Saturday, April 29, 2006

:table series: issue 5: homage to de Man

so, maggie and i are going crazy with our move... you can read this if you want. [i know only two people EVER read the table series... so THANK YOU TWO PEOPLE!] we'll have more to say after we are done putting our beloved books in storage... we have to.... trust me... the two of us in one room is just STUPID. it is more like a library with a bed in it than a bedroom at this point.



BROWNSON has his narrator travel from America to Europe causing revolution after revolution, expelling Pope Pius IX from Rome, and performing various other disagreeable modes of disharmony in the name of world reform. There are also various moments in which our narrator participates in mesmerizing subjects without the knowledge of the subjects. In fact, the only evidence we have that anything in his confession actually takes place is inside his confession. The fact that he utters a confession. But, again, I must ask, how can this be confession? And who is this narrator making it? Is Brownson attempting to make his uncommon narrator common, by keeping his name secret? Does this secret invalidate the occasion that causes the book, The Spirit-Rapper, An Autobiography into existence, which is that of a deathbed confession? Is it not part of confession to take responsibility for one’s sins? And is it really to take fault, to accept blame, if one is unwilling to admit responsibility in one’s own name in the first place?

The opening paragraph of Spirit-Rapper is as follows:

“My days are numbered; I am drawing near to the close of my earthly pilgrimage, and I must soon take my final departure, –whither, I dread to think. But before I go I would leave a brief record of some incidents in my worse than unprofitable life. A few who have known me, and will have the charity to breathe a prayer at my grave, may be glad to possess it; and others of my countrymen, who know not what to think of the marvelous phenomena daily and hourly exhibited in their midst, or are vainly striving to explain them on natural principles, may find it neither uninteresting nor uninstructive.” (3)
His purpose in telling his tale is thus to leave a history for, entertain, and instruct his readers. The tale is more than confession, it is didactic. (Are all confessions inherently didactic? Maybe I need to be more specific, are all confessions that are then written as autobiography, didactic?).

There is a trace of the issues regarding the unwillingness to mark found in the narrators choice to define through negation what the reader shall gain by reading this not-biography. And, again, what action does the narrator take, what act does he perform, that is “neither uninteresting nor uninstructive” ? What does the narrator introduce, come into contact with, mark, that needs to be eradicated and excused?


Alli Warren said...

moving where to?

minor american ii said...

o... maggie moved into my place and so... we are still in SF. just... a few more blocks away from you. we're off to protest the immigration bill now.

Anonymous said...

great ..thanks for sharing.....

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