Alan Sondheim sondheim at gmail.com
Sun Jul 25 19:28:40 CEST 2021

Honest to God, I have Noh Idea!

You should tell us, you do amazing close reading!

Best, Alan

On Sun, Jul 25, 2021 at 1:18 PM Max Herman via NetBehaviour <
netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org> wrote:

> Hi Alan,
> I am curious about the Four Thunders.  Might they compare at all to the
> following "modes of reading" which Dante expounds in *Convivio *II, in
> order to explain Ode 1?  (I am very unused to Dante's curious habit in *La
> Vita Nuova* and *Il Convivio* of writing a poem, then explaining what it
> means in prose, then another poem, another explanation, etc., not unlike a
> workshop or curricular method ironically!  Therefore I cast about trying to
> decipher Ode 1 without even reading the following page that explains it.)
> *Convivio *II.i states:
> "I say that, as was told in the first chapter, this exposition must be
> both literal and allegorical; and that this may be understood it should be
> known that writings may be taken and should be expounded chiefly in four
> senses.  The first is called the literal, and it is the one that extends no
> further than the letter as it stands; the second is called the allegorical,
> and it is the one that hides itself under the mantle of these tales, and is
> a truth hidden under beauteous fiction.  As when Ovid says that Orpheus
> with his lyre made wild beasts tame and made trees and rocks reproach him;
> which would say that the wise person with the instrument of their voice
> maketh cruel hearts tender and humble; and moveth to their will such as
> have not the life of science and of art; for they that have not the
> rational life are as good as stones.  And why this way of hiding was
> devised by the sages will be shown in the last treatise but one.  It is
> true that the theologians take this sense otherwise than the poets do, but
> since it is my purpose here to follow the method of the poets I shall take
> the allegorical sense after the use of the poets.  The third sense is
> called moral, and this is the one that lecturers should go intently noting
> throughout the scriptures for their own behoof and that of their
> disciples.  Thus we may note in the Gospel, when Christ ascended the
> mountain for the transfiguration, that of the twelve apostles he took but
> three; wherein the moral may be understood that in the most secret things
> we should have but few companions.  The fourth sense is called the
> 'anagogical,' that is to say 'above the sense'; and this is when a
> scripture is spiritually expounded which even in the literal sense, by the
> very things it signifies, signifies again some portion of the supernal
> things...."
> My apologies for citing this passage given that it mentions so many
> hot-button topics, nor do I wish in any way to condone the atrocities of
> medieval patriarchy which continue in strong force today, but to some
> degree in order to understand the Renaissance (or the birth of the modern
> by means of un-forgetting, to use Weiss' term, the ancient as a fulcrum
> with which to modulate the present), we must understand the necessity Dante
> faced of reconciling non-theological poetry, art, and science in its
> earliest re-appearance with certain cold realities of the machinery of his
> day (which was none the less mechanical for being procedural and textual --
> backed by castle, ship, and sword -- rather than the fabric-like apparatus
> of moving metal parts like cars and computers we associate with the term
> '"machine" today).  Joyce recognized, I think, the hazards of opposing
> fundamentalism always and only directly without respecting the full context
> of what goes on both pragmatically and in terms of human kindness, dignity,
> and hospitality.  The deeply-felt hostilities surrounding secular and
> traditional world views are no joke, and sometimes just hoping things can
> settle down a bit is the best or only option, but where reconciliation or
> comity -- dialogue even -- can be found there may be opportunities worth at
> least pondering.
> It would be interesting to know what Italian words Dante used for
> "mantle," "rational," "hiding," "sense," and the like above.  I am trying
> to learn bits of Italian here and there, but do not have the *Convivio *in
> the original and my translation is very old-fashioned (Dryden I think).
> Yet to me the Four Thunders might be a reasonable way to approximate the
> four ways of reading?  If I am not mistaken Joyce used the technique even
> older than history of allotting multiple references to a term or template,
> so the thunders could simultaneously allude to the compass points,
> historical eras, phases of an individual's age, physical elements like
> earth and air, etc.  In researching Dante I've found there was is a kind of
> tension between the numbers 4 and 3 in medieval times, 4 being more "pagan"
> as in the 4 seasons and 3 more doctrinally orthodox, so perhaps the
> selection of 4 as the number of thunders could be part of that context.
> Since I haven't read Finnegan's Wake however I should probably not talk too
> much about it!  🙂
> The last Ode in the *Convivio *(which means "Banquet," as in an attempt
> to share various branches of knowledge in summary form with non-scholars in
> vernacular Italian) is called the Mountain Ode.  It seems to discuss Dante
> not being able to return to his home city of Florence, having been banished
> when his political party was defeated in a kind of civil war, but is hard
> to fathom.  However it does use the metaphor of thunder prominently,
> regarding the love of philosophy, art, science, etc.:
> "When I arise and look upon the wound
> Which undid me when I was struck
> I may not so assure myself
> But that I tremble all for fear;
> And my discoloured face declares
> what was the thunder bolt that leaped upon me;
> For though 'twas a sweet smile that launched it
> Long time thereafter it abides darkened,
> In that the spirit cannot trust itself.
> V.
> Thou hast dealt with me, O Love, amongst the alps,
> in that river's vale
> On whose banks thou hast ever been strong upon me.
> Here living or dead at thy will thou handlest me
> in virtue of that fierce light
> that makes a thunder-crashing path...."
> All best and apologies for sub-scholarly musings here, use grains of salt
> aplenty please!
> Max
> ------------------------------
> *From:* NetBehaviour <netbehaviour-bounces at lists.netbehaviour.org> on
> behalf of Alan Sondheim via NetBehaviour <
> netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>
> *Sent:* Sunday, July 25, 2021 9:28 AM
> *To:* NetBehaviour for networked distributed creativity <
> netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>
> *Cc:* Alan Sondheim <sondheim at gmail.com>
> *Subject:* Re: [NetBehaviour] DHSI TALK 2016 RIVERRUN THEORY DHSI
> Hi Anthony,
> I think you miss what I'm "on about" to use an antiquated phrase.
> In terms of natural rivers, I know them probably better than most; we
> lived near the Susquehanna in Pennsylvania, which from about the 18th
> century through 2010, flooded over 90 times. Our house was inundated at
> times. Coal mines further up the river collapsed in the 1950s, miners died.
> The cemetery a couple of miles from us flooded out with coffins floating
> down the river. Azure and I went into riparian areas almost every time we
> were there  (Kingston, PA), searching for slime molds and fungi. Elsewhere
> we studied the Johnstown Flood in Pennsylvania in which 2000 people were
> killed as a reservoir gave way. In Colorado, we spent a lot of time in the
> riparian areas of a reservoir, studying muskrats and red-winged blackbirds.
> But this is different than say chess, which has specific rules, or a
> computer program. With programs, glitches have always interested me (I was
> on a glitch panel in Austin at SXSW), where at best one might find fractals
> or percolations at work. Early on I wrote on the difference between
> "definable" mathematical operations, and the messiness of "immersive ones."
> Riverrun, the title, is from Joyce's Finnegans Wake, the first word; it
> also references for me the four thunders in the book.
> In the DHSI (Digital Humanities Summer Institute) conference in Victoria,
> B.C., I spoke in various kinds of spaces; "gamespace" refers to a
> rule-governed space including various kinds of hacks; "edgespace"
> references spaces where anomalies appear - for example "phantom" objects
> that appeared when I pushed the boundaries of a virtual world, or anomalies
> that appear when we hacked or pushed the boundaries of motion capture
> equipment - another example might be the Pentagon's release of "UFO" images
> recently. Then there's "blank space" which I use to refer to uncharted and
> potentially unchartable territories, such as the Arctic regions up through,
> say, the 18th century - when the imaginary takes over, when that's all
> there is. I'd put religious imagery there, the "Heere bee dragonnes" of
> medieval maps, dream work, all sorts of anomalies; a lot of my work is
> concerned with this.
> I've worked with the concept of the "liminal" for a long time - I think it
> was Victor Turner who came up with it (his son also taught at UTD in a
> program I was also in), and that's fascinated me; I think the concept
> itself might be liminal, might need to be further "blurred" -
> A number of artists I've been associated with (or try to be!) are
> concerned with these areas; I think even Vito Acconci's performances
> operated within these territories, as well as Adrian Piper and Laurie
> Anderson - these artists and others were in an early anthology I did,
> "Individuals: Post-Movement Art in America" - the title referring to
> eliminating boundaries and stop defining movements in order to experience
> what artists were actually doing outside boundaries.
> Can you say more how the liminal or edge/border applies to NFTs? I can see
> how ownership is blurred, but then isn't it (re)defined in terms of the
> contract and purchase, perhaps morphing but not challenging the concept?
> thanks greatly, Alan
> On Sun, Jul 25, 2021 at 9:38 AM Anthony Stephenson via NetBehaviour <
> netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org> wrote:
> Alan,
> Might inclusion of the liminal help in organizing these thoughts? It seems
> that you are employing a hard-edged concept of the edge. After all, logic
> allows for not only this or that, but both or some of both and more.
> Perhaps you are referring to something that I'm unfamiliar with when you
> speak of Riverrun, but the edge of almost every natural river is liminal.
> The edge or border is something that I've been interested in as it applies
> to Art. I haven't bothered to prop up cryptocurrencies by placing a bet on
> NFTs, but I suppose defining ownership as such may be one of the latest
> expressions of this subject.
> --
> - *Anthony Stephenson*
> *http://anthonystephenson.org/ <http://anthonystephenson.org/> *
> _______________________________________________
> NetBehaviour mailing list
> NetBehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org
> https://lists.netbehaviour.org/mailman/listinfo/netbehaviour
> --
> *=====================================================*
> *directory http://www.alansondheim.org <http://www.alansondheim.org> tel
> 718-813-3285 **email sondheim ut panix.com <http://panix.com>, sondheim
> ut gmail.com <http://gmail.com>*
> *=====================================================*
> _______________________________________________
> NetBehaviour mailing list
> NetBehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org
> https://lists.netbehaviour.org/mailman/listinfo/netbehaviour


*directory http://www.alansondheim.org <http://www.alansondheim.org> tel
718-813-3285**email sondheim ut panix.com <http://panix.com>, sondheim ut
gmail.com <http://gmail.com>*
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <https://lists.netbehaviour.org/pipermail/netbehaviour/attachments/20210725/e73ec184/attachment.htm>

More information about the NetBehaviour mailing list