Like kafkas beast language now listens from the

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source against which we seek refuge and toward which we address ourselves. Like Kafka's beast, language now listens from the bottom of its burrow to this inevitable and growing noise. To defend itself, it must follow its movements, become its loyal enemy, and allow nothing to stand between them except the contradictory thinness of a transparent and unbreakable partition From this moment, a work whose only meaning resides in its being a self-enclosed expression of its glory is no longer possible. The date of this transformation is roughly indicated by the simul- taneous appearance at the end of the eighteenth century of the works of Sade and the tales of terror. It is not their common predilection for cruelty which concerns us here; nor is it the discovery of the link between literature and evil; but some- thing more obscure and paradoxical at first sight: these languages which are con- stantly drawn out of themselves by the overwhelming, the unspeakable, by thrills, stupefaction, ecstasy, dumbness, pure violence, wordless gestures, and which are calculated with the greatest economy and precision to produce effects (so that they make themselves as transparent as possible at this limit of language toward which they hurry, erasing themselves in their writing for the exclusive sovereignty of that which they wish to say and which lies outside of words)—these languages very strangely represent themselves in a slow, meticulous, and infinitely extended cer- emony. These simple languages, which name and give one to see, are curiously double. (60-61) Foucault goes on to discuss the unreadability of Sade's novels, while conversely the Gothic novels were precisely designed to be read, indeed were read, he claims, by every- one who could read. One Gothic text, Coelina, or The Child of Mystery (1798), is said to have sold 1.2 million copies from 1798 to 1814, a number that Foucault claims is equal to the total number of literate individuals in France.
Notes to Chapter 7 205 23. See inter alia Gould, Ever since Darwin: Reflections in Natural History, and Time's Arrow, Time's Cyde. 24. Up to the middle of the eighteenth century, there appears to have been a ten- dency to minimize the degree to which any form of change actually occurred: the ideal was to present a steady-state vision in which tokens changed but types remained as far as possible the same. In biology it was presumed that the organisms God formed on the fifth and sixth days of creation were all still with us, while in politics the magistrates were de- scended from exemplars—kings, counselors, judges—to be found in classical and biblical literature. Nevertheless, by the mid-eighteenth century the notion of slow, steady, pro- gressive change can be found in texts such as Pope's Essay on Man, and catastrophic change in texts like Vico's Scienza nuova. 25. Hayden White, who is given to classifying historians according to their dominant tropes, considers Foucault's to be the catachresis (or play on words); Foucault considers language to be catachretic by nature, since any signifier refers to more than one signified, and no two signifieds can be identical in

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