Hyewon Ryu: "Postscript" on Interiority and Discipline
Or Not Foucauldian Enough?
The Pendulum Ever Swings
I sometimes lack the discipline to stop taking things too lightly, even when a degree of gravity is wanting. Perhaps I belong in a pre-Modern city . . . or the Postmodern world? Dr. Hyewon Ryu has possibly diagnosed my condition. In posting the other day on her doctoral thesis, "The Metropolitan Body in the Rise of the Early English Novel," I quoted from her "Astract," so I had better quote a passage from her "Postscript" today as medicine for my levity by teaching me self-discipline:
This thesis has investigated the metropolitan body depicted in the early English novel as a nexus of discursive, spatial, and somatic operations. The transformation in the meaning of the body has been charted in relation to the rise of the modern metropolis and the emergence of bodily and spatial regulation. New apparatuses of discipline relocated the self from the collective social body to a private inner sanctum, from physical, sensory encounters to discursive, virtual construction, and from the world of the metropolis to the domesticity of private space. As the language of sensibility gained force as a social tool to establish the boundaries of personal propriety, the collective, physical experience of the city was increasingly represented as promiscuous, disorderly, and lowly. As a result of the increasing emphasis given to deep interiority and private authority, the domestic sphere became a haven separated from the role-playing masquerade of London society. The intensified inner life of the metropolitan character came into being through the initial encounter with and the ultimate negation of urban attractions and dangers in the early English novel. (page 183)Hence Jane Austen. Deep interiority. And distrust of the city's attractions. Of course, this "Postscript" might put some readers off -- too Foucauldian! -- but the thesis is in fact very interesting and well written, and from the evidence offered, even plausible.
And personally persuasive, almost, in nearly convincing me to seek interiority, discipline myself, and avoid both "the collective, physical experience of the city" and its "role-playing masquerade" . . . which I suppose is all acceptable, so long as I don't have to leave Seoul.