Friday, December 17, 2004

Vison, Discipline and Pleasure

I have been rather busy as many seem to be this week before the christmas thing unleashes itself upon us....I have been mainly trying to finish two essays I have to write on the literature of the Restoration and the 18th century. This has been an interesting adventure in text. I have come into the field so well described by the French thinker Michel Foucault and as all his books in the library in English have waiting lists of 4 or 5 on them I've brought Discipline and Punish and eagerly await its arrival in the mail (perhaps after the christmas thing). My second paper is on Visual Presence and Disciplinary Gaze in the Spectator by Addison, and in Moll Flanders by Defoe, and here is the intro for those who have just clicked over from some blog of steamy gossip and taudry lives and are interested in Literary criticism as well:

Gordon (2002) describes the textuality of the Spectator (1711-13) as the depiction of “all behavior as rhetorical, designed to satisfy or persuade imagined audiences, and which also shared the desire to produce legible subjects.” (Gordon 2002:86). I argue this as resulting in textual production as being representations of visible and invisibly regulated visual codes of appearance and behavior in pervasive discursive spaces (Home, Workplace, Coffee House, Park), the physically largest being the city of London itself. Texts depict and propagate this legibility with narrative maintenance of spectatorship and cautionary examples of the failure to maintain acceptable codes of behavior through the production of various forms of subjectivity. I propose that two parallel textual examples of this are Addison and Steele’s Spectator broadsheet (1711-13) as a manual and reporter of code and Defoe’s Moll Flanders (1722) as a textual depiction of the failure of maintaining codes or the dangers of impersonating them.

Pretty riveting stuff ehh......

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