By Svetlana Boym
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Extra resources for Death in Quotation Marks: Cultural Myths of the Modern Poet
There is no script for these roles, no compendium of cultural myths of the self written in the ideal metalanguage, a sort of critical Esperanto. The roles are not written anywhere in anything resembling a paradigmatic language of pure codes. Rather, they are realized in the course of individual performances, and their common attributes can be traced through their mutual superimposition. Hence, the relationship between life, art, and culture is not that of a mimesis, or a hierarchy, but rather that of a chain of rehearsals based on a certain limited repertoire (which, nevertheless, can offer a relatively unlimited number of combinations).
The contemporary meaning of the word fashion—"the current style or custom in dress and behavior"—is not foregrounded in Greenblatt's illuminating readings. At times fashion appears too superfluous and transient for analysis. My readings, however, will explore how clothes signify in poetry and in the development of the biographical legend. I will combine clothes reading and close reading, demonstrating the impossibility of a complete "disclosure" or laying bare of the poetic text. This way a certain double movement will be established between dressing literary texts in cultural attire and inscribing cultural images of poets onto the subversive practice of writing.
In the relationship between art and life, Gasparov emphasizes literature's twofold influence upon life. On the one hand, the structures of literature influence life directly. Lidiya Ginsburg gives us an example of 2 6 • Introduction this phenomenon in her discussion of the nineteenth-century Russian revolutionary Decembrists whose politics and everyday behavior were shaped by Romantic poetics. On the other hand, artistic structures offer an ideal model for describing the multifaceted processes of society.