Saturday, March 16, 2019
The Heathen Inside: Darkness, Abjection, and the Colonial Discourse :: Essays Papers
The Heathen Inside phantasm, Abjection, and the Colonial DiscourseIn Romanticism and Colonialism, Tim Fulford and Peter J. Kitson argue that few scholars explicate the relationship betwixt Romantic texts, British colonialism, and imperialism. Fulford and Kitson point out that the Romantic period is a watershed in colonial history, marking the inception of a British empire based on the political philosophy of the white mans tear (3). By reading Romantic texts in the historical and political background of colonialism and imperialism, Fulford and Kitson hope to return Romantic texts to the context of material, colonial butt ones contemporaneous with their imagined versions of colonize people and places (9). In other words, Fulford and Kitson read Romantic texts as reflections of historical reality and as multiplex, ambivalent responses to colonial and imperial discourse. With the aim of locomote Romantic texts to material, colonial processes, I pull up stakes read Byrons poem Darkness through the lens of Julia Kristevas conception of humiliation. My scurvy reading of Darkness will then explicate the relationship between the poem and the larger process of British colonialism and imperialism. I will first read Darkness for instances of degradation through the lens of Julia Kristevas 1982 essay, Approaching Abjection. I will then pause by addressing the question of how an abject reading of Darkness helps to elucidate the complex interplay between Romanticism and British colonial and imperial discourse. Kristeva divides her 1982 essay, Approaching Abjection, into one-third main sections. In the first section, Neither Subject nor Object, Kristeva explains that the abject cannot be defined as either part of the self or as any other definable, tangible person or thing. For Kristeva, the abject seems to write out from an outside or an exorbitant inside and is unassimilable (Kristeva 125). The self (I) rejects the abject because it comes from outside of the self and is foreign, strange, and beyond reason. Furthermore, abjection is paradoxical in that it has a capacity to both seduce and disgust the self. As Kristeva says, a rod cell of attraction and repulsion (Kristeva 125) characterizes the relationship between the self and the abject. Kristeva also describes abjection as a collection of effects and thoughts (Kristeva 125) that escapes meaning and elicits a barbarian reaction from the self. Meaning collapses around the abject because it is uncomplete subject nor object, neither self nor other, both repulsive and attractive Not me. Not that. hardly not nothing either. A something that I do not secern as a thing (Kristeva 126).