Saturday, 5 July 2008

The Importance of the Peakian Dyad in Biographical Literary Criticism; invasion of the eidolon by daemonic contents in great lives

The following post is excerpted from a paper which will be published for the fall semester on my own blog site. It will also be submitted for presentation.

I agree with the great Harlod Bloom with regard to theory: When a theory can resonate with history and reach its meanings and implications back through the centuries, it is not a good theory; it is a great one. In the late '90s - through and introduction from the Draper Graduate Studies of New York University program on biographical literary critici sm - I had a chance to read the biographies of writers and thinkers such as Byron, Freud, Jung, Bronte, Nietzsche and Tennessee Williams, among others. My academic study in philosophy served as a useful analytical tool at that time. Yet I find that the Peakian dyad (eidolon/daemon) has retrospectively informed and enriched these analyses further. The dyad should not be underestimated in its power to aid critical reflection on this score. ( My essay on its influence with regard to the play, "Hamlet" makes this point strongly.)

I have a vivid memory of myself in 2007 - deep in the pit of despair which grief over the death of the beloved becomes - reading Anthony Peake's "Is There Life After Death?" with grim resignation, as I had read numerous texts on grieving and afterlife theories and found little of comfort in them, and far too much which irritated. But with this text, even though I felt almost catatonic with despair, I found myself making notations in the margins, as if my former self were somehow being prompted by this author. One such note was, "When better: explore a full semantic analysis and a teleological and ethical critique. This man is a philosopher!" 18 months later, this is precisely what I have begun to do. . .

In "The Varieties of Religious Experience", William James speaks of a crisis in the development of individuals which seems to be comprised by a stage of conflict, followed by collapse, and finally resolution phase, by way of a sort of "second self", which "takes over" and saves the "first" self which is "going to pieces in the wreckage". Reik also noticed this syndrome within psychoanalysis, and made much of it in his work on love and lust. There seems to be a "phase one" of the person which has become somehow outmoded; the "phase two" begins an invasion, so to speak, and ultimately - from this interplay of thesis and antithesis, and providing that the process unfolds unimpeded - a synthesis is born, and the new individual is integrated, robust, and productive. There is often a casting off of the parent with whom one identified in childhood and youth, and an enthronement in the psyche of the hitherto rejected parental influence. The American playwright, Tennessee Williams is a good example of this development when it has gone well. An example from the present which is striking is hip hop artist Eminem, whose suicide attempt as Marshall Mathers resulted in the "death" of the effeminate boy who identified with his mother and its replacement by a father-identified persona which bore a new and sinister name.

This division of human consciousness and persona has been characterized by Reik as being "primed" at certain stages of life; in particular, with men, the age of 36-38, and again in the early 50s. There is often a surge of creativity after the resolution phase. Nietzsche put into poetical form his own period of division and transition: "And then one became two, and Zarathustra came into my view. . . " . I have no doubt that our own KLLM has himself recently passed through this bifurcation process in which "the man within the man" struggles for its new autonomy and expression in the service of its ideals, and with the greatest success.

In terms of the Peakian Dyad, the concepts of "eidolon" and "daemon" applied to this process at once lend transcendence and scientific bolstering to this transition. That this process might be viewed as daemonic in origin, and that the invasion of the eidolonic sphere might have a purposive element in which future tendencies make an early appearance by some mechanism of the Bohmian IMAX , is nothing short of astonishing.

For if viewed in this light, these storms of the psyche and quasi-spiritual rebirths might contain a secret unity amidst the chaos and be authored by a Guardian which is conscious, given to precision, and above all, a person of order and prescience. That this second self, hinted at by James in his cognitive psychology, praised poetically by Nietzsche, and given natural supremacy in the domain of Christianity by St. Paul and Kierkegaard alike; which thunders throughout the stanzas of Shakespeare's "Hamlet" and winds its way through the biographies of the most creative and original minds of Europe -- that this vague and nameless acting agent has now been localized, and with scientific precision and esoteric passion, by Peake within his dyad, is theory at its most sublime and magnificent, without doubt. But now it is my task to go back, to reveal the autobiographical subtext and confession which is threaded in Peake's first book, and which follows the form of similar subtexts in all works of originality and historical import ; in particular "The Interpretation of Dreams" by Sigmund Freud . . . ( the essay continues for several more pages, with an analysis of PK Dick as visionary precursor to Anthony Peake; the parallel to Freud's secret autobiography within TIOD; and the subtext - which I can have no doubt was authored by Peake's own daemon -- that I inadvertently discovered running like a fugitive golden thread within the pages of ITLAD in January 2008 . . . ) smk




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16 comments:

SM Kovalinsky said...

TONY: I do think this is a bit lengthy, but have placed it here by way of introduction to my full length essay re you and PK Dick and Anarch Peake phenomenem. As an academic presentation, its 5 pages is just about right. Of course this will be an academic paper on my own blog site, and aimed only at other scholars. It is scholarly in its expression, but Peakian and ITLADian in its content and intention. smk

woodsprite said...

Susan Marie: Oooh! don't stop there! I was just moving forward with the argument and wanting more and it stopped....

Is it possible for me to read the rest?

SM Kovalinsky said...

Thank you, Woodsprite; When the full text has been properly edited and referenced, it will be placed on my own academic blog, and I would be honored to have you read it.

Anthony Peake said...

SUSAN MARIE: Absolutely wondeful. I am honoured and humbled to have you write such things about me and my work. In those dark days of 2000 - 2001 when the book was creating itself in my mind I could never of dreamed that my words would have such an effect.

I fully agree with you that I was daemon-driven in those days. I look back sometimes on what I wrote and think "was that me?"

I really look forward to the full paper.

SM Kovalinsky said...

Tony: As I have told you, I consider the finding or your CTF essay and the ITLAD to belong to the most beautiful windfalls of my life, and it is both a pleasure and an honor to be able to write commentary on them. Yes, you were "daemon driven", I have no doubt of that, and it stood you in good stead, and will have repercussions far into your future, I am certain. Thank you again.

SM Kovalinsky said...

I wanted to add: That literary greats such as Harold Bloom and Colin Wilson have been drawn to Tony, and lavished him with their praise, is one more proof that Peakian theory is a lasting and great achievement, which will leave its mark on European and American theory history. As the old proverb runs, in Tony I have been "chasing a good horse:; and LeMarcs, who is another fine horse, can at age 37 only be poised for an equally formidable and lasting effect on theory. "Surely these be gods" is the mania-driven mantra, but so true, which those who share my bent must utter about them.

roshni said...

Dear, SM, I am waiting to read the whole essay...wonderful!! i love the way you write.... so effortless and flowing, perfect synchronization, of thoughts...

SM Kovalinsky said...

Thank you Roshni, such kind remarks from you are very sweet to me. I hope that the full essay will do honor to the theory I have developed with regard to Tony Peake and PK Dick.

ra from ca said...

Oh SM how wonderful that you can weave the ideas of these great minds together into an ITLADic tapestry. I look forward to reading and lerning more.

SM Kovalinsky said...

Thank you, Ruth; Writing for Tony is one of the few areas in which I still act with any aptitude, and I am hoping that the full essay - once properly edited and referenced - will generate some good discussion, as I feel he deserves to be viewed more fully and not simply limited to NDE and Afterlife studies. Thank you so much, love you SMK

SM Kovalinsky said...

I had forgotten to mention to Tony: The accidental finding in 2002 of a book of critical commentary on Freud's "The Interpretation of Dreams" has become the most excellent tool, strangely enough, in my critique of ITLAD. An American scholar noticed a subtext running throughout Freud's work on dreams, and when I began to see a similar pattern in ITLAD, I did not at first remember this reference. Having re-read the book, I now see that the parallels with the PK Dick section are uncanny.

Karl L Le Marcs said...

Susan Marie: WOWOWOWOWOW, what can I say?

Such genius of discourse and allegory, blending Philosophy, Culture, Zeitgeist, Psychoanalysis and Classical Theory is pure elegance in you.

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!!

I await your full paper with humility, excitement, joy and my deepest respect and friendship.

Thank You!

SM Kovalinsky said...

Thank YOU, and Tony, for being the inspiration. My writing is only as elegant as its subject. I will be happy to post the full version on my site when it is all set.

Karl L Le Marcs said...

Susan Marie: If I can assist towards the final version of the whole paper in any way, please let me know.

SM Kovalinsky said...

You certainly can (that is an understatement)---any assistance would be met with gratitude, and a few things more.

Jesamyn said...

I wanted to try and *get* all this, Susan Marie as circumstances for me have been somewhat difficult lately, and I still have to read Tony's book a bit more thoroughly. However, as I mentioned to you before, wanting to fully understand Tony's theory and also the manyfold philosophies could have no better interweaver than yourself.. So fascinating and I too look forward to more...Thank you so much for all this....
Jesamyn .