(9/12/00 3:24:09 pm)
|magic and semiology|
Hello all! Sorry to have absented
myself for a while- I leave the country next Tuesday, so I have
been busy dancing about in public and otherwise disgracing myself.
I have a vague idea I want
to broach, but, firstly, I wanted to mention how much I loved
Midori's and Carrie's poems!
Now, I want to talk about
a possible link between magic and semiology. Considering the Master
Maid stories in particular, I've noticed that in several tales,
characters can bring a particular event or object into being by
making the *sign* of that object. I was wondering if anyone could
think of examples where this is or is not the case. Does this
accord a heightened power to the story teller by cojuring a porthole
between fantasy and reality, suggesting that art (and women's
art in particular) truly can affect material circumstances? The
flow of influence between reality and art is a two-way street.
Does story telling subsequently become a vehicle for revolution,
not just voicing dissent but also activating change?
(9/13/00 5:55:27 am)
Thanks for your compliments on the poem!
As to semiology, I've been sharpening my swords this semester as I have to take my Masters oral exam on just this subject soon. But I need a bit more information in your question because I wasn't sure I understood it. What is the Master Maid tales? (is this a group of tales? one tale in particular? or is it a short hand for Master/Maid as in master/slave dialectic?) Secondly give me your definition of "magic" here...is it conjuring? illusion and trick? or is it fantastic acts (horns of plenty that give an endless supply of gold or food, or fantastic creatures themselves that commit fantastic acts for the benefit of the heroine?)
Storytelling isn't necessarily a revolutionary act--though within a tale there may be the expressions of dialectical movement (the transition from adolescence to adult hood for instance) but the conclusion recommits the sign to an expression of the status quo--usually marriage, return into positions of privileged power. (Barthes whole idea in Mytholgies I think is showing how the huge panoply of images gleaned from bourgeoise culture taken together is an expression of the imagined reconciliation of contradictions in our society--the working class woman buys Elle magazine with a photo of a meal with cherry studded pidgeons. She reads it, studies it and the investment in the image conveniently obscures the contradiction that the woman can't afford to buy the ingredients. Here magic and acts of storytelling--we will read how to make the pidgeon but never eat it!--are in the service of obscuring social conflict not revealing it.