A KickOff...

The name of Part one is

We "Other Victorians"

What does that title, alone, evoke, for you? Foucault uses the word "we",
"our", the plural form a great deal. Do you accept it? Are you an "other"
Victorian? Perhaps this is a bit too Derridadadada-ish for me, but notice
that the word "Victorian" also denotes "Victor" as well as the Queen
Victoria, for whom it was named.

Somehow, here we are, reading this book in 1998. I would suggest that in
some sense we are implicated as part of the "victors" that are trying to
understand how things got to be the way they are, understand that we are
part of an ongoing process, and can help to "liberate"-- but that is
dangerous. Because, as Freud warns in _Civilization and Its Discontents_ as
well as Nietzsche in "The Birth of Tragedy", mere Dionysus or Id/Libido is
*always* with us.

Thus, my first disagreement (perhaps) with Foucault. The first sentence of
his book claims that "we" supported a Victorian regime. Did you? What's he
mean, if not including "you" and "me"? By being outside the ascribed circle
of support, is that what makes "us" Other Victorians?

Second paragraph begins with a comment on "a certain frankness" about sex
as early as the 17th century. Is this true, or a mere construct by
Foucault? Why is he doing it? Elizabethan England had its constructs for
behavior, for example, as we see in Shakespeare. In "All's Well that Ends
Well" and other gender benders, Shakespeare shows that it's possible for a
man to love another man, but that the "happy" outcome is for the "fertile"
man/woman, married couple to live happily ever after.

This is just a kickoff, initial impressions to start discussion.

---Randall Albright

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