N - W


The following works, although not cited, have contributed to my reflection on matters sensory and reproductive. 
Many yield a bon mot. 


Ong, Walter J. Ramus: Method, and the Decay of Dialogue. from the Art of Discourse to the Art of Reason. Cambridge, Mass. & London: Harvard University Press, 1958. rpt. 1983.

McLuhan seems to have missed Ong's distinction between the personalist and corporationalist role of the teacher (152).
Ong sets a difference between two types of knowledge as a move from one to the other although he admits they continue to cohabitate.
One does not entirely replace the other.
What ever one thinks of historiography according to dominant modes, the medium does not solely dictate the paths of change.
The institution may be a greater shaper than the medium.



Parker, Andrew. "Unthinking Sex: Marx, Engels, and the Scene of Writing" in Fear of a Queer Planet: Queer Politics and Social Theory. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993.

Examines how production is modeled on procreation and the heterosexist consequences of this alignment.

Perron, Paul and Marcel Danesi. A.J. Greimas and Narrative Cognition. Monograph Series of the Toronto Semiotic Circle Number 11. Toronto: Toronto Semiotic Circle, 1993.

Perron, Paul. Jan Gordon and Marcel Danesi. "Commonplaces and Situations: The "Subjective" Nature of Discourse Revisited." The Toronto Semiotic Circle Bulletin 2:1 1994.

"It is our view that commonplaces point to an inherent feature of cognition that can only be described as an extension of visual sensory experience into the domain of abstract thought. In other words, they appear to reveal a tendency to fix abstract modes of thinking in a kind of "mind-space" which is itself an iconic model of the world of sensation."

Why do they privilege the visual mode?
Perhaps they have opted for focus versus attention.
There may be some link between iconic model and indexical foreclosure in their statement

"The experientialist approach sees abstract meaning structures as end-products rather than points-of-departure. The starting point is, of course, the level of bodily sensations and emotional feelings captured by basic signifying processes (e.g. indexical and iconic signs). The progression from sensory to conceptual thought that an experientialist approach to meaning would posit makes it clear that there is a link between ego-states, perception and conception."

End products vs points of departure -- abstraction is here pitted against physical embodiment of emotion and sensation but emotion belongs with abstraction not sensation because both emotion and abstraction depend upon memory and its testing in prediction.

Emotion is a configuration.

Pronger, Brian. The Arena of Masculinity: Sports, Homosexuality, and the Meaning of Sex. 1990; rpt University of Toronto Press, 1992.

"When the physical and mental come together in sexual activity, they are intensely and pleasurably merged. This is a process in which the abstract nature of thinking becomes incarnate in actual physical experience."

"[T]he homoerotic paradox is twofold. It is a paradox by being outside the orthodox erotic interpretation of gender myths. It is also a paradox in the stricter sense of being a self- contradiction; homoerotic desire both reveres and violates masculinity."



Robinson, Douglas. "Dear Harold." New Literary History 20:1 (Autumn 1988).

"Mere temporal priority does not make writers parents, we [critics] do. If we want to. If we allow ourselves to be victimized by institutionalized culture worship, if we surrender to the parental images our civilization generates of its precursors."

Robinson, Douglas. The Translator's Turn. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991.

"Ethically conceived," translation as a task is set upon discovering the significance, commonality and malleability of somatic response.

Ronell, Avital. The Telephone Book: Technology, Schizophrenia, Electric Speech. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1989.

"it [telephony] is a place without location from which to get elsewhere"

Rothenberg, Jerome. Shaking the Pumpkin: Traditional Poetry of the Indian North Americas. Revised Edition. New York: Alfred Van der Mark, 1986.

This along with the anthology Technicians of the Sacred offer examples of Rothenberg's concern with what he calls "total translation," a term he uses

"for translation (of oral poetry in particular) that takes into account any or all elements of the original beyond the words."

"Each moment is charged: each is a point at which meaning is coming to surface, where nothing's incidental but everything matters terribly."

Compare with Hermetic Imagination.



Sanderson, George and Frank Macdonald, eds. Marshall McLuhan: The Man and His Message. Golden, Colorado: Fulcrum, Inc., 1989.

In this collection, Walter Ong expresses reservations about McLuhan's use of the term "medium".

I myself now tend to avoid speaking of the oral, writing, print and electronic "media." "Medium," something in-between you and me, suggests a kind of pipeline transfer of units of "information" which, even with feedback loops, is hardly adequate as a description of verbal communication among human beings. I prefer to speak now of oral communication and of the technological transformation of the word by writing, print and electronics, remembering that human beings interiorize their technologies by making them a part of themselves. We have interiorized writing and print so deeply that we are unaware of them as technological components of our private thinking processes, and we are engaged in rapidly interiorizing the computer in a similar way.

Total emphasis on interiorization is of course no less problematic than extension.

Silverman, Kaja. The Acoustic Mirror: The Female Voice in Psychoanalysis and Cinema. Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1988.

Examines the politics of synchronization of voice and image in classic Hollywood cinema and women's experimental film.

Stein, Gertrude. Narration. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1935.

The third lecture opens

"Narrative concerns itself with what is happening all the time, history concerns itself with what happens from time to time. And that is perhaps what is the matter with history and that is what is perhaps the matter with narrative."

Steiner, Wendy. The Colors of Rhetoric. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1982.

Silko, Leslie Marmon. Storyteller. New York: Arcade, 1981.

"The story ends there./ Some of the stories/ Aunt Susie told/ have this kind of ending./ There are no explanations."

Silko, Leslie Marmon. Almanac of the Dead. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1991.

"Angelita La Escapa imagined Marx as a storyteller who worked feverishly to gather together a magical assembly of stories to cure the suffering and evils of the world by the retelling of the stories."

Read this in conjunction with Jack Weatherford.

Stonum, Gary Lee. "Cybernetic Explanation as a Theory of Reading." New Literary History 20:2 (Winter 1989). 397-410.

"[N]oise and information are both instances of variety in the signal and hence not phenomenally or logically distinct."

"Discriminating between information and noise may not be difficult in a given situation, but the discrimination can never be certain."

Strang, Barbara M. Metaphors and Models, an Inaugural Lecture delivered before the University of Newcastle on Tyne on Monday 12 October, 1964. Newcastle: University of Newcastle on Tyne, 1965.

"[T]he direct connection between theory and description means that we need large numbers of people working in the field. Quite apart from the fact that languages need to be redescribed because they change so quickly, there will always be a need for re-description in terms of different metaphors, models and theories."

This leads me to consider the effects of description and offer a three-fold typology:
reticulation (networks spreading out)
as opposed to
reiteration (implies going over same route)
iteration (treading water).
Relate this to Judith Schlanger's use for the noise of popularization in
L'invention intellectuelle.

Sullivan, Michael. The Three Perfections: Chinese Painting, Poetry and Calligraphy. London: Thames and Hadson, 1974; rpt. NY: George Braziller, 1980.

"We can only understand the Chinese attitude if we can see the picture as the Chinese do, not as a complete artistic statement in itself, but as a living body, an accretion of qualities, imaginative, literary, historical, personal, that grows with time, putting on an ever-richer dress of meaning, commentary and association with the years."

Is this a fair description of the European emblem book as well?



Taylor, Charles. Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1989.

"[w]e take as basic that the human agent exists in a space of questions."

Thompson, E.P. The Poverty of Theory and other essays. London: Merlin Press, 1978.

"[I]t is exactly in conditions when a theory (or a theology) is subject to no empirical controls that disputes about the placing of one term lead on to theoretical parturition: the parturition of intellectual parthenogenesis."

You do not have to value empirical controls to value

"attentive disbelief"

Thompson, Robert Farris. Flash of the Spirit: African and Afro-American Art and Philosophy. New York: Random House, 1983.

Traces the survival of verbal and non-verbal systems of notation.

Trinh, T. Minh-ha. "Grandma's Story" in Woman, Native, Other: Writing Postcoloniality and Feminism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989.

"The structural activity that does not carry on the cleavage between form and content, but emphasizes the interrelation of the material and the intelligible, is an activity in which structure should remain an unending question [...]"



Vail, Leroy and Landeg White. Power and the Praise Poem: Southern African Voices in History. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia: 1991.

Opening chapter does much to demystify the constructions of "oral man".
Their notion of metaphor seems akin to the operations of symbol.
However without the timelessness and ahistoricity.

"Metaphors, by fusing abstract concepts with concrete images, have the characteristic of uniting physical and metaphysical elements into a rich compound of meaning. Like theory, they transcend empiricism, but in an open manner, cherishing complexity and receptive to fresh expression and interpretation."

Virilio, Paul. L'espace critique. Paris: Christian Bourgois Editeur, 1984.

"Dimensionner c'est en quelque sorte déphaser"



Weatherford, Jack. Indian Givers: How the Indians of the Americas Transformed the World. New York: Crown, 1988.

Engels inspired by Iroquois Confederacy and kinship structures.
Worth examining this material for part of the Euro-history of sensory organization and trace its epistemological consequences.

Wellek, René. "The Concept of Evolution in Literary History" in For Roman Jakobson. Morris Halle et al. compilers. The Hague: Mouton, 1956.

"We are expected to forget that novelty need not be valuable or essential, that there may be, after all, original rubbish."

Wellek, René. Four Critics: Croce, Valéry, Lukács, and Ingardern. Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1981.

On Ingarden,

"He elaborately distinguishes between different kinds of reading: passive, mere enjoyment, for amusement; and active reading, which assumes two forms -- reading which has as its aim an investigative, intellectual grasp of the work, or, finally, reading which submits to the aesthetic qualities. Much ingenuity is spent in differentiating between these different kinds of reading, although, I think, it would be difficult in practice to keep them apart, to prevent their mixing and our shifting between them."

Wellek, René. "The Parallelism between Literature and the Arts." English Institute Annual 1941. New York: Columbia University Press, 1942. 29-63.

"The various arts -- the plastic arts, literature, and music -- have each their individual evolution, with a different tempo and a different internal structure of elements. No doubt they are in constant relationship with each other, but these relationships are not influences which start from one point and determine the evolution of the other arts; they have to be conceived rather as a complex scheme of dialectical relationships which work both ways, from one art to another and vice versa, and may be completely transformed within the art which they have entered."

Wellbery, David E. Lessing's Laocoon: Semiotics and Aesthetics in the Age of Reason. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984.

"Lessing's most important theoretical writing after the Laocoon, the Hamburgische Dramaturgie (1767) describes the locus of this convergence [between poetry and painting]: "The art of the actor occupies a middle position between the plastic arts and poetry"'"

Wilden, Anthony. System and Structure: Essays in Communication and Exchange. Second Edition. London: Tavistock, 1980.

Useful notion: punctuation of social reality.
Draws parallels between dialectic and feedback.

"A phenomenological approach to communication implicitly or explicitly assumes that all behaviour is communication."

Willis, Susan. Specifying Black Women Writing the American Experience. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 1987.

"The body provides a medium for the metaphors of history, making these metaphors experientially concrete."

Wilson, Alexander. The Culture of Nature: North American Landscape from Disney to the Exxon Valdez. Toronto: Between the Lines, 1991.

"A rhetorical rejection of science, however, with no attention paid to oppositional currents within the discipline, amounts to little more than anti-intellectualism."


wake bridge prow

© François Lachance, 1996