Tag Archives: individual/system

Joseph Conrad – Nostromo (1904)

Nostromo

If Lord Jim and Heart of Darkness dramatize the difficulty of narrating a life, confronting that difficulty by dramatizing the various subjective, generic, historical conditions that frame our experience of the world, then Nostromo ups the ante, expanding the palate of narrators (13 main characters) and opening the stage to the history of a continent and the circuits of global trade. Nostromo is “constructed” in ways similar to Jim, but this novel is not so much interested in characterization, as it is interested in how the past becomes present, and the present becomes future, and how all the various characters deal with these historical becomings.

Conrad employs a basic rectangle of characters:

Nostromo   –   Decoud (loves Antonia)

Mr. Gould   –   Monygham (loves Mrs. Gould)

On the top, two men that are killed by the silver. On the bottom, two men who are able to resist that death. On the left, two idealists. On the right, two pragmatists. Acting outside of these rectangle, are the two women, Antonia and Mrs. Gould.

Nostromo the character is a composite of what other characters believe him to be. We see him consistently fail to live up to the idea of the hero–he is literally a “man of the people” to the degree that he becomes subject to the same temptations of the silver.

When the old Garibaldi soldier kills Nostromo (not knowing that he does it), Conrad is showing who the older foams of heroic revolution are not tenable under the new regime of global capitalism.

Discuss the difference between catching a moment out of the stream of time and Mrs. Gould’s beliefe that we need to see the past, present and future within every moment….this is a different way of seeing the relationship between particular events and history in general.

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Virginia Woolf – Mrs. Dalloway (1925)

The opening declarative sentence: “Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.” The question remains, “to whom did she say this?” From the beginning, performance of the self is highlighted, how we comport ourselves within restricted fields to determinate others. Also, after the lark and the plunge (exaltation of larks is the term of venery…connect with Yeats discourse on birds), the field of phenomena is presented by way of clauses separated by semi-colons, a formal feature characteristic of Woolf. Think of the semi-colon as somewhere between the (Joycean) colon and the more traditional comma—granting relative autonomy to clauses, but binding them into some sort of narrative that makes the part more than the whole. Bring together with Hulmean-Bergsonian reflections on stasis and movement—how to render movement in an instant..-to render becoming more fundamental than being, etc. Further, a good example of what she calls the cotton-wool of daily life, how the myriad impressions (along with certain social roles such as wife, host, etc.) become constitutive of the self. Clarissa actually feels herself becoming “invisible, unseen; unknown” (11).

THE URBAN IN WOOLF: as opposed to Joyce, in which Bloom sifts and sorts through a barrage of commodities and advertisements, the Woolfean character sees the reflected back in the objects that we confront in our daily rounds: So while Clarissa might “slice like a knife through everything,” opening up an absence consonant with her subjective shrinkage, she also recognizes in “the ebb and flow of things,” the survival of a history she has already brought into being. CRUCIAL: the temporal present of everyday experience is punctuated by a history that is never suppressed by habit; rather, it is disclosed through habit. At times, the self seems to dissolve: individuals are united into loose collectivities when they see the figure aristocratic god passing in the carriage, or the new god of advertising appearing in the sky–much like in Wandering Rocks. This points forward to the experiments with the multiple self in The Waves.

Contextualize this reading of the ordinary within her distinction of being and non-being in “Sketch of the Past.” It is somehow as if non-being is exactly those trivial facts of life that we always overlook, but which fiction must labor to unveil. How this intersects with her notion of the trivial in “Modern Fiction” is up for debate. One can at least say that the play between being and non-being is not immediately conscripted into Hegelian becoming, but non-being seems able to exist as an autonomous field. Relate this to the Time Passes section in To the Lighthouse. Also, worth contrasting the various modes of habit that characterize Proust, Beckett, Beckett on Proust, and Woolf. For Beckett, habit makes like possible…but it also circumscribes life within its tight loop of repetition. For Woolf (and for Proust, too), habit is precisely that which evades representation because it is so close to the very mechanism of memory itself. Elucidating habit, outside of the scope of habit, is precisely the task they set for themselves.

And then contrast Dalloway’s phenomenology with that of Septimus Harding, who is, in some sense, a too perfect reader of modernist literature (“susceptibility to impressions had been his undoing”)…that is, his psyche has undergone the same forms of fragmentation that lead to the arbitrary collection “anarchy and futility” of daily life. He is not capable of making new wholes, in the Eliotic sense. Rather, he finds beauty in the advertisement in the sky, “

bestowing upon him in their inexhaustible clarity and laughing goodness one shape after another of unimaginable beauty and signaling their intention to provide him, for nothing, for ever, for looking merely, with beauty, more beauty! Tears ran down his cheeks. (22)

Can relate this to Benjamin’s theory of aura and the commodity. In some sense, he has understood too exactly the mechanism of the modern artwork. But Clarissa is attuned to the social coordinates that are in fact ordering this fragmentation. Like the viceregal calvalcade in Wandering Rocks, the carriage draws together and orders the perceptual fields of the myriad characters in the opening passage. But even them, Clarissa must stand in front of mirror to constitute to herself a coherence of the self. Talk about this mirror in terms of the many other mirrors: the cracked looking glass in Wilde and Stephen’s Telemachus chapter; the pool in Nausicaa; deKoven in Rich and Strange; Mill on the Floss; Lady of Shallot; etc. Peter also has his own idea of beauty, on that inheres within the furniture of drawing rooms, piano, gramophone and corridor, the glimpse of the social as it is revealed in the sudden moment of seeing a dinner party through a window (163)

The not entirely arbitrary imposition of unity in the form of the bell tolling from Big Ben: Contrast this with the Eliot-Joyce mythical method. Also contrast with the bell ringing in Murphy, how Murphy’s “internal” clock is impossibly aligned with such tolling. Such devices are common, present even in Gabriel Oak’ watch that has a minute hand but no hour hand. Talk about Bergson. Spetimus has a different relationship to Time: it engulfs him, its splits it husk, poured its riches over him (cf. Baudelaire: “Le Temps m’engloutit minute par minute”). SO TIME: on the one hand,  can become overwhelming if not ordered, if it becomes overly subjective (as in the case of Septimus), but it’s overly objective ordering (in the form of Big Ben) can be equally harmful. 

Sally Seton and the kiss. Established as an alternative pre-history. In general, talk about how the past punctuates the present. Contrast the shock of the past in Septimus, to the healthy sublimation of the past in someone like Clarissa. Also crucial spatial aspect: her memory is located in the pastoral countryside, while Spetimus’ memory is dislocated from that landscape…on the battlefield (Evans appears with frightening immediacy).

Peter, at the end, feels ecstasy and terror (much like “terrible beauty” of “Easter 1916”) at the “presenting” of Clarissa Dalloway. Read Peter as a Prufrock of sorts, an educated professional class on longer valued in terms of land, blood and money, but in terms of functional work within the system of Imperialism. Compare to Cecil in Passage to India…the product of an England that has dissolved (in contrast to Whitbread, Bradshaw, Richard Dalloway, etc.)

Thomas Hardy – Jude the Obscure (1895-6)

Hardy’s last novel is also his most dense, sparse and brutal. Country bumpkin Jude Fawley (pun on folly) aspires to be an Oxford don, but because of liquor and a weakness for women, as he calls it, ends up marrying Arabella Donn (yes, pun intended), who snags him by lying about being pregnant. Their marriage breaks up over the slaughtering of a pig: Jude refuses to bleed it slowly because of his affection for animals.  Arabella moves to Australia, and Jude moves to Christminster, where he studies hard plies his trade of stone-cutting; he is refurbishing the inside of a cathedral, much like Hardy himself did. He meets Sue Bridehead, a cousin, whom is Aunt Drusilla has expressly told him to avoid. According to her, there is a curse ont he family that makes all wedlock something to be avoided. Jude unintentionally brings her together with his old idol Richard Phillottson, whom Sue agrees to marry. But not before she breaks out of her training school to meet Jude, etc. etc. She marries him but is immediately unhappy, as Jude knew she would be. She leaves with Phillottson’s consent and goes to Jude. But they don’t marry. Arabella has returned (a drunken night ended in Jude sleeping with her once again), and though she is married to a certain Cartell, she informs Jude that she had a child from him, whose name is Father Time. Sue and Jude raise him. They are happy for a while, but never get married (for a fear of the legal bond that would destroy their natural love). Cast out by society, they return eventually to Christminster, where they can’t fin lodging. Father Time (little Jude) kills Sue’s two children and hangs himself because they were “too menny.” Sue goes crazt and becomes religious. She remarries Richard. Jude eventually remarries Arabella. Jude dies, and Arabella is looking for a new man before he is cold.

Critique of the bildungsroman: In short, a systematic subversion of the meritocratic presumptions of the 19th-century bildungsroman.

The letter killeth: This is referring to the letter of the law, but it reverberates in two other significations: Jude carves letters, he etches things like the ten commandments in stone [not sure to connect this..perahps through ideas of permanence?]; Sue writes through letters that express her more free self…that is, her letters allow for the sort of split personality that gets their tragic romance off the ground.

Natural vs. Legal vs. Spiritual: The rather simple notion of a contract in Casterbridge is complicated here. According to the demands of the plot, it functions in one of these tree ways: it effectively empties marriage of its symbolic status and it becomes a device for refracting the various social and religious dogmas that exist in the text.

Fate/Tragic: Yes, Jude and Sue do seem to be beaten about by external circumstances, but they also have an awareness of the tragic from which the consciously draw to make sense of their circumstances. Locating the cause and effect is difficult (making this a proto-modernist text), because the textual allusiveness takes on a force that becomes constitutive of plot itself. Jude exclaims that Sue is “enslaved to forms,” and while that applies, the moment to her rigid adherence to religious forms, it could apply, also to the early moments in the text, when her unconventionality is precisely that which the 19th-century novel needs in order for it to grind along and grind down those excesses necessary for conclusion.

Architecture: The normal descriptions of the Wessex landscape give way, in this novel, to a focus on architecture–above all, architecture in transition. Most obviously, cathedrals are being retrofitted in gothic fashion (Sue wishes Jude had been trained in the classic way–can relate this Ruskin, how the democracy of the Gothic has itself become a form that can be imposed, artificially, on the crumbling remnants of a social order.) But domestic interiors also have an incongruous feel: oak wainscot contrasts with the brass bed stand and the birch furniture. The two styles “nod to each other across three centuries upon the shaking floor” (282).

The University: Needs to be contextualized within Hardy’s own personal history: an auto-didactic that could never quite shake off the image of the rustic…he would try to write urban novels only to be driven by the market to stay within the confines of his Wessex.

Animals: Both Sue and Jude are kind to animals (birds, pigs, rabbits), which distinguishes them most clearly from Arabella, and her father, who run a pork business. The obvious reading is that it demonstrates Jude and Sue’s desire to extricate themselves from the cycle of nature that characterize the “quite desperation” of all those that blithely accept the conventions foisted on them by “culture.” Yet, in so doing, they implicate themselves in a different cycle of literary reduplication that condemns them to misery–moral: resisting the cruelty inherent to man’s existence will just make you the object of that very cruelty. 

Loving-kindness: The term that Hardy associates with the sort of lowest common denominator of human sympathy–and capacity to narrate–in his 1922 poetic “Apology.” In the context of Jude,

Charles Dickens – Great Expectations (1860-1)

The orphan Pip is brought up by his sister and her husband Joe Gargery, a blacksmith. One night Pip encounters a convict in the cemetry, and he does him an act of kindness which the convict, who will turn out to be Magwitch, Mr. Provis and Mr. Campbell all in one, will never forget. He soon goes to Miss Havisham’s house to be a playmate with Estella. He starts to become ashamed of himself and his lower-cultured childhood friends. He becomes and apprentice with Joe, and works alongside Orlick, who is a sort of double that plays out all the crimes that Pip almost commits but never does. [An instance of shadowing the protagonist with doubles, sorta like Bertha Rochester and Jane Eyre.] Pip receives an inheritance (via Jaggers) from an unknown source, but he assumes it is from Miss Havisham. This enacts the processes of accumulation that correlate with the field of desire associated with Miss Havisham.  But he soon gets into debt and it is revealed that Abel Magwitch–and it is further revealed that he is the father of Estella (her mother is Molly, Jagger’s housemaid). Pip tells Havisham this story, she stands to close the fire and dies from her injuries, despite Pip’s attempts to save her. Magwitch is arrested and dies; Pip is about to be put into debtor’s prison, but he gets sick, and then is nursed back to health by Joe. He returns to Joe’s home, where they have had a child named Pip [cf. Sydney Carton at the end of Tale]. He visits Stalis house, where he meets Estella. It’s ambiguous whether they marry or not.

—-

Guilt vs. desire – One can frame Pip’s two worlds according to this tension. Pip is marked by guilt from the very beginning, as his actual inheritance. The world of desire, or lack, is associated with Havisham and Estella. Cognitively adjusting to the knowledge that his inheritance comes from guilt rather than desire entails a confrontation with a world of crime that does not square with the tenants of individuality and subjectivity he had adopted in the middle part of the book. Rather, crime seems somehow universal: Magwitch somehow emerges from the landscape, he is an atmosphere of sorts. Pip himself will toggle between these two spheres.

Is Pip being a bad reader because he has not yet grown up? (structure of dramatic irony to deal with how these things can be known at all) Contrast this with Maisie (does not give signification, only registers impressions). As an example of better reading by way of negative contrast: Magwitch shows Pip how he acted poorly towards Joe. But where do we locate this knowledge?

In David Copperfield, the impetus to give full signification (retrospective and fully) is the same impulse as in Great Expectation (Pip as narrator does know things that phenomena subject does not know) but sometimes we just get the narrated Pip and we see his ignorance negatively. In the end, Pip the narrator and narrated converge but there is not a full knowledge. Indeed, the reduplication of Pip as a young boy points to the “bad infinity” that could ensue: the second Pip is able to effectively truncate the narrative with a new beginning. And to the degree that “family” is posited as a source of final cohesion, it should be noted that Pip is excised from that family.

Two ends in Great Expectation: 1. very clear that Estella and Pip don’t get married 2.  you don’t know whether they get married or not, structurally undecideable.

More broadly: Can think of Thackeray, Dickens and Trollope as obsessed with evidentiary character of narration, must give an account fo how the narrative has come into being. On the other hand, Eliot, Hardy and James fully accept the arbitrary nature of the narrative–they can’t justify it, so they just start. [in Hardy in particular, one has the sense that anyone walking along a road could furnish the novelist with a story]

 

Friedrich Schiller – On the Aesthetic Education of Man (1794)

Inspired by Schiller’s disenchantment with the violent fallout of the French Revolution, these Letters seeks to articulate how aesthetic education is only way in which true political freedom can be achieved–whereby a human can be both fully man and fully citizen.

Letter by letter summary of argument:

  1. Sets forth a summary. It will be about Art and Beauty. Excuses himself for using intellect even while he will be critiquing it.
  2. Art is distinguished from utility and science.
  3. The realm of nature, within which man lives, does not contain all of man: the work of reason allows man to transcends the bounds of nature by elevating physical necessity into moral necessity, from the state of nature to the moral state–without, however, jeopardizing the realm of nature that nourishes man.
  4. The state of nature works by compulsion, while the moral state works through freedom and rational choice.
  5. The present state is characterized by lower classes governed “animal satisfactions,” while the higher classes exhibit and even more disgusting “lethargy” in the form of unfettered egotism.
  6. Using the ideal of Greece, shows how the present world is characterizes by unrestricted competition. Wholeness has been fragmented, and the world is held together by antagonisms.
  7. Nature offers a way forward: it “points in her physical creation the way we have to take in the moral” (45), because the lower elemental forces needs to be assuaged before the nobeler things can be attended to.
  8. Introduces the languages of “drives” and “force.” Truth must itself become a force if it to compete with these other external forces. But people are too borne down by struggle for existence to develop a capacity for feeling that is the way toward Truth [yes, some jumps are made in this letter]
  9. Art is therefore necessary to develop this feeling. “Even before Truth’s triumphant light can penetrate the recesses of the human heart, the poet’s imagination will intercept its rays, and the peaks of humanity will be radiant while the dews of night still linger in the valley” (57).
  10. People object that beauty’s relationship to pure form, rather than content, could lead soem to reject reality all together. But Schiller says that perhaps Experience as such is not the best place to go looking for positions of judgment.
  11. Taking a step back, he defines the human as the combination of a PERSON and a CONDITION, that former stays the same despite the changes in the latter. Neither can remain in isolation or the man ceases to be man. It is through the SENSES that the “way to the divine is opened up.” Living in time (our condition) is purely sensual. The formal properties of personhood therefore “annul time” via the formal drive. Thus reality and formality are set in opposition.
  12. The sensual drive puts man “beside himself” by making him entirely subject to the vagaries of time. The formal drive annuls time, rendering man no longer a mere quantity, but qualitatively different. [The connection metonymy and metaphor should not be missed]
  13. However, Schiller wants to pose a more fundamental drive, which he works up to by means of the cultivation of the opposing drives: “procuring for the receptive faculty the most manifold contacts with the world…in securing for the determining faculty the highest degree of independence” (87).
  14. Introduces the play-drive, which is pulled rather obviously from the notion of judgment in Kant’s 3rd Critique…it brings together under a single drive the two other drives.
  15. The object of the sense-drive is life and the object of the form-drive is form. The object of the play-drive is living-form, or beauty as such. [One wonders why the sense-drive is not called the life-drive…one more way of dislocating the processes of self-preservation outside of the human apparatus. We can form forms, but we do not live life. We sense it.] Further, the sense-drive gets converted into the material drive, thus further  away from the dynamic processes of life. Also, interesting fn on Burke that say that he consigns “beauty to mere life,” something very similar to Hume and the empiricists]. The dialectic between form and matter, then, is such that beauty renders the burden of necessity “lightweight.” And this playful relationship to necessity is in itself necessary [relate this to Arnold’s The Study of Poetry and Wilde’s Artist as Critic]
  16. Now stuff starts to get weird. There are two types of beauty: melting beauty and energizing beauty, The former “releases” while the latter “tenses.” [Curious relationship to Bataille here].
  17. Interestingly enough, it is not so much that there are different types of beauty, but that beauty discloses its melting or energizing property according to the subject’s needs
  18. Now he steps back, and begins in Kantian fashion to discuss beauty’s relationship to Experience and Reason, between which there yawns a chasm of infinity.
  19. Aesthetic emerges as the middle disposition when sense and reason are both fully active and therefore self-cancelling. Sense-impression determines the human mind, passively. Before we can achieve active self-determination, we must negate the realm of sensation and make way for the realm of active determination. Unlike Hegel, then, Schiller does not attempt to derive the unity of sense and substance out of the nuts and bolts of primary experience; rather, he concedes sensation and self-consciousness itself to the realm of pre-cognitive “mystery.”
  20. The freedom that comes from the collision of these two drives–the formal and the sensual–is itself a product of nature. What one fills the absence of sensual determination with is the “real and active determination” of the aesthetic as such.
  21. The aesthetic differs from mere sensuous feeling in that it is not an empty infinity, but an infinity filled with content. It is not exhausted in its relationship to natural objects; rather, the “life of the aesthetic” restores the potentiality inherent to humanity. It gives the human the ability to be human once again, again and again. This is not separate from Nature: rather, Nature confers on humans the power of becoming-human. In this way, nature is consonant with the aesthetic.
  22. He then gets into the particulars of aesthetic theory–e.g. the perfect work of art is that which transcends its material without utterly destroying those materials. The basic idea is that content limits, while form de-limits, which by now doesn’t seem counter-intuitive at all. Interestingly, though, just when content seems to entirely extirpate content all together, Schiller uses a metabolic metaphor to describe their interaction: the “form consumes his material.” 
  23. He returns to the thread of the main argument by stating, clearly: the sensuous man is made into rational man only by way of the aesthetic.
  24. These three states–the physical (sensual), the aesthetic and the moral-rational, correlate with three phases of man’s relationship to Nature. He first suffers, then emancipates himself, and then attains mastery. 
  25. Further elucidates the “moment” of the beautiful, claiming that both the perceiving subject and the object of contemplation are reciprocally beautiful. He then claims that there should no longer be a question about the transition from beauty to truth, “since this latter is potentially continued in the former, but only a question of how he is to clear a way for himself from common reality to aesthetic reality, from mere life-serving feelings to feelings of beauty” (189). [It seems to me that there is still a really big question about the realization (or not) of potential, since man is supposedly that creature which reserves potential indefinitely.]
  26. Maps out some of the pre-conditions for beauty: the hermit emerging from the hut is the Ideal: he can sense “the exuberance of matter.” Imports Kantian categories of need and satisfaction of those needs: both requirements for the emergence of the aesthetic. Also, the “tactile” sense are relegates to our animal selves. “The object of touch is a force to which we are subjected the object of the eye and ear a form we engender” (195). That which we engender is SEMBLANCE. Aesthetic semblance, as opposed to social or natural semblance, must be both honest (expressly renounces all claims to reality) and autonomous (dispenses with support from reality). Seeing something as semblance (not real or living) takes a whole lot of aesthetic education, supposedly.
  27. In the final letter, Schiller calls for “a revolution in feeling,” which would breech the cycle of our animal needs by way an attention to the formal qualities of sensual experience.This will not come about by having quantitatively more material things; rather, it comes from experiencing things differently.

    Even the animal world supposedly has this sort of freedom: “The trees put forth innumerable buds which perish without ever unfolding…living things are entitle to squander” (207). [Interesting relation to Bataille]. But this aesthetic “superfluity” does not remain content being “added” to things; rather, “the play-drive as it becomes ever freer finally tears itself away form the fetters of utility all together” (211).

    This turns into a rather unexpected critique of war and violence, and a valorization of “weakness” (213). This is matched by a a tri-partite movement from the Dynamic State (think Hobbes); the Ethical State (Kant); the Aesthetic State, which consummates the will of all in the individual. This is the kingdom of Taste, in which no privilege or autocracy is allowed. A-social appetite renounces itself seeking. Does this state exist? It exists within us.

Georg Lukács – The Theory of the Novel (1920, 2nd edition 1962)

The famous Preface begins with the anecdote concerning “individual, concreate acts of heroism,” which, in 1920, Lukács thought masked the violence of the total system of war. He asks, “Who will save us from Western Civilization?” Theory of the Novel was therefore written in a tone of despair, but also one of utopian hope. Indeed, Lukács claims that his early work was by no means conservative, but that its subversive nature was grounded on an entirely naive conception of utopia’s emergence form the rubble of capitalism. Such a view tips over into conformism, a conformism of which he directly accuses Adorno and others: they have taken up residence in the ‘Grand Hotel Abyss,”

a beautiful hotel, equipped with every comfort, on the edge of an abyss, of nothingness, of absurdity. And the daily contemplation of the abyss between excellent meals or artistic entertainments, can only heighten the enjoyment of the subtle comforts offered. (22)

It should be noted that the grounds of accusation revolve around a certain relation to food, taste, and subtlety. Adorno has supposedly succumbed to the very dilettantism he accuses the vulgar philistine of.

He distinguishes integrated and problematic civilizations. The current civilization is problematic (appropriate to the novel), while the Greek civilization was integrated (appropriate to the epic). Similar to Bakhtin, the novel is given the burden of strictly miming the “ruptural totality” of contemporary worlds. The epic is the genre of childish immaturity while the novel is the genre of virile maturity (71)–that is, it is capable of soberly reviewing the homelessness of it factical position.

The novel, as an assertive, form-giving endeavor, runs a double risk: either it does not fulfill the minimally sufficient demands of the form, or it is too coherent, closing the circle of signification too soon or too tightly (72).

Indeed, the novel always risks the bad infinity of pure mimesis: it therefore must assert the form of biography, submitting the subject matter to confines of a life. [Connect this to Brooks argument about Freud’s master-plot, and also to the idea of Victorian literature marking out its historical contours according to the life of Queen Victoria.]

The mode of all novels is irony. It is the form of reflecting on itself. This need for reflection is the novel’s “deepest melancholy.” Put otherwise, “Te novel is the epic of a world abandoned by God.” Irony is able to negative render those spaces from which God has withdrawn. It is a negative mysticism. Irony is the highest freedom that can be attained in a world abandoned by God. (93).

 

 

 

 

Charles Darwin – The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871)

Origin of Species scrupulously does not mention man (though it could have concluded nicely with such an apogee)…and Descent of Man, formally, seems written in order to make it difficult for any reader to get through it. It withholds the promised clarity of its title. It is introduced as “a collection of notes” (relate to other archival novels, such as Dracula, etc.]

Darwin vs Wallace: the latter turned to superstition as explanation for man’s transcendence of the naimal relam (language, etc.) while the former remained convinced that there were analogs to human life in the animal world. Compare this to Dr. Jekyll vs. his friend Lanyon and contextualize within the discourse of facts.

Evidence for Human Evolution: “[man] still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin.” He therefore argues against perfect design by way of vestiges. Contrast sharply with Lamarck, who attempted to draw strict causal chains (i.e. Giraffe grew a neck in order to reach tall branches); Darwin, instead, located random variation and mutation at the origin, which was then taken up or not depending on its advantageousness within a particular environment, species, etc. “All variations are the result of and are governed by the same general laws…” Talks a bunch about “rudiments,” such as hair and the coccyx and the increasingly short caecum (a cul-de-sac in the digestive system that can be fatal if food gets stuck there…) Only a natural prejudice and the belief that we are descended from demi-gods keeps us from recognizing the community of descent.

Man and Apes: Associates the move to bidpedism with the rapid increase in cognitive ability. Also, could have been advantageous for man to spring from weak chimp rather than powerful gorilla because it leads to greater sympathy with others—in general, a more intellectual disposition for a species that lack natural wepaons.

Mental powers: no fundamental difference between man and apes, here, either. Instinct vs. Intelligence (indirectly proportionate according to Cuvier. However, there is evidence that animals, sharing the same sensory powers as man, also react similarly to various stimuli (terror, suspicion, happiness, etc.).

Morality: Establishing a sort of “universal moral sense” based not on propriety, but instead on the necessity of the preservation of certain basic social structures (the self, the family, the tribe, etc.) : that is, the natural instinct shared by the lower animals naturally leads to the higher moral demands of the golden rule. Sympathy, therefore, is an instinct. Relate this to Arnold’s The Study of Poetry (1880), where he argues for the self-preserving power of poetry. 

On Civilization: Charity is a vestige, rudiment of sympathy, that persists despite reason. Believes private property is a good thing for the sake of the arts >> believes there should be a class of men who do not need to labor so that they can rule those who do labor. America is the place where the most energetic and restless people go to find wealth and succeed…calls it a “great country.” But all civilized nations are descended from barbarous tribes: clear traces of barbarism in civilized traditions + the ability of the lower races to raise themselves up given the proper conditions. Man is digressing; he is rising!

Compare the affectionate orangutan (Jenny) with the savages from Tierra del Fuego.