Daishicage Signs taken for wonders: Other editions — View all Signs Taken for Wonders: In the process, Moretti offers us compelling accounts of various literary genres, explores the relationships between high and mass culture in this century, and considers the moretfi of tragic, Romantic and Darwinian views of the world. It makes it easy to scan through your lists and keep track of progress. Cheng Limited preview — Having read this book I had to wonder whether Moretti was able to identify his own reflection let alone a Have you read this? Setting up reading intentions help you organise your course reading.
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The fear of bourgeois civilization is summed up in two names: Frankenstein and Dracula. The monster and the vampire are born together one night in in the drawing room of the Villa Chapuis near Geneva, out of a society game among friends to while away a rainy summer. Born in the full spate of the industrial revolution, they rise again together in the critical years at the end of the nineteenth century under the names of Hyde and Dracula.
In the twentieth century they conquer the cinema: after the First World War, in German Expressionism; after the crisis, with the big RKO productions in America; then in —57, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, directed by Terence Fisher, again, triumphantly, incarnate this twin-faced nightmare.
Frankenstein and Dracula lead parallel lives. They are indivisible, because complementary, figures; the two horrible faces of a single society, its extremes: the disfigured wretch and the ruthless proprietor. Towards a Sociology of the Modern Monster The literature of terror is born precisely out of the terror of a split society and out of the desire to heal it. It is for just this reason that Dracula and Frankenstein, with rare exceptions, do not appear together.
The threat would be too great, and this literature, having produced terror, must also erase it and restore peace. It must restore the broken equilibrium—giving the illusion of being able to stop history—because the monster expresses the anxiety that the future will be monstrous. His antagonist—the enemy of the monster—will always be, by contrast, a representative of the present, a distillation of complacent nineteenth-century mediocrity: nationalistic, stupid, superstitious, philistine, impotent, self-satisfied.
But this does not show through. Fascinated by the horror of the monster, the public accepts the vices of its destroyer without a murmur, just as it accepts his literary depiction, the jaded and repetitive typology which regains its strength and its virginity on contact with the unknown.
The monster, then, serves to displace the antagonisms and horrors evidenced within society to outside society itself. Whoever dares to fight the monster automatically becomes the representative of the species, of the whole of society.
The monster, the utterly unknown, serves to reconstruct a universality, a social cohesion which in itself would no longer carry conviction. This is what makes them frightening. Before, things were different. Justine is their victim because she rejects the modern world, the world of the city, of exchange, of her reduction to a commodity.
She thus gives herself over to the old horror of the feudal world, the will of the individual master. Once he is satiated, the torture ceases too. Time is against him, against his conservative desires. By comparison, the gigantic ghost of The Castle of Otranto looks like a dwarf. He is confined to a single place; he can appear once only; he is merely a relic of the past.
Once order is reestablished he is silent for ever. The modern monsters, however, threaten to live for ever and to conquer the world. For this reason they must be killed.
Frankenstein Like the proletariat, the monster is denied a name and an individuality. Like the proletariat, he is a collective and artifical creature. He is not found in nature, but built. Frankenstein is a productive inventor-scientist, in open conflict with Walton, the contemplative discoverer-scientist the pattern is repeated with Jekyll and Lanyon. It sews them together again, moulds them according to its will and finally gives them life.
How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe I am thy creature, and I will be ever mild and docile to my natural lord and king, I was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend. Make me happy, and I shall again be virtuous. But even this is denied him. So true is this that racial discrimination is not superimposed on the development of the narrative but springs directly from it: it is not only Mary Shelley who wants to make the monster a creature of another race, but Frankenstein himself.
Frankenstein does not in fact want to create a man as he claims but a monster, a race. He must be so, he is made to be so—he is created but on these conditions. There is here a clear lament for the feudal sumptuary laws which, by imposing a particular style of dress on each social rank, allowed it to be recognized at a distance and nailed it physically to its social role.
Now that clothes have become commodities that anyone can buy, this is no longer possible. The monster makes us realize how hard it was for the dominant classes to resign themselves to the idea that all human beings are—or ought to be—equal. But the monster also makes us realize that in an unequal society they are not equal. And more so, evidently, in the case of the first industrial workers: the monster is disfigured not only because Frankenstein wants him to be like that, but also because this was how things actually were in the first decades of the industrial revolution.
In him, the metaphors of the critics of civil society become real. It is true that labour produces It produces intelligence, but it produces idiocy and cretinism for the worker. And indeed the monster—the pedestal on which Frankenstein erects his anguished greatness—is always described by negation: man is well proportioned, the monster is not; man is beautiful, the monster ugly; man is good, the monster evil.
The monster is man turned upside-down, negated. He has no autonomous existence; he can never be really free or have a future. He lives only as the other side of that coin which is Frankenstein.
When the scientist dies, the monster does not know what to do with his own life and commits suicide. But it is more precise to say that they become extremes in the course of the narration.
Farewell, Walton! Seek happiness in tranquility and avoid ambition, even if it be only the apparently innocent one of distinguishing yourself in science and discoveries. Thanks to his conversion, Walton survives. Walton both begins the story and ends it. The broadest, most comprehensive, most universal narrative viewpoint is reserved for Walton. The narrative system inverts the meaning of Frankenstein as we have described it, exorcising its horror.
The dominant element of reality is not the splitting of society into two opposing poles, but its symbolic reunification in the Walton family. The wound is healed: one goes back home. The universality attributed to Walton by the system of narrative senders applies not only to the story at hand but to the whole course of history. By this means Mary Shelley wants to convince us that capitalism has no future: it may have been around for a few years, but now it is all over.
Anyone can see that Frankenstein and the monster die without heirs, while Robert Walton survives. It is a glaring anachronism, but one for which Mary Shelley has prepared us.
The sociological fulcrum of Frankenstein—the creation of the proletariat—responds neither to economic interests nor to objective needs. It is the product of a solitary, subjective and entirely disinterested piece of work: Frankenstein expects no personal advantage from creating the monster.
Or rather, he cannot expect it, because in the world of the novel there is no way of utilizing the monster. And there is no way of utilizing him because there are no factories. Wishing to exorcise the proletariat, Mary Shelley, with absolute logical consistency, erases capital from her picture too.
In other words, she erases history. And indeed, the end result of the peculiar narrative structure employed is to make the story of Frankenstein and the monster resemble a fable. As in a fable, the story proceeds in oral form: Frankenstein speaks to Walton, the monster to Frankenstein, Frankenstein to Walton again whereas Walton, who embodies history and the future, writes. As in a fable, there is an attempt to create a cosy, trusting, domestic situation: even the monster, at the beginning of his narrative, suggests that he and Frankenstein take refuge in a mountain cottage so as to be more comfortable.
As in a fable, by an iron law, what has happened must be considered an imaginary occurrence. Capitalism is a dream—a bad dream, but a dream nonetheless. Dracula Count Dracula is an aristocrat only in a manner of speaking. Dracula stoops to driving the carriage, cooking the meals, making the beds, cleaning the castle.
The Count has read Adam Smith: he knows that servants are unproductive workers who diminish the income of the person who keeps them. Not even his violence has pleasure as its goal. Dracula unlike Vlad the Impaler, the historical Dracula, and all other vampires before him does not like spilling blood: he needs blood. He sucks just as much as is necessary and never wastes a drop.
His ultimate aim is not to destroy the lives of others according to whim, to waste them, but to use them. Dracula, in other words, is a saver, an ascetic, an upholder of the Protestant ethic. And in fact he has no body—or rather, he has no shadow. But alienated labour, as a social relation, makes it possible. So too there really exists a social product which has no body, which has exchange-value but no use-value. This product, we know, is money. Their strength becomes his strength.
His curse compels him to make ever more victims, just as the capitalist is compelled to accumulate. His nature forces him to struggle to be unlimited, to subjugate the whole of society. One must either succumb to him or kill him, thereby freeing the world of his presence and him of his curse.
There flashes forth here the idea, to which we shall return, of the purification of capital. And Dracula is a true monopolist: solitary and despotic, he will not brook competition. Like monopoly capital, his ambition is to subjugate the last vestiges of the liberal era and destroy all forms of economic independence. He no longer restricts himself to incorporating in a literal sense the physical and moral strength of his victims.
He intends to make them his forever. Hence the horror, for the bourgeois mind.
FRANCO MORETTI DIALECTIC OF FEAR PDF
The fear of bourgeois civilization is summed up in two names: Frankenstein and Dracula. The monster and the vampire are born together one night in in the drawing room of the Villa Chapuis near Geneva, out of a society game among friends to while away a rainy summer. Born in the full spate of the industrial revolution, they rise again together in the critical years at the end of the nineteenth century under the names of Hyde and Dracula. In the twentieth century they conquer the cinema: after the First World War, in German Expressionism; after the crisis, with the big RKO productions in America; then in —57, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, directed by Terence Fisher, again, triumphantly, incarnate this twin-faced nightmare.
The Dialectic of Fear
What a piece of shit. On the Sociology of Literary Forms. Joyce, Race, and Empire Vincent J. Read, highlight, and take notes, across web, tablet, and phone. How do I set a reading intention To set a reading intention, click through to any list item, and look for the panel on the left hand side: Ftanco eBook available Verso Amazon. Setting up reading intentions help you organise your course reading. Dracula: A Symbol of Capitalist Fear Please log in to set a read status Setting a reading intention helps you organise your reading.