"Ideology and Literary Form: 3. Charles
from Eagleton, Terry. "Ideology and Literary
Form: 3. Charles Dickens." Criticism and Ideology: A Study in Marxist Literary
Theory. London: Verso, 1976. 44-63.
Terry Eagleton mentions the particular and ambivalent positions
of petty bourgeoisie in the social formation
between the aristocracy and the proletarian society. Eagleton
also points out the contradictions of the bourgeois society presented in
Dickens' fiction or novels; meanwhile, he takes George Eliot and her works
as examples to discuss the relation of the ideology and Dickens' works.
1. What are the typical contradictions of bourgeois society?
2. What does the absent center mean in Dickens' novel? What is
the absent center in the works of Dickens?
What's the function of the absent center in Dickens' works?
3. What are status of realist text in the earlier and the later
years of Dickens?
4. What's perspective of Terry Eagleton's reading in this discussion
of "Charles Dickens"?
I. The petty bourgeoisie with ambiguous status in the social
formation "encompasses the significant range of
experience" and points out the typical contradictions of bourgeois
II. "A central symbol of Dickens' Romantic humanism is childhood
The production of major fiction in Victorian Society proves the "conventional
bourgeois experience in England" (125).
The writer's ambivalent class-relation to society could "be open
to the contradictions" and generate the major art of the Victorian period
The petty bourgeois ideology exists in the contradictory unity, which
derives from "the ideological realms of both dominant and dominated classes
in the social formation" (126).
Literary texts is "the peculiarly complex" containing the characters'
mode of insertion into the hegemonic ideological forms, and is also "in
part the product of literary realism" (126).
"The ideology of the realist text resides in the formal mutations
and displacement signifying attempts to "subordinate other modes
of discourse" (126).
A. The child's passivity presents the situation of oppression
and creates a "realm of untaintable goodness" far from the secular world
B. "The child's very blankness" demonstrates the dominant social
III. Dickens ' fiction reveals a contradiction between the social
reality and the transcendental moral value; meanwhile, it also "deploys
literary devices to resolve ideological conflict" (128-30).
B. The effect of this contradiction is "a set of formal dissonance"
in the Dickens' novels. (128).
C. Dickens' novels "offer their self-contradictory forms and
internal inconsistencies as part of the historical meaning" (129).
D. The aesthetically unifying images of social institutions created
in Dickens' novel are the target of his criticism (129).
E. Dickens' novels present and depict the historical development
or change of the bourgeois society or capitalist society in the Victorian
"Brecht and Rhetoric."
from ---. "Brecht and Rhetoric." Contemporary
and Literary Criticism Ed. Robert Con Davis and Ranald Schleifer.
New York: Longman, 1994. 468-71.
Terry Eagleton uses Brecht's main dramatic technique of "alienated
effect" as the premise to discuss its
relation with "alienated acting" and the space formed between
the actor and his/ her roles. Eagleton also emphasizes the concept of Epic
Theater: "to think crudely" in the relation between the theatre and the
1. What does the " Rhetoric" mean in this essay? (469)
2. What are the function and meaning of the "void" alienated
acting in Brechet theatre? (468).
3. What's the function of the theatre in terms of Eagleton's
4. How does Eagleton see or read Brecht's works in this esssay?
I. The alienated acting is, in Brecht's concept, a sense of hollow
or void which generates a space between
actor and action and also take apart "the ideological self-identity
of the routine social behavior"(468).
II. "Brecht's theater deconstructs social process into rhetoric
or social practices" (469).
A. "Rhetoric means grasping language and action in the
context of the politico-discursive conditions" (469).
III. "The aim of Brecht's theory is to reverse the unhappy process
of acting and regress us to a childlike
B. "Rhetoric precedes logic: grasping propositions is only possible
by participating in specific forms of social life"(469).
condition, and make us all amateurs again" (270).
A. The process of child's mimesis begins with effect
of spontaneous involvement with forms of life to the formation of "a logical
or representational system" (270).
IV. The concept of theory derives from the childhood puzzlement.
B. "The Marxist is confronted by ideological system and has to
return their way to the practical conditions of suppressed rhetoric or
mode of social performance" (270).
A. "The theory is a "logical refuge" of those puzzled
or naïve not to find simply rhetorical answers…" (270).
B. "The theoretical question is as much as a performative as
the language it challenges" and a new way to view other languages (271).
"The ' Piccolo Teatro': Bretolazzi and Brecht. Notes on a Materialist
Althusser, Louis. "The ' Piccolo Teatro':
Bretolazzi and Brecht. Notes on a Materialist Theatre." A Practical Reader
in Contemporary Literary Theory. Ed. Peter Brooks and Peter Widdowson.
New York: Prentice Hall, pp.369-75.
Althusser pointed out the essential component of the materialist
theatre-- the latent asymmetrical critical
structure." With applications of Brecht and Bertolazzi's plays,
he also discusses the "alienated effect" and the
production of a new consciousness in the spectator.
1. What is the "latent asymmetrical critical structure"
within Brecht's plays or the materialist theatre?
I. The dynamic of the latent structure within the materialist thestre
is "the basic critique of the illusion of
2. Is the asymmetrical decentered structure intrinsic to the
materialist theatre? (369).
3. What's Marxist fundamental principle toward the dialectic
of consciousness? (370)
4. Is there any contradictory existing within Althusser's understanding
of Brecht or materialist theatre?
consciousness and false dialectic"(369).
A. The silent confrontation of a consciousness with an
"undialectical" reality presents the true critique of the
IV. The dynamic of the play's latent structure exists on the dynamic
relation between "consciousness of self and
illusions of consciousness. (369).
B. "There is no dialectic of consciousness which could reach
the reality itself by its own contradictions but by the radical discovery
of what is other than itself" (370).
the real conditions of their existence" (371).
A. "The disappearance of hero, the object of identification,
has been seen as the very precondition of the alienation -effect" (272).
V. The spectator's consciousness within the relation between the
spectator and the performance: two classical
B. "The distance between the spectator and the play should be
produced with the play itself"(272)
model of the spectatorial consciousness. (373).
A. The first model is the spectator's consciousness of
the self. (373).
VI. In the theatrical world, the ideology is the essential place
of a competition and a struggle where gather and
B. The second model is the identification model, the psychoanalytic
echo humanity's political and social struggles.(374)
A "The self-recognition presupposes as its principle
an essential identity which uniting the spectator
and actors assembled in the same place…"(374).
B. "The play is the spectator's consciousness: the development,
the production of a new consciousness in the spectator." (375).