Brooks, The Well Wrought Urn

Brooks, Cleanth. The Well Wrought Urn. New York: Harcourt, Inc. 1942.

(AD: I am here much less interested in the notes Brooks takes on the poems that he explicates than in what these notes say about the New Critical methodology of which he is an exemplary practitioner.)

1: The Language of Paradox

“I am not here interested in enumerating the possible variations [of meaning born from paradoxes]; I am interested rather in our seeing that the paradoxes spring from the very nature of the poet’s language: it is a language in which the connotations play as great a part as the denotations. And I do not mean that the connotations are important as supplying some sort of frill or trimming, something external to the real matter in hand. I mean that the poet does not use a notation at all–as the scientist may properly be said to do so. The poet, within limits, has to make up his language as he goes.

T. S. Eliot has commented upon ‘that perpetual slight alteration of language, words perpetually juxtaposed in new and sudden combinations,’ which occurs in poetry. It is perpetual; it cannot be kept out of the poem; it can only be directed and controlled. The tendency of science is necessarily to stabilize terms, to freeze them into strict denotations; the poet’s tendency is by contrast disruptive. The terms are continually modifying each other, and thus violating their dictionary meanings” (8-9).

“The method of art can, I believe, never be direct–is always indirect. But that does not mean that the master of the game cannot place the bowl where he wants it. The serious difficulties will only occur when he confuses his game with that of science and mistakes the nature of his appropriate instrument” (10).

“…how many of the important things which the poet has to say have to be said by means of paradox: most of the language of lovers is such…so is most of the language of religion…Indeed, almost any insight important enough to warrant a great poem apparently has to be stated in such terms” (18).

“The urns are not meant for memorial purposes only, though that often seems to be their chief significance to the professors of literature. The phoenix rises from its ashes; or ought to rise; but it will not arise for all our mere sifting and measuring the ashes, or testing them for their chemical content. We must be prepared to accept the paradox of the imagination itself; else ‘Beautie, Truth, and Raritie’ remain enclosed in their cinders and we shall end with essential cinders, for all our pains” (21).

3: The Light Symbolism in ‘L’Allegro- Il Penseroso’

“Milton is using in these poems something which looks curiously like symbolism, and a symbolism too delicate and indeterminate to be treated in terms of the coarser modes of it such as allegory, for example…” (51). (AD: Symbolism: Allegory :: Fine: Coarse)

“The typical critic since Johnson has done little more than express his appreciation of the delicious quality of the double poem, feeling perhaps that the beauty of the poem was so obvious as to require no further comment, and the effect given so simple as to render any consideration of architectonics a mere intrusion. this view is based upon a sound consideration of the effectiveness of the poem; but great art is never so simple that it will not repay careful reading, and the result has been that except for communication between admirers of the poem, the ‘criticism’ has been quite useless” (51).

“To unravel these questions is to recapitulate the entire symbolism of the two poems” (66). (AD: This is the NC method.)

4: What Does Poetry Communicate?

“The question of what poetry communicates, if anything, has been largely forced upon us by the advent of ‘modern’ poetry. Some of that poetry is admittedly highly difficult–a very great deal of it is bound to appear difficult to the reader of conventional reading habits, even in spite of the fact–actually, in many cases, because of the fact–that he is a professor literature. For this reason, the difficult moderns are often represented as untraditional and generally irresponsible” (67).

“The question, however, allows only one honest answer: modern poetry (if it is really poetry, and, at its best, it is really poetry) communicates whatever any other poetry communicates” (67). (AD: the NC method is to ask questions better to better fit the poems.)

“All this is ‘communicated’ by the poem, and must be taken into account when we attempt to state what the poem ‘says.’ No theory of communication can deny that this is part of what the poem communicates, however awkwardly a theory of communication may be put to it to handle the problem” (71).

“I shall not try to indicate in detail what the resolution is. Here one must refer the reader to the poem itself. Yet one can venture to suggest the tone” (72).

“If my clumsy paraphrase possesses any part of the truth, then this is still another thing which the poem communicates, though I shall hardly be able to ‘prove’ it. As a matter of fact, I do not care to insist upon this or any other paraphrase. Indeed it is just because I am suspicious of such necessarily abstract paraphrases that I think our initial question, ‘What does the poem communicate?’, is badly asked. It is not that the poem communicates nothing. Precisely the contrary. The poem communicates so much and communicates it so richly and with such delicate qualifications that the thing communicated is mauled and distorted if we attempt to convey it by any vehicle less subtle than that of the poem itself” (73).

“To sum up: our examination of the poem has not resulted in our locating an idea or set of ideas which the poet has communicated with certain appropriate decorations. Rather, our examination has carried us further and further into the poem itself in a process of exploration. As we have made this exploration, it has become more and more clear that the poem is not only a linguistic vehicle which conveys the thing communicated most ‘poetically,’ but that it is also the sole linguistic vehicle which conveys the things communicated accurately. In fact, if we are to speak exactly, the poem itself is the only medium that communicates the particular ‘what’ that is communicated. The conventional theories of communication offer no easy solution to our problem of meanings: we emerge with nothing more enlightening than this graceless bit of tautology: the poem says what the poem says” (74).

“the poet is a maker, not a communicator. He explores, consolidates, and ‘forms’ the total experience that is the poem” (74-5).

“I believe that I. A. Richards, if I understand him correctly, has attempted to qualify his theory in precisely this way. At any rate, the net effect of his criticism has been to emphasize the need of a more careful reading of poetry and to regard the poem as an organic thing” (75).

“What does this poem communicate? If we are content with the answer that the poem says that we should enjoy youth before youth fades, and if we are willing to write off everything else in the poem as ‘decoration,’ then we can properly censure Eliot or Auden or Tate for not making poems so easily tagged. But in that case we are not interested in poetry; we are interested in tags. Actually, in a few years, when time has wrought its softening changes, and familiarity has subdued the modern poet’s frightful mien, and when the tags have been obligingly supplied, we may even come to terms with our difficult moderns” (77).

the “blush recollected in tranquility” (84).

6: Gray’s Storied Urn

“…we can conceive of the prose-sense as the exclusive source of the poetic effect only as a limiting case. In no actual poem is the reader’s response determined solely by the prose-sense. Still, what the ‘Elegy’ ‘says’ as poetry does seem so close to what the prose-sense manages to say, that the reader is tempted to think of the prose-sense as the poetic content, a content which in this poem is transmitted, essentially unqualified, to the reader by means of the poetic form, which, in this case, merely supplies a discreet decoration to the content” (105-6).

“The ‘Elegy’ is thus–like The Waste Land–a tissue of allusions and half-allusions. If the materials of which it is composed are ‘poetic,’ they have been made poetic by other poets” (107).

“…the precise modifications made by these allusions are difficult to assess and more difficult to prove” (107).

“These points are perhaps too obvious to seem worth making. But there must be no mistake as to what is going on…” (109).

“But this is, if not to beg the question, at least to ask the question badly: for the self-consciousness of the artist is not necessarily involved. The appeal is to be made to the poem itself” (110).

7: Wordsworth and the Paradox of the Imagination 

“…it may actually surprise some readers to see how much the poem, strictly considered in its own right, manages to say, as well as precisely what it says. If we consider the ‘Ode’ in these terms, several observations emerge. For one thing, the poem will be seen to make more use of paradox than is commonly supposed. Of some of these paradoxes, Wordsworth himself must obviously have been aware; but he was probably not aware, the reader will conjecture, of the extent to which he was employing paradox” (125).

“In one sense I think the question of whether or not Wordsworth did this consciously is irrelevant. What I am certain of is this: that the lines ‘The moon doth with delight / Look round her’ strike any sensitive reader as fine to a degree which their value as decoration will not account for” (130).

8: Keats’s Sylvan Historian: History Without Footnotes

[re: ‘beauty is truth, truth beauty’] “This is ‘to mean’ with a vengeance–to violate doctrine of the objective correlative, not only by stating truths, but by defining the limits of truth” (152).

“But the question of real importance is not whether Eliot, Murry, and Garrod are right in thinking that ‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty’ injures the poem. The question of real importance concerns beauty and truth in a much more general way: what is the relation of the beauty (the goodness, the perfection) of a poem to the truth or falsity of what it seems to assert? It is a question which has particularly vexed our own generation–to give it I. A. Richards’ phrasing, it is the problem of belief” (152).

“It will not be sufficient, however, if it merely drives us back to a study of Keats’s reading, his conversation, his letters. We shall not find our answer there even if scholarship does prefer on principle investigations of Browning’s ironic question, ‘What porridge had John Keats?’ For even if we knew just what porridge he had, physical and mental, we should still not be able to solve the problem of the ‘Ode.’ The reason should be clear: our specific question is not what did Keats the man perhaps want to assert here about the relation of beauty and truth; it is rather: was Keats the poem able to exemplify that relation in this particular poem?” (153).

“It has seemed best to be perfectly frank about procedure: the poem is to be read in order to see whether the last lines of the poem are not, after all, dramatically prepared for” (154).

9: The Motivation of Tennyson’s Weeper

“I have no wish to intellectualize the poem–to make conscious and artful what was actually spontaneous and simple. Nevertheless, the qualities of ironic contrast and paradox do exist in the poem; and they do have a relation to the poem’s dramatic power” (175).

11: The Heresy of Paraphrase

“For what is it to be poetic?” (193) (AD: This is one of the important “good questions”)

“…if we are to proceed at all, we must draw a sharp distinction between the attractiveness or beauty of any particular item taken as such and the ‘beauty’ of the poem considered as a whole. The latter is the effect of a total pattern, and of a kind of pattern which can incorporate within itself items intrinsically beautiful or ugly, attractive or repulsive. Unless one asserts the primacy of the pattern, a poem becomes merely a bouquet of intrinsically beautiful items” (194).

“But though it is in terms of structure that we must describe poetry, the term ‘structure’ is certainly not altogether satisfactory as a term. One means by it something far more internal than the metrical pattern, say, or than the sequence of images. The structure meant is certainly not ‘form’ in the conventional sense in which we think of form as a kind of envelope which ‘contains’ the ‘content.’ The structure obviously is everywehre conditioned by the nature of the material which goes into the poem. The nature of the material sets the problem to be solved, and the solution is the ordering of the material” (194).

“the critic is forced to judge the poem by its political or scientific or philosophical truth; or, he is forced to judge the poem by its form as conceived externally and detached from human experience” (196).

there are paraphraseable and non-paraphraseable elements to a poem.

“The essential structure of a poem (as distinguished from the rational or logical structure of the ‘statement’ which we abstracted from it) resembles that of architecture or painting: it is a pattern of resolved stresses. Or, to move closer still to poetry by considering the temporal arts, the structure of a poem resembles that of a ballet or musical composition. It is a pattern of resolutions and balances and harmonizations, developed through a temporal scheme” (203).

“…the reader may well ask: is it not possible to frame a proposition, a statement, which will adequately represent the total meaning of the poem; that is, is it not possible to elaborate a summarizing proposition which will ‘say,’ briefly and in the form of a proposition, what the poem ‘says’ as a poem, a proposition which will say it fully and will say it exactly, no more and no less? Could not the poet, if he had chosen, have framed such a proposition? Cannot we as readers and critics frame such a proposition? The answer must be that the poet himself obviously did not–else he would not have had to write his poem” (206).

“I have in mind no special ills which poetry is to cure. Uses for poetry are always to be found, and doubtless will continue to be found. But my discussion of the structure of poetry is not being conditioned at this point by some new and special role which I expect poetry to assume in the future or some new function to which I would assign it” (209).

“If the poet, then, must perforce dramatize the one-ness of the experience, even though paying tribute to its diversity, then his use of paradox and ambiguity is seen as necessary. He is not simply trying to spice up, with a superficially exciting or mystifying rhetoric, the old stale stockpot (though doubtless this will be what the inferior poet does generally and what the real poet does in his lapses). He is rather giving us an insight which preserves the unity of experience and which, at its higher and more serious levels, triumphs over the apparently contradictory and conflicting elements of experience by unifying them into a new pattern” (214).

“he must transcend the conventional and polite attributions of divinity which would be made to her as an acknowledged belle. Otherwise, he is merely trivial and obvious” (214).

Appendix 1: Criticism, History, and Critical Relativism

“I insist that to treat the poems discussed primarily as poems is a proper emphasis, and very much worth doing” (215).

“We are not likely to ignore those elements which make the great poems differ from each other. It is entirely possible, on the other hand, that the close kinship that they bear to one another may be obscured–those qualities that make them poems and which determine whether they are good poems or bad poems” (216).

“If we are to emphasize, not the special subject matter, but the way in which the poem is built, or –to change the metaphor–the form which it has taken as it grew in the poet’s mind, we shall necessarily raise questions of formal structure and rhetorical organization: we shall be forced to talk about levels of meanings, symbolizations, clashes of connotations, paradoxes, ironies, etc. Moreover, however inadequate these terms may be, even so, such terms do bring us closer, I feel, to the structure of the poem as an organism” (218).

“The question of form, of rhetorical structure, simply has to be faced somewhere. It is the primary problem of the critic. Even if it is postponed, it cannot ultimately be evaded. If there is such a thing as poetry, we are compelled to deal with it” (222).

“The Humanities are in their present plight largely because their teachers have more and more ceased to raise normative questions,have refrained from evaluation. In their anxiety to avoid meaningless ’emoting,’ in their desire to be objective and ‘scientific,’ the proponents of the Humanities have tended to give up any claim to making a peculiar and special contribution” (235).




Hardy, Tess of the d’Urbervilles

Hardy, Thomas. Tess of the d’Urbervilles. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983 (originally published 1891). Print.

AD: the novel begins by the discovery of Tess’s failed, heretofore-buried aristocratic heritage by her father, revealed by a parson. Tess is set up as a virginal “country girl.”

witchy scenes: pg. 20,129, she baptizes her own child (133), 157, 249

“Tess Durbeyfield at this time of her life was a mere vessel of emotion untinctured by experience… phases of her childhood lurked in her aspect still” (23).

“…to almost everybody she was a fine and picturesque country girl, and no more” (23). (AD: Tess adequately described in physical terms, while at Angel’s appearance, we see “the appearance of the third and youngest would hardly have been sufficient to characterize him” (24).)

[of their knightly heritage] “Will it do us any good, mother?”

“Oh yes. ‘Tis thoughted that great things may come o’t” (30).

“My projick is to send Tess to claim kin” (37). (AD: While obviously in the eyes of the d’Urbervilles the “kinship” between them and Tess is questionable at best–the Lady doesn’t even know of the supposed link–in some way, Tess “claims” the ultimate “kinship” with the d’Urbervilles by Alec’s “knowledge” of her, and by her production of a (however ill-fated) d’Urberville child.)

“Did you say the stars were worlds, Tess?”


“All like ours?”

“I don’t know; but I think so. They sometimes seem to be like the apples on our stubbard-tree. Most of them splendid and sound–a few blighted.”

“Which do we live on–a splendid one or a blighted one?”

“A blighted one.”

“‘Tis very unlucky that we didn’t pitch on a sound one, when there were so many more of ’em!” (42).

“As Tess grew older, and began to see how matters stood, she felt quite a Malthusian towards her mother for thoughtlessly giving her so many little sisters and brothers, when it was such a trouble to nurse and provide for them. Her mother’s intelligence was that of a happy child…” (49).

Alec is “Swarthy” like Jude (51).

“D’Urberville began gathering specimens of the fruit for her, handing them back to her as he stopped: and presently selecting a specially fine product of the ‘British Queen’ variety he stood up and held it by the stem to her mouth.

“No, no!’ she said quickly, putting her fingers between his hand and her lips. ‘I would rather take it in my own hand.’

‘Nonsense!’ he insisted; and in a slight distress she parted her lips and took it in” (55). (AD: some fruity sexual foreshadowing going on here.)

Tess has lots of foreboding about Alec but can’t quite put her finger on that it’s sexual in nature: “I don’t quite like Mr. d’Urberville being there!”

“She had hoped to be a teacher at the school, but the fates seemed to decide otherwise” (63). .(AD: the fates decided to remove her from a less feminine position and put her in one of feminine frailty.)

[Alec takes Tess on a crazy ride on his mare.] “Tib has killed one chap; and just after I bought her she nearly killed me. And then, take my word for it, I nearly killed her. But she’s touchy still, very touchy, and one’s life is hardly safe behind her sometimes” (71). Tess, the other mare he tries to tame, does kill him.

Tess often described in “wild animal” imagery (72).

“He was inexorable, and she sat still, and d’Urberville gave her the kiss of mastery. No sooner had he done so than she flushed with shame, took out her handkerchief, and wiped the spot on her cheek that had been touched by his lips. His ardour was nettled at the sight, for the act on her part had been unconsciously done” (73).

“Mrs. d’Urberville was not the first mother compelled to love her offspring resentfully, and to be bitterly fond” (79). (AD: nor Tess.)

“She was more pliable under his hands than a mere companionship would have made her, owing to her unavoidable dependence upon his mother, and, through that lady’s comparative helplessness, upon him” (81).

[at the dance] “At intervals a couple would approach the doorway for air, and the haze no longer veiling their features, the demigods resolved themselves into the homely personalities of her own next-door neighbours” (86).

“Tess soon perceived as she walked in the flock” back to her home that Alec was coming to tempt her away… Christian flock imagery. Alec/Satan tempts her away from orthodoxy (90).

weird scene where Car spills treacle syrup on her dress and rolls around to get it off that seems like a miscarriage scene: pg 91

[of Alec] “He knew that anything was better than frigidity” (96).

“Mayn’t I treat you as a lover?

“She drew a quick pettish breath of objection, writhing uneasily on her seat, looked far ahead, and murmered, ‘I don’t know–I wish–how can I say yes or no, when–’

“He settled the matter by clasping his arm round her as he desired–and Tess expressed no further negative” (98).

[rape scene pg 102-3] “As Tess’s own people down in those retreats are never tired of saying among each other in their fatalistic way: ‘It was to be.’ There lay the pity of it. An immeasurable social chasm was to divide our heroine’s personality thereafter from that previous self of hers who stepped from her mother’s door to try her fortune at the Tantridge poultry-farm” (103).

(AD: Hardy can only touch the rape very, very obliquely, in metaphysical and philosophic rather than physical or intellectual terms.)

“It was always beautiful from here; it was terribly beautiful to Tess to-day, for since her eyes last fell upon it she had learnt that the serpent hisses where the sweet birds sing, and her views of life had been totally changed for her by the lesson. Verily another girl than the simple one she had been at home was she who, bowed by thought, stood still here, and turned to look behind her. She could not bear to look forward into the Vale” (108).

“She had no fear of him now; and in the cause of her confidence her sorrow lay” (109).

” ‘See how you’ve mastered me!’ She thereupon turned round and lifted her face to his, and remained like a marble term while he imprinted a kiss upon her cheek–half-perfunctorily, half as if zest had not yet quite died out. Her eyes vaguely rested upon the remotest trees in the lane while the kiss was given, as though she were nearly unconscious of what he did” (111).

” ‘But,’ she said tremulously, ‘suppose your sin was not of your own seeking?’

He shook his head. ‘I cannot split hairs on that burning query,’ he said…” (113). (AD: re: in Jude, “the letter killeth.”)

[to her mother] “How could I be expected to know? I was a child when I left this house four months ago. Why did you tell me there was danger in men-folk? Why didn’t you warn me? Ladies know what to fend hands against, because they read novels that tell them of these tricks; but I never had the chance o’learning in that way, and you did not help me.’

Her mother was subdued. ‘I thought if I spoke of his fond feelings, and what they might lead to, you would be hontish wi’ him, and lose your chance,’ she murmured, wiping her eyes with her apron. ‘Well, we must make the best of it, I suppose. ‘Tis nater, after all, and what do please God’.” (117). (AD: Maternal reproach leads to reproach at her own maternity. Tess is ignorant of sex. For the mother, rape/sex = nature = what pleases God. Hardy says earlier that the mother “always finds comfort” in difficulty, but this may actually be true rather than blithe.)

“It is then that the plight of being alive becomes attenuated to its least possible dimensions. She had no fear of the shadows; her sole idea seemed to be to shun mankind–or rather that cold accretion called the world, which, so terrible in the mass, is so unformidable, even pitiable, in its units” (121).

“At times her whimsical fancy would intesnify natural processes around her till they seemed a part of her own story. Rather they became part of it; for the world is only a psychological phenomenon, and what they seemed they were” (121). (AD: whose point of view is this from? Tess’s or the narrators? Who sees the world as a primarily psychological phenomenon?)

“She had been made to break an accepted social law, but no law known to the environment in which she fancied herself such an anomaly” (121). (AD: what a strange use of the passive voice. Made by whom? A mean God? Nature? her upbringing? the male sex?)

[the reaping machine] “Presently there arose from within a ticking like the love-making of the grasshopper. The machine had begun, and a moving concatenation of three horses and the aforesaid long rickety machine was visible over the gate, a driver sitting upon one of the hauling horses, and an attendant on the seat of the implement. Along one side of the field the whole wain went, the arms of the mechanical reaper revolving slowly, till it passed down the hill quite out of sight. In a minute it came up on the other side of the field at the same equable pace; the glistening brass star in the forehead of the fore-horse first catching the eye as it rose into view over the stubble, then the bright arms, and then the whole machine.

The narrow lane of stubble encompassing the field grew wider with each circuit, and the standing corn was reduced to smaller area as the morning wore on. Rabbits, hares, snakes, rats, mice, retreated inwards as into a fastness, unaware of the ephemeral nature of their refuge, and of the doom that awaited them later in the day when, their covert shrinking to a more and more horrible narrowness, they were huddled together friends and foes, till the last few yards of upright wheat fell also under the teeth of the unerring reaper, and they were every one put to death by the sticks and stones of the harvesters” (124). (AD: “reaping” a generative/reproductive mechanism. There are casualties.)

[our introduction to Tess’s child] “As soon as her lunch was spread she called up the big girl, who was her sister, Liza-Lu, and took the baby of her; who, glad to be relieved of the burden, went away to the neck shock and joined the other children playing there. Tess, with a curiously stealthy yet courageous movement, and with a still rising colour, unfastened her frock and began suckling the child” (127).

“When the infant had taken its fill the young mother sat it upright in her lap, and looking into the far distance dandled it with a gloomy indifference that was almost dislike; then all of a sudden she fell to violently kissing it some dozens of times, as if she could never leave off, the child crying at the vehemence of an onset which strangely combined passionateness with contempt” (127).

“The familiar surroundings had not darkened because of her grief, nor sickened because of her pain” (128).

“The baby’s offence against society in coming into the world was forgotten by the girl-mother; her soul’s desire was to continue that offence by preserving the life of the child” (129).

“So passed away Sorrow the Undesired–that intrusive creature, that bastard gift of shameless Nature who respects not the social law; a waif to whom eternal Time had been a matter of days merely; who knew not that such things as years and centuries ever were; to whom the cottage interior was the universe, the week’s weather climate, new-born babyhood human existence, and the instinct to suck human knowledge” (135).

When hearing a street preacher, “She suddenly stopped and murmured, ‘But perhaps I don’t quite know the Lord as yet.'” (150). (AD: the mastery that she had was not so great. She’s probably not really into another Lord.)

“Let the truth be told–women do as a rule live through such humiliations, and regain their spirits, and again look about them with an interested eye” (151).

“He [Angel Clare] was surprised to find that this young woman–who though but a milkmaid had just that touch of rarity about her which might make her the envied of her housemates–shaping such sad imaginings. She was expressing in her own native phrases–assisted a little by her sixth-standard training–feelings which might almost have been called those of the age–the ache of modernism. The perception arrested him less when he reflected that what are called advanced ideas are really in great part but the latest fashion in definition–a more accurate expression, by words in –logy and –ism, of sensations which men and women have vaguely grasped for centuries” (177). (AD: critique of modernism? Tess as modernist? weird.)

“It was then as had been said, that she impressed him most deeply. She was no longer the milkmaid, but a visionary essence of woman–a whole sex condensed into one typical form. He called her Artemis, Demeter, and other fanciful names, half-teasingly–which she did not like because she did not understand them. ‘Call me Tess,’ she would say askance; and he did. Then it would grow lighter, and her features would become simply feminine; they had changed from those of a divinity who could confer bliss to those of a being who craved it” (186).

“The air of the sleeping-chamber seemed to palpitate with the hopeless passion of the girls. They writhed feverishly under the oppressiveness of an emotion thrust on them by cruel Nature’s law–an emotion which they had neither expected nor desired” (207). (AD: sexual desire is oppressive and frustrating.)

[Angel of Tess] “She’s brim-full of poetry–actualized poetry, if I may use the expression. She lives what paper-poets only write…” (235).

“[Angel Clare’s] influence over her had been so marked that she had caught his manner and habits, his speech and phrases, his likings and his aversions. And to leave her in farm-land would be to let her slip back again out of accord with him. He wished to have her under his charge…” (290). (AD: She’s a bit like Pygmalion’s statue for him.)

[says Angel] “Decrepit families imply decrepit wills, decrepit conduct” (330). (AD: we are obviously not to believe this of Tess, though.)

“Sheer experience had already taught her that in some circumstances there was one thing better than to lead a good life, and that was to be saved from leading any life whatever” (343). (AD: re: Jude.)

[Tess to Alec] “You, and those like you, take your fill of pleasure on earth by making the life of such as me bitter and black with sorrow; and then it is a fine thing, when you have had enough of that, to think of securing your pleasure in heaven by becoming converted.  Out upon such–I don’t believe in you–I hate it!” (424).

“Men are too often harsh with women they love or have loved; women with men. And yet these harshnesses are tenderness itself when compared with the universal harshness out of which they grow; the harshness of the position towards the temperament, of the means towards the aims, of to-day with yesterday, of hereafter towards today” (465).

“To her, and to her like, birth itself was an ordeal of degrading personal compulsion whose gratuitousness nothing in the result seemed to justify, and at best could only palliate” (485).

“It was not her husband, she had said. Yet a consciousness that in a physical sense this man alone was her husband seemed to weigh on her more and more” (485). (AD: in the Biblical sense of “knowing” he’s the only one who knows her.)

Part 7, the last, is called “Fulfillment.” she is sacrificed to the sun god at Stonehenge. But stonehenge actually was the site of fertility rituals. She is sacrificed to (normal feminine) fertility because she failed at it. She can’t survive to tell.

[last sentence] “The two speechless gazers bent themselves down to the earth, as if in prayer, and remained thus a long time, absolutely motionless: the flag continued to wave silently. As soon as they had strength they arose, joined hands again, and went on” (542). (AD: Sisyphean.)

Blake, Kathleen. “Pure Tess: Hardy on Knowing a Woman.” SEL: Studies in English Literature 1500-1900, 1982.

“From the title page, the reader knows Hardy’s heroine as Tess of the D’Urbervilles and as ‘A Pure Woman,’ in other words, as individual and as pure abstraction. The novel’s title and subtitle introduce a dialectic of knowledge which is shown to generate both good and ill, Tess’s charm and her tragedy” (689).

“Of abiding interest to Hardy is apprehension of the general in relation to the particular within the seeming that makes reality, and the way a woman is apprehended provides a measure of this dialectic which reveals its complexity. And so in Tess he explores the question: what happens when the object of knowledge is also the object of aesthetic response and of love? He finds what happens full of delight and danger” (690).

“Tess bears a proper name as a unique person, while she is universalized as a pure woman” (690). (AD: also, her family name d’Urberville)

“In sex we see one of nature’s strongest means of diffusing unique personality” (694).

repetition erodes autonomy, both in family-line and in sexuality.

Tumanov, Vladimir. “Under the Hood of Tess: Conflicting Reproductive Strategies in Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles.” Neophilologus, 2013.

“the danger resides in the worlf to be sure, but it can also lurk in Little Red Riding Hood’s evolved hominid impulses” (250).

“evocriticism” fits surprisingly well with Victorian social mores

Women can choose a “dad” who will help care for the child or a “cad” who won’t but will produce “sexy sons” who will continue her own genetic line. Tess chooses the “cad,” and the fate of TEss’s baby “demonstrate[s] precisely what would have likely happened to an ancestral female without a supporting mate” (251). Tess’s genetic gamble is therefore “attempted and lost, which suggests that reproductive success is more likely with a male who is not necessarily quite as high on the genetic viability scale as a cad mate” (251).

“Angel’s chivalric behavior is a form of fitness display–male fitness being defined in evolutionary terms not just as the visible physical attractiveness of an Alec d’Urberville, but as any characteristics or behaviors that a female may find reproductively appealing” (252).

Angel abandons Tess once he finds out that she has already reproduced with someone else.

“Because, unlike the caddish Alec, Angel is a long-term reproductive investor, the ‘purity’ of a prospective mate is essential to him” (254).

The ‘clash of the two mothers’: Tess’s wants her to hide her failed reproduction, while Angel’s mother wants to sniff it out and prevent her son from implicating himself there.

[re: when Tess debates whether or not to tell Angel about her baby] “This is pressure from the reproductive module which must have helped so many ancestral females…to maximize their genetic potential. However, Tess’ reciprocity module gains the upper hand… His reaction also illustrates tow hat extent the male’s reciprocity and reproductive modules can clash” (256).

“the cad male, the dad male, and the female who needs to choose between them” (257).

“without transcending their inherent reproductive psychology, Hardy’s characters retain their basic dignity in a world so radically altered by Charles Darwin’s thinking” (258). (AD: Hardy’s whole point though is that we cannot overcome biology. Other Victorian writers try to posit this transcendence, but Hardy recognizes this from the get-go. This is not a particularly novel argument. The dignity, however, is the important part.)


Friedan, The Feminine Mystique

Friedan, Betty. The Feminine Mystique. New York: W. W. Norton. 1963.

[re: “The Problem That Has No Name”] “…she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question–’is this all?’…there was no word of this yearning in the millions of words written about women, for women” (57).

“Concerned over the Soviet Union’s lead in the space race, scientists noted that America’s greatest source of unused brainpower was women. But girls would not study physics: it was unfeminine” (60).

“She was free to choose automobiles, clothes, appliances, supermarkets; she had everything that women ever dreamed of” after WWII (61). (AD: specious freedom of choice masks deeper inability to exit feminine rut.)

“this mystique of feminine fulfillment became the cherished and self-perpetuating core of contemporary American culture” (61).

“If woman had a problem in the 1950’s and 1960’s, she knew that something must be wrong with her marriage, or with herself. Other women were satisfied with their lives, she thought. …She was so ashamed to admit her dissatisfaction that she never knew how many other women shared it” (62). (AD: This is where consciousness-raising came in and was important.)

” ‘There’s nothing wrong really,’ they kept telling themselves. ‘There isn’t any problem’.” (62).

“They began, hesitantly, to talk about it…two of the women cried, in sheer relief, just to know they were not alone” (63).

“The groping words I heard from other women, on quiet afternoons when children were at school or on quiet evenings when husbands worked late, I think I understood first as a woman long before I understood their larger social and psychological implications” (63).

“The problem was dismissed by telling the housewife she doesn’t realize how lucky she is–her own boss, no time clock, no junior executive gunning for her job. What if she isn’t happy–does she think men are happy in this world? Does she really, secretly, still want to be a man? Doesn’t she know yet how lucky she is to be a woman?” (68).

“Most adjusted to their role and suffered or ignored the problem that has no name. It can be less painful, for a woman, not to hear the strange, dissatisfied voice stirring within her” (71).

“For the oldest of these women, these daughters of the American middle class, no other dream was possible” (72).

Women were crippled by “a devastating boredom” (75).

“In this age after Freud, sex is immediately suspect. But this new stirring in women does not seem to be sex; it is, in fact, much harder for women to talk about than sex. Could there be another need, a part of themselves they have buried as deeply as the Victorian women buried sex?” (80).

[re: Women’s Magazines] “The magazine surely does not leave out sex; the only passion, the only pursuit, the only goal a woman is permitted is the pursuit of a man. It is crammed full of food, clothing, cosmetics, furniture, and the physical bodies of young women, but where is the world of thought and ideas, the life of the mind and spirit? In the magazine image, women do no work except house-work and work to keep their bodies beautiful and to get and keep a man” (83).

“In the second half of the twentieth century in America, woman’s world was confined to her own body and beauty, the charming of man, the bearing of babies, and the physical care and serving of husband, children, and home” (83).

“The New Woman, soaring free, hesitates in midflight, shivers in all that blue sunlight and rushes back to the cozy walls of home” (89).

“And so the feminine mystique began to spread through the land, grafted onto old prejudices and comfortable conventions which so easily give the past a stranglehold on the future… The feminine mystique says that the highest value and the only commitment for women is the fulfillment of their own femininity” (91).

“…this femininity is so mysterious and intuitive and close to the creation and origin of life that man-made science may never be able to understand it. But however special and different, it is in no way inferior to the nature of man; it may even in certain respects be superior. The mistake, says the mystique, the root of women’s troubles in the past is that women envied men, women tried to be like men, instead of accepting their own nature, which can find fulfillment only in sexual passivity, male domination, and nurturing maternal love. But the new image this mystique gives to american women is the old image: ‘Occupation: housewife.'” (92).

“The housewife heroines are forever young, because their own image ends in childbirth. …They must keep on having babies, because the feminine mystique says there is no other way for a woman to be a heroine” (93).

“the feeling of a separate identity…must be exorcised to win or keep the love of husband and child” (95).

“The end of the road, in an almost literal sense, is the disappearance of the heroine altogether, as a separate self and the subject of her own story. The end of the road is togetherness, where the woman has no independent self to hide even in guilt; she exists only for and through her husband and children” (97).

“Writing for these magazines, I was continually reminded by editors that ‘women have to identify.'” (103). (AD: Women read for the particular, men read for the universal. Men read for the war, women read for their place in the war.)

“The new image of woman as housewife-mother has been largely created by writers and editors who are men” (105).

One housewife said, “Isn’t it funny? We’re all in the same trap” (109).

“Woman’s political job is to ‘inspire in her home a vision of the meaning of life and freedom…to help her husband find values that will give purpose to his specialized daily chores…to teach her children the uniqueness of each individual human being” (113).

“In the feminine mystique, there is no other way for a woman to dream of creation or of the future. There is no way she can even dream about herself, except as her children’s mother, her husband’s wife” (115).

“A baked potato is not as big as the world, and vacuuming the living room floor–with or without makeup–is not work that takes enough thought or energy to challenge any woman’s full capacity. Women are human beings, not stuffed dolls, not animals” (121).

“When we were growing up, many of us could not see ourselves beyond the age of twenty-one” (123). (AD: re: Diderot)

“The mystique says they can answer the question ‘Who am I?’ by saying ‘Tom’s wife… Mary’s mother.’ But I don’t think the mystique would have such power over American women if they did not fear to face this terrifying blank which makes them unable to see themselves after twenty-one” (126).

“American women no longer know who they are. They are sorely in need of a new image to help them find their identity” (127).

“A mother might tell her daughter, spell it out, ‘Don’t be just a housewife like me.’ But that daughter, sensing that her mother was too frustrated to savor the love of her husband and children, might feel: ‘I will succeed where my mother failed, I will fulfill myself as a woman,’ and never read the lesson of her mother’s life” (127).

“I never knew a woman, when I was growing up, who used her mind, played her own part in the world, and also loved, and had children. I think that this has been the unknown heart of woman’s problem in America for a long time, this lack of a private image” (131).

This was attributed to a “role crisis.” “If girls were educated for their role as women, they would not suffer this crisis, the adjusters say” (131).

“What if the terror a girl faces at twenty-one, when she must decide who she will be, is simply the terror of growing up–growing up, as women were not permitted to grow before? What if the terror a girl faces at twenty-one is the terror of freedom to decide her own life, with no one to order which path she will take, the freedom and the necessity to take paths women before were not able to take? What if those who choose the path of ‘feminine adjustment’–evading this terror by marrying at eighteen, losing themselves in having babies and the details of housekeeping–are simply refusing to grow up, to face the question of their own identity?” (132).

“It is my thesis that the core of the problem for women today is not sexual but a problem of identity–a stunting or evasion of growth that is perpetuated by the feminine mystique. It is my thesis that as the Victorian culture did not permit women to accept or gratify their basic sexual needs, our culture does not permit women to accept or gratify their basic need to grow and fulfill their potentialities as human beings, a need which is not solely defined by their sexual role” (133).

Also, “more and more boys cannot find images in our culture–from their fathers or other men–to help them in their search…More and more young men in america today suffer an identity crisis for want of any image of man worth pursuing, for want of a purpose that truly realizes their human abilities” (135).

“Changeless woman, childish woman, a woman’s place is in the home, they were told. But man was changing; his place was in the world and his world was widening. Woman was being left behind. Anatomy was her destiny; she might die giving birth to one baby, or live to be thirty-five, giving birth to twelve, while man controlled his destiny with that part of his anatomy which no other animal had: his mind. Women also had minds. They also had the human need to grow” (138). (AD: mind over matter.)

“The feminists had only one model, one image, one vision, of a full and free human being: man…Did women want these freedoms because they wanted to be men? Or did they want them because they also were human?” (140). (AD: re: man as unmarked/neutral category to which freedom belongs.)

Ernestine Rose said, “We do not fight with man himself, but only with bad principles” (154).

“The feminists had destroyed the old image of woman, but they could not erase the hostility, the prejudice, the discrimination that still remained. Nor could they paint the new image of what women might become when they grew up under conditions that no longer made them inferior to men, dependent, passive, incapable of thought or decision” (163).

“Encouraged by the mystique to evade their identity crisis, permitted to escape identity altogether in the name of sexual fulfillment, women once again are living with their feet bound in the old image of glorified femininity. And it is the same old image, despite its shiny new clothes, that trapped women for centuries and made the feminists rebel” (165).

[Sigmund Freud] “…saw them [women] as childlike dolls, who existed in terms only of man’s love, to love man and serve his needs. It was the / same kind of unconscious solipsism that made man for many centuries see the sun only as a bright object that revolved around the earth….It was woman’s nature to be ruled by man, and her sickness to envy him” (173).

“You cannot explain away woman’s envy of man, or her contempt for herself, as mere refusal to accept her sexual deformity, unless you think that a woman, by nature, is a being inferior to man. Then, of course, her wish to be equal is neurotic” (184). (AD: or, in my terms, absurd.)

“When questions finally had to be asked because something was obviously wrong, they were asked so completely within the Freudian framework that only one answer was possible: education, freedom, rights are wrong for women” (191).

“…their own respect and awe for the authority of science– anthropology, sociology, psychology share that authority now–kept them from questioning the feminine mystique” (194).

“Protectiveness has often muffled the sound of doors closing against women; it has often cloaked a very real prejudice, even when it is offered in the name of science” (197).

“The complex, mysterious language of functionalism, Freudian psychology, and cultural anthropology hides from her the fact that they say this with not much more basis than grandpa” (197).

“But the great human visions of stopping wars, curing sickness, teaching races to live together, building new and beautiful structures for people to live in, are more than ‘other ways of having children'” (221). (AD: re: alternative modes of generativity)

“Somehow, the student gets the point that she does not want to be the ‘exceptional woman’.” (254).

“The lonely years when husbands or husbands-to-be were away at war–or could be sent away at a bomb’s fall–made women particularly vulnerable to the feminine mystique. They were told that the cold dimension of loneliness which the war had added to their lives was the necessary price they had to pay for a career, for any interest outside the home. The mystique spelled out a choice–love, home, children, or other goals and purposes in life. Given such a choice, was it any wonder that so many American women chose love as their whole purpose?” (270).

“Because the race to get ahead, in the big organization, in every profession in America, is so terribly competitive for men, competition from women is somehow the last straw–and much easier to fight by simply evoking that unwritten law…It was easier for a woman to love and be loved, and have an excuse not to compete with men” (273).

“Facts are swallowed by a mystique in much the same way, I guess, as the strange phenomenon by which hamburger eaten by a dog becomes dog, and hamburger eaten by a human becomes human” (281).

“The insult, the real reflection on our culture’s definition of the role of women, is that as a nation we only noticed that something was wrong with women when we saw its effects on their sons” (294).

“Mother love is said to be sacred in America, but with all the reverence and lip service she is paid, mom is a pretty safe target, no matter how correctly or incorrectly her failures are interpreted. No one has ever been blacklisted or fired for an attack on ‘the American woman'”(295).

“Why is it never said that the really crucial function, the really important role that women serve as housewives is to buy more things for the house…one forgets that the real business of America is business” (299).

“Somehow, somewhere, someone must have figured out that women will buy more things if they are kept in the underused, nameless-yearning, energy-to-get-rid-of state of being housewives” (299).

“This is the kind of creative experience the seller of things can give the housewife” (313).

“we have to liberate women to desire these new products. We help them rediscover that homemaking is more creative than to compete with men. This can be manipulated… If we tell her to be an astronomer, she might go too far from the kitchen” (325).

“The modern American housewife spends far more time washing, drying, and ironing than her mother. IF she has an electric freezer or mixer, she spends more time cooking than a woman who does not have these labor-saving appliances. The home freezer, simply by existing, takes up time… If you have an electric mixer, you have to use it” (343).

“The kind of community work they choose does not challenge their intelligence–or even, sometimes, fill a real function. Nor do they derive much personal satisfaction from it–but it does fill time” (348). (chapter title – “Housewifery Expands to Fill the Time Available.”)

“For the very able woman, who has the ability to create culturally as well as biologically, the only possible rationalization is to convince herself–as the new mystique tries so hard to convince her–that the minute physical details of child care are indeed mystically creative; that her children will be tragically deprived if she is not there every minute; that the dinner she gives the boss’s wife is as crucial to to her husband’s career as the case he fights in court or the problem he solves in the laboratory. And because husband and children are soon out of the house most of the day, she must keep on having new babies, or somehow make the minutiae of housework itself important enough, necessary enough, hard enough, creative enough to justify her very existence” (350).

“To do the work you are capable of is the mark of maturity” (357).

“Happiness is not the same thing as the alive-ness of being fully used” (359). (AD: weird capitalistic push here.)

“Men in general spend most of their hours in pursuits and passions that are not sexual, and have less need to make sex expand to fill the time available” (370).

“But what happens when a woman bases her whole identity on her sexual role; when sex is necessary to make her ‘feel alive’? TO state it quite simply, she puts impossible demand son her own body, her ‘femaleness,’ as well as on her husband and his ‘maleness'” (371).

“And yet because sex does not really satisfy these needs, she seeks to buttress her nothingness with things, until often even sex itself, and the husband and the children on whom the sexual identity rests, become possessions, things” (372).

“the apathetic, dependent, infantile, purposeless being, who seems so shockingly nonhuman when remarked as the emerging character of the new American man, is strangely reminiscent of the familiar ‘feminine’ personality as defined by the mystique” (399). (AD: boys becoming feminine by becoming pussies.)

REALLY problematic comparison between housewives and those in concentration camps (423).

“In fact, the feminine mystique itself–with its acknowledgement of woman as subject and not just object of the sexual act, and its assumption that her active, willing participation was essential to man’s pleasure–could not have come without the emancipation of women to human equality. As the early feminists foresaw, women’s rights did indeed promote greater sexual fulfillment, for men and women” (453).

“A New Life Plan for Women”

  1. “she must unequivocally say ‘no’ to the housewife image” (468)
  2. “see marriage as it really is, brushing aside the veil of over-glorification imposed by the feminine mystique” (469).

“They key to the trap is, of course, education” (487).

She proposes a national education plan for women similar to the GI Bill (502).









Perloff, Wittgenstein’s Ladder

Perloff, Marjorie. Wittgenstein’s Ladder. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1996.

“Do not forget that a poem, although it is composed in the language of information, is not used in the language-game of giving information.” –Wittgenstein, Zettel 

Wittgenstein’s Tractatus opposed against Russell’s apocalyptic convictions about the war (29).

Russell criticized Wittgenstein’s “mysticism”(30). But at one point Wittgenstein wrote to Paul Engelmann, “let’s cut out the transcendental twaddle…” (31).

“One way to read the Tractatus is as a critique of heroism in the wrong place” (40).

“Perhaps the best way to regard the number anomaly is as a kind of clinamen, a bend or swerve where logic gives way to mystery” (42).

[re: Tractatus 6.4 and 6.41] “How did the mind make the jump from the world of fact to the world of value, more accurately the world of resignation that ‘everything is as it is and happens as it does happen’? If ‘the sense of the world must lie outside the world,’ what are we doing measuring and assessing what lies inside? It is this note of irresolution, this recognition of a mystery that cannot be solved, that places the Tractatus with, say, the gnomic and aphoristic manifestos of Malevich or the meditative poems of Wallace Stevens rather than the writing of fin de siècle Vienna, much less the Bloomsbury of G. E. Moore or Maynard Keynes” (44-5).

“When we come to the proposition ‘Death is not an event of life. Death is not lived through,’ we feel that we have witnessed the process whereby this ‘mystical’ insight has been earned. The diarist has witnessed countless deaths, but they are not, he feels obliged to insist, ‘events’ of his own life. The point cannot be argued; it can merely be felt. And in this sense the Tractatus must be understood as a poetic construct” (45).

“…the various deconstructions of the post-World War II era never quite dispelled the notion that there is a basic opposition between ‘ordinary’ and ‘literary’ discourse. True, the literary, or fictive, now became the property of all writing, there being no hors-texte, no presence to which the play of signifiers might point with any assurance” (53).

“Wittgenstein’s ordinary is best understood as quite simply that which is, the language we do actually use when we communicate with one another. In this sense, the ordinary need not be literal, denotative, propositional, neutral, referential, or any of the other adjectives with which it has been equated in the ordinary/literary debate. On the contrary, our actual language may well be connotative, metaphoric, fantastic, the issue being quite simply whether and in what context people use it” (57).

“You cannot justify grammar (LEC1 48), it merely isDescription thus replaces explanation” (58).

“Wittgenstein gradually shows us, language has no essence; it is a complex cultural construction, whose variables are articulated according to one’s particular intersection with it” (71).



Black, Models and Metaphors

Black, Max. Models and Metaphors. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. 1962.

He prefaces the chapter “Metaphor” with the following:

Metaphors are no arguments, my pretty maiden.

– The Fortunes of Nigel, Book 2, Chapter 2

“Addiction to metaphor is held to be illicit, on the principle that whereof one can speak only metaphorically, thereof one ought not to speak at all… since philosophers (for all their notorious interest in language) have so neglected the subject, I must get what help I can from the literary critics” (25).

“In general, when we speak of a relatively simple metaphor, we are referring to a sentence or another expression in which some words are used metaphorically while the remainder are used nonmetaphorically. An attempt to construct an entire sentence of words that are used metaphorically results in a proverb, an allegory, or a riddle. No preliminary analysis of metaphor will satisfactorily cover even so trite an example as ‘In the night all cows are black.’ And cases of symbolism…also need separate treatment” (27).

“The rules of our language determine that some expressions must counta s metaphors; and a speaker can no more change this than he can legislate that ‘cow’ shall mean the same as ‘sheep.’ But we must also recognize that the established rules of language leave wide latitude for individual variation, initiative, and creation” (29).

“To know what the user of a metaphor means, we need to know how ‘seriously’ he treats the metaphorical focus. (Would he be just as content to have some rough synonym, or would only that word serve? Are we to take the word lightly, attending only to its most obvious implications–or should we dwell upon its less immediate associations?) In speech we can use emphasis and phrasing as clues. But in written or printed discourse, even these rudimentary aids are absent. Yet this somewhat elusive ‘weight’ or a (suspected or detected) metaphor is of great practical importance in exegesis” (29).

One mode of metaphorical reasoning “treats the metaphorical expression as a substitute for some other literal expression which would have expressed the same meaning, had it been used instead. On this view, the meaning of M, in its metaphorical occurrence, is just the literal meaning of L… I shall call a substitution view of metaphor” (31). (AD: i.e., an analogue.)

“The view that a metaphorical expression has a meaning that is some transform of its normal literal meaning is a special case of a more general view about ‘figurative’ language… The author provides, not his intended meaning, m, but some function thereof, f(m); the reader’s task is to apply the inverse function f-1,and so to obtain f-1(f(m)), i.e., m, the original meaning..Thus, in irony, the author says the opposite of what he means; in hyperbole, he exaggerates his meaning; and so on. What, then, is the characteristic transforming function involved in metaphor? To this the answer has been made: either analogy or similarity” (35).

“But likeness always admits of degrees…” (37).

“We need the metaphors in just the cases when there can be no question as yet of the precision of scientific statement” (37).

“It would be more illuminating in some of these cases to say that the metaphor creates the similarity than to say that it formulates some similarity antecedently existing” (37).

He’s more interested in what he calls the “interaction view of metaphor” (38).

“the reader is forced to ‘connect’ the two ideas. In this ‘connection’ resides the secret and the mystery of metaphor” (39).

“the important thing for the metaphor’s effectiveness is not that the commonplaces shall be true, but that they should be readily and freely evoked” (40).

“A suitable hearer will be led by the wolf-system of implications to construct a corresponding system of implications about the principal subject” (41).

“No doubt metaphors are dangerous–and perhaps especially so in philosophy. But a prohibition against their use would be a willful and harmful restriction upon our powers of inquiry” (47).



Federici, Caliban and the Witch

Federici, Silvia. Caliban and the Witch. New York: Autonomedia. 2004.

“the target of the witch-hunt–(as it is often true with all political repression in times of intense social change and conflict)–were not socially recognized crimes, but previously accepted practices and groups of individuals that had to be eradicated from the community, through terror and criminalization”(170).

The “poverty” of these women “stands out in their confessions” (171).

“The battle against magic has always accompanied the development of capitalism, to this very day. Magic is premised on the belief that the world is animated, unpredictable, and that there is a force in all things…so that every event is interpreted as the expression of an occult power that must be deciphered and bent to one’s will” (173).

“Aiming at controlling nature, the capitalist organization of work must refuse the unpredictability implicit in the practice of magic, and the possibility of establishing a privileged relation with the natural elements, as well as the belief in the existence of powers available only to particular individuals, and thus not easily generalized and exploitable. Magic was also an obstacle to the rationalization of the work process, and a threat to the establishment of the principle of individual responsibility. Above all, magic seemed a form of refusal of work, of insubordination, and an instrument of grassroots resistance to power. The world had to be ‘disenchanted’ in order to be dominated” (174). (AD: magic + capitalism cannot co-exist.)

“Class revolt, together with sexual transgression, was a central element in the descriptions of the Sabbat, which was portrayed both as a monstrous sexual orgy and as a subversive political gathering, culminating with an account of the crimes which the participants had committed, and with the devil instructing the witches to rebel against their masters… to infringe every natural and social law” (177). (AD: witchery = rebellion against the master. Federici then cites cannibalism, the opposite of birth. This is the ultimate infringement of natural law for women.)

“The most important difference between heresy and witchcraft is that witchcraft was considered a female crime” (179).

“In the popular imagination as well, the witch came to be associated with a lecherous old woman, hostile to new life, who fed upon infant flesh or used children’s bodies to make her magical potions” (180).

“these fertility cults became so abominable in the eyes of the authorities as to call for the extermination of the women practicing the old religion” (180).

“It was not only the deviant woman, but the woman as such, particularly the woman of the lower classes, that was put on trial, a woman who generated so much fear that in her case the relation between education and punishment was turned upside down. ‘We must,’ Jean Bodin declared, ‘spread terror among some by punishing many.'” (185).

“The witch-hunt, then, as a war against women; it was a concerted attempt to degrade them, demonize them, and destroy their social power. At the same time, it was in the torture chambers and on the stakes on which the witches perished that the bourgeois ideals of womanhood and domesticity were forged” (186).

etymology of “glamour”

“The language of the witch-hunt ‘produced’ Woman as a different species, a being suis generis, more carnal and perverted by nature” (192).

“The repulsion that non-procreative sexuality was beginning to inspire is well captured by the myth of the old witch flying on her broom, which, like the animals she also rode upon (goats, mares, dogs) was the projection of an extended penis, symbol of an unbridled lust. This imagery betrays a new sexual discipline that denied the ‘old and ugly’ woman, no longer fertile, the right to a sexual life” (192).

“witches kept a variety of animals – ‘imps’ or ‘familiars’–that helped them in their crimes and with whom they entertained a particularly intimate relation. These were cats, dogs, hares, frogs, that the witch cared for, presumably suckling them from special teats” (194).

“Of particular significance is the relation the witch-hunt established between the prostitute and the witch, reflecting the process of devaluation which prostitution underwent in the capitalist reorganization of sexual work. As the saying went, ‘a prostitute when young, a witch when old,’ for both used sex only to deceive and corrupt men, faking a love that was only mercenary” (197).

[re: difference between male “High Magic” and female “Witchcraft”] “High Magic and witchcraft shared many elements…Among them was the belief, of Neoplatonic origin, that Eros is a cosmic force, binding the universe through relations of “sympathy” and attraction enabling the magician to manipulate and imitate nature in his experiments” (198). (AD: re: the “humours,” and alchemy.) High Magic was even included among the sciences (198).

AD: Think through “sympathy” and “contact” in relation to Irigaray’s lips.



Lakoff, Metaphors We Live By

Lakoff, George and Mark Johnson. Metaphors We Live By. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1980.

“Our ordinary conceptual system, in terms of which we both think and act, is fundamentally metaphorical in nature… [if] our conceptual system is largely metaphorical, then the way we think, what we experience, and what we do every day is very much a matter of metaphor” (3). (AD: “matter” of metaphor is a very generative phrase.)

[ex: Argument is War] “It is important to see that we don’t just talk about arguments in terms of war. We can actually win or lose arguments” (4). (AD: The language with which we approach things determines how we actually approach that thing.)

In a different culture, “people would view arguments differently, experience them differently, carry them out differently, and talk about them differently. But we would probably not view them as arguing at all: they would simply be doing something different… [perhaps] we have a discourse form structured in terms of battle and they have one structured in terms of dance” (5). (AD: re: feminine language)

“The essence of metaphor is understanding and experiencing one kind of thing in terms of another” (5).

“The concept is metaphorically structured, the activity is metaphorically structured, and, consequently, the language is metaphorically structured” (5).

“Metaphor is not merely in the words we sue–it is in our very concept of an argument. The language of argument is not poetic, fanciful, or rhetorical; it is literal. We talk about arguments that way because we conceive of them that way and we act according to the way we conceive of them” (5). (AD: he slipped the metaphor “conceive” in there.)

“Metaphor is not just a matter of language… human thought processes are largely metaphorical. This is what we mean when we say that the human conceptual system is metaphorically structured and defined” (6).

“Because the metaphorical concept is systematic, the language we use to talk about that aspect of the concept is systematic” (7).

[re: “time is money”] : “In our culture, TIME IS MONEY in many ways: telephone message units, hourly wages, hotel room rates, yearly budgets, interest on loans, and paying your debt to society by ‘serving time’…Thus we understand and experience time as the kind of thing that can be spent, wasted, budgeted, invested wisely or poorly, saved, or squandered” (8). (AD: through metaphorization, time literally becomes money.)

“The very systematicity that allows us to comprehend one aspect of a concept in terms of another…will necessarily hide other aspects of a concept” (10). For example, in “argument as battle,” we may “lose sight of the cooperative aspects of arguing” (10)/

[re: Michael Reddy and the “conduit metaphor”] “Our language about language is structured roughly by the following complex metaphor:




The speaker puts ideas (objects) into words (containers) and sends them (along a conduit) to a hearer who takes the idea/objects out of the word/containers” (10). (AD: this, of course, entails that words and sentences have independent meaning themselves. Lakoff questions this.)

“The conduit metaphor does not fit cases where context is required to determine whether the sentence has any meaning at all and, if so, what meaning it has” (12).

“When we say that a concept is structured by metaphor, we mean that it is partially structured and that it can be extended in some ways but not others” (13).

Most “orientational metaphors” are spatial. For example, “happy is up.” This is normativizing and Dis. Studies should look at this. (starts 14).

“MAN IS UP and therefore RATIONAL IS UP” (17).

“Most of our fundamental concepts are organized in terms of one or more spatialization metaphors. There is an internal systematicity to each spatialization metaphor” that purports to reflect real human conditions (AD: but is normativizing and relates only to unmarked categories). (17).

“There are many possible physical and social bases for metaphor. Coherence within the overall system seems to be part of the reason why one is chosen and not another” (18). (AD: re: Lacan’s assertion that without the Law of the Father there is “chaos.” Something other than the phallus might have been chosen, but we want to keep the “coherence” of patriarchal logic.)

“It is hard to distinguish the physical from the cultural basis of a metaphor, since the choice of one physical basis from among many possible ones has to do with cultural coherence” (19).

“We will continue to use the word ‘is’ in stating metaphors like MORE IS UP, but the IS should be viewed as a shorthand for some set of experiences on which the metaphor is based and in terms of which we understand it” (20).

“The most fundamental values in a culture will be coherent with the metaphorical structure of the most fundamental concepts in the culture… our values are not independent but must form a coherent system with the metaphorical concepts we live by. We are not claiming that all cultural values coherent with a metaphorical system actually exist, only that those that do exist and are deeply entrenched are consistent with the metaphorical system” (22).

“Once we can identify our experiences as entities or substances, we can refer to them, categorize them, group them, and quantify them–and, by this means, reason about them. When things are not clearly discrete or bounded, we still categorize them as such…Human purposes typically require us to impose artificial boundaries that make physical phenomena discrete just as we are: entities bounded a surface” (25). (AD: Irigaray asks, “are we?!”)

“our experiences with physical objects (especially our own bodies) provide the basis for an extraordinarily wide variety of ontological metaphors, that is, ways of viewing events, activities, emotions, ideas, etc., as entities and substances” (25).

“Merely viewing a nonphysical thing as an entity or substance does not allow us to comprehend very much about it. But ontological metaphors may be further elaborated” (27). i.e., the mind is a machine so it operates, grinds out, is rusty, etc.

“Even where there is no natural physical boundary that can be viewed as defining a container, we impose boundaries–marking off territory so that it has an inside and a bounding surface–whether  a wall, a fence, or an abstract line or plane. There are few human instincts more basic than territoriality. And such defining of a territory, putting a boundary around it, is an act of quantification” (29). (AD: linguistics is a patriarchal colonizing project, a basic project, a bordering-in project, a definitional project, a project of quantification.)

“We conceptualize our visual field as being a container and conceptualize what we see as being inside it… your field of vision defines a boundary of the territory, namely, the part that you can see” (30).

“We use ontological metaphors to comprehend events, actions, activities, and states. Events and actions are conceptualized metaphorically as objects, activities as substances, states as containers” (30).

metonymy is different from personification since we do not understand the metonym “by imputing human qualities to it” (35). (AD: e.g., calling a woman “boobs”)

“Metaphor and metonymy are different kinds of processes Metaphor is principally a way of conceiving of one thing in terms of another, and its primary function is understanding. Metonymy, on the other hand, has primarily a referential function, that is, it allows us to use one entity to stand for another. But metonymy is not merely a referential device. It also serves the function of providing understanding” (36). (AD: Metonymy functions analogically and patriarchally, while metaphor functions outside this system.)

“Thus metonymy serves some of the same purposes that metaphor does, and in somewhat the same way, but it allows us to focus more specifically on certain aspects of what is being referred to” (37). (AD: The phallus, for instance.)

“The metonymy ‘the face for the person’ is not merely a matter of language. In our culture we look at a person’s face rather than his posture or his movements–to get our basic information about what the person is like. We function in terms of a metonymy when we perceive the person in terms of his face and act on those perceptions” (37). (AD: or his phallus.)

“Because concepts are metaphorically structured in a systematic way, e.g., THEORIES ARE BUILDINGS, it is possible for us to use expressions (construct, foundation) from one domain (BUILDINGS) to talk about corresponding concepts in the metaphorically defined domain (THEORIES). …Thus the metaphor THEORIES ARE BUILDINGS has a “used” part (foundation and outer shell) and an “unused” part (rooms, staircases, etc.)” (52).


Sentences that use the “unused” part of a metaphor are called “figurative” or “imaginative” language (53). (AD: the use of tehse shows up the tenuousness of the metaphor, i.e., that there are some marked parts being ignored.)

Lakoff argues that metaphors do emerge directly from our “interaction with the physical environment” (57). However, this is only really true for the normate / unmarked.

But “what we call ‘direct physical experience’ is never merely a matter of having a body of a certain sort; rather, every experience takes place within a vast background of cultural presuppositions. It can be misleading, therefore, to speak of direct physical experience as though there were some core of immediate experience which we then ‘interpret’ in terms of our conceptual system. Cultural assumptions, values, and attitudes are not a conceptual overlay which we may or may not place upon experience as we choose. It would be more correct to say that all experience is cultural through and through, that we experience our ‘world’ in such a way that our culture is already present in the very experience itself” (57).

“Such metaphors allow us to conceptualize our emotions in more sharply defined terms and also to relate them to other concepts having to do with general well-being” (58).

“Even a concept as basic as CAUSATION is not purely emergent or purely metaphorical. Rather, it appears to have a directly emergent core that is elaborated metaphorically” (69).

“We agree that causation is a basic human concept. It is one of the concepts most often used by people to organize their physical and cultural realities. But this does not mean that it is an undecomposable primitive. We would like to suggest instead that causation is best understood as an experiential gestalt” (69-70).

[re: birth as metaphor] “In birth, an object (the baby) comes out of a container (the mother). At the same time, the mother’s substance (her flesh and blood) are in the baby (the container object). …a special case of causation is conceptualized metaphorically” (75).

“In order to see in detail what is involved in metaphorical structuring, we must first have a clearer idea of what it means for an experience or set of experiences to be coherent by virtue of having a structure” (77).

“there is a distinction between an argument as a process (arguing) and an argument as a product (what has been written or said in the course of arguing” (88).

different metaphors for different purposes (92).

“It is the overlap of entailments between the two metaphors that defines the coherence between them and provides the link between the amount of ground the argument covers and the amount of content it has…Thus we get instances of impermissible mixed metaphors resulting from the impossibility of a single clearly delineated metaphor that satisfies both purposes at once (95). (AD: you cannot completely satisfy the purposes of both metaphors at once.)

“We have found that metaphors allow su to understand one domain of experience in terms of another. This suggests that understanding takes place in terms of entire domains of experience and not in terms of isolated concepts…Each such domain is a structured whole within our experience that is conceptualized as what we have called an experiential gestalt. Such gestalts are experientially basic because they characterize structured wholes within recurrent human experiences. They represent coherent organizations of our experiences in terms of natural dimensions… Domains of experience that are organized as gestalts in terms of such natural dimensions seem to us to be natural kinds of experience” (117). (AD: where “natural,” naturally, means “unmarked”. This also serves to define the norm.)

[re: “fake gun”] “What makes a fake gun fake is that it cannot function like a gun. …. [the properties of a real gun] are not inherent in guns themselves. Instead, they have to do with the way we interact with guns. This indicates that the concept GUN, as people actually understand it, is at least partly defined by interactional properties having to do with perception, motor activity, purpose, function, etc” (121).

“We understand the nonprototypical chairs as being chairs, not just on their own terms, but by virtue of their relation to a prototypical chair” (122). (AD: re: Plato and lang of analogy.)

Must bear sufficient “family resemblance” to prototype (123). Can hedge with “par excellence,” “strictly speaking,” “loosely speaking,” “technically”

“More of form is more of content” is a basic formal metaphor. One example of this is “iteration” (i.e., “he ran and ran and ran.”) (127). (AD: re: Stein)

Karl Zimmer has observed that closer means stronger and farther away means weaker. E.G. “he is not happy” < “he is unhappy” (129).

“the only similarities relevant to metaphor are similarities experienced by people…thus, the only kind of similarities relevant to metaphors are experiential, not objective, similarities” (154). And through them, and their changing nature, we may “experience new similarities” (155).

“People in power get to impose their metaphors.” (157).

“The typical philosophical conclusion is that metaphors cannot directly state truths, and, if they can state truths at all, it is only directly, via some non-metaphorical ‘literal’ paraphrase” (159).

“Objectivism and subjectivism need each other in order to exist. Each defines itself in opposition to the other and sees the other as the enemy. Objectivism takes as its allies scientific truth, rationality, percision, fairness, and impartiality. Subjectivism takes as its allies the emotions, intuitive insight, imagination, humaneness, art, and a ‘higher’ truth. Each is master in its own realm and views its realm as the better of the two. They coexist, but in separate domains” (189).

“The fear of metaphor and rhetoric in the empiricist tradition is a fear of subjectivism–a fear of emotion and the imagination. Words are viewed as having ‘proper senses’ in terms of which truths can be expressed. To use words metaphorically is to use them in an improper sense, to stir the imagination and thereby the emotions and thus to lead us away from the truth and toward illusion” (191). (AD: and, of course, the feminine.)

“Metaphor is one of our most important tools for trying to comprehend partially what cannot be comprehended totallyL our feelings, aesthetic experiences, moral practices, and spiritual awareness. These endeavors of the imagination are not devoid of rationality; since they use metaphor, they employ an imaginative rationality” (193).

“It follows from [the objectivist view] of linguistic expressions as objects that grammar can be studied independently of meaning or human interaction” (205). (AD: Stein responds.)

[in Afterword]: “It is as though the ability to comprehend experience through metaphor were a sense, like seeing or touching or hearing, with metaphors providing the only ways to perceive and experience much of the world. Metaphor is as much a part of our functioning as our sense of touch, and as precious” (239). (AD: re: Irigaray on touch, lips, speech, fecundity)

Lakoff, Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things Annotations

Lakoff, George. Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal about the Mind. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1987.

“…most symbols (i.e., words and mental representations) do not designate particular things or individuals in the world… Most of our words and concepts designate categories. Some of these are categories of things or beings in the physical world… Others are categories of activities and abstract things–singing and songs, voting and governments, etc” (xiii).

“The term experiential realism [vs. objectivism] emphasizes what experientialism shares with objectivism: (a) a commitment to the existence of the real world, (b) a recognition that reality places constraints on concepts, (c) a conception of truth that goes beyond mere internal coherence, and (d) a commitment to the existence of stable knowledge of the world” (xv).

“Human reason is not an instantiation of transcendental reason; it grows out of the nature of the organism and all that contributes to its individual and collective experience: its genetic inheritance, the nature of the environment it lives in…” (xv).

“The classical view that categories are based on shared properties is not entirely wrong. We often do categorize things on that basis. Btu that is only a small part of the story. In recent years it has become clear that categorization is far more complex than that. A new theory of categorization, called prototype theory, has emerged. It shows that human categorization is based on principles that extend far beyond those envisioned in classical theory” (5).

“Most categorization is automatic and unconscious, and if we become aware of it at all, it is only in problematic cases” (6).

“Rosch observed […] that categories, in general, have best examples (called “prototypes”) and that all of the specifically human capacities just mentioned do play a role in categorization” (7).

“The [objectivist] view of reason as the disembodied manipulation of abstract symbols comes with an implicit theory of categorization. It is a version of the classical theory in which categories are represented by sets, which are in turn defined by the properties shared by their members” (8).

“The approach to prototype theory that we will be presenting here suggests that human categorization is essentially a matter of both human experience and imagination–of perception, motor activity, and culture on the one hand, and of metaphor, metonymy, and mental imagery on the other. As a consequence, human reason crucially depends on the same factors, and therefore cannot be characterized merely in terms of the manipulation of abstract symbols” (8).

“Since we understand the world not only in terms of individual things but also in terms of categories of things, we tend to attribute a real existence to those categories” (9).

In the shift from classical to prototype-based categories, the following ” will have to be left behind:

Meaning is based on truth and reference; it concerns the relationship between symbols and things in the world.

Biological species are natural kinds, defined by common essential properties.

The mind is separate from, and independent of, the body.

Emotion has no conceptual content.

Grammar is a matter of pure form.

Reason is transcendental, in that it transcends–goes beyond–the way human beings, or any other kind of beings, happen to think. It concerns the inferential relationships among all possible concepts in this universe or any other. Mathematics is a form of transcendental reason.

There is a correct, God’s eye view of the world–a single correct way of understanding what is and is not true.

All people think using the same conceptual system” (9).

“Such [assumptions] make it impossible to ask, as an empirical question, whether the classical view of categorization is correct” (10).

[re: Rosch and “Central and Noncentral Members”] “The fact that there can be good and bad examples of a category does not follow from the classical theory. Somehow the goodness-of-example structure needs to be accounted for” (17).

refer to: J. L. Austin, “The Meaning of a Word”

“From metonymy, Austin turns to what Johnson and [Lakoff] refer to as metaphor, but which Austin, following Aristotle, terms ‘analogy.’ […] Austin isn’t explicit here, but what seems to be going on is that both mountains and lists are being structured in terms of a metaphorical projection of the human body onto them” (19).

[re: Zadeh] “Some categories do not have gradations of membership, while others do… In a classical set, everything is either in the set (has membership value 1) or is outside the set (has membership value 0)” (21). [AD: think about how the categorization of women as a “marked category” relates to “gradation of membership” in subjectivity.]

[re: “generative categories”] “Categories of this sort–with a central member plus general rules–are by no means the norm in language…Yet they do occur. We will refer to such a category as a generative category and to its central member as a generator. A generative category is characterized by at least one generator plus something else: it is the “something else” that takes the generator as input and yields the entire category as output. It may be either a general principle like similarity or general rules that apply elsewhere in the system or specific rules that apply only in that category… the generator plus the rules generate the category.  In such a category, the generator has special status. It is the best example of the category, the model on which the category as a whole is built. It is a special case of a prototype” (24).

Later, Rosch “abandoned the idea that prototype effects directly mirror category structure and that prototypes constitute representations of categories” (43). (AD: in other words, she rejects an analogic structure.)

[re: how categories work] “The fact that knowledge is mainly organized at the basic level is determined in the following way: When subjects are asked to list attributes of categories, they list very few attributes of category members at the superordinate level (furniture, vehicle, mammal); they list most of what they know at the basic level (chair, car, dog); and at the subordinate level (rocking chair, sports car, retriever) there is virtually no increase in knowledge over the basic level” (47). (AD: in categorization that favors the general, marked categories and particulars disappear.)

“…the relevant notion of a ‘property’ is not something objectively in the world independent of any being; it is rather what we will refer to as an interactional property–the result of our interactions as part of our physical and cultural environments given our bodies and our cognitive apparatus. Such interactional properties form clusters in our experience, and prototype and basic-level structure can reflect such clustering” (51).

Cue validity is the conditional probability that an object is in a particular category given its possession of some feature (or “cue”). The best cues are those that work all of the time for categories at a given level” (52).

“Neutralization of contrasts can also occur in semantics. Consider contrasts like tall-short, happy-sad, etc. These pairs are not completely symmetric. For example, if one asks How tall is Harry? one is not suggesting that Harry is tall, but if one asks How short is Harry? one is suggesting that Harry is short. Only one member of the pair tall-short can be used with a neutral meaning, namely, tall. Since it occurs in cases where the contrast is neutralized, tall is referred to as the “unmarked” member of the tall-short contrast set. Correspondingly, it is assumed that tallness is cognitively more basic than shortness and the word marking the cognitively basic dimension occurs in neutral contexts” (60). (AD: this applies, obviously, to sex categories.)

Page 74 he uses “Mother” as an example of “Cluster Models” in a strange and perhaps later-useful way

“When the cluster of models that jointly characterize a concept diverge, there is still a strong pull to view one as the most important” (75).

[re: “The Housewife Stereotype” and Metonymic Modeling] “Social stereotypes are cases of metonymy–where a subcategory has a socially recognized status as standing for the category as a whole, usually for the purpose of making quick judgments about people” (79).

“the second way in which stereotypes are important for conceptual structure is that they define normal expectations” (81). (AD: e.g., delineate the parameters of the normate)

“Models give rise to prototype effects, but in different ways. Together they form a structure with a composite prototype…This composite prototype imposes what is called a representativeness structure on the category: the closer an individual is to the prototype, the more representative a mother she is” (82).

“[The metonymic model] defines a subcategory that is used to stand for the entire category of mothers in defining social expectations” (84).

[Re: “Paragons”] “Many categories are understood in terms of abstract ideal cases–which may be neither typical nor stereotypical. For example,

–The ideal husband is a good provider, faithful, strong, respected, attractive.

–The stereotypical husband is bumbling, dull, pot-bellied” (87).

All variations of the history of categories have searched to base categories on “shared characteristics. They differ on which characteristics are to be considered,” but “All follow the folk theory that there is only one correct taxonomy” (120).

“Logicians generally agree that the principle of substitutability does not apply with want… The cases with want and see are parallel” (128). (AD: re: Irigaray, desire, analogic, metaphor)

linguistically, “lack and not have are synomymous…but lack and not have do not have the same meaning when we would normally make the assumption that is the background condition of the lack” (134).

“…there is also an objectivist metaphysics–an objectivist view of the nature of reality” (158). (AD: an objectivist linguistics necessitates an objectivist metaphysics.)

“The objectivist answer is that symbols (that is, words and mental representations) are made meaningful in one and only one way: via a correspondence to entities and categories in either the existing world or in possible worlds” (160). (AD: re: analogic)

“The world, as objectivist doctrine envisions it, is extremely well-behaved. It is made up of discrete entities with discrete logical combinations of atomic properties and relations holding among those entities. Some properties are essential; others are accidental. Properties define categories, and categories defined by essential properties correspond to the kinds of things that there are” (162). (AD: Women, not so much well-behaved.)

The general objectivist approach to these questions is “assuming that the mind can function as a mirror of nature” (162).

“In objectivist cognition, the mind can achieve real knowledge of the external world only if it can represent (that is, re-present, make present again) what is really in the world; true knowledge must not be in any way an artifact of the nature of the thinking beings” (163). (AD: i.e. must be presented by an “unmarked” speaker, and must itself be “unmarked”.)

“In the classical theory, hierarchical categorization and cross-categorization [a number of hierarchical categorizations at the same level] are the only organizations of categories that exist” (167).

[for objectivists] “Concepts are characterized as symbols in a system bearing a fixex correspondence to things and categories int he world. Those symbols are made meaningful only via symbol-to-word correspondence” (173). (AD: re: analogic)

“What the human body does not do, on the objectivist account, is add anything essential to concepts that does not correspond to what is objectively present in the structure of the world. The body does not play an essential role in giving concepts meaning. That would introduce a nonobjective aspect to meaning. And the body plays no role in characterizing the nature of reason” (174).

One of the “cornerstones” of objectivist theory is the “independence of metaphysics from epistemology. The world is as it is, independent of any concept, belief, or knowledge that people have. Minds, in other words, cannot create reality” (207).

“differences in conceptual systems do not necessarily entail that understanding and learning are impossible” (312).

[re: “The Commensurability Issue”] Whorf, who was largely responsible for popularizing issues concerning relativism, claimed that the conceptual systems of languages could be so radically different that they could not ‘be calibrated,’ that there was no common measure, no common standard by which they could be compared” (322).