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Skip to main content Skip to table of contents. Advertisement Hide. Front Matter Pages Pages The Theoretical to the Rescue of Levinas. Ethics and Politics in the Thought of Emmanuel Levinas. Necessity and Legitimacy of the State. Judaism, the Jewish People and the State. Political Reason and Prophetism.
The French language has had for centuries the possibility of shifting an abstract word's meaning to its concrete counterpart by changing gender. Thus la physique, rneaning the science of physics, becomes le physique, meaning bodily or physical attributes. See also the introduction to this volume. Signijiance, as Kristeva uses this term, refers to operations that are both fluid and archaic-with the latter word restricted to its Freudian sense See Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis, Lecture l3.
It refers to the work performed in language through the heterogeneous articulation of semiotic and symbolic disposi- tions that enables a text to signify what representative and communica- tive speech does not say. Establishing a sign system calls for the identity of a speaking subject within a social framework, which he recognizes as a basis for that identity.
Countervailing the sign system is done by having the subject undergo an unsettling, questionable process; this indirectly challenges the social framework with which he had previously identified, and it thus coincides with tim es of abrupt changes, renewal, or revolution in society. SPLIT clive. Cliver is used mostly in mineralogy, and it means to split mica, for instance, into thin leaves-or a diamond according to its cleavage planes; in either case the division is inherent and natural. For le symbolique symbolic" is a domain of position and judgment. Synchronically speaking, it is always even in the semiotic disposition, which cannot exist without constantly challenging, the sym bolic one.
It is never used to suggest the topic or theme of a work. See the Introduction to this volume. The "unary subject" is closely related to tradition al concepts of consciousness, where the self is seen as a homo- geneous, consistent whole. It is the subject implicitly posited by science, society, and most political theory and practice. Marx still accepted that notion of the subject, which he inherited from Feuerbach. The phrase, however, was introduced by Kristeva in the wake of Freud's theory of the unconscious and Lacan's elaboration of the same. One could possibly use the word to convey the sense of ecriture.
Wherever it is elear. Leon S. Armando Verdiglione, ed. Julia Kristeva, L,71J. Essays by Brik and Shklovski are included in Tzvetan Todorov, ed. Plato, Timaeus, I used the J owett translation. Kristeva, Des chinoises Paris: Editions des Femmes, , pp. My transla- tion. Letter to Le Monde, OeL 22, , p. Enthoven, "Julia Kristeva," p. Enthoven, "Julia Kristeva," pp. Barthes, "L'Etrangere, p. See, for instanee, the Fall issue of Diacritics, whieh also includes an exeellent essay by Philip E. Lewis on Kristeva, entitled "Revolutionary Semioties.
Lovitt and Ann Rei1Jy and published as "Polylogue" in Cantemparary Literature Summer , 19 3 the present translation was done independently ; and 2 An earlier version of "Place Names," appeared in Oelaber Fall , Should a linguist, today, ever happen to pause and query the ethics of his own discourse, he might weIl respond by doing something else, e.
One could thus account for the Janus-like behavior of a prominent modern grammarian; in his linguistic theories he sets forth a logical, normative basis for the speaking subject, while in politics he claims to be an anarchist. Then there are scholars, quite numerous but not so weIl known, who squeeze into modern linguistic theory a few additional considerations on the role of ideology; or who go no further than to lift their examples out of leftist newspapers when illustrating linguistic propositions.
Now, since the end of the nineteenth century, there have been intellectual, political, and, generally speaking, social ventures that have signaled the outbreak of something quite new within Western society and discourse, which is subsumed in the names of Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud, and their primary goal has been to reformulate an ethics. Ethics used to be a coercive, customary manner of ensuring the cohesiveness of a particular group through the repetition of a code-a more or less accepted apologue. Now, however, the issue of ethics crops up wherever a code mores, social contract must be shattered in order to give way to the free play of negativity, need, desire, pleasure, and jouissance, before being put together again, although temporarily and with fuH knowledge of what is involved.
Fascism and Stalinism stand for the barriers that the new adjustment between a law and its transgression comes against. First published in Critique March, , vol. As wardens of and rationalizers of the social contract in its most solid substratum linguists carry the Stoic tradition to its conclusion. The epistemology underlying linguistics and the ensuing cognitive processes structuralism, for example , even though constituting a bu lwark against irrational destruction and sociologizing dogmatism, seem helplessly anachronistic when faced with the contemporary muta- tions of subject and society.
Even though "formalism" might have been right, contrary to Zhdanov, neither can think the rhythm of Mayakovsky through to his suicide or Khlebnikov's glossolalias to his disintegra- tion-with the young Soviet state as backdrop. For, as soon as linguistics was established as a science through Saussure, for all intents and purposes its field of study was thus hemmed in [suturel; the problem of truth in linguistic discourse became dissociated from any notion of the speaking subject.
Determining truth was reduced to a seeking out of the object-utterance's internal coherence, which was predetermined by the coherence of the particular metalin- guistic theory within which the search was conducted. Any attempt at reinserting the "speaking subject," whether under the guise of a Cartesian subject or any other subject of enunciation more or less akin to the transcendental ego as linguists make use of it , resolves nothing as long as that subject is not posited as the place, not only of structure and its regulated transformation, but especially, of its loss, its outlay.
The speech practice that should be its object is one in wh ich signified structure sign, syntax, signification is defined within boundaries that can be shifted by the advent of a semiotic rhythm that no system of linguistic communica- tion has yet been able to assimilate. The term "poetry" has meaning only insofar as it makes this kind of studies acceptable to various educational and cultural institutions. But the stakes it entails are totally different; what is implied is that language, and thus sociability, are defined by boundaries admitting of upheaval, dissolution, and transformation.
Situating our discourse near such boundaries might enable us to endow it with a current ethical impact. In short, the ethics of a linguistic discourse may be gauged in proportion to the poetry that it presupposes. A most eminent modern linguist believed that, in the last hundred years, there had been only two significant linguists in France: Mallarme and Artaud.
As to Heidegger, he retains currency, in spite oJ everything, because of his attentiveness to language and "poetic language" as an opening up of beings; as an openness that is checked but nonetheless occurs; as a struggle between world and earth; artistic creations are all conceived in the image of poetic language where the "Being" of "beings" is fulfilled and on which, as a consequence, "History" is grounded.
If modern art, which is post-Hegelian, sounds a rhythm in language capable of stymieing any subjugated work or logic, this discredits only that closure in Heidegger's reflections that systematizes Being, beings and their historial veracity. But such discredit does not jeopardize poetry's logical stake, inasmuch as poetry is a practice of the speaking subject, consequently implying a dialectic between limits, both signified and signi- fying, and the setting of a pre- and trans-Iogical rhythm solely within this limit.
Similarly, modern art's odyssey nevertheless remains the field where the possibility of History and dialectic struggle can be played out before these become a particular history and a concrete struggle , since this artistic practice is the laboratory of a minimal signifying structure, its maximum dissolution, and the eternal return of both. Such, believe, was the path taken by Roman Jakobson. It should not be surprising, then, that it is his dis- course and his conception of linguistics, and those of no other linguist, that could contribute to the theory of the unconscious-allowing us to see it being made and unmade-poiein [7TozEZv]-like the language of any subjecL There is no denying J akobson's contributions toward establishing phonology and structural linguistics in general, toward Slavic studies and research into language acquisition, and toward epistemology and the his- tory of linguistic discourse in its relationship to contemporary or past philosophy and society.
But beyond these contributions lies foremost the heed given by J akobson to poetic language; this constitutes the unique- ness of his research, providing its ethical dimension, while at the same time maintaining the openness of present-day linguistic discourse, point- ing out, for example, those blockings that cause it to have problems with semantics. Consequently, by virtue of its equally historical and poetic concern, Jakobson's linguistics appears to bracket the technical nature of some contemporary tendencies such as generative grammar , and to leap from the beginning of our century, when linguistics was not yet hemmed in, to the contemporary period when it must open up in order to have something to say about the speaking subject.
The linguist projeets hirnself into it, identifies with it, and in the end, extraets a few eoncepts necessary for building a new model of language. But he also and foremost comes away suspeeting that the signifying proeess is not limited to the language system, but that there are also speech, discourse, and, within them, a causality other than linguistic: a heterogeneous, destruc- tive causality.
It is quite an experience to listen to Harvard University's recording of Roman lakobson's leeture, "Russian Poetry of my Genera- tion"-he gave a reading of Mayakovsky and Khlebnikov, imitating their voiees, with the lively, rhythmie aeeents, thrust out throat and fully militant tone of the first; and the softly whispered words, sustained swish- ing and whistling sounds, voealizations of the disintegrating voyage toward the mother constituted by the "trans-mental" "zaum" language of the seeond. To understand the real eonditions needed for produeing scientific models, one should listen to the of their youth, of the aesthetie and always political battles of Russian soeiety on the eve of the Revolution and during the first years of vietory, of the friendships and sensitivities that eoalesced into lives and life projects.
From aB this, one may perceive wh at initiates a scienee, wh at it stops, what deceptiveIy ciphers its models. No longer will it be possible to read any treatise on phonology without deeiphering within every phoneme the statement, lies a poet. SUN Two ren. So the rhythm is trimmed and takes shape-and rhythm is the basis of any poetic work, resounding through the whole thing.
Gradually individual words begin to ease themselves ffee of this dull roar When the fundamentals are there, one has a sudden sensation that the rhythm is strained: there's some little syllable or sound missing. You begin to shape a11 the words anew, and the work drives you to distraction. A hundred times or so it seems the dentist tries a crown on the tooth, and it's the wrong size; but at last, after a hundred attempts, he presses one down, and it fits.
The analogy is a11 the more apposite in my case, because when at last the crown fits, I quite literally have tears in my eyes, from pain and relief. Where this basic dull roar of a rhythm comes from is a mystery. In my case, it's a11 kinds of repetitions in my mind of noises, rocking motions or in fact, of any phenomenon with which I can associate asound. The sound of the sea, endlessly repeated, can provide my rhythm, or a servant who sIams the door every morning, recurring and intertwining with itself, trailing through my consciousness; or even the rotation of the earth, which in my case, as in a shop fu11 of visual aids, gives way to, and inextricably connects with, the whistle of a high wind.
We should understand it as a summary leading from the poet's condition to poetic formulation. Sun: agency of language since it is the "crown" of rhythmic thrust, limiting structure, patern al law abrading rhythm, destroying it to a large degree, but also bringing it to light, out of its earthy revolutions, to enunciate itself. In- asmuch as the "I" is poetic, inasmuch as it wants to enunciate rhythm, to socialize it, to channel it into linguistic structure if only to break the structure, this "I" is bound to the sun.
It is apart of this agency because it must master rhythm, it is threatened by it because solar mastery cuts off rhythm. Thus, there is no choice but to struggle eternally against the sun; the "I" is successively the sun and its opponent, language and its rhythm, never one without the other, and poetic formulation will continue as long as the struggle does. The essential point to note is that there would be no struggle but for the sun's agency. Without it, rhythm incapable of formulation, would flow forth, growting, and in the end would dig itself in.
In "The God of the " the protagonist is "the daughter of the sun prince. In any case, what in Khlebnikov Tynanov called "infantilism" or "the poet's pagan attitude regarding words"2 is essentially manifest in the glossolalias unique to Khlebnikov.
He invented words by onomatopoeia, with a great deal of alliteration, demanding of hirn an acute awareness of the articulatory base and instinctual charge of that articulation. This entire strategy broke up the lexicon of the Russian language, drawing it doser to childhood soliloquy. But above all, it threaded through metaphor and metonymy a network of meaning supplementary to the normative signifying line, a network of phonemes or phonic groups charged with instinctual drives and meaning, constituting wh at for the author was a numerical code, a ciphering, underlying the verbal signs: for example, "Veterpenie j kogo i 0 chem?
The vocalization of language thus becomes a way of deflecting the censorship that, for rhythm, is constituted by the structuring agency. Having become "trans-mental" Khlebnikov's instinctual, ciphered language projects itself as prophetic and seeks for homologues within this tradition: for example, "Through Zarathustra's golden mouth let us swear j Persia shall become a Soviet country, thus has the prophet spoken". This is probably true; when the article first appeared in , even psychoanalysts were not all convinced that was now based on complicity in the common crime," as Freud had written in Totem and Taboo.
On the other hand, but simultaneously, poetic language alone carries on the struggle against such a death, and so harries, exorcises, and invokes it. J akobson is fascinated by murder and suicide as themes with poets of his generation as weIl as of all time. The question is unavoidable: if we are not on the side of those whom society wastes in order to reproduce itself, where are we?
Murder, death, and unchanging society represent precisely the inability to hear and understand the signifier as such-as ciphering, as rhythm, as a presence that precedes the signification of object or emotion. The poet is put to death because he wants to turn rhythm into a dominant element; because he wants to make language perceive wh at it doesn't want to say, provide it with its matter independently of the sign, and free it from denotation. For it is this eminently parodie gesture that changes the system. The word is experienced as word and not as a simple substitute for a named object nor as the explosion of emotion[ It is easy, at that, to see that his poems, like those of Khlebnikov and other futurists, take up the theme of Messianic resurrection, a privileged one in Russian Medieval poetry.
Such a theme is a very obvious and direct descendant of the contest against the sun myth that I mentioned earlier. The son assurnes from his sun-father the task of completing the "self' and "rhythm" dialectic within the poem. But the irruption of semiotic rhythm within the signifying system of language will never be a Hegelian Aufhebung, that is, it will not truly be experienced in the present.
The rigid, imperious, immediate present kills, puts aside, and fritters away the poem. Thus, the irruption within the order of language of the ante- riority of language evokes a later time, that is, a forever. The poem's time frame is some "future anterior" that will never take place, never come about as such, but only as an upheaval of present place and mean- ing. Now, by thus suspending the present moment, by straddling rhythmic, meaningless, anterior memory with meaning intended for later or forever, poetic language structures itself as the very nucleus of a monumental historicity.
Futurism succeeded in making this poetic law explicit solely because it extended further than anyone else the signifier's autonomy, restored its instinctual value, and aimed at a "trans-mental language. It heard and understood the Revolution only beeause its present was dependent on a future. In "As for the Self," Khlebnikov writes: Short pieces are important when they serve as a break into the future, like a shooting star, leaving behind a trail of fire.
They should move rapidly enough so that they pierce the present. While we wait, we cannot yet define the reason for this speech. But we know the piece is good when, in its role as a piece of the future, it sets the present ablaze. The wind of the gods of the word blows from that direction. Consequently, it is assuredly the most appropriate historical discourse, if and only if we attribute to this word its new resonance; it is neither flight in the face of a supposed metaphysics of the not ion of "history," nor mechanistic enclosure of this notion within a project oblivious to the violence of the social contract and evolution's being, above all, a refinement of the various forms of dissipating the tension we have been calling "poetic lan- guage.
Beyond these mythemes, however, futurism stressed equally its participation in the anamnesis of a culture as weIl as a basic feature of Western discourse. At that point the code becomes receptive to the rhythmic body and it forms, in opposition to present meaning, another meaning, but a future, impossible meaning. Linguistic ethics, as it can be understood through 1 akobson's practice, consists in the resurgence of an coming back to rebuild an ephemeral structure in which the constituting struggle of language and society would be spelled out.
Can contemporary linguistics hear this conception of language of which lakobson's work is the major token? The currently dominant course, generative grammar, surely rests on many of lakobson's approaches, notably phonological, in the study of the linguistic system. Nonetheless, it is hard to see how notions of elision, metaphor, metonymy, and parallelism cf.
But the dramatic notion of language as a risky practice, allowing the speak- ing animal to sense the rhythm of the body as weIl as the upheavals of history, seems tied to a notion of signifying process that contemporary theories do not confront. Secondly, it demands a semiology, understood as moving beyond simple linguistic studies toward a typology of signifying systems composed of semiotic materials and varied social functions.
Such an affirmation of Saussurian semiological exigencies in aperiod dominated by generative grammar is far from archaistic; rather, it is integrated into a tradition where linguistics is inseparable from concepts of subject and society. As it epitomizes the experiences of language and linguistics of our entire European century, it allows us to foresee what the discourse on the signifying process might be in times to come. G, Hyde, trans, London: Cape, , pp. Paris: Oswald, In Tzvetan Todorov. Questions de poitique, Paris: Seuil, First appeared as "0 pokolenii rastrativshem svoikh poetov," in Smer!
Khlebnikov, Oeuvres. In this perspective, the text is defined as a trans-linguistic apparatus that redistributes the order of language by relating communicative speech, which aims to inform directly, to different kinds of anterior or synchronie utterances. The ideologeme is that intertextual function read as "materialized" at the different structural levels of each text, and which stretches along the entire length of its trajectory, giving it its historical and social coordinates.
JF,1v1l11v transformation of utterances which the the as weH as the insertions of this torical and sodal text. The novel, seen as a text, is a semiotic practice in which the of several utterances can be read. That function, adependent variable, is determined along with the independent variables it links together; more simply put, there is univocal correspondence between words or word sequences. It is therefore clear that what I am proposing is an analysis that, while deal- ing with linguistic units words, sentences, paragraphs , is of a translin- guistic order.
Speaking metaphorically, linguistic units and especially semantic units will serve only as springboards in establishing different kinds of novelistic utterances as functions. Novelistic utterances, as they pertain to this suprasegmentallevel, are linked up within the totality of novelistic production.
Only in this way can the novel be defined in its unity andj or as ideologeme. To put it another way, the functions defined according to the extra-novelistic textual set Te take on value within the novelistic textual set Tn. The ideologeme of the novel is precisely this intertextual function defined according to Te and having value within Tn. I will show that the noveI's textual order is based more on speech than on writing and then proceed to analyze the topology of this "phonetic order" the arrangement of speech acts in relation to one another.
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Since the novel is a text dependent on the ideologeme of the sign, let me first briefly describe the particularities of the sign as ideologeme. The second half of the Middle Ages thirteenth to fifteenth centuries was aperiod of transition for European culture: thought based on the sign replaced that based on the symbol. A semiotics of the symbol characterized European society until around the thirteenth century, as cleariy manifested in this period's literat ure and painting. It is, as such, a semiotic practice of cosmogony: these elements symbols refer back to one or several unrepresentable and unknowable universal transcen- dence s ; univocal connections link these transcendences to the units evoking them; the symbol does not "resemble" the object it symbolizes; the two spaces symbolized-symbolizer are separate and do not com- municate.
The symbol assumes the symbolized universals as irreducible to the symbolizer its markings. The symbol's function, in its vertical dimension universals-markings , is thus one of restrietion. The symbol's function in its horizontal dimension the articulation of signifying units among themselves is one of escaping paradox; one could even say that the symbol is horizontally antiparadoxieal: within its logic, two opposing units are exclusive. Thus are the general characteristics of a symbolic semiotic practice: the quantitative limitation of symbols, their repetition, limitation, and general nature.
From the thirteenth to the fifteenth century, the symbol was both challenged and weakened, but it did not completely disappear. Rather, during this period, its passage its assimilation into the sign was assured. The transcendental unity supporting the symbol-its otherworldly casing, its transmitting focus-was put into question. Thus, until the end of the fifteenth century, theatrical representations of Christ's life were based on both the canonical and apocryphal Gospels or the Golden legend see the Mysteries dated c.
Beginning in the fifteenth century, the theater as well as art in general was invaded by scenes devoted to Christ's public life as in the Cathedral of Evreux. The transcendental foundation evoked by the symbol seemed to capsize. This heraids a new signifying relation between two elements, both located on the side of the "real" and "concrete. Great architectural and literary compositions were no longer possible: the miniature replaced the cathe- dral and the fifteenth century became the century of the miniaturists.
The serenity of the symbol was replaced by the strained ambivalence of the sign's connection, which lays claim to resemblance and identification of the elements it holds together, while first postulating their radical dif- ference. Whence the obsessive insistence on the theme of dialogue between two irreducible but similar elements dialogue-generator of the pathetic and psychologieal in this transitional period.
The that was outlined these mutations retained the fundamental characteristic of the symbol: irreducibility of terms, that is, in the case of the sign, of the referent to the signified, of the signified to the signifier, in addition, all the "units" of the signifying structure itself. The ideologeme of the sign is therefore, in a general way, like the ideologeme of the symbol: the sign is dualist, hierarchical, and hierar- difference between the sign and the symbol can, however, be seen as weIl as horizontally: within its vertical function, the sign refers back to entities both of lesser scope and more concretized than those of the symbol.
They are reified universals become objects in the strongest sense of the word. Put into a relationship within the structure of sign, the entity phenomenon under consideration is, at the same time, transcendentalized and elevated to the level of theological unity. The semiotic practice of the sign thus assimilates the metaphysics of the symbol and projects it onto the "immediately perceptible.
Within their horizontal function, the units of the sign's semiotic practice are articulated as a metonymical concatenation of deviations from the norm signifying a progressive creation of metaphors. Opposi- ti on al terms, always exc1usive, are caught within a network of multiple and always possible deviations surprises in narrative structures , giving the illusion of an open structure, impossible to finish, with an arbitrary ending. In literary discourse the semiotic practice of the sign first c1early appeared, during the Renaissance, in the adventure novel, which is struc- tured on wh at is unforeseeable and on as reification at the level of narrative structure of the deviation from the norm specific to every practice of the sign.
The itinerary of this concatenation of deviations is practically infinite, whence the impression of the work's arbitrary ending. In a semiotic contradiction was exclusive - rs - or nonconjunction - I a semiotic on the sign, contradiction is resolved nondisjunction - V -.
It is related to conceptualist antiexperimental thought in the same way as the symbolic is to Platonism. The novel is one of the characteristic manifestations of this ambivalent ideologeme closure, nondisjunction, linking of deviations -the sign.
Antoine de La Sale wrote Jehan de Saintre in , after a long career as page, warrior, and tutor, for educational purposes and as a lament for adeparture for puzzling reasons, and after forty-eight years of service, he left the Kings of Anjou to become tutor of the Count of Saint Pol's three sons in Jehan de Saintre is the only novel to be found among La Sale's writings, which are otherwise presented as compilations of edi- fying narratives La SaUe, , as "scientific" tracts, or as accounts of his travels Lettres a Jacques de Luxembourg sur fes tournois, ; Reconfort a Madame de Fresne, -all of these being constructed as historical discourse or as heterogeneous mosaics of texts.
Literary history, immersed in referential opacity, has not been able to bring to light the structure of this text, which situates it at the threshhold of the two eras and shows, through La Sale's naive poetics, the articulation of this ideologeme of the sign, which continues to dominate our intellectual horizon. The text opens with an introduction that shapes shows the entire itinerary of the novel: La Sale knows wh at his text is "three stories" and for what reason it exists a message to Jehan d'Anjou.
Having thus uttered his purpose and named its addressee, he marks out within twenty lines the first loop8 that encloses the textual set and programs it as a means of exchange and, therefore, as sign: this is the loop utterance exchange object jaddressee the duke or, simply, the reader. The title can now be presented: "And first, the story of the Lady of the Beautiful Cousins of whom I have al ready spoken and of Saintre, " which requires a second loop-this one found at the thematic level of the message.
La Sale gives a shortened version of Jehan de Saintre's life from beginning to end Hhis passing away from this world, p. All anecdotal interest is thus eliminated: the novel will play itself out by rebuilding the distance between life and it will be nothing other than an inscription of deviatiofls surprises that do not destroy the certainty of the thematic loop life-death holding the set together. Within the ideologeme of the novel with the of the sign , the irreducibility of opposite terms is admitted only to the extent that the empty space of rupture separating them is provided with ambiguous semic combinations.
The initially reeognized opposition, set- ting up the novel's trajectory, is immediately repressed within a before, only to give way-within a now-to a network of paddings, to a con- catenation of deviations oscillating between two opposite poles, and, in an attempt at synthesis, resolving within a figure of dissimulation or mask. Negation is thus repeated in the affirmation of duplicity. The exclusiveness of the two terms posited by the novel's thematic loop is replaced by a doubtful positivity in such a way that the disjunction wh ich both opens and closes the novel is replaced by a yes-no strueture nondis- junction.
This funetion does not bring about a para-thetic silence, but combines earnivalistie play with its nondiscursive logie; all figures found in the novel as heir to the carnival that ean be read in two ways are organized on the model of this funetion: ruses, treason, foreigners, an- drogynes, utteranees that ean be doubly interpreted or have double desti- nations at the level of the novelistie signified , blazonry, "eries" at the level of the novelistie signifier , and so on. The trajeetory of the novel would be impossible without this nondisjunetive funetion-this dou- ble-whieh programs it from its beginning.
La Sale first introduees it through the Lady's doubly oriented utteranee: as a message destined to the Lady's female eompanions and to the Court, this utteranee eonnotes aggressivity towards Saintre; as a message destined to Saint re hirnself, it connotes a "tender" and "testing" love. The nondisjunetive function of the Lady's utteranee is revealed in stages that are quite interesting to follow.
At first, the message's duplieity is known only to the speaker herself the Lady , to the author subjeet of the novelistie utteranee , and to the reader addressee of the novelistie utteranee. In a third Saintre forgets the nondisjunction; he com- transforrns into something what he knew to be also nega- he loses sight of the dissimulation and is taken in by the garne of a univocal therefore of a message that remains double. Saintre's defeat-and the end of the narrative-are due to this error of an utterance as and uni- vocal for the nondisjunctive function of an utterance.
Negation in the novel thus oper at es according to a double modality: alethic the opposition of contraries is necessary, possible, contingent, or impossible and deontic the reunion of contraries is obligatory, permissi- ble, indifferent, or forbidden. The novel becomes possible when the alethic modality of opposition joins with the deontic modality of reunion. The double dissimulation, mask , as fundamental figure of the carnival,10 thus becomes the pivotal springboard for the deviations filling up the silence imposed by the disjunctive function of the novel's thematic-programmatic loop.
In this way, the novel absorbs the duplicity the dialogism of the carnivalesque scene while submitting it to the uni- vocity monologism of the symbolic disjunction guaranteed by a transcendence-the author-that subsurnes the totality of the novelistic utterance. It is, in fact, precisely at this point in the textual trajectory-that is, after the enunciation of the text's toponymical message-addressee and thematic life-death closure loop -that the word "ac tor" is inscribed.
It reappears several tim es, introducing the speech of he who is writing the narrative as being the utterance of a character in this drama of which he is also the author. Playing upon a homophony Latin: ac tor- auctor, French: acteur-auteur , La Sale touches upon the very point where the speech act work tiIts towards discursive effect product , and thus, upon the very constituting process of the "literary" object. The author-actor's utterance unfolds, divides, and faces in two directions: first, towards a referential utterance, narration-the speech assumed by he who inscribes hirnself as actor-author; and second, toward textual premises, cita- tion-speech attributed to an other and whose authority he who inscribes hirnself as actor-author acknowledges.
These two orientations intertwine in such a way as to merge. For example, La Sale easily shifts from the story as "lived" by the Lady of the Beautiful Cousins to which he is wit- ness, i. The novelistic inference is exhausted through the naming process of the two premises and, particularly, through their concatena- tion, without leading to the syllogistic conclusion proper to logical inference.
I The words that mediate this inference are worth noting: Hit seems to me at first view that she wished to imitate the widows of ancient times These are empty words whose functions are bothjunctive and transla- tive. As junctive, they tie together totalize two minimal utterances nar- rative and citational within the global, novelistic utterance. As transfer an utterance from one textual space vocal discourse into another changing its ideologeme. They make possible the deviation of the novelistic utterance from its subject and its self-presence, that is, its displacement from a discursive informa- tional, communicative level to a textuallevel of productivity.
Through this inferential gesture, the author refuses to be an objective "wit- ness"possessor of a truth he symbolizes by the word-in order to inscribe himself as reader or listener, structuring his text through and across apermutation of other utterances. He does not so much speak as decipher. The inferential agents allow him to bring a referential utterance narration back to textual premises citations and vi ce versa.
They establish a similitude, a resemblance, an equalization of two different dis- courses. The ideologeme of the sign once again crops u p here, at the level of the novelistic enunciation's inferential mode: it admits the existence of an other discourse only to the extent that it makes it its own. This split- ting of the mode of enunciation did not exist in the epic: in the chansons de geste, the speaker's utterance is univocal; it names a referent "real" object or discourse ; it is a signifier symbolizing transcendental objects universals. Medieval literature, dominated by the symbol, is thus a "signifying," "phonetic" literature, supported by the monolithic presence of signified transcendence.
The scene of the carnival introduces the split speech act: the actor and the crowd are each in turn simultaneously sub- ject and addressee of discourse. It is this third mode that the novelistic inference adopts and effects within the author's utterance. As irreducible to any of the premises constituting the inference, the mode of novelistic enunciation is the invisible focus where the phonetic referential utterance, narration and written textual premises, citation intersect.
It is the hollow, unrepresentable space signaled by "as," "it seems to me," "says thereupon," or other inferential agents that refer back, tie together, or bound. The novelistic utterance conceives of the opposition of terms as a nonalternating and absolute opposition between two groupings that are competitive but never solidary, never complementary, and never recon- cilable through indestructible rhythm.
In order for this nonalternating disjunction to rise to the discursive trajectory of the novel, it must be embodied within a negative function: nondisjunction. It is this nondis- junctive function that intervenes on a secondary level and instead of an infinity complementary to bipartition which could have taken shape within another conception of negation one might term radical, and this presupposes that the opposition of terms is, at the same time, thought of as communion or symmetrical reunion it introduces the figure of dissimulation, of ambivalence, of the double.
The initial nonalternating opposition thus turns out to be a pseudo-opposition-and this at the time of its very inception, since it doesn't integrate its own opposition, namely, the solidarity of rivals. Life is opposed to death in an absolute way as is love to hate, virtue to vice, good to bad, being to nothingness without the opposition's cornplernentary negation that would transform biparti- tion into rhythmic totality.
English to French translator specializing in creative writing and the tourism industry
The negation remains incomplete and unfinished unless it includes this doubly negative movement that reduces the difference between two terms to a radical disjunction with permuta- tion of those terms; that is, to an empty space around which they move, dying out as entities and turning into an alternating rhythm. This division introduces, first of all, time: temporality history is the spacing of this splitting negation, i. Neither satirical, laudatory, stigmatizing, nor approving, this epic is witness to a dual semiotic practice, founded on the resemblance of contraries, feeding on miscellany and ambiguity.
The courtly literature of Southern France is of particular interest within this transition from symbol to sign. Recent studies have demonstrated the analogies between the cult of the Lady in these texts and those of ancient Chinese poetry. Such hieroglyphic semiotic practice is also and above all a conjunctive disjunction of the two sexes as irreducibly differentiated and, at the same time, alike. This explains why, over a long period, a maj or semiotic practice of Western society courtly poetry attributed to the Other Woman a primary structural role.
In our civilization-caught in the passage from the symbol to the sign-hymn to conjunctive disjunction was transformed into an apology for only one of the opposing terms: the Other Woman , within which is projected and with which is later fused the Same the Author, Man. At the same time there was produced an exclusion of the Other, inevitably presented as an exclusion of woman, as nonrecognition of sexual and social opposition.
Scholars have interpreted the theologization of courtly literature as an attempt to save love poetry from the persecutions of the Inquisition;17 or, on the contrary, as evidence of the infiltration in Southern French society of the Inquisition Tribunals' activity, or that of the Dominican and Fran- ciscan orders, after the debacle of the Albigenses. Within such an ideologeme, the idealization of woman of the Other signifies the refusal of a society to constitute itself through the recognition of the differential but nonhierarchizing status of opposed groups.
It also signifies the structural necessity for this society to give itself a permutative center, an Other entity, which has no value except as an obiect of exchange among members of the Same.
Never masculine, child-lover for the or comrade-friend sharing a bed with the king or Boucicault, Saint re is the accomplished androgyne; the sublimation of sex sexualization of the sublime. His homosexuality is the narra- tivization of the nondisjunctive function peculiar to the semiotic process of which he is a part. He is the pivot-mirror within which the other argu- ments of the novelistic function are projected in order to fuse with themselves: the Other is the Same for the Lady the man is the child, and therefore the woman herself finds there her self-identity nondisjoined from the Other, while remaining opaque to the irreducible difference between the two.
He is the Same who is also the Other for the king, the warriors, or Boucicault as the man who is also the woman who possesses hirn. The nondisjunctive function, to which Saintre is assimi- lated, assures her a role as object of exchange in male society. These kinds of utterances reappear with obligatory monotony and make of the text an aggregate of recurrences, a succession of closed, cyclical utterances, com- pIete in themselves.
Each one is centered in a certain point, which can connote space the tradesman's shop, the Lady's chamber , time the troops' departure, Saintre's return , the subject of enunciation, or all three at once. These descriptive utterances are minutely detailed and return periodically aecording to a repetitive rhythm placing its grid upon the novel's temporality.
Indeed, La Sale does not describe events evolv- ing over aperiod of time. Whenever an utteranee assumed by an Aetor Author intervenes to serve as a temporary connecting deviee, it is extremely laeonie and does nothing more than link together descriptions that first plaee the reader before an army ready to depart, a shopkeeper's plaee, a costume or piece of jewelry and then proeeed to praise these objeets put together aeeording to no causality whatsoever.
The imbrica- tions of these deviations are apt to open up-praises could be repeated indefinitely. They are, however, terminated bounded and determined by the fundamental function of the novelistic utterance: nondisjunction. Caught up within the novel's totality-that is, seen in reverse, from the end of the novel where exaltation has been transformed into its contrary desolation before ending in death-these laudatory descriptions become relativized, ambiguous, deceptive, and double: their univocity ehanges to duplieity. Besides laudatory descriptions, another kind of deviation operating aeeording to nondisjunction appears along the novel's trajectory: Latin citations and moral preeepts.
Phonetic oral utterance, sound than the novel is thus the transcription of vocal communication. An arbitrary signifier word as is transcribed onto paper and as to its and referent. These laudatory utterances, known as blazons, were abundant in France during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. They come from a communicative discourse, shouted in public squares, and designed to give direct information to the crowd on wars the number of soldiers, their direction, armaments, etc. The culture of exchange, definitively imposed by the European Renaissance, is engen- dered through the voice and operates according to the structures of the discursive verbal, phonetic circuit, inevitably referring back to a reality with which it identified by duplicating it by "signifying it".
In the fifteenth century, the blazon was already the nondisjunctive figure par excellence. Blazons are recorded into the book as uni- vocally laudatory. But they become ambiguous as soon as they are read from the point of view of the novelistic text's general function: the Lady's treachery skews the laudatory tone and shows its ambiguity. The blazon is transformed into blame and is thus inserted into the novel's nondis- junctive function as noted above: the function established according to the extratextual set Te changes within the novelistic textual set Tn and in this way defines it as ideologeme.
The split- ting that makes up the very nature of the referentjsignifiedjsignifier as weIl as the topology of the communicative circuit subject-addressee, Same-pseudo Other , reaches the utterance's logicallevel phonetic and is presented as nondisjunctive. The second kind of deviation-the citation-comes from a written text. Latin as weIl as other books already read penetrate the novel's text either as directly copied citations or as mnesic traces memories.
They are carried intact from their own space into the space of the novel being written; they are transcribed within quotation marks or are plagiarized. To the extent that every book in our civilization is a transcription of oral speech,25 citation and plagiarism are as phonetic as the blazon even if their extrascriptural verbal source goes back to a few books before Antoine de La Sale's. Nevertheless, the reference to a written text upsets the laws imposed on the text by oral transcription: enumeration, repetition, and therefore temporality cf.
The introduction of writing has two major consequences. First, the temporality of La Sale's text is less a discursive temporality the narrative sequences are not ordered according to the temporal laws of the verb phrase than what we might call a scriptural temporality the narrative sequences are oriented towards and rekindled by the very activlty of writing.
The succession of "events" descriptive utterances or citations obeys the motion of the hand working on the empty page-the very economy of inscription. La Sale often interrupts the course of dis- cursive time to introduce the present time of his work on the text: "To return to my point," "to put it briefly," "as I will tell you," and "here I will stop speaking for a bit of Madame and her Ladies to return to little Saintre, " etc. Such junctives signal atem porality other than that of the discursive linear chain: the massive present of inferential enunciation of the scriptural work.
All ideological activity appears in the form of utterances composi- tionally completed. This completion is to be distinguished from the structural [znitude to which only a few philosophical systems Hegel as weIl as religions have aspired. The structural finitude characterizes, as a fundamental trait, the object that our culture consumes as a finished product effect, impression while refusing to read the process of its productivity: "literature" -within which the novel occupies a privileged position.
The notion of literature coincides with the notion of the novel, as much on account of chronological origins as of structural bounding. This incompletion nevertheless underlines the text's structural finitude. Every genre having its own particular structural finitude, I shall try to isolate that of J eh an de Saintre. The initial programming of the book is al ready its structural finitude. Within the figures described above, the trajectories dose upon themselves, return to their point of departure or are confirmed by a censoring element in such a way as to outline the limits of a dosed dis- course.
The book's compositional completion nevertheless reworks the structural finitude. The novel ends with the utterance of the author who, after having brought the story of his character, Saintre, to the point of the Lady's punishment, interrupts the narrative to announce the end: "And here I shall begin the end of this story The real act is performed by the appearance, within the novelistic utterance, of the very work that produces it, here, on the actual page. Speech ends when its subject dies and it is the act of writing of that produces this murder.
A new rubric, the "actor," signals the second-the actual-reworking of the ending: HAnd here I shall give an ending to the book of the most valiant knight who A brief narrative of the narrative follows, terminating the novel by bringing the utterance back to the act of writing "Now, most high, and most powerful and excellent prince and my most feared lord, if I have erred in any way either by writing too much or too little [ Within this dual surface of the text story of Saintre-story of the writ- ing process -the scriptural activity having been narrated and the narra- tive having been often interrupted to allow the act of production to sur- face- Saintre's death as rhetorical image coincides with the stopping of discourse erasure of the actor.
Nevertheless-as another retraction of speech-this death, repeated by the text at the moment it becomes silent, cannat be spoken. In addition-another retrac- tion, this time of the place of language-this citation of the tombstone inscription is produced in a dead language Latin. Set back in relation to French, the Latin reaches astandstill where it is no longer the narrative that is being completed having been terminated in the preceding para- graph: HAnd here I shall begin the end of this story This compositional closure, by its very naivete, reveals a major fact later occulted by bourgeois literature.
The novel has a double semiotic status: it is a linguistic narrative phenomenon as weIl as a discursive circuit letter, literature. The fact that it is a narrative is but one aspect-an anterior one-of this particu- larity: it is "literature. The narrative's conclusion coincides with the conclusion of one loop's trajectory. An instance of speech, often in the form of an epilogue, occurs at the end to slow down the nar- ration and to demonstrate that one is indeed dealing with a verbal construction under the control of a subject who speaks.
In this, it constitutes a decisive stage in the development of the speaking subject's critical consciousness in relation to his speech. To terminate the novel as narrative is a rhetorical problem consisting of reworking the bounded ideologeme of the sign which opened it. To complete the novel as literary artifact to understand it as discourse or sign is a problem of social practice, of cultural text, and it consists in confronting speech the product, the Work with its own death-writing textual productivity.
La Sale, of course, never reaches this stage. The succeeding socia! In the meantime, this function of as work destroying literary representation the literary artifact remains latent, misunder- and unspoken, although often at work in the text and made evident when deciphered. For La as weIl as for any so-called "realist" writing is speech as law with no possible transgression.
Writing is revealed, for hirn who thinks of hirnself as "author," as a function that ossifies, petrifies, and blocks. For the phonetic conscious- ness-from the Renaissance to our time 3 0-writing is an artificial limit, an arbitrary law, a subjective finitude. The intervention of writing in the text is often an excuse used by the author to justify the arbitrary ending of his narrative. Thus, La Sale inscribes hirnself as writing in order to justify the end of his writing: his narrative is a letter whose death coin- cides with the end of his pen work.
Inversely, Saintre's death is not the narration of an adventure: La Sale, often verbose and repetitive, restricts hirnself, in announcing this major fact, to the transcription from a tomb in two languages-Latin and French. There we have a paradoxical phenomenon that dominates, in different fonns, the entire history of the novel: the devalorization of writing, its categorization as pejorative, paralyzing, and deadly. This phenomenon is on a par with its other aspect: valorization of the oeuvre, the Author, and the literary artifact discourse. Writing itself appears only to bound the book, that is, discourse.
What opens it is speech: "of which the first shall tell of the Lady of the Beautiful Cousins. Writing, however, has been suppressed, evoked only to oppose "objective reality" utterance, phonetic discourse to a "subjective artifice" scriptural practice. When considering semiotic practices in relation to the sign, one can distinguish three types: first, a systematic semiotic practice founded on the sign, therefore on meaning; con- servative and limited, its elements are oriented toward denotata; it is logical, explicative, interchangeable, and not at all destined to transform the other the addressee.
Second, a transformative semiotic practice, in which the "signs" are released from denotata and oriented toward the other, whom they modify. Third, a paragrammatic semiotic practice, in which the sign is eliminated by the correlative paragrammatic sequence, which could be seen as a tetralemma-each sign has adenotaturn; each sign does not have adenotaturn; each sign has and does not have a denotatum; it is not true that each sign has and does not have a denotatum. See my "Pour une semiologie des paragrammes," in L71!.
Medvedev and M. Wehrte, trans. Baitimore: J ohns Hopkins U niversity Press, , p. I have borrowed the term "ideologeme" from this work. I use the term "sememe" as it appears in the terminology of A. Greimas, who defines it as a combination of the semic nucleus and contextual semes.