Sunday, November 28, 2010

[12/11. The arguments below and in related posts are included, in one form or another, in the paper linked on the right side of this page]

Academic neoliberalism: Bourdieu
“Shall we allow the social sciences to reduce literary experience –the most exalted thing we have, along with love- to surveys about leisure activities, when it concerns the very meaning of our life?” Such a question, lifted from one of the innumerable timeless defenses of reading and culture, would certainly have unleashed the furious mirth that the well-meaning commonplaces of his day inspired in Flaubert. [Preface]

"When for a certain time the human soul has been treated with that impartiality invested by the physical sciences in the study of matter, then an immense step will have been taken. It is the only way for humanity to rise a little above itself. It will then consider himself candidly and purely in the mirror of its works of art. It will be god-like, judging itself from on high. Well, I consider this feasible. It is perhaps, as for mathematics, just a matter of finding a method.” Gustave Flaubert. [p. 175]

The reading of Sentimental Education The Rules of Art is more than a simple preamble aiming to prepare the reader to enter into a sociological analysis of the social world in which it was produced and which it brings to light. It requires the interrogation of the particular social conditions which are the origin of Flaubert's Bourdieu's special lucidity, and also the limits of that lucidity. Only an analysis of the genesis of the literary field in which the Flaubertian Bourdieuian project was constituted can lead to a real understanding both of the generative formula at the core of the book and Flaubert's Bourdieu's craftsmanship in putting it to work [la mettre en oeuvre], objectifying in one fell swoop this generative structure and the social structure of which it is the product. [p. 47 (modified)]
I've done the same thing now three times in one month.

More stupidity from Bourdieu below. The empiricism of bureaucracy.

Jumping forward in time, see T.J. Clark. He does a better job than I do.
What strikes me as truly strange in Flaubert's case is not so much the project he outlined for himself... as the distance between the book he imagined and the one he actually wrote. No book has ever been fuller than Madame Bovary of the everything external which is the bourgeois world.
Bourdieu reads for intention and assumes others will read him in turn as he wants to be read. His friends may but strangers won't.

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