17 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2018
  2. allred720fa18.commons.gc.cuny.edu allred720fa18.commons.gc.cuny.edu
    1. Captain Delano’s nature was not only benign, but familiarly and humorously so. At home, he had often taken rare satisfaction in sitting in his door, watching some free man of color at his work or play. If on a voyage he chanced to have a black sailor, invariably he was on chatty and half-gamesome terms with him. In fact, like most men of a good, blithe heart, Captain Delano took to negroes, not philanthropically, but genially, just as other men to Newfoundland dogs.

      Delano's "singular good nature" is not exempt from the dehumanizing aspects of American racism endemic of the setting of the work (or, indeed, of the time of its composition). Alongside his ease with assisting Benito's ship (and thus the slave trade that it facilitates), Delano's perception of African peoples stereotypes them as 'animalistic' and simple. That is, he participates in the 18th-19th century of perception that contributes to the perception of Africans and those of African descent as subhuman.

    2. Past all speech

      Double-entendre playing upon the mixture of metaphorical and literal interpretation. The literal "hard gales" that Delano understands are metaphorically beyond speech in his interpretation of Cereno. But the metaphorical "gales" that Cereno has experienced are literally "Past all speech" for him due to the risk a truthful account poses on his life.

      It is curious to note that Cereno must frequently speak with irony due to his powerless state and inability to honestly converse with Delano. Many of his statements deploy a conscious attempt to possess dual interpretations. Yet, as the novella progresses and Delano remains oblivious, it becomes questionable whom the alternative interpretations are directed towards. Does his lack of power and forced state of dishonesty provoke a desire to convey some form of truth, regardless of the recipient?

    3. Gordian knots for the temple of Ammon

      Reference to the legend of the Gordian Knot: an unsolvable knot that could never be untied. Upon being presented the knot, Alexander the Great allegedly drew his sword and cut the knot to pieces, effectively 'undong' the knot.

    4. Undo it, cut it

      The legend of the Gordian Knot can typically be moralized into the following truism: a difficult problem is most commonly solved through methods outside of convention. An offhand interpretation would suggest that Delano must examine his circumstances through a lens different than he is accustomed to.

      However, to 'cut' the knot would ultimately destroy it. The statement equates the act of destruction with the act of "undo[ing]." What is intended by unraveling a knot? Does one simply wish to remove it or do they seek to preserve the rope as well?

      For the sailor and Delano, we know it is in their best interest to merely destroy the knot (consider the ending). But, taking the knot as allusive to "Benito Cereno" itself, the answer is less conclusive. Does the reader benefit more from simply "cut[ing]" the novel and removing its knot? Or do they seek to merely 'unravel' it and preserve the story?

    5. jamming-knot
    6. back-handed-well-knot
    7. treble-crown-knot
    8. double-bowline-knot
  3. Sep 2018
    1. The reduction of reading to a consumption is clearly responsible for the Boredom' experienced by many in the face of the modern ('unreadable') text, the avant-garde film or painting: to be bored means that one cannot produce the text, open it out, set it going.

      I find this an interesting contrast between the material reality of 'the Work,' which was born out of the rise of the modern capitalist system, and the allegedly anti-consumerist tendency of 'the Text.' While I can understand many authors designing their works as critiques and responses to capitalist excesses, the sheer complexity of 'the Text' as Barthes decides seems to rely on considerations of languages that are quite beyond an individual to predict. How could that which resists the demands of consumerism arise from that which was seriously enmeshed in capitalist growth?

    2. the I which writes the text, it too, is never more than a paper-I.

      "...when I liberate the sign 'I', I refer to myself insofar as I am speaking...but upon reaching its destination, this 'I' is received by my interlocutor as a stable sign, product of a complete code, whose contents are recurrent. In other words, the 'I' of the one who writes 'I' is not the same as the 'I' which is read by 'you.'" = "To Write: An Intransitive Verb?" pg. 17

    3. in the field of the text (better, of which the text is the field) is realized not according to an organic progress of maturation or a hermeneutic course of deepening investigation, but, rather, according to a serial movement of disconnections, overlappings, variations.

      This is why I find it problematic that Barthes claims the Text as object. If the language of the text produces its own undengin "liberation of symbolic energy" from its own field of metonymics, then the Text appears to be its own source and therefor 'subject.' I am caught between believing there's an issue or whether I shouldn't hold Barthes accountable for his own vernacular across his bibliography.

    4. it can cut across the work, several works

      a.k.a intertextuality

    5. the text is held in language

      I believe this is why Barthes dismisses "their chronological situation" for defining the text. He is pursuing the Saussurean credo that a system's structure cannot be evaluated by its historical 'diachonic' impression and must be instead evaluated by its immediate 'synchronic' reality.

    6. object

      Barthes is very picky on his use of the term "object." From "To Write: an Intransitive Verb" is careful to only use the term for that which is produced by another. This is rather odd, considering that the continual interpretation of the text that he describes would suggest and autopoetic property. Wouldn't there be more sense using the term 'subject?'

    7. (critic)

      Parentheses for clarity or example?

    8. that for the last hundred years we have been living in repetition

      "..all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. " I doubt that Barthes would mention repetition and Marx and not be conscious of alluding to the "18th Brumaire." Though it's just a preamble for his main point, I would like to pause and examine the tragedies and farces that would assist the development of 'the text.'

    1. Penguin paperback

      Even when considering the 'original' material text, the language of commercialization leaks into the piece. When 'reading' Dickens, it's not enough to compare the book, the eReader, and the mp3 player. Instead, it's a comparison of Penguin, Kindle, and iPod. It's as if one cannot discuss the mediums without discussing the brands that sell them, merging lines between a think-piece and native marketing.