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 8, Number 3 (May 1998)              ISSN: 1053-1920

Editors:                            Lisa Brawley
                                    Stuart Moulthrop

Editors Emeritus:                   Eyal Amiran
                                    John Unsworth

Review Editor:                      Paula Geyh

Managing Editor:                    Anne Sussman

Research Assistants:                Karlyn Crowley
                                    Lisa Spiro
                                    Kate Stephenson

Editorial Board:                                           

     Michael Berube                 Phil Novak
     Nahum Chandler                 Chimalum Nwankwo
     J. Yellowlees Douglas          Patrick O'Donnell
     Jim English                    Elaine Orr
     Diane Gromala                  Marjorie Perloff
     Graham Hammill                 Fred Pfeil
     Phillip Brian Harper           Peggy Phelan
     David Herman                   David Porush
     E. Ann Kaplan                  Mark Poster	
     Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett  Susan Schultz
     Neil Larsen                    William Spanos
     Tan Lin                        Allucquere Roseanne Stone
     Saree Makdisi                  Gary Lee Stonum
     Jerome McGann                  Rei Terada
     Larysa Mykyta                  Paul Trembath
     Jim Morrison                   Greg Ulmer
    Simon Chesterman, "Ordering the New World: 
    Violence and its Re/Presentation in the Gulf War and 
    Gregg Lambert, "On the Uses and Abuses of 
    Literature for Life: Gilles Deleuze and the 
    Literary Clinic"
    Scott DeShong, "Sylvia Plath, Emmanuel Levinas, and 
    the Aesthetics of Pathos"
    Stefan Mattessich, "Ekphrasis, Escape, and Thomas 
    Pynchon's _The Crying of Lot 49_"
    Michele Pierson, "Welcome to Basementwood: Computer 
    Generated Special Effects in _Wired_ Magazine"
    Mark Nunes et al., Postmodern Spacings [WWW Version only]
    Nicky Marsh, "Note on My Writing: Poetics as 
    Exegis."  A review of Susan Howe's _Frame 
    Structures: Early Poems 1974-1979_.  New York: 
    New Directions, 1996, and Leslie Scalapino's 
    _Green and Black: Selected Writings_.  Jersey 
    City: Talisman, 1996.
    Christopher Sieving, "Eve, Not Edie: The Queering 
    of Andy Warhol."  A review of Jennifer Doyle, 
    Jonathan Flatley, and Jos Esteban Muoz, eds.' 
    _Pop Out: Queer Warhol_.  Durham, NC: Duke UP, 
    Thomas Lavazzi, "Too Far In to Be 'Out.'"  A review 
    of Mark Russell, ed.'s _Out of Character: Rants, 
    Raves, and Monologues from Today's Top Performance 
    Artists_. New York: Bantam, 1997.
    Mark Goble, "Culture on Vacation."  A review of 
    James Clifford's _Routes: Travel and Translation 
    in the Late Twentieth Century_.  Cambridge: 
    Harvard UP, 1997.
    Scott Michaelsen, "Hybrid Bound."  A review of 
    Jose David Saldvar's _Border Matters: Remapping 
    American Cultural Studies_.  Berkeley: U of
    California P, 1997. 
    Arkady Plotnitsky, "The Cosmic Internet."  A review 
    of Lee Smolin's _The Life of the Cosmos_.  New 
    York: Oxford UP, 1997. 
                        [WWW Version only]
                      Notes on Contributors
    Simon Chesterman, "Ordering the New World: Violence and 
    its Re/Presentation in the Gulf War and Beyond"
       o Abstract: Jean Baudrillard's controversial 
         thesis advanced during the Gulf War that it was 
         in no sense a "real" war and his provocative claim 
         that "the Gulf War did not take place" were  
         lambasted at the time as exposing the political 
         bankruptcy of postmodern scholarship.  At their 
         most extreme, such critiques asserted an 
         ideological complicity between anti-realist or 
         irrationalist doctrine and "the crisis of moral 
         and political nerve" said to be afflicting 
         Western intellectuals.  In this article, I explore 
         the theoretical and practical consequences of 
         taking Baudrillard's discussion of the Gulf War
         %qua% non-event seriously. In particular, I use 
         his thesis as the departure point for a 
         consideration of the presentation and 
         representation of violence in the post-Cold War 
         era more generally.  Crucially, I argue that 
         Baudrillard's approach opens up a productive 
         line of inquiry into violence, and its 
         antagonistic and symbiotic relationship to 
         *order*. This critique has implications for the 
         analysis of international relations, but may also 
         open up a more productive engagement between 
         international relations and international law.  In 
         distinct ways, each discourse holds statism as
         axiomatic as the unitary locus of power and 
         legitimacy respectively.  A critique of violence 
         may provoke a doctrinal reassessment of the 
         %a priori% equation of order and law that 
         presently legitimates the realist presumptions of 
         international relations and forecloses an 
         interrogation of the theoretical bases of 
         international law.--sc
    Scott DeShong, "Sylvia Plath, Emmanuel Levinas, and the 
    Aesthetics of Pathos"
       o Abstract: The essay engages poems by Sylvia Plath 
         to demonstrate a way of reading that derives from 
         the ethics of Emmanuel Levinas.  According to 
         Levinas, ethics requires one to face others in 
         such a way that the incommensurable weight of the 
         other's lived existence is primary to discernible 
         contours or articulable characteristics of the 
         other.  The desire to approach the other's affect 
         provides a new basis for philosophy, Levinas says, 
         as ethics becomes first philosophy, prior even to 
         ontology.  In the language of literary criticism 
         and rhetoric, "pathos" (apprehension of feeling)
         comes prior to "ethos" (judgment of character) in 
         a reader's or audience's apprehension of alterity.  
         This connection implies an aesthetic aspect to
         Levinas's ethics, while at the same time 
         suggesting that the related way of reading has an 
         ethical dimension.  But aesthetics may be 
         decentered as ethics cannot be; the desire to 
         approach the other's affect exceeds the 
         metaphysics of the good.  By reading in such a way 
         that the affective dimensions of texts disrupt the 
         intellectual activity of judgment, the essay 
         develops an untotalized, denatured aesthetics and 
         a correlative--thus problematic--Levinasian 
    Gregg Lambert, "On the Uses and Abuses of Literature 
    for Life: Gilles Deleuze and the Literary Clinic"
       o Abstract:  In his final work, _Critique et 
         Clinique_, Gilles Deleuze addresses various issues 
         that surround "the problem of writing" and 
         outlines the possibility of a clinical in addition 
         to a critical use of literature.  Using the 
         introductory essay to this volume, as well other 
         major statements on literature which are drawn 
         from the writings of Deleuze and Felix Guattari,
         this essay offers a preliminary description of the 
         different criteria which would comprise what 
         Deleuze had earlier defined as "a generalized 
         literary clinic."  The essay provides a definition 
         of several concepts that are integral to Deleuze's 
         description of literature as "symptomatology,"
         "fabulation," and as "process," and offers an 
         account of the conditions in which, according to 
         Deleuze, the final aim of literature can be 
         understood as "a passage of life into language 
         that creates ideas."  As well as describing the 
         different criteria that would comprise a clinical 
         as well as a critical use of literature, the essay 
         returns to discuss the concept of "minor 
         literature" as one of the principle themes of the 
         _Capitalism and Schizophrenia_ project, and argues 
         that a clinical usage may alter the representation 
         of literature by critics today and may emerge as a 
         "war-machine" against how the uses of literature 
         have been determined by the dominance of 
         institutionalized criticism in the modern 
    Stefan Mattessich, "Ekphrasis, Escape, and Thomas 
    Pynchon's _The Crying of Lot 49_"
       o Abstract: This essay explores in Pynchon's second 
         novel a constitutive incoherence (often seen as a 
         flaw, and often read *out* of it by interpreters) 
         that never finally yields to any consistent 
         explanation.  Oedipa Maas's search for the meaning 
         of the Tristero and of the communication system 
         known as W.A.S.T.E. is never far away from a 
         certain impoverishment of sense, a flatness of 
         affect that threatens to collapse the novel into a 
         heap of ambiguous signs.  I argue in this essay 
         that this impoverishment is the mode by which the 
         novel performs its critique of a late modern 
         American culture characterized by standardization, 
         consumerism and the growing influence of mass 
         media.  I analyze this critique in the themes 
         1) of escape or escapism, 2) complicity in a 
         simulacral order, and 3) repetition or citation.  
         I center my discussion of these themes around a 
         reading of the painting by Remedios Varo that 
         Pynchon quotes near the beginning of the novel 
         _Embroidering the Earth's Mantle_.  This painting 
         forms the central panel of a triptych that I 
         interpret for how it raises the question of 
         escape from an alienated condition.  I argue that 
         escape as thematized in the triptych is not an 
         escape *from* anything so much as a complex and 
         ambivalent recognition of a field of production in 
         which the subject ceases to have a reliable 
         social, political, or textual orientation.  This 
         very disorientation becomes the sign of an 
         implicated relationship to the world that 
         catalyzes a different kind of escape.  The novel, 
         I maintain, posits escape only in the recognition 
         of the degree to which reality itself is 
         constructed; one doesn't escape from this 
         virtuality of the real, but *in* it, through its 
         deliberate exacerbation.  By *construction* here, 
         however, I emphatically do not mean a naive 
         nominalism.  Construction for Pynchon is not the 
         activity of a subject but a modality of repetition 
         by which the subject who acts comes into being. 
         This is why *Oedipa* is not a character but a 
         caricature, and why the novel is fundamentally 
         parodic.  I analyze the tropes of paradox and 
         tautological doubling in the novel for how they 
         register this displacement of subjectivity and its 
         relation to American social life in the postwar
    Michele Pierson, "Welcome to Basementwood: Computer 
    Generated Special Effects in _Wired_ Magazine"
       o Abstract: This article suggests some ways of 
         thinking about how the visual and discursive 
         rendering of computer generated special effects 
         converge in _Wired_ magazine.  This includes 
         thinking first of all, about how the interlocking 
         logics of image production and technological 
         consumption get articulated in relation to special 
         effects, and secondly, involves speculating about 
         some of the fantasies that these discursive and/or 
         image formations appeal to.  Through an 
         examination of some of the cultural and 
         institutional contexts in which the aesthetic 
         dimensions of computer generated imagery (or CGI), 
         have been explored over the years, this article 
         also suggests that the history of CGI cannot be 
         conceptualized in linear terms.  The aesthetic 
         project governing the development of entertainment 
         applications for computer generated imagery has 
         most often been described in terms of simulation 
         and illusionism.  But whether they have been 
         created for a blockbuster science fiction film, a 
         digital art exhibit, or the pages of _Wired_ 
         magazine, many of the computer generated images 
         glimmering on our contemporary mediascape exhibit 
         a popular, techno-futurist aesthetic which 
         foregrounds the hyperreal properties of this new 
         electronic medium.--mp
    Mark Nunes et al., "Postmodern Spacings" [WWW Version only]
       o Abstract: Starting in February of 1997, a dozen 
         individuals began working on a collaborative 
         on-line project entitled _Postmodern Spacings_.  
         These individuals came from various academic and 
         professional fields in North America, Europe, and 
         Australia.  Together, they drew up a syllabus, met 
         for real-time discussions in the 1k+1 MOO 
         (hero.village.virginia.edu:7777), carried on 
         conversations via a listserv, and constructed 
         collaborative, interwoven texts.  This current 
         hypermedia work is the culmination of that effort.
         _Postmodern Spacings_ attempts to address the 
         significance of "space" in contemporary cultural 
         discourse.  It looks at manifestations of bodily 
         space, the space of the text, and social space, 
         and it attempts to question the current relevance 
         of a philosophy of space. The project also 
         considers the intersection of these domains and 
         the various hybrid spaces produced by these 
         crossings.  Since discussions took place on-line, 
         the "virtual" and "the real" occurred somewhat as 
         a motif in various postings and conversations, but 
         by no means was it a limiting topic. 
         The distributive nature of this work (in both 
         process and production) at times makes it 
         difficult to determine where the project begins or 
         ends.  Perhaps it is best, then, to consider 
         _Postmodern Spacings_ as a network of experiments 
         and trials--essays--that point in the direction of 
         further collaborative work.--mn
Copyright (c) 1998 Postmodern Culture & Johns Hopkins University

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