Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 7, No. 0324.  Tuesday, 30 April 1996.

(1)     From:   Terence Hawkes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 26 Apr 1996 11:52:55 GMT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0289 Questions

(2)     From:   Leo Daugherty <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 27 Apr 1996 11:31:54 GMT
        Subj:   Manfred Mickleson, FYI

From:           Terence Hawkes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 26 Apr 1996 11:52:55 GMT
Subject: 7.0289 Questions
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0289 Questions

For Eileen Flanagan: Who's Larry King?

T. Hawkes

From:           Leo Daugherty <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 27 Apr 1996 11:31:54 GMT
Subject:        Manfred Mickleson, FYI

Dear SHAKSPEReans:

In what follows you will be introduced to Manfred Mickleson.  The fact that he
is a bit outside our period need not, as I am sure you will agree after reading
his letter, disqualify him for serious consideration as chairperson of the
SHAKSPER Advisory Board which Hardy is now proposing. It will also, I trust,
not constitute a serious obstacle to his candidacy that his ontological status
is not totalizingly unproblematic.

                                               Leo Daugherty
                                               The Evergreen State College

>           Manfred Mickleson Applies for an 18th-Century Job
>           The Association of Literary Scholars and Critics
>We have had numerous requests for an authentic copy of the famous letter
>sent by Manfred Mickleson when seeking an appointment in 18th-century
>What makes Manfred amazing is that he is an imaginary candidate. He was
>created in a moment of sheer giddiness by several members of a search
>committee who had, collectively, just finished reading the dossiers of
>over one hundred candidates for an actual 18th-century position. Manfred
>is, therefore, more than a product of the ironic or satirical
>imagination. He is a kind of "composite candidate" representing the newest
>PhD's being produced by English graduate programs.
>The other thing that makes Manfred amazing is that a number of the
>departments to whom he applied did not realize that he was an imaginary
>candidate. He received over forty dossier requests, and six invitations
>to be interviewed at the MLA convention. (We still have not learned
>whether or not, despite being unable to show up in person for his MLA
>interviews, Manfred received any actual offers.)
>Dear Professor xxxxxxx:
>     I am writing to apply for the position in Eighteenth-Century literature
>announced in the October MLA Job List. After having taken an M.A. at Cornell.
>University, I am in the process of completing my dissertation --
>"Commerce, Homosociality, and the Engendering of the Body in Defoe and
>Wollstonecraft" -- under the direction of Terry Castle at Stanford
>University.  This year, I am a visiting assistant professor of
>eighteenth-century literature at Wagenknecht University. I expect to
>defend my dissertation in March. The manuscript is under contract to
>Routledge. As my vita shows, I have given over forty papers at various
>conferences on literature and cultural studies in the last three years,
>and have articles under consideration at twelve scholarly
>journals. (A portion of the first chapter, "The 'Eeek' of Literary
>Sentimentalism: Does Eco Echo Eco?" will be published in PMLA this coming
>spring.  I also have several other book-length projects under contract to
>Verso, Methuen, and Cambridge University Press.
>     The argument of my dissertation, informed by current thinking in feminist
>theory, queer theory, cultural materialism, eco-criticism, and postcolonial
>studies, centers on the paradoxes of representation involving masculine
>authority and feminine desire in eighteenth-century pirate literature, and
>especially on sentimentalism as a response to the en(gender)ing of the
>patriarchal body -- which I see as epistemologically equivalent to the "body
>politic" in eighteenth-century political discourse -- in the figure of
>the (male) sailor in British oceanic commerce during the first age of imperial
>expansion. I argue that it is the absence of women from shipboard life
>that permits Defoe, in his History of the Pirates, to depict seagoing
>commerce terms of a normative homosociality -- the all-male society of the
>quarterdeck and lower decks in both naval and commercial shipping -- such that
>piracy then embodies the eruption of a transgressive (and, implicitly,
>anti-imperialistic) sexuality demanding representation in altered or
>displaced terms in the "literature of the shore," including such genres as
>the periodical
>essay, the mock-heroic poem, and the sentimental novel. It is in the
>novel, I argue, that this displacement achieves autonomous status as itself a
>normative discourse, with a representation of emotions in terms of a "feminine"
>sensitivity operating to compensate for the violated fantasy of all-male
>sufficiency represented by the boarding or "penetration" of an East
>India galley or naval three-decker by a depredatory piracy.
>     Since the background of such scenes is the emergent society of
>Anglo-Caribbean commerce -- slavery is a leitmotif in many of the pirate
>narrative popular in Defoe's period -- I also see a proleptic
>postcolonialism at work in the system of paradoxes evident in the attempt
>to recuperate African-Americans -- then, of course, not yet Americans, as
>"America" would not emerge as a cultural and political construction for a
>number of years -- as normatively transgressive figures in the portrayal
>both of Afro-Caribbean slave culture and as members of pirate crews.
>     My most controversial point, I think, concerns the way literary
>sentimentalism -- I have in mind not only such major writers as Charlotte
>Lennox and Mrs. Inchbald, but such male writers as Henry Mackenzie and
>Laurence Sterne
>-- operates as a compensatory mechanism for the "violated" homosociality of
>the shipboard crew assaulted by pirates. Far from representing an empowering
>domesticity, as Nancy Armstrong and other leading eighteenth-century
>scholars have argued, literary sentimentalism demands to be viewed as the
>representational equivalent of "the lower deck in drag," striving
>through a reassertion of "feminine" sensitivity to reassert the
>equilibrium of an "onshore" heteroxexuality symbolically and practically
>suspended when
>the ship leaves shore with an all-male crew.
>     The entire point of literary sentimentalism, from this perspective, is
>to insulate the world of normative homosociality from the otherwise
>disturbing effects of masculine desire represented by the pirate society that
>boards the "normal" vessel with its cutlasses in its teeth, which on a higher
>symbolic plane operates to protect the British military and the forces of
>commercialism from destabilization or disruption.
>     In this sense, works like Sterne's A Sentimental Journey were not only
>complicit with, but actively agential in the development of, British
>imperialism in the period following the Seven Years' War.  By protecting the
>material sentimentalism -- especially in the ideologically problematic
>context of Afro-Caribbean cultural development, with the slave figuring as
>neither "masculine" or "feminine" but as an always-potentially-disruptive
>'Other' -- literature was simultaneously insulating the "body politic" of
>the new post-Hanoverian commercial order from potentially dangerous forms
>of accidental or unintended demystification.
>     The description of my dissertation as I have given it covers only part
>of its first chapter. The manuscript will culminate in a detailed discussion of
>Mary Wollstonecraft's Pirates of Penzance as a feminist reappropriation of
>the piracy motif, together with an account of the masculinist or patriarchal
>suppression that would for many years result in this work's being
>attributed to Gilbert and Sullivan -- and does not mention the use made in
>subsequent portions of work by Foucault, Althusser, Lacan, Deleuze, Bourdieu,
>Gayatri Spivak, Edward Said, Judith Butler, and others. To grasp its full
>one would have to see a sample from the actual dissertation, which I would be
>very happy to send you.
>     I would also be very happy to send you a copy of my curriculum vitae,
>which contains full titles of my conference papers and articles under
>submission, plus a dossier containing letters from Terry Castle, John Bender,
>Jonathan Culler, Laura Brown, Felicity Nussbaum, Jonathan Arac, and Peter de
>     I may perhaps add, without seeming too boastful, that in the short time
>I have been teaching here at Wagenknecht University, I have won several Most
>Exciting Teacher awards, including, most recently, a citation for my
>creative use of eighteenth-century maps and engineering sketches in my
>class on "Jolly
>Roger on the Turnpike," a freshman seminar on the development of the English
>road system and response to the figure of the pirate-turned-highwayman in
>eighteenth-century criminal trials. (Basically, I argue that the figure
>of the former pirate must be viewed in terms of a transgressive sexuality
>absent from depictions of the shore-based highwayman who, having begun his
>career on a horse and ended it in a halter, is able to function as an
>unproblematic ideological support for a depredatory imperialist commerce
>during the period of the East India monopoly. Several undergraduates have
>told me that
>this course changed their lives.)
>     I will be attending the MLA convention in December, and would be
>delighted to talk further with you there.
>     Sincerely,
>     Manfred J. Mickleson
>     Visiting Assistant Professor
>This page is not copyright, on the grounds that (1) our own copy came to
>us on the 18th-century zamisdat, so we have no idea who has the rights,
>and (2) Manfred in any case belongs not to an age but to all humankind.
>Feel free to download, print, and circulate.
>Amy L. Cavender
>Dept. of Government and International Studies
>University of Notre Dame
>Notre Dame, IN 46556
>Internet: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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