What’s My Name? 124

DOI: 10.2478/abcsj-2013-0008 What’s My Name?: Memory, Identity, and Allegory in the Age of the American Empire.

DAVID BRIAN HOWARD Nova Scotia College of and Design (NSCAD), University in Halifax

The allegorical of citation on display in the following two texts are the result of research into the of allegory that has emerged through the twentieth century in the writings of such critics as Walter Benjamin, Craig Owens, and . Beginning with Benjamin’s monumental and obsessive accumulation of citations on nineteenth century Paris and the work of the poet Charles Baudelaire, which was intended to form the basis of a book entitled Paris, Capital of the Nineteenth, this new understanding of allegory moved to subvert the traditional assumed superiority of the symbolic over the allegorical in the visual and literary . Drawing from Benjamin’s colleague Theodor W. Adorno, the literary critic Marjorie Perloff argues that this poetics functions as a meaning making machine which stages and enacts a resistance, through the individual poem, “to the larger cultural field of capitalist commodification where language has become merely instrumental.” Baudelaire’s allegorical poetic response to the post- revolutionary society of 1848, with its bourgeois values of and consumerism, was central to conceptualizing the most critical poetic responses of the twentieth century’s “crisis of representation.” The following works are my interpretation and reframing of this critical poetic legacy following the collapse of , as well as the financial collapse of 2008, and my intention that an allegorical poetics in the 21st century needs to re-connect with the more political and quixotic Marxist dimensions of Benjamin’s reframing of Baudelaire than what we witnessed in the last few years of the twentieth century. 125 What’s My Name?

(Excerpted from Chapter Two of Gnawing on Skulls: Allegory in the Age of the American Empire.)


“Aby Warburg argues in the unpublished introduction to his Mnemosyne Atlas, ‘… it is in the area of orgiastic mass seizure that one should look for the mint that stamps the expression of extreme emotional seizure on the memory with such intensity that the engrams of that experience of suffering live on, an inheritance preserved in the memory.’”

(cited in Benjamin H.D. Buchloh, “Atlas/Archive,” Alex Coles (ed.) The Optic of Walter Benjamin Volume 3 de-, dis-, ex-. London: Black Dog Publishing Limited, 1999: 17.)

“Without any exaggeration one can say that civilization has never before been exposed to so many dangers. The Vandals, with means that were barbaric and relatively ineffective, destroyed the civilization of antiquity in one corner of Europe. Today, we see the whole of civilization being threatened in the integrity of its historical destiny by reactionary forces armed with the entire arsenal of modern technology. We are not only thinking of the impending war: already, while we are still at peace, art and science have been placed in an impossible situation.”

(André Breton, Diego Rivera, and Leon Trotsky, “Manifesto for an Independent Revolutionary Art,” quoted in Mary Ann Caws, Manifesto: A Century of Isms. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2001: 472.)

American, British and Canadian Studies / 126

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (August, 12, 2010)

“the sacred returns with all its faces, fiery rooted

the fiery dew of the streets, colored by oil-slicks and dawn, leads down to the sea at a snail’s who looks wishly upon it, unlocks the lock-hole of the chest again I slept, the prose thought, and it seemed to me that eyelids wept.”

(Robin Blaser quoted in Paul Delany (editor), Vancouver: Representing the Postmodern City. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 1994: 121.)

“Contemporary theories of allegory thus grasp this structure as the intersection of two principles: that of the autonomy, or complete isolation and non-dependence of their terms (which are in that sense not fragments), and at the same time as the marking of those items as 127 What’s My Name? conceptually incomplete, as relational terms in a larger signifying structure. Both of these features are then combined in the self-designation of allegory as a process rather than any achieved structure or substance. Allegory thus looks back to hallucination as a perceptual isolation of its objects, and forward to the “part object” as the exemplification of a larger drive that can never be fully satisfied.”

(Frederic Jameson, The Hegel Variations: On the Phenomenology of Spirit. London and New York: Verso, 2010: 126.)

“Dorothy: Do you suppose we'll meet any wild animals? Tin Woodsman: Mm, we might. Scarecrow: Animals that eat... s-traw? Tin Woodsman: Some, but mostly lions, and tigers, and bears. Dorothy: Lions? Scarecrow: And tigers? Tin Woodsman: And bears.”

(The Wizard of Oz: MGM 1939, IMDb http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032138/quotes)

“The underlying problem is: how are we to think the singular universality of the emancipator subject as not purely formal, that is, as objectively- materially determined, but without the working class as its substantial base? The solution is a negative one: it is capitalism itself which offers a negative substantial determination, for the global capitalist system is the substantial ‘base’ which mediates and generates excesses (slums, ecological threats, and so on) that open up sites of resistance.”

(Slavoj Zizek, In Defense of Lost Causes. London: Verso, 2008: 420-421.)

American, British and Canadian Studies / 128





“It goes without saying that we do not for a moment stand by the currently fashionable slogan “Neither fascism nor !” that perfectly suits the conservative and frightened philistine clinging to the remnants of the “democratic” past. True art – art that does not merely produce variations on ready-made models but strives to express the inner needs of man and mankind as they are today – cannot be anything other than revolutionary: it must aspire to a complete and radical reconstruction of society, if only to free intellectual creation from the chains that bind it and to allow all mankind to climb those heights that only isolated geniuses have reached in the past. At the same time, we recognize that only social revolution can clear the way for a new culture.”

(André Breton, Diego Rivera, and Leon Trotsky, quoted in Mary Ann Caws, Manifesto: A Century of Isms, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000: 472.)

“The destructive knows only one watchword: make room. And only one activity: clearing away. His need for fresh air and open space is 129 What’s My Name? stronger than any hatred. Really, only the insight into how radically the world is simplified when tested for its worthiness for destruction leads to such an Appollonian image of the destroyer. This is the great bond embracing and unifying all that exists. The destructive character sees nothing permanent. But for this very reason he sees ways everywhere. Where others encounter walls or mountains, he has to clear things from it …. What exists he reduces to rubble – not for the sake of the rubble, but for the sake of the way leading through it.”

(Walter Benjamin cited in Michael W. Jennings, Howard Eiland, and Gary Smith, (eds.) Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings, Volume 2, 1927-1934. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996: 541.)

“It’s a bit like Verdun, but Verdun without the depth of defense – and, above all, without the Sacred Way…”

(Colonel de Castries to General Cogny, 22 March 1954 quoted in Martin Windrow, The Last Valley: Dien Bien Phu and the French Defeat in Vietnam. Cambridge: De Capo press, 2006: 499.)

“The presence of American forces overseas is one of the most profound symbols of the U.S. commitments to its allies and friends. Through our willingness to use force in our own defense and in defense of others, the demonstrates its resolve to maintain a balance of power that favors freedom. To contend with uncertainty and to meet the many security challenges we face, the United States will require bases and states within and beyond Europe and Northeast Asia, as well as temporary access arrangements for the long-distance deployments of U.S. Forces.”

(“The National Security Strategy of the United States,” Sept. 17, 2002, cited in Chalmers Johnson, The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the . New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2004: 151.)

American, British and Canadian Studies / 130

“Now that capital has outgrown the nation-state model, those who earlier found their identity in that model are fighting hysterically to raise to the fore the logic of identity formation itself, with its dependence on the excluded element. Ironically, then, the more these neo-nationalist movements fight to reassert their identity through the exclusion of the Spanish-speaking immigrant, the more they draw attention to the dissolution of that identity itself. Yet this dissolution in a way obliterates the very real racist and Utopian effects of neo-nationalism. ‘The structural dialectic of imperialism,’ Aiaz Ahmad writes, ‘includes, in other words, the deepening penetration of all available global spaces by the working of capital and the intensification of the nation-state form simultaneously.’”

(George Hartley, The Abyss of Representation: Marxism and the Postmodern . Durham: Duke University Press, 2003: 292.)

“Before I knew about the absurdity of American gun laws and inadequate health care I knew about the border. It cut a wide swath through the bush, between Tsawwassen on the Canadian and Point Roberts on the American, and we could reach the western end of it by walking south along an agate-strewn beach. A boundary marker declared the power of division here (the Peace Arch, by contrast, at the Douglas-Blaine crossing a few miles further east, intoned an odd insistence on dependency: ‘Children of a Common Mother’ – a stone engraving that led readily to infantile ribaldry). If we climbed up the cliff beside the beach and strolled along the right-of-way, we could come out between the two custom houses. ‘How long have you been away?’ the guard would ask (an entertaining, enigmatic question). Had we in fact ever been ‘away,’ or had we just been pushing a little at an almost unseen, only half-appreciated edge?”

(W. H. New, Borderlands, How We Talk About Canada. Vancouver: UBC Press, 1998: 35-36.)

131 What’s My Name?

“It was this cluttered abyss from which Baudelaire conjured up his images of and evil, of the moment of hushed transcendence swelling in rot and decay, or the lush, literal contours of sin and grace, of eroticism and monstrosity contained in the glance, or the sound of a footfall, or the motion of fog in the abandoned city. Baudelaire’s allegory is, like that of the baroque, most striking when it ruthlessly combines the most insistently graphic images of the tormented, isolated, or dismembered body with the description of evil. It is a connection whose result, the allegorical image, renders the appearance of the new urban landscape into its Ur-old form. The of the modern as infinite progress slides into its true appearance, the repetition of the horrors of existence, in all their ‘beauty.’”

(Max Pensky, Melancholy Dialectics: Walter Benjamin and the of Mourning. Amherst: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1993: 165.)

“To return to the magnificent language of the first draft of the Arcades project: if the dialectical image is nothing but the way in which the fetish character is perceived in the consciousness, then the Saint- Simonian conception of the commodity world might well itself as , but hardly as the reverse – namely as a dialectical image of the nineteenth century as Hell. But it is only the latter which could place the idea of the ‘Golden Age’ in proper perspective […] […] The dialectical image must therefore not be transferred into consciousness as a dream, but rather the dream should be externalized through dialectical interpretation and the immanence of consciousness itself understood as a constellation of – the astronomical phase, as it were, Hell wanders through mankind. It seems to me that it is only a map of such a journey through the stars which could provide a perspicuous vision of history as pre-history.”

(Letter, Theodor W. Adorno to Walter Benjamin, 2 August 1935 – 4 August 1935, cited in Henri Lonitz (ed.), Nicholas Walker (trans.), Theodor W. Adorno and Walter Benjamin: The Complete Correspondence, 1928-1940. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1999: 105-106.) American, British and Canadian Studies / 132









(Homer, The Odyssey (Classic Comix Illustrated). New York: Gilbert Co., Inc., 1966: 5-6).

“The long weary pushbroom whose dark bristles were as kinky as pubic hairs dragged itself attached to a man’s arm and hand. It was very late. Two children sat drinking sodas and playing with straws and crying out: What’s your name? – When the man’s toil brought him near enough, they shouted their question at him in shrill excited voices.”

(William T. Vollmann, “What’s Your Name?” The Atlas. London and New York: Penguin Books, 1997: 28.)

133 What’s My Name?

“‘Yes, what’s your names?’ shouted the second policeman, who had taken a drink from the bar, but not looking at the Consul and still rolling his hips. ‘Trotsky,’ gibed someone from the far end of the counter…”

(Malcolm Lowry, Under the Volcano, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1962: 358.)

“Who am I? I know who I am, but what’s my brand name? Me with a new face, a puffy mask. Laid over the old one in strips of plastic, a blond Hallowe’en ghoul on top of the S.S. uniform. I was skinny as a beanpole underneath except for the hands, which were similarly treated, and that very impressive face. I did this once in my line of business, which I’ll go into later, and scared the idealistic children who lived downstairs. Their delicate skins red with offended horror. Their clear young voices raised in song (at three in the morning). I’m not Jeanine, I’m not Janet. I’m not Joanna. I don’t do this often (say I, the ghoul) but it’s great elevator technique, holding your forefinger to the back of somebody’s neck while passing the fourth floor, knowing he’ll never find out that you’re not all there. (Sorry, But watch out.) You’ll meet me later.”

(Joanna Russ, the FeMale mAN. Boston: Beacon Press, 1975, 1992: 19.)

“It may be that the villain (namelessness) turns out to be the in the story of the Canadian story. The nameless figure who seems to threaten us may in fact be leading us to high ground. To avoid a name does not […] deprive one of an identity; indeed, it may offer a plurality of identities. Like the hero of old, we might even lay claim to a certain virtue in our ability to withhold and deceive. In a willful misremembering of American, British and Canadian Studies / 134

Homer’s Odysseus we might say, ambiguously, proudly, tauntingly, no name is my name!”

(Robert Kroetsch, The Lovely Treachery of Words: Essays Selected and New. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989: 52.)

“My older brother Dan, a Vancouver-based media junkie, tells me that during Expo ’67, DC Comics presented a commemorative ‘imaginary story’ in which two supermen are created, one the usual U.S. version and the other, a clone who takes up a new life in Canada as a Canadian superhero, complete with a secret identity as LeBlanc, a mild-mannered reporter with a Montréal daily. So in a way, Superman did come home. Except, of course, that no one has heard of LeBlanc or the Canadian Superman ever since. Such is the fate of celebrities who choose to remain in Canada.”

(Will Ferguson, Why I Hate Canadians. Vancouver, Toronto, Berkeley: Douglas & McIntyre, 1997: 245.)

“The identity lies in the non-identity, in what, not having yet come to pass, denounces what has. The statement that things are always the same is false in its immediateness, and true only when introduced into the dynamics of totality. He who relinquishes awareness of the growth of horror not merely succumbs to cold-hearted contemplation, but fails to perceive, together with the specific difference between the newest and that preceding it, the true identity of the whole, of terror without end.”

(Theodor W. Adorno (translated by E.P. Jephcott), Minima Moralia: Reflections on a Damaged Life. London and New York: Verso, 2006: 235.)

135 What’s My Name?

The Old Red Banjo (Vancouver, August 12, 2010)

“For me there aren’t little cubbyholes with all the different identities – intellectual, racial, sexual. It’s more like a very fine membrane – sort of like a river, an identity is sort of like a river. It’s one and it’s flowing and it’s a process. By giving different names to different parts of a single mountain range or different parts of a river, we’re doing that entity a disservice. We’re fragmenting it. I’m struggling with how to name without cutting it up.”

(Gloria Anzaldúa quoted in Jane Caputi, “Shifting the Shapes of Things to Come: The Presence of the Future in the of Gloria Anzaldúa,” AnaLouise Keating (ed.), EntreMundos/AmongWorlds: New Perspectives on Gloria Anzaldúa. London and New York: PALGRAVE Macmillan, 2008: 189.)

“The God Zeus appeared to Leda in the form of a swan, producing her children Helen and Polydeuces. Zeus seduced Europa in the form of a bull, and carried off the youth Ganymede in the form of an eagle. The half-human half-bull Minotaur was the offspring of a white bull and Queen Pasiphaë. King Peleus continued to seduce the nymph Thetis despite her transforming into a lion, a bird, and a snake, among other American, British and Canadian Studies / 136 forms. The god Pan, who has goatlike features, is depicted having sex with a goat.”

(Karin Cope, “Bestiality,” cited in Ellen Sussman, Dirty Words: An Encyclopedia of Sex. New York: Bloomsbury, 2008: 26.)

“[John F.] Kennedy’s upper-class and ‘aristocratic’ identity narrative differed in many respects from the middle-class masculine ideal of the 1950s, with its emphasis on ‘maturity,’ sexual ‘containment’ within , and the role of men as toiling breadwinners for the family. Kennedy was equipped with an elite of masculinity, focused on heroic deeds of masculine will and courage in the ‘public’ sphere, and masculine sexual privilege and power in the ‘private’ sphere. He imagined the ideal as one resembling a kind of classical Greek masculinity: ‘full use of your powers along lines of excellence,’ an agon of physical, mental, spiritual striving. Despite his ‘aristocratic’ imagination of masculinity, because of his role as a public political figure he responded defensively to popular gender norms. Kennedy married at age thirty-seven, only because, as he told one of his Senate staffer, ‘I was thirty-seven years old, I wasn’t married, and people would think I was queer if I weren’t married.’”

(Robert D. Dean, Imperial Brotherhood: Gender and the Making of Cold War Foreign Policy. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2001: 179.)

“Where is she? She is in this compact mass of bones, glands, veins, arteries, nerve fibers, muscles, blood, and bile – made up of carbon compounds, minerals, salts, trace metals, and colloidal and jelled water. She exists where her feeling is.”

(Alphonso Lingis, Body Transformations: Evolutions and Atavisms in Culture. New York and London: Routledge, 2005: 45.)

137 What’s My Name?

“Identifications, then, can ward off certain desires or as vehicles for desire; in order to facilitate certain desires, it may be necessary to ward off others: identification is the site at which this ambivalent prohibition and production of desire occurs. If to assume a sex is in some sense an ‘identification,’ then it seems that identification is a site at which prohibition and deflection are insistently negotiated. To identify with a sex is to stand in some relation to an imaginary threat, imaginary and forceful, forceful precisely because it is imaginary.”

(Judith Butler, Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex”, quoted in Gail Weiss, Body Images: Embodiment as Intercorporeality. London: Taylor & Francis, 1998: 36.)

“I am willing to give myself over to a woman equal to her amount of wanting. I expose myself for her to appreciate. I open myself out for her to see what’s possible for her to love in me that’s female. I want her to respond to it. I may not be doing something active with my body, but more eroticizing her need that I feel in her hands as she touches me.”

(Ann Cvetkovich, An Archive of Feelings: Trauma, Sexuality, and Public Cultures. Durham: Duke University Press, 2003: 59.)

“I’ve done a lot of thinking and some writing about shifting identities, changing identities. I call it ‘shapefshifting,’ as in nagualism – a type of Mexican indigenous shamanism where a person becomes an animal, becomes a different person.”

(Gloria Anzaldúa cited in Keating, EntreMundos/AmongWorlds. London and New York: PALGRAVE, Macmillan, 2005: 185.)

American, British and Canadian Studies / 138

“Miss Gulch: If you don't hand over that dog, I’ll bring a damage suit that’ll take your whole farm! There’s a law protecting folks against dogs that bite!”

(The Wizard of Oz: MGM 1939, IMDb http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032138/quotes)

“If there’s one thing that animals don’t need more on, it’s sex. That’s because sex holds no mystery.”

(Sy Freedman, Sex Link, cited in Elizabeth Grosz, Space, Time, and Perversion: Essays on the Politics of Bodies. London and New York: Taylor & Francis, 1995: 187.)

“Now I blessed the condition of the dog and toad, yea, gladly would I have been in the condition of the dog or horse, for I knew they had no soul to perish under the everlasting weight of Hell or Sin, as mine was like to do. Nay, and though I saw this, felt this, and was broken to pieces with it, yet that which added to my sorrow was, that I could not find with all my soul that I did desire deliverance.”

(John Bunyan, Grace Abounding for the Chief of Sinners, cited in Lowry, Under the Volcano: 8.)

“But what dog, what kind of dog are we? […] Once again, there is division: what species of dog am I? Lufthund? Air-dog? Earth-dog? We are transformed by animality. […] Perhaps the is that we are never more human than when we are dogs.”

(Hélène Cixous (Sarah Sellars and Susan Cornell translators), Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing. New York: Columbia University Press, 1994: 132.)

139 What’s My Name?

“A starving pariah dog with the appearance of having lately been skinned had squeezed itself in after the last man; it looked up at the Consul with beady, gentle eyes. Then, thrusting down its poor wrecked dinghy of a chest, from which raw withered drooped, it began to bow and scrape before him. Ah, the ingress of the animal kingdom! Earlier it had been the insects: now these were closing in upon him again, these animals these people without ideas: ‘Dispense usted, por Dios,’ he whispered to the dog, then wanting to say something kind, added stooping, a phrase read or heard in youth or childhood: ‘For God see how timid and beautiful you really are, and the thoughts of hope that go with you like little white birds –’ The Consul stood up and suddenly declaimed to the dog: ‘Yet this day, pichicho, shalt thou be with me in –’ but the dog hopped away in terror on three legs and slunk under the door.”

(Lowry, Under the Volcano: 231-232.)

“‘Go to hell,’ I said; ‘Put your clothes on.’ ‘Perhaps about this sex business you can tell me,’ she said, ‘why is this hypothetical assumption….’ ‘Why the devil do you run around in the !?’ ‘My child,’ she said gently, ‘you must understand. I’m far from home; I want to keep myself cheerful, eh? And about this men thing, you must remember that to me they are a particularly foreign species; one can make love with a dog, yes? But not with something so unfortunately close to oneself. You see how I can feel this way?’”

(Russ, the FeMale mAN: 33.)

“According to Simon LeVay, to have sex, ‘one hardly needs a brain.’ The reason for this is that many of the neuronal circuits triggering the reflexes in human sexual response are mediated through the spinal cord and can bypass the brain. The brain and especially the hypothalamus do, however, American, British and Canadian Studies / 140 control and regulate some of these reflexes, and obviously, the subjective experience of sexual pleasure requires a brain, at least of some sort. In his thinking about desire and sex, LeVay wants a body that accounts for this, where one thing leads to another. Using a biological model, he lists the basic components of human sexual response:

1. of the penis; 2. Engorgement of the walls of the vagina and the labia majora, lubrication of the vagina by glandular secretions and transudation, and erection of the clitoris; 3. Insertion of the penis into the vagina (intromission); 4. Pelvic thrusting by one or both partners; 5. Elevation of the uterus, with a consequent forward and upward rotation of the mouth of the cervix; 6. of semen into the vagina; 7. , the intensely pleasurable sense of and release often accompanied by increases in heart rate, flushing of the skin, muscle spasms, and involuntary vocalization.

LeVay resorts to coitus in nonhuman mammals for a of mating behavior.”

(Jacqueline N. Zita, Body Talk: Philosophical Reflections on Sex and Gender. New York: Columbia University Press, 1998: 157.)

“Now I was beginning to realize in a confused way that every act which is both voluptuous and blameworthy involves in equal measure the ferocity of the body in taking its pleasure, and the tears and martyrdom of our good intentions and our guardian angels.”

(Marcel Proust, Les Plaisirs et les jours, cited in Julia Kristeva (Stepehn Bann, trans.), Proust and the Sense of Time. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993: 15.)

141 What’s My Name?

“If transvestism offers a critique of binary sex and gender distinctions, it is not because it simply makes such distinctions reversible but because it denaturalizes, destabilizes, and defamiliarizes sex and gender signs.”

(Marjorie Garber, Vested Interests: Cross-Dressing and Cultural Anxiety, quoted in Paula Gilbert, Violence and the Female Imagination: Quebec’s Women Writers Reframe Gender in North American Cultures. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University, 2006: 314.)

“Top/Bottom (see also BDSM) Definition: a top is an assertive or dominant partner, or a person who prefers the assertive or dominant role, and a bottom is a receptive partner, a partner who is penetrated or submissive. A female dominant is sometimes called a dome (IPA: d Om), femdomme, domina, or dominatrix. In the English-speaking world, mistress is by far the most common dominatrix title, while in most of continental Europe, the most common titles are, and some are etymologically related, maîtresse, maid, maidress, mattress, mother, mate, madre, or domina. The most common dominatrix title in the Spanish language is ama. The equivalent Japanese term is […] (joôsama, or queen).”

(Whitney Joiner cited in Sussman, Dirty Words: 255.)

“The basic problem … has always been getting other people to die for you.”

(Thomas Pynchon “Gravity’s Rainbow” quoted in Dale Carter, Final Frontier: The Rise and Fall of the American Rocket State. San Francisco: Analytical Psychology Club of San Francisco, Incorporated, 1988: 47.)

“The extreme inappropriateness of importing connotations of playfulness into war is not adequately accounted for simply by pointing to war’s ‘seriousness’ and designating ‘play’ and ‘war’ opposites, since an absolute American, British and Canadian Studies / 142 opposite for play – work – exists even within boundaries of peace. But through this familiar peacetime opposition, the extremity of the even greater tonal distance separating games and war can be articulated. Although play is often sensuous (for in play the senses become self- experiencing), work entails a far deeper embodiment: the human creature is immersed in his interaction with the world, far too immersed to extricate himself from it (he may die if he stops) and thus almost without cessation he enacts a constant of movements across the passing days and years. In contrast, the very nature of play requires that the person be only half submerged in the world of activity, that he be able to enter and exit from it freely: the activity, even if never engaged in before, can be started in seconds, or ended just as quickly. The person at play, protected by the separability of himself from his own activity, does not put himself at risk: he acts on the world outside his body with less intensity than the person at work, and if he sometimes puts that world at risk, it is because his own immunity from risk makes him inattentive to the forms of alteration he is bringing about.”

(Elaine Scarry, The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987: 82.)

“Bill Moyers: When Columbus arrived, how many Native Americans were there throughout the hemisphere?

Michael Dorris: Over a hundred million. In the United States in the 1910 census, it was down to two hundred thousand people because of diseases. There were diseases that existed in Europe, Asia, and Africa that had never come to the Americans before. The first time a European, Asian, or African came over here and sneezed, these diseases and bacteria were introduced into the networks of the Americas, and most Indians were gone before the Europeans had any conception they were here.”

(Gordon E. Slethaug, Beautiful Chaos: Chaos Theory and Metachaotics in Recent American . Albany: State University of New York Press, 2000: 123.)

143 What’s My Name?

“The bad comrade. – In a real sense, I ought to be able to deduce Fascism from the memories of my childhood. As a conqueror dispatches envoys to the remotest provinces, Fascism has sent its advance guard there long before it marched in: my schoolfellows. If the bourgeois class has from time immemorial nurtured the dream of a brutal national community, of oppression of all by all …. I felt with such excessive clarity the force of the horror towards which they were straining, that all subsequent happiness seemed revocable, borrowed.

In Fascism the nightmare of childhood has come true.”

(Adorno, Minima Moralia: 192-193.)

“It is also proper to teach your men to hold the enemy in contempt, as Aegislaus the Spartan did when he showed his men some naked Persians so that, having seen their soft, white skins, his men would no longer have cause to fear them. Some commanders have forced their men to fight by depriving them of all means of saving themselves except victory; this is certainly the best method of making them fight desperately. This resolution is commonly heightened either by the confidence they put in themselves, their arms, armor, discipline, good order, and lately-won victories, or by the esteem they have for their general. Such esteem is a result of the opinion they have of his virtú, rather than of any particular favor they have received from him; or it is a result of the love of their country, which is natural to all men. There are various ways of forcing men to fight, but that is the strongest and most operative; it leaves men no other alternative but to conquer or to die.”

(Niccolò Machiavelli (A revised edition of the Ellis Farnsworth ), The Art of War: Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 1965: 129.)

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“though to penetrate it all, to carry it all

and the maid brought in Berthe, who was windmill upside down on a string. her on the neck several times over. Poor little thing! Goodbye, little love, goodbye”

(torn text fragment Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary).

“On Saturday August 26, 1939, Hitler was demanding that hand over Danzig and its corridor. War was by no means certain at that time. But at 4:15AM that morning the Regimental Adjutant received a call from Ottawa instructing him to call out the Regiment. Soldiers were dispatched to guard vulnerable points around the city. This was two weeks prior to Canada’s declaration of War.”

(History of the British Columbia Regiment Web-site: http://bcregiment.com/bcr_history.htm)

“To make a good army it is not enough that the soldiers are inured to hardships and fatigue, strong, swift, and expert in the use of their weapons; they must also learn to keep their ranks, to obey words of command and signals by drum or trumpet, and to observe good order, whether they halt, advance, retreat, march, or engage the enemy; for without the strict attention to these points, an army will never be good for anything. It is certain that a parcel of disorderly and ill-disciplined men, although extremely brave, is not to be depended upon as much as others who are not so courageous by nature, but orderly and well disciplined – good order makes men bold; confusion makes them cowardly.”

(Machiavelli, The Art of War: 61.) 145 What’s My Name?


(Sylvia Plath, “The Colossus” in The Collected Poems)

“We find ourselves like fish on the shores of a drying lake. The element necessary to our existence has passed away. As some form of political loyalty is part of the good life, and as we are not flexible enough to kneel to the rising sun, we must be allowed to lament the passing of what we had claimed our allegiance. Even on a continent too dynamic to have memory, it may be salutary to celebrate memory.”

(George Grant cited in Arthur Kroeker, Technology and the Canadian Mind: Innis/McLuhan/Grant. Montréal: New World Perspectives, 1984: 36.)

“Multilevel thinking: you look at a person and you see him as if he were fashioned of glass and you were the glass blower, while at the same time without in the least impinging upon that clarity you notice some trifle on the side – such as the similarity of the telephone receiver’s shadow to a huge, slightly crushed ant, and (all this simultaneously) the convergence is joined by a third thought – the memory of a sunny evening at a Russian small railway station; i.e., images having no rational connection with the conversation you are carrying on while your mind runs around the outside of your own words and along the inside of those of your interlocutor.”

(Vladimir Nabokov, “The Gift,” cited in Elizabeth Deeds Ermath, Sequel to History: Postmodernism and the Crisis of Representational Time. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1992: 87.)

“Valiant knight, do not take umbrage or consider the present setback as some piece of ill luck, because it could well happen that this stumble straightens the crooked path of your fortune; for heaven, in strange, American, British and Canadian Studies / 146 mysterious, roundabout ways, inconceivable to man, raises the fallen and makes the poor wealthy.”

(Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra (John Rutherford translator), The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha. London: Penguin Books, 2004: 894-895.)

“[Land without chains, new land without the breath of memory, with the smoke of a strange hearth. reinless! where I was brought by no mother’s womb.]”

(, “1914,” cited in Giorgio Agamben (trans. by Karen E. Pinkus with Michael Hardt), Language and Death: The Place of Negativity. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 1991: 97.)

“She’s been granted the gift of forgetfulness’ soothed Archangel Mademoiselle Montgolfier.”

(Mary Fallon, Working Hot. Melbourne: Sybylla Co-operative Press&Publications Ltd. 1989: 169.)

“Angels have also been created, yet, they are not known by the natural light, they are not the concern of metaphysics. For their essence and existence are known only through revelation, and so pertain solely to theology; and because theological knowledge is completely other than or entirely different in kind from, natural knowledge, it should be in no way 147 What’s My Name? be confused with it. So let nobody expect us to say anything about angels.”

(Henri Corbin, En Islam iranien, quoted in Giorgio Agamben (Edited and Translated by Werner Hamacher and David E. Wellbery, with an introduction by Daniel Heller-Roazen), Potentialities: Collected Essays in Philosophy. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999: 95-96.)

“Moloch in whom I dream Angels!”

(Allen Ginsberg, Howl and Other Poems. San Francisco: City Light Books, 1956: 17.)

“Where is Angel?”

(Line uttered by Pike Bishop, played by William Holden, in The Wild Bunch, IMDB, Warner Brothers, Seven Arts, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0065214/)

“If an angel suddenly turns into a demon, punishment can assume apocalyptic proportions.”

(Dana Crawley Jack, Behind the Mask: Destruction and in Women’s Aggression, quoted in Gilbert, Violence and the Female Imagination: 57.)

“Mischiate sono a quell cattivo coro de li angelic he non furon ribelli ne fur fedeli a Dio, ma per se’’ fuoro.”

American, British and Canadian Studies / 148

“… that despicable corps of angels who were neither for God nor Satan, but only for themselves… ”

(John Frecerro, Dante: The Poetics of Conversion. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1986: 111.)

“There remains the idea of an eschatological sacred marriage accomplished in novissimo die, the mystery of a new birth in which a being is generated in the image of a celestial double…. These themes are to be found every time the fracture of a primordial celestial-terrestrial couple states the mystery of origin. The restoration of its bi-unity, its duality, is when suggested as the rule for an interior ethics confirmed precisely by the encounter and eschatological recognition of man and his angel.”

(Henri Corbin, En Islam iranien, cited in Agamben, Potentialities: 147.)

“A sexual or charnel ethics would require that the angel and the body be found together. A world to construct or reconstruct…from the smallest to the greatest, from the most intimate to the most political, a genesis of love between the sexes would be still to come. A world to create or recreate in order that man and woman can again or finally cohabit, meet and sometimes remain in the same place.”

(Elizabeth Grosz, Sexual Subversions: Three French Feminists. Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 1989: 161-162.)

“All reification is a forgetting.”

(Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer (John W. Cumming translator), Dialectic of Enlightenment. New York: The Seabury Press, 1972: 219.)

149 What’s My Name?

5520 Lanark St. (Vancouver, Canada, 2010) Site of author’s former family home.

“Horrors! I remember! Yes, I remember!”

(Charles Baudelaire, (trans. by Louis Varése), Paris Spleen. New York: New Directions, 1970: 6.)

“And suddenly I remembered my name, Molloy. My name is Molloy, I cried, all of a sudden, now I remember. Nothing compelled me to give this information, but I gave it, hoping to please I suppose … Is it your mother’s name? said the sergeant, it must have been a sergeant. Molloy, I cried, my name is Molloy. Is that your mother’s name? What? I said. Your name is Molloy, said the sergeant. Yes, I said, now I remember. And your mother? Said the sergeant. I didn’t follow. Is your mother’s name Molloy American, British and Canadian Studies / 150 too? Said the sergeant. I thought it over. Your mother, said the sergeant, is your mother’s -- Let me think! I cried.”

(James Joyce, cited in Asja Szafraniec, Beckett, Derrida, and the Event of . Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2007: 47.)

“A girl stood before him in midstream, alone and still, gazing out to sea. She seemed like one whom magic had changed into the likeness of a strange and beautiful seabird. Her long and slender legs were delicate as a crane’s and pure save where an emerald trail of seaweed had fashioned itself as a sign upon the flesh. Her thighs, fuller and softhued as ivory, were bared almost to the hips where the white fringes of her drawers were like featherings of soft white down. Her slateblue skirts were kilted boldly about her waist and dovetailed behind her. Her bosom was as a bird’s soft and slight, slight and soft as the of some darkplumaged dove. But her long fair hair was girlish: and girlish, and touched with the wonder of mortal beauty, and her face. She was alone and still, gazing out to sea; and when she felt his presence and the worship of his eyes her eyes turned to him in quiet sufferance of his , without shame or wantonness. Long, long she suffered his gaze and then quietly withdrew her eyes from his and bent them towards the stream, gently stirring the water with her foot hither and thither. The first faint noise of gently moving water broke the silence, low and faint and whispering, faint as the bells of sleep; hither and thither, hither and thither: and a faint flame trembled on her cheek. --Heavenly God! Cried Stephen’s soul, in an outburst of profane joy. He turned away from her suddenly and set off across the strand. His cheeks were aflame; his body was aglow; his limbs were trembling. On and on and on and on he strode, far out over the sands, singing wildly to the sea, crying to greet the advent of the life that had cried to him. Her image had passed into his soul for ever and no word had broken the holy silence of his . Her eyes had called him and his soul had leaped at the call. To live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreate life out of 151 What’s My Name? life! A wild angel had appeared to him, the angel of mortal youth and beauty, an envoy from the fair courts of life, to throw open before him in an instant of ecstasy the gates of all the ways of error and glory. On and on and on and on! He halted suddenly and heard his heart in the silence. How far had he walked? What hour was it?”

(James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artists as a Young Man. London: Penguin Classics, 2000: 185-186.)

“Adorno expressed this association unmistakably when he wrote in a letter to Benjamin that ‘every reification is a forgetting.’ The enigma of the commodity arises from its somehow unexpectedly having gotten implicated at the heart of the memory crisis. Adorno’s phrase then reappeared in Dialectic of Enlightenment in the analysis of what he and Horkheimer ironically term ‘the price of progress.’ The centrality of the memory problem in the complex of processes that produce modernity under capitalism could hardly be made clearer.”

(Richard Terdiman, Present Past: Modernity and the Memory Crisis. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1993: 13.)

“If men and women began to live their ephemeral dreams every phantom would become a person with whom to begin a story of pursuits, pretences, misunderstandings, clashes, oppressions, and the carousel of would stop.”

( (William Weaver translator), Invisible Cities. New York: Houghton, Mifflin, & Harcourt, 1978: 43.)

“And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see, American, British and Canadian Studies / 152

And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, And Hell followed him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part Of the earth, to kill with the sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.”

(The Revelation of St John the Divine, Chapter 6, verses 1-8, St. James Bible.)

“And the answer would be: ‘Through becoming connected with the word- presentations corresponding to it.’ These word-presentations are residues of memories; they were at one time , and like all mnemic residues they can become conscious again. Before we concern ourselves further with their nature, it dawns upon us like a new discovery that only something which has once been a Cs. [conscious] can become conscious, and that anything arising from within (apart from feelings) that seeks to become conscious must try to transform itself into external perceptions: this becomes possible by means of memory traces.”

(André Breton quoted in Steven Harris, Surrealist Art and Thought: Art, Politics, and the Psyche. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004: 192.)

153 What’s My Name?

Used Living Room Set, 41 St. And Knight (Vancouver, August 12, 2010)

“Marcel Proust’s discussion of memory largely centered on what the artist or writer needed in order to produce his or her best work. In Remembrance of Things Past Proust expressed the view that memory was essential both for inspiration and for providing access to the material that can give content to a . But in stressing the importance of memory Proust emphatically did not mean habit memory. Throughout Remembrance as well as in his other writings, Proust took the position that habit is an ‘anaesthetic.’ It is, he put it, a ‘second nature [which] prevents us from knowing our original nature’; it causes a stale repetition of the same, making life banal and cliché-ridden; it ‘weakens every impression,’ thereby deadening the of our experiences; it shields us from the very suffering which is necessary for growth; it renders the strange familiar and kills the sense of mystery; it ‘cuts the tap root’ which gives depth and significance to our encounters with people and things.”

(David Gross, Lost Time: On Remembering and Forgetting in Late Modern Culture. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2000: 47.)

American, British and Canadian Studies / 154

Used Furniture for Sale (Vancouver, August 12, 2010)

“cars roar by (all night) on the freeway red tracer lights fed on the bones of the past here in the actual wild west of my father’s dreams the 100,000 year dead suffer their last indignity haunting the holy wood last legacy of the last frontier where men went to live beyond the law lungs seared by their own folly.” (Book 5, Chain 5)

(bp Nichol, “The Martyrology,” quoted in Davey, Reading Canadian Reading. Toronto: Turnstone Press, Ltd.: 246.)

“I have found nothing. I am always searching, I accumulate, I read. Why then, oh mother, do you make me gather all these plants, learn the names of all these stars, spell out all these lines collect all these shells? … If I could penetrate matter, embrace the idea, follow life in its metamorphoses, understand being in all its forms, and discover causes one 155 What’s My Name? after the other like a flight of stairs, if I could reunite in myself these scattered phenomena and set them apart again in motion in the synthesis which my scalpel has pried apart … perhaps then I could make worlds … alas!”

(Gustave Flaubert quoted in Jean-Paul Sartre, The Family Idiot, 1821-1857: Volume 1. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981: 476.)

“[…] sitzend im Panzer der Sprache, fahren bis an die vordersten Linien des Draussen, dorthin wo das Gemetzel beginnt. Der Panzer beschütz mich, er ist rundum vernietet, aus stählernen Platten gebaut, stabile Grammatik....Die Landschaft in der wir uns forbewegen, hat ihre Namen verloren...nicht zu vergessen das Gewirr von Geräuschen, es könnten andere Sprachen sein, ich verstehe sie nicht, nacht nichts, dass ist es was um uns geschieht. Doch was immer mir in den Weg kommt, ich bleibe im Panzer der Sprache, hier bin ich geschützt, einzigartig bewehrt.“

“[…] sitting in the armored tank of language, to drive to the front lines of what lies Outside, there where the slaughter begins. The tank protects me, riveted all around, built of steel plates, stable grammar….The landscape we advance in has lost its names…not to mention the swirl of sounds; it could be other languages; I don’t understand them; no big deal, that’ what’s happening around us. Still, whatever gets in my way, I stay inside my tank of language; here I’m protected, marvelously armored.”

(Durs Grübein, “Aus einem alten Fahrtenbuch,” cited in Jonathan Monroe, “Avant-Garde Poetries after the Wall,” Poetics Today, 21:1, Spring 2000: 98.)

“For it is precisely visions of the frenzy of destruction, in which all earthly things collapse into a heap of ruins which reveal not so much the ideal quality of allegorical contemplation, but rather its limit…In the death- signs of the baroque, allegorical reflection finally veers round, in a backward movement of redemption… The spell of utter fragmentation, death and dispersion is broken… After all, this is the essence of American, British and Canadian Studies / 156 melancholy immersion: that its ultimate objects, in which it it can most fully secure for itself that which is abject, turn into allegories, and that these allegories fill out and deny the void in which they are represented, just as, ultimately, the intention does not faithfully rest in the contemplation of bones, but leaps forward into resurrection.”

(Walter Benjamin, The Origin of German Tragic , cited in Helga Geyer- Ryan, of Desire: Studies in the Ethics of Art and Gender. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1994: 201.)

“At last the earth had stopped spinning with the motion of the Infernal Machine. The last house was still, the last tree rooted again. It was seven minutes past two by his watch. And he was cold stone sober. How horrible was the feeling.”

(Lowry, Under the Volcano: 227.)

“C’mon, you lazy bastard.”

(Pike Bishop, William Holden, in The Wild Bunch.)