Archived entries for individual

“May the discursive structure stand for the seal”

IN THE TWO CENTURIES following the turn of the first millennium, literate individuals in Western Europe rarely if ever resorted to mediated expression, to indirect communication by means of the written word, without expressing some sense of the absence of immediacy, that is, of personal presence. When Bishop Arnulf of Lisieux ( d. 1181) could not attend a council in London, he sent a letter “so that the page might take the place of his person and the letter might faithfully bring his voice to life.” Slightly earlier, Bernard of Clairvaux ( d. 1153) sought to reassure his correspondents about the authenticity and representativeness of two letters to which he was unable to affix his seal. In one letter, he wrote: “I do not have my seal handy, but the reader will recognize the style because I myself have dictated the letter.” The other letter states: “May the discursive structure stand for the seal, which I do not have handy.” Bernard expects readers to notice his personal presence, however immaterial, within the fabric of the text, through its style and diction. His secretary and biographer, Geoffrey of Clairvaux (or of Auxerre, d. after 1188), emphasized this conflation of person and text by entitling Chapter 8 of his biography: “On St. Bernard’s writings and the image of his soul expressed in them.”

Medieval Identity: A Sign and a Concept
Brigitte Miriam Bedos-Rezak
The American Historical Review
Vol. 105, No. 5 (Dec., 2000), pp. 1489-1533

no confundamos al flâneur con el mirón y a la multitud con la muchedumbre, cuestiones de individualidad…

“No confundamos al flâneur con el mirón: [...] el flâneur… está siempre en [...] posesión de su individualidad, mientras la del mirón desaparece, al contrario, al quedar absorbida por el mundo exterior [...] que lo hace exaltarse, embriagado, hasta el éxtasis. Bajo la presión del espectáculo el mirón se hace un ser impersonal; ya no es un hombre: es público, es decir, muchedumbre.”

Obra de los pasajes
Victor Fournel. Ce qu’on voit dans les rues de Paris, París 1858, p. 263. Cit. en Obra de los pasajes, M 6, 5

via Atlas Walter Benjamin – flâneur.

he wants to stand for everyone, because he wants to be less a historical person than a marker for democratic personhood

“Whitman, because he wants to stand for everyone, because he wants to be less a historical person than a marker for democratic personhood, can’t really write a memoir full of a life’s particularities. If he were to reveal the specific genesis and texture of his personality, if he presented a picture of irreducible individuality, he would lose his ability to be “Walt Whitman, a cosmos” — his “I” would belong to an empirical person rather than constituting a pronoun in which the readers of the future could participate.”

Ben Lerner – 10:04.

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