Monday, November 21, 2005

what are you laughing at?

If the literature of antiquity was unable to represent everyday life seriously, that is, in full appreciation of its problems and with an eye for its historical background; if it could represent it only in the low style, comically or at best idyllically, statically and ahistorically, the implication is that these things mark the limits not only of the realism of antiquity but of its historical consciousness as well. ~ Erich Auerbach, Mimesis.
The relation of style, the low, comic - and by implication, genres that employ these styles - to consciousness and its other, however styled. What's adumbrated here by Auerbach is not merely literary or true of antiquity. We could do worse than explore the coincidence of the comedic type with the enforcement, however we understand that, of certain limitations. As with images: the appearance of the code, or mode, is intimately bound up with what is not allowed to appear.

Apply this to Friends. To the Times. To blogs, etc.

Auerbach continues:
For it is precisely in the intellectual and economic conditions of everyday life that those forces are revealed which underlie historical movements; these, whether military, diplomatic, or related to the inner constitution of the state, are only the product, the final result, of variations in the depths of everyday life.


Anonymous Tutor said...

I follow you. So what modes can we resurrect that embody the dream deferred and denied of social change, or justice? I think of Old Roman Comedy, Martial, Carnival, Rabelais, and the Augustans.

"Write Different." As you do, Tom. You are working now with compound lenses, more than one per tube (telescope or microscope), the popular genres, the ancient ones, and the scholarly.

I hope you enjoy the sheer liberation of writing in your compound style; if you go by how many listen, it would be discouraging, but if you go by what you have brought into being as a model, you should be damn proud.

11/28/2005 4:01 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home