L'Art Pour Homme De Lettres*

Although he never used the terms himself, the triad thesis, antithesis, synthesis is generally used to describe the thought of German philosopher G. W. F. Hegel. The triad is often described in the following way: The thesis is an intellectual proposition. The antithesis is simply the negation of the thesis, a reaction to the proposition. And the synthesis solves the conflict between the thesis and antithesis by reconciling their common truths and forming a new proposition. Although the triad is often thought to form part of an analysis of philosophical progress called the Hegelian Dialectic and Hegel, himself used this classification only once and he attributed the terminology to Immanuel Kant.

As we all know; Anti-Thesis is the second episode of LOCI in which for the first time, famous archnemesis of our detective, Nicole Wallace/Professor Elizabeth Hitchens appears. According to Wikipedia, Harvard University's undergraduate student newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, suggested in October 2002 that the episode's premise was lifted from the nationally-publicized, real-life squabble between Harvard University president Lawrance Summers and African-American Studies Professor Cornel West. In real life, West wears an afro haircut and goatee, teaches American Studies and was criticized by Harvard University president for releasing a rap album. Like West, the fictional Professor Roland Sanders of the history wears an afro haircut and goatee, teaches American Studies and is criticized by fictional President Winthrop for releasing an album.

And my point is; other than meeting our 'Libertine' archnemesis, I have to say; on the whole the episode is intelligently scripted, especially the argument on T. S. Eliot vs. Ezra Pound as well as the concept of a Ph.D. dissertation titled 'Fighting in the Captain's Tower: The Influence of T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound on American Popular Culture' are excellent. In a matter of speaking Anti-Thesis is the ultimate mimesis of 'L'art Pour L'art' expression. So let's remember all the literature references one by one.

Hugh Selwyn Mauberley: It's a long, controversial poem by Ezra Pound written in 1920. The name 'Selwyn' might have been an homage to Rhymers' Club member Selwyn Image. The name and personality of the titular subject is also reminiscent of T. S. Eliot's J. Alfred Prufrock. Pound's poem refers to Britain as an 'Old Bitch Gone In Teeth' which is also the phrase used in the episode several times.

Robert Goren: 'Bitch: Gender Metaphors in the American Literary Tradition'. These courses sound like a lot of fun!
Professor Roland Sanders: I try to keep things lively.
Robert Goren: This is cool here, what you wrote in the margin. 'Civilization, an old bitch gone in the teeth'. Did you make that up?
Professor Roland Sanders: No, Ezra Pound did.

Desolation Row: It's the closing track of Bob Dylan's sixth studio album, Highway 61 Revisited which was recorded on August 4, 1965, in NY. The title 'Desolation Row' is likely a reference both to Jack Kerouac's novel Desolation Angels and John Steinbeck's Cannery Row. Also T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land appears to have an influence on it. Pound and Eliot's involvement with the poem are in the two lines '... And Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot, Fighting in the captain's tower...' As I wrote above, the last line is the title of the Ph.D. student Mark Bayley's thesis. For the lyrics of Bob Dylan's song, please click the link: Desolation Row.

Robert Goren: The Old bitch gone in teeth. That's Pound, right?
Mark Bayley: No, Eliot.
Robert Goren: Professor Sanders says it's Pound. (Mark Bayley checks a book and finds out that he's wrong) I told you it was Pound.

Professor Elizabeth Hitchens/Nicole Wallace: T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound have a love child and his name is Bob Dylan. I mean, donnez-moi un break. This is what passes for scholarship in this country?
Robert Goren: So you don't think popular culture's fair game?
Nicole Wallace: Well, Mark's is the worst kind of pop literary analysis. Pathetic attempt to synthesize high and low culture. It wouldn't butter your parsnips.

Robert Goren: Well, she (Nicole Wallace) said that you didn't have any discipline. That's why you...Well, you never finished your thesis. The title, 'Fighting in the Captain's Tower', that's Dylan, right? Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot fighting in the captain's tower. Desolation Row. The whole album's a touchstone of American literature.
Mark Bayley: That's my thesis. Exactly

The Devils of Loudun: It's a non-fiction book by Aldous Huxley which was first published in 1952. It is a historical account of supposed demonic possession, superstition and religious fanaticism in 17th century France, based on events which took place in the small town of Loudun. Huxley touches on aspects of the Multiple Personality Disorder, recently known as Dissociative Identity Disorder in cases of apparent possession within this book. Inspired by the book, Krzysztof Penderecki, a Polish composer and conductor of classical music, wrote an opera, titled Die Teufel von Loudun in 1969.

Robert Goren: Penderecki. The Devils of Loudon. You like opera?
Dr. Christine Fellowes: I'm getting to. This was a gift.
Robert Goren: There was a beautiful performance of Don Giovanni the other night. You would've loved it.
Dr. Christine Fellowes: I did. A friend (who happens to be Nicole Wallace) took me.
Robert Goren: Friends with good taste, huh?

Moby Dick: It's an 1851 novel by Herman Melville. The story tells the adventures of the wandering sailor Ishmael and his voyage on the whaleship Pequod commanded by Captain Ahab. The first line of Chapter One 'Call me Ishmael' is one of the most famous opening lines in literature. Although the book initially received mixed reviews, Moby Dick is now considered one of the greatest novels in English and has secured Melville's place among America's greatest writers.

Professor Elizabeth Hitchens/Nicole Wallace: In American literature the descent into madness is usually preceded by obsession. A consuming obsession. Example, anyone? All right. I'll get you started. Moby Dick. What characterizes Ahab's obsession? Yes, in the back.
Robert Goren: The dogged, unrelenting pursuit of evil.
Professor Elizabeth Hitchens: Interesting, evil. I always fancied it was man's unrelenting pursuit of his own potency.

Joseph Heller: He's an American satirical novelist (1923 - 1999), short story writer and playwright. He wrote the influential novel Catch 22 about American servicemen during WWII and it was this work whose title became the term commonly used to express absurdity in choice and frustration with bureaucratic insanity, very similar to Franz Kafka's The Trial.

Robert Goren: Now you see the problem. You can't expose our trick without exposing your own culpability. And you know what that's called, your being an expert on the modern American novel and all.
Nicole Wallace: Yes, well, I never much cared for Heller.

Sister Carrie: It's a novel by Theodore Dreiser (1900) about a young country girl who moves to the big city NY where she starts realizing her own American dream by first becoming a mistress to men that she perceives as superior and later as a famous actress. Laurence Olivier and Jennifer Jones starred in the 1952 film version, Carrie directed by William Wyler. Btw don't judge a book by its movie:)

Nicole Wallace (to Robert Goren): That foundation that you asked me about in Melbourne, it was the George Hurstwood Foundation.
Robert Goren (after Nicole Wallace left the interrogation room): No, the foundation, it's called the New Covenant Foundation.
Alex Eames: Why did she say the George Hurstwood?
Robert Goren: She was trying to tell me something. George Hurstwood. Well, it's Sister Carrie. It's a novel by Theodore Dreiser. George Hurstwood was a saloonkeeper who stole money from his boss' safe. Nicole used the name of a thief to... I need to call Melbourne.

That Big Detective Is Smart!

This Woman Is Very, Very Good!

How sweet! Well, I could use a drink... You two are killing me! I guess I had this coming. Enough with that, that's pretty much everything we need to know about this episode, I think. Because this writing has to end, it has to end now. Female version of Othello has left the blog.

*Art For The Man Of Letters