Lord Of The Flies: Civilization Vs. Savagery

Thursday, April 14, 2022 2:40:02 PM

Lord Of The Flies: Civilization Vs. Savagery



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Lord of th FLies Civilization Vs. Savagery

Author: William Golding. Major Thematic Elements: Civilization vs. Exposition: As a war wages in England, a plane carrying a group of evacuated British schoolboys is shot down and lands on a deserted island somewhere in the tropics. Conflict: The group of deserted boys struggle between their desire to maintain the rules and structure they know of civilization and the instinct to turn wild like the island they inhabit. Climax: Simon discovers the Lord of the Flies in the forest and realizes that it is less a beast and more a natural instinct, one which exists within each of the boys. When Simon tries to convey this revelation to the other boys, they attack and kill him. He was intensely impacted by his experiences and became convinced that within all humans exists the possibility of evil.

His writing work, after his time in the war, reflected this idea. The Cold War started developing between Russia and the United States as both countries engaged in a nuclear arms race. This had an intense effect for many people across the world, who had to live in constant fear of a nuclear bomb falling on them like it did in Japan at the end of WWII. Is human nature self-destructive, as is the case on this deserted island? Or will there be a moral movement in the interest of a common good that will rise above this self-destructive tendency?

These poignant questions are part of what led Golding to win the Nobel Prize in literature as societies across the globe grappled with these possibilities. A group of English schoolboys have been in a plane crash on a deserted island as they were being evacuated from war-torn England. Two boys, Ralph and Piggy, find each other on the beach and discover a conch shell, which Piggy recommends using as a trumpet to signal to the other boys to meet them on the beach. Ralph is elected as the leader and he makes Jack the head of the hunting committee. Ralph and Jack set off to explore the island along with another boy named Simon.

They decide to build a fire at the top of the highest mountain on the island so any passing ships may see it and come rescue them. The boys manage to light a fire but are distracted by play and wind up burning down part of the surrounding forest. Piggy exclaims that one of the younger boys is now missing, presumably killed in the negligent fire. In chapter three, Ralph and Simon try to build huts for the younger boys but are frustrated at the lack of help. Many of the boys continue to play in the same negligent manner that led to the fire. Jack is shortsighted about concerns for the younger boys because he is intent on killing a pig that had evaded him earlier.

To make things worse for them, some of the older boys torment the littluns. In chapter four, Ralph is horrified to see a ship out on the horizon, realizing that the signal fire has burned out because nobody has taken the responsibility to maintain it. Ralph blames Jack, the leader of the hunting group, because it was their job to maintain the fire. He also tries to reassure the littluns that there are no monsters to fear. Later that night, in chapter six, some military planes fly over the island and engage in a battle. A dead parachutist drifts down towards the island towards the signal fire, which has again gone out due to negligence. Upon being asked his motive for this conduct, he said: 'There are four great Prophets who are reverenced and worshipped by the different classes of mankind.

The Christians regard Jesus Christ as their divinity; the Saracens, Mahomet; the Jews, Moses; and the idolaters, Sogomombar-kan, the most eminent among their idols. I do honour and show respect to all the four, Erich Auerbach, Mimesis, p. Emphases added. Notice that, though kissed, the Evangel is not read. What is so remarkable about this passage is not so much the great Mongol dynast's calm religious relativism it is still a religious relativism , as Marco Polo's attitude and language.

It never occurs to him, even though he is writing for fellow-European Christians, to term Kublai a hypocrite or an idolater. No doubt in part because 'in respect to number of subjects, extent of territory, and amount of revenue, he surpasses every sovereign that has heretofore been or that now is in the 13 world. What a revealing contrast is provided by the opening of the letter written by the Persian traveller 'Rica' to his friend 'Ibben' from Paris in '': 14 The Pope is the chief of the Christians; he is an ancient idol, worshipped now from habit. Once he was formidable even to princes, for he would depose them as easily as our magnificent sultans depose the kings of Iremetia or Georgia. But nobody fears him any longer. He claims to be the successor of one of the earliest Christians, called Saint Peter, and it is certainly a rich succession, for his treasure is immense and he has a great country under his control.

The deliberate, sophisticated fabrications of the eighteenth century Catholic mirror the naive realism of his thirteenth-century predecessor, but by now the 'relativization' and 'territorialization' are utterly self- conscious, and political in intent. Is it unreasonable to see a paradoxical The Travels of Marco Polo, p. Henri de Montesquieu, Persian Letters, p, The Lettres Persanes first appeared in Second was a gradual demotion of the sacred language itself. But by the sixteenth century all this was changing fast. The reasons for the change need not detain us here: the central importance of print-capitalism will be discussed below.

It is sufficient to remind ourselves of its scale and pace. Despite a temporary come-back during the Counter-Reformation, Latin's hegemony was doomed. Nor are we speaking simply of a general popularity. Somewhat later, but at no less dizzying speed, Latin ceased to be the language of a pan- European high intelligentsia. In the seventeenth century Hobbes was a figure of continental renown because he wrote in the truth- language. Shakespeare — , on the other hand, composing in the vernacular, was virtually unknown across the Channel.

And had English not become, two hundred years later, the pre-eminent world- imperial language, might he not largely have retained his original insular obscurity? Meanwhile, these men's cross-Channel near-contemporaries, Descartes and Pascal , conducted most of their correspondence in Latin; but virtually all of Voltaire's was in the vernacular. Bloch, Feudal Society, I, p. For in fundamental ways 'serious' mon- archy lies transverse to all modern conceptions of political life. Kingship organizes everything around a high centre. Its legitimacy derives from divinity, not from populations, who, after all, are subjects, not citizens.

In the modern conception, state sovereignty is fully, flatly, and evenly operative over each square centimetre of a legally demarcated territory. But in the older imagining, where states were defined by centres, borders were porous and indistinct, and 21 sovereignties faded imperceptibly into one another. Hence, para- doxically enough, the ease with which pre-modern empires and kingdoms were able to sustain their rule over immensely heteroge- neous,22 and often not even contiguous, populations for long periods of time.

One must also remember that these antique monarchical states The original French is more modest and historically exact: 'Tandis que l'on edite de moins en moins d'ouvrages en latin, et une proportion toujours plus grande de textes en langue nationale, le commerce du livre se morcelle en Europe. Notice the displacement in rulers' nomenclature that corresponds to this transformation. Schoolchildren remember monarchs by their first names what was William the Conqueror's surname? In a world of citizens, all of whom are theoretically eligible for the presidency, the limited pool of 'Christian' names makes them inadequate as specifying designators.

In monarchies, however, where rule is reserved for a single surname, it is necessarily 'Christian' names, with numbers, or sobriquets, that supply the requisite distinctions. We may here note in passing that Nairn is certainly correct in describing the Act of Union between England and Scotland as a 'patrician bargain,' in the sense that the union's architects were aristocratic politicians. See his lucid discussion in The Break-up of Britain, pp. Through the general principle of verticality, dynastic marriages brought together diverse populations under new apices. Paradigmatic in this respect was the House of Habsburg. As the tag went, Bella gerant alii, tufelix Austria nube! Here, in somewhat abbreviated form, is the later dynasts' titulature. This, Jaszi justly observes, was, 'not without a certain comic aspect.

In fact, royal lineages often derived their prestige, aside from any aura of divinity, from, shall we say, miscegenation? The conception of a United Kingdom was surely the crucial mediating element that made the deal possible. Most notably in pre-modern Asia. But the same principle was at work in monogamous Christian Europe. This 'curious document' is cited in ibid. It is characteristic that there has not been an 'English' dynasty ruling in London since the eleventh century if then ; and what 'nationality' are we to assign to the or Bourbons? During the seventeenth century, however - for reasons that need not detain us here - the automatic legitimacy of sacral monarchy began its slow decline in Western Europe.

In , Charles Stuart was beheaded in the first of the modern world's revolutions, and during the s one of the more important European states was ruled by a plebeian Protector rather than a king. But after the principle of Legitimacy had to be loudly and self-consciously defended, and, in the process, 'monarchy' became a semi-standardized model. Tenno and Son of Heaven became 'Emperors.

Petersburg, London and Berlin to learn the intricacies of the world- model. However, inter-monarchic approval of his ascension as Rama VI was sealed by the attendance at his coronation of princelings from Britain, Russia, Greece, Sweden, Denmark - and Japan! Gellner stresses the typical foreignness of dynasties, but interprets the phe- nomenon too narrowly: local aristocrats prefer an alien monarch because he will not take sides in their internal rivalries. Thought and Change, p. Marc Bloch, Les Rois Thaumaturges, pp. Noel A. While the armies of Frederick the Great r. Beneath the decline of sacred com- munities, languages and lineages, a fundamental change was taking place in modes of apprehending the world, which, more than anything else, made it possible to 'think' the nation.

To get a feeling for this change, one can profitably turn to the visual representations of the sacred communities, such as the reliefs and stained-glass windows of mediaeval churches, or the paintings of early Italian and Flemish masters. A characteristic feature of such representations is something misleadingly analogous to 'modern dress'. The shepherds who have followed the star to the manger where Christ is born bear the features of Burgundian peasants. The Virgin Mary is figured as a Tuscan merchant's daughter. In many paintings the commissioning patron, in full burgher or noble cos- tume, appears kneeling in adoration alongside the shepherds.

What seems incongruous today obviously appeared wholly natural to the eyes of mediaeval worshippers. We are faced with a world in which More than 1, of the 7,, men on the Prussian Army's officer list in were foreigners. Christendom assumed its universal form through a myriad of specifi- cities and particularities: this relief, that window, this sermon, that tale, this morality play, that relic. While the trans-European Latin- reading clerisy was one essential element in the structuring of the Christian imagination, the mediation of its conceptions to the illiterate masses, by visual and aural creations, always personal and particular, was no less vital.

The humble parish priest, whose fore- bears and frailties everyone who heard his celebrations knew, was still the direct intermediary between his parishioners and the divine. This juxtaposition of the cosmic-universal and the mundane-particular meant that however vast Christendom might be, and was sensed to be, it manifested itself variously to particular Swabian or Andalusian communities as replications of themselves. Figuring the Virgin Mary with 'Semitic' features or 4 first-century' costumes in the restoring spirit of the modern museum was unimaginable because the med- iaeval Christian mind had no conception of history as an endless chain of cause and effect or of radical separations between past and 30 present. Bloch observes that people thought they must be near the end of time, in the sense that Christ's second coming could occur at any moment: St.

Paul had said that 'the day of the Lord cometh like a thief in the night. For us, the idea of'modern dress,' a metaphorical equivalencing of past with present, is a backhanded recognition of their fatal separation. Bloch, Feudal Society, I, pp. Auerbach, Mimesis, p. Compare St. Augustine's descrip- tion of the Old Testament as 'the shadow of [i. It can be established only if both occurrences are vertically linked to Divine Providence, which alone is able to devise such a plan of history and supply the key to its understanding. He rightly stresses that such an idea of simultaneity is wholly alien to our own.

It views time as something close to what Benjamin calls Messianic 33 time, a simultaneity of past and future in an instantaneous present. In such a view of things, the word 'meanwhile' cannot be of real significance. Our own conception of simultaneity has been a long time in the making, and its emergence is certainly connected, in ways that have yet to be well studied, with the development of the secular sciences. But it is a conception of such fundamental importance that, without taking it fully into account, we will find it difficult to probe the obscure genesis of nationalism. What has come to take the place of the mediaeval conception of simultaneity-along-time is, to borrow again from Ben- jamin, an idea of'homogeneous, empty time,' in which simultaneity is, as it were, transverse, cross-time, marked not by prefiguring and fulfilment, but by temporal coincidence, and measured by clock and calendar.

Walter Benjamin, Illuminations, p. So deep-lying is this new idea that one could argue that every essential modern conception is based on a conception of 'meanwhile'. For these forms provided the technical means for 're-presenting5 the kind of imagined community that is the nation. Consider first the structure of the old-fashioned novel, a structure typical not only of the masterpieces of Balzac but also of any con- temporary dollar-dreadful. It is clearly a device for the presentation of simultaneity in 'homogeneous, empty time,' or a complex gloss upon the word 'meanwhile'.

Take, for illustrative purposes, a segment of a simple novel-plot, in which a man A has a wife B and a mistress C , who in turn has a lover D. What then actually links A to D? Two complementary conceptions: First, that they are embedded in 'societies' Wessex, Liibeck, Los Angeles. These societies are sociological entities of such firm and stable reality that their members A and D can even be described as passing each other on the street, without ever becoming acquainted, and still be connected. While the Princesse de Cleves had already appeared in , the era of Richardson, Defoe and Fielding is the early eighteenth century. The origins of the modern newspaper lie in the Dutch gazettes of the late seventeenth century; but the newspaper only became a general category of printed matter after Febvre and Martin, The Coming of the Book, p.

This polyphony decisively marks off the modem novel even from so brilliant a forerunner as Petronius's Satyricon. Its narrative proceeds single file. If Encolpius bewails his young lover's faithlessness, we are not simultaneously shown Gito in bed with Ascyltus. That all these acts are performed at the same clocked, calendrical time, but by actors who may be largely unaware of one another, shows the novelty of this imagined world conjured up by the author in his readers' minds.

An American will never meet, or even know the names of more than a handful of his ,,odd fellow- Americans. He has no idea of what they are up to at any one time. But he has complete confidence in their steady, anonymous, simultaneous activity. The perspective I am suggesting will perhaps seem less abstract if we turn to inspect briefly four fictions from different cultures and different epochs, all but one of which, nonetheless, are inextricably bound to nationalist movements. In , the 'Father of Filipino Nationalism', Jose Rizal, wrote the novel Noli Me Tangere, which today is regarded as the greatest achievement of modern Filipino literature.

It was also almost the first novel written by an 'Indio. Although, In this context it is rewarding to compare any historical novel with documents or narratives from the period fictionalized. Nothing better shows the immersion of the novel in homogeneous, empty time than the absence of those prefatory genealogies, often ascending to the origin of man, which are so characteristic a feature of ancient chronicles, legends, and holy books.

Rizal wrote this novel in the colonial language Spanish , which was then the lingua franca of the ethnically diverse Eurasian and native elites. Alongside the novel appeared also for the first time a 'nationalist' press, not only in Spanish but in such 'ethnic' languages as Tagalog and Ilocano. See Leopoldo Y. Yabes, 'The Modern Literature of the Philippines,' pp. My translation. In those days Capitan Tiago had the reputation of a lavish host. It was known that his house, like his country, closed its doors to nothing, except to commerce and to any new or daring idea. So the news coursed like an electric shock through the community of parasites, spongers, and gatecrashers whom God, in His infinite goodness, created, and so tenderly multiplies in Manila.

Some hunted polish for their boots, others looked for collar-buttons and cravats. But one and all were preoccupied with the problem of how to greet their host with the familiarity required to create the appearance of longstanding friendship, or, if need be, to excuse themselves for not having arrived earlier. The dinner was being given at a house on Anloague Street. Since we do not recall the street number, we shall describe it in such a way that it may still be recognized - that is, if earthquakes have not yet destroyed it.

We do not believe that its owner will have had it torn down, since such work is usually left to God or to Nature, which, besides, holds many contracts with our Government. Extensive comment is surely unnecessary. It should suffice to note that right from the start the image wholly new to Filipino writing of a dinner- party being discussed by hundreds of unnamed people, who do not know each other, in quite different parts of Manila, in a particular month of a particular decade, immediately conjures up the imagined community. And in the phrase 'a house on Anloague Street' which 'we shall describe in such a way that it may still be recognized,' the would-be recognizers are we- Filipino-readers. The casual progression of this house from the 'interior' time of the novel to the 'exterior' time of the [Manila] reader's everyday life gives a hypnotic confirmation of the solidity of a single community, embracing characters, author and readers, moving onward through caiendrical time.

While Rizal has not the faintest had no command of Spanish, and was thus unwittingly led to rely on the instructively corrupt translation of Leon Maria Guerrero. Notice, for example, Rizal's subtle shift, in the same sentence, from the past tense of'created' crio to the all-of-us-together present tense of'multiplies' multiplied. Its setting - a fabulous mediaeval Albania — is utterly removed in time and space from the Binondo of the s. Where Rizal deliberately sprinkles his Spanish prose with Tagalog words for 'realistic', satirical, or nationalist effect, Balagtas unselfcon- sciously mixes Spanish phrases into his Tagalog quatrains simply to heighten the grandeur and sonority of his diction. Noli was meant to be read, while Florante at Laura was to be sung aloud.

Most striking of all is Balagtas's handling of time. As Lumbera notes, 'the unravelling of the plot does not follow a chronological order. The story begins in medias res, so that the complete story comes to us through a series of speeches that serve as flashbacks. As early as energetic Dominicans had published in Manila the Doctrina Christiana. But for centuries thereafter print remained under tight ecclesiastical control. Liberalization only began in the s. See Bienvenido L. If we learn of Florante's and Aladin's 'simultaneous' pasts, they are connected by their conversing voices, not by the structure of the epic.

How distant this technique is from that of the novel: 'In that same spring, while Florante was still studying in Athens, Aladin was expelled from his sovereign's court. Nor, aside from the mellifluous flow of Tagalog polysyllables, is there much 'Filipino' about his text. In the words of one critic, this text is 'a ferocious indictment of Spanish administration in Mexico: ignorance, superstition and corruption are seen to be its most notable characteristics. The technique is similar to that of Homer, so ably discussed by Auerbach, Mimesis, ch. I, your defender, whom you now murder Nevertheless lament the fate that has befallen you.

Tagalog Poetry, p. The translation is Lumbera's. I have slightly altered his Tagalog text to conform to a edition of the poem based on the imprint. And though his father is an intelligent man who wants his son to practise a useful trade rather than swell the ranks of lawyers and parasites, it is Periquillo's over-fond mother who wins the day, sends her son to university and thus ensures that he will learn only superstitious nonsense. Periquillo remains incorrigibly ignorant despite many encounters with good and wise people. He is unwilling to work or take anything seriously and becomes successively a priest, a gambler, a thief, apprentice to an apothecary, a doctor, clerk in a provincial town. These episodes permit the author to describe hospitals, prisons, remote villages, monasteries, while at the same time driving home one major point - that Spanish government and the education system encourage parasitism and laziness.

Periquillo's adventures several times take him among Indians and Negroes. Here again we see the 'national imagination' at work in the movement of a solitary hero through a sociological landscape of a fixity that fuses the world inside the novel with the world outside. This picaresque tour dyhorizon — hospitals, prisons, remote villages, monasteries, Indians, Negroes - is nonetheless not a tour du monde. The horizon is clearly bounded: it is that of colonial Mexico. Nothing assures us of this sociological solidity more than the succession ofplurals. For they conjure up a social space full of comparable prisons, none in itself of any unique importance, but all representative in their simultaneous, separate existence of the oppres- siveness of this colony.

They are never imagined as typical of this or that society. Each, like the one where Salome was bewitched by John the Baptist, is magically alone. Finally, to remove the possibility that, since Rizal and Lizardi both wrote in Spanish, the frameworks we have been studying are somehow 'European', here is the opening of Semarang Hitam [Black Semarang], a tale by the ill-fated young Indonesian communist-nationalist Mas 51 52 Marco Kartodikromo, published serially in This movement of a solitary hero through an adamantine social landscape is typical of many early anti- colonial novels.

After a brief, meteoric career as a radical journalist, Marco was interned by the Dutch colonial authorities in Boven Digul, one of the world's earliest concentration camps, deep in the interior swamps of western New Guinea, There he died in , after six years confinement. On this night however nobody was about. Because the heavy day-long rain had made the roads wet and very slippery, all had stayed at home.

For the workers in shops and offices Saturday morning was a time of anticipation - anticipating their leisure and the fun of walking around the city in the evening, but on this night they were to be disappointed - because of lethargy caused by the bad weather and the sticky roads in the kampungs. The main roads usually crammed with all sorts of traffic, the footpaths usually teeming with people, all were deserted. Now and then the crack of a horse-cab's whip could be heard spurring a horse on its way - or the clip-clop of horses' hooves pulling carriages along.

Semarang was deserted. The light from the rows of gas lamps shone straight down on the shining asphalt road. Occasionally the clear light from the gas lamps was dimmed as the wind blew from the east. A young man was seated on a long rattan lounge reading a newspaper. He was totally engrossed. His occasional anger and at other times smiles were a sure sign of his deep interest in the story. He turned the pages of the newspaper, thinking that perhaps he could find something that would stop him feeling so miserable.

The young man was moved by this brief report. He could just imagine the suffering of the poor soul as he lay dying on the side of the road. One moment he felt an explosive anger well up inside. Another moment he felt pity. Yet another moment his anger was ou L'Education Politique,' p. A brilliant recent full-length account of Marco's career can be found in Takashi Shiraishi, An Age in Motion: Popular Radicalism in Java, , chapters 2 - 5 and 8. Here, as in El Periquillo Sarniento, we are in a world of plurals: shops, offices, carriages, kampungs, and gas lamps.

As in the case of Noli, we- the-Indonesian-readers are plunged immediately into calendrical time and a familiar landscape; some of us may well have walked those 'sticky' Semarang roads. Once again, a solitary hero is juxtaposed to a socioscape described in careful, general detail. But there is also something new: a hero who is never named, but who is frequently referred to as 4our young man'.

Precisely the clumsiness and literary naivety of the text confirm the unselfconscious 'sincerity' of this pronominal adjective. Neither Marco nor his readers have any doubts about the reference. If in the jocular-sophisticated fiction of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Europe the trope 'our hero' merely underlines an authorial play with a ny reader, Marco's 'our young man,' not least in its novelty, means a young man who belongs to the collective body of readers of Indonesian, and thus, implicitly, an embryonic Indonesian 'imagined community. Even if polylingual Dutch colonial censors could join his readership, they are excluded from this 'ourness,' as can be seen from the fact that the young man's anger is directed at 'the,' not 'our,' social system.

Finally, the imagined community is confirmed by the doubleness of our reading about our young man reading. He does not find the corpse of the destitute vagrant by the side of a sticky Semarang road, but e imagines it from the print in a newspaper. Nor does he care the slightest who the dead vagrant individually was: he thinks of the representative body, not the personal life. It is fitting that in Semarang Hitam a newspaper appears embedded in Of the hero of this novel which he wrongly attributes to Marco Chambert-Loir writes that 'he has no idea of the meaning of the word "socialism": nonetheless he feels a profound malaise in the face of the social organization that surrounds him and he feels the need to enlarge his horizons by two methods: travel and reading.

The Itching Parrot has moved to Java and the twentieth century. What is the essential literary convention of the newspaper? If we were to look at a sample front page of, say, The New York Times, we might find there stories about Soviet dissidents, famine in Mali, a gruesome murder, a coup in Iraq, the discovery of a rare fossil in Zimbabwe, and a speech by Mitterrand. Why are these events so juxtaposed? What connects them to each other? Not sheer caprice. Yet obviously most of them happen inde- pendently, without the actors being aware of each other or of what the others are up to.

The arbitrariness of their inclusion and juxtaposition a later edition will substitute a baseball triumph for Mitterrand shows that the linkage between them is imagined. This imagined linkage derives from two obliquely related sources. The first is simply calendrical coincidence. The date at the top of the newspaper, the single most important emblem on it, provides the essential connection — the steady onward clocking of homogeneous, empty time. The sign for this: if Mali disappears from the pages of The New York Times after two days of famine reportage, for months on end, readers do not for a moment imagine that Mali has disappeared or that famine has wiped out all its citizens.

The novelistic format of the newspaper assures them that somewhere out there the 'character' Mali moves along quietly, awaiting its next reappearance in the plot. The second source of imagined linkage lies in the relationship between the newspaper, as a form of book, and the market. It has been estimated that in the odd years between the publication of the Gutenberg Bible and the close of the fifteenth century, more than 20,, printed volumes were produced in Europe. Reading a newspaper is like reading a novel whose author has abandoned any thought of a coherent plot. This amounted to no less than 35, editions produced in no fewer than towns.

As early as , presses existed in more than towns, of which 50 were in today's Italy, 30 in Germany, 9 in France, 8 each in Holland and Spain, 5 each in Belgium and Switzerland, 4 in England, 2 in Bohemia, and 1 in Poland. In , Fust and Schoeffer were already running a business geared to standardised production, and twenty years later large ,57 printing concerns were operating everywhere in all [sic] Europe. For these commodities are measured in mathematical amounts pounds or loads or pieces. A pound of sugar is simply a quantity, a convenient load, not an object in itself. The book, however — and here it prefigures the durables of our time — is a distinct, self- contained object, exactly reproduced on a large scale.

Small wonder that libraries, personal collections of mass- produced commodities, were already a familiar sight, in urban centres like Paris, by the sixteenth century. The authors comment that by the sixteenth century books were readily available to anyone who could read. The great Antwerp publishing house of Plantin controlled, early in the sixteenth century, 24 presses with more than workers in each shop. One might add that if the book market was dwarfed by the markets in other commodities, its strategic role in the dissemination of ideas nonetheless made it of central importance to the development of modern Europe.

The principle here is more important than the scale. Until the nineteenth century, editions were still relatively small. Even Luther's Bible, an extraordinary best- seller, had only a 4,copy first edition. The unusually large first edition of Diderot's Encyclopedic - numbered no more than 4, The average eighteenth- century run was less than 2, Febvre and Martin, The Coming of the Book, pp. At the same time, the book was always distinguishable from other durables by its inherently limited market. Anyone with money can buy Czech cars; only Czech- readers will buy Czech-language books. The importance of this distinction will be considered below. Furthermore, as early as the late fifteenth century the Venetian publisher Aldus had pioneered the portable 'pocket edition.

The obsolescence of the newspaper on the morrow of its printing - curious that one of the earlier mass-produced commodities should so prefigure the inbuilt obsolescence of modern durables - nonetheless, for just this reason, creates this extraordinary mass ceremony: the almost precisely simultaneous consumption 'imagining' of the newspaper-as-fiction. We know that particular morning and evening editions will over- whelmingly be consumed between this hour and that, only on this day, not that. Contrast sugar, the use of which proceeds in an unclocked, continuous flow; it may go bad, but it does not go out of date.

The significance of this mass ceremony - Hegel observed that newspapers serve modern man as a substitute for morning prayers - is paradoxical. It is performed in silent privacy, in the lair of the skull. Yet each communicant is well aware that the ceremony he performs is being replicated simultaneously by thousands or mil- lions of others of whose existence he is confident, yet of whose identity he has not the slightest notion. Furthermore, this ceremony is incessantly repeated at daily or half-daily intervals throughout the calendar. What more vivid figure for the secular, historically clocked, 63 imagined community can be envisioned? At the same time, the newspaper reader, observing exact replicas of his own paper being consumed by his subway, barbershop, or residential neighbours, is continually reassured that the imagined world is visibly rooted in As the case of Semarang Hitam shows, the two kinds of best-sellers used to be more closely linked than they are today.

Dickens too serialized his popular novels in popular newspapers. Writing of the relationship between the material anarchy of middle-class society and an abstract political state-order, Nairn observes that 'the representative mechanism converted real class inequality into the abstract egalitarianism of citizens, individual egotisms into an impersonal collective will, what would otherwise be chaos into a new state legitimacy. No doubt. But the representative mechanism elections? The generation of the impersonal will is, I think, better sought in the diurnal regularities of the imagining life. As with Noli Me Tangere, fiction seeps quietly and continuously into reality, creating that remarkable confidence of community in anonymity which is the hallmark of modern nations.

Before proceeding to a discussion of the specific origins of nationalism, it may be useful to recapitulate the main propositions put forward thus far. Essentially, I have been arguing that the very possibility of imagining the nation only arose historically when, and where, three fundamental cultural conceptions, all of great antiquity, lost their axiomatic grip on men's minds. The first of these was the idea that a particular script- language offered privileged access to ontological truth, precisely because it was an inseparable part of that truth.

It was this idea that called into being the great transcontinental sodalities of Christendom, the Islamic Ummah, and the rest. Second was the belief that society was naturally organized around and under high centres — monarchs who were persons apart from other human beings and who ruled by some form of cosmological divine dispensation. Human loyalties were necessarily hierarchical and centripetal because the ruler, like the sacred script, was a node of access to being and inherent in it. Third was a conception of temporality in which cosmology and history were indistinguishable, the origins of the world and of men essentially identical. Combined, these ideas rooted human lives firmly in the very nature of things, giving certain meaning to the everyday fatalities of existence above all death, loss, and servitude and offering, in various ways, redemption from them.

The slow, uneven decline of these interlinked certainties, first in Western Europe, later elsewhere, under the impact of economic change, 'discoveries' social and scientific , and the development of increasingly rapid communications, drove a harsh wedge between cosmology and history. No surprise then that the search was on, so to speak, for a new way of linking fraternity, power and time mean- ingfully together.

Nothing perhaps more precipitated this search, nor made it more fruitful, than print-capitalism, which made it possible for rapidly growing numbers of people to think about themselves, and to relate themselves to others, in profoundly new ways. Why, within that type, did the nation become so popular? The factors involved are obviously complex and various. But a strong case can be made for the primacy of capitalism. As already noted, at least 20,, books had already been printed by , signalling the onset of Benjamin's 'age of mechanical reproduction.

If, as Febvre and Martin believe, possibly as many as ,, volumes had been manufactured by , it is no wonder that Francis Bacon believed that print had changed 'the appearance and state of the world. The population of that Europe where print was then known was about ,, Emblematic is Marco Polo's Travels, which remained largely unknown till its first printing in Polo, Travels, p. Quoted in Eisenstein, 'Some Conjectures,' p. The early printers established branches all over Europe: 'in this way a veritable "international" of publishing houses, which ignored national [sic] frontiers, was created. Saturation of this market took about a hundred and fifty years.

The determinative fact about Latin — aside from its sacrality - was that it was a language of bilinguals. Relatively few were born to speak it and even fewer, one imagines, dreamed in it. In the sixteenth century the proportion of bilinguals within the total population of Europe was quite small; very likely no larger than the proportion in the world's population today, and - proletarian internationalism notwithstanding - in the centuries to come. Then and now the bulk of mankind is monoglot. The logic of capitalism thus meant that once the elite Latin market was saturated, the potentially huge markets represented by the mono- glot masses would beckon.

To be sure, the Counter-Reformation encouraged a temporary resurgence of Latin-publishing, but by the mid-seventeenth century the movement was in decay, and fervently Catholic libraries replete. Meantime, a Europe-wide shortage of money made printers think more and more of peddling cheap editions in the vernaculars. The original text, however, speaks simply of'par-dessus les frontieres. The original text speaks of 'puissants' powerful rather than 'wealthy' capitalists.

LApparition, p. The original text has 'une civilisation de masse et de standardisation,' which may be better rendered 'standardised, mass civilization. The first, and ultimately the least important, was a change in the character of Latin itself. Thanks to the labours of the Humanists in reviving the broad literature of pre- Christian antiquity and spreading it through the print-market, a new appreciation of the sophisticated stylistic achievements of the ancients was apparent among the trans-European intelligentsia. The Latin they now aspired to write became more and more Ciceronian, and, by the same token, increasingly removed from ecclesiastical and everyday life. In this way it acquired an esoteric quality quite different from that of Church Latin in mediaeval times.

For the older Latin was not arcane because of its subject matter or style, but simply because it was written at all, i. Now it became arcane because of what was written, because of the language-in-itself. Second was the impact of the Reformation, which, at the same time, owed much of its success to print-capitalism. Before the age of print, Rome easily won every war against heresy in Western Europe because it always had better internal lines of communication than its challengers. But when in Martin Luther nailed his theses to the chapel-door in Wittenberg, they were printed up in German translation, and 'within 15 days [had been] seen in every part of the country. His works represented no less than one third of all German-language books sold between and Between and , a total of editions whole or partial of his Biblical translations ap- peared.

In this titanic 'battle for men's minds', Protestantism was always fundamentally on the offensive, precisely because it knew how to make use of the expanding vernacular print-market being created by capitalism, while the Counter-Reformation defended the citadel of Latin. The emblem for this is the Vatican's Index Librorum Prohibitorum - to which there was no Protestant counterpart - a novel catalogue made necessary by the sheer volume of printed subversion. Nothing gives a better sense of this siege mentality than Francois I's panicked ban on the printing of any books in his realm — on pain of death by hanging!

The reason for both the ban and its unenforceability was that by then his realm's eastern borders were ringed with Protestant states and cities producing a massive stream of smugglable print. To take Calvin's Geneva alone: between and only 42 editions were published there, but the numbers swelled to between and , by which latter date no less than 40 separate printing-presses were working overtime. Inevitably, it was not merely the Church that was shaken to its core. The same earthquake produced Europe's first important non-dynastic, non-city states in the Dutch Republic and the Com- monwealth of the Puritans. Francois I's panic was as much political as religious.

Third was the slow, geographically uneven, spread of particular vernaculars as instruments of administrative centralization by certain well-positioned would-be absolutist monarchs. Here it is useful to remember that the universality of Latin in mediaeval Western Europe never corresponded to a universal political system. The France where Corneille, Moliere, and La Fontaine could sell their manuscript tragedies and comedies directly to publishers, who bought them as excellent investments in view of their authors' market reputations. In effect, the political fragmentation of Western Europe after the collapse of the Western Empire meant that no sovereign could monopolize Latin and make it his-and-only-his language-of-state, and thus Latin's religious authority never had a true political analogue.

The birth of administrative vernaculars predated both print and the religious upheaval of the sixteenth century, and must therefore be regarded at least initially as an independent factor in the erosion of the sacred imagined community. At the same time, nothing suggests that any deep-seated ideological, let alone proto-national, impulses underlay this vernacularization where it occurred. The case of 'Eng- land' - on the northwestern periphery of Latin Europe — is here especially enlightening.

Prior to the Norman Conquest, the language of the court, literary and administrative, was Anglo-Saxon. For the next century and a half virtually all royal documents were composed in Latin. Between about and this state-Latin was superseded by Norman French. In the meantime, a slow fusion between this language of a foreign ruling class and the Anglo-Saxon of the subject population produced Early English. The fusion made it possible for the new language to take its turn, after , as the language of the courts - and for the opening of Parliament. Wycliffe's vernacular manuscript Bible followed in It is essential to bear in mind that this sequence was a series of'state,' not 'national,' languages; and that the state concerned covered at various times not only today's England and Wales, but also portions of Ireland, Scotland and France.

Obviously, huge elements of the subject populations13knew little or nothing of Latin, Norman French, or Early English. Not till almost a century after Early English's political enthronement was London's power swept out of'France'. On the Seine, a similar movement took place, if at a slower pace. Seton-Watson, Nations and States, pp. We should not assume that administrative vernacular unification was im- mediately or fully achieved. It is unlikely that the Guyenne ruled from London was ever primarily administered in Early English. In other dynastic realms Latin survived much longer — under the Habsburgs well into the nineteenth century. In still others, 'foreign' vernaculars took over: in the eighteenth century the languages of the Romanov court were French and German.

In every instance, the 'choice' of language appears as a gradual, unselfconscious, pragmatic, not to say haphazard development. As such, it was utterly different from the selfconscious language policies pursued by nineteenth-century dynasts confronted with the rise of hostile popular linguistic-nationalisms. See below, Chapter 6. One clear sign of the difference is that the old administrative languages were just that: languages used by and for officialdoms for their own inner convenience. There was no idea of systematically17imposing the language on the dynasts' various subject populations.

Nonetheless, the elevation of these verna- culars to the status of languages-of-power, where, in one sense, they were competitors with Latin French in Paris, [Early] English in London , made its own contribution to the decline of the imagined community of Christendom. At bottom, it is likely that the esotericization of Latin, the Reformation, and the haphazard development of administrative vernaculars are significant, in the present context, primarily in a negative sense — in their contributions to the dethronement of Latin.

It is quite possible to conceive of the emergence of the new imagined national communities without any one, perhaps all, of them being present. What, in a positive sense, made the new communities imaginable was a half-fortuitous, but explosive, interaction between An agreeable confirmation of this point is provided by Francois I, who, as we have seen, banned all printing of books in and made French the language of his courts four years later! The element of fatality is essential. For whatever superhuman feats capitalism was capable of, it found in death and languages two tenacious adversaries.

Yet this mutual incomprehensibility was historically of only slight importance until capitalism and print created monoglot mass reading publics. While it is essential to keep in mind an idea of fatality, in the sense of a general condition of irremediable linguistic diversity, it would be a mistake to equate this fatality with that common element in nationalist ideologies which stresses the primordial fatality of particular languages and their association with particular territorial units.

The essential thing is the interplay between fatality, technology, and capitalism. In pre-print Europe, and, of course, elsewhere in the world, the diversity of spoken languages, those languages that for their speakers were and are the warp and woof of their lives, was immense; so immense, indeed, that had print-capitalism sought to exploit each potential oral vernacular market, it would have remained a capitalism of petty proportions.

But these varied idiolects were capable of being assembled, within definite limits, into print-languages far fewer in number. The very arbitrariness 20 of any system of signs for sounds facilitated the assembling process. At the same time, the more ideographic the signs, the vaster the potential It was not the first 'accident' of its kind. Febvre and Martin note that while a visible bourgeoisie already existed in Europe by the late thirteenth century, paper did not come into general use until the end of the fourteenth.

Only paper's smooth plane surface made the mass reproduction of texts and pictures possible - and this did not occur for still another seventy-five years. But paper was not a European invention. It floated in from another history - China's - through the Islamic world. The Coming of the Book, pp. We still have no giant multinationals in the world of publishing.

For a useful discussion of this point, see S. Steinberg, Five Hundred Years of Printing, chapter 5. That the sign ough is pronounced differently in the words although, bough, lough, rough, cough, and hiccough, shows both the idiolectic variety out of which the now-standard spelling of English emerged, and the ideographic quality of the final product. One can detect a sort of descending hierarchy here from algebra through Chinese and English, to the regular syllabaries of French or Indonesian. Nothing served to 'assemble' related vernaculars more than capitalism, which, within the limits imposed by grammars and syntaxes, created mechanically reproduced print-languages capable 21 of dissemination through the market. These print-languages laid the bases for national consciousnesses in three distinct ways.

First and foremost, they created unified fields of exchange and communication below Latin and above the spoken vernaculars. Speakers of the huge variety of Frenches, Englishes, or Spanishes, who might find it difficult or even impossible to understand one another in conversation, became capable of comprehending one another via print and paper. In the process, they gradually became aware of the hundreds of thousands, even millions, of people in their particular language-field, and at the same time that only those hundreds of thousands, or millions, so belonged.

These fellow-readers, to whom they were connected through print, formed, in their secular, parti- cular, visible invisibility, the embryo of the nationally imagined community. Second, print-capitalism gave a new fixity to language, which in the long run helped to build that image of antiquity so central to the subjective idea of the nation.

As Febvre and Martin remind us, the printed book kept a permanent form, capable of virtually infinite reproduction, temporally and spatially. It was no longer subject to the individualizing and 'unconsciously modernizing' habits of monastic scribes. Thus, while twelfth-century French differed markedly from that written by Villon in the fifteenth, the rate of change slowed decisively in the sixteenth. I say 'nothing served. Both Steinberg and Eisenstein come close to theomorphizing 'print' qua print as the genius of modern history. Febvre and Martin never forget that behind print stand printers and publishing firms. It is worth remembering in this context that although printing was invented first in China, possibly years before its appearance in Europe, it had no major, let alone revolutionary impact - precisely because of the absence of capitalism there.

The Coming of the Book, p. L'Apparition, p. Third, print-capitalism created languages-of-power of a kind dif- ferent from the older administrative vernaculars. Certain dialects inevitably were 'closer' to each print-language and dominated their final forms. Their disadvantaged cousins, still assimilable to the emerging print-language, lost caste, above all because they were unsuccessful or only relatively successful in insisting on their own print-form.

High German, the King's English, and, later, Central Thai, were corre- spondingly elevated to a new politico-cultural eminence. Hence the struggles in late-twentieth-century Europe by certain 'sub-' nation- alities to change their subordinate status by breaking firmly into print - and radio.

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