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The dissertation will be a descriptive and library research, and the information will be provided through libraries and internet and notions related to Ecriture Feminine are mainly defined in terms of Kristevan Semanalysis. Julia Kristeva's varied publications include three distinct yet intertwined fields of study: linguistics, psychoanalysis, and literary criticism, all the three being the aspects through which Marlowe's dramatic body of text is to be studied and interpreted. The theoretic background of Kristeva has been deliberately selected as the means to study Christopher Marlowe's dramatic texture and its essentially feminine tapestry which is taken as an example of Early Modern English Écriture Féminine.
Kristeva's New Semiotics (Intertextuality or Transposition) efforts to find the essential relation between literacy, philosophical, and political thought making it possible to analyze characters who enjoy both 'strangeness' and a centrality, subverting "the authority of the monologic science, of filiation" (qtd. in Allen 31). Utterances are assumed to be "plural [and] replete with historical meaning" (32). As she says:
Developed from and in relation to these modern texts the new semiotic models then turn to the social text, to those social practices of which 'literature' is only one unvalorized variant, in order to conceive of them as so many ongoing transformations and/or productions. (qtd. in Allen 34)
A new text is the fruition of social, ideological, and cultural discourses and Kristevan semiotics studies "text, textuality, and their relation to their ideological structures," the space where the meanings of words are constantly being challenged; hence the "'otherness' within the text itself" (Kristeva qtd in Allen 36).
In her psychoanalytic presentation of the two stages of normative development, Semiotic (based upon Freudian Primary Stage), and Symbolic (centring on Lacanian definition of the stage) Kristeva shifts her attention from the domain of the lingual and lawful latter to the pre-lingual and abject realm of the former one and the process of exit from Chora. Subject and subjectivity are understood as a bridge in Kristevan Semiotics in relation to feminine psychoanalytic analysis of the subject.
Kristevan place of subject changes "from the socio-symbolic contract to the body, from the public sphere to the intimate domain" emphasizing the heterogeneity of subjectivity based on negative "fragility and vulnerability" which "resist[s] submission under any symbolic authority on the verge of collapse at any moment (Sjöholm 1-2). She finds the discourses of the marginalized, including unconscious which shelters the exiled against law, stability and fixation, closely interrelated with the political. The political aspect of revolt then, is in close distance with the asocial, multiple, and maternal of "intimate spaces" (i).
Kristeva defines 'subject' and 'subjectivity' in terms of the position of the subject, the author, the character, and the linguistic pronoun (I, we, etc.) as the medium of reference (Allen 40). What sounds to be firmly personal to individuals appears to a great degree apersonal within the written text due to the essentially substitutable nature of language. For Kristeva what matters is not the subject outside, but the one inside the text with its all plurality and heterogeneity where 'subject' becomes equalled with 'not-subject,'-in other words, its own other.
Poetic language stands opposed to logic and becomes an important issue in defining 'femininity in text'. It "struggles to express the non-logical" within the wrongly assumed "unquestionable authority... of monologic power," being forever subversive to such ideas as logic and unquestionability (45). Her 'Semianalysis' locates where semiotics and psychoanalysis function jointly to end up in plurality, multiplicity, anti-theology, and anti-totalitarianism
"Identification and idealization, loss and melancholy, and abjection" are key ideas to Kristevan psychoanalysis (Beardsworth 227). Her discussion of semiotic practice emphasizes on the historical and cultural aspect of language, "on the nature of poetic language and the stucturalist notion of the sign, while also including the extralinguistic factors of history and psychology" (Davis and Schleifer 273). She elaborates on her psychoanalysis, about the "moments where language breaks up in pscychosis, [or] . . . where language doesn't yet exist" (Kristeva qtd. in Eagleton 351). Subject is constantly in the process of becoming through which they acquire the "identity of linguistic signs, the identity of meaning and, as a result the identity of the speaker," the three notions entailing the ins and outs of the present study of Marlowe's dramatic text (351). The terms 'subject-in-process' defines 'process' as being both the psychological process of normative development besides "a legal proceeding where the subject is committed to trial, because our identities in life are constantly called into question, brought to trial, over-ruled" (351). The 'process of becoming' is always one of becoming an 'other' against control and domination incorporating the dictates of their society as well as acquiring traits forever at odds with societal demands. The peculiarities of the individual make them incorporated others to their surroundings and the quest towards liberation, therefore, becomes almost equivalent to breaking free, and opening up to new possibilities to act and think.
Kristevan domain of the (M)other, Chora, and abjection oppose the phallogocentric psychoanalysis which claims the climactic role of the father in shaping the subjectivity. She assumes the essential notions of 'lack' and 'desire' emerge during a stage far before the Law of the Father, the latter gathering importance after the loss of the Choratic unity. Her unconscious does "ignore negation and time" and is shaped by "displacement and condensation" in their lieu (Kristeva qtd. in Eagleton 301). That makes the strongest tie between her theory of "linguistic symbolization" and the pre-lingual stage of psychological normative development, the former inevitably separating the "eternally premature baby" from Choratic unity with the (m)other (301). The question of identity, then, is of sexual essence at the mercy of "play of signs" (302).
Unlike Plato's passive receptacle, Kristeva's Chora contains polyphony of voices and "flow of energy, . . . the nonexpressive totality formed by the drives in motility" (McAfee 18). The mother's body has to do with the same fluidity of Écriture Féminine where the exiled energies threaten the phallocentric coherence. Within Chora the boundaries between the selfhood of the infant and the objectivity of the (m)other have not yet been shaped. This (m)other is "heterogeneous; a non-me within me with which I can identify, the text" (29). She disagrees with the ancient philosopher's conviction that this receptacle "has no qualities of its own" and instead finds its motility to be "capable of spontaneous movement (20, 18).
Such multiplicity and heterogeneity is the condition of polysemy and intertextuality where exclusion of the abject can never altogether take place, the other is not always "an other to [the] self," having some proportion of otherness within 'self' (Oliver 149). Choratic abjection, then, is the becoming state of territorialisation where multiplicity, and energy flow freely through the "virtual body" (Bray 114). There are two distinct definitions of 'Other,' and 'other'. Kristeva defines "an other [as] (another person or sex, which would give us psychological humanism) or an Other (the absolute signifier, God) ... in a dynamic and enigmatic process" (qtd. in Eagleton 302). She interprets feminine sexuality in terms of the abjection of the Choratic unity, and Other acting rebelliously against the supposed phallocentric homogeneity of Self.
Kristevan 'body' is located outside that of signs and its exclusion from this realm renders it a non-masculine quality. Her semiotic domain is feminine-located in the pre-lingual stage in struggle with the Symbolic Law; therefore, writing the body would also fall under such realm. This femininity, though, is not just restricted to the feminine, in fact it is quite aplenty to the masculine, too.
This leads Kristeva to have an alternative view towards 'Poetic Language' connected to the Semiotic stage of normative development and breaking the rules of the Symbolic where the rigid law of the language structure is overruled by the traces of the Semiotic. It becomes an 'other' to the law-abiding language of the Symbolic, embedding contrasts and contradictions; real and unreal, good and evil, masculine and feminine, being and non-being all transcending the force of Law. The semiotic revolutionary nature of poetic language is not radically segregated from the Symbolic but in constant struggle with it to reconcile towards equilibrium. "Certain stylistic and thematic elements" are peculiar to feminine writings-be their authors women writers, the socio-culturally marginalized subjects, or the hysterics (Eagleton 302). This "single Other" of femininity could be totally dissatisfactory content-wise being "dissenting, disillusioned, or apocalyptic" (302). Kristeva stresses that in feminine writing if there is any structure, it is imposed upon the text artificially and in most other instances silence takes its place.
Kristevan Femininity is recognized regardless of gendered or ungendered appearance of the matter through linguistic and psychoanalytic descriptions of the non-phallogocentric subjectivity that are theorized in pre-linguistic Chora, the abject mother, and the idea of 'Otherness.' Fragmentation, disintegration, and heterogeneity are definable through femininity which opens up the possibilities of alterity and change, presenting a "new, secular discourse of maternity" (Beardsworth 218). Yet, the "naturalness" of the "maternal body . . . [is also] a social fact" tracking the "historical fate of 'woman'" though such trans-historical 'nature' has remained almost unexamined within the 'fantasy' with the potential chance of recovering the essentially psychic loss through the investigation of "immemorial semiotic" within the domain of the symbolic (219, 225).
This heterogeneous repressed unconscious is only a constructed given by the Western Society. It, therefore, constantly brings the heterogeneity which stands between the Semiotic and the Symbolic. Psychoanalytic discourse then, is "capable of addressing this untenable place where our speaking species resides, threatened by madness beneath the emptiness of heaven" challenges the idea of an immutable fixation of "human nature" (Kristeva qtd. in Beardsworth 222).
The priority of the secular flesh threatens spiritualization; growing the other (baby) within her womb, the maternal feminine and the infant eventually undergo separation right after the Choratic world opens up to the Thetic one. (M)other being the ground for such pre-lingual harmony and rhythm, in this sense, functions as a "metaphor for those subversive exiled energies which threaten the coherence of the phallocentric thought" (Bray 74). Kristeva's theory of subjectivity is associated to Deleuze's feminine 'Becoming' and also the fact that "there are certain 'men' who are familiar with this phenomenon," those who question "the limits of language and society" (268). In this respect, Écriture Féminine as defined by Kristeva is suited to the nature of the present study considering a wide range of individuals belonging to the category of 'women.'
Kristevan Écriture Féminine translates "moments when language fails us and the body attempts to speakâ€¦ [communicating] the space between language and the body, [the] space of the (m)other;" hence, the harmony between any theory of language and the construction of subjectivity (Bray 37). Through such linguistic dissidence "multiple sublations of the unnameable, the unpresentable, the void" are brought forth; the feminine desire in its absence to phallocentric presence becomes creative, productive, and free, the repressed "possess the potency which is to be liberated" (qtd. in Bray 47, 52). Kristevan reintroduction of Bakhtin's Carnivalesque turns to a space of subversive upheaval, a "state in which hierarchies, including those constructed on gender, are rendered topsy-turvy in a violation of the established order"; the "low culture", the fluidity which brings about transformation (Gamble 176).
The feminine, therefore, functions metaphorically for all the repressed dissident energies exemplified in Marlovian text as a container of all such forces against the world of the Phallus. His plays using language as a part of signifying process are in accordance with what Kristeva attributes to such a medium: that through language "bodily drives and energy are expressed" (McAfee 14). Kristevan semiotic Chora, the abjection and the fluidity of the repressed energy freed in Écriture Féminine requires an analysis which challenges the forcefully-imposed borderlines of the essentially patriarchal Symbolic.Writing about the Other and bringing it to the limelight, Kristeva believes, gradually absorbs the authority of the self. The signifying medium of language approximates Kristevan Choratic world to Marlowe's text which is constituted of the fluidity, drives and the urge to delimit the already unstably-defined world of fixed ideas.
The aim is to lead the present research toward the hypothesis of how Marlovian text as a virtual body can be gendered as feminine along with the possibility of taking it as Écriture Féminine in Kristevan terms, and how the motility of the body of text attempts to return to Semiotic Chora of the maternal. Marlowe's protagonists all are in one way or another alienated from the body of society and stand in simultaneous distantiation and relation to the society's Other.
Marlovian characters' essential exclusion brings them forth to the centre stage. The feminine tapestry of Marlowe's drama lies in the centralization of the other, which constantly desires to move back into the mother's body. It is as though the plays are striving to undo the characters' given subjectivities by rewinding back to their Choratic maternal atmosphere. Marlowe's body of drama is going to be studied as a metaphor of feminine body, the society and the detailed elements regarded as the constituted sections of this collective mother impregnated with the abject characters and in inevitable, constant opposition and attraction with them. It is aimed in this research to define the universe of Marlowe as being constantly in the fluidity which defies the fixed structure of the Symbolic and how he attempts to present his universe as a receptacle for 'anything [that] exists'. The fluidity is to be studied as a feminine quality. The hope is to render some new scope for the understanding the Marlovian world in accordance to the present poststructuralist issues of subjectivity and the external effects behind its fashioning.
Definition of Key Terms
- Abjection: According to Kristeva process of selfhood is attempted to accomplish through alienation. The self strives to create borderlines between the inside and the outside. Yet it is unsettled by things that cross this defined borderlines, those which once belongs to the self but turn to an alienated object and ultimately shatters the clear cut border (Mansfield).
- Carnivalesque: According to Gamble Carnivalesque is a "state in which hierarchies, including those constructed on gender, are rendered topsy-turvy in a violation of the established order" (Gamble 176). Russo also claims that where the classical body is associative with the norm, order, and fixity, Carnivalesque body belongs to the "low culture" open and fluid which brings about transformation. Carnivalesque laughter is potentially subversive to the fixity of the Symbolic.
- Chora: Kristeva defines Chora as the unnameable container whose existence is prior to the nameable one defined by the symbolic. Chora is related to the maternal body and expands its presence to adulthood and breaks through the order of signification. This is the stage which resists signification and is related to Kristevan stage of Semiotic.
- Dissidence: Kristeva defines true dissidence as "simply what it has always been: thought. . . . Torn between being the guardian of the law and that instance which disavows the law. . . . But through the efforts of thought in language, or precisely through the excesses of the language whose very multitude is the only sign of life, one can attempt to bring about multiple sublations of the unnameable, the unpresentable, the void. This is the real cutting edge of dissidence" (Kristeva qtd. in Bray 41). Choratic traces manifest their affective existence within the post-Thetic ruptures within language, namely poetic language.
- Feminine Writing: or Écriture féminine regards essential femininity to distinguish between a "genuine feminine writing and other forms of language". Irigaray finds feminine writing and female writing metaphorically analogous, "a symbolic interpretation of anatomy" and does not refer to feminine body in biological terms (Gamble 190).
- Foreignness: The foreigner to Kristeva "comes in the place and stead of the death of God" and in the condition where the belief in the one and only God is shaken, the foreignness constitutes the condition of "otherness, estrangement, or exile" (Kristeva, STO 40; KoÅ‚oszyc 338)
- Negative Theology: Kristeva's negative theology, more than being a renunciation of theism, is an affirmation of it in a domineering patriarchal sense where the essence of God is considered to be hyper-physically beyond human gain. Kristeva, in this sense challenges the impossibility of the His "pure names uncontaminated by language" and seeks "an unmediated experience of God beyond His Given names" (KoÅ‚oszyc 236).
- Otherness: According to Kristeva Otherness defies anything in line with monological discourse of Christianity; it is the condition of "productivity, negativity, and ambiguity" combined which keeps "ceaselessly fleeing in a systematic quest of desire" (KoÅ‚oszyc 155; Kristeva, PH 1).
- Semiotic: associated with the Pre-Oedipal stage of child's normative development, Kristeva finds this stage to contain "instinctive drives understood as energy imprints, intonations, rhythms, or fissures within body and language - and hence with chora" which find space in literature and arts, space to reveal its "distinctive mark" as "engraved or written sign, imprint, trace, figuration" (KoÅ‚oszyc 148; Kristeva, RPL 24)
- Symbolic: This psychological phase to Kristeva refers to "meaning or signification" (RPL 40) and embeds "linguistic, discursive and social structuring," and limits the rhythms of the semiotic; nonetheless there are inevitable moments of ruptures though which Semiotic finds the chance to manifest (RPL 40).
Marlowe's both dramatic and poetic works provide a vast ground for countless manoeuvres on their different dimensions. To limit the dimension of the research within the boundaries of time and possibilities, his three universally lauded masterpieces, Tamburlaine the Great, Part I and II The Jew of Malta, and Doctor Faustus. The mentioned works are to be given new light of understanding through theories proposed by Helene Cixous and Julia Kristeva. Kristevan notions of subjectivity, Maternal space and abject, and their relevance to the text of Marlowe will be reviewed under écriture feminine, with body as the bedrock of the major works of French Feminists including Kristeva. The research may demand occasional turns to concepts of power and history, and becoming where necessary.
The present research aims at accomplishing a Kristevan psychoanalytic study of Christopher Marlowe's three dramatic works Tamburlaine, The Jew of Malta, and Doctor Faustus. It covers perspectives of subjectivity which have to do with the mother/child relations, pre- and post-Choratic phase of psychological normative development; and the space of the feminine as one which includes the Other in its varied shapes. The theoretical aspects are applied to the works of Marlowe so as to find the traces of the threat which was felt about the female body of Elizabeth I by an essential patriarchal society.
The second chapter is designated to elaborating Julia Kristeva's theory of subjectivity insofar as they are related to the study of Marlowe's three plays. This chapter, reviews and elaborates those of Kristeva's critical theories that agreeably concentrate on the realm of femininity, maternal, and feminine writing. By the same token, the chapter falls into three major sections: Kristeva's notion of poetic language; the psychoanalytic importance of the maternal presence in the process of subject formation and the inevitable space of the mother; her concept of theology in association with the threat of the feminine, giving way to the importance of negative theology; and concluding the above mentioned theoretical views in the idea of body and writing the body.
Chapter Three will take the initial steps of the present study in the exploration of femininity-related issues in the first major, dramatic work of Christopher Marlowe, Tamburlaine, Part I and II (ca. 1587). In this chapter, identity formation is going to be studied in the light of its floating nature, confusion of gender roles, and the disarray of Self/Other duality in the character of the protagonist as well as some other minor characters in parts of the play. Next, it is going to observe the function of negative theology in its feminine preference of mythic polytheism to Abrahamic monotheism.
Chapter Four surveys the next major play of Christopher Marlowe, The Jew of Malta (ca. 1588). In this chapter Barabas, the protagonist, is observed in his desirous inclinations back towards the realm devoid of domineering patriarchy; therefore, what is to be studied is more of the process of identity 'deformation' rather than its 'formation,' the loss which creates the condition of polymorphousness, not just in Barabas, but in several other characters of the play. Next to consider is the dark spacing of the play and the preoccupation with covert rather than the overt spaces, the realm of the dark rather than the terrain of the light, which associates the atmosphere of the play with the Choratic enclosure of the Maternal womb. Finally, the chapter is going to deal with the rhetorical aspects of the play which near it to the Kristevan sort of feminine writing. This will end up the study of the chapter with the then patriarchal concerns over the body of the unmarried Queen.
Chapter Five starts the analytic view of Marlowe's renowned masterpiece, Doctor Faustus, first with the historical background of Elizabethan times. The opacity of words are furthered in this play by the existence of two almost completely varied versions of the play known as A-text (ca. 1604), and B-text (ca. 1616), both of which were printed long after the playwright's untimely death. The history of the practice of necromancy and witchcraft provides the grounds of the play for the study which is femininity-centred. For this reason, the next step taken, will observe the rhetoric of the femininity with the enrichment of the play with mythical allusions of disobedience and unruliness of child with respect to the discourse of the Father. This is better exemplified in the refusal of Christianity-centred beliefs by the protagonist and his further risks of delving into the dark of the wombish inferno which is strengthened by the feminine shadow of Helen of Troy, the whorish mother, on the threshold of Hell.