Spatialization: A Strategy for Reading Narrative Author(s): Susan Stanford Friedman Source: Narrative, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Jan., 1993), pp. 12-23 Published by: Ohio State University Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20106989 Accessed: 07/04/2009 20:22 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use. Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=ohiosup. Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission. JSTOR is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1995 to build trusted digital archives for scholarship. We work with the scholarly community to preserve their work and the materials they rely upon, and to build a common research platform that promotes the discovery and use of these resources. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected]
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Susan Stanford Friedman
Spatialization: A Strategy for Reading
In Reading for the Plot, Brooks defines narrative as "the play of desire in time" (xiii) and identifies two sites for this play: first, the text itself, wherein desire to order compels the plot's unfolding; and, second, the space between text and reader, wherein the reader's desire for plot impels the reading (37-61). of these narrative desires involves seeing "the text itself as a system of Analysis internal energies and tensions, and desires" resistances, compulsions, (xiv). Like Paul Ricoeur in "Narrative Time," Brooks insists upon the temporal dimen sion of narrative, on narrative's essential relation to time. I want to extend Brooks's
of narrative" by reintroducing the issue of space into a "dynamics of narrative, by considering discussion narrative, in other words, as the play of desire in space as well as time. I define narrative most simply as the representation of movement within the coordinates of space and time.2 Here, I adapt M. M. Bakhtin's concept of the chronotope, the special form in which the "intrinsic by which he means interconnectedness of temporal and spatial relationships" is expressed in litera ture (Dialogic Imagination of 84). Invoking Einstein's theory relativity, Bakhtin
for the "inseparability of space and time" (84) and resorts repeatedly to I also want to develop Julia spatial tropes in his analysis of various chronotopes. Kristeva's spatial tropes in two early essays, "Word, adaptations of Bakhtin's and Novel" both of (1966) and "The Bounded Text" (1966-1967), Dialogue, which are included in her collection Desire in Language. Here, in introducing a reading practice based in the her concept of intertextuality, she advocates of axes in an intertextual word and the vertical horizontal "spatialization" along I will to In this her essay, suggest that we can read grid. adapt spatial tropes narrative by interpreting the text's horizontal and vertical narrative movements and intersections. Such interactions are events, I will argue, that take place at moment text in a kind of interdependent in the every interplay of surface and argues
is the Virginia Woolf Professor of English and Women's Studies at Madison the University of Wisconsin and the 1992 President of the Society for the Study is also the author of Psyche Reborn: Narrative Friedman Professor Literature. The Emergence Susan
at of of
:A Strategy for Reading
or mirrorings of narrative convergences, join to form a fluid "story" of a dynamic by the reader.
coordinates. These moments in turn text ever in process, ever "narrated"
KRISTEVA'S SPATIALIZATIONOF THEWORD its attendant graphic tropes of coordi For Kristeva, spatialization?with axes, trajectory, horizontal, vertical, surface, intersection, linearity, loop, for the visualization of the text-in-process, and so forth?allows the dimension, text as a dynamic "productivity," an "operation" (Desire 36-37). Spatialization nates,
does not mean the erasure of time by space, as it does for Joseph Frank, in his influential essay, "Spatial Form inModern Literature," argues that in modern literature created an illusory effect garde narrative techniques and unity. Rather, for Kristeva, constitutes the spatialization multaneity a verbal surface or place in which both space and time, synchrony and
who, avant of si text as
diach for textual activity. Kristeva's earliest essays pose rony, function as coordinates a critique of the static analysis of structuralism and a call for the identification identifies this process as funda of textual process. Invoking Bakhtin, Kristeva of word, sentence, and story. and intertextual?at the level mentally dialogic "considers writing as a reading of the anterior literary she explains, Bakhtin, corpus and the text as an absorption of a reply to another text" (Desire 69). "is an intersection of word (texts) where at "Each word (text)," she continues, as a least one other word (text) can be read. . . . [A]ny text is constructed mosaic of quotations; any text is the absorption and transformation of another" the text's "three di (Desire 66). She graphs these intersections by identifying as the writing or coordinates" the mensions and exterior addressee, subject, texts. What axis is a line drawn from writing she calls the horizontal subject across to the addressee, who is either a character to whom the speech is directed or, more generally, the reader. This horizontal axis represents the text as a trans action between writer and reader. The vertical axis is a line starting with the text and moving down to the exterior texts, or contexts, of the text in question. This in relation with other writings. the text as a writing vertical axis emphasizes In a text's dialogic interaction operates along both horizontal other words, and from text to contexts. What vertical axes, from writing subject to addressee, but rather a dialogue of emerges from a text is not "a point (a fixed meaning)," and reader, text and context (Desire 65). insistence on spatialization, In her early work, Kristeva's which embeds is part of her Bakhtinian project to (re)insert the her critique of pure formalism, of a text. Reading, social and historical context as a necessary dimension she
should never be merely a "linguistic" process focused on an isolated suggests, text. Consequently, she advocates a reading of what she calls the "translinguis the text's dialogue along horizontal and vertical axes tic," by which she means its writer, readers, and context (Desire 69). She coins the term "ideolo the text and its precursor geme" to identify the point of intersection between
is "materialized" "along the entire length of its [the ideologeme it its historical and social coordinates" (Desire 36). trajectory, giving for the dialogic ideologeme means reading the text "within (the text Reading of) society and history" (Desire 37). text's]
SPATIALIZINGNARRATIVE of the word has potential applications for narra Kristeva's spatialization tive. I will alter her model of a text's vertical and horizontal axes at the same time as I maintain her insistence on historical and intertextual resonances. As an interpretive strategy (not as a narrative typology), I propose two kinds of are reconstructed intersections narrative axes whose by the reader in the inter active process useful:
of the novel's
of a modern in the segmentation literary work, we sense the chrono tope of the represented world as well as the chronotope of the readers and . . . [B]efore us are two events: the event that is creators of the work. narrated in the work and the event of narration itself (we ourselves partici pate in the latter, as listeners or readers); these events take place in different times . . . and in different places.(255)
is made up of the interacting chrono totality of the work, he concludes, two chronotopes topes of the writer, reader, and text. We can graph Bakhtin's and vertical narrative axes. The horizontal narrative axis in along horizontal of the characters through the coordinates of textual volves the linear movement vertical narrative axis involves the space and time the time. The space and writer and reader occupy as they inscribe and interpret what Kristeva calls the constituted through the "signifying practice" of the text and "subject-in-process" its dialogues with literary, social, and historical intertexts. one (hori Both axes represent a movement through space and time?the The
of characters within their fictional world; the zontal) referring to the movement other (vertical) referring to the "motions" of the writer and the reader in relation to each other and to the text's intertexts. Where the horizontal movement exists in finite form within the bounded world of the text, the vertical movement exists fluidly as a writing inscribed by the writer and reconstituted by the reader more or less consciously and to a greater and lesser degree depending on the specific As different functions of narrative, these axes feed off each and readers. writers neither exists by itself as a fixed entity. I separate them only other symbiotically; for the insight that such a spatialization for for strategic purposes, provides of A overdetermined narrative. the interpreting complexities fully spatialized reading of a given narrative text, as narrative, involves an interpretation of the continuous interplay between the horizontal and vertical narrative coordinates. "narrated" by the reader, is a "story" based on a of The "plot" intersection,
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reading of the different forms that intersection takes through time, that is, how the horizontal and vertical narratives converge and separate, echo and oppose, reinforce and undermine each other. Let me specify in more detail what Imean by horizontal and vertical nar rative coordinates. The horizontal narrative is the sequence of events, whether internal or external, that "happens" according to the ordering principles of the plot and narrative point of view. Setting, character, action, initiating "problem," and closure are its familiar components?the focus of much tradi progression, tional narratology.3 The horizontal narrative follows and is constrained by the in sequence of the sentence that moves horizontally linearity of language?the is of the plot from "be alphabetic scripts repeated in the horizontal movement the categories of start and finish are customarily ginning" to "end," however in part by historically understood. Determined specific narrative conventions, the forms of the horizontal narrative differ particularly in their handling of chro the "well-made" to the nology, teleology, and narrative point of view?from to the multiple, picaresque or "plotless" plot; from the omniscient unreliable, or framed first-person narrator; from the epistolary to the embedded and complexly narratives. But for all forms, reading the horizontal narrative involves interpret inscribed in the linearity of sentence and story. In simplest ing the sequence is the story about? What happens? Where? Why? What terms, we ask, who does it "mean"? Ulysses and Mrs. Dalloway, for example, plot the movements of their characters through the cities of Dublin and London on a single day in June. Reading the horizontal narrative axis, we focus on the exterior and interior actions and thoughts of Clarissa and Septimus, Stephen, Bloom, and (as Molly well as a host^of others). As readers, we may imaginatively inhabit their space and time, to become what Peter Rabinowitz and James Phelan variously call the "narrative audience" that participates in "the mimetic illusion" (Phelan 5).4 As with any text, the horizontal narrative is reconstituted in the process of reading. Its attendant meanings are consequently dependent on what Brooks calls the reader's "performance" of the text (37), what Ross Chambers refers to as the of force" the narrative (4-5), and what Phelan identifies as "nar "performative rative dynamics." But in bringing the horizontal narrative to life, the reader (like the writer) nonetheless remains in a different space and time from that of the characters.
The vertical axis of narrative involves reading "down into" the text, as we across it. The vertical does not exist at the level of sequential plot, but rather resides within, dependent on the horizontal narrative as the function that resonances adds multiple to the characters' movement through space and time. The palimpsest?a tablet that has been written on many times, with prior layers as an apt metaphor for the vertical dimension of imperfectly erased?serves narrative. Instead of the single textual surface of the horizontal narrative, the vertical narrative has many superimposed like surfaces, layered and overwritten the human psyche. Freud's image of the psyche as the "mystic writing-pad" serves equally well?for with this mechanism, the written impression remains but in the wax beneath the clean plastic slate ("A Note"). embedded, hidden,
The point of these tropes is not to suggest a simple equation of the horizontal and the vertical narrative with the unconscious. narrative with consciousness Rather, they suggest that every horizontal narrative has an embedded vertical dimension that is more or less visible and that must be traced by the reader not yet named as such, the because it has no narrator of its own. Although vertical narrative has been the focus of much recent post-structuralist, feminist, and Marxist narrative theory.5 three distinct strands of the vertical narrative can be interwoven, usefully separated for purposes of analysis: the literary; the historical; and the psychic. Both the literary and historical aspects of the vertical narrative involve narrative's dialogues with other texts, interpreting, in reading the horizontal that Kristeva the various forms of intertextuality introduces in her other words, or unconsciously tropes of spatialization. Whether consciously produced by the as "the mosaic of quotations" that traverse the text. writer, these dialogues exist They are the layered surfaces beneath and within the horizontal narrative, but they are not narrated by it and may seem tangential to it. When consciously intended by the writer, these intertextual resonances establish an indirect com
between writer and reader, with the characters and events of the munication Such resonances do not usually exist horizontal narrative as points of mediation. in the mind of the characters?in the space and time of the horizontal narrative. it is the reader who "narrates" the story of for example, In Mrs. Dalloway, as sacrificial lamb and Christ fool, as scapegoat, Septimus as Shakespearean figure within the anguished postwar landscape. The literary aspect of the vertical narrative exists first of all in relation to and reader's awareness of genre conventions exists as a genre. The writer's a its invo chronotope, space-time, within which the specific text is read?for its uses and rescriptions, its repetitions and play. We cations and revocations, read, for example, The Voyage Out, Woolf 's first novel, within the grid of the as a story of development that progresses Bildungsroman conventionally veer to and engagement, only suddenly away from the mar through courtship die at the end. More broadly, all literary riage plot, in having its protagonist or marginally?within one or texts exist?however centrally, ambivalently, more literary traditions or cultures. Horizontal an have narratives, consequently, a vertical dimension that narrated accomplishes indirectly dialogic engagement In The Signifying Monkey, with what has been written before. Henry Louis to identify a culturally specific form of the term "signifyin(g)" Gates proposes a mode tied to the African-American oral and written traditions intertextuality, and of speakers and writers self-reflexively intentionally playing off the dis course of others in the tradition. The epistolary mode of Alice Walker's The to writes letters first to in which God and then Celie her Color Purple, sister, not only dialogues with such epistolary inscriptions of rape as Richardson's Their Eyes Were but also signifies on the oral frame of Hurston's Clarissa, in which Janie narrates the events of the story to her friend God, and on the story of incest in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye. More we that intertextual reference be may recognize highlighted or muted, generally,
:A Strategy for Reading
or revisionist. But com present, collaborative intentionally or unintentionally mon to all intertextual resonances is a story of dialogue narrated by the reader that takes place outside the spatial and temporal coordinates through which the characters of the horizontal narrative move. The historical aspect of the vertical narrative represents a similar mosaic of one that refers to the larger social order of the writer, text, and quotations, reader. Such a mosaic may involve reference to a specific historical event that as Morrison's the text reconstructs?such retelling in Beloved, with key depar tures, of Margaret Garner's attempt to kill her children when faced with their and her own return to slavery in 1856. Or, more broadly, this historical mosaic calls "cultural scripts" layered into the may involve what Rachel Blau DuPlessis term horizontal narrative (Writing beyond the Ending ix-xi, 1-19). DuPlessis' the part that "story" plays in both ideological and oppositional acknowledges discourses. These political resonances that traverse the text might include inter locking narratives of race, gender, class, ethnicity, sexuality, religion, and so in other words, that reproduce, subvert, and otherwise engage forth?stories, with the dominant and marginalized cultural scripts of the social order. For Fredric Jameson, such narratives constitute what he calls the "political uncon the "buried and repressed" narrative of class he means scious," by which struggle present in trace form on the surface of the text (20). His assertion that narratives of class struggle subsume all other stories is dangerously bounded, but his call for the critic to read the text for signs of its repressed political scripts is useful. In Beloved, the vertically embedded cultural scripts or textual uncon scious include many "stories" of race and gender relations: for example, the theories of black and African right to violate slave women; western and bestiality; patterns of slave resistance; white women's liminal race privilege and gendered alterity. Whether these political position between and historical narratives are buried in the text or openly scripted, reading this aspect of the vertical narrative allows for an analysis of the text in dialogue with "its historical and social coordinates," as Kristeva advocates (Desire 36).
the psychic aspect of the vertical narrative involves recognizing Reading that a text can be read as a linguistic entity structured like a psyche, with a that interact psychodynamically. conscious and an unconscious Freud's concept in the process of splitting suggests that nothing is of the psyche as perpetually ever lost, but only forgotten.6 Analogically speaking, the text is, like a dream, in which the desire to express and the need to repress the result of a negotiation that takes the form of disguised speech. The text, then, can force a compromise be read as a site of repression and insistent return. Freud's grammar for the of displacement, dream-work?the mechanisms non-rational condensation, modes of representability, and secondary revision?is useful for decoding dis are These mechanisms 311-546). (Interpretation of Dreams guised expression at work the textual sites often that deconstruction in unravels to sub enigmatic vert underlying binaries. As Shoshana Felman does in her reading of James's The Turn of the Screw, textual gaps, silences, knots, and aporias can be read vertically to gain some sort of access to the textual unconscious.
is doing in her integration of This is also, I would suggest, what Kristeva Bakhtinian Lacanian and Barthesian in semiotics dialogics, psychoanalysis, Revolution in Poetic Language.1 Kristeva inverts Lacan 's axiom that the uncon scious is structured like a language to suggest that the text is structured like a she argues, always engages in a dialectical psyche. Language, interplay of two the semiotic and the symbolic. The semiotic?that oral and rhyth modalities, mic dimension of language that exists prior to and outside a system of signifi back to the pre-oedipal cation?harkens period of the child's desire for the instrumental aspect of meaning-centered, body. The symbolic?that language that exists after the child grasps the principle of signification?reverts back to the oedipal period when (according to Lacan) the child's realization of of language based on a system of allows for the acquisition sexual difference of the Phallus").8 differences governed by the Law of the Father ("Signification of the and for the the and differ semiotic Reading interplay symbolic?newly one that in text?is form the constituted vertical narrative every reading ently
reading strategy based on the compositional history of the of the writer?offers another mechanism for chronotope reading the of narrative. Instead of the the "final" dimension vertical privileging psychic text as the "definitive" one, we can read the various versions of a text as an in which each text forms a distinct, yet interrelated overdetermined palimpsest a Freud's concept of dreams in a series as being of "text."9 part larger composite A
that can be interpreted is useful (Interpretation part of a larger dream-text of of the dream-work govern Dreams 369, 563). He suggests that the mechanisms dreams the relation among the dreams and that "the first of these homologous one to occur is often the more distorted one and timid, while the succeeding will be more confident and distinct" (369). Freud's grammar can be adapted to read what gets repressed on the one hand and worked through on the other in a text. Tracking the various versions of the series of drafts preceding a published or self-conscious same story can reveal a process of conscious self-censorship of the horizontal narrative revision textual represses or further dis whereby that remain as part of the vertical narrative. guises certain forbidden elements involves "text" the "story" of condensa the reconstructing composite Reading and secondary revision from one version to another. In tion, displacement, short, earlier versions of a text can be read vertically as the textual unconscious of the horizontal
text. For example, H. D.'s "Madri narrative in the published novels about her life during of three autobiographical triptych a composite text in which the last one she wrote (Bid Me to
gal Cycle"?a the teens?forms Live [AMadrigal]) represses the stories of lesbian desire and illicit motherhood both of that are fully narrated in the earlier texts, Paint It To-Day and Asphodel, to be "drafts" for Bid Me to Live.10 which she ultimately considered a writer's repeated return to the scene of writing a particular Conversely, as a kind of repetition compulsion can in which the earliest ver be read story sions are the most disguised, with each repetition the repressed content that needs to be remembered.
bringing the writer closer to Here, I am adapting Freud's
A Strategy for Reading
scene in which the analysand repeats the of analysis as a transference material in a process of "working and dreams symptoms produced by repressed to conscious recollection of what has been for leads that ultimately through" This between gotten ("Further Recommendations"). analogy analytic and nov in is in which elistic transference narratives, cogent autobiographical especially "I now" and the written "I about then" perform the split subject of the writing the different roles of analyst and analysand in a kind of "writing cure." Earlier or later versions of the horizontal narrative, in other words, can, when read of the text, give us access to the psychic dimension together as a composite notion
narratives about narrative. vertical autobiographical Joyce's Stephen for example, D(a)edalus, (including "A Portrait of the Artist," Stephen Hero, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Ulysses) constitute a composite "text" in which the death of Joyce's mother and the son's remorse remain unnarratable until the final text in the series?present only in trace forms that can be inter preted with Freud's grammar for the dream-work.11
WHY SPATIALIZENARRATIVE? narrative in spatial terms? In contrast What do we learn by conceptualizing to typological approaches, the psychodynamic, inter spatialization emphasizes it also provides a fluid, active, and situational nature of narrative processes; text and context, writer and reader. Spatiali relational approach that connects zation is not, of course, the only way to produce such readings. Other interpre tative strategies have gained access to a text's literary and historical resonances resort to spatial tropes. Other critics, such as Ross Chambers, without have developed ways of reading what he calls "not the actual historicity of texts, but situation" (10). His analysis of a text's them of historical the markers, within "thick description" contractual appeal and adaptation of Clifford Geertz's rep resents a different route to reaching some of the same objectives. James Phelan's and synthetic dimensions the mimetic of character as the distinction between it represents yet another. For Phelan, the mimetic reader experiences aspect of the character as authorial construction the reader's awareness suppresses as part of a communication this construction while the synthetic foregrounds author and reader (1-27, the 115). For him, it is the play between a theory that and the synthetic that accounts for narrative progression, like spatialization of narrative axes, that the text operates on an inter assumes, mimetic world of the characters, play between two different chronotopes?the and the synthetic realm of the author and reader.
can, however, go beyond these other methods by facilitating Spatialization some new readings of narrative that might not otherwise exist. The notion of a in the horizontal vertical axis embedded suggests the way in which historical, more than resonances attached intertextualities and constitute literary, psychic or to the text associatively, suggestively, randomly. Instead, they initiate stories themselves?dialogic
"told" by the reader in collusion
or unconsciously. inscribes them in the text consciously This, I would (hori argue, is the contribution made by Kristeva's graph of the writer/reader the concept of interactive zontal axis) and text/context (vertical axis). Moreover, horizontal and vertical narrative axes allows for a relational reading of the two that produces a "story" not present in either axis by itself. For example, the
horizontal narrative of The Voyage Out is the story of failure, the Bildung that ends in death. The vertical narrative, reconstructed by the reader, is the story of 's successful "voyage out" of the marriage plot, one that led rebellion, of Woolf out of the drawing room and into the world of letters, as an initial declaration from the dominant literary and historical narratives of the early of independence in this case between the horizontal and twentieth century. The confrontation a vertical narratives constitutes "story" of its own that is present in neither nar rative axis by itself. A "full" reading of narrative axes is not possible in a bounded text because, as the text's dialogism is unbounded, like the dream in Freud's psychoanalysis, is the story of the intersections between the horizontal and vertical coordinates. But a reading strategy based in the identification of horizontal and vertical nar "definitive" and bounded ratives axes fosters relational readings, discourages a notion of the text as a multiplicitous and encourages and dy interpretations, namic site of repression and return. Such spatialized readings also allow us as readers to construct a "story" of the fluidly interactive relationship between the surface and palimpsestic into account all depths of a given text?taking resonances the historical, that are embedded within the literary, and psychic to become narrated in the reading process. horizontal narrative and waiting Ideally such a story is made up of a sequence of relational readings that at every point in the horizontal narrative examines its vertical component. The rich est insights produced by a spatialized reading strategy may well reside in the way it potentially produces interpretations of the textual and political un conscious of a given text or series of texts. But in general, spatializing narrative the various forms of narrative gives us a systematic way of approaching text and of the with its writer In and world. (re)connecting dialogism an Kristeva's words, that suggests interpretive strategy spatialization regards a . . . intersection a point text as "a dynamic textual rather than of surfaces a as several fixed that of the (a writer, among dialogue meaning), writings: . . . , and the contemporary or earlier cultural context" the addressee (De sire 65).
ENDNOTES the theoretical section of a much essay presents longer essay that includes a reading of s The Voyage Out, forthcoming in Kathy Mezei's Feminist Narratology. Woolf It was on Narrative at the International in Nice, June 1991. Conference France, originally presented
a masculine/feminine For my purposes here, I am not suggesting binary for time as space, as in Alice Doesn't Time" and de Lauretis in "Women's do Kristeva (143). See also Winnett's of model. Brooks's critique
:A Strategy for Reading
to the Structural
Barthes's "Introduction See for example discussion and Brooks's Phelan; Chatman; structuralism 16). (Reading between
of Narratives"; Genette; Analysis in Russian Formalism and French
the story as "real") and (which accepts "aware of the synthetic"?that is, con the original (Phelan 5). Rabinowitz distinction, proposed to his work on the rhetorics of character in relation and
is, of course, and Freud's jointly
and de Lauretis.
to an Other" "From One Identity and (Desire 124-47) For other formulations of the textual un (Desire231-70). and Jameson. Riffaterre,
(13-106), to Bellini"
a founding of psychoanalysis, principle written Studies on Hysteria (1895). See
and "From One
to an Other"
For a different itive"
attempt to move see Jerome McGann's
I have made
A Critique fully
the teleological search Textual Criticism.
of the Repressed
for the "defin
can be read both 11. Like H. D.'s Madrigal the different versions of the Dedalus narratives Cycle, for the others in the ways, with both early and late texts serving as the textual unconscious and the Making series. See my "(Self)-Censorship in Joyce: The Return of Joyce's Modernity" in this collection The essays of reading the vertical nar of the Repressed. provide examples and psychic rative axis in its literary, historical, dimensions.
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