Peale Museum Painting

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Peale Museum Painting






Labor theory of property value; but also money=poor/rich

Exemplifies world of Adam Smith

“getting & spending” lays “waste our powers”


Never talks about it

Classify nature in orderly sequence; nature objectified

To be exploited and developed for humankind’s “use”; little ecological awareness, but does have concept of waste/spoilage

Fascinated by gadgets/

Mingles selfhood with nature; beauty (a “sense sublime”) is neither in the self nor in nature, but both; desires to get over Descartes split of mind/body (nature); “we murder to dissect”

Moving thru sublime nature is not occasion to classify it (or to reproduce it in a representational-classificatory scheme) but rather allows for imagination/exoticism; story does not mimetically reflect reality but progressively detours, with a box-within-box narrative structure; suggests interiority

Nature’s mysteries are objectively explored and brought to light, based on evidence. Nature does not have a “design”; accident and physical laws prevail


Clock time

Seeks eternity in the moment of being: “a sense of something far more deeply interfused”, but also recognizes death

Fascinated by eons of past time; time does not include a teleology (though Darwin gets rhapsodic about development of complex organisms)


engineer the self thru rational control

Implicitly an anxious self fearing invasion of property (by those without “right reason” or by tyrannous power)

Possessive selfhood; homo-economicus

Absolute, extreme emotions; restless curiosity; conflicting emotions (love/hate); irrational motives and actions

How Self Defined

Entrepre-neurial energy valued

Government by consent; not Great Chain of Being hierarchy

Very conscious of social status

NA (but implicitly an aristocracy of the sensitive)

“Social Darwinism” misused evolutionary ideas to argue poor were weak in the survival of the fittest struggle.

Social Classes

Turtle shells in museum ordered by similarity/ difference; skin cancers; racial types; goal is to provide an ordered reproduction of nature.

Keats’ Nightingale becomes object of contemplative focus and transcendental/ metaphysical takeoff

Prof. H. examples

related to the readings

(b/w Locke 1690s & French Revolution 1790s)



Romantic Rebellion (b/w Fr. Revolution & Victorian Age)

Victorian Age/Age of Industry (1830-1900)

Histori-cal Era

Big Picture:

Enlightenment introduces notion of freedom/egalitarianism, against feudal hierarchy

You are free to dispose of your property as you wish.

Romanticism sees freedom in terms of an interior expansion of self-hood.

Darwin, along with Marx and Freud, focus on deep time (geological, historical class struggle, repression in the unconscious)



Freud continued

Property=Capital=Profit=Surplus Value=Accumulated or Congealed Labor (vs Living Labor)

Marx is not against private property in the sense of your house, your stereo, etc.; he’s against the private (vs. state) ownership of the means of production. His theories do, however, offend those who have a lot ideological at stake in notions of ownership.

Not applicable. But recent theorists, combining Marx and Freud, talk about the fetish of . . .

. . . capitalism/goods: the “erotics” of accumulation: i.e., hoarding.


Thru dignified, creative labor, nature is transformed into useful items for humankind (same as Locke, although Locke does not emphasize labor as being self-fulfilling).


Vast time in the sense of long historical periods of class struggle.

You may forget your childhood past, but your issues, then, get relocated in your unconscious….

…You are, to some extent, held hostage to past selves.


Our individuality/selfhood is alienated by our labor being exploited; or our selfhood (the rich interiority the Romantics sought) is fulfilled in labor.

Preoccupation (because of Freud and post-traumatic stress disorders of WWI vets) with interior nervousness/

wounded selfhood….

….Happiness, increasingly, becomes defined not just as resulting from the gains of possessive selfhood (accumulation of goods), …

… but also as the ABSENCE of neurosis (see all the pop psychology books in any bookstore).

Defined as

Marx believed the conflict b/w bourg. and prol. would conclude in revolution. He was right in the case of Russia. In the U.S., we think classes don’t exist—just different amounts of $$$.

Not applicable, although it is important to note that Freud’s theories are in part based on obversations ONLY of upper-middle class European families….

….For Marx, conflict is between classes; for Freud conflict is within.


The shoe factory; the Monopoly houses/candy given to only 1 student.

Prof. H.examples

related to the readings

Victorian Age/Age of Industry (1830-1900)

Early 20th Century Modernism/Anxiety



Anti-Imperialism/Feminism/Liberation of Ethnic—racial voices to…



Marx combines political liberty (that the Enlightenment progressive thinker sought) to the Romantic desire to expand a rich interiority (i.e. labor as self expression)

Freud, along with Darwin and Marx, see individuals as dependent upon or determined by processes that extend beyond themselves (evolution’s biological determinism….

.Marx’s idea that you are largely determined by your class position and ideology; Freud’s belief that you cannot escape the force of unconscious desire and compulsion).

Rejects traditional forms, experimental, fragmentary, draws upon unconscious processes, non-Realistic, aesthetically elite…

And indifferent to “easy” interpretation. Modernism artists draw upon previous Romantic rejection of status quo and notion of alienated artist, but also tend to scorn self-indulgent emotionalism. Example: jumbled thoughts of Prufrock in Eliot poem=fragmentation; Prufrock scorned.

Modernism’s gulf b/w middle-class, complacent U.S. superpower culture and aesthetic radicalism (can you imagine your Mom liking a Picasso painting?) blurs with political radicalism, effort of previous marginalized groups to gain power and voice (Woolf=feminism; Malcolm X=overcome black oppression; Neruda=anti-American imperialism)

Aesthetic radicalism becomes scorn for any aesthetic normality or depth: clash of genres (comedy/violence) or aesthetic …

styles (high style applied to pop culture) to defeat any solid “message”—Kill Bill film is an example

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