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It is evident that a similar principle applies at the level of language, as linguists and etymologists will know well. There is some connexion here between the archaeological usage of ‘skeuomorph’ to mean ornament that is the residuum of function, and Gregory Bateson’s comments on terms which refer to mechanical homologies (e.g. ‘horsepower,’ where the engine of a car sits at the front, in lieu of the horse pulling the carriage).6 And the vestigial functions of mannerisms or styles in literary and artistic genres, where the style emerges from a prior but now redundant function, might best be illustrated by the traditional dramatic monologue, which functions by creating in the reader a tension between sympathy for and moral judgment of the poem’s persona. Twentiethcentury dramatic monologues (for example, those of Ezra Pound) inherit this formal function; but the moral response which a nineteenthcentury poet such as Robert Browning might reasonably have anticipated from a Victorian reader can no longer be relied upon by poets such as Pound. As a consequence, the form of the modern dramatic monologue contains a skeuomorphic element, which both memorializes an obsolete relation of shared moral expectation between poet and reader, and which becomes in later poetry mere ornament.
One might even consider the history of criticism, from this evolutionary viewpoint, as a history of the timely identification of skeuomorphisms. One could say that our defining critical concepts—the pathetic fallacy, dissociation of sensibility, etc.—have been identified at the precise point they were identified, exactly because that was the point of transition from function to ornament. Just as Ruskin saw the representation of weather as an artificial barometer of mood in painting and poetry, what he perceived was first and foremost the artificiality. Which
is to say, that the technique had lost its efficacy, and was becoming little more than a mannerism or style. The same might be said of Eliot’s insight regarding the dissociation of thought and feeling which, he averred, occurred following the metaphysical poets: what he identified was the change, a change which revealed itself only as the norm degenerated into mere decoration.
How then might we consider quotations and citations from the point of view of a skeuomorphology?
I would begin by noting the intersection between the skeuomorphic notion of ‘dead function’, and Bakhtin’s notion of ‘dead quotations’. Bakhtin bemoans, in ‘The Dialogic Imagination,’ “dead quotation, something that falls out of the artistic context (for example, the evangelical texts in Tolstoy at the end of Resurrection).” 7 For Bakhtin, these quoted materials, migrated from one form to another, are ‘dead’ because they fail to be integrated into the work that quotes them. His choice of adjective is particularly stimulating, as poetry since the Romantic era has been concerned with a connexion between quotation and death, and often focuses upon the specifically memorializing function of quotation upon monuments.
Percy Shelley’s ruined statue of Ozymandias with its inscribed pedestal is perhaps the famous example: in the poem, the poet quotes a traveller, who quotes the inscription he read upon the pedestal, which inscription is itself a quotation of Ozymandias’ own words. The recursiveness only amplifies our sense of the quotation’s obsolete function;
its new ornamental role within the picturesque ruins is to ironize the original meaning.
It is worth noting that Shelley’s poem is also a frame-narrative, an intrinsically architectural form which permits of all kinds of citation, from extended internal quotation to found manuscripts real and imagined. The ‘frame’ is a metaphor, but as such, it refers to the point of entry into a text: it is the proscenium arch, a gate, a portal, through which the reader must pass. And actual portals too, as monuments, are frequently vehicles for quotations, as Dante’s most famous inscription upon the gates of hell bears witness: “Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate” [Abandon all hope, ye who enter here].8 This connexion between monuments, quotation, and death infects the English novel 7 Mikhail Bakhtin: The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. Transl. Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist. Austin, TX 1981, p. 344.
8 Dante Alighieri: Divina Commedia. Rom 2007, Inferno I,9.
SKEUOMO R PHOLOGY A ND Q UOTATIO N 291throughout the Romantic period, a period during which both extended use of ‘paratextual’ elements and the gothic novel develop simultaneously.
The most notoriously paratextual of all, Thomas Frognall Dibdin’s 1809 frame-narrative ‘Bibliomania; or, Book Madness: A Bibliographical Romance,’ though ostensibly a narrative about bibliomanic disease, is composed primarily of peritextual matter—seemingly endless and lenghty quotations and citations, quotations of quotations and footnotes of footnotes referring to and even containing library and book auction catalogues, price lists, typographical and printing information, quasi-autobiographical interventions and anecdotes, analyses of indices, prefaces, inscriptions, dedications, and other peritextual elements of incunabula, and perhaps most entertainingly, a reproduction of the prison accounts book entry listing both the dinner expenses of Ridley, Latimer, and Cranmer, and the costs of burning them. The entirety is excessively supplementary, and precedes the publication of such miscellanies as Bartlett’s ‘Familiar Quotations’ by some 46 years.
Such collections seem to be entirely composed of ‘dead quotations’, in Bakhtin’s phrase, because they do not even create accidental meaning by joining or juxtaposing their selections. Their form is that of an architextu(r)al necropolis; irrespective of their contents, these collections have the simultaneously morbid and elegaic atmosphere of a pathologist’s museum of amputated limbs, such residual ‘dead quotations’ serving only to suggest the ruin and decay of the absent body of the texts from which they have been excised.
But the more common frame-narratives in the Romantic era—and even the framed poems—are also marked by their peritextual elements.
Just as Coleridge’s 1817 version of the ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ adds mock-antiquarian glosses which render the internal quotations within the poem quotations of quotations, Maria Edgeworth’s tale of 18th-century Irish life ‘Castle Rackrent,’ as published in 1800, contained a glossary explaining Irish vernacular placed en exergue as well a barrage of a fictional ‘editor’s’ footnotes, all of which quote ostensibly authentic oral usages of the Irish idioms for the benefit of a non-Irish readership.
Such paratextual elements, both epitextual and peritextual, have been
most closely outlined in Gérard Genette’s ‘Seuils’, or ‘Paratexts:
Thresholds of Interpretation,’ in which Genette systematizes the liminal elements of texts—their titles and prefaces, forewords and introductions, inscriptions and dedications, footnotes and endnotes, any or all of DA N O’HARA which may overtly or covertly be quotations (as for example with Faulkner’s ‘The Sound and the Fury’).
The one peritextual form in the novel which is always a quotation, whether authentic or not, however, is the epigraph. Genette notes that the epigraph is generally placed en exergue, whether solely at the head of the book, or as was the memetically-virulent fashion in the gothic novel and its offspring, at the head of each chapter, as is the case in novels by Radcliffe, Lewis, Maturin, Scott, and Cooper. Reasoning that the epigraph’s location en exergue is related to its function, Genette proposes that the habit of using quotations as epigraphs is a survival from the earlier habit of using dedicatory epistles, which served to secure the author financial favour with an existing or wished-for benefactor. But preceding either dedication or epigraph, Genette suggests, was the use of the author’s coat-of-arms, a totem which contains a textual element itself: a motto which is usually a Latin quotation.
Though Genette seems aware of some implication that the location of the epigraph carries with it certain obligations derived from the form from which it evolved—he describes, for example, Hugo’s ‘Han d’Islande’ as being ‘armed’ with epigraphs—he does not suggest that this pattern of evolution is following any identifiable logic. His list of functions of the epigraph—to justify and comment upon the title and the text—therefore ignore the lost function of the preceding coat-of-arms, which is both an heraldic proclamation and a precautionary defensive measure, asserting the authority of the writer. The epigraph as quotation is therefore a literary skeuomorph par excellence, for it retains the form (the textual motto or quotation) and the location (en exergue), but devolves at its most base, particularly in the popular gothic novel, into an ornamental device expressing little more than the vanity of apparent learning.
To conclude: the vestigial presence of obsolete literary functions is evidence only of an historical process of formal evolution. A catalogue of such skeuomorphs would therefore, it is proposed, have the rudiments of a new theory of style. In the postmodern novel, the question of ‘found materials’ in modern art and literature is a useful touchstone, as such artworks are often judged to be ‘kitsch,’ a judgment which also is often, yet erroneously, made of skeuomorphs. 9 A recent trend in the novel from J. G. Ballard to Donald Barthelme through Mark Z. Danielewski and Douglas Coupland, is the indecorous appropriation and quotation of purely ‘functional’ written or printed materials, or what Ballard fondly calls ‘grey literature’—computing manuals, medical reports, scientific textbooks, marketing surveys, and so on—which from the point of view of current literary analysis have no intrinsic meaningfulness or symbolic value. Modernist notions of ‘allusion’ cannot account fully or satisfactorily for the ways in which these citational appropriations operate within fiction, because there exists no viable aesthetic of the ‘material’ in literature.
I would suggest that a theorization of skeuomorphism in literary form might provide a much more effective method of theorizing these intrusions of the material world into literature. 9 The relation of skeuomorphs to our ‘aesthetic sense’ remains obscure:
how can we apprehend skeuomorphs as beautiful? One possibility is that it is only through a symbolic/indexical (Peirce) association with a prior ‘beauty,’ a ‘beauty’ which is, in the prior object, mere function; yet this proposition both avoids the skeuomorph’s singularity, and defers the problem of defining its ‘beauty.’
ZUMTHORS ZITATEArchitekturzitate am Beispiel von Peter Zumthors Bruder-KlausKapelle bei Wachendorf * Was ist ein Zitat in der Architektur oder generell gefragt in der bildenden Kunst? In Analogie zum literarischen Zitat versteht man darunter in der bildenden Kunst einen von einem alten in einen neuen Kontext übernommenen Bestandteil eines Kunstwerks. Jedoch unterscheidet sich ein in der bildenden Kunst verwendetes Zitat von einem Textzitat grundsätzlich durch die Art und Weise der Übernahme, welche üblicherweise nicht (wort-)wörtlich, sondern fast ausschließlich in einer modifizierten Form erfolgt. Folglich kennt die bildende Kunst keine Kennzeichnung der Übernahmen, wie etwa im Falle des geschriebenen Textes die Anführungszeichen, die im ›eigenen‹ Text den ›fremden‹ als einen solchen unmissverständlich ausweisen.1 Dieses Fehlen eines einFür die Lektüre des Textes sowie wertvolle Hinweise habe ich Peter Zumthor und der Familie Scheidtweiler von Herzen zu danken. Daneben Dietrich Boschung, Jan Bremmer, Ludwig Jäger, Paul Naredi-Rainer und Martin Roussel. – Ich widme diesen Aufsatz meiner Frau Krystyna und den gemeinsamen Stunden auf Ruine Haldenstein, unserem Ort der Einkehr und Umkehr.
1 Zur Terminologie des Zitats, insbesondere in der Malerei, vgl. etwa:
Werner Busch: Nachahmung als bürgerliches Kunstprinzip. Ikonographische Zitate bei Hogart und in seiner Nachfolge. Hildesheim, New York 1977, bes.
S. 27ff. oder Hans Belting: Bild und Kult. Eine Geschichte des Bildes vor dem
Zeitalter der Kunst. München 21993, S. 530. – In der Architektur vgl. etwa: