Post-Structuralism; mea culpa.

John Mcreery (jlm@TWICS.COM)
Sun, 10 Apr 1994 19:37:45 JST

Pound has caught me fair and square for talking about "post-structuralism"
in terms that represent my own notions of where a "post-structuralist"
theory might fruitfully go; as opposed to how the label is usually (mis)applied
to French intellectuals who, in any case, reject it. The following attempts
what I hope will be a fruitful way.

-------I stand corrected. Thanks for the information.

The question remains, "Why should I (or anyone else) bother to pay
attention?" For my own part I've reached an age and a certain
measure of worldly success that make this self of mine something
I'm fairly comfortable with. Smug beast that I am, on most days I do
not take kindly to folks who wish to say that selves no longer count
On days when I'm feeling depressed enough to find non-self
attractive, I contemplate the four noble truths and Buddhist
elaborations thereof, which seem to me to anticipate the ideas you
describe by a thousand years or two. Play? Sure. I like to play. But is
all that's left a never-ending glass bead game? What are you driving

For myself I'll go with Stephen Owen:

"There are no risks, reader. We are not playing with human lives or
the fate of nations--these are only poems, and they will survive
your misreadings and mine. They have lingered a millennium waiting
to be read and misread; they are durable and will linger another
millenium, utterly impervious to the wildest fancies which we
might pose for their truths. As we build speculative frames for
these poems, do not ask,'Is this true?'; instead ask, 'When I read,
what happens if I take this to be true?' Some of the frames may
repel you; some may intrigue you; some may even seem to answer
what the poems ask for in their waiting, making them unfold,
sparkle, and shake off their long torpor.

"We begin by wondering what a Chinese poem of the eighth or
eleventh century asked of its readers and then for a while we are to
play such readers. In short, we are enjoined to read differently than
we habitually do. A great art does not exist to confirm a world in
which we feel at home and comfortable; instead it asks that we give
ourselves for a time to another world. I promise that you can live a
while in that other world with no threat to yourself--accept this
lure and bait. But if you emerge from that world and find that you
are indeed a bit changed, then the poem and I will smile at our work
well done."

Cheers, John McCreery (JLM@TWICS.COM)