Thursday, February 17, 2011

Affect Theory - chapter 3

Writing Shame By Elspeth Probyn

I will write more about this in my two page piece of brilliance, but after reading this chapter for a second time it really hit a cord with me. She calls it writing shame, but perhaps I look at it as academic shame. There is an emotional burden that some of us have, epsecially in dealing with the importance and relevance of our work. The idea that we have responsibility beyond the walls of the ivory tower is a feeling that is sometimes unbearable.

  • She starts by talking about Darwin and his many illnesses related to writing.
  • The author then relates it to her own troubles with writing.
  • "My argument here is about writing shame, a prhase I use to capture both the affective, bodily feeling of betraying interest, and also about how we might envision writing shame as part of an ethical practice" (73).
  • "How can you represent a sense of emotional and affective intensity if the feeling in question is generalized in the amorphous category of Affect?" (74).
  • We need to talk about different types of affects!
  • Compares Foucault with Stephen King in terms of the relationship between words and things.
  • King was shamed by his teacher for writing junk.
  • To King, honest writing is writing that attempts to connect to meaning.
  • Writing affects bodies.
  • She goes into talking about Deleuze and his description of T.E. Lawrence and his connection to shame and glory.
  • Lawrence as "the subjective disposition"
  • Shame and the body becomes the same thing.
  • To describe Lawrence, Deleuze uses a quote from Kafka "It was as if the shame of it must outlive him" (82).
  • Primo Levi's experience of being in Auschiwitz and his eventually supposed suicide encompasses his shame of writing about his life.
  • He thought it was wrong to write for oneself.
  • He didn't really talk about emotion or affect - there was not enough time in the camps for this.
  • "The blush of having failed to connect with readers should compel any writer to return to the page with renewed desire to do better - to get better- at this task of communicating that some of us take on" (89).

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