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Shelley began writing 'Frankenstein' in the company of what has been called 'her male coterie', including her lover Percy Shelley, Lord Byron and his physician John Polidori. It has been suggested that the influence of this group, and particularly that of Shelley and Byron, affected her portrayal of male characters in the novel. As Ann Campbell writes: '[The] characters and plot of Frankenstein reflect . . . Shelley's conflicted feelings about the masculine circle which surrounded her.' Certainly the male characters in 'Frankenstein' are more developed that those of the females. Elizabeth Fay has suggested that the female characters are 'idealised figures' in much of Shelley's work, particularly in the descriptions of Caroline and Elizabeth, the two mother figures in the novel. Caroline is, on surface value, a perfect parent, together with her husband, which renders Victor's irresponsibility in abandoning the creature more unforgivable. She 'possessed a mind of uncommon mould' which was also 'soft and benevolent'; she is compared to a 'fair exotic' flower which is sheltered by Alphonse; she drew 'inexhaustible stores of affection from a very mine of love to bestow' on Victor, and her 'tender caresses' are some of his 'first recollections'. She is the idealised mother, a figure that Shelley viewed wistfully, as her own mother died when she was ten days old to be replaced by a disinterested stepmother. Caroline's parenting provides the care that Frankenstein might well have lacked, had he been left to his father alone "“ his father dismisses Agrippa's work without explanation, thereby setting Victor on his course towards 'destruction'. This is the first introduction of a theme that continues throughout the book, that of the necessity for female figures in parenting and in society. Without a mother figure and left only with Frankenstein who subsumes both parental roles, the creature's life is blighted by his imperfection and lack of companionship. However, Caroline is also the trigger to Alfonse's chivalry, thus presenting him in an improved light and allowing his character to develop at the expense of her own weakness. This is a feminist comment from Shelley, whose mother Mary Wollenstonecraft was a notorious feminist and an important influence. Justine, too, is an 'idealised figure', described during the trial as having a countenance which, 'always engaging, was rendered, by the solemnity of her feelings, exquisitely beautiful.' She is the archetypal innocent, being beautiful, weak and entirely accepting of her fate to the point of martyrdom. She would doubtless incense feminists now, accepting death with equanimity ' "I am resigned to the fate awaiting me" ' at the hands of misjudging and dominant men. She is a somewhat two-dimensional character, being compliant in all things, enduring the mistreatment by her mother and not objecting to the injustice of her condemnation. In this sense she serves merely as a plot device, used to introduce the evil of the creature and to show Frankenstein's cowardice in refusing to defend her in time. Here she is another feminine figure used to further a male character's development, just as Caroline was used to develop the character of Alfonse. She is also a vehicle for Shelley's attack on the contemporary judiciary system, which explains her name. The character of Safie is used by Shelley as a direct attack on sexism. Safie is a stronger character than the other women in the novel, as she defies her father in escaping to join Felix. Shelley comments upon the state of 'bondage' inflicted on females in Islamic society at the time, which Safie objects to, encouraged to 'aspire to the higher powers of intellect, and an independence of spirit' by her mother. Shelley, in applauding this determination and self-respect on the part of women, is condemning a society which oppresses females and upholds males as superior. However, Safie is not merely used for this; she is also presented as a contrast to the creature, who is similarly separated from the De Laceys by a language barrier, but who can never be accepted by them because he lacks her 'angelic beauty'. She is an example of man's intolerance towards ugliness, as her beauty transcends the barrier of language whereas the creature's benevolence cannot. Elizabeth is the most 'idealised figure' of all the women in the novel, afforded the following romantic description: 'The saintly soul of Elizabeth shone like a shrine-dedicated lamp in our peaceful home . . . her smile, her soft voice, the sweet glance of her celestial eyes, were ever there to bless and animate us. She was the living spirit of love to soften and attract.' She is here made to transcend ordinary mortality to become 'celestial' and 'saintly'. This makes her death more appalling and triggers Victor's active fury, whereas the suffering of the innocent Justine did not. The base murder of 'the living spirit of love' can be said to be the creature's revenge against humankind, as the killing of something so natural and integral to humanity kills happiness with it. But whilst Elizabeth is assigned this pivotal role in the novel, she is in herself two-dimensional as a character, having no friends outside of the family and no interests save 'trifling occupations' within the household. She is content to wait for Victor, despite his long absences and frequent and serious depressions. She is the idealised woman at the time of the novel's setting, being submissive, supportive and beautiful. However, the character of Elizabeth can also serve a further purpose. It has been argued by several critics that Elizabeth is the creature's opposite, that she and he together make up Victor. She is his good half and the creature his bad. Both characters are orphans and heavily dependent on Victor. Elizabeth is beautiful, good and female, whereas the creature is ugly, evil and male. The blending of the two create Victor, who has robbed himself of gender by assuming both parental roles. It has been suggested by one critic that Victor has feminine characteristics, being 'sensitive, passionate about literature . . . and becom[ing] enamoured with [other men's] voice[s] and feelings'. This theory can be supported, in that Victor attributes to Elizabeth the ability to 'subdue [him] to a semblance of her own gentleness'. By contrast, the creature unfailingly enrages Victor, causing him to lose self-control and become violent. Whilst the feminine roles are flat and manipulated to affect the character and actions of the male roles, the latter are considerably more defined. As Elizabeth Fay writes, Shelley shows the 'realistic weaknesses and frailties' of men in the novel. Walton is presented as sexist and selfish, mocking his sister's fears for his safety in his opening sentence: 'You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings.' Margaret is an unsatisfactory audience, as he desires a companion 'whose eyes would reply to [his]'. This companion must necessarily be male, for how could a female possibly communicate adequately with him? However, despite this wish for male companionship, Walton possesses certain feminine characteristics, such as his distaste for violence: ' . . . my best years [having been] spent under your gentle and feminine fosterage, has so refined the groundwork of my character that I cannot overcome an intense distaste to the usual brutality exercised on board ship'. He writes adoringly of 'the stranger's' 'conciliating and gentle' manners, 'unparalleled eloquence', nobility and 'cultivated' mind. Walton's ambition to discover 'uncharted territories' is arrogant, as he desires to acquire 'dominion . . . over the elemental foes of our race'. He craves idolatry and power. Shelley introduces this here so that Walton's later failure towards the close of the novel is celebrated by the reader, who has understood that Victor's arrogance has caused devastation, whereas Walton has paid little heed and is bitter in his failure. Shelley is commenting on the stupidity of male hubris, which she 'sensed in the scientific ambitions of Romantics such as her husband,' as the critic James W. Maerten has suggested. Maerten writes also of Anthony Easthope, who has drawn: 'a circular fortress as a model of the . . . masculine ego. Ego . . . is entrapped in its own defences, unable to escape the barriers it has raised against a universe [which is] an enemy . . . The most praised . . . in our civilisation are those who can contain and control the most monstrous powers: biological pathogens, nuclear fission, toxic waste, vast armies. Such Promethean desires are ultimately the illusions of Icarus.' Victor's ego causes him to desire 'a new species' which would 'bless [him] as its creator and source'. He cannot control the monster that he creates, thereby losing his essential masculinity. His attempt to defy Nature and steal God's power for himself is as fatal as Icarus' stupidity in trying to do what man cannot. This male arrogance is introduced by Alphonse, who assumes the care of Caroline and renders her submissive in gratitude. The blatancy of the strong male and weak female roles here has been condemned by some, who suggest that the imposition of a male role on Victor is a form of filicide. This is responsible for his insecurity which in turn leads to his 'overreaching ego inflation'. A critic has argued that: 'Victor Frankenstein is compulsively self-destructive, driven by forces he cannot recognise to create a son by his own efforts and without the troublesome involvement of a woman . . . [upon which] he is horrified . . . and rejects the creature totally, thereby turning the son into the very monster whose existence he has always denied in himself.' It is possible to corroborate this view to some extent, as Victor's feminine qualities conflict with his identity as a man. Shelley was concerned with the issue of gender, as in her novel 'The Last Man' she created an essentially genderless character, Lionel Verney, and discussed how he only acknowledged his gender when he viewed himself in a mirror. His reflection told him that he was an English gentleman, but without this empirical perception he had no such identity. Elizabeth Fay writes of him that he is a 'feminised ideal', 'combining masculine and feminine traits in such a way as to confute traditional notions of gender'. Robert W. Anderson writes that: 'Frankenstein's creature embodies gender transgression on two levels . . . the first being [his] status as being a surgically constructed male, the second being Victor's non-gender transgression in co-opting the female trait of reproduction, transforming his laboratory into a virtual womb.' The creature has no real gender, despite being created physically as a male. He is denied male dominance over females by Victor, who has made him too ugly to be accepted into human society and then destroys the female mate that he had partially made for him. The creature, like Victor, has feminine characteristics, being profoundly affected by literature and nature, and being sensitive to emotion. He is made male only so that there can be no sexual overtones in the relationship between himself and Victor, and the battle between them can be physical and violent as well as rhetorical. The absence of femininity in the making of the creature is its integral flaw. Despite all of Victor's efforts to make the creature perfect, it will ultimately be ugly, because it is unnatural for a male alone to reproduce. Beauty cannot result of only masculinity. Shelley is condemning a single father in this. The death of her mother left her to the care of her father, whom she adored. He often neglected her, leaving her feeling unwanted. The lack of grief on the part of her husband as their babies died augmented this conviction in men's inability to care for children alone. This reinforces her message throughout the novel of the necessity for women in society. Shelley was forced to ask her husband to claim to be the author of the novel, as women were not accepted as writers at the time. Men alone in science and education are fallible, as she suggested in making Frankenstein's experiment so disastrous. Therefore the oppression of women at the time was irrational and arrogant. Frankenstein represents flawed masculinity, as an example of a society without women. Shelley manipulated masculine and feminine gender identities in her novel to try and persuade her audience that men alone cannot create, whether it be children or art.
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Shelley began writing 'Frankenstein' in the company of what has been called 'her male coterie', including her lover Percy Shelley, Lord Byron and his physician John Polidori. It has been suggested that the influence of this group, and particularly that of Shelley and Byron, affected her portrayal of male characters in the novel. As Ann Campbell writes: '[The] characters and plot of Frankenstein reflect . . . Shelley's conflicted feelings about the masculine circle which surrounded her.' Certainly the male characters in 'Frankenstein' are more developed that those of the females. Elizabeth Fay has suggested that the female...
necessity for women in society. Shelley was forced to ask her husband to claim to be the author of the novel, as women were not accepted as writers at the time. Men alone in science and education are fallible, as she suggested in making Frankenstein's experiment so disastrous.

Therefore the oppression of women at the time was irrational and arrogant. Frankenstein represents flawed masculinity, as an example of a society without women. Shelley manipulated masculine and feminine gender identities in her novel to try and persuade her audience that men alone cannot create, whether it be children or art.

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Knowledge was one of the most...Knowledge was one of the most powerful tools of the middle ages. It was highly valued by many kings and members of nobility, but the greatest procurer of knowledge through the middle ages was undoubtedly the church. Their motive for the capturing of wisdom was not for their own enrichment, but predominantly self-preservation. If the general public were to get hold of such a wealth of philosophical and scientific works that were withheld in the monastic libraries then they would almost certainly begin to formulate their own religious ideas, therefore releasing the societal stranglehold the church held so tightly at that time. To survive the church had to keep the knowledge from the masses, and this is something that Umberto Eco has incorporated with finesse into his novel The Name of the Rose. Intertextuality, postmodernism, allusions and an array of interesting characters help to explain the state of education and the availability of knowledge in the middle ages. The labyrinth is one of the most important aspects to the portrayal of knowledge in The Name of the Rose. Its design and purpose are a brilliant metaphor to the churches desire to keep knowledge from the poor and powerless. The story of the labyrinth goes right back to a Greek myth, which tells of a beast with the head of a bovine and the body of a man, who was conceived of a woman and a snow white bull. It was confined to a labyrinth from which there was no escape without assistance. The concept that Eco uses in The Name of the Rose is very similar, except instead of guarding the Minotaur, Eco's labyrinth guard's books, the knowledge that could be the destruction of the church's vice-like grip upon society. The minotaur wanted seven young maidens and seven youths per year to quench it's appetite, and one year the Greek hero Theseus became sick of the killing and offered himself as a sacrifice to the bull, with the intention of killing it. He went in with a ball of string and a sword, the ball of string he used to trace his path back to the start when he had killed the Minotaur. There are distinct parallels between William, and the hero Theseus. William entered the library with the intention of getting at the contents that it was protecting from society, which of course were the books, just as Theseus entered the Minotaur's labyrinth to rescue the young men and women. They both succeed in their quest, William emerging from the burning library with some important literary works, and Theseus with the youths and maidens that were soon to be sacrificed. It is also no coincidence that William uses string, much the same as the Greek hero, to escape from the monastic labyrinth. The true purpose of the library is hinted upon throughout the novel, mostly through Adso and William's perilous adventures into the labyrinth, which highlight the obvious difficulty of getting inside the library, procuring books, then getting back out. There are however direct references to the labyrinth's intention, which generally occur in conversations between Adso and William. On page 286 Adso is shocked to find that the library in this Italian monastery has a different purpose to most, "And is a library, then, as instrument not for distributing the truth but for delaying it's appearance?" The library's political purposes override its theoretical one, which is to spread knowledge, and this is one of the novel's greatest ironies. One could hence assume that the library and the monk's existence is futile in a non-postmodernist sense as they are reproducing and preserving works that they will never intentionally release into society. Eco most deftly portrays the great power of knowledge through perhaps the novel's most interesting character, William of Baskerville. He is very different from the other monks in the monastery, as his great wealth of knowledge and ways of thinking recognise him as a renaissance man well before his time. One of the techniques Eco uses to portray William's importance to the theme of knowledge in The Name of the Rose is intertextuality. It is represented mainly in the form of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's short stories, 'Sherlock Holmes', and especially 'The Hounds of the Baskervilles'. Such elements as the characters, the time of year, and the ways of thinking portrayed through these characters help to lead the reader to a greater understanding of the text. The obvious similarities between the main characters in these stories is one of the more direct means that Eco uses to incorporate intertextuality into the story. William of Baskerville is a 14th century Sherlock Holmes, with a physique and detective skill that match his 19th century counterpart. Eco says of him, "Brother William's physical appearance was at that time such as to attract the attention of the most inattentive observer", if this is compared to Watson's first impression of Holmes, "His very person and appearance were such as to strike the attention of the most casual observer", it can be seen that Eco did little more than copy the character from one book to the other. The similarities continue when the two authors write in more detail of the character's looks, Adso says, "His height surpassed that of a normal man and he was so thin that he seemed still taller. His eyes were sharp and penetrating; his thin and slightly beaky nose gave his countenance the expression of a man on the lookout, save in certain moments of sluggishness of which I shall speak. His chin also denoted a firm will, though the long face covered with freckles"¦could occasionally express hesitation and puzzlement." Doyle writes of Sherlock Holmes' particulars, "In height he was rather over six feet, and so excessively lean that he seemed taller. His eyes were sharp and piercing, save during the intervals of torpor which I have alluded; his thin, hawk-like nose gave his whole expression an air of alertness and decision. His chin, too, had the prominence and squareness which mark the man of determination." They are so similar that one could be forgiven for thinking that the differences are a result of William Weaver's translation. Another character that is derived from Sherlock Holmes is Adso, who is of course the equivalent of Holmes' sidekick Watson. Adso follows William everywhere around the abbey, as does Watson when Sherlock is trying to solve a mystery. Adso converses with William in relation to matters in much the same way as Watson does with Holmes, and you can almost imagine that William is saying to Adso, "Precisely Watson" whenever Adso shows that he is understanding of a concept or situation. Adso's name is also procured from Doyle's characters, its real pronunciation being odsan and it only takes a small change to make it Watson. The reason for Eco's blatant citation of the Sherlock Holmes characters is not only to make the novel easier for the reader to relate to, but also to highlight a more important facet of his intertextual technique, this being the way that William actually solves the crimes. His way of thinking is bordering on modernism, and he epitomises the advent of logical and scientific chains of thought, as opposed to more superstitious and religious beliefs that had developed as a result of the massive amount of unexplained phenomena that surrounded the human race. Instead of trying to explain things in unknown quantities he took what he knew which was a vast amount and used it to solve a problem. He never made up an explanation for something that would create further consternation over a completely different answer, but stuck to the laws of science and logic and in this way he was able to use deduction to solve almost anything within the boundaries of his knowledge. In this manner Eco is able to show the difference between William, who has been exposed to a comprehensive education, and many of the other characters in the novel, who haven't had access to much of the knowledge that William has been able to gain throughout his life. William can use his great quantities of learning to benefit his well being and that of others, and his logical attitude is very different to that of the monks, who use religious phenomena to explain some happenings, as opposed to looking at the cold hard facts and deriving an answer from that. A pertinent example is that of the apocalypse and the way they were able to link every crime to it, thus dismissing them as acts of god rather than the doing of mortal beings. By contrasting William of Baskerville's calculative deduction to the methods of some of the less educated characters in the novel, Eco portrays the effect that the church's withholding of information has had upon the people and the difference it would have made to society if they had allowed access to their immense coffers of philosophical, scientific and even theological works. Not only is the difference between the educated and non-educated of the middle ages catered for by Eco's uses of intertextuality, but also the violent contrast that is present between the ways of thinking that existed in the 1300's and that of today. Eco uses intertextuality as a powerful vehicle to render his widely acclaimed postmodernist themes within the novel. William of Baskerville is a man ahead of his time, and he uses renaissance and modernist lines of thought to solve problems. Consequently he represents the use of knowledge that occurs in the modern day, a clinical and scientific way of looking at life. Eco uses him to celebrate the change in thinking between the Middle Ages and the renaissance period, the difference between the deductive and religious modes of thought, which are so differently regarded today than they were in 1327. Whilst the similarities between William and Sherlock Holmes are the main tools Eco uses to emphasize his postmodernist themes, small allusions to postmodernism are added throughout the text. For example at the very beginning Adso writes, "But now we see through a glass darkly," by this he means that we will never see the true nature of some things until many years later or even until the end of time. This line is central to the idea of postmodernism as it accentuates the fact that we didn't really know that the changes society and science were going through would be as revolutionary as they eventually were. It is also a clever allusion to the behaviour of the monks; at the start we assume that they are a good model of discipline and service to god, but eventually we find out that they are all corrupted and have sinned profusely, therefore having not a pure atom inside. In this the ultimate hypocrisy of religion is exposed. One of the most intriguing enigmas in The Name of the Rose is Jorge's partiality to the idea that humour and laughter are sinful and a detriment to humanity. Throughout the novel he argues with William with consistency regarding this matter and it highlights the churches fear of losing their control of western civilisation. As William and Adso are on the trail of the murderer William says of the finis Africae, the book that so many monks had been killed over, "If someone kills for a handful of gold, he will be a greedy person; if for a book, he will be anxious to keep for himself the secrets of that book." Jorge set up this whole murder mystery and it's happenings by putting poison on the pages of the valuable Aristotelian work, thus killing anyone who reads it and protecting its precious secrets. The reality that the he is not in favour of laughter or humour, coupled with the fact that the finis Africae uses humour to convey it's ideas, would lead one to believe that Jorge is simply following the attitude of the church. This being that works which use methods to make their concepts especially easy to understand are very dangerous, and therefore they above all others should be prevented from circulation into society. Umberto Eco has made the theme of knowledge a central subject within The Name of the Rose, and the literary techniques he uses as well as his highly complex characters are highly successful in conveying the way knowledge was treated in the era of great power that the catholic church held. The use of Sherlock Holmes in an intertextual sense and the consequent post-modern aspects of his amalgamation within the story are especially clever methods which serve to provide a very interesting tangent to the novel. The Name Of The Rose can be taken both on surface value as a typical crime story and from underneath as a wonderful political piece that embodies the attitudes of the time whilst still maintaining it's ironic edge as a Sherlock Holmes murder thriller set in the early 1300's, 500 years before Doyle's work, and written in the 1980's, some 100 years later than the Holmes mysteries were first published.  

Knowledge was one of the most powerful tools of the middle ages. It was highly valued by many kings and members of nobility, but the greatest procurer of knowledge through the middle ages was undoubtedly the church. Their motive for the capturing of wisdom was not for their own enrichment,...

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In her lifetime Emily Dickinson... In her lifetime Emily Dickinson wrote over 1,775 poems, none of which were published while she was still alive. Dickinson's writing styles and formats reflected several movements of her era including the revival of Puritanism, feminism, Transcendentalism, and Romanticism. These movements influenced the lifestyle and writing of Emily Dickinson. Emily Dickinson has shaped much of feminist criticism. Throughout the growth of feminist criticism Dickinson is still the focal point. Dickinson's poetry also shows evidence of a feminist humor. Feminist studies of Dickinson include her relationships as well as alleged relationships in regards to her sexuality, her humor in a satirical sense when looking at the women of her time, as well as even challenging the idea of Dickinson as an eccentric recluse. Even with humor evident in her poetry feminists do not debate the fact that elements of tragedy also influence her poetry. Elements of tragedy seen in Dickinson's poetry, especially of death and the emphasis of human mortality, are derivative from another movement of her time. American Romanticism included themes of nature as well as death mortality in what is referred to as "Dark Romanticism." Dickinson's Puritan heritage was another influence that affected her lifestyle from an early age. Dickinson uses such devices as sacramental imagery from her childhood religion. Dickinson was born into a prominent and staunchly religious family and rebelled against her upbringing in religion and social prominence in her later years. Her reclusiveness as well as her apparent Transcendentalist views was a result of Dickinson and her father's differing opinions about life, mankind, and the world they lived in. Some critics believe that in rebellion against her staunch Puritan heritage and upbringing Emily Dickinson became more of a transcendentalist. Many ties have been made between romanticism and transcendentalism and many of Dickinson's contemporaries fit into both categories. Possibly the greatest indication that Dickinson had inclinations from transcendentalism was the amount of text in which nature takes a central role. Emily Elizabeth Dickinson was born on December 10, 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts to a prosperous and well known family wikipedia. Dickinson's grandfather was one of the founders of Amherst College, and her father, Edward Dickinson, was a prominent lawyer as well as treasurer for the college wikipedia. Dickinson's father also served on the Massachusetts General Court, Massachusetts Senate, and the US House of Representatives wikipedia. Dickinson's mother, Emily Norcross Dickinson, was a shy and quiet woman who was chronically ill. Dickinson had one brother and one sister: William Austin Dickinson and Lavinia Norcross Dickinson wikipedia. Dickinson grew up in her family's Amherst home, and attended the nearby Amherst Academy until the age of seventeen, when she transferred to Mount Holyoke Female Seminary wikipedia. After less than a year of attending the seminary, Dickinson took ill and her brother William, more commonly known as Austin, was sent to bring her home. Aside from a few trips to Boston and various other locations after coming home from the seminary, Dickinson spent her entire life living in her father's house. She dressed only in white and developed the reputation of being anti-social and an agoraphobic recluse wikipedia Myers. Dickinson's experience at the seminary may well have fueled the fire of her independence and been one of the contributing factors for her decision to stop attending church, and retain her reclusive and anti social reputation. Dickinson never married, and her relationships and alleged relationships are still studied and debated. "Dickinson"s emotional life remains mysterious, despite much speculation about a possible disappointed love affair. Two candidates have been presented: Reverend Charles Wadsworth, with whom she corresponded, and Samuel Bowles, editor of the Springfield Republican, to whom she addressed many poems" Books and Writings 1. Some critics are challenging her sexuality and believe that there was more to her intimate relationship with friend and sister-in-law Susan Huntington Gilbert than meets the eye. Her relationships and sexuality have become very controversial amongst biographers and critics alike. Dickinson lived most of her life alone in her house, reclusive and anti social. Emily Dickinson died on May 15, 1886 of Bright's disease. Although regarded as one of the most prominent 19th century poets, Dickinson did not publish any of her works in her lifetime. After Dickinson"s death her poems were brought out by her sister Lavinia, who co-edited three volumes from 1891 to 1896 Books and Writings 2. Despite arguments and critics, Emily Dickinson is still a widely read poet. "Although interest in one or more lovers continues, as does attention to the poet"s religious quest and to her quiet subversion of gender assumptions, Emily Dickinson"s poems steadily gain recognition as works of art, both individually and collectively, especially when read in her original fascicle groupings, which establish not just her unquestionable brilliance but her frequently underestimated artistic control" Modern American Poetry 2. Emily Dickinson was one of the greatest American women poets of all time. As much as feminist studies of her have changed and shaped our understanding of her life and poetry Dickinson's impact has been no less important on the development of feminist criticism. Emily Dickinson has been the center of feminist criticism in all the stages of its development. As feminist criticism has grown and matured Emily Dickinson has remained the focal point Handbook 342. Some feminist critics have even challenged the popular notion of Dickinson as reclusive, eccentric figure. They have underlined her intellectual struggle and passive aggressiveness. They claim Dickinson's verse is full of allusions to volcanoes, shipwrecks, funerals, and other manifestations of natural and human violence, which she hide into her writings Books and Writings. Although some view Dickinson as morbid and morose, some of her poetry does present more than just her views about death. As feminist criticism has grown in its field the conceptions of Emily Dickinson have grown as well, changing throughout the decades from her place in a literary world dominated by men, to linguistic and psychoanalytic approaches to her poetry and life, and concluding in the 1990s with explorations of her lesbian identity and her relationship with Susan Gilbert Handbook 342. Dickinson encouraged the move of feminist criticism from narrative explanations of women writers into stylistic analyses of their work Handbook 342.Through the changing opinions and conceptions of Emily Dickinson throughout the development of feminist criticism one common dividing line has remained between the critics that wish to classify Dickinson as a nineteenth century poet and those who wish to classify her as a modernist poet. Dickinson's traits and characteristics allow her to escape all efforts to contain her to one particular genre or another. Adrienne Rich's reading of Emily Dickinson and her later published essay point out that Emily Dickinson seems to regard herself as "an imperious energy and her poetic creation as a form of aggression." Rich transfigured understanding of Dickinson and of poetic power in women. Rich also focused attention on the enraged Dickinson of the first feminist conceptions, and turned attention to the little read poem "My Life had stood- a Loaded Gun" which was to become the centerpiece of the feminist criticism of Dickinson. Enraged and assertive the Dickinson described by Rich as well as Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar exemplifies the spilt in the nineteenth century woman writer between her conventional role in society and her own creativity. Dickinson's humor was often underestimated by her critics; she is seen as a tragic figure even though some of her poems deal with serious personal issues through humor Readings 108. In Dickinson's poems about animals for example, she portrays her non human characters through amplified social roles, preceding the technique of Ogden Nash by almost a hundred years. Suzanne Juhasz, Christanne Miller and Martha Neil Smith- authors of The Comic Power in Emily- argue that Dickinson was deeply aware of her own limited social role and her political humor is best appreciated "in light of her perspective as a while, middle class woman keenly aware of the expectations placed on a woman writer in her era," Readings 108. Dickinson used her humor for comic relief and to stress a thought or conclusion about her life and environment. In "Faith is a Fine Invention" Dickinson demonstrates her satirical thoughts at faith and the limitations it presents, as well as two important issues of her day: the importance of faith vs. the importance of science, and which of the two was stronger. Dickinson's scrutiny of life and death takes precedence when critics analyze and evaluate her poetry Readings 108. However there is comedy evident in her work as well. It is a part of Dickinson's profundity Readings 108. "It is no coincidence that feminist critics have chosen this subject, for comedy is aligned with subversive and disruptive modes that offer alternative perspectives on culture" Readings 108-109. Dickinson uses her "feminist humor" when critiquing American patriarchy. However this feminist humor is often overlooked Readings 109. A feminist critical approach to Dickinson's comedy shows a poet whose topic and audience are larger than herself Readings 108. Dickinson's focus on comedy, often ignored by many critics, highlights her responses as a nineteenth century upper middle class woman to situations that both attracted to and angered by. "Through formal elements of voice, image and narrative, Dickinson teases, mocks and even outrages her audience in ways that are akin both to the gestures of traditional comedy and to specifically feminist humor" Readings 109. However, the model woman writer that dominated feminist criticism in its earliest stages poorly fit Emily Dickinson. The two main differences that set Dickinson apart were that most models were drawn from female novelists not poets, and second they were efforts to find a general explanation for women writers not one writer in particular Handbook 342. There are several contributing factors to whether or not Dickinson was comedic or feminist. Much of Dickinson's comic vision stems from her gender consciousness and is therefore difficult to separate her feminism from her humor Readings 111. "To appreciate the full range of Dickinson's humor, one must be able to conceive of her as a sharp critic of her world, as a self-conscious writer identifying with at least white middle-class women's experience as a basis for social criticism, and as a crafter of multiple levels of intention in her poems" Readings 111. Though humor is evident in her work there is no doubt that some of Dickinson's great poetry came out of her despair and suffering Readings 109. Critics who focus on the direct connection between a writer's life and their works are more prone to emphasize the tragic elements of Dickinson's poetry Readings 110. "Dickinson is a heroine because she suffered so and because she gave us great poetry out of this suffering" Readings 109. Although not all critics have been generous about the triumph of her frail sanity, most will agree that her despair and desolation is the "crucible in which her poetry is forged" Readings 109. Other recently developed theories regarding Emily Dickinson and her impact on feminism include the feminist conceptions of Dickinson and gay and lesbian elements in her life and her work. Recent feminist analyses have cut through the old rationalization that Victorian women habitually addressed friends with endearments we misread as lesbian effusions. The case for Dickinson's identity as a lesbian perhaps might rest on her relationship with Susan Gilbert. Critics have begun to look at the relationship and the letters and poems exchanged between the two. The censorship in some of the letters is seen by some as gender related. Many feel that issues of sexual identity that were part of the letters, manuscripts and poems were edited censored and essentially mutilated because of their content. Other feminist issues regarding Emily Dickinson also arise when talking about the editing of her work. Original manuscripts from Dickinson are difficult to obtain. Even critics who have only laid eyes on the original manuscripts once or twice emphasize the importance of the dashes, lines, and punctuation to the meanings and interpretations of Dickinson's work. Emily Dickinson's work has changed and shaped the continuously developing feminist criticisms. Religion is another aspect of her life that is evident in Dickinson's poetry. Critics are in debate about whether religion played a part in influencing the poetry of Dickinson, and if so, the amount of influence that her religion had. The environment in which Dickinson grew up affected her views on religion and life that reached into her poetry. Dickinson's Puritan heritage is apparent in the early years of her life when she was influenced by her strictly Puritan family Edison 1. "The New England Puritan tradition and Calvinistic theology formed the basis of Amherst"s religious climate and was the bedrock of Dickinson"s upbringing" Klein 1. What is of greatest importance is not the Puritan tradition itself but the breakdown of that tradition that was taking place during Dickinson"s lifetime Edison 1. Dickinson's understanding of her own experiences was shaped by the Puritan reading of the Christian scripture, which had been reinforced and spread in the colonial awakening, in her home as well as at her church. "That the religious climate of her time greatly influenced Emily Dickinson"s life has been widely acknowledged" Klein 1. Puritanism is greatly evident in Dickinson's poetry as well as in her heritage. Some critics argue that to understand the depth and complexity of Dickinson's works her relation to religion must be closely examined. "Puritanism allowed Dickinson to remain grounded in her faith of God" Edison 1. In Dickinson's mind she could relate to the Puritan foundation because of the influence of her family"s beliefs. Dickinson"s conforming respect for God is derivative from her childhood, but she could not deny her self-expression Edison 1. Puritanism emphasized human goodness but also recognized the presence of evil in human nature Edison 1. The Second Great Awakening took place during the 1820s and 1830s in an attempt to rejuvenate the once popular Puritan religion. The Awakening focused on two Puritan ideals: the relationship inside the person, between the self and God, and the relationship outside the person, between the individual and community. Growing up in a staunchly Puritan environment in a well respected family made Dickinson realize how different her views on life were from those of her fathers Edison 1. "She opposed the idea of a higher power, God, as influencing her every move and thus governing her thoughts and beliefs toward her life. Dickinson"s poetry is closely related to other American Romantics influenced by Puritanism [such as Romantics"¦]" Edison 1. One aspect of spiritual representation in the poet"s work that has somehow escaped critical attention is Dickinson's use of "sacramental" imagery. Throughout her poetry, Dickinson again and again comes back to images of the Christian sacraments in a quest for spiritual truth Klein 1. For Calvinists two sacraments, baptism and communion, symbolize God"s promises to his fellowship of believers, and initiate a meaningful spiritual life Klein 1. "When Dickinson finds the sacraments of the formal church empty and distant from her own experience, she moves away from these constraints in poetry"¦.Dickinson begins with the "tools" of Calvinism, such as the raw materials of the language, and is imaginatively challenged by the idea of "sacrament," but denies tradition by converting doctrine into her own vision" Klein 1. Religion is also evident in the style of Dickinson's poetry. "The style of her first efforts was fairly conventional, but after years of practice she began to give room for experiments. Often written in the meter of hymns, her poems dealt not only with issues of death, faith and immortality, but with nature, domesticity, and the power and limits of language" Books and Writers 2. It is legitimate to suggest that Dickinson, although she excluded much of her life from the church, recognized the importance of spiritual experience and connection to the God Klein 2. "Aside from the obvious thematic of her work, the poet"s correspondence documents these values. Not only was Dickinson raised in an intensely religious atmosphere, but she maintained that presence in her own life and work. It was forever a monumental concern" Klein 2. "Transcendentalism was a philosophic and literary movement that flourished in New England as a reaction against 18th century rationalism, the skeptical philosophy of Locke, and the confining religious orthodoxy of New England Calvinism" Brown 1. Transcendentalism was transforming traditional religion and thus became another influence in Dickinson's poetry Brown 1. Emily Dickinson embraced Transcendentalism because it allowed her to leave her Puritan heritage behind her and express her views and opinions of the worlds and put them into writing Brown 1. "Transcendentalism involved a rejection of the strict Puritan religious attitudes that were the heritage of New England, where the movement originated" Edison 1. Transcendentalists were influenced by romanticism, especially such aspects as self-examination, the celebration of individualism, and the integral relation between nature and mankind Edison 1. As a result of the realization of her differing views, Emily Dickinson embraced Transcendentalism. The Transcendentalist movement began flourishing in the early 19th century America, especially in New England, was based on some of the concepts of Transcendental Philosophy. In America "transcendentalism" was mostly used in a literary form having a semi religious nature Transcendentalism 1. Transcendentalist saw a connection between the universe and the individual soul. Transcendentalists believed "the soul of each individual is identical with the soul of the world, and latently contains all that the world contains" Transcendentalism 1. Transcendentalism allowed Emily Dickinson to materialize from her Puritan heritage. It allowed her to discover her self-worth by realizing that what she felt in her heart was significant of recognition Edison 1. Dickinson used Transcendentalism to help her to discover and confide her feelings in word and in the reader through verse Edison 1. Transcendentalism was "a natural outgrowth both of a literary time when visionary ideas were powerfully set abroad and [a time] of personal, exuberant discovery of self in poetry" Edison 1. "As Transcendentalism was beginning to emerge, so was Emily Dickinson"s soul" Edison 1. Possibly the greatest indication that Dickinson had inclinations from transcendentalism was the amount of text in which nature takes a central role. Dickinson also seems to express a great admiration for natural things that might lead one to accept that she is seeing somewhat of an "over soul" in nature Emily Dickinson 3. While it is hard in many of her poems to grasp what exactly she is thinking in regard to religion, it also seems clear that she is not an atheist Emily Dickinson 4. Emily Dickinson wrote numerous poems that could be interpreted as having transcendental sympathies. The strong conflict of Puritanism and Transcendentalism in Emily Dickinson"s poetry is what allowed her to become one of the greatest and most influential American poets of the nineteenth century Brown 1. Her obsession with life, death, and mortality could be derived /p> Dickinson"s love of nature expressed itself early as an appreciation of plants and animals in her own spacious garden, which she tended avidly throughout her life Hermitary 1. For most Romantics, however transcendental, nature served as an intermediary between man and God Bloom 50. Dickinson included nature in many of her works, emphasizing her romantic style of writing. To the Romantics Nature was precious because it was an earthly and material medium through which God could touch man and man could touch God Bloom 50. "Romanticism represents a rebellion against Enlightenment thinking. It replaces a faith in reason with feeling as the stronger expression of what we are. It is restless with practical reality and prefers visionary longing and excitement to the complacency of everyday reality" Intellectual Heritage 1. Romantics also emphasized the importance of individuality, uniqueness, and even the eccentric. The poetry of Emily Dickinson is one examples of American Romantic literature. Emily Dickinson's reclusive and anti social nature could be considered a sign of her "uniqueness" or an "eccentric" attitude that was emphasized by the Romantics. Dark Romanticism places its emphasis on the tragic dimension of life. Dickinson is often thought of as a tragic figure, and some of her poems about death fit the description of dark romanticism. Dark Romanticism also shows awe at human nature, struggle, suffering, mortality and man's relationship with God Loflin 1. Mystery and the reality of evil are also key themes seen in Dark Romanticism Loflin 1. Dickinson's poems seek to complete a voyage and prove the strength of the imagination against the stubbornness of life, the "repression of an antithetical nature, and the final territory of death. Emily Dickinson was affected by various movements of her time as well as influencing and guiding the futures of some of those movements. Her poetry reflects ideas from feminism, Puritanism, transcendentalism, and romanticism. Her own uneasiness about her own religious ideas, decisions and the lack of stability in her faith life may have been reasons for her focus on life and death. Her humor is demonstrated in some of her shorter poems, such as "Faith Is a Fine Intervention," is still being examined especially by feminist critics. Dickinson's poetry shows elements of several different movements and ideas of her time. They contain elements of feminist humor, emphasize her inner conflict between religions especially her childhood religion of Protestantism and the new movement of Transcendentalism and her focus on nature also brings in elements of Romanticism.   

In her lifetime Emily Dickinson wrote over 1,775 poems, none of which were published while she was still alive. Dickinson's writing styles and formats reflected several movements of her era including the revival of Puritanism, feminism, Transcendentalism, and Romanticism. These movements influenced the lifestyle and writing of Emily Dickinson....

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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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