Critical Inquiry Critical Inquiry

Autumn 2005


Volume 32 Issue 1
    • 1Richard Neer
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      The first thing to note about connoisseurship is that it is not, fundamentally, a search for individual authors. The cult of genius is certainly endemic in connoisseurial circles, and the monographic exhibition is its most characteristic expression. Broadly understood, however, connoisseurship is a form of etiology: the inference of an artifact’s spatial and temporal point of origin on the basis of morphological (“stylistic”) criteria. That point of origin can be as specific as a person or as general as a place; it is all the same as far as theory and practice are concerned. That is, the connoisseur who attributes a painting to Rembrandt is performing the same actions, and for the same reasons, as the field archaeologist who sorts her finds at the end of a day’s work. When the archaeologist classifies a newly excavated potsherd as Naxian Geometric or al‐Ubaid ware, she is using connoisseurial method: determining origin on the basis of style. Connoisseurship differs from ordinary pottery sorting only in degree, not in kind.

      See also: Richard Neer, Reaction and Response  ·  Richard Neer, Goddard Counts

      Richard Neer is associate professor and chair in the department of art history at the University of Chicago. His most recent book is Style and Politics in Athenian Vase‐Painting: The Craft of Democracy, ca. 530‐460 B.C.E. (2002). He is coeditor of Critical Inquiry.

    • 27Georg Stanitzek
    • In the meantime text has gained wide acceptance—and why shouldn’t this be the case? But in view of how the meaning of this term has developed over the years, the old objections would seem to warrant some thought. In the course of things, text has come to be used synonymously with the older term work (opus). In many respects the current definition with all its implications of aesthetics and values has simply been inherited. However, text originally had another meaning; it is not just a coincidence that it was introduced at a time when the concept of literature was being expanded to include trivial literature, essays, and general nonfiction and when there was a growing interest in the phenomena of popular culture. Since then, literary and cultural discourse has had a problem in tow, which is scarcely understood but which still causes terminological complications and uncertainty. The problem can be described as follows: a simultaneous distinction and nondistinction between literary work and text. That is, sometimes they are construed as designating different things and sometimes the same thing. (It is still necessary to specify which meaning is intended, and the ambiguity may be retained for rhetorical reasons.)

      See also: Gérard Genette, Structure and Functions of the Title in Literature

      Georg Stanitzek is professor of German at the University of Siegen, Germany, where he teaches literary, cultural, and media studies. He is the author of Blödigkeit: Beschreibungen des Individuums im 18. Jahrhundert (1989) and the coeditor of Schnittstelle: Medien und Kulturwissenschaften (2001), Transkribieren (Medien/Lektüre) (2002), and Paratexte in Literatur, Film, Fernsehen (2004).

    • 43Jan Baetens
    • This genre offers simultaneously a very precise, complex, and varied case that allows us to consider the workings of the visual turn in a domain that seems to escape its grasp without being reduced to a mere site of impotent resistance, a remnant from the past, an anachronistic residue heading for absorption by a triumphant visuality. In this way, novelization could prove symptomatic of the way in which the visual transformation of cultural facts can occur differently than in the clear cases in which the image directly replaces writing. As we will see—and this is the thesis I want to defend here—the impact of the visual is not necessarily diminished by the apparent return of the verbal. Novelization, in other words, offers a good example of the indirect contamination of one media regime by another. To give some indications of this, I will examine the relationship of three key ideas of contemporary visual turn theories: adaptation, remediation, and specificity. At the end of the analysis, I will attempt to relate the case of novelization to a more general theory of mediological differences in the era of the hybridization of the work of art in the context of contemporary visual culture.

      See also: James Elkins, What Do We Want Pictures to Be? Reply to Mieke Bal  ·  Teresa de Lauretis, Becoming Inorganic

      Jan Baetens teaches at the Institute of Cultural Studies of the University of Louvain, Belgium. His most recent books are Romans à contraintes (2005) and a novelization in verse of the 1962 film by Jean‐Luc Godard, Vivre sa vie (2005).

    • 61Lawrence Kramer
    • This is an essay with a thesis or, to speak more plainly, with an axe to grind. The words in the main title give the gist. The thesis is that music, as music, is a source of historical knowledge and should therefore be a primary resource of critical inquiry. It is not hard nowadays to get agreement to this claim in principle, but it is still quite rare to find it put into practice. Evidence of this, speaking of critical inquiry, is writ large in the special issue by which Critical Inquiry celebrated its thirtieth anniversary in 2004. Of the thirty‐four richly interdisciplinary essays in the issue, thirty‐three have nothing to say about music, and certainly nothing to say through music. The odd essay out is not a real exception. A short statement by the music theorist Robert Morgan, it celebrates the journal’s longstanding openness to articles on musical topics and looks forward to more.1 No one would be likely to demur at the sentiments, but they do nothing to recognize or redress the marginal standing of music in the larger critical enterprise, which as a matter of fact if not of intent admits it only on sufferance. Music is at best a silent partner.

      See also: Lawrence Kramer, The Shape of Post-Classical Music  ·  Carolyn Abbate, Music—Drastic or Gnostic?

      Lawrence Kramer is professor of English and music at Fordham University and coeditor of Nineteenth‐Century Music. His recent books include Franz Schubert: Sexuality, Subjectivity, Song (1998), Musical Meaning: Toward a Critical History (2001), and Opera and Modern Culture: Wagner and Strauss (2004).

    • 102Mark McGurl
    • The American writer’s intimacy with the university in our time is not an entirely unprecedented phenomenon. If only as students, occasionally as teachers, writers have been spotted on campus before now. The gradual conjoining of the activities of literary production and teaching over the course of the postwar period is, however, in the sheer scale of the institutional program building upon which it has depended and in the striking reversal of attitudes that it suggests about as close to a genuine literary historical novelty as one could hope to see. Once perceived as the stuffy enemy of modernist innovation in the arts, the last place a self‐respecting artist would want, or be welcomed, to ply his or her trade, the university has with the rise and spread of classroom instruction in creative writing—and with it the creative writing professorship and other forms of writer‐in‐residency—become perhaps the most important patron of artistically ambitious literary practice in the United States, the sine qua non of countless careers.

      See also: John Guillory, “The Memo and Modernity  ·  Mark Seltzer, The Crime System

      Mark McGurl is associate professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of The Novel Art: Elevations of American Fiction after Henry James (2001).

    • 130Franç;alcois Jullien
    • Contemporary discourse—or, to put it more precisely, globalized official discourse—seems to be invoking its ultimate purpose when it persistently dins our ears with its legitimate aspiration to an all‐embracing positivity: peace (repeated relentlessly in all languages as a univocal directive), cooperation, communication, and so on. As if the elimination of the negative were at last within reach, that we had but a few final obstacles to remove before casting it out of history once and for all, or at least that such a purpose could be accomplished if only we had the will to do so, ambient discourse boldly brandishes the optative in a chain of resolutions: no more wars, no more divisions, no more borders, and so forth. Not so fast, the realist pensively sighs, there may still be a long road ahead; but insofar as the end is concerned, there is nothing to discuss. Henceforth, political and religious discourse (the grand ecumenism of the pope and the dalai lama) are in total agreement on the subject.

      See also: François Jullien, Did Philosophers Have To Become Fixated On Truth?

      François Jullien is the director of the Institut Marcel Granet at Université de Paris–Denis Diderot. He is the author of, among other works, The Propensity of Things (1995), Detour and Access (2000), and Du “Temps” (2001).