The Beginnings of European Theorizing: Reflexivity in the by Barry Sandywell

By Barry Sandywell

In quantity One Barry Sandywell defined and defended a important position for reflexivity within the human sciences. during this moment both impressive quantity, he reconstructs the origins of "European" mirrored image.

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In another context Mauss suggests that the ‘Aristotelian categories are not indeed the only ones which exist in our minds, or have existed in the mind and have to be dealt with. Above all it is essential to draw up the largest possible catalogue of categories…It will be clear that there have been and still are dead or pale or obscure moons in the firmament of reason’ (1979:32; the last sentence in the translation of Ben Brewster in the original text reads: ‘on verra alors qu’il y a eu qu’il y a encore bien des lunes mortes, ou pâles, ou obscures, au firmament de la raison’).

Before myths satisfy the ‘metaphysical need’ in human nature, they are celebrations of the metaphorical imperative to anchor the anguish of daily living in a timeless, ritual order (hence the important role of symbols of paradisical communality in mythological discourse and their absence from legends and fairytales). Death’s salutary drama Art is not an imitation of nature but its metaphysical supplement, raised up beside it in order to overcome it. Insofar as tragic myth belongs to art, it fully shares its transcendent intentions.

But metalinguistic elaboration also has the unintended effect of instituting other demands upon an audience—creating an audience ‘tuned’ to the transgressive word-play that is associated with poetry and fiction. The kind of listening produced by myth is akin to the fixated gaze demanded by a numinous object. This is the point in storytelling where the attention of the teller disappears into the events of the tale told; where an audience is absorbed into the enchanted space of the telling. Listening avidly to the telling of myth—like the child absorbed in a fairytale—is a genuine source of pleasure, not untouched by fear, anxiety, horror, and related pleasures.

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