Enlightenment writers to discard the flowers of rhetoric in the name of revolutionary immediacy). Hartmans version of this narrative, however, features a remarkable subplot: the modern poet's heroic phenomenological quest zu den Sachen selbst eventuates in a sense of the sublime independence of the mind. Thus in The Unmediated Vision, Wordsworth's mind, in visionary moments, "knows itself almost without exterior cause or else as no less real, here, no less indestructible than the object of its perception" (UV, 132). Such moments, in other words, are heightened instances of consciousness (the mind knows itself).

In later work, Hartman will continue to affirm "literature's constant flight from literariness: its wish to dissolve as a medium or, at the very least, to renounce Romantic props and to intuit things directly," as he puts it in the preface to Beyond Formalism (ix). Meanwhile, he will develop and refine his sense that--especially in Wordsworth's case--the poet's desire to intuit things in themselves is bound up with surges of self-consciousness as imaginative power. Thus, in Wordsworth's Poetry, Hartman famously defines the apocalyptic imagination as "consciousness of self raised to apocalyptic pitch" (WP, 17, Hartman's italics).

But in 1962, in "Romanticism and Anti-Self-Consciousness," Hartman tells an intriguingly different story. Here, consciousness is forcefully, if also in the end ambivalently, separated off from imagination. Hartman distinguishes self-consciousness from a mature or redeemed imagination, aligning the aesthetic progression "Nature-Self-Consciousness-Imagination" with the developmental narrative "childhood-adolescence-adulthood" and the theological narrative "Eden-Fall-Redemption" (BF, 299, 307). Yet the essay's rhetorical energies exceed its naturalizing and theologizing schemata. Redemption may or may not arrive, and the final sentences of "Romanticism and Anti-Self-Consciousness" are remarkably bleak ("The death of poetry had certainly occurred to the Romantics in idea, and Hegel's prediction of it was simply the overt expression of their own despair. Yet against this despair the greater Romantics staked their art and often their sanity" [310]). As for the maturation narrative, "adolescence" is a misleadingly trivializing middle term, since self-consciousness, in Hartman's account, has nothing to do with mooncalf self-absorption and bears rather on the very possibility of self-knowledge. Because "every increase in consciousness is accompanied by an increase in self-consciousness," nothing less than "the ideal of absolute lucidity" comes into question (BF, 299)--and this because self-consciousness is morbid, ravaging, diseased, dangerous, murderous, and corrosive (to adjectivize descriptors that surface in the essay's first two paragraphs). Later in the essay Hartman speaks of "the wound of self" (BF, 309).

The "particularly Romantic remedy" for this wound is homeopathic: Romantic art "seeks to draw the antidote to self-consciousness from consciousness itself" by achieving an "energy finer than intellectual." Appropriately enough, since they have to pass beyond self-consciousness, the romantics "do not give ... an adequate definition of the concept of art" (BF, 300). There follows the passage I've reproduced: "The art of the Romantics, on the other hand, is often in advance of even their best thoughts ..." Since the "best thoughts" of the Romantics include the thought that art should be anti-self-conscious, Hartman generates a textual knot that can be read as being at once supportive of and "in advance" of his own theme, insofar as it is hinted here that Romantic art, in order to pass from the self-conscious to the imaginative, has to do something it cannot think, even or especially as the thinking of anti-self-consciousness. That hint of a noncognitive performativity rubs against the essays idealizing tropes of recuperation and dialectical return (as maturity, as redemption), and points to the difficulty of "draw[ing] the antidote to self-consciousness from consciousness itself." Furthermore, the hyperbolic figure of consciousness as wound suggests that from the start consciousness comes marked with an openness or performativity it cannot control.

Two years later, in Wordsworth's Poetry, Hartman, as noted, discards the effort to imagine imagination apart from consciousness. But he retains the structure of internal resistance that he had sketched in "Romanticism and Anti-Self-Consciousness" (as the overcoming of self-consciousness by consciousness). Reunited with consciousness, the imagination now resists itself, "hid[ing] itself by overflowing as poetry" (WP, 69), because in Wordsworth the essential poetic act consists in the never-entirely-successful binding of an inherently independent imagination to the world. To be sure, Hartman had begun working out his great theme of the gentling of apocalypse as early as "Miltons Counterplot" (1958)--that extraordinary Wordsworthianizing reading of Milton--but not until Wordsworths Poetry is this theme fully developed as a dialectic internal to the imagination. Hartman's hyperbolic rendering of selfhood and self-consciousness in "Romanticism and Anti-Self-Consciousness" looks in retrospect like a displaced working-through of an ambivalence that he will subsequently be able to disclose in his beloved poet. Why the ambivalence about imagination? And why should its thematization in Wordsworth's Poetry seem first to require such a violent repudiation of self-consciousness?

Arguably it is not just that the sublimely self-conscious, apocalyptic imagination threatens to obliterate "the things themselves" insofar as they partake of the natural world. That tension between the pull of apocalypse and a care for the world composes the main theme of Wordsworth's Poetry, and grants structure to an interpretation of unmatched richness, exquisitely attuned to the text, strikingly ahead of its time in its ethical and ecological concerns. Yet the passage in "Romanticism and Anti-Self-Consciousness" that we highlighted hints at an even more darkly sublime insight. If, in the name of consciousness, texts have to do things that the most lucid consciousness cannot know, then it becomes possible to imagine that Hartmans (and Hartmans Wordsworth's) figures of self-consciousness and imagination relay a force that we could call textual, insofar as this force--or un-force; this doing as undoing--would exceed self-consciousness as knowledge, or the self as a locus of authority. Self-consciousness might then, rather oddly, become something other than itself. And if that otherness is felt as a wound, one can expect the effort to suture the imagination to the world to be infected by something like a repetition-compulsion, as a close reading of Wordsworth's Poetry could hope to show. But that would be matter for another occasion.

Marc Redfield

Brown University

IN THE FALL OF 1987, Geoffrey Hartman received an unusual honor. He delivered the keynote address at the installation of Ismar Schorch as chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, the principal rabbinic institution of Conservative Judaism in North America. The invitation was hardly fortuitous, coming at the height of an intense conversation between Hartman and rabbinic scholars initiated some years earlier by Hartman himself in his quest to identify the links between ancient Midrash and modern literary theory and to restore what he called "The Third [Hebrew] Pillar [Greek and Latin being the first two]" to its well-deserved place within the secular academy of learning. Hartman had already organized a major conference on Midrash and literature at Yale which resulted in an exciting publication only a year earlier (Midrash and Literature). The invitation to address a distinguished gathering of rabbis was surely an acknowledgement from an important Jewish institution that Hartman's endeavors were highly significant to the community as a whole and to its rabbinic leadership in particular. I had come to Yale some three years earlier and recall discussing this talk with Hartman as it took shape. It left an enormous impression on me then and still remains in my thoughts some thirty years later (the essay was first published as "Religious Literacy" in Conservative Judaism 40 (1988) and reprinted in TP, 162-71).

In this short but highly rich reflection, Hartman raised the question of religious literacy: "whether it is possible to translate the religious precepts and rituals that resist commonsensical or universalizing types of explanation into something like a public philosophy"; or to make "intelligible a body of material whose idiom has become strange over time" (TP, 163, referring to an essay by Walter Lippmann). For Judaism, the challenge was even greater. Can its sacred utterances be transmitted by art, poetry, or fiction? Evoking Gershom Scholems famous letter to Franz Rosenzweig on the religious force of the Hebrew language and Scholems anxiety about the loss of that sacredness in modern Hebrew (translated by Alexander Gelley in William Cutter, "Ghostly Hebrew, Ghastly Speech," Prooftexts 10 [1990], 431-32; TP, 164-65), as well as Walter Benjamins "near fatal blow to the idea that the sacred can be transmitted by art in a purer form than by religion," Hartman well recognized the profound challenge of translatability (TP, 166; Walter Benjamin, "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" in Illuminations [New York: Schoken, 1969], 217-52, especially Benjamins remark: "Some pass things down to posterity by making them untouchable and thus conserving them, others ... by making them practicable and thus liquidating them," regarding the impossible choice between the rigid traditionalist and the conservative progressive [cited and discussed in TP, 167]).

Hartman's answer to the dilemma of Scholem and Benjamin was to embrace Benjamins effort of "fanning the sparks of hope in the past" through the act of reading. Reading was critical to both the academy and the tradition and could become a bridge from the religious and the sacred to the secular, from the critical world of the university to the traditional world of the yeshivah.

Reading is a creative act of translating and ultimately the most meaningful way in which a tradition can be imbibed by those who have left the insular world of Jewish religious life. By translating Judaism into western categories of thought, Judaic studies in the university had already restored part of this body of knowledge to its rightful place in the academy, but Hartman wanted more than that. He related the story of the Protestant biblical scholar Gerhard von Rad on hearing a Jew in Warsaw attempting to lift the spirit of his companion by inviting him to "Zog mir a stikl Torah" (TP, 169). Like the outsider von Rad, Hartman wanted more than scholarship, more than academic credibility; he sought the intimacy of "a stikl Torah," to connect the moral passion and creative imagination of the traditional Torah scholar with the critical acumen of the secular one. Hartman fully under stood how challenging this merger was to be: "The difficulty of gaining an intellectual clarification of religious practices is not an argument against trying" (TP, 170). He called for a partnership between the seminary and the academy in constructing a new religious literacy: "an allegiance to the text and a faithful habit of rereading ... that praxis of commentary, the way it enters the text and the way the text enters it" (TP, 171).

Hartmans credo that critical reading might insure Jewish survival for those outside the inner sanctum of traditional Jewish life sounds Maimonidean at its core, fusing the ideals of humanistic learning with the Jewish intellectual tradition. But as a poet and literary scholar, Hartman ultimately sought more than science and academic study from this engagement with texts. Religious literacy is about capturing the sacred, the ineffable, the spiritual, if not through ritual praxis, then through reading, through exegesis, through bold displays of the intellect. Hartmans contention that reading might provide an opening to the Jewish soul seems as daring now as when he articulated it a quarter of a century ago. Is reading alone sufficient to preserve the tradition and transmit it to a new generation? Will Midrash become no more than a passing fancy, ultimately dependent on the fate of deconstructive criticism and those who give primacy to exegetes and readers of texts over the texts themselves? I don't know the answer. The dichotomy Hartman bemoaned between Wissenschaft and tradition, between two types of hokhmah (wisdom), seems to loom even larger than it did when he wrote these lines. Has secular thought sufficiently infused the yeshivah with new critical tools and has Talmudic learning had any significant impact on the intellect as well as the soul of the secular scholar? In the end, the remarkable integration Hartman imagined and wrestled to actualize remains a distant vision, an unfulfilled hope. Can scholars preserve and revitalize the traditions and integrate the two kinds of hokhmah, or is Benjamins binary opposition between the rigid traditionalist and the modernizer too formidable a gulf to overcome?

Hartmans fervent belief than reading might replace/replicate/substitute for ritual praxis is reminiscent of one of the great classical debates of modern Jewish thought between Franz Rosenzweig and Martin Buber on the status of Jewish law and observance. In The Builders, Rosenzweig critiqued the program of Jewish learning Martin Buber had promoted among German Jews, claiming that even the kind of reading of Jewish texts--discovering their inner power as Buber had labeled it--could not reinvigorate German Jewish life. What was needed was an open-ended approach to recovering Jewish practice; reading could not replace doing. Ultimately, openness to Judaism meant openness to mitsvot, religious commandments, not merely reading the works of those who practiced Judaism from within (Franz Rosenzweig, On Jewish Learning, ed. N. N. Glatzer [New York: Schocken, 1955], 72-92). In response Buber readily admitted to Rosenzweig his inability to practice Jewish ritual: "... I cannot accept the laws and the statutes blindly, but I must ask myself again and again: Is this particular law addressed to me and rightly so? So that at one time, I may include myself in this Israel which is addressed, but at times, many times, I cannot" (On Jewish Learning, 114).

In A Scholar's Tale, Hartman uncannily sounds like Buber when he writes: "To this day, I can't sit in a synagogue for very long, and envy Renees [his wife's] careful and happy participation. While she davens with patience and warmth, I fidget ... I too enjoy that singing [of zemirot (liturgical hymns) at the festive meal], but cannot lose myself in it. I want to understand better what is being read, sung, and prayed, and wander over the pages of the Siddur with a critical eye, trying to become interested, finding food for thought in certain ritual formulas, regretting the lack of poetry in many of the translations--in short, relying on my intellect to engage the emotions ... There is considerable anguish in knowing how excluded I am from an emotional identification with religious rituals" (SchT, 146-47).

In the end, Buber and Hartman entered the palace of Judaism through learning, through reading, although Buber also entered it by leaving Germany for Palestine as a young Zionist idealist. The virtue of this cognitive approach, especially for Hartman, was to link professional commitments to Jewish ones, that of Talmud Torah (Torah study) and Midrash. Buber of course had an individual faith and so does Hartman. But neither could be reduced to that of the collective rabbinic tradition nor could lead to a full participation in the ritual life of the Jewish community. Both championed the beauty and significance of Jewish civilization to the world at large but both remained outsiders incapable of connecting emotionally to a religious community of deed and not of word alone.

Since Geoffrey Hartmans address of almost thirty years ago, little has changed to suggest that the university can do more than teach Jewish studies as it teaches other subjects without presuming to evoke a spiritual conversion from the mere reading of texts. If anything has changed, it is a growing feeling of insecurity about the ultimate survival of the humanities in general, of which Judaism in Hartmans thinking was to assume its rightful place. But now our concern for the restoration of the third pillar is accompanied by an anxiety that the other two pillars have become remarkably shaky and unstable in recent years. Can the academy save the Jewish intellect when it worries about its own relevance and authority in an age where reading for most is confined to smart phones, emails, and text messages?

Benjamins binary opposition still remains, although one might argue that the reading of Jewish texts along with other texts, of studying Jewish contexts along with those of other cultures, has produced a new understanding, a deeper sense of what Judaism was and what it might be today. Hartmans ideal is still as elusive as ever but it still provides both a rationale for the enduring significance of Jewish civilization for the academy and the enduring value of academic study for the community as a whole. The perplexing dialectic remains, but the fervent hope for a creative bridge between the critical world of the university and the traditional world of religion, as well as between the university and the world outside the academy, continues. Will a younger generation discover its own Hartman to reread the tradition anew armed with both a critical gaze and an honest search for the divine?

David B. Ruderman

University of Pennsylvania

Wordsworths movement toward the Classics is virtually as daring as his movement toward childhood. To reintegrate the Classics is not unlike reintegrating a childhood conceived as the heroic age of the psyche. But the association between childhood and early literature is not the usual primitivistic one. That would be impossible with the Classics which are called such because they appear to us incredibly mature. The reason for linking the Classics with youth or childhood is that pagan fable, rhetoric and history, were the literary staple of the young poet. Though trivialized by school routine and eighteenth-century usage, Wordsworth's republican sympathies and Miltons example kept them alive. And when childhood comes back, they come back.

--"Words, Wish, Worth: Wordsworth," in Harold Bloom, Paul de Man, Jacques Derrida, Geoffrey Hartman, and J. Hillis Miller, Deconstruction and Criticism (New York: Seabury Press, 1979), 182

EVERYONE KNOWS ABOUT WORDSWORTH'S estimation of children and childhood. And for most who know, childhood is all about running free, swimming in the river, skating across lakes, and imbibing breezes, as well as about the relatively innocent transgressions which fall short of explicit sin but are scary enough to teach us how to begin to live with both fear and conscience: things like stealing boats and other peoples woodcocks. Comparatively few have imagined the young Wordsworth as paging through Homer or Virgil while lying naked in the sun between dips in the Derwent. We still assume all too readily the aptness of Matthew Arnold and T. S. Eliots sense that the Romantics did not know enough, balanced by Mill's gratitude that they did not know more, thereby setting him at least an example of how to stop thinking and start feeling. Mill took to heart the famous admonition: "Up, up, my friend, and quit your books / Or surely you'll grow double!" Though of course it was in books (books of Wordsworth's poetry) that he found the antidote to his besetting sense of "struggle and imperfection."

How striking, then, to be reminded, as we are by Geoffrey Hartman, of Wordsworth's move toward the Classics. That is his word, toward-, an active resuscitation, not a mere residual memory of the body of "pagan fable, rhetoric and history," and one that locates the mature poet as not only freed from the more restricting orthodoxies of Christian doctrines and sources but also as learned, not just a poet of nature but a vehicle of deeply bookish traditions, traditions of the book, like Milton before him but without Milton's need (however dubious that may seem) to adjudicate all books by the book of one particular faith. So, Hartman contends, the "literary bar" between "Classical and Christian" (204) is removed, giving each the honorific uppercase all too often reserved only for the one, as if typographically resolving in Wordsworth's name the Miltonic dilemma. Hartman concedes, for those who talk that way, that Wordsworth's "A Little Onward," about which he is writing in this essay, is a minor poem, but finds it a "considerable text" (213), and it is in text that he discovers what is "dangerous" about the Wordsworthian turn to the Classics after 1801 (181). The superficial personal and cultural confidence or self-esteem that comes, for a poet or a reader, with the illusion of command over a compendious literary tradition in various languages--a Classical tradition "trivialized by routine"--is far outperformed by an experience of unhoming, unmooring, being set adrift in a synesthetic disordering (indeed, here, blindness) where voice, vision, and hearing are scrambled and reassembled in ways that do not allow for the manufacture of a mastered or mastering self. Thus the social capital that the canonical schoolboy seeks to acquire through his competence in Greek and Latin is here refigured (by Hartman on Wordsworth's behalf) as a journey into deepening darkness where what can be mustered in the way of selfhood is put continually at risk in a cycle of citations, a "potentially endless descent into the phantom ear of memory" (194) that is also implicitly the descent of Christian culture's most infamous bearer of light (and one himself punished by always remembering), whose prescience perpetually both troubles and ennobles the poetic personae we call Wordsworth and Milton. Appropriately, given this essay's original publication in a volume whose centerpiece (quite literally, he is the middle author among five) is a one-hundred-page essay by Jacques Derrida, Hartman's own incarnation of this Wordsworthian disposition is a voicing of Derrida, who enables him to see the poets words as "always antiphonal to the phone of a prior experience. Or, the prior experience is the phone" (193).

And the phone means the graphe, brought to life in the experience of being haunted. In this essays encounter with the dark and chthonic element Hartman brings together Sophocles, Milton, and Wordsworth and spins Derridas "play" in a direction which Derridas later writings further vindicate, one definitely at odds with the more celebratory, optimistic, and liberal-arts-oriented construal of Spiel rendered as free, in the manner of Schiller and (I would say) of Roland Barthes. Hartmans faith in hanging on to a "pathos" in literature that, he surmises, deconstruction might undermine (ix) has at this point little in common with a faith in the salvific functions (which deconstruction does indeed undermine) of a humanist culture; though there will be something of that in other and later writings, it is held in check here. What is here tends more to a being-toward-death, inevitable for each generation as it apprehends the survival of texts across time, which thus remain not ours, never possessed. (So that none of us can say that we have the Latin, or the Greek). This countertheological and philosophically dense Wordsworth is something we owe to Geoffrey Hartman, who has here also turned the Classics forcefully away from their pedagogic embedding in a class system (as such open to triumphalist translation into an anglophone nation-state consensus) and toward a life lived inexorably as adult, "incredibly mature," and therefore in the sight of death. Hand in hand with Hartman, this minor poem is indeed a considerable text. Wordsworth indeed bids for the minor mode in his final claim to "calmness" and "consecration." Hartman does not let him get away with this attempt at ending wakefulness with the sleep of moral orthodoxy. He takes us out of his depth and our own simply by following the touchstones of careful reading. For Samson and Oedipus are both embedded in matters of state, Oedipus as preserver and destroyer of Thebes and as proleptic protector of Athens, Samson as destroyer of the temple. Both are in debatable contact with their gods, whose purposes they are in some sense advancing. Wordsworth seeks to duck this by closing off the citation he has introduced as referencing anything more than a man in relation to his daughter and a meditation about old age. Resurfacing Sophocles alongside Milton and the Book of Judges restores a drama that is both theological and political, one that Hartman chooses not to pursue but to which he leads us by the very persistence of his literary affiliations. He sees enough, that is, to incline us to see more, all the way to modern Palestine and to the dynamics of destruction promised as preservation. Wordsworth's effort at diminuendo--calmness and contemplation--does not hold back Hartman's reading or its incentive to explore the various sorts of historical death that come with being toward death. They come back, these Classics. Hartman's deconstruction is criticism: the best.

David Simpson

University of California, Davis

Myth and metaphor are endued with the acts, the gesta, of speech; and if there is a mediator for our experience of literature, it is something as simply with us as the human body, namely the human voice. ... To envision 'ghostlier demarcations' a poet must utter "keener sounds."

--"Ghostlier Demarcations," Literary Criticism: Idea and Act (The English Institute, 1939-1972: Selected Essays), ed. W. K. Wimsatt (U. of California Press, 1974), 226

FIFTY YEARS AGO AT THE ENGLISH INSTITUTE, thus Hartman, Still based at the University of Iowa--in appreciative demurral (via the allusion to Wallace Stevens) from the magisterial accomplishment of Northrop Frye, for whom the ratio of literature seemed to the younger critic too much divorced from its oratio. Two years later, Hartman and I both arrived at Yale. He, famously, stayed longer. But what he taught me that first year, in just this vein of oralized literary language, stayed with me every bit as long--and steadied me, in the near term, through a dissertation on prose rather than poetry, where I was determined not just to reason out the logic of Dickens's style, but to listen up. Hartman was neither its director, nor reader, but everywhere its guide. Its thesis was in fact his to begin with.

In launching the dissertation, I fortified myself further with his new and landmark essay "The Voice of the Shuttle." At its midpoint, I, together with the rest of us, was rhetorically excused for being "probably impatient" (BF, 347) with its phonetic microstylistics, its phantasmal (and infinitesimal) discriminations no doubt laying themselves open to Bishop Berkeley's complaint about Newton's "fluxions" as the mere "ghosts of departed qualities" (BF, 347). Far from it. Indeed, I was just learning, elsewhere, to call them structuring absences. Further, in this same transitional rhetoric, when turning to the riddle of the Sphinx, I was imagined to feel relief for the punning liftoff, at last, from "minims to maxims" (BF, 347). Not in the least. The pivot itself was everything to me, since what followed was "more tangible" only if one forgets the body's enunciating muscles in the play of textual sound (BF, 347). I, for one, was happy enough to linger at the interface between micro and macro. Still am, myself now at Iowa, where the latest confirmation of Hartman's teaching came in reading aloud to a class recently. It's an example I choose in part for its connection to Hartmans own later work on the legacies and traumas of Jewish culture. But the main lesson, yet again, is a broader one. To grasp the mediating function of literature, you have to have been there--there where you produce it in even silent sounding, there where reading voices.

In George Eliot's last novel, Daniel Deronda (1876), the relation between the dying Mordecai Cohen and his Zionist avatar in the eponymous hero becomes an interanimation modeled almost explicitly on some disembodied relation of written character to reader. For Mordecai has eschewed textual form for his visionary formulations, hoping they will be in a sense imprinted, in the spirit rather than the letter, on the soul of his successor (as with a memorized Hebrew poem Mordecai is earlier found "printing" on the "mind" of another would-be protege [chap. 38]). Yet the materiality of alphabetic manifestation is of course required for Eliot's narrative climax and its virtual metempsychosis: its transmigration of the racial soul. Springing a microlinguistic allegory of the reader's relation to text, the spectral hold of Mordecai's hopes on his survivor is funneled through an evanescent trace of the word ghost itself, sounded out once as an monosyllabic homophone, and then--I suddenly heard myself uttering--insinuated across a three-word trisyllabic cluster where the lexical revenant of "goest" conjures a spiritual recursion ex propria persona, the thrust of the future caught on the cusp of last words.

The "tangible" phonic undertow has certainly been prepared for. In the spirit of ethnic liberation, the Zionist prophet Mordecai, dedicated to rehabilitating what has been called, by one of his Jewish cohort, the walking "ghost" of such a nationalist vision (chap. 42), and who himself, slowly dying, has already appeared as (again explicitly) a mere "ghost" in his father's sleep (chap. 66), insists at last on a supposedly self-effacing transference with the novel's hero that is actually a spiritual power play. In refusing transcription for his own theological and nationalist meditations ("Call nothing mine that I have written [chap. 63]), he hopes instead that, even while wasting away of "consumption," he can breathe his uninscribed beliefs imperishably, because immaterially, into a surrogate self.

The wish fulfillment is not simply, in his last words, manifested in the utterance "Where thou goest, Daniel, I shall go.... Have I not breathed my soul into you?" Of course, aside from the phonetic play in the "ghostlier demarcations" slyly latent here, nothing could be more in the spirit (and in fact Biblical region) of Hartman's intertextual audits than to hear behind this insistence another same-sex affiliation, Ruth to Naomi in leaving her own people behind: "for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge" (Ruth 1:16). In Deronda, however, Daniel is pledged from here out to reside at the heart of Mordecai's own absence, a perpetual dislodging caught and flickeringly carried by the latter's expiring words. For pressing upon recognition at this point is not just the phonetic overlay of ghost in goest but (to fill in that heuristic ellipsis of mine) a further bridge-phrasing that ghosts its own phonetic tracks with a lexical gesture hovering between an anagram and a near-miss contraction ("Is't not" for "Isn't it?"): "Where thou goest, Daniel, I shall go. Is it not begun?"--begun even before being spelled out in the very backdraft of another wording. (Not "Has it not already begun?" but something closer to "Is it not here and now beginning, hence begun, in just the dilation--and liquidation--of my words?"). Mordecai himself has almost seen this textual epiphenomenon coming, when saying much earlier to Daniel that "you have risen within me like a thought not fully spelled" (chap. 62). His own last words can still not quite spell it out. But they come close.

Though I had, years before, devoted an entire chapter to this proxying-out of mentality as a perverse fable of reader response, profoundly if only implicitly dubious in its treatment by Eliot, it was only in deliberately reciting this passage to a group of students who I feared were overdue in finishing the novel that I was, for the first time, slowed sufficiently to catch this particular drift. It is never too late to keep learning from Hartman. For I was again made keen, in his fine phrasing, to something so nearly and simply "with" me as my own speaking "body"--and this just as the character gives up his embodied will to speech, a subjectivity displaced now from diegesis to sheer exegesis across the very aspiration (both senses) of his own fused syllables. These vanishing speech sounds fulfill the dying prophet's extratextual will by making its forward momentum impalpable in every way, strictly virtual in its possibility--except in the subvocal pulse of our own enunciative engagement, our own physiological sounding board.

In this ectoplasticity of phrase, "ghost" is not at the end said at all, let alone in spectral echo. Rather, its lexical span is seeded, and twice over, as a linguistic, a phonemic, latency, a vocabular shadow. In this way is the character's last breath rescued, by phonetic irony, for a surplus of meaning. About the voicing shuttle's intermediate shunts: "Juncture is simply a space, a breathing-space: phonetically, it has zero value, like a caesura." But as such it "dramatizes the differential, or as de Saussure calls it, diacritical relation of sound to meaning" (BF, 341). Which makes all the difference for a reader like Hartman, whose intimate attentions, to vary that same poem of Stevens he mines for his 1965 title, help literature sing beyond the genius of the seen.

Garrett Stewart

University of Iowa

They cleave to one thing or idea in order to be saved from a still deeper sense of separation. It does not matter whether a child is deprived of its tattered cloak or a woman of child and lover--the wound that opens is always the same, and even when the loss is ordinary, the passion is extraordinary, and points to so deep and personal a sorrow that we call it natural only to dignify human nature. --Wordsworth's Poetry, 1787-1814 (Yale U. Press, 1964), 143

Wordsworth's Poetry, 1787-1914 opens its account of the Lyrical Ballads by turning to "Wordsworths sufferers." While the "men and women in this poetry" were bracketed by received readings of Wordsworth that instead contemplated the broader canvas of its landscapes or the egotistic sublimity that projects them, Hartman resolutely puts them in focus (WP, 143). Yet no sooner do they materialize than they are afflicted by the threat of erasure. There is, first of all, the uncomfortable polysemy of the word "cleave," which shadows the hope of stability and stickiness with the doom of separation; there is, next, the strange slippage between "thing or idea," which cannot but remind us that, trivially, ideas are not things, and juxtaposing them intimates that cleaving to the latter may be nearly as precarious as clinging to the former; there is, also, the less-than-confident attribution of agency in the phrase "in order to be saved," in which the initial suggestion of purposive action is dissolved in a passive tense that dislocates hope from Wordsworth's cleavers to an unnamed elsewhere; these sufferers, so much (but not much more) is clear, cannot save themselves. Alliteration connects this question of salvation to what Wordsworths sufferers cleave to get away from: "a still deeper sense of separation." As this sense of separation rests beneath the anxious and frantic clinging of Wordsworth's sufferers, "still" here acquires its adjectival meanings: what they want to be saved from is an unmoving, silent groundlessness. Nor should the elision of psychology and ontology in the phrase "sense of separation" be read as a Heideggerian Stimmung that somehow attunes Wordsworth's sufferers to Being: the sense of separation is still, it does not call the call of Being.

How do we understand this cleaving that nervously wards off a fatal discontinuity? I have tried to show that Hartman's sentence both states and performs this cleaving, at a time--he finished Wordsworths Poetry in November 1963--in critical history when such coincidence of content and form almost no longer promised New Critical reconciliation but was beginning to spell deconstructive disintegration. The sufferers' apprehensive clinging recalls what Hartman, in 1977, analyzed as Wordsworth's "touching compulsion." As a boy, Wordsworth writes, he "was often unable to think of external things as having external existence"; "Many times while going to school," he notes, he had "grasped a wall or tree to recall [him] self from the abyss of idealism to the reality" (quoted in UnW, 20). In Hartmans account in 1977, which was part of a project he then called "psychoesthetics," the boy's compulsive touching constituted a form of "reality testing"--a way of recalling the substantiality of a world fatally derealized by the death of the young Wordsworth's mother (UnW, 22). Hartman's properly psychoesthetic point will be that poetry, for the mature poet, will count as a finer form of such reality testing--as a medium that assures even as it performs the connection between mind and a reality external to it. For Hartman, Wordsworth's condition and self-cure resonate with his memory of the motherless years he himself spent in England during the war: "I distinctly recall brooding on continuity. What held matter together? Why didn't the table before me disintegrate?" (LS, 17). For the young Hartman, Wordsworth's poetry offered a reprieve from such fears--as it earlier did, so Hartman, for the young Wordsworth himself.

So let's return from this (auto)biographical excursion to the sentence we started with: "the one thing or idea" that could save Wordsworth's sufferers from a fateful discontinuity is poetry--a phenomenon that makes the most of being neither purely thing nor idea, and a medium that articulates the particulars of nature into a significant whole. Wordsworth's Poetry, we recall, tells the story of how the human mind graduates from its cleaving against despair to its loving adoption by an ambient nature that both permeates and transcends the natural particulars it liberates from human dependence. Poetry, in this scenario, points the human mind beyond its obsession with "singles and fixities" to its absorption of a more generous phenomenal realm (WP, 137). It is the one privileged phenomenon that preserves the mind's continuity with phenomenality as such. In Hartman's first book, The Unmediated Vision from 1954, the tenuous connection between self and world and the need for mediation was not yet an issue, as Hartman celebrated the modern poet's readiness to go "against the monster with naked eye" and render "experience in its immediacy" (UV, 156,164). This program of heroic disintermediation is dismissed, at the time of Wordsworth's Poetry, as an apocalyptic tendency--"an inner necessity to cast out nature, to extirpate everything apparently external to salvation" (WP, 49). It is this relentless pursuit of salvation that the human mind needs to be saved from--by a poetry that binds it to the world.

Hartman's literary criticism, since Wordsworth's Poetry, has been animated by a tension between two not necessarily reconcilable commitments: to an encompassing sense of phenomenal reality, from which no obsession with or anxious cleaving to "one thing or idea" is supposed to distract us, and to the privilege of poetry, which is called upon to assure the traffic between mind and world. The strain is obvious: while poetry's radical privilege threatens to undermine the principled comprehensiveness of Hartman's Wordsworth's counterapocalypse, its successful promotion of such inclusiveness risks reducing it to just one particular among others--which would, in its turn, cancel the distinction on which the success of this levelling depends. And when this levelling is cancelled, and the singularity of poetry reaffirmed, we go back to where we started, in a vicious loop that constantly risks to derail the give-and-take between poetry and world. Hartman's commitment to poetry in the name of phenomenality, I am suggesting, is complicated by an oscillation between poetry's proudly professed privilege and its feared indifferentiation--its collapse into indistinct phenomenality.

Returning to our original passage, we can see that this fear of indifferentiation also afflicts Wordsworth's sufferers: "It does not matter" who is suffering what, whether "a child ... deprived of its tattered cloak" or a woman deprived "of child and lover"--indeed, it does not even matter whether the child appears as subject or object of the deprivation; all distinctions threaten to be overridden by a general condition that they indifferently exemplify: "the wound that opens is always the same."

How do we read this statement of the dangers of indifferent accumulation? I want to suggest three readings. First, and like all Hartman's returns to Wordsworth, Wordsworths Poetry is silently informed by the poet's role in the young Hartman's own private avoidance of apocalypse; as such, this expressed fear of the habituation of deprivation invites to be read as a particular psychology of loss, in which the accumulation of trauma leads to a psychic numbing that ends up leaving the affected mind indifferent--an affective ecology that will be more explicitly elaborated in the second half of Hartman's career. Second, we can recall that the writing of Wordsworth's Poetry was also motivated by a desire to facilitate the uptake of Wordsworth on the European continent as a major poet of modernity--a desire that, we know, remains unfulfilled. Read as part of an effort to promote Wordsworth's project as a decisive intervention in modernity, this accumulation that fails to matter also figures the destructive logic of commodity consumption--the psychology of which is here imagined as a cleaving to objects. The passion for property, Hartman writes on the same page, "is a spiritual passion ... property is a need of the soul" (WP, 143). If property cannot satisfy the needs it creates, Hartman credits Wordsworth's poetry with the power to administer a more lasting satisfaction.

The tension between multiplicity and singular significance allows for a third reading. A mere two years after Wordsworth's Poetry confirmed his authority as a major critic of Romanticism, Hartman launched a first spate of major theoretical interventions--essays such as "Beyond Formalism," "Structuralism: The Anglo-American Adventure," and "Ghostlier Demarcations," all first published in 1966--which would establish him as a major theorist by the beginning of the decade when theorists mattered. Already in the period leading up to Wordsworth's Poetry, Hartmans concern with the ontology and fate of literature is never buried far below the surface of his texts. Erich Auerbach, Hartman's teacher at Yale, was a crucial and continuous point of reference. Here is Auerbach, at the end of Mimesis, remarking on the danger that a liberated multiplicity may flip over into dreary uniformity: as literary modernism indulges "the wealth of reality and depth of life in every moment" to which it surrenders," the "more numerous, varied, and simple the people are who appear as subjects of such random moments, the more effectively must what they have in common shine forth." Auerbachs adumbration of "a common life of mankind on earth" still upholds, at least, a form of humanism; Hartman, for his part, will read the collapse of distinction in a more somber tonality closer to Mimesis's very last words: as "the first forewarnings of the approaching unification and simplification" (Erich Auerbach, Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature [Princeton U. Press, 2003], 552-53).

A psychology of loss, a theory of capitalist modernity, and an engagement with the fate of literature: I have been suggesting that Hartman's stated concern with the threat of a looming indifferentiation operates on all three of these levels. Of course, it remains, before anything else, an account of Wordsworth's poetry--of the poet who, in the face of uncontained multitudes, asserted the need for cleaving to one thing or idea: "who is there that has not felt that the mind can have no rest among a multitude of objects ...? After a certain time we must select one image or object, which must put the rest out of view wholly, or must subordinate them to itself while it stands forth as a Head" (The Letters of William and Dorothy Wordsworth: The Middle Years 1806-1820, Part I, 1806-1811, ed. Ernest de Selincourt [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969], 148). For Hartman, Wordsworth's poetry itself furnishes this head, even if he has this head speak the promise of a world without such hierarchies. Yet he does not have this head behead itself, and tries to trust it can keep its promise without such wasteful sacrifice. It is a testimony to the seriousness of Hartman's commitment to both poetry's extraordinary passion and the world's ordinary losses that he has never resolved the tension between them, and instead allowed his criticism to be animated by that tension. For this reader at least, his criticism still dramatizes the discontents facing us in our contemporary attention economy, in which experience threatens to be absorbed by the multiple virtualities it affords, as well as in our intensified disciplinary crisis, in which literature's compulsive orientation to the world at times seems to hasten its subtraction from that world. Hartman's intuition, in Wordsworth's Poetry, that the world will not survive that subtraction for very long seems more true than ever, if not for the reasons he then imagined.

Pieter Vermeulen

University of Leuven

The still with which the first Hyperion opens is not devoid of a threshold sense of possible profanation, and when, in the Fall of Hyperion, the still becomes a movie that will not move on, it exposes the poet-souffleur who has played god, or concealed his own image. Keats is now forced into the light; obliged to recognize his presence in a moment that is so searingly self-conscious that instead of humanizing him it suggests the impossibility of bringing the human into so strong a light, of placing it under so heavy a burden. The poet here fails to move his images; or simply to move--animate--them ... these figures will never be fully humanized. Indeed, they begin to vamp him. Instead of the myth becoming more human, the poet becomes less human: "ever day by day methought I grew / More gaunt and ghostly" (Fall of Hyperion 1.395-390).

--"Spectral Symbolism and Authorial Self in Keats's 'Hyperion,'" The Fate of Reading (U. of Chicago Press, 1975), 66

The passage comments on Canto I, lines 384-403 of Keats's Fall of Hyperion, the elongated moment in which the poet stands fixated on the scene that Moneta has revealed: the fallen Saturn with Thea by his side. The scene is frozen: no one moves or speaks, until, "gasping with despair," the poet curses himself and prays that "Death would take me from the Vale / and all its burthens" (1.398-99). Divine vision thus saps him of the epic strength it seemed to promise. Myth here depends upon the poet's power to "see as a God sees" and "[bear] / the load of this eternal quietude" (1.204, 389-90), and yet he is somehow, for that very reason, its victim.

Reflecting on the poet's quest for epic originality, Hartman suggests a peculiar zone of indeterminacy between mediation and immediacy, but the argument hinges upon a chiasmus that hovers on the edge of asymmetrical collapse. Myth is set in opposition to the poet rather than to poetry--a more grammatically intuitive contrary--and the exchange that takes place between the two is subtly unbalanced. While myth becomes more human, the poet does not become more myth- (or god-) like. He simply becomes "less human"; he wastes away. Even that may be no more than the poet's depressive gothic fantasy: "methought I grew / More gaunt and ghostly" (1.395-96).

Citing Wallace Stevens, Hartman describes the episode as an entry into parental space: the mythological machinery cannot be disentangled from a psychological one and, though he does not say so, perhaps not even from a biological one. Monetas promise is maternal "as near as an immortal's words / Could to a mother's soften ..." (1.249-50), and the poet tells how he "ached to see what things [her] hollow brain / behind enwombed ..." (1.277). In giving birth to her vision, Moneta gives birth to Keats-the-poet, but his ache suggests that the pains of labor may also be his pains--that he, too, must give birth to the gods that only appear to precede him: "the poet 'bears' the gods like the consciousness of the Greeks which Hegel describes as 'the womb that conceived the gods ..." (68). At the close of "Spectral Symbolism," Hartman suggests that, as a maternal figure, Moneta may be connected to the poet's "mother tongue" (1.15) and so to the possibility of an authentically English epic. That possibility preoccupied Keats to the point of abandoning his poem when he could not loose the hold of a Miltonic-Latinate diction. Within the fragment, the very richness of life that the poet elicits from Monetas brain already exposes the deadly hollowness of his achievement. He cannot find a way to make myth modern, to make it part of what he calls "the grand march of intellect." (The phrase occurs in Keats's May 3, 1818, letter to John Hamilton Reynolds, and Hartman alludes to it when discussing "the vexing question of a modern ... equivalent to Greek objectivity" [FR, 58].)

The poem does resume: Saturn speaks, and the titans' revanchist war (almost) gets under way. Nonetheless the initial paralysis remains a crux for Hartman, and his reading of it crystallizes impasses that recur throughout his oeuvre: the inhuman costs of humanization and demythologization as the most recalcitrant of myths. Gothic ruination of the Grecian morphs into modernity's uncertain quest to redeem itself along with the poet's "searingly self-conscious" awareness that no self is up to the task. A self-conscious assumption of historical burdens thus threatens to bring the "grand march of intellect" to a halt. Yet the argument proceeds by puns that introduce a tone of levity to the whole proceeding just when the stakes seem most serious. Language itself vamps Hartman. In this respect he is not unlike the pun-loving Keats who renamed the Mnemosyne of the first Hyperion fragment Moneta--making her the goddess of money as well as memory.

In Hartman's punning formulations, the poet's inability to animate the scene on which the first version of Hyperion opens ("Still as the silence ..." Hyperion 1.5) produces a freeze-frame epic. The scene is like a movie "still"--that is, a single frame taken out of sequence or a publicity photo that forms no part of the movie at all. But though a "still" does not move, it can repeat itself or be repeated and it circulates through multiple media as an index of the moving picture it tries to sell. By implication, the "still[ness]" of Keats's vision may be read as a signal that the era of technological reproducibility, which is to say the era of the commodification or Moneta-fication of art, is upon him. In a related pun, the poet's vatic breath, his souffle, suggests a theatrical sleight of hand. The poet is a souffleur or prompter of the action--his text more script than scripture. Mythological vision turns out to be baroque deus ex machina if not postmodern CGI--prophetic, if at all, only in its technological intuition. Hartman even calls Keats's gods and goddesses "divine cartoons" (FR 69) (not a bad periphrasis for computer generated imagery), though whether the emphasis should be on "divine" or on "cartoon" remains a puzzle. Is the poet prophet or prompter? Hartmans characteristically Wordsworthian answer seems to be that Keats, at least, "of these was neither, and was both at once" (The Prelude of 1805, V.125).

What of the critic who reads Keats? Hartman never claims the mantle of prophecy, but like Carlyle (the critic-souffleur of Criticism in the Wilderness) his work takes criticism to the edge of that "possible profanation" that he finds in great poetry. The writing is as irreverent as it is earnest. Hartman does in a pun what others do in an essay and in an essay what others do in a book. That ironic power of condensation is one way he arrives at the "answerable style" to which he repeatedly urges historically informed criticism (See FR, 101-13). The polemic emerges explicitly in The Fate of Reading, the volume in which "Spectral Symbolism" appears, and is the guiding thread of Criticism in the Wilderness. The call for literary criticism to be as capacious and complex as the texts it addresses has been dismissed as critical overreach, but Hartmans intellectual and linguistic openness testifies rather to an authentic humility. To borrow a figure from Benjamin, his writing absorbs the literary tradition that is its subject much as a desk blotter does ink. The result, to recall Benjamin once more, might be described as "weak" prophecy or what Hartman calls "the subprophetic style of the essay" (SchT, 60). As such it exercises its own kind of spectral fascination--at least on all those susceptible to the suggestion (part polemic, part hope, part despair) that, as the poet says to Moneta, "sure not all / Those melodies sung into the world's ear / Are useless" (1.187-88).

The future of criticism and the future of poetry remain intertwined. Two paragraphs down from the passage with which I began, Hartman writes that "Keats's authorial identity was ... still to be born" (my emphasis). A threat of foreclosure vamps this "still to be born" identity and is encrypted in Hartman's phrase (though not, I think, deliberately) as that which may be stillborn. Collapsing the "still to be born" into the stillborn cuts against the grain of Hartman's text, but perhaps not entirely. Certainly for Keats, birth and death are intimately intertwined. In the first Hyperion fragment Apollo "die[s] into life" (Hyperion III.130). But to be born or live into death makes for a less dialectically reassuring movement: as if visionary poetry were to be entombed rather than enwombed in Moneta's brain and tradition altogether blocked from passing itself down. The text of Hyperion associates such a figure of stillbirth with Hyperion rather than Apollo. In the wake of Saturn's defeat, the uneasy--still to be deposed--Titan initially tries to escape the atmospheric forces in which he is enmeshed, to interrupt and accelerate time:

    Fain would he have commanded; fain took throne
    And bid the day begin, if but for change.
    He might not:--No, though a primeval God:
    The sacred seasons might not be disturbed.
    Therefore the operations of the dawn
    Stay'd in their birth.
    (Hyperion 1.290-95)


The stillbirth of Hyperion's attempt to disturb the temporal and spatial order of the "sacred seasons" indirectly confirms the coming of the still to be born Apollo, but it also underlines a temporal discontinuity that may be as problematic for the new gods as for the old. Put a little differently, it exposes an impasse between two modalities of time: the revolving cyclical time of sacred seasons and the punctuated linear time of singular events. Hyperion aspires to a singularity he cannot achieve "though a primeval God" or indeed because he is primeval and thus bound to naturalistic cycles; Apollo's modernity seems caught in a similar impasse, as he must depose Hyperion only to assume his burden. (Apollo's music suggestively falls on Clymene's ear in a way that recalls the temporal deadlock even as it seems to imply its aesthetic resolution: "A living death ... A family of rapturous hurried notes / That fell one after one, yet all at once" [11.283]).

In the nearly two centuries since Keats abandoned his epic, the "sacred seasons [that] might not be disturbed" have become the site of a disturbance produced by the very "march of intellect" that the birth of Apollo heralds: the seasonal time of climate change is an event that has the power to dissolve the difference between older and younger gods, cyclical and singular temporalities, stillbirths and living deaths or, more plainly, natural and human histories. In a coincidence of ideas that retrospectively reads like an irreverent subprophecy, Keats's letter invoking the "grand march of intellect" makes playful mention of a "climate curse." Hartmans reading is by no means left behind by this shift of interpretive registers, for he shows Keats laboring to give birth to the gods--in other words, to his own natural origins--by way of an unavoidably technological detour. At once Hyperion and Apollo, Keats disturbs the seasons in the name of a poet's progress. Such difficult historical conjunctures of past and future "[suggest] the impossibility of bringing the human into so strong a light, of placing it under so heavy a burden." Reading these words, we, too, are called into the light of a history that looms as threateningly and benignantly as Moneta only to discover that it somehow depends on us, that is, on the "we" who continue to have the privilege to read and write and teach in the wake of forces both more terrifying and more banal than any "divine cartoons." Whether we are up to the burden is a question whose answer remains as suspended as the Hyperion/Apollo doublet of Keats's interrupted epic.

Deborah Elise White

Emory University

Here a personal trauma that cannot be defined entirely in personal/autobiographical terms (but what trauma can?) reaches, via its literary expression and "sound reasoning," an unusually deep layer of the semiotic process, where the will to speak, struggling with longstanding interdictions, breaks open a compromise. This compromise, which includes a new and distinctive mode of self-representation, is a "discours de la folie."

--"Trauma and Literature: The Case of Christopher Smart"

In a late and as-yet-unpublished essay entitled "Trauma and Literature: The Case of Christopher Smart," Geoffrey Hartman returns to his 1974 essay "Christopher Smart's 'Magnificat': Towards a Theory of Representation" (collected in FR). This late return suggests that Smart, whom Hartman speaks of in A Scholars Tale as "the greatest English extracanonical poet" (72), is, after Wordsworth, the poet to whom Hartman is most deeply attached. For at least one of the premises of that attachment, one wouldn't have to look far: one can imagine Hartman as a student coming across "My Cat Jeoffrey" as an anthology piece and pouncing on it like catnip.

Among the several, closely interwoven themes of both essays, perhaps the most salient is Hartman's defense and illustration of Smart's principle of "sound reasoning" in Jubilate Agno, the unfinished litany-poem he kept up during his several years' confinement to a mental asylum. Hartman finds the principle identified in the line "For there is a sound reasoning upon all flowers," which occurs in the course of a more or less continuous series of some twenty odd verses "magnifying" flowers, and prepares for two series of twenty-four verses each of which ring changes on the letters of the alphabet. Why 24 and not 26? In each series, "J" is omitted, perhaps because it does not form part of the (classical) Latin alphabet (though neither does "W," glossed as "Word" and "World," nor "y," glossed as "yea" and "young"). Perhaps also because it has to be reserved for Jesus ("rank EL," though also rankle, as Hartman has taught us to hear)--and Jeoffrey. The other omissions are "V" in the first alphabet, although it occurs in the second series as "For V is veil," and "U" in the second alphabet, although it occurs in the first alphabet as "For U is unity, and his right name is Uve to work it double." The latter verse itself plays with the fact that "u" and "v" are doubles in the Latin alphabet and indistinguishable in the Greek "u" ("upsilon"), from which the Latin characters "u" and "v" (as well as "y" and "w") derive. "Uve," which, with its internal duplication (u-v) "works it double," appears, for starters, to be a transformation of "Yahweh" ("his right name"), though it is hard not to hear "Eve" and those other unions that "work it double" trying to surface. As Hartman notes, "... it is interesting that in Jubilate Agno Eve does not formally appear" (FR, 83). The verse itself is an inspired pun which Hartman understands to mean, "in addition to its obvious meaning: (1) a reasoning that respects the sound of words, and (2) a reasoning that retrieves a sound supposedly inscribed on the phenomena of Nature, so that Nature is made readable: 'For there is a language of flowers. / For there is a sound reasoning upon all flowers' (B503-4)." To which I would add: (3) there is a sound--the buzzing of bees ("For B is a creature busy and bustling" [B514])--at work in the cross-pollination of flowers, itself a figure for Smarts cross-pollination of words and languages.

Of course, we all learned in Theory 101, if we didn't know it already, that "sound reasoning" is anything but sound, indeed that it is the very prototype of folly, the wishful belief that there is a relationship between how words sound and what they mean. And Hartman's investment, early and late, in releasing Jubilate Agno from its confinement to the status of psychological curiosity (though it is important that Smart's place in literary history, unlike Wordsworth's, not only was not but cannot be made secure) has been part and parcel of his engagement, both intimate and oblique, with a theoretical project for which, however heterogeneous and unstable its formation, "l'arbitraire du signe" is axiomatic (particularly in de Man) and the critique of phonocentrism (in Derrida) a major corollary.

As one example of both the intimacy and the obliquity, consider first the sentence with which the later essay opens its argument (effortlessly condensing the first paragraphs of the 1974 essay): "Situations arise, mainly of a social and religious nature, that require a greater than usual self-presence." While the rhetorical ease of that opening "situations arise" is almost hypnotically pellucid, "a greater than usual self-presence" is dense with interference, inevitably calling up Derrida's systematic placement of "self-presence" sous rature. If there is some verbal parrying going on here (to use a word which Hartman finds joined by sound reasoning to "pairing" in Jubilate Agno), it would be a mistake, of course, to read Hartman's invocation of "self-presence" as contra Derrida. First of all, because from the start Hartman was drawn to and welcoming of Derrida's style of work (especially but not only the Derrida of Glas), and in fact repeatedly pairs Derrida with Smart. The final section of the (pre-Glas) 1974 essay "Theory as Epilogue" seeks "to juxtapose [Derrida's] theory and Smart's poetics," while allowing that this is "confusing" because "Derrida moves within a philosophical context of his own" (96-97). The 1976 (post-Glas) "Epiphony in Echoland" (collected in ST) shows less hesitance about the pairing: "The rich darkness or 'famillionaire' quality of Smart's verses express a strange economy. We may call it, after Derrida, and risking paradox, an economy of dissemination" (48). Even more emphatically, "Freeplay here [i.e, in Glas] reaches a methodical craziness that parallels Christopher Smart" (62). The penultimate paragraph of the late, as-yet-unpublished essay, having cited Foucault on "the will to truth [as] a gigantic machinery of exclusion," concludes, "I would add Smart and Derrida to those named by Foucault" as having sought to outwit it. Secondly, and more interesting to me, because Hartman's deployment of the term displaces the potential for dialectical encounter with an inflection, so that the term comes to mean, in the first instance at least, not the presence to itself of consciousness for which the Cartesian cogito would be the paradigmatic expression, but self-presentation, the presenting of oneself before others, as in Erving Goffmann's 1959 The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, which Hartman footnotes in the 1974 essay.

Hartman's switching "self-presence" for "self-presentation" (and back again) in 1974 is clearly a function of his wish to engage creatively (and with a minor assist from sound reasoning) the "newest movement in philosophy, which extends into literary studies, [and] questions the idea of presence" (FR, 96). If this entailed some terminological awkwardness or "interference," so much the better: one of Hartman's early arguments in defense of theory was that it disturbed the "gentility" of literary studies. With the late essay, however, which reprises some of the language of the earlier essay at a time when the discourse of theory has become all too naturalized, a somewhat different motive, one which brings us back to Smart, makes itself felt: the desire to lift, circumvent, or "break open a compromise" with the cloud of interdiction that has gathered around talk of "presence" and "self-presence."

Consider in this context Hartman's late comment on one of the opening verses of Jubilate Agno, "Let Abraham present a Ram, and worship the God of his Redemption" (A, 5). Passing over, it would seem, the phonemic shuffle of "Let Abraham present a Ram," the commentator's attention homes in elsewhere:

"Present," that is, not for sacrifice, as a ritual offering, but as a presentation in the sense in which Jesus was presented, or introduced, to the Elders in the Temple. Abraham is Bar Mitzva-ing the ram.

This is both hilarious and "reaches an unusually deep layer of the semiotic process"--and the one because of the other. Hartman continues:

In a daring yet logical--theological-logical--move, Smart extends the Covenant (Gods promise, after the Flood, never to extinguish humanity) to the entirety of the creaturely creation, and even, we shall see, to the smallest expressive particles of speech, as if language itself, or rather languages ("O ye Tongues"), were a living being.

The daring and the logic are the interpreter's as well, who in a sentence initiates us into the deep structure of what he elsewhere speaks of as Smart's "disheveled" discourse, and in another vividly elucidates for us the unspoken force of Smart's seemingly formulaic invocation of Abraham's presentation of a ram in terms that can only be called surreal and that, while dense with cultural and personal memory, also feel responsive to the phonetic kinship of "a-ram" and "ab-ra-ham." (That "Av-raham" is introduced in the Bible as a transformation of "Av-ram" may not be irrelevant here; v. Genesis 17: 5: "Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham.")

Hartman speaks here of extending the Noahic covenant, but at the same time implicitly invites us to think about an undoing of the Abrahamic covenant, which founds a symbolic order through the substitution of an animal sacrifice for a human sacrifice. We may thus speak of admitting into the symbolic order everything that is excluded, sacrificed, in its founding and maintenance: the infant and its babbling, the relationship of the human to the animal, the "sound reasoning" of the poet and the dream work. That way indeed lies madness, and Hartman does not diminish "the semiotic hazard involved in a language game that borders in extreme cases on aphasia or elective muteness." But his criticism, not only in its subject matter, but in its style, continually "breaks open" its own compromises with interdictions that, because they promote, also threaten "the will to speak." The cultivation of that style, with its capacious learning, its powers of insight, its pedagogic challenges and tact, should not be separated from its infiltration by "un discours de la folie."

Joshua Wilner

City College and The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Between the visionary power ascribed to words and the working dark of aural experience there must be a relation.... We are close now to understanding Wordsworths style: more precisely the relation between textuality and referentiality. The poet's words are always antiphonal to the phone of a prior experience. Or the prior experience is the phone ... I mean voice or sound before a local shape or human source can be ascribed.

--"Words, Wish, Worth: Wordsworth," in Harold Bloom, Paul de Man, Jacques Derrida, Geoffrey Hartman, and J. Hillis Miller, Deconstruction and Criticism (New York: Seabury Press, 1979), 193

In "The Voice of the Shuttle," Geoffrey Hartman cites Philomel (raped and untongued) to unweave our default sense of language's priority. It's not language that writes literature but literature that writes language: "Language from the Point of View of Literature" is his insistent subtitle (1969; BF, 336-54). Hartman's antithesis (literature first) involves productive antiphony: language weaves literature; literature gives the weave to language. In Hartman's source-myth (nominated as "archetypal," even), an implicit punning of text/textile is helped along by the verging of shuttle on a phone-flirtation with onomatopoeia. In such sways, "Poetry either says too much--approaches the inexpressible--or too little--approaches the inexpressive," is Hartman's delicate measure, with this severe sentence: "poetry will always live under a cloud of suspicion which it discharges by such lightnings" (BF, 347).

This scenario becomes greater yet for Hartman's enacting what he describes in "such lightnings." In his literary auditorium is Wordsworth's conviction

    That Nature, oftentimes, when she would frame
    A favor'd Being, from his earliest dawn
    Of infancy doth open out the clouds,
    As at the touch of lightning, seeking him ...
    (The Prelude 1805, Book 1.364-67)


Wordsworth's lightly naturalized Promethean creation--agency projected as "Nature," personified with intent yet rendered mysterious in the analogy--touches Hartman with a tactful delicacy in critical reflection. In "Shuttle," the analogy explains effects "radically oblique in terms of sign function" (BF, 347), and the phrase strikes Hartman again in "Words, Wish" with italics--As at the touch of lightning--as a trope for Wordsworth's register of troubling means toward praiseworthy ends (DC, 193).

Wordsworth casts a "Nature" speaking both in memory and of material to be remembered, textualizing phantoms of apprehension as a reserve for new discharges of power. In the 1850 version of the lines above, Wordsworth summoned a new word for those "fearless visitings ... / That came with soft alarm" (1.352-55): hurtless ("Shuttle," 353). If this subtraction, naming what's being disclaimed, does not yield the "semantic twins" of a pun ("Shuttle," 347), it still issues sibling rivalry for priority in the negated positive. A world of hurt may press on the "unspeaking" infant Being. Wordsworth knew this, first drafting heartless (Reading Text, MS. E, 1.353 [W. J. B. Owen, 37n]). I'll endorse his revision, for heart-ful sake. No better title for the award-winning (re)collection than The Geoffrey Hartman Reader, portmanteau-packed for a text and a signature activity (honored with The Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism by the University of Iowa on behalf of the Truman Capote Literary Trust). What is "Hartman-reading" but lightning potential that's always within him, with him--and in the generosity of his writing about reading, charging our company?

My companionable Hartman turned to a passage early on in The Prelude, one he pauses over in Deconstruction and Criticism (my epigraph) as emblematic of the radical pressure Wordsworth puts on "voice or sound" in conflict with poetry's semantic-laden words. In words "precariously extended" over an abyss of nature's sonic churnings--a chaos not formed, let alone civilized by arts of language--Hartman reads a poetry "formally ... hesitant, disjunctive," at best a "stumblingly progressive form" (DC, 194). The passage in The Prelude is about a "power in sound" in natural tumults that a night-wandering poet-tobe catches as primal soul-music, innocent of human manufacture (Hartman uses the 1805 Prelude, 2.324-31). Hartman audits this as a "severe music of the signifier or of an inward echoing that is both intensely human and ghostly"--ghostly, not as spectral afterlife but as a present call to "a potentially endless descent," saved from annihilation only by an impulse to install it, measure it out in audible, antiphonal poetry ("Words," 190-94). I'll tweak the account (a recurring Wordsworth-paradox) to say that savings also accrue credit: it takes a human imagination, as Wordsworth writes in first drafts, to feel a "power in sound / To breathe an elevated mood, by form / Or image unprofaned" (Wordsworth, The Prelude, 1798-1799, ed. Stephen Parrish [Cornell U. Press, 1977], 2:325-26). Hartman drew such an account in "Shuttle": "The alternative to meaning must be within the aura of meaning, even part of its structure," so he shuttled the material (352). In this aura and its structuring, poetry revokes the curse of profanity to work its own haunting enchantments, reclaiming ancient earth's ghostly languages for modern words' worth.

True to the shuttling, the enchantments can work in reverse:

   At last a soft and solemn breathing sound
   Rose like a steam of rich distill'd Perfumes,
   And stole upon the Air, that even Silence
   Was took e'er she was ware, and wish't she might
   Deny her nature and be never more
   Still to be so displac't. I was all eare,
   And took in strains that might create a soul
   Under the ribs of Death ...
   (Comus 555-62)


So an Attendant Spirit describes a lady's enchanting song. Silence "was took" in prelude to this reporter's "I took" as Milton sounds air (itself a term for song) into ere and ware and then the spell, phonic and lettered, on the recipient eare, with a devastating pun-reversal on Still--the temporal extension that displaces the very sense of Silence, reanimates Death.

Hartman has sharpened my attention to Wordsworth's wayword way with words, his notes for eye and ear, for the lettering and its sounding: relays that frustrate a visionary poetics with a sensation of sounds still to pursue. His measuring of effects "formally ... hesitant, disjunctive" has helped me read some metaformations that Wordsworth came to in revision. Manuscripts show the poet wrangling the paradox, how to evoke in writing a mood unprofaned by form, visual or phonic. While the verse was pretty much in place in 1798-1799, and held its ground in the work of 1804-1805 (Hartman's text), Wordsworth was still turning it over, feeling the poetry not quite formed for the forming dynamics he wanted to convey. With his eye on lines preceding the ones that Hartman quotes as emblematic, he started rewriting sometime between 1824 and 1832 (MS D), wanting to test new turns with poetry's visible forms (Owen gives MS D [448-51], and a "Reading Text" from its final state, with substantive revisions from MS E):

   by
   {Rising from mood [?] visible form ...
   [?Uprose] by visible form [?] [?clear]}
   [begin strikethrough]To breathe -an-elevated mood, by form[end
      strikethrough]
   [begin strikethrough]That elevated [?by][end strikethrough] visible
      form


"In any crucial arrangement of words, a small change goes a long way," advises Hartman ("Shuttle," 341). One small change paid large dividends when Wordsworth decided to advance storm from its 1805 place as an internal syllable ("I would walk alone / In storm" [2.322]) to a line-ending that catches a chance rhyme with form. If in theorizing "visible form" into negation Wordsworth surrenders it to the disorganizing force of "coming storm," in practice he wanted to hold onto form and to amp its claims by scoring this rhyme, visible and audible, in the blank-verse field:

   [begin strikethrough]To breathe an elevated mood, by form[end
      strikethrough]
   [begin strikethrough]That elevated [?by] [end strikethrough]
      visible form
   By image unprofaned: or when I stood
   As night grew darker with the coming storm ...
   (MS D, Book II, R 18; Owen, 448-49)


As he worked this out, he kept the momentum of the one accumulating sentence he had wrought in 1805:

   for I would walk alone
   Under the quiet stars and at that time
   [begin strikethrough]In storm & tempest, or-in the
      star-light-nights[end strikethrough]
   Under
   [begin strikethrough]Beneath the quiet Heavens, & at that
      time[end strikethrough]
   Have felt whatee'er there is of power in sound
   To breathe an elevated mood, by form
   Or image unprofaned: & I would stand
   If the night blackened with a coming storm
   {Beneath
   {Listening some rock, listening to notes that are
   The ghostly language of the ancient earth
   (ibid., Owen, 450-51)


Wordsworth scuttled the light shuttling of sound in star-light nights (cf. 1805: 2.322) and works a reversal of sound and sense into night blackened. This new phrase presses into curious reverse Hartmans proposal that in Wordsworths rhythms of imagination, intertextual referentiality affords "some stability" in sound's tumult, "delimits" a "ghostly intrusion" ("Words, Wish," 192-93). What if an intertext is itself an intrusive ghost? Even as unprofaned implies a purity that sacralizes pure sound, Wordsworth's formative poetics evoke Milton's most profane, most sublime image--Death itself--as a ghostly language in this gothic atmosphere: "black it stood as Night" (Paradise Lost 11.670). Wordsworth gets to the Hartman of the matter: he has a love of standing amidst the blackening storms, as if image-denying Death were his ghost-writer of unbodied soundings.

This is how the passage shaped up (Owen's Reading Text 2:303-11 [56]; cf. The Prelude, or Growth of a Poet's Mind; An Autobiographical Poem [London: Edward Moxon, 1850], 45-46, which cancels line 305 in Owen):

   for I would walk alone
   Under the quiet stars, and at that time
   Beneath the quiet Heavens; and at that time,
   Have felt whate'er there is of power in sound
   To breathe an elevated mood, by form
   Or Image unprofaned: and I would stand,
   If the night blackened with a coming storm,
   Beneath some rock, listening to notes that are
   The ghostly language of the ancient earth,
   Or make their dim abode in distant winds.


Letting go the glinting rhyme of "star-light nights," Wordsworth advances into audible visibility a storm-wrought allusion to quatrain-form in sound /form / stand /storm. What an arresting advantage is the enjambment of "form / Or image." The linear unit is an equivocal shape, saying in the lines pause that sound may have to breathe its elevated mood by the agency of form, then turning to revoke this sense. Then the poetic power of sound returns in the echo of form in Or im[age], overruling in poetic process any charge of profanation. It is profane formations that breathe the sensation of unmediated forms.

The entire verse-sentence opens into an "echosphere" (a Hartman-pun; "Words, Wish," 195) of happily impure verbal forms resounding in the formative poet-I: for I ... In storm or ... by form/Or ... coming storm. No wonder this poet couldn't resist, in the advent of storm, another great enjambment at "notes that are," pausing the syntax on the line-form to allow the phrase a substantive, even punningly scriptive, presence as musical scoring in the cave's auditorium. Even as the turn of verse gives "notes that are" a predicate identity in the language of the ancient earth or distant winds, Wordsworth's antiphonal poetry audits and reverses unformed power for poetic form--and more: an immediate sensation in present participles, in a perfect tense, in the habituals of "would stand" and "would feel." The "power in sound / To breathe" ancient inspiration is Wordsworths modern inspiration. Not for nothing does this sentence subside with the vibrant verbal conjuring of dim abode in distant winds--an array of assonance, alliteration, and the subtle prelude of winds in "in dis[tant]."

No wonder, more, that Hartman cites this passage to argue, again, that Wordsworth "often singles out the ear as an 'organ of vision'" (1977; UnW, 23-24). Romancing the antithesis of form, Wordsworth's poetry revels in it: for all its profanity, form is language from the point of view of literature. Hartman's unembarrassed summation, "the will to write persists" (ST, xxiv), is a sentence too apt not to save for self-conscious, ever writing "Will Wordsworth."

Susan J. Wolfson

Princeton University

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

BF Beyond Formalism: Literary Essays 1958-1970

CJ A Critics Journey: Literary Reflections, 1958-1998

CW Criticism in the Wilderness: The Study of Literature Today

ED The Eighth Day: Poems New and Old

EP Easy Pieces

FQC The Fateful Question of Culture

FR The Fate of Reading and Other Essays

LS The Longest Shadow: In the Aftermath of the Holocaust

MP Minor Prophecies: The Literary Essay in the Culture Wars

Scars Scars of the Spirit: The Struggle against Inauthenticity

SchT A Scholar's Tale

ST Saving the Text: Literature/Derrida/Philosophy

TP The Third Pillar

UnW The Unremarkable Wordsworth

UV The Unmediated Vision: An Interpretation of Wordsworth, Hopkins, Rilke, and Valery

WP Wordsworth's Poetry, 1787-1814

COLLECTIONS

DC Deconstruction and Criticism (with Harold Bloom, Paul de Man, Jacques Derrida, and J. Hillis Miller)

GHR The Geoffrey Hartman Reader (with Daniel O'Hara)

HR Holocaust Remembrance: The Shapes of Memory

ML Midrash and Literature (with Sanford Budick)

PQT Psychoanalysis and the Question of the Text

SQT Shakespeare and the Question of Theory (with Patricia Parker)
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Title Annotation:p. 206-245
Author:Ferguson, Frances; Goodman, Kevis
Publication:Philological Quarterly
Article Type:Essay
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 2014
Words:17443
Previous Article:About Geoffrey Hartman.
Next Article:Exeter Maxims, The Order of the World, and the Exeter book of Old English poetry.
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