Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The DisarticulateLanguage, Disability, and the Narratives of Modernity$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

James Berger

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780814708460

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814708460.001.0001

Show Summary Details

Linguistic Impairment and the Default of Modernism

Linguistic Impairment and the Default of Modernism

Totality and Otherness: Dys-/Disarticulate Modernity

(p.53) 2 Linguistic Impairment and the Default of Modernism
The Disarticulate

James Berger

NYU Press

This chapter places dys-/disarticulate figures in William Faulkner, Joseph Conrad, and Djuna Barnes in the context of anxieties of modernity—the sense that in epistemological and administrative terms, the modern world sought to define and control all phenomena. The dys-/disarticulate here is that which cannot be accounted for and which thus has some undetermined subversive power. And yet in The Sound and the Fury, The Secret Agent, and Nightwood, modern science and social thought very much sought to place cognitively impaired people in a clinical and bureaucratic category, that of the “feeble-minded,” “idiot,” or “degenerate”—persons who constitute threats to a well-ordered, democratic polity and who therefore had to be both cared for and controlled. The imagining of the characters in the novels coincided with the expansion of state power into the lives of cognitively impaired people and their families in the forms of compulsory institutionalization and sterilization.

Keywords:   dys-/disarticulate, William Faulkner, Joseph Conrad, Djuna Barnes, modernity, The Sound and the Fury, The Secret Agent, Nightwood, cognitively impaired people, institutionalization

NYU Press Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.