"The Sorrows of Young Wieboldt: A Gloss "

The Last Formalist, or W. J. T. Mitchell
as Romantic Dinosaur

The Sorrows of Young Wieboldt: A Gloss

by Orrin N. C. Wang

Editors' Note: This essay and the text by W.J.T. Mitchell appear together with images, illustrations, and interview questions in the main page of this volume.

  1. Things were becoming more difficult than he had anticipated. W rubbed his eyes. He didn't rue coming to Ingolstadt, seeking out Mitchell and the man's secrets of nature, knowledge that seemed possessed at once by a responsible doctor and a magus. And it wasn't that the interview itself was changing right before him into something that was taking on the form of something different altogether. It wasn't that questions weren't being answered, nor that W didn't know what to expect next. No, it was Mitchell's ideas themselves. They haunted him, made sleep difficult; wasn't he supposed to be doing his own work? W once thought he had mastered Mitchell's lessons, understood the implications of seeing beyond Derrida's opposition between speech and writing to that of image and text. But, like Mitchell's own references to the reanimating influence of Henri Focillon (Fossil?), Mitchell's text forced W to reconsider prior assumptions, to wonder about new connections.

  2. W sighed. Perhaps it might help to return to Mitchell's initial image of the asymptote. W remembered looking up the term while reading Fredric Jameson, who used "asymptotic" to describe the relation between the symbolic and the real, and to argue that just because language didn't touch the real, we shouldn't assume that the real didn't exist (Ideologies, 104). Conversely, the intersection of x and y would be the phantasm of the imaginary. For Jameson the asymptote stressed the role of the symbolic, the necessity of representation, and, consequently, of a Marxist hermeneutic. For Mitchell, however, the image of the asymptote seemed to hold its own attractions, its own animistic "logic of the real" that insinuated a discussion about images and the imaginary that didn't absolutely depend on the activities of interpretation and sign-making. But what would that mean? When asked over e-mail Mitchell was silent about the Jameson comparison. It seemed at the very least that for Jameson the imaginary by implication was associated with the non-substantial--it was always something that then turned out to be the gap between x and y--while for Mitchell the image was real, like the lines of the asymptote diagram themselves.

  3. (Perhaps, thought W, because in an image a gap could be real, whereas in language it couldn't be?) This would seem to mark a basic difference between Mitchell and Lacan, whom Mitchell did cite: the former associated the image with a certain basic (crass, even) materiality while the latter characterized the imago as "illusory, phantasmic, oneiric, hallucinatory" (Rosalind Krauss's words, in an essay that accompanied Mitchell's in October 77, Summer 1996 [91]). If Mitchell started off as a "bone-headed Platonist," he was a peculiar one, insofar as his intuitions about the reality of images and ideas depended on their materiality. An image of a table would have its own integrity, its own animism. W paused. Had he gotten this right? Would Mitchell agree? W shuffled his paper copy, quieting such thoughts.

  4. It did seem that this equation between matter and image spoke to one of the initial questions that Mitchell didn't address directly, the relation between his materialist approach and a theory of history. Certainly Mitchell was aware of the association of the imago with the hallucinatory -- his whole study in Iconology (1986) of the iconoclastic tendencies in Marx's theory of ideology spoke to that issue. But Mitchell was very good at ideological critique himself. W vividly recalled reading Mitchell's piece on Lessing's Laocoön, and realizing the extent to which the social world could be part of a discussion about a piece of art. Indeed, W had always associated Mitchell with the socio-historical analysis that was part of critical thought since the 1980s. Yet Mitchell's response indirectly complicated this categorization. If materiality was associated with history it was for Mitchell also associated with form, which was one step away from a formalist discourse that many had consciously opposed to historical thought. W also recalled what Mitchell had said to him over the phone, how Focillon had described images as living creatures, how we then made stories up about them. So even if form for Mitchell was historically specific (as opposed to the ahistorical form of subversion and containment in New Historicism, as some Marxists might say) it still seemed that, for Mitchell, the form of images in some way conditioned the very options of historical inquiry. W did remember Mitchell mentioning in his response the "political unconscious" to which images referred; still, W felt there was a tendency in Mitchell's prose to flirt at least with the possibility of formal structures that preceded any historical operation. W did not think this was necessarily a bad thing; Mitchell certainly seemed unbothered by this predicament, almost reveling in it as the title to the interview implied. Taking into account Mitchell's well-known contrary nature--W had first read Rousseau with him--W still felt Mitchell was using the discourse of form to shake up predictable debates over form and history, aesthetics and social use.

  5. Mitchell himself referred to his ideas about images in Iconology as constituting a "perfect compromise formation" between theory and practice. W preferred to see it as more of a negative dialectic, which insisted that the best historical work also somehow questioned the ontological certitudes of its own analysis. This certainly seemed to return the conversation to Romantic terrain. W remembered Mitchell's life-long affiliation with Blake, the Romantic poet who complicated any easy division between idealism and materialism, the imagination and history. W idly compared those divisions to the one that people had long used to make sense of Percy Shelley, the opposition between idealism and skepticism that received its own categorical shake-up with the 1980s stress on Percy's language, which did not so much sublate idealism and skepticism as reorient the discussion around a deconstructive figuring of tropes preceding either of those terms. Would it be safe to say that, in contrast, Mitchell through Blake had found a formalism of images that preceded the division between idealism and materialism? But what, then, was the difference between a figure and a form? W caught himself. In contrast to Mitchell's kunstleroman, which promised a certain--albeit peripatetic--progression, W felt he was going in the other direction, into more questions, more uncertainty.

  6. W thought about the other initial question that Mitchell really hadn't answered, which also seemed connected to what W was groping toward. This was the rather convoluted query concerning high Romanticism and low Romanticism, high theory and cultural studies. Rosalind Krauss had argued for the investment of cultural studies in the imago, in terms of subject interpellation and self-identification (85). W took this to mean the commitment in cultural studies to some type of ideological critique and political intervention. One could certainly argue with Krauss's terms (equating Althusser with cultural studies was already problematic); still, W did feel that Mitchell's wide-ranging interest in images did lend itself not only to a materialist, politically motivated approach but also to a cultural ethnography that consciously disturbed the sanctity of simply studying high literature. (Mitchell's pieces on CNN and Do The Right Thing would be cases in point.) However, in terms of Romantic subjects (Blake) and themes (the image in imagination), Mitchell seemed to remain very much a high Romanticist. W wasn't sure what to make of this predicament, except for his own intuition that an interest in high Romanticism was more and more going to be accompanied by a rationale for that interest's existence--an exercise in Habermasian legitimacy that, given Romanticism's history of legitimation and delegitimation, wasn't simply good or bad but something that, for a start, had to be recognized as an object requiring reflection in its own right. The other part to these musings was the historical connection between high Romanticism and the high theory of deconstruction and the Yale School, especially Paul de Man. This connection underwrote the tendency, rightly or wrongly, to view the movements of Romantic studies away from high theory and high Romanticism as first, indeed happening, and, second, as parts of the same historical intellectual formation. W felt that the field was just beginning to learn how to talk about these matters and that Mitchell's case was an interesting one to consider in light of these concerns. Or perhaps he just wanted Mitchell to talk a bit about de Man, whom W had first encountered in Mitchell's class. It was interesting, though not strange, that de Man did not really play a part in Mitchell's account of the 1970s and 80s zeitgeist of theory that Mitchell had participated in and helped create as the editor of Critical Inquiry. Perhaps by formulating the question more directly in the follow-up interview, W would get an answer that would clarify what W was trying to think through; perhaps the question about figure and form might finally make sense.

  7. Unsurprisingly, both Mitchell and de Man led W on a detour. Mitchell, because he didn't answer the follow-up question about de Man, and de Man because he led W to think about the other questions that Mitchell also did not answer. For if de Man, high theory, and high Romanticism formed some type of topoi in dialogue, or perhaps even in contention, with Mitchell's ideas, a large reason for this situation had to be de Man's emphasis on language instead of images. W thus thought about another question that Mitchell hadn't responded to in the follow-up interview, if that term still held any meaning for the generic mutations which now seemed to direct the concerns of Praxis, instead of visa versa. W steadied himself and returned to the question he had been considering, what language wanted and what that might say about the Romantic sublime. Mitchell's excitement over the question of what images wanted had been contagious, and W found it equally provocative. W had gotten from Mitchell's rhetoric of magic and animism the sense that images wanted to be left alone and that they could in fact accomplish this feat; they could, if we let them, be by themselves. This was what W thought poetry in at least one of its self-representations wanted to ape, a self-animating state that was also the end to figuration and the duplicity of reference. Poetry wanted to annihilate itself as language and become as self-sufficient as an image, inviting desire perhaps, but not worrying about the possibility of its heteronomy, its dependence on human language and human design. That this self-sufficiency might be a fiction mattered less than what images aroused in us and what we thought they could then do. The Romantic sublime might then be that state of animated presence, even if its imagist cross-dressing depended on a first level iconoclasm, a Burkean account of the pain involved in human visuality and its limits.

  8. But then W read Mitchell's essay, "What Do Pictures Really Want," and discovered that the situation was actually much more complex. In that piece Mitchell actually seemed to stress the want of images in terms of what they lacked, in terms of what made them vulnerable, incomplete, and abject, caught in the gendered gaze of desire. W paused; perhaps his question to Mitchell hadn't really understood the way the latter was coordinating desire with what images did, and what they really were. W then noticed Mitchell's citation of Michael Fried's argument, how the "emergence of modern art [was] precisely to be understood in terms of the negation or renunciation of direct signs of desire" (79). Mitchell then suggested that the "end point of this sort of pictorial desire" was the "purism of modernist abstraction"(80). Mitchell went on to note pointedly that this puritanical renunciation of desire was itself a form of desire, and then cited a Barbara Kruger photo that directly commented on this impossible purism. W wondered, however, if Fried's historical model, with its implied trajectory from Romantic abjection to modernist self-sufficiency, actually spoke to a Romantic language that wanted to be like an image, covertly perhaps, instead of stoning it or breaking it like a scorned idol. The Romantic sublime would then be a simultaneous desire for the potent and the abject, the autonomous and the heteronomous, the ambivalent, contradictory projections of what an image was and did. The sublime would desire, as in Bataille's economy, what it renounced and secreted, the object of its iconoclastic scorn and pain.

  9. Wouldn't such an ambiguity be an extension of Mitchell's description of plate xv from Milton, the construction/deconstruction of Urizen? Perhaps, then, there were images that were not Romantic, Mitchell's cool modern abstractions that he extrapolated from Fried, images of cold self-sufficiency, unaware of any viewer, unaware of the painful lack that paradoxically informed both the sublime and the desire of images in Mitchell's October essay. W shook his head. He assumed his narrative to be too schematic, too uninformed by a variety of sources. He would not even venture where to place the poetry of the modern imagists in his paradigm. He was keenly aware of the examples of twentieth-century iconoclasm that Mitchell could juxtapose alongside the modern abstractions, thus disrupting the putative serenity of their indifferent existence. He imagined that the voyeurism that Mitchell associated with such abstractions could very well have its precursors in earlier examples of art; if so, Mitchell would certainly know. Two apparently unconnected thoughts then entered W's mind. First, that the Kruger photo collage appeared to depict the face of a marble statue, as Mitchell noted, "blank eyes and [a] stony absence of expression [that made it] seem beyond desire" (80); and second, that Fredric Jameson, in his one sustained commentary on Paul de Man, had concluded with the description of the latter as a modernist (Postmodernism, 252-59). The implication was in part a certain quaintness in de Man's covert aesthetic principles, in light of the postmodern logic of late capitalism. But what W also got out of this description was the claim that de Man was first and foremost something else than a Romanticist. Why was that important? Well, W seemed to be back to thinking about de Man and Mitchell again. W noted how part II of Mitchell's response had cited Richard Rorty's proclamation of contemporary philosophy getting beyond the "mirror of nature" into a "linguistic turn" as a prime example of the iconoclastic wishful thinking that still dominated critical thought. Mitchell had extended this problematic to the whole project of trying to understand images through the "science of linguistics," what amounted to a "general theory of the sign and semiosis." What, however, about deconstruction, which had its own linguistic problems with any generalizable theory of the sign? Conversely, even more so than Rorty, de Man's whole project in many ways rested on exposing the inevitable error that we make confusing the figurative with the literal, language with the phenomenal world. In contrast, it was Mitchell's very literal mindedness that seemed to found his fascination with images. For de Man, the figural always upended the literal, demonstrating the ubiquity of language. For Mitchell, the figural could always be literalized, showing the power of images.

  10. De Man's "Resistance to Theory" contained an especially vivid example of the simultaneous absurdity and unavoidability of taking a figure literally, how "no one in his right mind [would] try to grow grapes by the luminosity of the word day;" while "it [was] very difficult not to conceive the pattern of one's past and future existence as in accordance with temporal and spatial schemes that belong to fictional narratives and not to the world" (11). (Another connection: until the publication of The Aesthetic Ideology, this discussion of confusing the figural with the literal was considered one of de Man's most emphatic statements about ideology; the iconoclasm of the passage concludes with a reference to The German Ideology, Mitchell's own object of study in Iconology.) But W felt that there was something in Mitchell that would resist even the obvious absurdity of de Man's first example, of growing grapes with the word "day."

  11. W wondered if the sight of someone trying to warm themselves with a cardboard sign saying "day," or better yet, an image of a glowing sun, could only be dismissed derisively. W wondered whether the strangeness of such a scene, of the possible warmth of an image, carried a painful poignancy that spoke to Mitchell's questions about what images wanted, and what we wanted from images. W thought about the pathos of the blind beggar in The Prelude, how that affect was generated by the juxtaposition of the image of the blind man with the sign around his neck: the sheer oddness of conceiving of that "Shape" as a figurative extension for the written "Story" around his neck, and the equally bizarre sense of literalizing those words as the man on whose neck they hung. Sign and body, figure and form seemed caught in a moment of mutual interdependence and mutual incompatibility, a second cousin to Mitchell's example of the optical illusion that oscillated between the images of a duck and a rabbit. (W thought how you could also talk about this dialectic in terms of Tennyson's poem and Waterhouse's painting, each a respective "Lady of Shallot"; he had touched upon this issue in terms of a nascent Victorian commodity culture in his response to Jim Chandler's admirable essay on the poem.) But whereas the duck/rabbit oscillated between two images, the blind beggar oscillated between form and figure, image and text. That this dynamic entailed making sense of a life, or making a life, made these issues all the more compelling for W, as well as all the more Romantic.

  12. Making a life could be either a figurative or literal act, though of course defining what a life literally meant entailed depending on the figural. Either image or text could be the material of the figure of biography or autobiography, but, most importantly, that figure always assumed the figure of a successful form or image. De Man called this biographical trope personification, prosopopoeia, literally "giving face" to an inanimate collection of words, transforming them into the features of a human life. In "What Do Pictures Really Want?" Mitchell also talked about how images "present[ed] not just a surface, but a face that faces the beholder" (72). This coincidence between Mitchell and de Man generated the reasoning behind W's follow-up question to Mitchell about de Man and Romantic autobiography.

  13. Of course, that point of coincidence also marked the point where the two immediately diverged. Mitchell brought up the faces of images because he was interested in the possibility of the "personhood of things," the totemic and fetishistic nature of human life, our incurable intuitions about images as living beings. De Man brought up the faces of figures to stress language's crucial role in determining the personhood of persons, of in fact securing the difference between a person and a thing which might simply roll round with rock, and stones, and trees. But what de Man also stressed, of course, was the failure of language to secure that difference. Indeed, for de Man, language actively participated in undoing its own figures of personification, disfiguring the human face by transforming it into an inanimate statue or by reducing it to the lines from an epitaph. Such de Manian monuments resonated with Benjamin's empty masks of allegory and Kleist's dancing puppets, the animation of the latter actually revealing the non-intentional, non-human state of linguistic drive.

  14. At this point W recalled Kruger's photo and Jameson's description of de Man as a modernist. What would it mean, thought W, to connect de Man's putative modernism to Mitchell's modernist abstractions, and, by extension, Kruger's work of art? It might mean relating de Man to what connected the art pieces, the absence of desire on the part of the modern image that Kruger's statue both thematized and parodied. But what would it mean to take this pure absence of desire literally, much in the same way that Mitchell had literalized Wasserman's organic metaphors for the text? One would be left with, thought W, not so much the lack that structured desire, as the completeness of death. For what did it mean "to seem to be beyond desire" except to be dead? What if in fact there was no desire, just the defense against desire--what was that but death, an inanimate shield with no animating purpose, no life?

  15. De Man was indeed a Romanticist, though of a Romanticism that already anticipated the end point of Fried's aesthetic modernist narrative. The "blank eyes" of Kruger's postmodernist statue recalled not only the deadly narrative drive of a blind Borges (whom de Man had written about in the 60s) but also more relevantly the blank holes of Rousseau's disfigured face in Percy's The Triumph of Life and de Man's "Shelley Disfigured." The absence of eyes meant for de Man the absence of human life: the inorganic, written impersonation of life that was bio-graphy, and that the statue carried out. This absence underscored the inanimate state of such an image (figurative or literal) as the instrument by which we knew the dead nature of things: of words and, by extension, our own lives.

  16. Many commentators had noticed the figure of death in de Man, and the lurid effect its presence had on his corpus. Yet W did not now simply feel this luridness, in large part due to the contrasting orientation of the image in Mitchell's account. For what especially haunted and exhilarated W about Mitchell's alchemic blend--a mixture as Romantic as de Man's own--was the stress on animism, the implied combination of animation and anima that reactivated Hegel's Spirit, an identity which was given a startling new range of form and motion because of Mitchell's materialist, literalist bent, much like the Lacanian child who discovers its body for the first time through the mirror stage. If de Man taught us that persons were dead objects, Mitchell proposed to revisit Marx's commodity form and to reconsider the full story of objects reanimated as persons. As Mitchell argued, "the subjectivized object in some form or other is an incurable symptom, and . . . Marx and Freud are better treated as guides to the understanding of this symptom, and perhaps to some transformation of it into less pathological damaging forms. In short, we are stuck with our magical, premodern attitudes toward objects, especially pictures, and our task is not to overcome these attitudes but to understand them" ("Pictures," 72).

  17. The fetish might be a symptom, but it might also be an opportunity. And, like the dinosaur, this subjectivization of the object was both premodern and contemporary, if not postmodern: Mitchell's museum would not only be populated by de Manian tombs, epitaphs, and monuments of inorganic death but also by Donna Haraway's cyborg, Bruno Latour's Aramis, the proposed Parisian metro system fighting for its own rights, and the toons in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, who receive at the film's end their own copyright independence (a highly ironic vision of citizenship, to be sure). At least that was W's version of Mitchell's museum, one that admittedly diverged from the fossilized "Paleo-art" that comprised the actual "conclusion" of Mitchell's vision. At any rate, associating the de Manian figure of death with a lurid tone seemed to W its own false, personified image, especially when juxtaposed with Mitchell's circuit of living forms. Instead, W felt that he had stumbled into some rabbit hole of deep ecology, where the Nietzchean challenge to value rested not on the zone between good and evil but on the even more volatile space between animate and inanimate existence. Perhaps, thought W, that was the difference between de Man's figure and Mitchell's form: the matter of, or between, life and death itself.

  18. This seemed to W quite a profound insight, until he went back and reread the second part of Mitchell's response. Not unexpectedly, Mitchell appeared to have anticipated much of this topic in his discussion of Focillon's "life of forms" as "life itself--organic, biological nature--[which] has to be understood as a diachronic process of formal engendering, transmission, proliferation, differentiation, and (presumably) extinction." Indeed, Mitchell's foray into paleontology and the philosophy--or tropology--of science seemed largely predicated on the question of whether "iconology, and the problem of the image, was . . . an issue that reached right down into the subhuman, even suborganic slime." W wondered, however, if Mitchell could push his question even further. De Man's notion of figure might presume, for example, a synchronic alternative to Mitchell's diachronic process of "organic biological nature," one in which life was always already extinct, always already non-living matter that was the larger genus housing the species, and values, of organic material. Conversely, the inorganic would loom large, no longer a mere supplement to the organic but a portion of the real that could participate in what had up to now been the property of human life: agency, subjectivity, affect, value, rights. The difference between form and figure would be this dialectic, structure as the liminal state between life and death. Wasn't that the point, thought W, of the sub-atomic world, how at some level the division between the biological and nonbiological no longer grounded one's inquiry into reality? That might also be the point where de Man's reading of Romantic bio-graphy met Kittler's gene as discursive network.

  19. W paused, painfully aware that he was even less equipped than Mitchell to consider the relationship between the sciences and the humanities. Nevertheless, he could not help pondering his memories of the Discovery channel, the picture of a spiraling DNA strand, the genetic "code" for human life. There you had the dialectic between form and figure that preceded the categories of the material, the ideal, the theological, the skeptical, the instrumental, and the purposeful. There you had, literally, Focillon's, Blake's, and Mitchell's living form, the formal patten of life. But there you also had de Man's carbon-based machine of language, sheer figural drive without prior motivation or blessing. At that moment the human world deadened while the world itself sprang to life; personhood conceivably extended to the vegetable, mineral, and the non-human animal. Blake might not have liked this postmodern recuperation of Vala, but it seemed to W that such events spoke to the renewed interest in Romantic studies in such staid, ideologically fetishized terms as "Nature." Mitchell had through the dinosaur connected the world of the prehistoric to that of the posthistoric or postmodern. He had also, however, returned to a world where the existence of dinosaurs was not yet known. Process, stillness, life, death: these were some of the Romantically large obsessions that grounded the burgeoning sub-field of Romanticism and ecology in Romantic studies. Considering how much these terms circulated around Mitchell's interest in the relation between images and "suborganic slime," it seemed that Mitchell had remained a Romanticist--and, perhaps, a Romantic--all along. How odd, thought W, that there was a time when no one thought about discussing Romanticism and dinosaurs together. What was "A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal" but a proleptic meditation on the present as paleontology, Lucy as a fossil, as living bones?

  20. W shifted in his seat uneasily. Mitchell's mode of visionary thought was definitely habit-forming, perhaps not the best model of intellectual inquiry for a young responsible scholar, especially one given to bouts of idle speculation. Still, outside events had overtaken whatever W had hoped to control, and so his thoughts turned to Jurassic Park and the question of how the film created its dinosaurs. Certainly, through the technology of image reproduction, of the animation of simulacra; but, also within the film's own diegesis, dinosaurs were truly the outcome of the era of biocybernetic reproduction: they had been cloned from DNA. W sat back and wondered about the symbolic intersections of a T Rex and a sheep named Dolly. Cloning, the figure par excellence for postmodern simulation, had during the time of the Mitchell interview been literalized, been given its own actual institutional, material, and disciplinary form. Generated by a spark of electricity that was similar to the galvanism that Mary Shelley discussed with Percy and Byron, cloning had been given the body of an Edinburgh sheep. The social, ethical, and legal forms of cloning, however, were another matter. (Was the economic body already determined?) Foreseeing such debates, would science occupy the territory of the literal, the actual form of cloning, and would the humanities espouse the authority of the figural, their expertise in the figure of simulation? W remembered seeing two experts debate Dolly's arrival on Nightline, and then changing to another channel a bit later and seeing their doubles, no acknowledged sign of their previous talking heads existence in sight. W rubbed his eyes: cloning as the figure for the postmodern spectacle of replication; cloning as the literal science of genetic research into disease, agriculture, and animal husbandry: was this opposition too simple? Certainly, at least in the sense that the social form of cloning would find its genealogy through the hybridity of such stark identities, rather than originating in any one pure affiliation, if such a thing ever existed in the first place. Perhaps, also, the association of the sciences with one tendency and the humanities with the other was equally simplistic.

  21. Mitchell's cheerful combination of literal-mindedness and openness to the magic of images appeared to promise such a complication. W recalled his earlier sense of Mitchell's knowledge as jaywalking between responsible Wissenschaft and more ancient spells. Complication, then, was certainly an appropriate term for at least the feeling of combined dread and exhilaration that W felt in reviewing what the missives from Mitchell had communicated, and what W had tried to gloss from the exchange. Dread, if for no other reasons than an uncertainty as to what form the volume might evolve into next and a sense that W's thoughts would be occupied with a number of Mitchell's ideas for some time. Exhilaration for the very same reasons. W sighed and wondered, should the editor of an electronic Website be more committed to form, or more to figure? As had been the case with this entire enterprize, no immediate answer was forthcoming. (There was, however, Mitchell's suggestive phrase about the "sensuous poverty of cyberspace" . . .) W stretched and reminded himself about the one last duty that he had to preform. He needed to solicit from Mitchell two snapshots for the volume: one of Mitchell himself, and one of a sand-castle that Mitchell had actually built. W wanted Praxis users to know that the sand-castles were not airy mental inventions on Mitchell's part, but real things. They were in fact impressive objects, massive and ornate, fine pieces of fearful symmetry. They were, of course, also made of sand. Yet they existed; W knew that for a fact. He had seen the photos--what other proof was there?

Works Cited

de Man, Paul. The Resistance to Theory. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1986.

Jameson, Fredric. The Ideologies of Theory: Volume 1: Situations of Theory. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1988.

---. Postmodernism or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. Durham: Duke University Press, 1991.

Krauss, Rosalind. "Welcome to the Cultural Revolution." October 77 (Summer 1996): 83-96.

Mitchell, W. J. T. Iconology: Image, Text, Ideology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986.

---. "What Do Pictures Really Want?" October 77 (Summer 1996): 71-82.

Wang, Orrin N. C. "Romancing the Counter-Public Sphere: A Response to Romanticism and its Publics." Studies in Romanticism 33 (Winter, 1994): 579-88.