P       RNCU   REPO   ODER       E            P O S T M O D E R N
P  TMOD RNCU  U EP S  ODER  ULTU E               C U L T U R E
P  TMODERNCU  UREPOS  ODER  ULTU E          an electronic journal
P  TMODERNCU  UREPOS  ODER       E           of interdisciplinary
Volume 7, Number 2 (January, 1997)              ISSN: 1053-1920

Editors:				Lisa Brawley 
           				Stuart Moulthrop 

Editors Emeritus:			Eyal Amiran 
					John Unsworth 

Review Editor:				Paula Geyh 

Managing Editor:			Sarah Wells 

List Manager:				Jessamy Town 

Research Assistants:			Anne Sussman 
					Steve Wagner 

Editorial Board:			Sharon Bassett 
					Michael Berube
					Nahum Chandler 
					Marc Chenetier 
					Greg Dawes 
					J. Yellowlees Douglas 
					Jim English 
					Graham Hammill 
					Phillip Brian Harper 
					David Herman 
					bell hooks 
					E. Ann Kaplan 
					Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett 
					Arthur Kroker 
					Neil Larsen 
					Tan Lin 
					Saree Makdisi 
					Jerome McGann 
					Uppinder Mehan 
					Jim Morrison 
					Larysa Mykyta 
					Phil Novak 
					Chimalum Nwankwo 
					Patrick O'Donnell 
					Elaine Orr 
					Marjorie Perloff 
					Fred Pfeil 
					Peggy Phelan 
					David Porush 
					Mark Poster 
					Carl Raschke 
					Avital Ronell 
					Susan Schultz 
					William Spanos 
					Tony Stewart 
					Allucquere Roseanne Stone 
					Gary Lee Stonum 
					Chris Straayer 
					Rei Terada 
					Paul Trembath 
					Greg Ulmer 



     TITLE                                               FILENAME


	Arkady Plotnitsky, "But It Is Above 		plotnitsky.197
	All Not True": Derrida, Relativity, and 
	the "Science Wars"

	Maria Damon, Lenny Bruce's 1962 Obscenity 	damon.197
	Trial: Public Culture and the Jewish 
	Entertainer as Cultural Lightning Rod

	Tony Thwaites, Currency Exchanges: 		thwaites.197
	The Postmodern, Vattimo, Et Cetera, Among 
	Other Things (Et Cetera)

	Heikki Raudaskoski, "The Feathery Rilke 	raudaskoski.197
	Mustaches and Porky Pig Tattoo on Stomach": 
	High and Low Pressures in Gravity's Rainbow

	Penelope Engelbrecht, Bodily Mut(il)ation: 	engelbrecht.197
	Enscribing Lesbian Desire 

	Steven Jones, The Book of Myst in the 		jones.197
	Late Age of Print


	Paul Andrew Smith, Radio Free Alice		smith.197

	Gregory Wolos, Son of Kong, How Do You Do?	wolos.197


	David DeRose, "A Lifetime of Anger and 		review-1.197
	Pain": Kali Tal and the Literature of Trauma. 
	Review of Kali Tal, Worlds of Hurt: Reading 
	the Literature of Trauma. Cambridge, MA: 
	Cambridge UP, 1996.

	Thomas Vogler, Dressing the Text: On the 	review-2.197
	Road with the Artist's Book. Review of Dressing 
	the Text exhibition.

	Lynda Hall, Holly Hughes Performing: 		review-3.197
	Self-Invention and Body Talk. Review of Holly 
	Hughes, Clit Notes: A Sapphic Sampler. New 
	York: Grove, 1996.

	Tammy Clewell, Failing to Succeed: Toward a 	review-4.197
	Postmodern Ethic of Otherness. Review of Ewa
	Plonawska Ziarek, The Rhetoric of Failure: 
	Deconstruction of Skepticism, Reinvention of
	Modernism. Albany: SUNY Press, 1996.

	Sujata Iyengar, The Resuscitation of Dead 	review-5.197
	Metaphors. Review of "Incorporating the Antibody:
	Women, History and Medical Discourse," a conference 
	held at the University of Western Ontario,
	October 5-6, 1996, and the accompanying exhibition 
	"Speculations: Selected Works from 1983-1996," by 
	Barbara McGill Balfour.

	Mike Hill, What Was (the White) Race? Memory, 	review-6.197
	Categories, Change. Review of Noel Ignatiev and
	John Garvey, eds, Race Traitor (New York: Routledge, 
	1996) and Mab Segrest, Memoir of a Race
	Traitor (Boston: South End Press, 1994).


	Selected Letters from Readers                   letters.197


	Announcements and Advertisements                [WWW Version only]



      Arkady Plotnitsky, "But It Is Above All Not True": Derrida, Relativity,
      and the "Science Wars" 

           Abstract: The article considers a remark by Jacques Derrida on
           Einstein's relativity. This remark has been widely circulated
           without proper scholarly and philosophical treatment in recent
           discussions around the so-called "Science Wars," in the wake of
           Paul R. Gross and Norman Levitt's Higher Superstition, and then
           Alan Sokal's "hoax article." By examining several specific
           responses to Derrida's statement and his work in general by
           scientists and others, the article argues that this circulation is a
           symptom of a deeper problem that permeates the current
           intellectual landscape--still the landscape of "two cultures"
           (scientific and humanistic) in spite, and even because, of massive
           transformations of both these cultures and of the interactions
           between them during recent decades. This problem shapes the
           reception of the work of Derrida and several other figures, such
           as Jean-François Lyotard, Michel Serres, and Gilles Deleuze, on
           the part of the scientific community. The article examines the
           circumstances, contexts and meanings of Derrida's remark, and
           considers the general question of reading philosophical texts,
           such as Derrida's, that engage or refer to mathematics and
           science. It also suggests a reading of Derrida's statement itself
           that will, hopefully, lead to more productive responses to the
           work of Derrida and other recent thinkers on the part of the
           scientific community.--ap 

      Maria Damon, Lenny Bruce's 1962 Obscenity Trial: Public Culture and
      the Jewish Entertainer as Cultural Lightning Rod 

           Abstract: In 1962, comedian Lenny Bruce was tried for
           obscenity in San Francisco and, for the only time in his many
           subsequent arrests and trials, acquitted. The trial transcript
           documents a moment in San Francisco's history, bringing
           together the social currents surrounding the emergence of a gay
           men's community; the discourse of expertise and the town/gown
           politics of the Irish/Italian police force against the "long beards"
           at Berkeley; and the tensions between the language of juridical
           process and that of the carnivalesque. San Francisco was shortly
           to become a center for several different countercultures noted
           for their flamboyant aesthetic and their emphasis on alternate
           social organizing units (the spectrum of gay relationships, hippie
           "tribes," Third World arts communes, etc.), which questioned
           the traditional relationship of sexuality to reproduction and family
           life. I want to argue that, though he was neither gay, San
           Franciscan, politically active in the conventional sense, nor
           literary in the conventional sense, Bruce's role as hyperverbal
           Jewish "entertainer" (in-betweener) set his trial as a moment
           signaling cultural change in San Francisco. Further, this scenario
           resonates with more recent and ongoing debates about the role of
           non-normative artistic expression in civic life.--md 

      Tony Thwaites, Currency Exchanges: The Postmodern, Vattimo, et
      cetera, Among Other Things (et cetera) 

           Abstract: A frequent criticism of the idea of the postmodern is
           that it lacks both clear referent and conceptual coherence. It may
           be more useful to see what is going on in such debates in terms
           of a performative and asyndetic logic, whose figure is the
           instability of the list, neither coherent nor incoherent. Drawing on
           the work of Gianni Vattimo, this article tries to reframe the terms
           of the debate by suggesting a concept of the aesthetic which
           would be neither simply vanguardist nor populist, but linked
           intimately to the possibility of community, history, the political
           and social.--tt 

      Heikki Raudaskoski, "The Feathery Rilke Mustaches and Porky Pig
      Tattoo on Stomach": High and Low Pressures in Gravity's Rainbow 

           Abstract: On one occasion Mikhail Bakhtin describes his famous
           "chronotopes" as places "where knots of narrative are tied and
           untied". While it is very difficult to find chronotopes like these in
           Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow, many passages in the
           text nevertheless keep asking: where and how do characters and
           readers (and the text itself) position themselves? What time are
           they in? The novel certainly posits the existence of an epic,
           unilinear, and apocalyptic time; however, this kind of time never
           arrives inside the text. Thus possibilities for novelness,
           something new, remain. What positional possibilities, then, does
           this leave for characters and the narrator? This essay tries to find
           answers to this question by studying how the binary opposition
           of "high" and "low" works in the novel in various respects. 

           These positionalities prove "highly" unstable in the novel. The
           vain search for high unities results in low-feeling melancholies.
           On the other hand, only through low, popular cultural genres it is
           possible, at least momentarily, to feel high. Neither high canon
           (as, obviously, in Joyce's Ulysses) nor low carnivalism (as in
           Bakhtin's reading of Rabelais) prove capable of attaining
           supremacy. Yet this does not have to lead to "postmodernism" as
           neutralized relativism. Gravity's Rainbow's labyrinthine
           carnivalism is different. Although there are no pure, closed sites
           for low marginals, either, positional tensions will not ease off. On
           the contrary: just because transcendental subjects and dialectical
           syntheses turn impossible, the novel is able to maintain hard and
           urgent questions of positionality.--hr 

      Penelope Engelbrecht, Bodily Mut(il)ation: Enscribing Lesbian Desire 

           Abstract: "What do lesbians really want?" 

           I raise this question in my essay, and offer a conditional answer
           that devolves from the inter/active relation of lesbian Other/Self
           and lesbian Subject: a mutual relation mediated by their lesbian
           Desire, that Desire characterizing and characterized by alinear

           Because that pro/vocative lesbian jouissance may be construed in
           analogy to Derridean différance, I perceive lesbian Desire as
           enscribed in erotic textual site(s) of "saturated aporia." I explain
           how the "un/mark" refers to those ambivalent signs of bodily
           mutilation--s/m-inflicted bruises, scars of assault, and
           particularly mastectomy scars--which may be read and re-read
           as transformative signs, for example, of pain which becomes
           pleasure, of horror which metamorphoses into and through

           These bodily un/marks comprise the multi-valent signifiers of a
           corporeal mut(il)ation which not only gestures toward an
           "essentialistic" lesbian embodiment, but which also articulates
           that essential materiality as/in an inter/active performativity. I
           observe lesbian sign, text, body as mutable situations of relational
           Desire even as they enable the endless mutation(s) of lesbian
           Desire, a mutual activity which remains ever in(con)clusive. 

           One answer to the question? Lesbians Desire more time--pe 

      Steven Jones, The Book of Myst in the Late Age of Print 

           Abstract: This essay considers the CD-ROM game Myst,
           arguably the most widely experienced hypernarrative (if not
           exactly hypertext) of our time. In Myst and its paratexts--prequel,
           sequel, sources, and marketing--we see dramatized some
           fundamental cultural anxieties surrounding the emergence of
           hypertext in the late age of print. The primary sign of these
           anxieties in the game is the ubiquitous image of the magical
           "linking" book, floating above the landscape or concealed in the
           machines that structure the game-play, clearly representing
           hypertext and what it portends for the aura of the Book in the
           late age of print. From the game and its books we move to an
           important precursor, Jules Verne's The Mysterious Island, which
           serves in turn as a link to the subgenre of Victorian adventure
           fiction and its bookish obsessions with technology (and islands).
           Then, linking forward to a recent work, Neal Stephenson's SF
           novel, The Diamond Age, the essay concludes by suggesting
           how Myst inevitably exceeds the boundaries of its authors'
           intentions, aura, and back-story novelization. The essay
           recognizes that, on the one hand (as J. David Bolter has argued),
           the book may be moving to the margins of culture, but on the
           other hand (as Maurice Blanchot reminds us), culture remains
           tenaciously "linked to the book." At the heart of a mass-audience
           hypertext adventure game, the Book in Myst signals a profound
           anxiety over the impending absence of the material book as an
           object of cultural significance.--sj 


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