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Showing posts from September, 2015

Caleb William and 'Cruel Identities'

It's been two weeks since my new third-year option module kicked off, and after beginning with de Quincey and Descartes, this week's text was William Godwin's paranoid political-gothic novel Caleb Williams. There's something pleasingly concentrated and intense about third year teaching (I guess the looming prospect of degree classification must focus the mind!) and I was really impressed with the discussion.

We began by thinking about Caleb as both narrating and narrated. Caleb is quite a self-conscious (and potentially suspicious) narrator, something made clear quite early on - 'I shall interweave with Mr. Collins's story various information which I afterwards received from other quarters...to avoid confusion in my narrative, I shall drop the person of Collins, and assume to be myself the historian of our patron' - right up until the point where he essentially revokes the vindicatory aim of his 'half-told and mangled tale'.

Yet he is also narrated. P…

On Rosi Braidotti

Still hubristically on course for ten new theory texts in 2015! This is one of these rare volumes which both sums up diverse threads of thinking (and Braidotti is an aggressive and self-conscious thinker of pluralist bricolage) and somehow also marks new openings.

1. 'The crisis that spells the death of the logocentric subject opens the condition of possibility for the expression of female subjectivity'*

This is the starting point, I think, for everything Braidotti is trying to do: or, perhaps better articulated, this is the intellectual condition of the epoch. Such a 'deconstruction' of the classical self (unified, rational, centered) comes from at least three places. Firstly, a well-established, largely male philosophical tradition running from figures like Nietzsche and Freud right up to key French thinkers such as Derrida, Deleuze and Foucault, who dissolves the 'I' into the flux of language, material intensities or networks of power/knowledge. Secondly, an …