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[2015 07-28] lecture 22: ... Nothing, Something


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Slideshow for the twenty-second lecture in my summer course, English 10, "Introduction to Literary Studies: Deception, Dishonesty, Bullshit."

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[2015 07-28] lecture 22: ... Nothing, Something

  1. 1. Lecture 22: … Nothing, Something PATRICK MOONEY, M.A. ENGLISH 10, SUMMER SESSION A 27 JULY 2015
  2. 2. Kenneth Rexroth (1905–1982) ● Taught at UCSB, 1968–1973. ● Wrote the Encyclopaedia Britannica article on “Literature.” ● MCed the famous poetry reading at Six Gallery, San Francisco, California. ● Later was Allen Ginsberg’s defense witness at his obscenity trial over the Six Gallery reading. ● “Father of the Beats” ● “An entomologist is not a bug.”Rexroth in 1982 Photo by Morgan Gibson
  3. 3. Misery is all the lot of the unlovable ones, And of rejected lovers, But not one of these knows the empty horror Of the slow conquering, long fought off, Realization that love assumed and trusted Through years of mutual life Had never been there at all. The bells of St. Lawrence Sprinkle their music over the town. Silver drops, gathered in Bermuda Shimmer and are lost in the brown English water. It is all just like the poet said. (end of “The Hanged Man”)
  4. 4. Remember that breakfast one November— Cold black grapes smelling faintly Of the cork they were packed in, Hard rolls with hot, white flesh, And thick, honey sweetened chocolate And the parties at night; the gin and the tangos? The torn hair nets, the lost cuff links? Where have they all gone to, The beautiful girls, the abandoned hours? They said we were lost, mad and immoral, And interfered with the plans of the management. And today, millions and millions, shut alive In the coffins of circumstance, Beat on the buried lids, Huddle in the cellars of ruins, and quarrel Over their own fragmented flesh. (“Between Two Wars”)
  5. 5.                    we believed we Would see with our own eyes the new World where man was no longer Wolf to man, but men and women Were all brothers and lovers Together. We will not see it. We will not see it, none of us. It is farther off than we thought. […..........................................................................]                            We know now We have failed for a long time. And we do not care. We few will Remember as long as we can., Our children may remember. (“For Eli Jacobson,” lines 3–10, 40–44)
  6. 6. Seamus Heaney (1939–2013) ● Eldest of 9 siblings, raised on a farm in County Derry, Northern Ireland. ● Nobel Prize in Literature, 1996. ● Lived and taught in Northern Ireland, England, California, and the Republic of Ireland. ● Occupied uncomfortably overlapping subject positions: Catholic,Northern Irish, British, Irish, rural, educated, … ● Consciously works with multiple literary traditions (British, Irish, Greek).Heaney in 1970. Photo by Simon Garb.utt
  7. 7. I’m writing just after an encounter With an English journalist in search of ‘views On the Irish thing.’ I’m back in winter Quarters where bad news is no longer news, Where media-men and stringers sniff and point, Where zoom lenses, recorders and coiled leads Litter the hotels. The times are out of joint But I incline as much to rosary beads As to the jottings and analyses Of politicians and newspapermen Who’ve scribbled down the long campaign from gas And protest to gelignite and sten, [….......................................................................................]
  8. 8. Who proved upon their pulses ‘escalate’, ‘Backlash’ and ‘crack down’, ‘the provisional wing’, ‘Polarization’ and ‘long-standing hate’. Yet I live here, I live here too, I sing, Expertly civil tongued with civil neighbours On the high wires of first wireless reports, Sucking the fake taste, the stony flavours Of those sanctioned, old, elaborate retorts: ‘Oh, it’s disgraceful, surely, I agree,’ ‘Where’s it going to end?’ ‘It’s getting worse.’ ‘They’re murderers.’ ‘Internment, understandably . . .’ The ‘voice of sanity’ is getting hoarse. (“Whatever You Say / Say Nothing,” section I)
  9. 9. He would drink by himself And raise a weathered thumb Towards the high shelf, Calling another rum And blackcurrant, without Having to raise his voice Or order a quick stout By a lifting of the eyes And a discreet dumb-show Of pulling off the top; (“Casualty,” section I, lines 1–10)
  10. 10. He was blown to bits Out drinking in a curfew Others obeyed, three nights After they shot dead The thirteen men in Derry. PARAS THIRTEEN, the walls said, BOGSIDE NIL. That Wednesday Everybody held Their breath and trembled. (section I, lines 38–46)
  11. 11. Prophesy who struck thee! When soldiers mocked Blindfolded Jesus and he didn’t strike back They were neither shamed nor edified, although Something was made manifest—the power Of power not exercised, of hope inferred By the powerless forever. Still, for Jesus’ sake, Do me a favour, would you, just this once? Prophesy, give scandal, cast the stone. (“Weighing In,” 3rd section)
  12. 12. How culpable was he That night when he broke Our tribe’s complicity? ‘Now you’re supposed to be an educated man,’ I hear him say. ‘Puzzle me The right answer to that one.’ (“Casualty” II, lines 32–38)
  13. 13. The coding problem The liberal papist note sounds hollow When amplified and mixed in with the bangs That shake all hearts and windows day and night (It’s tempting here to rhyme on ‘labour pangs’ And diagnose a rebirth in our plight But that would be to ignore other symptoms. Last night you didn’t need a stethoscope To hear the eructation of Orange drums Allergic equally to Pearse and Pope.) (“Whatever You Say,” section II)
  14. 14. The Bog Bodies ● Naturally mummified bodies intermittently found across northern Europe. ● PV Glob’s book The Bog People: Iron-Age Man Preserved, translated into English from Danish in 1969. ● Most bodies found are connected to a tribal society, just becoming agricultural, approx 500 BCE–500 CE. ● Many are assumed to have died violently and/or as ritual sacrifices. Tollund Man
  15. 15. “The early Iron Age in Northern Europe is a period that offers very satisfactory imaginative parallels to the history of Ireland at the moment … You have a society in the Iron Age where there was ritual blood- letting. You have a society where girls’ heads were shaved for adultery, you have a religion centring on the territory, on a goddess of the ground and of the land, and associated with sacrifice. In many ways the fury of Irish republicanism is associated with a religion like this.” – Seamus Heaney, “Mother Ireland” (1972 discussion)
  16. 16. but he now lies perfected in my memory, down to the red horn of his nails, hung in the scales with beauty and atrocity: with the Dying Gaul too strictly compassed on his shield, with the actual weight of each hooded victim, slashed and dumped. (“Grauballe Man,” last 3 stanzas) Little adulteress, before they punished you you were flaxen-haired, undernourished, and your tar-black face was beautiful. My poor scapegoat, I almost love you but would have cast, I know, the stones of silence. (“Punishment,” lines 23–31)
  17. 17. "Grauballe Man." Photo by Sven Rosborn
  18. 18. I almost love you but would have cast, I know, the stones of silence. I am the artful voyeur of your brain’s exposed and darkened combs, your muscles’ webbing and all your numbered bones: I who have stood dumb when your betraying sisters, cauled in tar, wept by the railings, who would connive in civilized outrage yet understand the exact and tribal, intimate revenge. (“Punishment,” lines 29–44)
  19. 19. Smoke signals are loud-mouthed compared with us: Manoeurvrings to find out name and school, Subtle discrimination by addresses With hardly an exception to the rule That Norman, Ken and Sidney signalled Prod And Seamus (call me Sean) was sure-fire Pape. O land of password, handgrip, wink and nod, Of open minds as open as a trap, Where tongues lie coiled, as under flames lie wicks, Where half of us, as in a wooden horse, Were cabin’d and confined like wily Greeks, Besieged within the siege, whispering Morse. (“Whatever You Say,” section III)
  20. 20. What Is To Be Done? (I) A cobble thrown a hundred years ago Keeps coming at me, the first stone Aimed at a great-grandmother’s turncoat brow. The pony jerks and the riot’s on. […...........................................................................] Call her ‘The Convert,’ ‘The Exogamous Bride’. Anyhow, it is a genre piece Inherited on my mother’s side And mine to dispose with now she’s gone. Instead of silver and Victorian lace, The exonerating, exonerated stone. (“Clearances” I, lines 1–4, 9–14)
  21. 21. The old man rose and gazed into my face and said that was official recognition that I was now a dual citizen. He therefore desired me when I got home to consider myself a representative and to speak on their behalf in my own tongue. Their embassies, he said, were everywhere but operated independently and no ambassador would ever be relieved. (“From the Republic of Conscience,” last three stanzas)
  22. 22. Media credits ● The photo of Kenneth Rexroth (slide 2), by Morgan Gibson, is not in the public domain, but is a low-resolution version selected as a teaching tool because no freely available alternative can be found. Original source: ● The photo of Seamus Heaney (slide 6) has been released by Simon Garbutt under a Creative Commons-Attribution license. Original source: ● The photo of Tollund Man (slide 14) is out of copyright because it is very old. Original source: Tollund_J%C3%BCtland_um_100_n_Chr_hingerichtet.jpg ● The photo of Grauballe Man (slide 17) has been released into the public domain by Sven Rosborn. Original source: nen1.jpg