Redemption and the Other: The Supernatural Narrator and the Intertextual (Sub)version of the Miltonic Command
Description: In literary discourse from the Genesis creation myth through John Milton's Paradise Lost and beyond, Eve has been patriarchally considered to be the bringer of Sin and Death into the world. In Paradise Lost Eve is depicted as deceiving Adam into the Fall by way of the Serpent. Paradise Lost creates a Miltonic command that helps to further blame Woman for Sin and Death. Milton's poem is based on the Genesis creation myth written by Canaanite authors. In this myth the Canaanite authors wished to rid the world of Goddess worship and, by humanizing Eve, they successfully obliterate that form of worship. As a result of this obliteration of the Goddess, Eve, as a humanized form of the ancient Goddess Asherah, remains unredeemed for her sin and forever held to blame. Throughout what Michel Foucault calls the archive, or discourse in which power resides, Eve/Woman continues to be seen by patriarchal discourse as to blame for the Fall. There has never been a successful redemption for Eve in the archive. Although Samuel Richardson's Clarissa has been suggested as a successful redeemer of Eve, Clarissa's blatant will to death and, therefore, will to power precludes a successful redemption of Eve. The successful Redemption of Eve comes in Thomas Hardy's novel Tess of the D'Urbervilles. By way of Tess's Goddess stature and her self-sacrifice at the end of the novel she successfully effects a redemption of Eve/Woman. As Goddess, Tess enters a state of otherwise than being in the intertext and becomes the Supernatural narrator who narrates both her own story and the unsaid story of the Goddess in the mythic narrative. By way of this otherwise than being as the Supernatural narrator, Tess takes on Eve's blame and intertextually subverts the Miltonic command by narrating the Goddess's prehistorical purity. As a ...
Date: May 2000
Creator: Gowdy, Robert Douglas