miércoles, 31 de diciembre de 2014

Last Lasting Diary

My trusty old steed

My trusty old steed


Un momento de Virginia Woolf

Un momento de Virginia Woolf

Un momento de Virginia Woolf 


Este artículo es una lectura estilística detallada de un fragmento del ensayo de Virginia Woolf Una habitación propia, examinando la manera en que la autora expresa su teoría de la mente andrógina por medio de los procesos espontáneos de pensamiento de un yo focalizador o "centro de consciencia" durante un momento de "epifanía" modernista.

A Moment in Virginia Woolf

Abstract: This article is a close reading of a passage in Virginia Woolf's essay A Room of One's Own, examining the way in which the author expresses her theory of the androgynous mind through the spontaneous thought processes of a moment of epiphany in a "center of consciousness" or focalizing self.

Note: Downloadable document is in Spanish.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 12
Keywords: English literature, Androgyny, Woolf, Virginia Woolf, Epiphany, Gender, Stream of consciousness, Modernism, Moments

Date posted: December 28, 2014  

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"Un momento de Virginia Woolf" en Academia.

_____. "Un momento de Virginia Woolf." ResearchGate 25 Jan. 2016.*


Comme dit monsieur Faulkner

martes, 30 de diciembre de 2014


From George Sampson's Concise Cambridge History of English Literature (1970) :

(From Sampson— Some plays by major and minor 19th-c. poets and novelists:)

WORDSWORTH. (...) When the French Revolution passed into the Terror, Wordsworth lost his trust in immediate social reform. He turned to abstract meditation on man and society, and Godwin's Political Justice became a kind of Bible that comforted his distress. But the abstract anarchistic doctrine of Godwin was utterly useless to a creative poet; and the pessimism it produced bore fruit in his one dramatic work, The Borderers, written in 1795 though not published till 1842. The Borderers cannot claim intrinsic poetic or dramatic merit; but it enabled Wordsworth to write himself free from any perfectionist illusions.

COLERIDGE. (...). It was the hour of romance; and of pure, ethereal romance, the poetry of Coleridge is the supreme embodiment. He was indifferent to the medieval properties dear to Scott. It was in the subtler, more spiritual, regions of romance that Colerige found his home. Even the poetically moral conclusion of The Ancient Mariner is a sign of the spiritual presence which, in his faith, bound "man and bird and beast" in one mystical body and fellowhip. Oddly enough he showed some talent for the drama. Remorse (1813—an expansion of the earlier Osorio), in the style of Schiller's The Robbers, lacked the full courage of its theme and inclined to current stage sentiment, but it had a fair run. Zapoyla, "in humble imitation of The Winter's Tale", is less static, but less successful. More important are his translations (1799-1800) from Schiller's Wallenstein trilogy. The Fall of Robespierre by Coleridge and Southey can be dismissed as an efflorescence of revolutionary youth.

LAMB. (...). Lamb's first independent work in prose, A Tale of Rosamund Gray and Old Blind Margaret, was published in the summer of 1798. Already he had had some share in James White's Original Letters, etc., of Sir John Falstaff in July 1796. Rosamund Gray is a sombre and tragic narrative; but it can hardly be said to survive, except for Lamb's sake. The same must be said of his tragedy, called at first Pride's Cure, but named in its revised form John Woodvil (1802). Although without original merit or dramatic interest, the play bears witness to Lamb's careful study of the sixteenth and seventeenth century dramatists. In these pursuits Lamb gradually shook off his melancholy, and his life with Mary at this time is tenderly recorded in Old China, one of his best essays. (...) In 1802 the Lambs visited Coleridge at Greta Hall, without losing any of their attachment to London. The Tales from Shakespeare were begun in 1806, Mary doing most, Charles himself contributing only four tragedies. As Shakespeare whole and unmitigated for the young was at that time never thought of, the volume really gave many youthful readers their first acquaintance with a great poet. Before this classic appeared in January 1807, Lamb's silly farce Mr H. was given at Drury Lane without success. His true service to the drama was to be of a better kind. (...) Lamb's next literary venture was the justly famous Specimens of English Dramatic Poets who lived About the Time of Shakespeare (1808). This work rediscovered for its age the Elizabethan dramatists. Many people cannot share Lamb's entusiasm for these authors; some, on the other hand, have declared that Lamb ruined his authors by presenting as poetry what should be presented as drama. The objection is unreal and quite suppositious, as a glance through the book will show. The radical point is that the old dramatists were not known, and that Lamb sought to make them known in extracts chosen with sure dramatic instinct and enriched with notes that are little masterpieces of just criticism and eloquent prose. Now that the dramatists are known and acessible we need not go on reading extracts; but we must not be asked to revile the man who made them known and so helped to make them accessible. (...)

BYRON. To the years that succeeded his final departure from England belong his works in dramatic form. As in the poems, there is an alternation between the romantic and the classical modes. Manfred (1817), Cain (1821) and Heaven and Earth (1824) are romantic alike in spirit and structure; Marino Fallero (1820), The Two Foscari (1821) and Sardanapalus (1821) represent a deliberate attempt on the part of the author to break loose from the domination of the Elizabethan masters and to fashion tragedy on the neo-classic principles of Racine and Alfieri. This has nothing to do with date. When his theme is romantic Byron is romantic; when his theme is historical he is classical. In Manfred, as in the third canto of
Childe Harold, we recognize the spell which the Alps exercised on Byron's genius. Some influence from Goethe's Faust appears in the opening soliloquy; but the characteristic Byronic manner appears in the main story depicting an outcast from society, stained with crime, and proudly solitary. The play is as much and as little autobiographical as the other works. In Cain we witness the final stage in the evolution of the Byronic hero. The note of rebellion against social order and against authority is stronger than ever; but the conflict is one of the intellect rather than of the passions. In its day Cain was considered gross blasphemy; readers of the present time are more likely to admire its idyllic passages. Heaven and Earth, written in fourteen days, was taken as an act of repentance for the impiety of Cain; but as it is fragmentary, incoherent, and even uninteresting, the supposed repentance seems incomplete. When we pass from Byron's romantic and supernatural dramas to his Venetian tragedies and Sardanapalus, we enter a very different world. Here, in the observation of the unities, the setting of the scenes and in all that goes to constitute the technique of drama, the principles of classicism are observed. Sardanapalus is, from every point of view, a greater success than either of the Venetian tragedies. In Werner and The Deformed Transformed there is a return to the romantic pattern, but neither carries conviction.

SHELLEY. Since his arrival in Italy he had brooded over the plan of a lyrical drama. Of many competing themes he chose Prometheus; but not the Aeschylean Prometheus with its impotent conclusion. The story had to be transformed to fit Shelley's Godwinian faith in the perfectibility of man. Pain, death and sin were transitory ills. Religion, too, man would necessarily outgrow, for the gods were phantoms devised by his brain. So the tyrant Jupiter is thrust down, and his fall is the signal for the regeneration of humanity; man's evil nature slips off like a slough; Prometheus is "unbound". But, in a sense, his tragedy has newly begun, for in a series of visions he is shown what evil man will do to man; yet still the hope of final regeneration remains. Under forms of thought derived from the atheist and materialist Godwin, Shelley has given, in Prometheus Unbound, magnificent expression to the faith of Plato and of Jesus.
    Unlike Byron, Shelley had no historic imagination and he felt little interest in the metropolis of the Papacy. The one figure of medieval Rome that attracted him was Beatrice Cenci, and he resolved to make her the central figure of a poetic drama. In writing it he had in mind the great tragic actress Eliza O'Neill, and he sent the play to Covent Garden for performance. Not unnaturally it was declined. The Cenci as a tragedy for the stage does not really succeed. Cenci himself is a monster; Beatrice cannot justify her parricide, simply because the dreadful incentive is incapable of dramatic representation. Only in her death does Beatrice become a moving figure. The Cenci is a play for the study, not for the theatre.

Sir Henry Taylor (1800-86) led a long and honourable life which linked the French Revolution to the very eve of Queen Victoria's Jubilee. His main contributions to literature are the four tragedies, Isaac Comnenus (1827), Philip van Artevelde (1834), Edwin the Fair (1842) and St Clement's Eve (1862). Philip, his best play, was long high esteemed, and it gives us the familiar line "The world knows nothing of its greatest men"; but it is as finally dead as the other three. All contain numerous passages of something that looks like poetry, but does not keep on looking like it for long. One might call Taylor a belated Elizabethan who had wandered home through Germany. His Autobiography (1885) and his Correspondence (1888) are likely to outlast his poetry.
    George Darley (1795-1846) survives strangely as the author of a song not considered his. The compiler of The Golden Treasury found what seemed an anonymous song of the Caroline period, It is not beauty I demand, and included it among the seventeenth-century group of his book. The author, it is true, was not alive; but he might have been. Darley's pastoral drama Sylvia, or the May Queen (1827) was edited in 1892, and his poem Nephente (1836) in 1897. The dates are significant. There was a fashion in the Nineties for the curious clotted utterance of which Darley was a master. His stanzas beginning Listen to the Lyre seem to be the source of the exquisite rhythm of Meredith's Love in the Valley.
    Another favourite of the Nineties was Maria Edgeworth's nephew Thomas Lovell Beddoes (1803-49), whose chief work is a play entitled
Death's Jest Book or The Fool's Revenge, ready for publication as early as 1829 but not published till 1850. Beddoes, too was a belated Elizabethan, yet he is also modern. He was a physician and a physiologist and might himself have been a character by Ibsen. The blank verse of the Jest Book is likely to be less attractive now than some of its songs.
    Another dramatist is Charles Jeremiah Wells (1800-79), whose Stories after Nature (1822) fell flat, as did his poetical drama Joseph and his Brethren (1824) until it was drastically re-written and issued in 1876 with an eulogy by Swinburne which few modern readers have found justified.
    Richard Henry Horne (1803-84), who turned the "Henry" into "Hengist", endeavoured to live up to the more tempestuous name by adventures in mnay lands, including naval service in Mexico and gold-digging in Australia. His New Spirit of the Age (1844) was written with the help of his friend Mrs. Browning (then Miss Barrett). His tragedies, from Cosmo de' Medici and The Death of Marlowe (both 1837) to Laura Dibalzo (1880), are inevitably, like those of Taylor, Wells, and Beddoes, pseudo-Elizabethan, literary rather than dramatic. His jest of publishing his one poem of merit, the quasi-epic Orion, at the price of one farthing, may have had publicity value, but invited equally cheap epigram. Orion faintly suggests Hyperion, and The Death of Marlowe has at least one Marlovian line in the passage that begins "Last night a squadron charged me in a dream".
    Charles Whitehead (1804-62) gave us The Solitary (1831) in respectable Spenserians, The Cavalier (1836), a play, and certain quasi-historical novels, together with some "crime" literature, including The Autobiography of Jack Ketch (1834). The last was so successful that he was invited to contribute prose sketches to humorous writings by Robert Seymour. Whitehead made the great refusal, and recommended Dickens, who began to write Pickwick Papers. Thus Whitehead is, in a sense, immortalized by the work he did not write.
    The achievements of Moore and Praed in light verse were anticipated by James and Horace Smith, whose Rejected Addresses (1812) were supposed to have been received by the managers of Drury Lane in a competition for the honour of recitation at the reopening of the burned-down theatre. It is a series of pieces in the manner of the best (and the worst) writers of the day; and as a complete book of parodies has hardly been surpassed.

(...) Readers, from Tennyson down, admired Philip Jameson Bailey (1816-1909) and his Festus—first published 1839 and like Tupper's work steadily enlarged till 1889—because he was ambitious and appeared to be profound. Festus is a long verse drama written in imitation of Goethe's Faust: the first scene is laid in Heaven, the first speaker is God. The poverty of its intellectual content is matched by the poverty of tis poetic expression. The passages once quoted with admiration are mostly "purple patches" in the strictest sense—very purple and very patchy.

(...) In a brief consideration of Disraeli's literary achievement we must at once dismiss The Revolutionary Epick (1834, reissued 1864) and Count Alarcos, a Tragedy (1839). The former (far from unreadable) shows that he admired the sentiments of Byron and the allegories of Shelley; the latter shows nothing but what may be called "common form" in literary tragedy—opera without music. But we should not forget, in estimating the prose compositions of Disraeli, that he wrote and published ambitious verse, and that both Shelley and Byron contributed to the formation of his mind.

(...) The life of Charles Kingsley (1819-75) was, in outward circumstances, as simple and modest as the career of Disraeli was world-embracing in its renown. Yet each dealt, after his own fashion, with the same social problems—the peasant, the operative, the landlord, the mill-owner, how they were to live in peace and grow towards a shared and beneficient prosperity. Kingsley was, in spirit as in fact, a country parson, an honest, limited, hasty impulsive man, without the least personal ambition. He drew his first social inspiration from Carlyle; but in 1844 he met Frederick Denison Maurice, who soon became "the Master" to him and a band of fellow enthusiasts. His actual first publication was a drama in prose and verse, The Saint's Tragedy, which appeared in the year of the Chartist fiasco. Kingsley, Maurice, and other devoted, chosen spirits took up the cause of the over-worked, under-nourished men, women and children, who in fetid homes and filthy factories wore away their short lives in the sacred cause of commercial prosperity. (...)

[Bulwer Lytton (1803-73)]: (...) Even in an age of voluminousness, Lytton was extraordinarily fertile. To his novels must be added a great mass of epic, satirical and translated verse, much essay-writing, pamphleteering and a number of successful plays, three of which are theatrical classics, Richelieu (1838), The Lady of Lyons (1838) and Money (1840). Had he concentrated his powers Lytton might have taken a more considerable place in the history of literature.

Charles Reade (1814-84), playwright and novelist, was at all points the opposite of Trollope. He was no improviser of pleasant stories. He was always a fighter. He took up causes. He attacked abuses. He made almost every novel a document, fortified by authorities. He turned novels into plays and plays into novels—usually performing the former course as he could then more easily pursue his imitators by legal process, for which he had a limitless appetite. His first novel Peg Woffington (1853) was made from his play Masks and Faces (1852). Christie Johnson (1853), his most idyllic story, delineates life in a Scottish fishing village, and appears to have no stage counterpart. Reade was deeply in sympathy with the impulse towards realism which was at work in fiction in the middle of the century, and in his methods anticipated Zola. His documentary novels are not all of one kind. There are, first, those in which he makes use of his knowledge, Defoe-like in its intimacy, of trades and occupations; such are The Autobiography of a Thief (1858), Jack of All Trades (1858) and A Hero and a Martyr (1874). Secondly, there are stories of philanthropic purpose; in these, Reade sweeps aside Godwin's theories and Lytton's sentiments, replacing them by fact irrefutably established and by fierce denunciation. The ghastly cranks and collars and jackets of It is never too late to mend (1856) were things he had seen in the gaols of Durham, Oxford, and Reading. He could cite precedent for every single horror of the asylum scenes in Hard Cash (1863); on all the other abuses which he attacked—"ship-knacking" in Foul Play (1869), "rattening" in Put Yourself In His Place (1870), insanitary village life in A Woman Hater (1877)—he wrote as an authority on scandals flagrant at the moment. Pitiless, insistent hammering at the social conscience is the method of these novels, which remind us at times of Victor Hugo, at times of Eugène Sue and at times of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Reade's habit of challenging attention by capitals, dashes, short emphatic paragraphs, and so forth, accentuates the general impression of urgency and anticipates the devices of modern journalism. But his novels, however documentary, are masterly as narratives, and contain scenes of "actuality"—fire, flood and shipwreck—that are as thrilling in print as they would be on the stage. The greatest triumph of his documentary method is the historical novel, The Cloister and the Hearth (1861), enlarged from the first version tamely entitled A Good Fight, which, as it does not contain Denys, omits one of his greatest creations. The remoteness of the scene helps to mitigate Reade's indignant crusading, but even here he is "out" against one abuse, the celibacy of the clergy, to which he recurred in Griffith Gaunt (1866).

TENNYSON. (...) Of Tennyson's dramas it may be said briefly that they are not dramatic. In Queen Mary no single character arrests and dominates our interest, and the hero of
Harold, as of many later plays, resembles Hamlet without being Hamlet. The strongest in interest and the most impressive in performance is Becket. Tennyson's plays came upon the stage with every chance of success; but they are muffled in their own wordiness and have no quality of permanence.

SWINBURNE. Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909) announced his allegiance to Rossetti in the dedication of his first book—The Queen Mother and Rosamond (1860), two poetical dramas written in elaborate blank verse. Swinburne, born in London of an old Northumbrian family, was, as befits the son of an admiral, a lover and singer of the sea. At Eton and Oxford he developed his love of poetry, and when he came into association with the Rossetti circle it was with a taste already formed for many kinds of verse. He was a good classic, and his poetical patriotism was bestowed equally upon ancient Greece and Elizabethan England. His sympathy with republican freedom was learned from Landor and Shelley and, last but not least, from Victor Hugo, who shared with Shakespeare the shrine of his lifelong idolatry. With all his metrical originality, Swinburne was in substance an "echo" poet; and there was no writer who so completely furnished him with inspiration as Victor Hugo. He began with youthfully daring atheism and youthfully spoken republicanism; and he never quite grew up. His convictions were always passionate and always literary. It is a curious fact that no influence coloured the language of the atheistic republican so richly as the sacred literature, biblical and liturgical, of the religion whose professors were the objects of his tireless invective.
    Atalanta in Calydon and Chastelard in 1865 and Poems and Ballads in 1866 won Swinburne both celebrity and notoriety. Chastelard, the first of his three plays upon the life of Mary Queen of Scots, is a romantic drama in the style of his two earlier works. Atalanta, classical in subject, is an attempt to reproduce the characteristic forms of Greek drama in English verse. The avowed atheism of Atalanta might pass unchallenged, as long as it was partly veiled in the decent obscurity of its antique setting; but Poems and Ballads shocked most readers by its open flouting of conventional reticence. Here indeed were fleurs du mal flagrantly planted on English soil! The apparition of Swinburne shamelessly chanting his songs of satiety gave respectable England the dreadful sensation of finding Tannhaüser hymning the joys of Venus in the glazed courts of the Great Exhibition. And the curious fact is, that as Rossetti's religious poems had everything except religious conviction, so Swinburne's sensual poems had everything except sensual conviction. But the new metres captured the young, who chanted the music of Dolores without quite knowing what it was all about.
    Sagacious friends tried to divert the poet's ecstasies to other channels. He was persuaded to be active in the cause of Italian fredom. All the elements needed to excite him were there—the Papacy, the Austrian Empire, and, above all, Napoleon the Little, dearest enemy of Victor Hugo. And so the ardent poes whose hymns of lust and satiety had dazzled the young turned suddenly and sang the praises of Mazzini and Garibaldi in A Song of Italy (1867). Songs Before Sunrise (1871) was a collection of poems written during the final struggle for Italian freedom. It includes much of Swinburne's best work, the majestic Hertha, the lament for captive Italy in Super Flumina Babylonis and the apostrophe to France in Quia Multum Amavit. Songs of Two Nations (1875) continued his fierce political strains. But there is no conviction in his ardours. A sudden jolt would have made him write as hotly on the other side. It would be difficult to maintain that his poems of liberty are better than his poems of lust. After the achievement of Italian hope in 1870 and the fall of Napoleon III, which he hailed with savage delight, Swinburne had leisure for other interests. In the length and rhetoric of Bothwell (1874), sequence to Chastelard, he followed the example of Hugo's Cromwell. As Bothwell followed Chastelard, so Erechtheus (1876) followed Atalanta with equal eloquence and with closer relation to the spirit of Greek tragic form. The lyric choruses of Erechtheus, less enchanting than those in Atalanta, have a more constant loftiness and majesty. A second series of Poems and Ballads (1878), as musical as the first, was more chastened in matter. Studies in Song and Songs of the Springtides, in 1880, were full of love of the sea, the prevailing passion of the poet's later verse. As if he had become aware of his own excess in utterance, he turned to parody, and in the anonymous Heptalogia: or The Seven Against Sense (1880) produced gravely elaborate burlesques of Tennyson, Browning, Rossetti, Patmore and others, as well as himself. His touch was a little too heavy for perfect parody; and of his own Nephelidia it may be said that he was always capable of writing some of its lines in poems not intended to be amusing.
    Most admirers of Swinburne felt that the Tristram of Lyonesse volume, published in 1882, was the crown of his mature work. The title-piece is, like Morris's Jason, a long narrative in couplets; but with the kind of music that Morris could (and perhaps would) not have made. Tristram of Lyonesse is Wagnerian. It is a glorification of bodily passion. In form it is a marvellous study in the use of the couplet; in substance it is most permanently successful in its sea passages. That it is verbose, excessive, extenuated and monotonous can hardly be denied. The same volume also contained the series of sonnets on the Elizabethan dramatists, sometimes uncritical in enthusiasm but always memorable in expression. A Century of Roundels (1883) is remarkable as an exhibition of poetical dexterity which makes much of a slight metrical form. In 1881 Swinburne concluded with Mary Stuart the trilogy begun with Chastelard and continued with
Bothwell. After A Midsummer Holiday (1884), he returned to drama in Marino Faliero (1885), a subject which he felt had been handled unworthily by Byron. Locrine (1887), his next drama, was an original experiment in which each scene was presented in rhymes of a recurring stanza form; it is more intricate than dramatic. Two years later came the third series of Poems and Ballads (1889). In its lighter pieces and especially in such ballads as The Jacobite's Lament there is much of the accustomed freshness of spirit; but there are signs of flagging energy; nor did the poet recapture his inspiration in the later volumes, Astrophel (1894), A Tale of Balen (1896), A Channel Passage (1904) and the plays, The Sisters (1892), Rosamund Queen of the Lombards (1899) and The Duke of Gandia (1908). A surprising development was the sudden flaming of "Imperialism", at the time of the South African War, in a poet hitherto dedicated to republicanism.
   In addition to his poetry, Swinburne published from 1868 onwards several volumes of literary criticism. His Essays and Studies and Miscellanies bear striking testimony to his knowledge and love of poetry and his scholarly insight. Of his numerous monographs and essays upon individual writers, A Study of Shakespeare takes the first place. His criticism, however, was too much charged with the white heat of enthusiasm to be always judicious. A specially notable volume is the study of Blake, first published as long ago as 1868, a warm and generous appreciation of a poet who is sometimes thought to be a modern discovery. Swinburne even wrote a novel which appeared serially and pseudonymously in a forgotten weekly during 1877 and was republished as Love's Cross Current: A Year's Letters (1905). It has a faint suggestion of Meredith and is quite readable. Swinburne was not a great critic, but his essays contain passages of great criticism.
    Swinburne was always true to himself as a poet. Receptive of manifold influences, classical, English, and foreign, he reproduced them in a style wholly individual. He was fearless in the poetic proclamation of his ideals of liberty and justice, and tireless in the metrical ingenuity with which he fashioned his astonishing fluency into poetic forms both musical and memorable.

ROBERT BRIDGES. (...) Bridges had the advantage over Hopkins of attaining publication in his lifetime, but for some years shared his friend's obscurity so far as the general reading public was concerned. His verse dramas on classical themes (1883-94) won him a reputation among scholars—Hopkins found his Return of Ulysses "a fine play", though (like other plays of the kind), unreal in character and too archaic in language—but it was not until the Shorter Poems of 1896 that he first began to be at all widely known beyond university circles. Even as late as 1913, when he succeded Tennyson's succesor Alfred Austin as Poet Laureate, the more popular newspapers complained that no one had ever heard of him—which was perhaps another way of saying that, compared with Kipling, "the Poet Laureate of the British Empire", Bridges (like Austin in 1896) was still known to very few readers. (....)


Of nineteenth-century drama it may be said that though it is important in the history of the theatre, it scarcely concerns the history of literature. Much of it belongs to the region of the penny novelette. If original, it manufactured an artificial world unvisited by any gleams of intelligence; if adapted from work originally intelligent, it removed or overlaid the intelligence as a hindrance to success. The larger figures in literature whose work includes acted plays are considered in their own place [SEE ABOVE]. We are concerned here with those whose theatrical compositions are their chief claim to notice.

The theatre of Congreve and Sheridan appealed to an educated public, but there was always an uneducated public that wanted amusement of the crudest kind; and that kind of public rapidly increased during the nineteenth century. As a public institution, the theatre was still under the control of the Court, and the only recognized establishments were the "patent" houses, Drury Lane and Covent Garden, and the theatre in the Haymarket. These were insufficient for the public. The patent houses, especially Drury Lane, were enlarged till any play not of the roaring kind was engulfed; and other theatres furtively struggled into existence by the simple expedient of pretending not to be theatres, but "places of entertainment." Not until 1843 did the Theatre Regulation Act legalize the position of "illegitimate" houses. An immovable obstacle to the development of later drama as a serious criticism of life was the power of the Lord Chamberlain, unchallengeable and irresponsible, to forbid the performance of any play on the grounds of alleged immorality, blasphemy or sedition. This power, conferred by the Licensing Act of 1737 as a political retort to Fielding (see p. 421), was capriciously used to suppress plays that were challengingly serious, when light entertainments reaching the extreme of lubricity were allowed. The plays of the nineteenth century are therefore, in general, unimportant either as literature or as drama. Tragedy lost its greatness and multiplied its excesses. Romance coarsened into elaborate make-believe. Comedy loosened into loud farce and boisterous horse-play. What was new was a homely, crude melodrama, very moral, very sententious, and entirely unreal. Nevertheless, tragedy was a favourite exercise with men of letters. Wordsworth had already tried his hand; Coleridge, Godwin, Lord Byron, Mary Russell Mitford, Disraeli and others, composed tragedies, some of which were produced upon the stage while others remained polite exercises in a literary form.

The three most famous writers of stage tragedy in the first part of the century were Richard Lalor Sheil (1791-1851), like Sheridan a politician; Charles Robert Maturin (1782-1824), an Irish clergyman, and Henry Hart Milman (1791-1868), Dean of St. Paul's (1849). Sheil's chief plays are Adelaide (1814), The Apostate (1817) and Bellamira (1818), the last perhaps the best. One line from The Apostate,

This is too much for any mortal creature,

tells most of the truth about Sheil as a writer of plays. The influence of the German tragic romance of horror (typified by Schiller's The Robbers) went to the making of Maturin (see p. 507), whose three tragedies—Bertram; or, The Castle of St. Aldobrand, Manuel, and Fredolfo—were produced in London in the years 1816 and 1817. There was a strain of poetry in Maturin, but he has now only the interest of curiosity. Milman is of a higher order than either Sheil or Maturin. Fazio, acted in 1818, is good drama if not good tragedy, and had a long stage life. The Fall of Jerusalem (1820) and The Martyr of Antioch (1822) are both founded upon a legitimately conceived struggle between two passions or ideas. Belshazzar (1822) contains some good lyrics. James Sheridan Knowles (1784-1862) takes an honourable place in the history of nineteenth-century drama as the author of sincere if rather ingenuous plays owing nothing to German extravagance or to feats of wild and whirling verbiage. His chief tragedies and comedies—Caius Gracchus (1815), Virginius (1820), William Tell (1825), The Hunchback (1832) and The Love Chase (1837)—had genuine success on the stage and are not intolerable to read. The tragedies of Richard "Hengist" Horne (see p. 534), Cosmo de' Medici (1837), Gregory VII (1840) and Judas Iscariot (1848) were literary rather than dramatic. His one genuine success was a short piece, The Death of Marlowe (1837). Once acted with some success were the now forgotten Ion (1835) and Glencoe (1840) of Sir Thomas Noon Talfourd, the biographer of Lamb.

The tragedies we have mentioned were all attempts to write in the manner of past centuries. John Westland Marston (1819-90)—father of the blind lyric poet Philip Marston, friend of Swinburne and Thomson—was the first writer of his time to attempt a poetical tragedy of contemporary life, The Patrician's Daughter (1842). Marston was a mystic, a poet, and a scholar; and he showed courage in writing what was so near to a political play as The Patrician's Daughter, with its opposition between the haughty, heartless world of high society and the meritorious life of the poor. Marston's other tragedies in verse, Strathmore (1849) and Marie de Méranie (1850) were the last of their kind that deserve consideration.

The pressure of public demand for entertainment caused brisk dramatic activity duing much of the century. Comedy, farce, extravaganza, burlesque, opera and melodrama were vamped up from any handy materials by practised hands. Scott, Dumas and Dickens were eagerly drawn upon, for no copyright then protected the unhappy authors of novels from the depredations of theatre hacks. Plays were liberally interspersed with songs and dances, in order that they might call themselves "entertainments" and so evade both the Lord Chamberlain and the lessees of the patent theatres. The special dramatic form evolved to fit the mid-ninetheenth-century audience was melodrama, a term borrowed from the French. Whatever part music had played in melodrama soon vanished, and the name stood, and still stands, for plays of a peculiarly stagey kind.  Melodrama divided human nature into the entirely good and the entirely bad. It was in its way a "criticism of life" as understood in the age of the French Revolution, Parliamentary Reform, Chartism, and the Corn Laws. It allied itself boldly with the democratic against the aristocratic. To be rich and well-born was, almost inevitably, to be wicked; to be poor and humble was a guarantee of virtue. To be a baronet was to be doomed to a life of crime. Hero, heroine and villain, comic and virtuous retainers, heavy father (with Scriptural curses), fading and ultimately dying mother, dishonest solicitor juggling with title-deeds and marriage-lines—these and similar figures were expected from any melodrama that desired success. The morals were unexceptionable. Virtue was sumptuously rewarded and vice punished with poverty or prison.

Isaac Pocock (1782-1835), the author of The Miller and his Men, took the subject of his innumerable melodramas from French or German drama and English novels. Edward Ball (1792-1873), afterwards Fitzball, was an equally prolific purveyor of borrowed plots. William Thomas Moncrieff (1794-1857) was for a time manager of Astley's Circus, to which he furnished one very successful equestrian drama, The Dandy Family, and won fame by supplying Drury Lane with a romantic melodrama called The Cataract of the Ganges; or, The Rajah's Daughter, in which real horses and a real waterfall appeared. With the dramas of Douglas William Jerrold (1803-57) we come to work not wholly unreadable. The most famous of his plays is Black-ey'd Susan; or, All in the Downs, which was founded upon the ballad by John Gay. The dramas of John Baldwin Buckstone (1802-79), most of them written for the Adelphi Theatre, are the origin of the familiar term, "Adelphi melodrama". They are extravagantly turgid and sentimental; but they are well constructed. Both The Green Bushes (1845) and The Flower of the Forest (1849) kept the stage till the end of the century.

The writer who gave melodrama the definite form that was to distinguish it completely from the drama of serious interest was Dionysius Lardner Bourcicault (1820-90) who shortened his name to Dion Boucicault. By all the rules he should have failed. Neither his plots nor his incidents are original. His characters are fixed theatrical types. But he had a sure instinct for what actors could deliver and audiences accept with conviction; moreover he could add to his fables what the unsophisticated took for romance. And so his three Irish dramas, The Colleen Bawn (which had a second life as Benedict's opera The Lily of Killarney), Arrah-na-Pogue and The Shaughraun, though belonging to the late Fifties and Sixties, lived on to the age of Shaw and Wilde. The Boucicault type of melodrama was carried on in the Adelphi plays of George R. Sims and Henry Pettitt and in the Drury Lane plays of the Augustus Harris regime, though these harked back to the "real horses" and "real water" of Moncrieff.

The next playwright to show distinctive merit was Tom Taylor (1817-80), who wrote melodrama suitable for polite society, as well as "costume" dramas. Very little of his work is original; but in Plot and Passion (1853), Still Waters Run Deep (1855) and The Ticket-of-Leave Men (1863), he proved himself a capable playwright. his one famous comedy is
Our American Cousin (1858), with the popular character, Lord Dundreary—a comedy which once had a tragic ending, being the play at whose performance in Washington in 1865 John Wilkes Booth assassinated Abraham Lincoln. Taylor's romantic "costume" plays, all founded upon other men's work, had great success. The best of them was Twixt Axe and Crown (1870). In the field of historical drama, his eminence was shared by William Gorman Wills (1828-91). For Wills, historical truth had no existence. His Oliver Cromwell in Charles I (1872) and his John Knox in Marie Stuart (1874) are almost farcical in the intensity of their villainy. Wills is further remembered for his adaptations Olivia and Faust—the last a mere pantomime caricature of Goethe—in which he owed his theatrical success to the genius of Irving, which sometimes shone brightest in the worst plays.

The comedy of the period, for the most part, is as unconvincing as the serious drama. Almost the only attempt to carry on the tradition of English high comedy was a feeble work of Boucicault's youth, London Assurance (1841). Sheridan Knowles, in The Hunchback (1832) and The Love Chase (1837), was more original than Boucicault, but his plots are as confusing as Congreve's. The nineteenth-century public liked to be thrilled by melodrama, but it also liked to be tickled by crude humour, and innumerable one-act farces were produced to be played, in the lavish fashion of the time, either as "curtain-raisers" or as "after-pieces". Adelphi "screamers" became, under J. B. Buckstone, as famous as Adelphi melodramas. One of the earliest and best of the farce-writers was John Poole (1786-1872), most famous as author of Paul Pry (1825), in which several actors (including J. L. Toole) found a suitable field for their comic talent. Indeed, without a natural comedian most of the farces are worthless and cannot be read with patience. The one outstanding exception is Box and Cox, adapted from the French by John Maddison Morton (1811-91), though it reads like an original work. Whether in Morton's farce Box and Cox, or in the Burnand-Sullivan opera Cox and Box, the pair of lodgers must be reckoned as part of the national mythology. James Robinson Planché (1796-1880), the historian of costume, is specially associated with the rise and development of burlesque and extravaganza. The gods and goddesses of Greece and Rome offered him many opportunities for spirited and topical fun.

Nicholas Nickleby gives us glimpses of the theatre in the early part of the century. The best short view of the English stage in the Sixties can be found in Pinero's comedy Trelawny of the Wells. Pinero, once a "utility" actor, had first-hand knowledge of what he sets forth. The sketches of the old-time "mummers" are perfect; but the main theme of the play is the coming of Thomas William Robertson (1829-71), called "Tom Wrench" in Trelawny. To the middle of the nineteenth century, the drama remained wholly stagey and spoke a language altogether its own. Robertson was really a "new" dramatist. Incurably old-fashioned as much of his work now seems, its naturalness of theme and simplicity of diction were revolutionary and were much resented by the orotund spouters of "platform" drama, who could find "nothing to get their teeth into". A new kind of actor had to be found for what was called the "cup and saucer" comedy of Robertson, and he was fortunate in being taken up by the Bancrofts, who produced Society in 1865, and brought the English stage into some relation with simple and normal life. The adventure prospered, and in quick succession came Ours (a play of the Crimean War) in 1866, Caste  in 1867, School in 1869, and others of less interest. Caste, the best of the series, though it evades rather than solvers the problems of caste implicit in the story, has genuine dramatic interest and feeling, and introduces some excellent sketches of character. The influence of Robertson did not produce further Robertsons, but it prepared the public for better plays than his own. Both Henry James Byron (1834-84) and James Albery (1838-89), author of  The Two Roses, in which Irving made his first great success, and adapter of The Pink Dominoes, in which Wyndham played with brilliance, followed Robertson. Albery had a natural gift for comedy which he failed to use fully: circumstances were too much for him. Byron was clever, but had not the genuine feeling of Robertson. His comedies, Our Boys (1875) and Uncle Dick's Darling (1869), were resoundingly popular and often revived. With the naturalistic plays came an attempt at naturalistic scenery instead of the cataclysmic scenes of melodrama.

The Bancrofts made comedy fashionable, and the Robertson period was followed by what may be called a French period, when the better-class themes based their productions on French plays, especially those of Sardou and Dumas fils. Sardou was an ingenious fabricator of "well-made" plays such as Diplomacy (1878); Dumas was more serious, and attempted some "criticism of life" of a narrowly limited kind. The fashionable comedies began to be increasingly artificial and concerned with the unimportant conventions and the sham emotions of "Society."

A unique place in the history of the English stage is held by William Schwenck Gilbert (1836-1911). His earlier pieces were burlesques of no importance. To his second period belong The Palace of Truth (1870), The Wicked World (1873), Pygmalion and Galatea (1871), and Broken Hearts (1875). These plays are all founded upon a single idea, that of unaware self-revelation by characters under the influence of some supernatural interference. The satire is shrewd, but not profound; the young author had not learned to make the best use of his curiously logical fancy. His prose plays, such as Sweethearts (1874), Dan'l Druce (1876), Engaged (1877) and Comedy and Tragedy (1884), are incurably old-fashioned and lead nowhere. No one could predict from them The Bab Ballads (1869), a collection in the right line of English humorous verse, still less the famous series of comic operas (nearly all of them set by Sir Arthur Sullivan) beginning with Trial by Jury in 1875 and ending with The Grand Duke in 1896. Gilbert was a metrical humorist of a very skilful order, and he raised the quality of burlesque or extravaganza to a height never reached before. In some respects he was "common": he has moments that can only be called vulgar. The peculiarity of Gilbert's humour is a logical and wholly unpoetical use of fantasy. He carries out absurd ideas, with exact logic, from premise to conclusion. To the mind of an old-fashioned high-school headmistress he joined the fantastic logic of a fairy world. That he has given us the self-explanatory epithet "Gilbertian" is a tribute to his originality.

The last two decades of the nineteenth century saw a gradual rise in the general level of acted plays. Robertson and adaptations of contemporary French drama had brougth "Society" back to the theatre; but the player rather than the play was sometimes the attraction. Irving, Wyndham and the Bancrofts were fashionable actors and drew audiences for pieces of almost any quality. Still, plays were written, and two new authors began to attract attention, Henry Arthur Jones (1851-1929) and Arthur Wing Pinero (1859-1934). From the beginning there was evident in Jones a strain of the grandiose and the hortatory. His first London play, A Clerical Error, was acted in 1879; but his real success came with The Silver King (1882), which raised melodrama almost to the level of art. It remains his best play. Saints and Sinners (1884), The Middleman (1889), Judah (1890) and The Dancing Girl (1891) were all strong, heavy, and utterly stagey. Jones even attempted a blank-verse tragedy, The Tempter (1893), a most pretentious piece of fustian, and an equally pretentious religious play, Michael and his Lost Angel (1896). Pinero was more modest. He was an actor, and began with light comedies that could be easily performed. The Magistrate and Dandy Dick can still amuse. His first outstanding success was Sweet Lavender (1888), a lush sentimental comedy owing more than a little to the Temple scenes of Pendennis. In The Profligate (1889) he chose a more serious theme, but destroyed the whole efect of his story by surrendering to the popular demand for a happy ending. Indeed, the stage-work of Jones, Pinero and such less notable people as Sydney Grundy (1848-1914) had no artistic importance and made no contribution to the criticism of life. Their plays were theatrical inventions in which theatrically conceived figures behaved, at theatrical crises, in the expected theatrical manner. The literary counterpart of the popular play was not the novel, but the novelette. No contemporary English writer of the first rank paid any attention to the theatre. What shook the English stage into some recognition of its artistic ineptitude was the tremendous impact of Ibsen with his relentless, unsentimental criticism of life and his revealing exhibitions of the dramatic possibilities in the actual lives of commonplace people in commonplace circumstances. Several attempts had been made to introduce ibsen to the English public, but his plays did not become generally known till William Archer (with some assistance) translated the bulk of his work. In 1891 The Independent Theatre, founded by J. T. Grein, began its activity, and produced the work of Ibsen and other serious Continental dramatists on the English stage. It is difficult for a reader of today to understand the violence of execration with which Ibsen was greeted by the accredited critics of drama and the general playgoing public. "Muck-ferreting dog" was among the gentler terms applied to him. The prosecution of all concerned in the production of his plays was loudly demanded. But, detested as he was, Ibsen made it impossible for English playwrights to go on with their theatrical deceptions. Jones developed his unexploited vein of serious comedy and produced more reputable work in The Liars (1894) and The Case of Rebellious Susan (1897). Pinero made a bold attempt at stating social problems in The Second Mrs Tanqueray (1893), The Benefit of the Doubt (1895), Iris (1901), Letty (1903) and His House in Order (1906). But they appeared to express a conviction that the only problems for the theatre was that concerning women who had made, or were contemplating, breaches of the Seventh Commandment. Moreover, the plain fact is that, while Ibsen is a great writer, Jones and Pinero had no existence as men of letters. The one play of Pinero with genuine life is Trelawny of the Wells (1898), which, despite a muddled ending and some failure of character, is sincerely written and has actual relation to life. As we have already indicated, its theme is the passing of the old melodrama of the Sixties and the coming of a new dramatist, with the reactions of the change upon the lives of a group of players.

A brilliant interlude in the Jones-Pinero period was the sudden emergence as playwright of Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), who, in Lady Windermere's Fan (1892), A Woman of No Importance (1893) and An Ideal Husband (1894) showed that he could write with insolent ease and polished utterance better bad plays than the regular purveyors of dramatic fare could produce with their most laboured efforts. They could still be revived as period pieces and they can still be read for their sallies of wit. Wilde reached the height of his achievement in The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), the perfection of artificial comedy, produced in the year of his tragic downfall. It is one of the two best comedies written since the time of Sheridan. The other, Arms and the Man (1894) by Bernard Shaw, leads naturally to a consideration of that dramatist, whose main work, however, reaches forward to the next century and must be reserved for a later discussion.

Still another pleasing interlude was provided by the brief but definite success of Stephen Phillips (1808-1914) as a writer of poetical plays. Phillips had come into notice with his early publications Christ in Hades (1896) and Poems (1897). He seemed to be a new and original voice in the post-Tennysonian chorus, and some of his metrical irregularities aroused equal applause and reprobation. He was so far in the news as a poet that he was asked by George Alexander to write a play, and Paolo and Francesca (printed 1899, acted 1902) had great success. Herbert Beerbohm Tree then secured from him Herod (1901) and Ulysses (1902). But either the poet's inspiration failed or the actor's curious megalomania intervened unfavourably, for the two plays, successful dramatically, were less sincere as poems. They approached the region of grand opera and suggested Meyerbeer and Le Prophète. The Sin of David was poor, and Nero (1906), was almost pure Meyerbeer. Only the first three are important. Today they seem feeble and futile, but they cannot be entirely ignored. Phillips succeeded where Tennyson and Browning had failed—he put poetry of a kind on the stage and made it popular. Paolo and Francesca is the best of his plays. It is full of the lush diction which, at the end of the nineteenth century, seemed the proper idiom of poetic drama; but it could be spoken on the stage, and it could give an audience the sensation of hearing something that was beyond mere prose and brought an echo from the shores of old romance. Phillips provided an agreeable and successul interlude in the dead days of the drama.

The last decade of the century had better critics than writers of drama. William Archer (1856-1924) and Arthur Bingham Walkley (1855-1926), as well as Bernard Shaw, discussed plays in essays of the critical kind that later journalism had seldom a place for. Archer's work is preserved in The Theatrical World, 5 vols. (1894-8), and Shaw's in Dramatic Opinions and Essays,  1894-8, 2 vols. (1907). Both are readable for their own sake and invaluable as sources for the dramatic history of the decade. Walkley's Playhouse Impressions (1892) and Drama and Life (1937) are excellent.

Teatro en El Gran Teatro del Mundo

Copa y mesa metálica

Copa y mesa metálica


lunes, 29 de diciembre de 2014

Insight into Topsight

Planète (3)

Hace 10 minutos en nuestro estudio de Abbey Road, tras meses de preparación con los técnicos y una banda elegida de magníficos profesionales, que es un honor trabajar con ellos:

Interdisciplinary Evolutionary Consilient Narratology

—a posting to the Narrative-L:

Dear all,
There is a facebook group on EVOLUTIONARY NARRATOLOGY, and members are welcome. The site will be interesting for those with an interest in interdisciplinary narrative theory and narratology generally, for those interested in evoulutionary theory (both Big History and evolutionary sociobiology) and, well, for those with an interest on the interface between these fields, and in a consilient approach to the humanities. Please visit:

—while you have yourselves a merry little 2015.


This is the original description of the Facebook EVOLUTIONARY NARRATOLOGY Group: 

This group is for people interested in narratology and evolutionary theory, who want to see the first theory firmly embedded within the second. This group is also for people who strongly disagree with such a view. This group is even for people who confess to be "agnostic" about the issue, but is interested anyhow. Discussions, rants and recommendations are hereby encouraged.

Narratology, largely structuralist/formalist or cognitive in orientation, might well profit from a deeper anthropological framework, a Darwinian framework. Evolutionary approaches like evolutionary psychology, sociobiology, behavioral ecology, etc., have developed into a rich smorgasbord of great potential for understanding and explaining narrative activity in and by human organisms. Evolutionary Narratology studies the narrative animal.

The 1990s saw the birth of the Darwinian paradigm within literary theory and criticism. Prominent among the founders of 'Literary Darwinism' are Joseph Carroll and Jonathan Gottschall. Regarding stories and art in general, major contributions come from Ellen Dissanayake, Brian Boyd, Dennis Dutton, and others. (See this page for further detail and historical context: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Literary_Darwinism)

Also, in film studies, a handful of academics walking under the cognitivist umbrella, draw upon evolutionary ideas, e.g., Joseph Anderson and Dirk Eitzen. Lately, David Bordwell, the cognitivist film professor par excellence, is also starting to make forays into Darwinia. Yet, narratology is particular neither to film nor literature. Narratology is about stories, storytelling and -consumption, regardless of medium.

Stories are told by human organisms, to human organisms, about human organisms. Whether telling, being told to, or told about, evolutionary approaches should be able to cast light upon the human psychology and behaviour in question. Furthermore, stories have been told ever since humans evolved the required linguistic and mental capacities, which might be as far back as 250,000 years ago. The implication is that narrativity should be fundamentally approached as a biological and evolutionary phenomenon.

What's more, Evolutionary Narratology should start out with questions pertaining to the 'epic Ur-situation', the basic, natural and unrefined situation of face-to-face, human storytelling and -consumption, whether the historical context of this activity be paleolithic or post-postmodern. This would be seen as a much-needed corrective to structuralist narratology's skewed generalizations from the highly artificial, modernist narrative experiments of the 1900s


And don't let's forget a "sister page" in Spanish and English, one I opened before I got accepted as an administrator and member of the above group:

Narratología evolucionista / Evolutionary narratology:


I'm so far the only active member of this page, and the most active one in both. Everything in Evolutionary Narratology gets posted in Narratología Evolucionista, but not vice versa, as the Spanglish page is more catholic in both language and subject matter. Not in religion though.

domingo, 28 de diciembre de 2014

The Origins of Political Order

Introduction by inteviewer Marshall Poe: When I was an undergraduate, I fell in love with Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws. In the book Montesquieu reduces a set of disparate, seemingly unconnected facts arrayed over centuries and continents into a single, coherent theory of remarkable explanatory power. Alas, grand theoretical books like Spirit of the Laws are out of fashion today, not only because the human sciences are gripped by particularism (“more and more about less and less"), but also because we don’t train students to think like Montesquieu any more.
In his excellent The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2011), Francis Fukuyama bucks the trend. Of course, he’s done it before with elegant and persuasive books about the fall of communism, state-building, trust, and biotechnology among other big topics. Here he takes on the emergence of modern political institutions, or rather three modern political institutions: the state, the rule of law, and accountable government. He begins with human nature, takes us through a massive comparison of the political trajectories of world-historical civilizations (Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern, European), and, in so doing, tells us why the world political order looks the way it does today. His answers are surprising, and not directly in line with what might be called the “conventional thinking” about these things.


Fukuyama offers an evolutionary theory of political systems, attractive though somewhat biased in the direction of idealism, based not only on the development of political institutions and of the rule of law, but grounding them on the sociality of human nature, on the importance of symbolic thought, and of mutual recognition. Along the way, he offers suggestive insights on the role and significance of religions and of nations.
Need I say this is a significant and fascinating contribution to a consilient theory of politics?

The Story of Earth

The Human Family Tree: Evolution Documentary

Walking Man

Walking Man

The Mind's Big Bang - EVOLUTION

sábado, 27 de diciembre de 2014

Miro la vida pasar (3)

Del huerto de Ronsard



Jamais l'homme avant qu'il meure
 ne demeure
bien heureux parfaitement;
toujours avec la liesse
la tristesse
se mêle secrètement.


Evolution for Everyone - "The Human Social Organism"

Lee Smolin habla sobre EL RENACER DEL TIEMPO

Lectora y fotógrafo

Lectora y fotógrafo

viernes, 26 de diciembre de 2014

Darwin, God, and Dover: What the Collapse of 'Intelligent Design' Means

John Corvino Skepticon 3 "Coming Out Skeptical"

Notas sobre The Waste Land

Notas sobre The Waste Land

MARTHA NUSSBAUM - Cultivating Humanities

Diez años de blogs

Se me olvidó celebrar, si es que es de celebrar, que llevo ahora diez años—ya más de diez ahora—escribiendo este blog. Lo empecé en octubre de 2004, poco después de disponer de un espacio propio en la web de la Universidad de Zaragoza, y totalmente ignorante aún sobre las plataformas automatizadas de blogs. Luego lo pasé a Blogia, y seguidamente a Blogger, aunque también sigo haciendo el viejo blog "a pedales" en mi viejo sitio web, triplicando el esfuerzo inútilmente. Y luego han salido repositorios, facebooks, videoblogs y demás, multiplicándome las entidades de una manera que volvería loco a Occam.

En tiempos pensé que todo el mundo acabaría por abrirse un blog. Casi se realizó eso con el boom de facebook—pero son los menos los que escriben algo en su facebook, una vez inaugurado; y al final el whatsapp se presta más a mantener la red social auténtica de cada cual—de cada cual que la tenga. Y los blogs quedaron como una rareza para esperantistas, filatelistas, o radioaficionados—que parecen más chiflados a posteriori que a priori, antes de que se supiese en qué iba a parar la cosa.

No sé si por intuición profética me quedé con el nombre de Vanity Fea para mi blog (aunque sigo dándole otros nombres en otros sitios), un poco como reducción al absurdo de la idea de un diario en red personal y público. Al final se vuelve a reducirse a su motivación original, que era señalar novedades o actualizaciones en mi web. Claro que si mi web incluye mi blog allí se abre la posibilidad de un bucle vicioso, o virtuoso, reflexivo en todo caso—y muchas vueltas le he dado a ese bucle que es uno mismo, sin ir a parar a ningún sitio. Sigo posteando novedades sobre mí, eso sí, aunque poco haya de nuevo; más de diez años me ha costado colgar mis Obras Completas, procurando alcanzarme a mí mismo, à la Shandy, y algunas aún no han subido—las menos por no haberse escrito todavía. Claro que las subo por cuadruplicado a veces, a repositorios y demás, por miedo a que haya too little of a good thing. Y así es el cuento de nunca acabar, con mohosas novedades siempre desempolvadas.

Los primeros años incluso me dediqué a imprimir el blog, en pasta, y perdí la comba cuando ya llevaba un estante lleno de volúmenes, pesados como Biblias. Si no hubiese parado, ya tendría dos metros de blog. Porque esto ocupa espacio en los estantes, si se pone uno, y no sólo tiempo y bits. Pero perdí fuelle, y la  buena impresión se quedó a mitad.

Del mismo modo he perdido fuelle a la hora de escribir cosas, en general. Primero se ha vuelto menos diarístico y menos opinativo, o menos opinionated quizá también, el blog y uno mismo. Antes divagaba impromptu mis opiniones, las noticias de a diario, ensayos tentativos, y despotriques varios, contra la profesión y la injusticia y el entorno y la naturaleza de la realidad. Pero de todo eso ya queda poco, y somos mera sombra de nuestras anteriores actividades. Antes no pasaba película que viese, o libro que leyese, sin escribir aquí sobre él. Luego perdí la fe, o el interés, o el impulso—y el interés se perdió conmigo.

Han desaparecido también de aquí los escasos comentadores que había los primeros años (muchos de ellos negativos). Desde luego, las remotas tentativas de "crear comunidad" o convertir esto en un foro de intercambio de opiniones han encontrado su refutación más contundente en el silencio y la indiferencia absoluta. Como analogía sólo se me ocurre el paralelo con mi Fotoblog, que contiene unas 30.000 fotos y apenas una decena de comentarios en total en estos diez años. Mira, en Facebook sí que me ponen algún me gusta a las fotos a veces, aunque ya se sabe que los me gusta de facebook son de buen quedar.  Por el eco obtenido, desde luego, no lo haré, lo de seguir con el blog; podría aspirar en todo caso a un éxito de fracaso, pues ni siquiera Krapp fracasó mejor. Con lo cual va terminando todo esto, como empezó, como un diálogo a solas conmigo mismo. Pero dudo que ni yo mismo me escuche al final. Los mensajes secretos prefiero dirigírmelos en el blog interno del stream of consciousness, y no vale la pena dejar registro de ellos aquí.

Con lo cual el balance de estos diez años ha de ser de un éxito digamos modesto, sólo avalado por su continuidad inexplicable.  Este éxito modesto es, dirían algunos, lo más cerca que he estado de la modestia.

jueves, 25 de diciembre de 2014

miércoles, 24 de diciembre de 2014

José Emilio Pacheco - El cuento y la novela como formas de conocimiento ...

Nos vamos de Galicia

Nos vamos de Galicia

Poética y Narrativa de Javier Cercas

Paco Vera - "El chino"

Un ejemplo de mise en abyme paradoxale concentrante, que diría Lucien Dällenbach. Y felices navidades:

Biography: James Joyce

No Need to Purchase Purchas

The first edition of Purchas, his Pilgrimes; or, Relations of the World and the Religions observed in all Ages was published in 1613, and the work went through a convoluted series of reprints, continuations and additions. But you can have his second edition (enlarged of course) for free at the Internet Archive, or here. And the full title, which I love, for your benefit:


Places discovered, from the CREATION
unto this PRESENT.


THIS FIRST CONTAINETH a THEOLOGICALL and Geographical Historie of ASIA, AFRICA, and AMERICA, with the Ilands adiacent.

Declaring the ancient religions before the FLOVD, the
Heathnish, Jewish, and Saracenicall in all Ages since, in those parts professed, with their seuerall Opinions, Idols, Oracles, Temples, Priests, Fasts, Feasts, Sacrifices, and Rites Religious: Their beginnings, Proceedings, Alterations, Sects, Orders and Successions.

With briefe descriptions of the countries, nations, states, discoveries; Priuate and Publike Customes, and the Remerkable Rarities  of Nature, or humane Industrie in the Same.

The second Edition, much enlarged with Addition through the whole Worke;

by SAMVEL PVRCHAS, Minister at Eastwood in Essex.

Vnus Deuvs, vna Veritas.

London: Printed by William Stansby for Henrie Fetherstone, and are to be sold at his shop in Pauls Church-yard at the Signe of the Rose.


Online facsimile at Internet Archive:


"Samuel Purchas." Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia.*

A no confundir con otro Samuel Purchas, del siglo XVII, autor de A Theatre of Political Flying-Insects. Nuestro primer Purchas es todo un roll model, una de esas figuras casaubónicas que han querido (noble empeño) ofrecernos la clave de todas las mitologías, contener un mundo en un libro, o contarnos la historia de todas las cosas.


lunes, 22 de diciembre de 2014


No soy muy dado a las efemérides, y eso que todo es efímero. Pero oigo que Samuel Beckett terminó su vida prepóstuma hace 25 años. Hace 26 leí yo mi tesis sobre Beckett—y le dieron o me dieron un premio. También le dieron premio (otro) al libro que salió de la revisión de la tesis, Samuel Beckett y la narración reflexiva (1992). Todo lleva su tiempo—vivir, escribir, y hasta morir. Ahora el libro lo he ido subiendo por capítulos a la SSRN. Aquí están uno tras otro y, en cierto modo, también el libro—en su vida póstuma o angélica.

Capítulo 1: Conceptos básicos de narratología

Capítulo 2: Entrando en la trilogía: La narración en Molloy

Capítulo 3: El status narrativo en la trilogía

Capítulo 4: Movimientos narrativos

Capítulo 5: El narrador autorial y las otras voces narrativas

Capítulo 6: Narración autodiegética

Capítulo 7: El narrador impersonal

Capítulo 8: Saliendo de la trilogía: El final de The Unnamable

Capítulo 9: Imágenes del lector

Capítulo 10: La escritura como trabajo sobre los códigos semióticos

Más anexos y bibliografías.

Mi fotoblog

Mi fotoblog
se puede ver haciendo clic en la foto ésta de Termineitor. Y hay más enlaces a cosas mías al pie de esta página.