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"Marlowe's biographers often portray him as a dangerously over"“ambitious individual. Explore ways this aspect of Marlowe's personality is reflected in 'Dr. Faustus.' " Christopher Marlowe lived during the Renaissance period in 16th century England. Although this was a time of change, the Elizabethans still had fixed moral values. 'The Chain of Being,' a concept inherited from the Middle Ages, can be described as a hierarchy of society, with the monarch at the top and the lowliest peasants at the bottom. Below people were animals, plants and rocks. During the Elizabethan era, 'dangerous ambition' would probably involve trying to break the 'Chain of Being' and striving to increase one's social status. It was believed to be necessary to accept one's place in the chain, as to disrupt it and overcome the set order of society could mean chaos would follow. Faustus was an exceedingly ambitious man, even in relation to what is considered to be ambitious by people in today's society. In the prologue, The Chorus sums up Faustus' background and early life, emphasizing his ordinary background and academic success. It seems that Faustus' intellect made him become proud and this fired up his ambition. When Marlowe presents Faustus in scene 1, Faustus methodically shuns great authors and classically intellectual subjects, such as medicine and law because they hold little attraction to him, line 11 'A greater subject fitteth Faustus' wit.' The above quote shows how Faustus elevates himself above taking up an intellectual pursuit that would be highly esteemed by the Elizabethans. Another sign that Faustus holds himself in high regard is that he refers to himself in the third person, also shown in the above quote. Faustus' discusses beliefs that he will no longer hold and describes what he wants to achieve in his opening soliloquy. Faustus may be seen as blasphemous in the opening speech, implying that he would only be a doctor if he could be equal to God, lines24-6 'Couldst thou make men live eternally Or, being dead raise them to life again, Then this profession were to be esteemed.' This is made more obvious when Faustus lastly says, line 62 'A sound magician is a mighty god.' Marlowe portrays Faustus as being over-ambitious by his turning to magic, which is a much more sinister and much less conventional pursuit than others that he had been discussing previously. Faustus hopes that magic will make him omnipotent and god-like. There is little evidence to suggest that Marlowe himself wanted power over others, but his rise in society from a shoemaker's son to a scholar at Cambridge University and later, a spy, was extremely rare at the time. Marlowe did not lead a normal Elizabethan life; in fact, one could say that it was similar to fiction. The over-ambitious part of Marlowe's personality is reflected in Faustus because it seems Marlowe must have wanted success in his life, and to over-reach his set path in life. It becomes clearer as the play continues that Faustus is a dangerously ambitious person when in scene 3 he discusses the deal with a devil, Mephastophilis, concerning the selling of his soul to the Devil in return for earthly power. When Faustus makes the contract, it seems as if he is not thinking ahead as his attitude is carefree. He possibly does not believe in Hell, or that he has a soul, or about the reality of the bargain. His attitude at this point can be summed up by the following phrase Scene 4, lines 103-4, 'If I had as many souls as there be stars, I'd give them all for Mephastophilis.' Faustus' ambition for power and lack of foresight are what doom him later on in play. Arguably, ambition can be said to have caused the downfall of Marlowe himself. His violent murder in a London tavern in 1593 was mysterious and historians often question possible motives for killing Marlowe; his drive to succeed may have made other people envious and resentful. In 'Dr. Faustus', other characters are probably envious of Faustus too. In one of the comic scenes, scene 6, we learn that Robin and Rafe have stolen one of Faustus' books and plan to use it to seduce a woman. They must have been jealous of Faustus' power and his magical aptitude; however it is not the case that he is murdered by these characters later on in the play. Faustus is ambitious and enjoys his newfound power until the end of the play, despite being warned of the reality of his empty bargain by the Old Man and by the Good Angel throughout the play. The Old Man says in scene 12 lines 107-9, 'Ambitious fiends, see how the heavens smiles At your repulse, and laughs your state to scorn. Hence hell, for hence I fly unto God.' This moment foreshadows Faustus' lines at the end of the play, where, horrified, he must face the Devil and Hell. Faustus' ambition makes him a more human character despite him his selling his soul to the Devil, which may make him more difficult for the audience to relate to because of the extraordinary situation. His intellect sometimes creates doubts in his mind about the bargain that he has made, but his ambition overrides his conscience until the very end. This is shown by the Good and Evil Angels, who appear in scenes 1 and 5. They are binary opposites and in my view are present to put another side to Faustus' personality "“ a conscience. The Good Angel tries to motivate Faustus to repent by concentrating on God's anger. However the Evil Angel contradicts the Good Angel, Scene 5 lines 253-6 'EVIL ANGEL: Too late. GOOD ANGEL: Never too late, if Faustus can repent. EVIL ANGEL: If thou repent, devils shall tear thee in pieces. GOOD ANGEL: Repent, and they shall never rase thy skin.' The Good and Evil Angels' stichomythic dialogue is not too realistic and shows how torn Faustus is between the two sides. He is easily swayed and believes the angel that speaks last, but it is interesting to bear in mind that despite the warnings, his ambition stays with him to the end and leads to his downfall. Marlowe portrays Faustus' ambition as dangerous; it was the cause of his demise. Perhaps Marlowe used the theme of over-ambition as a warning to the audience, who would be likely to be wary of ambition - it was looked down on as a negative personality trait in Christian England. Ideas around at the time such as 'The Chain of Being' reinforced religious opinion into people's everyday lives and morality plays popular from the early 1400s to the 1580s were used to strengthen people's Christian principles, as 'Dr. Faustus' also does by discouraging ambition. Marlowe reflects ambition in the character of Faustus to deter the audience from being ambitious, and over-reaching their place in the 'Chain of Being'. However, if Marlowe chose to be 'dangerously over-ambitious' and regarded himself as this, it is likely that he may have written 'Dr. Faustus' differently, not viewing ambition in such a negative way. Whatever Marlowe's view on ambition was, it is not made clear in the play, through Faustus or other characters. Certain aspects of his personality are indeed reflected in Faustus, which make reading the play and exploring Faustus as a character even more intriguing.
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"Marlowe's biographers often portray him as a dangerously over–ambitious individual. Explore ways this aspect of Marlowe's personality is reflected in 'Dr. Faustus.' " Christopher Marlowe lived during the Renaissance period in 16th century England. Although this was a time of change, the Elizabethans still had fixed moral values. 'The Chain of Being,' a concept inherited from the Middle Ages, can be described as a hierarchy of society, with the monarch at the top and the lowliest peasants at the bottom. Below people were animals, plants and rocks. During the Elizabethan era, 'dangerous ambition' would probably involve trying to break...

Marlowe reflects ambition in the character of Faustus to deter the audience from being ambitious, and over-reaching their place in the 'Chain of Being'. However, if Marlowe chose to be 'dangerously over-ambitious' and regarded himself as this, it is likely that he may have written 'Dr. Faustus' differently, not viewing ambition in such a negative way. Whatever Marlowe's view on ambition was, it is not made clear in the play, through Faustus or other characters. Certain aspects of his personality are indeed reflected in Faustus, which make reading the play and exploring Faustus as a character even more intriguing.

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Mordecai Richler's The Apprenticeship of... Mordecai Richler's The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz certainly provides a stark contrast to F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. While Fitzgerald epitomizes descriptive writing techniques, Richler is far more reserved and subtle in terms of description when juxtaposed. However, both writers are able to successfully reveal the precarious journey of, essentially, the same character. Richler's Duddy Kravitz and Fitzgerald's Jay Gatsby, exemplifies the accomplishments that result from pursuing a dream. Kravitz obediently follows his grandfather's advice: "A man without land is nobody" Richler, 49. Meanwhile, Gatsby follows his heart and pursues Daisy Buchanans' unrequited love. While there are parallactic views on whether each character's actions are inspiring or denouncing, the similarities between the two are blatantly obvious. The psychological structure of Kravitz essentially parallels that of Gatsby because both rise to prominence from meager existence, both attempt to conceal their inauspicious past, both pursue their goals through questionable means, and both base their entire existence on a dream which ultimately proves to be their downfall. A common past may partially be responsible for the close psychological similarities between Kravitz and Gatsby. During their initial portion of life, both characters were confronted with similar problems. Due to their impoverished state, both characters appeared bound to a lifetime of mediocrity. As Richler describes, "Where Duddy Kravitz sprung from the boys grew up dirty and sad, spiky also, like grass beside the railroad tracks." 45. Kravitz's background is further exposed when he claims, "He's a hack and he picks up extra money pimping. My father's a pimp"¦That ought to be good for a laugh. My old man's a lousy pimp." 105. Certainly, Kravitz was never brought up under ideal conditions, and neither was Gatsby, who encounters much of the same problems. "For over a year he had been beating his way along the south shore of Lake Superior as a clam-digger and a salmon fisher or in any other capacity that brought him food and bed." Fitzgerald, 95. Fitzgerald further reinforces this fact, "A young major just out of the army and covered with medals he got in the war. He was so hard up he had to keep wearing his uniform because he couldn't buy some regular clothes"¦Start him! I made him...I raised him out of nothing, right out of the gutter." 162. Undoubtedly, both characters begin their journeys with similar challenges. While Kravitz desperately attempts to avoid a lifetime of "nothingness," Gatsby struggles to overcome his status as a "poor boy, who can't marry rich girls." In essence, poverty is the major contributing factor responsible for the irrepressible desire exemplified by Kravitz and Gatsby. Thus, it is vital that each character experience it. Since Kravitz and Gatsby are exposed to the same challenges during their childhood years, both are able to develop similar psychological characters. Thus, the resounding desire possessed by each as a result of poverty, proves that Kravitz and Gatsby possess the same psychological mindset. Kravitz and Gatsby have essentially created a mythological past to obscure their inauspicious backgrounds. Both characters demonstrate an overwhelming sense of arrogance, which partially forces them to conceal their backgrounds. Kravitz has created a fictional brother, who had, Run away to the States at fifteen, lied about his age, joined the air force, and sunk three Jap battleships in the Pacific. They were going to make a movie about his life, maybe. After the war Bradley rescued an Arizona millionaire's beautiful daughter from drowning, married her, and bought a ranch. Richler, 12. Richler later reveals the falsehood of this statement: "Familiar with all of Bradley's exploits the boys also suspected that he was a fictional character, but nobody dared accuse Duddy of lying." 12. In addition to creating a fictional past, Kravitz also greatly exaggerates his position in life. "He told her about his brother Bradley and that the Boy Wonder, an intimate of his father's was willing to back him in any line he chose." Richler, 89. Much like Kravitz, Gatsby also creates a mythological past to conceal his mysterious background. I am the son of some wealthy people in the Middle West-all dead now. I was brought up in America but educated at Oxford, because all my ancestors have been educated there for many years. It is a family tradition. My family all died and I came into a good deal of money. After that I lived like a young Raja in all the capitals of Europe- Paris, Venice, Rome- collecting jewels, chiefly rubies, hunting big game, painting a little, things for myself only, and trying to forget something very sad that had happened to me long ago." Fitzgerald, 64. Partially fueled by their arrogance, both characters obscure their past in order to satisfy their conscience. As a result, it can be concluded that Kravitz and Gatsby hold the same vision of themselves. Both are unwilling, or unable to accept their past, and thus, feel obligated and entirely justified to create a self-molded image of themselves. Kravitz chooses to hide his background among the other boys at St Agathe, while Gatsby creates his past in order to rid himself of his previous status. Thus, because both characters create a mythological past, whose creation is fueled by similar factors, Kravitz and Gatsby share identical psychological characters. Kravitz and Gatsby use highly questionable, and at times, immoral means to obtain their goals. Kravitz's struggle to avoid "nothingness," and Gatsby's hunt for the illusive "green light" compels them to perform questionable actions throughout their journeys. Kravitz was willing to lie, cheat, and swindle those closest to him. Yvette claims: I've seen you do lots of dishonest things, Duddy but never in my life did I expect you to cheat a boy like Virgil"¦I never thought you were such a bastard"¦Do you mean to say that knowing how grateful he'd be for a job-any job- you managed to swindle him out of his thousand dollars? Oh, Duddy. Richler, 253. Kravitz believes he is entirely justified in doing such things. It's their fault, he thought, they wouldn't help me, they're forcing me into it. Pushing me, he thought, and he went into Virgil's room. The check book wasn't even hidden"¦He forged the signature by holding the cheques and a letter Virgil had signed up to the window and tracing slowly"¦I'll wait for an hour, he thought, well three-quarters anyway, and if they show up before then I'll tear up the cheque. If not-Well, they shouldn't leave me alone for that long. Not in my desperate condition. Richler, 364. Kravitz's philosophy to place his ambitions above all else is essentially equal to Gatsby's belief of the "green light." Likewise, he uses dishonest schemes to achieve his wealth. She's not leaving me! Certainly not for a common swindler who'd have to steal the ring he put on her finger"¦Who are you anyhow? You're one of that bunch that hangs around Meyer Wolfshiem- that much I happen to know. I've made a little investigation into your affairs- and I'll carry it further tomorrow"¦I found out what your "drug stores" were, He and this Wolfshiem bought up a lot of side-street drug stores here and in Chicago and sold grain alcohol over the counter. That's one of his little stunts. I picked him for a bootlegger the first time I saw him, and I wasn't too far off. Fitzgerald, 127. Gatsby does whatever is necessary in order to attain his love for Daisy. His extra marital relationship with her signifies to what extent he is willing to reach. Gatsby does not realize, nor does he care, about the eventual repercussions of such relationship, much like Kravitz's disrespectful relationship with of Yvette and Virgil. Both Kravitz and Gatsby use dishonest and shortsighted means to achieve their goals. In addition, both are unable to realize the moral limits of attaining such goals. Therefore, Kravitz and Gatsby's inability to realize the moral limits of pursuing their goals clearly reveals the psychological parallels of each character. The uncontrollable desire exemplified by Kravitz and Gatsby ultimately proves to be their downfall. Both fail to realize the importance of the things around them, and thus are unable to clearly differentiate between good and evil. Their uncontrollable desire has blinded them. Kravitz is unable to evaluate the seriousness of the statement: "A man without land is nobody" Richler, 49. Thus, he needlessly pursues a goal that is hypothetically preposterous. In the end, Kravitz is unable to distinguish good from evil, allies from foes. When Dingleman offers a proposal, "It's going to cost you a fortune to develop this land"¦You're going to need lots of money, Duddy. A fortune"¦Alone, you'll never raise the money you need. With my help we could turn this into a model resort town in five years." Richler, 371. Kravitz is unable to see the seriousness in Dingleman. In addition, he also fails to realize the importance of Yvette and Virgil's friendship. In the end, Kravitz looses his friendships, but most importantly, he looses Simcha's faith. "I can see what you have planned for me, Duddel. You'll be good to me. You'd give me everything I wanted. And that would settle your conscience when you went out to swindle others." Richler, 373. Therefore, Kravitz can be considered a failure because he is unable to control his overwhelming desire to avoid "nothingness." Gatsby, however, suffers a more tragic ending. Much like Kravitz, Gatsby based his entire existence on fulfilling his dream. He became infatuated by what he lacked, instead of what he possessed. This is evident when he finally gained his vast amounts of fortunes he so desired, yet, he still feels unfulfilled without Daisy. Thus, as Nick Carraway, the narrator of The Great Gatsby puts it, He had come along way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night. Fitzgerald, 171. Thus, Gatsby is unable to realize his accomplishments because the idea of continually pursuing his dream has essentially blinded him from reality. Therein lays the psychological parallel between Kravitz and Gatsby. Both base their entire existence on pursuing a dream, and it is the very essence-the desire that they possess, which eventually isolates them from reality. Kravitz is unable to realize the importance of Yvette and Virgil, much like Gatsby has failed to bask in his own glory. Both have envisioned a "perfect" life, but yet, lose what they have achieved. Thus, Kravitz and Gatsby's parallel philosophy of placing dreams above all else proves to be their downfall, but more importantly, demonstrates their similar values and morals. The rise from meagre existence, the creation of a mythological past, the pursuing of a dream through questionable means, and basing an entire existence on a dream are all similar virtues possessed by Duddy Kravitz and Jay Gatsby. Thus, Kravitz and Gatsby can be considered the same characters on the same overall journey. However, there is an extreme sense of irony when observing Kravitz and Gatsby. Kravitz desires wealth, land, and social status, while failing to realize Yvette's love for him. He is surrounded by people who care for him, and appreciate his qualities. Gatsby, however, has accomplished what Kravitz yearns, yet he lacks what Kravitz takes for granted: love. Thus, there certainly is a paradox about the belief that Kravitz and Gatsby are the same character. Both live two opposite lives, yearning for what the other takes for granted. Yet, their journeys are eerily similar. Perhaps Richler and Fitzgerald are not criticizing the idea of pursuing a dream. Perhaps they are revealing the fine equilibrium that must be reached in order to avoid destruction- a man without desire is a nobody, but a man without anyone to appreciate his desire is also a nobody.   

Mordecai Richler's The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz certainly provides a stark contrast to F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. While Fitzgerald epitomizes descriptive writing techniques, Richler is far more reserved and subtle in terms of description when juxtaposed. However, both writers are able to successfully reveal the precarious journey...

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Anthony Grafton and Bruno... Anthony Grafton and Bruno Latour may be considered as people of knowledge and education. They both were engaged in the process of knowledge acquiring and transforming it into their own ideas and new horizons of thought. For most aficionados, Princeton historian Anthony Grafton put the bon mot in play a few years ago in his elegant The Footnote: A Curious History Harvard University Press. Now, however, in The Devil's Details: A History of Footnotes Invisible Cities Press, former Amherst College dean Chuck Zerby, in his odd doppelgänger to Grafton's volume, merely credits Grafton with reusing the line while stating see backhanded compliment at Zerby footnote No. 31, "Grafton indicated that three other scholars have used the quip." That is, before Zerby made it four and your writer made it five. 1 But can we trust Zerby? His initial footnote to Grafton's book, on Page 13, gives the publication date as 1999. By Page 55, the date reverts to 1997 the correct year, where it remains in subsequent citations. Is this the Devil teaching Zerby manners, befouling his own Grafton footnote as punishment for the author's daring, as a mere freelancer, to zap our leading footnote-ologist? Another Zerby aside, commenting on a purportedly inadequate Grafton citation "Grafton's annotation is not as fulsome [sic] as one might wish", suggests that less preternatural causes, like carelessness, prompt Zerby's error. But this aggressive proponent of a footrace within the historiography of the footnote does remind us that Grafton's own crediting of the remark under whelms. The eminent Renaissance scholar points readers to a 1976 book, Cole Lesley's Remembered Laughter: The Life of Noel Coward, in which Coward "attributed a stronger version of the remark to John Barrymore." 3 Any chance Barrymore stole it from Edwin Forrest? Grafton begins his search with what prove to be two straw men: the nineteenth-century German historian Leopold von Ranke and the late-eighteenth-century English historian Edward Gibbon, who share the reputation of having perfected modern historical scholarship. Despite Ranke's impressive combination of narrative and analytical history and Gibbon's blending of massive knowledge and high style, neither, according to Grafton, was the first to practice the art and craft of documented, critical history. Behind both were ancient, medieval, and Renaissance prototypes, numerous historians who not only told stories but cited evidence as well. Among them were the Italians Bernardino Corio, Leonardo Bruni, and Giannantonio Campano; the Englishmen Richard White and Ben Jonson; and, most impressively, the great French historian Jacques-Auguste de Thou. The latter wrote a "genuinely new kind of history" in what would prove to be the longest historical narrative before the twentieth century. 2 Other prototypes of modern scholarship included seventeenth-century church historians and antiquaries, particularly the German Jesuit Athanasius Kircher, whose massive, illustrated study of ancient China marked the maturation of a tradition of historical documentation reaching all the way back to the fourth-century Christian historian Eusebius and the venerable eighth-century English monk known as Bede. Here, too, one can find a combination of technical argument and deep documentation that anticipates modern historical scholarship. Also helping to make the primary source supreme within this tradition of scholarship were the bitter tracts of warring Protestants and Catholics. The seventeenth century was nonetheless a step up in historical scholarship because that century's church historians and antiquaries, as well as exceptional scholars like de Thou, subjected documents to a higher degree of scrutiny, allowing "the [prior] age of primitive accumulation of ecclesiastical-learning . . . to give way to one of analysis and investment." 4 However, Mr. Grafton again insists that the work of these scholars also provides an "insufficient" explanation for the rise of the footnote. So who, or what, in the end was the key player in the birth of the new professional scholarship the footnote came to represent? For Grafton, that honor belongs to a scholar and a work he first discovered as a college undergraduate: the great Dictionnaire of Pierre Bayle. "Swarming" with footnotes and irreverencies, and aspiring to expose and correct all the mistakes then existing in other reference books, Bayle's dictionary is truly a young man's book. It was written against the background of the "deconstruction" of the scientific authority of the ancients at the hands of the new seventeenth-century scientists Rene Descartes, Francis Bacon, Blaise Pascal, and Robert Boyle. Here the modern "rules of scholarly procedure" and historical scholarship as we know them today finds their definitive statement. 3 Although Grafton proclaims Bayle's uniqueness, he diminishes it somewhat by his extensive honor roll of earlier prototypes and by the revelation that Bayle was not, as the Germans like to say, always sauber "he silently abridged and consciously or unconsciously misread texts". So, in the end, the hero of Grafton's story turns out to be far from indisputable. If there is a failing in this very ambitious and informative little book, it is the absence of a discussion of what the "rise of the footnote" or modern scholarship has meant for the reading public outside the academy. Grafton writes about a very comfortable scholarly world that he obviously loves. The only discordant note he finds is arguably one only a scholar in such a position would take notice of and lament: the footnote's "stylistic decline to a list of highly abbreviated archival citations." 4 A more interesting question is how the footnote has affected the scholars it obsesses. Is it also the source of inaccessible scholarship and academic cliques"”networks of scholars who write primarily to and for themselves, aloof from the general, educated public? Has the rise of the footnote contributed to that historical illiteracy and denial now rampant in many of our schools and universities? Could it be the footnote that has enabled so many scholars to walk away from their pedagogical responsibility to inform and enlighten their fellow citizens? There may be a larger, less abstract, and more important story still to be told about the modern footnote. 4 Any trusting and innocent soul who has taken hope from the many obituaries for poststructuralism that have appeared in the last several years should read Aramis or The Love of Technology by Bruno Latour. Although some English departments are moving tentatively away from poststructuralism, it is thriving in other quarter's freshman composition programs, sociology, and "science studies," the field in which Latour is preeminent. This book, published by Harvard University Press in both cloth and paper covers and well advertised, is clearly expected to reach a large audience"”not some tiny pedantic sect. If it does have a lot of enthusiastic readers, the intellectual world is in more trouble than most English professors dream. Aramis is a poststructuralist novel, a pastiche of different voices, set in different typefaces; the subject of the novel is the failure of the French to build a much discussed public-transportation system with detached cars linked by magnetism and run by computers. Latour says of the book: "a young engineer is describing his research project and his socio-technological initiation. His professor offers a running commentary. The invisible author adds verbatim accounts of real-life interviews along with genuine documents, gathered in a field study carried out from December 1987 to January 1989. Mysterious voices also chime in and, drawing from time to time on the privileges of prosopopoeia, allow Aramis to speak." Aramis, the system, identifies itself with Frankenstein's monster, bewailing his abandonment by Victor Frankenstein. Latour's book is intended to reverse the meaning of Mary Shelley's, so that the real crime is not tampering impiously with nature, but abandoning the monster. Latour asks us to give up our fuddy-duddy prejudices and imagine a world in which nature provides no constraints on human activity, suggesting that no crazy scheme should be abandoned. 7 In fact, he wants to eradicate nature as a category. The earth appears only in the repeated contemptuous references to the "beet fields" near the Orly airport where Aramis was being planned. And the novelist attempts to dissolve the barrier between the human being and the machine, the living and the manufactured. The author's purpose is to enlighten "our intellectual universe, from which we have in effect eradicated all technology. In this universe, people who are interested in the souls of machines are severely punished by being isolated in their own separate world, the world of engineers, technicians, and technocrats." Were I to decide the fate of people interested in the souls of machines, they would be isolated in a separate ward of the mental hospital. Latour suggests that machines are the basis of an alternative religion: "they are the scapegoats of a new religion of Silence, as complex and pious as our religion of Speech. What exegesis will have to be invented to provide commentary on the Silence of machines?" He begs us to think of Aramis not as a plan for a machine, but as "an instituted object, quasi-object, quasi-subject, a thing that possesses body and soul indissolubly." 8 This nonsense would not be worth discussing if I did not believe that Latour may provide clues to what I have always found the most difficult puzzle of the poststructuralist phenomenon: why do people like it? Demons cannot enter the mind unbidden: even Count Dracula must ask his victims to enter his castle freely. Late in the novel Latour suggests some reasons for the appeal of post structuralism: "Thanks to computers, we now know that there are only differences of degree between matter and texts .... In fact, ever since a literary happy few started talking about 'textual machines' in connection with novels, it has been perfectly natural for machines to become texts written by novelists who are as brilliant as they are anonymous." Post structuralism has flattered the vanity of English professors, as Milton's Satan flattered the vanity of Eve, encouraging them to think of themselves as intellectual revolutionaries. 9 The essays in the second half of Beyond Poststructuralism, which are supposed to reaffirm the value of reading literature, also display far too much willingness to compromise with poststructuralism. Essayist after essayist avoids mentioning any particular work of literature, but attempts to establish, on purely theoretical grounds, the reasons why we might want to try taking literature seriously again. Only one of these is really moving, Virgil Nemoianu's "Literary History: Some Roads Not Yet Taken." The echo of Frost's beloved poem tells us right away that this writer cares about literature; he also cares about history and wants to bring back genuine literary history like that of scholars in the past. Like Searle, Nemoianu dares to use the word fact, derided by those who call everything a cultural construction; he also uses the forbidden words/ove, gratitude, and praise as he suggests that we once again embrace literature as a source of wisdom and joy. And like Searle he knows something about "intuitive and 'irrational' reactions ... based upon thick and multifarious internal processing" the mind that is inseparable from our bodily selves. 10 The intuitive, irrational, imaginative, whole human being"”another category dismissed by poststructuralists"”is the subject of the final and finest essay in the second half of the book, Martha Nussbaum's "The Literary Imagination in Public Life," a beautiful reading of Hard Times as a lesson in the wisdom that no public servant should be allowed to forget. Unlike any of the other writers, Nussbaum repeatedly uses the word life as the standard of truth and value try finding that word in any poststructuralist text!. Mr. Gradgrind's educational theories are bad because they are false to life; Dickens's novel is good because it offers a vision of life that includes reason and imagination, soul and body. Nussbaum, like Searle, comes from a field outside English: she is a professor of law and philosophy. Unlike the English professors whose essays make up the majority of Beyond Poststructuralism, these two have the courage to say that poststructuralism is wrong and that literature is rooted in life. Too many English professors have been listening so respectfully to such people as Bruno Letour and such theories as "computo ergo sum" that they have lost their nerve and acquiesced in the refusal of poststructuralism to acknowledge life as a meaningful term of value. Our whole profession should remember Paulina's words in The Winter's Tale: "Dear life redeems you." Dear life, our biological life on earth, must become the standard of truth if we are to redeem literary studies from post structuralism without relying on blind faith and miracles. 7 Life is certainly a standard of value in Minutes of the Lead Pencil Club: Pulling the Plug on the Electronic Revolution, edited by Bill Henderson. This collection of essays, cartoons, poems, and snippets from newspapers is breezy and informal. The forty essays are all short, and as far as I can tell, none is by a literary critic. Poets and essayists"”Gary Snyder and Wendell Berry"”contribute; so do the humorists Russell Baker and Dave Barry and the novelists E. Annie Proulx and John Updike. The book has one clear theme: enslavement to computers is taking us out of the natural world, away from face-to-face and voice-to-voice connections with our friends and our families. Some of the essays also decry the expense of computers, the planned obsolescence that forces people to keep buying "upgrades" so that they will not be stuck with unusable machines. More clearly than anyone else Wendell Berry warns that computers are one more link between us and the power companies that are destroying the earth for their own profit. Mark Slouka's "Rapture and Redemption in the Virtual World" is about the mad millennialism of those devotees of computers who proudly announce their imminent freedom from the body. He does not mention Bruno Letour, but Letour is one of their number. Slouka includes horrifying quotations from other famous professors Michael Benedikt, Bruce Mazlish about the promise of freedom from "the ballast of materiality," the possibility of being "angels, if not God" in virtual reality. The recent mass suicide of the Heaven's Gate cult of computer programmers demonstrates that what sounds like harmless lunacy in people like Bruno Latour is in fact deadly. When people start believing "computo ergo sum," their minds are open to all demons. 8< /p> The disdain for the biological world in poststructuralist theory and the disdain for physical labor that is part of the worship of computers cannot be separated. The supercilious contempt that poststructuralists feel for people who still believe a real world exists is only the most extreme and absurd version of the contempt that white-collar workers have felt for blue-collar workers and farmers ever since the Renaissance. Noxious plants with deep roots are very hard to kill; well-intentioned but half-hearted criticism of post structuralism and computers is not going to be enough. We need a deeper criticism of the falsehoods in our culture, a stronger knowledge that the reality of our life on earth must be the test of truth than the books by Goodheart, Harris, and Henderson offer. But this criticism and this knowledge do not depend on some great intellectual breakthrough, some yet undiscovered insight. If we could once again take literature seriously we would not have to look any further than As You Like It and The Winter's Tale, where the rich are forced to remember that their life depends on the poor who grow their food, that only fools and tyrants feel contempt for shepherds. If we can truly believe that the selfsame sun that shines upon Bill Gates's court hides not his visage from a cottage in Bangladesh, then dear life can indeed redeem us.  

Anthony Grafton and Bruno Latour may be considered as people of knowledge and education. They both were engaged in the process of knowledge acquiring and transforming it into their own ideas and new horizons of thought. For most aficionados, Princeton historian Anthony Grafton put the bon mot in...

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