Week 13

Christina Aruffo and Miriam Hauser
English 111: Victorian Literature and Culture
Week 13 Outline
April 15, 2013

I. Race and Representation
● Jeannette’s Criticism Summary of Said:
○ “the Orient is right next to Europe, and yet is “one of its deepest and most recurring images of the Other.” .” He then defines Orientalism as a combination of an academic field, and a way that Westerners can claim authority over the Other. He discusses the relationship between the Orient and the Occident (West), claiming that it is one of power and domination.”
○ “Said’s argument stems from his notion of the Orient as a conception, not a “fact of nature” (4). However, it is not simply an idea, because the idea has crafted a physical reality.”
○ “In essence, because ideas about the Orient are so much based on conjecture and stereotype, and so little grounded in reality, Orientalism and the art and writing connected to it reflects more about the culture creating that art than it does about the Orient.”
○ “It is clear, I hope, that my concern with authority does not entail analysis of what lies hidden in the Orientalist text, but analysis rather of the text’s surface, its exteriority to what it describes.” (Said p. 20)

● Colonialism → Rachel gives a brief history of the British Empire
○ What does it mean for the narrative of The Moonstone to begin and end in India as seen through the eyes of a British soldier and a British traveler?
○ Murthwaite and Cultural Relativism:
■ “In the country those men came from, they care just as much about killing a man, as you care about emptying ashes out of your pipe. If a thousand lives stood between them and the getting back of their Diamond — and if they thought they could destroy those lives without discovery — they would take them all. The sacrifice of caste is a serious thing in India, if you like. The sacrifice of life is nothing at all.” (Moonstone p.84-85)
■ “I expressed my opinion upon this, that they were a set of murdering thieves. Mr. Murthwaite expressed HIS opinion that they were a wonderful people. Mr. Franklin, expressing no opinion at all, brought us back to the matter in hand.” (Moonstone 85)

● British Superstition v. “Hindoo” Superstition
○ Bringing “Hindoo” magic to the English countryside
■ The ink scene begins on p.31
○ Mr. Betteredge’s reliance on Robinson Crusoe
■ 21-23 (particularly bottom of 22); 26; 409 (quote Cathy used)

● Sierra’s Criticism Summary of Cohen
○ “The body, particularly the skin, becomes the locus for depicting the racial and sexual interactions/differentiations between two individuals.”
○ “To this formulation the ‘skin ego,’ Anzieu accords ‘three functions: a containing, unifying envelope for the Self; as a protective barrier for the psyche; and as a filter for the first traces, a function which makes representation possible’ (77).”

○ The Banks of the Jordan
■ “The body, particularly the skin, becomes the locus for depicting the racial and sexual interactions/differentiations between the two individuals. “Dirty,” “diseased”–such representations of physical characteristics in the story illustrate the colonial logic at play in interactions between English and nonwhite races (67).”
■ “). Such representation compresses the ego into skin and surface, dematerializing the Other (85). Concluding the analysis, Cohen argues that in the Trollope racial imaginary, there is no “depth,” no access to character’s deep interiority, because the characters never permeate beyond mere surface relations with the Other.”

● Cathy’s Seminar Paper
○ “I propose that when the boundaries between Robinson Crusoe, The Moonstone, and other stories within the periodical are collapsed, a containment of anti-Imperialistic sentiments could be read as projected onto the skin of the text of the Moonstone.”
○ “However, the plot of The Moonstone creates quite a conundrum for the reader because not only are the Brahmins highly respectable men who had given up their [lives] in their service to God but also Ezra Jennings, the dark skinned half-Other who is even more marginalized in the English society than the Indians for being a part of the English setting, provides the key to the mystery.”

II. The Moonstone
● Narrative structure; multiple narrators and multiple endings
○ From the preface: “In some of my former novels, the object proposed has been to trace the influence of circumstances upon character. In the present story I have reversed the process. The attempt made, here, is to trace the influence of character on circumstances.”
○ Chain of evidence from testimony of successive witnesses: “It came to me then that a series of events in a novel would lend themselves well to an exposition like this. Certainly by the same means employed here, I thought one could impart to the reader that acceptance, that sense of belief, which I saw produced here by the succession of testimonies so varied in form and nevertheless so strictly unified by their march towards the same goal.” ~ Wilkie Collins on narrative structure and his observations on a criminal trial
○ Rachel is endlessly talked of but never narrates (gives testimony) herself
○ Effect of the teller on the narrative; how does the filtering of the narrative through these different voices affect our understanding, our inferences, and our attitudes toward the tale and the other characters?
○ The ending: (and look back to earlier endings of our novels; can we begin to develop a reading or theory of novelistic beginnings, middles, endings?

● Genre – Sensationalist/Detective novel
○ Blending of the sensation and the domestic. Dickens on The Moonstone: “a very curious story, wild and yet domestic, with excellent character in it and great mystery”
○ “To Mr Collins belongs the credit of having introduced into fiction those most mysterious of mysteries, the mysteries which are at our own doors…Instead of the terrors of Udolpho, we are treated to the terrors of the cheerful country-house, or the busy London lodgings. And there is no doubt that these were infinitely the more terrible.” – Henry James
○ Where does this fit in the realist mode?
○ Detail and detection – the roses, the smear of paint
■ “’I made a private inquiry last week, Mr. Superintendent,’ he said. ‘At one end of the inquiry there was a murder, and at the other end there was a spot of ink on a tablecloth that nobody could account for. In all my experience along the dirtiest ways of this dirty little world, I have never met with such a thing as a trifle yet. Before we go a step further in this business we must see the petticoat that made the smear, and we must know for certain when that paint was wet.” (109)

III. Secrets and Disclosure
● “For my purposes, the most important component of novelists’ adaptation of financial themes to the formal conventions of realism is the way that novelists’ control of narrative attention, which leads the reader to focus on some details and ignore others, reproduces for the reader the very dynamic of disclosure and secrecy that was also essential to the emergent culture of investment.” (Poovey 33)
● The Banks of the Jordan
○ “Jones” hiding that he is married with children from “Smith”
○ The use of pseudonyms
○ “Smith” hiding her gender, her reasons for fleeing from her uncle

● The Moonstone
○ Ezra Jennings
■ Michael’s close reading: “This explanation, however, only holds with regards to revealing the accusation to Franklin—surely, there is no reason for Collins to withhold such information from his readers. Yet that is precisely what happens. The nature of the accusation is never made clear, and no evidence of Jennings’ innocence is ever presented.
■ His disease and opium addiction
○ Rachel’s refusal to reveal what she saw happening to the moonstone
○ Rosanna Spearman
■ her past
■ her knowledge of the nightgown
○ The experiment? Opium?

● The Moonstone as an Object
○ Moonstone as sacred object in India v. ornament on Rachel
■ “Partly from its peculiar colour, partly from a superstition which represented it as feeling the influence of the deity whom it adorned, and growing and lessening in lustre with the waxing and waning of the moon, it first gained the name by which it continues to be known in India to this day—the name of THE MOONSTONE.” (p. 11)
■ “The deity breathed the breath of his divinity on the Diamond in the forehead of the god. And the Brahmins knelt and hid their faces in their robes. The deity commanded that the Moonstone should be watched, from that time forth, by three priests in turn, night and day, to the end of the generations of men. And the Brahmins heard, and bowed before his will. The deity predicted certain disaster to the presumptuous mortal who laid hands on the sacred gem, and to all of his house and name who received it after him.” (12)
■ “It was formally necessary to have the Diamond valued, before the Will could be proved. All the jewellers consulted, at once confirmed the Colonel’s assertion that he possessed one of the largest diamonds in the world. The question of accurately valuing it presented some serious difficulties. Its size made it a phenomenon in the diamond market; its colour placed it in a category by itself; and, to add to these elements of uncertainty, there was a defect, in the shape of a flaw, in the very heart of the stone.” (p. 50)
■ “It was without any setting when it had been placed in her hands; but that universal genius, Mr. Franklin, had contrived, with the help of his neat fingers and a little bit of silver wire, to fix it as a brooch in the bosom of her white dress. Everybody wondered at the prodigious size and beauty of the Diamond, as a matter of course.” (77)
■ “If you ever go to India, Miss Verinder, don’t take your uncle’s birthday gift with you. A Hindoo diamond is sometimes part of a Hindoo religion. I know a certain city, and a certain temple in that city, where, dressed as you are now, your life would not be worth five minutes’ purchase.” Miss Rachel, safe in England, was quite delighted to hear of her danger in India. (78)
○ Colonel John Herncastle’s possession/dispossession of the diamond

● D.A. Miller – the Novel and the Police
○ From Maddie’s Week 2 criticism summary: “Even in detective or crime fiction, the police presence is not one that defines the world—in fact, the police mark an interruption in daily life, and the very necessity of their presence shows a failure in their duty to maintain order.”
○ “And just as the community invariably perceives the detective’s personality as ‘eccentric,’ it views the sheer disruptiveness of his investigation … as an anomaly, a dramatic exception to a routine social order in which police and surveillance play no part” (Miller 36)
○ D.A. Miller’s reading of the Moonstone

IV. Class/Caste
● “Gentlefolks in general have a very awkward rock ahead in life – the rock ahead of their own idleness. Their lives being, for the most part, passed in looking about them for something to do, it is curious to see – especially when their tastes are of what is called the intellectual sort – how often they drift blindfold into some nasty pursuit. Nine times out of ten they take to torturing something, or to spoiling something – and they firmly believe they are improving their minds, when the plain truth is, they are only making a mess in the house.”
● Rosanna on Rachel” Suppose you put Miss Rachel into a servant’s dress, and took her ornaments off–?” p. 318
● Betteredge on Rosanna: “You have heard of beautiful young ladies falling in love at first sight, and have thought it natural enough. But a housemaid out of a reformatory, with a plain face and a deformed shoulder, falling in love, at first sight, with a gentleman who comes on a visit to her mistress’s house… I laughed till the tears rolled down my cheeks.” p. 58
● Betteredge, a servant, narrates large sections of the novel, including the beginning and ending (except for the prologue and epilogue)
● Differences in education:
○ Franklin and his fancy Continental education and talk about German philosophers (54-55) in opposition to Mr. Betteredge’s regard for a novel as Gospel
● Class barriers in British society vs. Indian caste system (see Murthwaite quote above about sacrifice of caste)

V. Rachel returns stuff and talks about next week.

PS Happy 170th Birthday Henry James!
except you’re dead…