Barbarian: Explorations of a Western Concept in Theory, Literature, and the Arts

This two-volume co-authored study explores the history of the concept ‘barbarism’ from the 18th century to the present and illuminates its foundational role in modern European and Western identity. It constitutes an original comparative, interdisciplinary exploration of the concept’s modern European and Western history, with emphasis on the role of literature in the concept’s shifting functions. The study contributes to a historically grounded understanding of this figure’s past and contemporary uses. It combines overviews with detailed analyses of representative works of literature, art, film, philosophy, political and cultural theory, in which “barbarism” figures prominently.Diese auf 2 Bände konzipierte komparatistische und interdisziplinäre Studie in englischer Sprache geht der Geschichte des Barbarenbegriffs vom 18. Jahrhundert bis zur Gegenwart nach. Seit der griechischen Antike spielen Bild und Begriff des Barbarischen eine eminente Rolle für das abendländische Selbstverständnis. Die Studie verbindet Epochenüberblicke mit der Analyse herausragender literarischer, philosophischer, politik- und kulturtheoretischer, aber auch bildkünstlerischer und kinematographischer Werke und legt einen besonderen Akzent auf den Beitrag ästhetischer Verfahren zur Aufdeckung der Herkunft und der Implikationen des Barbarenbegriffs.


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S C H R I F T E N Z U R W E L T L I T E R AT U R

BAN D 7

Markus Winkler in collaboration with Maria Boletsi, Jens Herlth, Christian Moser, Julian Reidy, Melanie Rohner

Barbarian: Explorations of a Western Concept in Theory, Literature, and the Arts Vol. I: From the Enlightenment to the Turn of the Twentieth Century

Schriften zur Weltliteratur Studies on World Literature Herausgegeben von Dieter Lamping in Zusammenarbeit mit Immacolata Amodeo, David Damrosch, Elke Sturm-Trigonakis und Markus Winkler

Band 7

Markus Winkler in collaboration with Maria Boletsi, Jens Herlth, Christian Moser, Julian Reidy, and Melanie Rohner

Barbarian: Explorations of a Western Concept in Theory, ­Literature, and the Arts Vol. I: From the Enlightenment to the Turn of the Twentieth Century

J. B. Metzler Verlag

The publication of this book was realized with the financial support of the University of Geneva and the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). Die Autorinnen und Autoren

Markus Winkler (Leiter des Projektes) ist Professor für Neuere deutsche und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft an der Universität Genf. Maria Boletsi (Co-Leiterin des Projektes) ist Stiftungsprofessorin für Neugriechische Studien (Lehrstuhl Marilena Laskaridis) an der Universität Amsterdam und Assistenzprofessorin für Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft an der Universiteit Leiden. Jens Herlth ist Professor für Slavistik an der Universität Fribourg. Christian Moser ist Professor für Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft an der Universität Bonn. Julian Reidy ist Privatdozent an der Universität Bern und Lehrbeauftragter für Neuere deutsche Literaturwissenschaft an der Universität Genf. Melanie Rohner ist im Rahmen des vom Schweizerischen Nationalfonds geförderten Projektes “‘Barbarism’: History of a Fundamental European Concept” Postdoktorandin an der Universität Genf.

Bibliografische Information der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek

Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek verzeichnet diese Publikation in der Deutschen Nationalbibliografie; detaillierte bibliografische Daten sind im Internet über http://dnb.d-nb.de abrufbar. ISBN 978-3-476-04484-6 ISBN 978-3-476-04485-3 (eBook) Dieses Werk einschließlich aller seiner Teile ist urheberrechtlich geschützt. Jede Verwertung außerhalb der engen Grenzen des Urheberrechtsgesetzes ist ohne Zustimmung des Verlages unzulässig und strafbar. Das gilt insbesondere für Vervielfältigungen, Übersetzungen, Mikroverfilmungen und die Einspeicherung und Verarbeitung in elektronischen Systemen. J. B. Metzler ist ein Imprint der eingetragenen Gesellschaft Springer-Verlag GmbH, DE und ist ein Teil von Springer Nature www.metzlerverlag.de [email protected] Einbandgestaltung: Finken & Bumiller, Stuttgart (Foto: Finken & Bumiller) Satz: Dörlemann Satz, Lemförde J. B. Metzler, Stuttgart © Springer-Verlag GmbH Deutschland, ein Teil von Springer Nature, 2018

Contents    Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . IX 1.

2.

Theoretical and Methodological Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Markus Winkler

1

1.1. Preliminary Remarks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.1.1. Towards the Critical History and Aesthetic Exploration of a Fashionable Slogan and Enemy-Concept . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.1.2. A Genealogical Approach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.2. Genealogical Premises . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.2.1. From bárbaros as Language- and Affect-Related Onomatopoetic Word to barbarismus as Rhetorical Term. . . . . 1.2.2. The Mythopoetic ‘Invention of the Barbarian’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.2.3. The Conceptualization of Barbarism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.2.3.1. The Emergence of the Ethnocentric Enemy- and Identity-Concept . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.2.3.2. Scholarly Approaches to the Concept and Their Shortcomings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.2.4. The Aesthetic Exploration of Barbarism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.3. Structure and Content of Volume I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1 1 4 10 10 14 19 19 23 32 38

Eighteenth Century . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45

2.1. The Concept of Barbarism in Eighteenth-Century Theories of Culture and Sociogenesis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Christian Moser 2.1.1. Concept-Historical Prerequisites. The Temporalization of the Concept of the Barbarian and the Construction of a Relationship between Savagery and Barbarism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.1.1.1. The Changing Meaning of Barbarian in the Eighteenth Century—as Illustrated by Dictionary Entries . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.1.1.2. Savagery in Relation to Barbarism: Antiquity and the Middle Ages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.1.1.3. Savagery in Relation to Barbarism: the Early Modern Period . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

45 45 48 53

VI       Contents

2.1.2. Montesquieu to Ferguson: Barbarism as a Stage of Cultural and Social Evolution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 2.1.2.1. Preliminary Remarks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 2.1.2.2. Montesquieu: Barbarism as an Intermediate Social Force. . . 64 2.1.2.3. Turgot: Barbarism as an Engine of Social Progress . . . . . . . . 73 2.1.2.4. Rousseau: Barbarian Idylls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80 2.1.2.5. Adam Smith: Barbarian Economies of Predation and Gifts . 93 2.1.2.6. Adam Ferguson: Barbarism as Social Gambling. . . . . . . . . . . 103 2.1.2.7. Barbarian Origins of Language and of Contractuality: Smith and Rousseau . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114 2.1.2.8. Barbarian Art: Herder and Goethe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128 2.1.2.9. Conclusion and Prospect: Anthropology; Philosophy of History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134 2.2. Case Study: Schiller’s Die Räuber (The Robbers, 1781) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145 Christian Moser 2.3. Bemoaning the Loss of ‘Vernunft’ and ‘Tugend’: On the Semantics of Barbarism in Salomon Gessner’s Der Tod Abels (The Death of Abel, 1758) and Maler Müller’s Adams erstes Erwachen und seelige Nächte (Adam’s First Awakening and Blissful Nights, 1777) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 166 Julian Reidy 3.

Nineteenth Century . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 189

3.1. The Relationship between Idyll and Barbarism in Schiller’s Wilhelm Tell (William Tell, 1804) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 189 Melanie Rohner 3.2. “These are the mysteries of the barbarians, my dear”: The C ­ oncept of Barbarism in Polish Romanticism (Zygmunt Krasiński, Adam ­Mickiewicz) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 198 Jens Herlth 3.2.1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 198 3.2.2. The Imagined Barbarian: Zygmunt Krasiński’s Letters to Henry Reeve . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 203 3.2.3. Krasiński’s Irydion: A Half-Barbarian’s Journey from Rome to “the land of graves and crosses”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 212 3.2.4. “Let us not disdain the barbarians”: Adam Mickiewicz and the Re-Evaluation of Barbarism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 220 3.2.5. Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 234

Contents       VII

3.3. Interfering Semantics of Barbarism and Race in Flaubert’s Salammbô (1862) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 236 Markus Winkler 3.3.1. Why Write a Historical Novel on a Remote War of Barbarians against Barbarians? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 236 3.3.2. ‘Barbarism’ and ‘Race’ in the Historiographical Tradition of the Mercenaries’ War. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 238 3.3.3. The Narrative Staging of ‘Barbarism’ and ‘Race’ in Flaubert’s Novel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 244 3.3.4. The Contribution of Flaubert’s Novel to the History of ‘Barbarism’ and ‘Race’. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 255 3.4. Nietzsche’s Concept of Barbarism: From Rhetoric to Genealogy . . . . . 258 Markus Winkler 3.4.1. Preliminary Remarks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 258 3.4.2. Variations on the Opposition of Barbarism and ‘Culture’ (Bildung) . 259 3.4.3. The Ambivalence of the Genealogical Approach to the Concept of Barbarism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 270 4.

On the Threshold of the Twentieth Century: History, Crisis, and Intersecting Figures of Barbarians in C. P. Cavafy’s “Waiting for the Barbarians” (“Περιμένοντας τους βαρβάρους,” 1898/1904) . . . . . . . . . 285 Maria Boletsi 4.1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 285 4.2. Between History, Myth, and Allegory: The Barbarians As ­Symbols . . 292 4.3. The Intertextual Nexus of Cavafy’s Barbarians . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 296 4.3.1. Cavafy and Gibbon on Progress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 296 4.3.2. Cavafy’s and Renan’s Barbarians . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 303 4.3.3. The Barbarian in Decadent Literature and in the Intellectual Climate of the Late Nineteenth Century . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 310 4.3.4. “Waiting for the Barbarians” As an Anti-Decadent Poem . . . . . 321 4.4. Barbarians, Crisis, and Historical Time . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 328

References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 335 About the authors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 364 Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 367

Acknowledgements The present study is part of a collaborative international research project funded from 2013 to 2017 by the Swiss National Science Foundation (FNS). The project was initiated and led by Markus Winkler (University of Geneva). Co-applicant for its funding was Jens Herlth (University of Fribourg). We are very grateful to the FNS for its generous support, which included the three-year employment of a postdoctoral and a doctoral researcher. This first volume of the study and the preparatory meetings of the international research team were also realized with the financial support of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). The NWO co-funded the research project through an “Internationalisation in the Humanities” grant (2013–2016) obtained by Maria Boletsi (University of Leiden). Additional funds were provided by the University of Bonn/Chair for Comparative Literature as well as by the University of Geneva’s Comparative Literature Program. We are grateful to the student research assistants at the University of Geneva who over the past years have conducted extensive bibliographical research on the topic of the present study. They are Céline Bischofberger, Guillaume Broillet, Jasmin Gut, César Jaquier, Laura Scharff, and Jeanne Wagner. Céline Bischofberger and Jasmin Gut also carefully copy-edited several chapters of the present volume, and Guillaume Broillet performed the laborious final copy-editing of the volume’s entire manuscript. In addition, Margaret Kehoe, Daniele Leo, Jil Runia, and Lukas Hermann helped with the copy-editing of selected chapters. Finally, we extend our thanks to the publisher J. B. Metzler and in particular to Oliver Schütze, as well as to Dieter Lamping, the main editor of the “Studies on World Literature” series. Parts of chapters 2.1 and 2.2 were originally written in German and then translated into English with the assistance of Alex Skinner. Chapters 2.1.2.7 and 2.1.2.8 draw on material published in Moser 2018a and 2018b. As for chapters 3.1 and 3.3, they were originally written in German as well and then translated into English with the assistance of Katherine Sotejeff-Wilson. Geneva, spring 2018 M. W.

1.  Theoretical and Methodological Introduction       1

1. Theoretical and Methodological Introduction Markus Winkler

1.1. Preliminary Remarks 1.1.1. Towards the Critical History and Aesthetic Exploration of a Fashionable Slogan and Enemy-Concept In the current political rhetoric shared by a large number of Western politicians, political scientists, journalists, and essayists, the lexeme barbar- is being used as a fashionable slogan to designate and denounce crimes against humanity, in particular those committed by Islamist fundamentalists.1 The lexeme functions here as a concept enabling those who use it to apprehend, verbalize, and objectify the heavily mediatized experience of terror and horror related to those crimes. In France, this use of the concept is supported by its presence in the current Code pénal (paragraph 222–1), which speaks of “acts of barbarity”—“actes de barbarie”—as a particular category of crimes.2 The Code pénal provides no further definition or illustration of the “acts of barbarity” as a category of crimes. In this legislative context, like in today’s political rhetoric, the lexeme barbar- is being used as a self-evident concept that fits incomprehensible, heinous acts whose perpetrators, to whom it is applied as well, are to be considered as excluded from the civil society and even from the human species. We may infer that inversely, the concept plays an important role in defining that very society and species; it turns out to be a counter-concept of national, but mostly of European and—ever since Europe colonized overseas territories—Western identity. Given that it goes back to the ancient Greek adjective and noun bárbaros and its ethnocentric coding in the fifth century BC, we may even surmise that it is a basic or founding concept, a European and Western Grundbegriff. However, it has not yet been acknowledged as such. Accordingly, there is still no comprehensive conceptual history of barbarism ranging from classical Antiquity to the present day, despite the extensive and firm groundwork laid by scholars in classics.3 In the major encyclope-

1 2

3

See the examples quoted below, in section 1.2.3.1 of this Introduction. Extended reference included in the Works Cited list, with a link to the English translation. The current wording, adopted in 1992 and valid since 1994, goes back to paragraph 303 of the 1810 original version of the Code pénal: “Seront punis comme coupables d’assassinat, tous malfaiteurs, quelle que soit leur dénomination, qui, pour l’exécution de leurs crimes, emploient des tortures ou commettent des actes de barbarie.” (“Criminals who, for the perpetration of their crimes, have inflicted torture or committed acts of barbarism, will be punished for murder, regardless of their denomination,” my translation, M. W.) In both versions of the code, there is no further definition of the term actes de barbarie. See, e. g., Jüthner 1923; Bacon 1961; Dauge 1981; Hall 1989; Opelt and Speyer 2001; ­Mitchell 2007. Droit (2007) is rather a large essay than a comprehensive scholarly investigation in the concept’s history.

2       Markus Winkler

dias of conceptual history (Begriffsgeschichte) published over the past decades, the concept does not even receive the status of headword.4 By outlining the history of the concept from the eighteenth century to the present, our study will contribute to remedying this dearth of research. In doing so, it will methodologically differ from conceptual history as it has been practiced in philosophy and historiography since the 1960’s. Within these founding disciplines of recent Begriffsgeschichte, conceptual history focuses almost exclusively on non-fictional and non-poetic texts, and while its proponents admit that there are no concepts without words, they consider that concepts can to a large extent be abstracted from the words representing them, since these words are variable over time and (linguistic) space (Jannidis 2008, 61; Dutt 2011, 42).5 Neither this abstraction nor the focus on non-fictional and non-poetic texts suit the concept of barbarism.6 As we will explain in more detail below, this concept was already at its Greek beginnings shaped by mythopoetic tragedy no less than by historiography and ethnography (and, later, rhetoric and philosophy). And throughout its history, it has always remained bound to the onomatopoetic lexeme barbar-. Given this lexeme’s striking presence in all European languages, barbarism proves to be not only a key concept, but also a keyword of European and Western identity formation (Borst 1988).7 This in turn entails that the etymology and the conceptual history of barbarism remain inextricably intertwined.8 One of the reasons for this remarkable intertwinement no doubt is the fact that the meaning of bárbaros and its derivatives is primarily linguistic and that the sound of the word made of the reduplicated syllable bar cannot be separated from its meaning: at its beginnings, bárbaros is an onomatopoetic word evoking unintelligible 4 See Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe (8 vols., 1972–97), where barbarism is only marginally dealt with in the articles on “Menschheit, Humanität, Humanismus” and on “Zivilisation, Kultur”; the heading is also missing in Historisches Wörterbuch der Philosophie (13 vols., 1971–2007) and Ästhetische Grundbegriffe (7 vols., 2000–2005). As for the Historisches Wörterbuch der Rhetorik (12 vols., 1992–2015), its article on “Barbarismus” is by definition limited to the rhetorical derivative of the concept. The article by Michel 1988 concerns only the French history of the concept from 1680 to 1830.—For a comprehensive list and detailed evaluation of the major institutions, journals, and encyclopedias of conceptual history, see Müller and Schmieder 2016, chapter VI. 5 Ästhetische Grundbegriffe, an encyclopedia considered by Gumbrecht as epistemologically obsolete (“ein ‘nachgeborene[s]’ Vorhaben” [Gumbrecht 2006, 26]), practices a more cautious approach by listing for each heading the words that represent it in Greek, Latin, and the main modern European languages, and by including, at least in some of its articles, sources that pertain to literature, the visual arts, and music. It is all the more regrettable that this encyclopedia does not include an article on the barbarian. 6 This unsuitability might be one of the reasons why the concept has not received the status of a headword in the major encyclopedias of conceptual history. 7 This status of the slogan in European and Western culture does not exclude its adoption in languages other than European, e. g., modern Arabic. 8 The case of English brave, French brave, German brav provides no counter-argument (Wartburg 1948 = Französisches etymologisches Wörterbuch, vol. 1, 248–50; Oxford English Dictionary, s. v. ‘brave’; Knobloch 1986). While Wartburg upholds the etymological link between the Latin barbarus and the French brave, Knobloch questions it concerning German brav and proposes another etymology.

1.  Theoretical and Methodological Introduction       3

language. Thus in Homer’s Iliad (2, 867), the Carians, (Κᾶρες [Cáres]), a tribe in south-western Asia Minor allied with the Trojans, are characterized as “uncouth of speech” (βαρβαρόφωνοι [barbaróphonoi]),9 because their language is incomprehensible to the Achaeans. Poetic language, since the Greek beginnings of bárbaros, draws on this word’s onomatopoetic structure and meaning, as do ancient and modern rhetoric. And so do the modern literary, poetic, and artistic contributions to the knowledge of barbarism and to the search for barbarism—“cognizione della barbarie” and “la barbarie perseguita,” to quote Juan Rigoli and Carlo Caruso (1998, 12): on the one hand, literature is part and parcel of an attempt to use the concept of the barbarian for the purpose of scholarly knowledge, an attempt that it shares with historiography, ethnography, and anthropology. On the other hand, literature may pursue the barbarian as a force of cultural regeneration. This pursuit aims at realizing the barbarian through poetic language and form. Observations on bárbaros as an onomatopoetic word shall therefore be the starting-point of our attempt to list the premises of the present study (1.2.1). The mythopoetic use of the word is the second point (1.2.2). While onomatopoeia accounts for the concept’s making and deepest layer of meaning, mythopoeia accounts for the—as Edith Hall (1989) has labeled it—“invention” of the barbarian as a politically, culturally, and ethnically threatening persona. Its subsequent reinventions presuppose a third layer of meaning, namely the conceptualization itself (1.2.3), which to some extent involves the abstraction from or hiding of onomatopoeia and mythopoeia; this holds true even for prominent critical explorations of the concept such as Koselleck’s (1989) important and influential attempt to subsume the concept under the category of the “asymmetric counter-concepts.” Onomatopoeia and mythopoeia indeed stand in the way of conceptual history’s traditional methodology. In onomatopoeia, sound and meaning are inextricably intertwined; conceptual history on the contrary abstracts concepts from the words and word-sounds that represent them as well as from the myths that underlie them. Against this backdrop of the concept’s semantic genealogy, literature’s and the arts’ involvement in the modern history of barbarism—an involvement that the present study will highlight, as mentioned above—may itself be described as genealogical: literature and the arts may indeed aim at reenacting the hidden implications and dynamics of the concept, its provenance and emergence. This staging of barbarism, which takes place in the autonomous ‘literary field’ (Bourdieu), bears witness to a fourth semantic layer, which may be labelled as aesthetic in the modern sense of the term (1.2.4). Its manifestations oscillate between an aesthetic of barbarism and a ‘barbarian’ aesthetic, between knowledge of and search for barbarism (see above). Finally, in the concluding section 3 of this Introduction, we will provide an overview of the present volume’s structure and content. Defining the genealogical premises of our study is thus tantamount to outlining the hidden or forgotten or even repressed semantic layers as well as the critical and aesthetic exploration of a concept currently used as a fashionable rhetorical

9

English translation by A. T. Murray (1924), quoted after the Perseus online edition.—On this passage, see Werner 1983, 583.

4       Markus Winkler

slogan—a ‘catchword’ (“Schlagwort”) meant to hit and to hurt, as Arno Borst has emphasized (1988, 19).

1.1.2. A Genealogical Approach Before we turn to our premises, we must explain why we qualify them as genealogical and in what sense we use the term genealogy.10 Any application of this term in cultural criticism has to take into account its well-known use by Nietzsche, Foucault, and their successors to designate a way of “unmasking” (Hoy 2008) and de-legitimizing established and cherished values, concepts or practices by questioning their founding historical narratives. Thus in Nietzsche and Foucault, genealogy as a philosophical form of historical research, “a genre of historical-philosophical writing with a critical intention” (Saar 2008, 312), opposes the ‘Platonic’ modalities of traditional historical writing insofar as the latter is (supposedly) informed by the search for pure origins, continuous developments (themselves based on tradition), and recognizable ends of historical processes (Foucault 2015 [1971]).11 Genealogy aims at undoing these ontological and teleological implications and the metahistorical point of view that they presuppose by exposing the heterogeneity and shockingly low provenance (Herkunft) of those values, concepts, and practices as well as the contingency of their emergence (Entstehung).12 This form of genealogy indeed claims that historical events are considered to be nothing but the manifestations of instable power relations: “The forces operating in history are not controlled by destiny or regulative mechanisms, but respond to haphazard conflicts. [...] they always appear through the singular randomness of events” (1984, 88).13 Thus Foucault, following Nietzsche, points out that whenever genealogy deals with historical periods considered as highly civilized, “it is with the suspicion—not vindictive but joyous—of finding a barbarous confusion” (1984, 89; translation modified, M. W.).14 Obviously, this sort of ‘genealogical’ critique of the way we look at established values, concepts, and practices (such as the asymmetric opposition of civilization and barbarism in the passage just quoted) is of considerable interest to the present study, also with regard to our attempt to revise the methodological shortcomings of traditional conceptual history.15 We nevertheless depart from it in two major respects: 10 A theoretical reflection on the implications of the term genealogy is missing in Droit 2007, despite the title of his monograph: Généalogie des barbares. See also below, section 1.2.3.2 of this Introduction. 11 On Foucault’s reading of Nietzsche’s genealogies, see Saar 2008; Koopman 2008; Müller and Schmieder 2016, 575–86. 12 See Foucault’s (2015 [1971], vol. 2, 1282–86) analysis of Nietzsche’s genealogical keywords Herkunft and Entstehung as counter-concepts of Ursprung “origin.” See also below, sections 3.4.1 and 3.4.3 of the chapter on Nietzsche. 13 “Les forces qui sont en jeu dans l’histoire n’obéissent ni à une destination ni à une mécanique, mais bien au hasard de la lutte. [...] Elles apparaissent toujours dans l’aléa singulier de l’événement” (2015 [1971], vol. 2, 1294). Foucault refers here to Nietzsche, Zur Genealogie der Moral II, § 12. 14 “c’est avec le soupçon, non pas rancunier mais joyeux, d’un grouillement barbare et inavouable” (2015 [1971], vol. 2, 1295). 15 See below, section 1.2.3.2 of this Introduction.

1.  Theoretical and Methodological Introduction       5

Firstly, when Foucault and his recent successors present genealogy as a ‘method’16 of historical research or as radically historicist “critique” (Bevir 2008, 265), they leave out the fact that their use of the term genealogy is metaphorical.17 In its dominant, non-metaphorical use, as documented by major language dictionaries, genealogy means “[a]n account of one’s descent from an ancestor or ancestors, by enumeration of the intermediate persons” (Oxford English Dictionary, s. v. ‘genealogy’), that is, a family pedigree. Linking the present generation to its predecessors and tracing the lineage back to its origin (in the ideal case), genealogical accounts tend to be legitimizing narratives, as witnessed by ancient mythological models such as Hesiod’s Theogonia or the Genesis (Heinrich 1982).18 A closer look at the mythological model-genealogies however reveals that the mythical legitimization of the present through a founding narrative of the present’s past origin may also tend to de-legitimize this origin by narrating e. g., how one generation revolted against the preceding generation, as is the case in Hesiod. Thus genealogies may also be narratives of emancipation through rupture with the past. Emil Angehrn describes this ambivalence of the genealogical narrative as follows: Genealogical accounts of past origins not only link the present to its founding past, but also lead the present out of its past: The dialectic of origins consists in both founding and liberating the present. Those who trace back their lineage, but also those who emancipate themselves from their lineage, may both find their proper selves. Knowing from where one comes as well as knowing from what one has freed oneself are ways of finding one’s own identity. (1996, 311; my translation, M. W.)19

In their use of the term genealogy, Nietzsche and Foucault obviously emphasize and even absolutize this emancipatory moment of rupture insofar as their uncovering of the hidden “barbarous confusion” in the present’s past aims at ending the past’s authority over the present and its values, concepts, and practices. However, this use of the term to designate a method of ‘unmasking’ the low provenance and contingent emergence of presently cherished values, concepts, and practices may well revert to the genealogical narrative’s legitimizing function as well. Thus in Nietzsche, who was not the first to apply figures of genealogy to philosophical thought (Weigel 2006, 27; Willer and Vedder 2013), the genealogical conjectures on the ‘barbarian’ provenance

16 “méthode” (Foucault 2004, 121). 17 Saar hints at the fact that Nietzsche’s use of the term genealogy is metaphorical, but that it has become in the meantime “a central philosophical topos”—“ein zentraler philosophischer Topos” (2007, 11; my translation, M. W.). 18 Accordingly, genealogies served during the Ancien régime to prove aristocratic descent (Weigel 2006, 24). 19 “Die genealogische Herkunftsgeschichte ist nicht nur Rückführung auf das gründende Erste, sondern auch Herausführung aus ihm: Die Dialektik des Ursprungs ist die von Begründung und Befreiung. Nicht nur wer sich seiner Herkunft versichert, sondern auch wer sich von ihr emanzipiert, kann sich selber finden: Nicht nur wissen, woher man kommt, sondern auch, wovon man sich frei gemacht hat und wohin man geht, ist ein Modus der Identitätsgewinnung.”

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of aristocratic societies lead to a vindication of barbarism as powerful wholeness capable of generating ‘higher’ forms of human and social life.20 Reflecting on the metaphorical status of the philosophical use of the term genealogy therefore makes us realize that this use conveys a semantic complexity that opposes conceptual simplification. In contexts other than those of genealogies in the non-metaphorical sense, the term indeed becomes part of an ‘absolute’ metaphor (as opposed to metaphor as a rhetorical figure of speech). Absolute metaphors are, to quote Hans Blumenberg, “foundational elements of philosophical language, ‘translations’ that resist being converted back into authenticity and logicality” (2010, 3);21 they have a “conceptually irredeemable expressive function” (3),22 which consists in ‘guiding’ and ‘framing’ concept-based and theory-oriented research and as such undergoes historical change.23 We hold that thinking the history of presently cherished values, concepts, and practices in terms of genealogy proceeds from an ‘absolute’ metaphor in the Blumenbergian sense and that this metaphor may unfold a de-legitimizing or legitimizing dynamic. As we have already hypothesized, literary and artistic ‘genealogies’ of barbarism may betray an analogous ambivalence: they may either vindicate barbarism or uncover it or do both. And as will become clear throughout the present study, our own premises are to a large extent based on those literary and artistic genealogies. However, using the term genealogy to metaphorically qualify these premises will prevent us from simply reproducing the interference of legitimization and de-legitimization—an interference traces of which are to be found not only in Nietzsche, but also in Foucault (the above-quoted passage, in which he characterizes the genealogical uncovering of the “barbarous confusion” as joyful, is but one example).24 This means, secondly, that we try to make the above-mentioned interference instrumental by drawing on the metaphor’s de-legitimizing as well as its legitimizing dynamic. On the one hand, we qualify our premises metaphorically as genealogi­ cal because they are intended to de-legitimize the current fashionable use of the lexeme barbar- by pointing to the contingency of the lexeme’s emergence and of its successive meanings. This tendency of the metaphor is obviously close to Fou-

20 See Nietzsche: Jenseits von Gut und Böse, § 257–259 and Zur Genealogie der Moral I, § 11. These and other passages will be discussed below, in chapter 3.4. 21 “Grundbestände der philosophischen Sprache [...], ‘Übertragungen’, die sich nicht ins Eigentliche, in die Logizität zurückholen lassen” (1960, 9). 22 “begrifflich nicht ablösbare[] Aussagefunktion” (1960, 9). 23 On the pragmatic function of absolute metaphors, see Blumenberg 1960, 11, 59 (English: 2010, 5, 52); on ‘absolute’ metaphors as “leading metaphorical representation” (“metaphorische Leitvorstellungen”), see 1960, 9–11, 17, 19, 20, 23–24, 69; 2010, 3–5, 10, 13, 14, 17–18, 62–63, and 2001, 193: “Metaphern sind [...] Leitfossilien einer archaischen Schicht des Prozesses der theoretischen Neugierde” (“[M]etaphors are fossils that indicate an archaic stratum of the trial of theoretical curiosity,” 1997, 82); on the ‘framing’ function of metaphors, see Busse 2012, 300–01, and on the genealogical tree as absolute metaphor in Kant’s Kritik der reinen Vernunft, see Weigel 2006, 27. 24 Hence from our point of view, it does not go without saying that genealogy is an unambiguously critical form of historiography (“eindeutig kritische Geschichtsschreibung”; Saar 2007, 10).

1.  Theoretical and Methodological Introduction       7

cault’s definition of genealogy as critical “history of the present” (1995, 31),25 and, as such, it has affinities with the ideology critique of the Frankfurt school as well (Hoy 2008, 280–84). On the other hand, the very definition and objectification of those meanings as semantic layers, namely onomatopoeia, mythopoeia, conceptualization, and aesthetic reflection, resorts to mental functions, or, to quote Ernst Cassirer, “symbolic forms.” These are “forms of human culture” (1944, 279) and as such the supra-historical, non-contingent, founding, and legitimizing ‘conditions of possibility’ of those layers, namely of the structural characteristics of each of them and of the—metaphorically speaking—genealogical link between them. To be sure, the lexeme’s concrete meanings emerge contingently at various stages of its history, but as forms, they are—metaphorically speaking—interrelated and non-contingent, insofar as they are autonomous “configurations towards being,” that is, ways not of copying, but of constituting reality (1953, 107).26 Our resorting to them as constitutive, legitimizing factors in turn legitimizes our attempt to systematize the ways in which the word barbarian becomes significant. Hence these mental functions or symbolic forms determine neither the concrete successive meanings of the lexeme barbar- nor the historical moments of their emergence: as symbolic form, myth e. g., does not account for the fact that the (Persian) barbarian was ‘invented’ in the fifth century BC.27 This historical moment and the referential meanings of the ‘invention’ are contingent, as is—to quote another example—today’s fashionable recycling of the enemy-concept of the barbarian to designate Islamist fundamentalists. Thus our systematization does not involve—as Foucault in his reading of Nietzsche’s genealogies suggests—any metaphysical-teleological attempt to define the ‘essence,’ ‘origin’ or ‘end’ of barbarism as a keyword and key-concept of Western identity-formation; we will on the contrary warn against such attempts.28 But our systematization also opposes the tendency to essentialize the discontinuity and coincidence that Nietzsche’s and Foucault’s (at times dogmatic) formulations often betray, e. g., Foucault’s already quoted insistence on the all-pervading “haphazard conflicts” and the former’s claim that there is necessarily a world of difference between the cause of a thing’s emergence and its final usefulness (Zur Genealogie der Moral II, § 12).29 The conceptual history of barbarism speaks against this claim: as we will see throughout the present study, this history is characterized by the interplay of discontinuity and continuity, the latter being in part at25 “histoire du présent” (2015 [1975], vol. 2, 292). 26 “Prägungen zum Sein” (1988, 43). 27 See below, section 1.2.2 of this Introduction. 28 On Koselleck’s homage to Carl Schmitt’s notion of the enemy-concept, see below, section 1.2.3.2 of this Introduction. 29 “[...] vielmehr giebt es für alle Art Historie gar keinen wichtigeren Satz als jenen, [....] dass nämlich die Ursache der Entstehung eines Dings und dessen schliessliche Nützlichkeit, dessen thatsächliche Verwendung und Einordnung in ein System von Zwecken toto coelo auseinander liegen” (1980-KSA, vol. 5, 313). (“[...] on the contrary, there is no more important proposition for every sort of history than that, [...] namely that the origin of the emergence of a thing and its ultimate usefulness, its practical application and incorporation into a system of ends, are toto coelo separate [...],” 2006, 51). See section 3.4.3 of the chapter on Nietzsche in the present volume.

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tributable to the “symbolic forms” that are at stake and in part to the onomatopoetic provenance of the lexeme barbar-. The conceptual history of barbarism is not just a series of ‘interpretations’ that violently replace each other. On the contrary, the subsequent ‘interpretations’ have not replaced the violence inherent in the very word barbarian—a violence that, as we will see, stems from the lexeme’s onomatopoetic beginnings and pervades its mythopoetic as well as its conceptual use. Uncovering and de-legitimizing this (often repressed) continuity is one of the critical tasks of our genealogical approach to the conceptual history of barbarism. But the de-legitimizing effort is bound to the legitimizing a priori of the forms of meaning that become manifest in the concept’s history. As a metaphorically induced figure of thought used to qualify a specific approach to history (conceptual and other), critical genealogy thus unfolds a dynamic that is not only “radical[ly] historicist,” as Mark Bevir claims in his reading of Nietzsche and Foucault (2008, 273), but also critical-phenomenological (in the Cassirerian sense of the word, 1988, 9–11; 1987, 18).30 It is telling that the proponents of a radically historicist concept of genealogy themselves use a key formula of transcendental (in Cassirer’s words: phenomenological) criticism when they point out that genealogical research deals with the “conditions of possibility” of presently cherished values, concepts, and practices (Bevir 2008, 272; Koopman 2008, 347). Using this formula contradicts the putative radical historicism insofar as it refers to the non-historical, a priori forms of culture, that is, to the forms by means of which perceptions and the affects they are related to become significant and communicable; speaking of a ‘historical a priori,’ as Foucault does in his earlier works,31 is rhetorically provocative, but epistemologically misleading.32 Accordingly, we question the opposition that in an article inspired by Kant’s “Beantwortung der Frage: Was ist Aufklärung?” (“An Answer to the Question: What Is Enlightenment?”), Foucault establishes between “transcendental” criticism on the one hand and “archaeological” and “genealogical” on the other. Whereas the former, he claims, deals with “the search for formal structures with universal value,” the latter is “a historical investigation into the events that have led us to constitute ourselves and to recognize ourselves as subjects of what we are doing, thinking, saying” (1984, 46)33—an investigation which Foucault, again provocatively and misleadingly, labels as “historical ontology of ourselves” (45). As we have tried to show, this alternative is invalid, as is Foucault’s claim that only genealogy as he defines it will enable us to 30 The critical phenomenology of symbolic forms is an expansion of Kantian and neo-Kantian transcendental criticism. On the compatibility of genealogy and phenomenology, see Hoy 2008, 289–94. 31 “a priori historique” (2015 [1966], vol. 1, 1211–12 = Les mots et les choses, I, 5, 7; 2015 [1969], vol. 2, 135–41 = L’ Archéologie du savoir, III, 5) 32 See also Cassirer’s critique of Durkheim’s use of the notion of ‘a priori’ (1987, 230–31; 1955, 192–93). 33 This article was first published in English in the Foucault Reader (1984, 32–50), where it is presented as “based on an unpublished French manuscript by Michel Foucault” (iv) and “[t]ranslated by Catherine Porter” (32). On its French version, first published in Foucault’s Dits et écrits (1994), see the explanations in 2015, vol. 2, 1650–54 (notes on “Qu’est-ce que les lumières ?”).

1.  Theoretical and Methodological Introduction       9

“separate out, from the contingency that has made us what we are, the possibility of no longer being, doing, or thinking what we are, do, or think” (46). To Foucault’s simplistic alternative, we oppose a ‘genealogical’ approach which is simultaneously historical and (in the Cassirerian sense) phenomenological. As such, it draws not only on the conflictual interplay of legitimization and de-legitimization that characterizes mythological genealogies (see above), but also on the structural hallmark of the figural representations of genealogies (mythological and other), namely the no less conflictual interplay of systematic classification and historical derivation.34 To conclude this section of the present Introduction, we should emphasize that our attempt to do justice to the epistemic value of genealogy as ‘absolute’ metaphor and to make its ambivalence instrumental is a key element of our methodological departure not only from Foucault’s notion of genealogy, but also from the methodology of conceptual history (Begriffsgeschichte), as it has been practiced over the past decades. Hans-Ulrich Gumbrecht has pertinently pointed out that one of the shortcomings of the philosophical practice of Begriffsgeschichte, as it materialized in the Historisches Wörterbuch der Philosophie, was Joachim Ritter’s, the editor’s, refusal to include metaphorology (2006, 15–17). Yet metaphorology serves conceptual history insofar as it deals with the pre- or non-conceptual substratum of concepts: [M]etaphorology seeks to burrow down to the substructure of thought, the underground, the nutrient solution of systematic crystallizations; but it also aims to show with what ‘courage’ the mind preempts itself in its images, and how its history is projected in the courage of its conjectures. (Blumenberg 2010, 5)35

Blumenberg’s methodological reflection obviously is relevant not only to concepts as objects of historical analysis, but also to the conceptual-theoretical framework of the analysis itself. Thus our heuristic choice to metaphorically qualify our approach to the conceptual history of barbarism as genealogical draws on the sub- or pre-conceptual dynamics unfolding from genealogical narratives and their figural representations. This choice however cannot—and need not—contribute to the solution of another important and to this day unresolved theoretical problem of Begriffsgeschichte, namely the relation between conceptual history and social or otherwise extra-conceptual, pragmatic history (Sachgeschichte).36 As for the exclusion of metaphorology from philosophical conceptual history, one may very well assume that this is concomitant with the latter’s lack of sustained interest in literature’s and the arts’ contribution to and exploration of that history—a lack that also informs the research in the history of political concepts, as it materialized in 34 See Weigel 2006, 36, who characterizes the structure of genealogical patterns as ‘the interplay of synchronic classification and diachronic derivation’—“das Zusammenspiel und den Widerstreit zwischen synchroner Klassifikation (mit dem Effekt der Bildung von Einheiten) und diachroner Ableitung (als Projektion in die Dimension der Zeit).” 35 “Metaphorologie sucht an die Substruktur des Denkens heranzukommen, an den Untergrund, die Nährlösung der systematischen Kristallisationen, aber sie will auch faßbar machen, mit welchem ‘Mut’ sich der Geist in seinen Bildern selbst voraus ist und wie sich im Mut zur Vermutung seine Geschichte entwirft” (1960, 11). 36 See below, section 1.2.3.2 of this Introduction.

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Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe. From a retrospective point of view, it thus proves to be part of the methodological shortcomings of Begriffsgeschichte in general.

1.2. Genealogical Premises 1.2.1. From bárbaros as Language- and Affect-Related Onomatopoetic Word to barbarismus as Rhetorical Term While there seems to be no consensus about a possible oriental (Akkadian and/or Sumerian) origin of the Greek adjective and noun bárbaros, etymologists agree on its status as an onomatopoetic word the type of which is well represented in Indo-European languages, as witnessed by the Sanskrit barbar “stammer” and the Latin balbus “stammering” (Frisk 1960, 219–20; Chantraine 1986, 165; Beekes 2009, vol. 1, 201).37 To determine the significance that the onomatopoetic form and meaning of bárbaros has for the history of the concept of barbarism, we first must define the term onomatopoeia itself. Onomatopoeia is, as the interplay of the term’s two components (ὄνομα [ónoma] “name” or “word,” and ποιέω [poiéo] “make”) indicates, a form of word-making. As for the specific meaning of the term, scholars in general consider it as “a relation between signifier and signified in which the signifier is motivated, in part, by its sound” (Bredin 1996, 561). By analyzing the possible forms of this relation, Hugh Bredin arrives at distinguishing between three different types of onomatopoeia. The first, namely “direct onomatopoeia,” is constituted by the resemblance of a word’s sound and “the sound that it names” (558). A word of this type thus fulfills two criteria: its denotation “is a class of sounds; and [...] the sound of the word resembles a member of the class” (558), as in the English hiss, the German zischen, and the French siffler. The difference between these three verbs indicates however that even “direct onomatopoeia” is only partly motivated. Bredin goes on to claim that without convention, that is, conventional denotation, a directly onomatopoetic word could not even be experienced as onomatopoetic (558). The second type, namely “associative onomatopoeia,” “occurs whenever the sound of a word resembles a sound associated with whatever it is that the word denotes” (560). An example is the bird name cuckoo, the acoustic resemblance being here to the song that the bird produces and not the bird itself (560). According to Bredin, barbarian also belongs to this second type: “A famous historical example is barbarian, whose root, the Greek word bárbaroi, was devised as a name for non-Greeks because their strange languages sounded to Greek ears like the stuttered syllables ‘ba-ba’” (560). We will discuss this typification further down. As for the third type, namely “exemplary onomatopoeia,” it rests according to Bredin not on denotation, but on connotative instantiation, as for example in nimble: “The word sound nimble does not sound like anything that can be denoted by the word, and it cannot resemble the idea connoted by it, since sounds and concepts cannot ‘sound alike’; concepts have no sound. Instead, the word sound instantiates 37 Chantraine and Beekes reject the hypothesis, still upheld by Frisk, of an oriental origin of bárbaros.

1.  Theoretical and Methodological Introduction       11

or exemplifies nimbleness, since it is itself a nimble sound” (564). Bredin’s choice of literary examples (Pope, Keats, Joyce et al.) to illustrate this connotative relationship is convincing insofar as these examples highlight the affective values of the words being used. Yet by stating that “the connotation of a word is the concept instantiated by all the members of the class” (558), that is, by denotation, Bredin does not take into account these very values; his notion of connotation thus proves to be inadequate. Like J. St. Mill, whom he quotes on this occasion, he assimilates connotation to what we would rather designate as intension, namely the sum of the object-related, distinctive semantic attributes contained in a concept, its extension being the range of objects to which it is applied or has been applied. This rather cognitivist assimilation might explain why Bredin attributes the word barbarian only to the second type, namely associative onomatopoeia. Etymological research however suggests that bárbaros (as adjective) was first related directly to a linguistic sound experience: Beekes for example defines the word as “an onomatopoeic reduplicative formation, which originally referred to the language of the foreigner” (2009, vol. 1, 201). Hall stresses that “[o]riginally it was simply an adjective representing the sound of incomprehensible speech” (1989, 4). It seems that the semantic attributes “‘foreign(er), non-Greek,’ also adj. ‘uncivilized, raw’” (Beekes 2009, vol. 1, 201) were associated with this primary linguistic experience and meaning and not vice versa, as Bredin’s typification suggests. Accordingly, we may surmise that as an onomatopoetic word rendering the experience of incomprehensible, foreign speech, as well as incomprehensible animal sounds (Jüthner 1923, 1–2, 7, 128, n. 30; Opelt and Speyer, 818),38 bárbaros had already at its origins affective values linked to the expressive and conative (appealing) function of language rather than to the representational; as we will see, onomatopoeia is even akin to mythopoeia in that it opposes the net distinction between signifier and signified.39 We will therefore avoid the term connotation to designate these values because it suggests that they are secondary. The expressive and the appealing functions of onomatopoeia have been neglected by current definitions (e. g., Brogan 1993; Matthews 2007, s. v. ‘onomatopoeia’; Glück 2016, 480–81). Yet they are already hinted at in Quintilian’s definition to which all modern definitions remain indebted, as Bredin himself acknowledges (556). Quintilian, who counts onomatopoeia among the tropes (while admitting that it might also be considered as a figure of speech, cp. Inst. 8.6.31–32 with 9.1.3–5), translates the Greek term with “fictio nominis” and observes: “Et sunt plurima ita posita ab iis qui sermonem primi fecerunt, aptantes adfectibus vocem” (Inst. 8.6.31). Harold Edgeworth Butler translates as follows: “It is true that many words were created in this way by the original founders of the language, who adapted them to suit the sensation which they expressed” (1920–22).40 This translation is misleading insofar as in the Latin original, the word (vox) is adapted not to sensations, but to affects (af38 One instance is to be found in Herodotus 2.57. This passage however suggests that ‘barbarian’ language was compared to animal sounds, the reference to the latter therefore being secondary. 39 See below, section 1.2.2 of this Introduction. 40 English translation quoted after the Perseus online edition.

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fectus), that is, to states of mind or body attached to sensations (sense impressions), as Helmut Rahn emphasizes in his German translation by choosing the compound “Gefühlseindrücke” (1988, vol. 2, 231). Quintilian thus hints at the creative—‘poetic’ and ‘fictional’—power of onomatopoeia and at the affective value that it expresses and conveys. In the sentence quoted above, he even relates it to the very origin of language. In his article, Bredin observes that “we want language to be onomatopoeic” (560), and he claims that onomatopoeia is a “linguistic universal” (569). To better understand this attractiveness and significance of onomatopoeia, we may resort to Ernst Cassirer, who in his Philosophie der symbolischen Formen underscores that it indeed represents a fundamental quality of all language, namely the constitutive layer of affect and emotional stimulation to which language remains bound: “[A]ll meaning is rooted in the stratum of affectivity and sensory stimulation and is referred back to it over and over again” (1957, 109; translation modified, M. W.).41 According to Cassirer, all language rests on this sub-conceptual, affect-related expressive function as its primary layer of meaning (“primary expressive experience,” 110);42 in language development, the “representative function” (109–110),43 a term that Cassirer borrows from Karl Bühler, occurs later and only gradually prevails. Onomatopoeia thus is rooted in this primary function of language: All the phenomena that we call onomatopoeia belong to this sphere, for in the genuine onomatopoeic formations of language we are dealing far less with the direct imitation of objectively given phenomena than with a phonetic and linguistic formation which still remains wholly within the purely physiognomic world view. Here the sound attempts, as it were, to capture the immediate face of things and with it their true essence. Even where living language has long since learned to use the word as a pure vehicle of thought it never wholly relinquishes this connection. And it is above all the poetic language which persistently strives back toward this original physiognomic expression, in which it seeks to plunge as in a primordial source and eternal fountain of youth. (110; translation modified, M. W.)44

We may infer from these observations that as onomatopoetic words, bárbaros and its derivatives not only mean incomprehensible foreign language, but also express 41 “Alles Sinnhafte wurzelt [...] in der Schicht des Affekts und der sinnlichen Erregung und wird immer wieder auf sie zurückbezogen” (1954, 128). 42 “primäre[s] Ausdruckserlebnis” (128). 43 “Darstellungsfunktion” (128). 44 “Alles, was man als Onomatopöie zu bezeichnen pflegt, gehört in diesen Kreis: denn in den eigentlich-onomatopöetischen Bildungen der Sprache handelt es sich, weit weniger als um direkte ‘Nachahmung’ objektiv-gegebener Phänomene, um eine Laut- und Sprachbildung, die noch ganz im Banne der rein ‘physiognomischen’ Weltansicht steht. Der Laut unternimmt hier gleichsam den Versuch, das unmittelbare ‘Gesicht’ der Dinge und mit diesem ihr wahres Wesen einzufangen. Die lebendige Sprache gibt, auch wo sie längst gelernt hat, das Wort als reines Vehikel des ‘Gedankens’ zu brauchen, diese Verflechtung nirgends auf. Vor allem ist es die dichterische Sprache, die immer wieder in diesen Grund des ‘phy­ siognomischen’ Ausdrucks zurückstrebt und in ihn, als ihren Urquell und ihren ständigen Jungbrunnen, eintaucht” (128–29).

1.  Theoretical and Methodological Introduction       13

feelings associated with incomprehension, namely rejection and aversion or, occasionally, curiosity and even fascination. To be sure, scholars consider as open the question whether in Homer’s characterization of the Carians as barbaróphonoi the word is already being used pejoratively.45 The ancient rhetorical term barbarismós/ barbarismus however reflects the association of the use of foreign language with inappropriate and amiss language: already in ancient Greek the term means both (Aristot. Poet. 1458a), and in Quintilian, who provides a very detailed and differentiated description and evaluation of the various kinds of barbarismus, the term refers to aesthetically and morally offensive incorrectness of speech (the Latin words for this being foeditas and vitium, Inst. 1.5.1.). It is revealing that he presents as the first kind of such incorrectness the insertion of foreign words into Latin speech (Quintilian mentions here among others African, Spanish, and Gaulish, Inst. 1.5.8). Quintilian admits though that the bad qualities of linguistic barbarism may exceptionally turn out to be excellent qualities (virtutes) when consciously used by poets as figures of speech (Inst. 1.5.1. and 1.5.57).46 There is indeed a certain degree of ambivalence in Quintilian’s assessment of linguistic barbarism: what is offensive may turn out to be attractive. Quintilian’s admission of barbarism as poetic licence, that is, barbarism as an exceptional and isolated deviation from the norm of the aptum, may in modern poetry and art even become an aesthetic and cultural value attached to revolutionary ideals of cultural and social renewal.47 A scene from Une tempête, Aimé Césaire’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, enacts from a postcolonial point of view this link between the ancient rhetorical notion of barbarism and the modern vindication of barbarism as well as the underlying affective value of the onomatopoetic French word barbare. When Caliban, the ‘negro slave’—“esclave nègre” (1969, 7), is first called in by his master Prospero, he enters the scene by pronouncing the word “Uhuru,” a Swahili word for freedom that is of course unknown to Prospero, the Eurocentric humanist and colonizer: CALIBAN : Uhuru ! PROSPERO : Qu’est-ce que tu dis ? CALIBAN : Je dis Uhuru ! PROSPERO : Encore une remontée de ton langage barbare. Je t’ai déjà dit que je n’aime pas ça. D’ailleurs, tu pourrais être poli, un bonjour ne te tuerait pas !

45 See above, the passage from the Iliad quoted in section 1.1.1 of this Introduction. On this passage, see Losemann 2015; Jüthner 1923, 3–4; Werner 1983, 583; Boletsi 2013, 69. Contrary to Werner, Boletsi argues that the depiction of the Carians as barbarophones is depreciative and insinuates their inferiority. According to Jüthner, the reason for Homer’s singling out of the Carians as linguistic barbarians (whereas the Trojans are not qualified as such) is the fact that the Greeks had exchanges (hostile or friendly) with these people; on the contrary, Homer’s knowledge of the Trojans was based only on myth. Therefore, Homer does not establish any ethnic differences between Greeks and Trojans. 46 For a brief history of the rhetorical notion of barbarism, see Erlebach 1992. See also Jüthner 1923, 43. On onomatopoeia as barbarism, see Ueding and Steinbrink 2011, 227: “Bei Wortneuschöpfungen wird die Onomatopöie als Barbarismus aufgefaßt.” (“Onomatopoeia is considered as barbarism when it is neologistical,” my translation, M. W.). 47 See below, section 1.2.4 of this Introduction.

14       Markus Winkler CALIBAN: Ah ! J’oubliais ... Bonjour. Mais un bonjour autant que possible de guêpes, de crapauds, de pustules de fiente. Puisse le jour d’aujourd’hui hâter de dix ans le jour où les oiseaux du ciel et les bêtes de la terre se rassasieront de ta charogne ! (24) CALIBAN: Uhuru! PROSPERO: What did you say? CALIBAN: I said, Uhuru! PROSPERO: Mumbling your barbaric language again! I’ve already told you, I don’t like it. You could be polite, at least; a simple “hello” wouldn’t kill you. CALIBAN: Oh, I forgot ... But make that as froggy, waspish, pustular and dung-filled “hello” as possible. May today hasten by a decade the day when all the birds of the sky and beasts of the earth will feast upon your corpse! (1999, 11; translation modified, M. W.)

The African word which Caliban uses as an aggressive onomatopoetic battle-cry is rejected by Prospero as an offensive barbarism in the rhetorical sense of the word. Moreover, Uhuru as well as barbare convey the affective value attached to their sound qualities. But instead of replacing his ‘barbarian’ language with politesse-formulas, as suggested by Prospero, the oppressed slave Caliban elaborates on it, as does—on the level of the dramatic form (in the external communication system)—the poet himself, who transforms the slave’s barbarian “curse,” adapted from Shakespeare (The Tempest 1.2.324–27, 324–47, 366–68), into revolutionary verbal violence. Barbarism in the rhetorical sense of the term, namely the introduction of foreign words and taboo swearwords into the ‘metropolitan’ language of the master and colonizer, is ‘appropriated’ and even vindicated to create a hybrid text, a veritable barbarolexis.48 Thus Césaire not only reminds us of the hidden semantic layers of the lexeme barbar-, namely its linguistic origins and its colonialist backdrop—which also goes back to its Greek origins (Jüthner 1923, 11; Hall 1989, 50)—, but he also uses its ambiguity ‘contrapuntally’ to question its function as a European identity concept.49 And he highlights the link between the ancient rhetorical notion of barbarism or barbarolexis and the modern postcolonial notion of textual hybridity.

1.2.2. The Mythopoetic ‘Invention of the Barbarian’ In the scene just quoted from Césaire’s play, Prospero qualifies not only Caliban’s language, but also his very personality as barbarian. After apostrophizing him as an ugly monkey (“singe [...] si laid !” 1969, 24), he adds:

48 Barbarolexis is a term used by the fifth century Latin grammarian Consentius to designate the lexical form of linguistic barbarism. See Lausberg 2008, §§ 476–78. On ‘abrogation’ and ‘appropriation’ of the colonizer’s language in post-colonial writing, see Ashcroft, Griffiths, and Tiffin 2002, chapter 2. 49 On ‘contrapuntal’ reading and writing, a key concept of postcolonial criticism, see Said 1993, 59–62.

1.  Theoretical and Methodological Introduction       15 Puisque tu manies si bien l’invective, tu pourrais au moins me bénir de t’avoir appris à parler. Un barbare ! Une bête brute que j’ai éduquée, formée, que j’ai tirée de l’animalité qui l’engangue50 encore de toute part ! (25) Since you’re so fond of invective, you could at least thank me for having taught you to speak at all. You, a barbarian...a dumb animal, a beast I educated, trained, dragged up from the bestiality that still clings to you. (11; translation modified, M. W.)

The synecdochic use of the word meaning unintelligible or offensive language to designate the person speaking this language provides the linguistic basis for the most striking semantic aspect of the passage, namely the definition of the ethnically different and enslaved “barbarian” as an animal-like, subhuman brute. Césaire satirizes this Eurocentric and even racist use of barbare which continues to inform today’s rhetorical use of the concept. To assess the significance of this use, we have to turn to its historical beginnings, namely the Greek mythopoetic ‘invention’ of the barbarian as dramatic persona and as category “encompassing the entire genus of non-Greeks” (Hall 1989, 10).51 In her seminal study, Edith Hall has shown that the oldest extant Greek tragedy, namely Aeschylus’ Persae of 472 BC, “is the first fully fledged testimony to one of the most important of the Greeks’ ideological inventions and one of the most influential in western thought, the culturally other, the anti-Greek, the barbarian” (1989, 70). Hall goes on to explain that, while referring primarily to the Persian invaders, the barbarian as category soon came to mean all non-Greeks because the Persian empire “covered so many of the foreign peoples with whom the Greeks had contact” (11). Denoting all non-Greeks, it “was to reflect and bolster the Greeks’ sense of their own superiority” (11), as witnessed by the topical opposition of Hellenes and barbarians. It is only in relation to this function that the heterogeneous referents of the word (e. g., Persian and Scythian) and their respective semantic features (e. g., ‘oriental’ luxuriousness and nomadic wildness) become compatible (Winkler 2009, 31–32). In tragedy however, the ethnocentric asymmetric opposition of Hellenes and barbarians remains bound to the mythopoetic construction of the barbarian as tragic persona. Thus in Persae, the catastrophic defeat of the Persian army at Salamis and Xerxes’ own downfall are staged as a confirmation of the rule, emerging from the mythological tradition, “that excessive prosperity and satiety lead first to hubris and then to destruction” (Hall 1989, 70). The destruction is a punishment inflicted by the gods, as the ghost of Darius powerfully underscores in his final rhesis (Pers. 800–28). Persae may therefore serve as an example of the way the mythopoetic shaping of an outstanding contemporary historical event tends to prevent a historical analysis of this event or to deprive it of its historicity (Barthes 1970, 225). The event turns out to be the repetition and affirmation of an event or events situated in an indefinite 50 The verb enganguer is derived from the noun gangue, which refers to an enveloping substance. 51 As for the specifically modern missionary impetus, also present in Prospero’s words, to educate and humanize the barbarian, see our remarks on Goethe below, section 1.2.4 of this Introduction.

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remote past and narrated by myth. Thus in Persae, Xerxes’ story might recall the mythical narrative of Phaeton (Hall 1989, 69, n. 52).52 As mentioned above, Persae is the earliest testimony to the mythopoetic invention of the barbarian; as such, it has informed Herodotus’ historiographical and ethnographical discourse on the barbarians (Hall 1989, 69).53 These beginnings of the ethnocentric coding of the lexeme barbar- remain present even in today’s mythicizing images of cruel oriental ‘barbarians.’54 We may therefore formulate the following hypothesis: the ethnocentric (and later Eurocentric) concept of the barbarian as the culturally and ethnically ‘other’ has a mythopoetic layer of meaning; throughout the history of its use, this concept is underpinned by myth as a form of signifying, of producing meaning—a form which imposes tight limits on the way we perceive the ‘other.’ Being ruled by a law that Cassirer labels the “the concrescence and coincidence of the members of a relation” (1955, 64),55 the mythical way of shaping reality remains affect-related and opposed to empirical knowledge (1987, 89). Myth precedes or prevents the differentiations fundamental to the latter, e. g., that between signifier and signified or name and object, as does onomatopoeia; Cassirer himself hints at this correspondence between onomatopoeia and mythopoeia by stressing their affect-relatedness which opposes representation (Darstellung) insofar as the latter is based on a net distinction between form and content (1954, 125–29; 1988, 140–41).56 Accordingly, from the perspective of myth, the resemblance between the sound of the onomatopoetic word bárbaros and its meaning is not a variety of denotation or connotation (nor an association with one of them), but the manifestation of an essential identity, as is the synecdochic use of the language-related word for the speaker of the word. This correspondence between onomatopoeia and mythopoeia helps us understand that as an onomatopoetic word, bárbaros lent itself to the mythopoetic invention of the barbarian. Thus in Persae, Aeschylus not only “used implicit suggestion and aural effect to create within Greek diction the impression of barbarian speech” (Hall 1989, 77), but also had the Chorus designate their own speech as ‘barbarian’ (Pers. 633–35).57 Thereby and by the other instances of the word in Persae (187, 255, 337, 391, 423, 434, 475, 798, 844), an essential “concrescence and coincidence” of all the features making for the Persians’ barbarism is being suggested.58 These features include the sound of the onomatopoetic word, the carefully constructed strange sound of the speech to which it refers, and, above all, the excesses, foreign to Greek discipline (sophrosýne, Hall 1989, 125) and freedom, of Xerxes’ tyranny (involving the enslavement of his subjects), of his cruel and sacrilegious warfare, and of his and 52 Hall points to analogous mythopoeia in visual art, see Hall 1989, 67–69. 53 On Herodotus’ notion of the barbarian, see also Opelt and Speyer 2001, 819–21. 54 A good example is the Frank Miller and Lynn Varley comic 300 (1998) and its filmic adaptation by Zack Snyder (2007). 55 “Konkreszenz und Koinzidenz der Relationsglieder” (1987, 82). 56 See also Barthes 1970, 199: “pas de mythe sans forme motivée” (“there is no myth without motivated form,” 1991, 125). 57 Hall (1989, 76–79) lists all the devices used by the poet to ‘barbarize’ the Persians’ language. 58 On these elements and the poet’s possible sources of information on Persia, see Hall 1989, 74–98.

1.  Theoretical and Methodological Introduction       17

the Chorus’ wild dirge in the tragedy’s exodus. Obviously, this mythopoetically induced ‘concrescence and coincidence’ of linguistic sound and meaning, of behavior and customs (including the exotic features of the Persian garments), suggests a substance-like, space-related barbarian identity and serves the ethnocentric purpose of opposing it asymmetrically to that of the Pan-Hellenic winners of the battle.59 Persae indeed is “the first unmistakable file in the archive of Orientalism, the discourse by which the European imagination has dominated Asia ever since by conceptualizing its inhabitants as defeated, luxurious, emotional, cruel, and always as dangerous” (Hall 1989, 99). However, the mythopoetic ‘invention’ of the barbarian in Greek tragedy is considerably more subtle and contradictory than the apparently non-poetic, knowledge-oriented discourse on the barbarian, be it orientalist or other. Thus in Persae, the semantic tensions and contradictions constitutive of tragedy as genre (see below) leave their mark on this ‘invention’: the tragedy not only constructs, but also simultaneously questions the rigid opposition between Hellenes and barbarians. One instance of this is Atossa’s allegorical dream of two majestic women one of whom represents Greece and the other Persia, the ‘barbarian land’—γαῖαν [...] βάρβαρον (Pers. 187). Although they seem to engage in a feud, they are designated as blood-related sisters—κασιγνήτα γένους ταὐτοῦ (185–6)—, that is, closely related members of the same family. In Aeschylus’ tragedy, Greeks and barbarians indeed share fundamentally the same religious beliefs and values. Accordingly, the pathos (in the Aristotelian sense of the term, Aristot. Poet. 1452b) of the Persians’ tragic downfall is meant to have a deeply moving effect on the Greek spectators of the play and stimulate their sympathy. The preceding observations apply to the tragic ‘barbarization’ not only of historical foreigners (the Persian invaders), but also of mythical figures considered as foreign. Except for Persae, this second form is adopted in the other extant Greek tragedies that contributed to the invention of the barbarian. The tragedies of this type refract “heroic myth through the prism of fifth-century polis ideology” (Hall 1989, 48), the topical formula of which was the opposition of Hellenes and barbarians. Well-known examples are Euripides’s Iphigenia in Aulis, where the Trojans as barbarians receive Persian attributes, in particular that of being slaves, or Euripides’s Medea, whose ‘barbarian’ Colchian protagonist is characterized by her wildness (agriótes), uncontrollable wrath (thymós), and—after she has murdered her children—her beast-like monstrosity (Med. 103, 1079, 1329–43). Yet this ‘barbarization’ of mythical figures is no less ambiguous than that of historical figures. It also involves the interference of two conflicting semantics. One of them stems from secular polis ideology and the other from religious beliefs that are still attached to the old heroic myths. According to Jean-Pierre Vernant (2001), this interference is one of the very foundations of Greek tragedy. To be sure, the opposition that Iphigenia establishes to articulate her final agreement to being sacrificed by her own father seems to mythicize this opposition:

59 On the interrelation of the notions of Pan-Hellenes and barbarians, see Jüthner 1923, 5–6.

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βαρβάρων δ᾽ Ἕλληνας ἄρχειν εἰκός, ἀλλ᾽ οὐ βαρβάρους, μῆτερ, Ἑλλήνων: τὸ μὲν γὰρ δοῦλον, οἳ δ᾽ ἐλεύθεροι. (Eur. IA 1400–01) And it is right, mother, that Hellenes should rule barbarians, but not barbarians Hellenes, those being slaves, while these are free. (Euripides 1891)60

These famous two lines, which were to become a rhetorical commonplace, exemplify in a particularly striking way tragedy’s projection of polis ideology into mythical past. The effect of this projection seems obvious: the legend of the virgin Iphigenia’s sacrifice to the goddess Artemis shall provide a prestigious legitimizing fundament to polis ideology. On the other hand, human sacrifice is considered by the Greeks as a genuinely barbarian institution and the murder of relatives a barbarian crime (e. g., IA 380–91 and 463–66). Accordingly, the Greeks themselves take on a ‘barbarian’ hue in Euripides’s tragedy (Winkler 2009, 32–39; Aretz 1999, 208). In Medea as well, the asymmetric opposition of Hellenes and Barbarians is both validated and questioned: Jason uses it in a revoltingly arrogant way to reject Medea’s accusation of opportunistic felony (to marry King Kreon’s daughter, he has left Medea and the two sons that she has born him, thereby breaking the oath he had sworn to her under divine law). Identifying Hellas with “the rule of law” (nómos) and barbarian territory with the rule of “force” (ischýs), and referring to Medea’s obscure origins in barbarian Colchis, he insinuates that she has no reason whatsoever to complain about his felony, given that despite those origins, she has had the immense chance to be brought by him to Hellas (Med. 536–44).61 However, Jason’s argument, although in accordance with the political legislation of classical Athens, proves to be entirely implausible in the light of another argument he has advanced earlier in the same epeisódion to justify the exile to which King Kreon has sentenced Medea and the two children: there he claims that she should have accepted the decisions made by those who have more force—κρεισσόνων βουλεύματα (449), kreísson being the comparative of the adjective kratýs meaning ‘having force,’ ‘being powerful’. With this argument, Jason does not hesitate to identify the law with the right of the stronger—namely the king and his entourage. Thus it becomes evident to the spectators that in Jason’s ethnocentric discourse, there is in reality no clear divide between law and order—nómos and díke—on the one hand and barbarian force on the other. Another element of this ambiguity is the fascination with the barbarian woman. In the reply quoted above, Jason alludes to Medea’s fame. Later, her uncompromising, inhuman revenge, which aims at preserving that very fame, takes on characteristics of male heroic ethos, as analysts of the play have pointed out (Winkler 2009, 34–35). Her heroism is further stressed by her connection with the divine (she is the god Helios’ grandchild). The ‘invention’ of Medea as barbarian woman—before Euripides, she was indeed not designated as barbarian (Winkler 2009, 27–28)—thus conveys a fascination that brings home the inclusion of the barbarian in the very political and cultural space from which it is being excluded (Kreon has sentenced Medea to exile). Euripides’s staging of this dynamic already hints at an ambivalence the modern aes60 English translation by E. P. Coleridge (1891), quoted after the Perseus online edition. 61 For the English translation by David Kovacs (1995), see the Perseus online edition.

1.  Theoretical and Methodological Introduction       19

thetic exploration of which crystallized into the title figure of Constantine Cavafy’s poem Περιμένοντας τους βαρβάρους (“Waiting for the barbarians,” 1904).62 Modern literature has indeed the potential to recall and re-enact the ambiguity and ambivalence that characterize the mythopoetic invention of the barbarian and the affect-relatedness that this invention shares with the onomatopoetic fabrication of the word and with its use as a rhetorical term. As early as Greek tragedy, this affect-relatedness becomes manifest in ambivalence, namely conflicting feelings towards the staged barbarians (or even the Hellenes when they take on a barbaric hue, like in Iphigenia in Aulis and in Medea). A certain ambivalence also becomes mani­ fest in Quintilian’s evaluation of barbarismus as vitium that occasionally may turn out to be a virtus; and in the same way, the feelings attached to the onomatopoeic word seem to be conflicting feelings.63 We may thus summarize our first two premises as follows: ambiguity and ambivalence are constitutive semantic layers of the lexeme barbar-, of the rhetorical coining of the term barbarism, and of the mythopoetic invention of the barbarian in tragedy. Yet the conceptualization of barbarism, to which we will turn now, tends to hide or even repress them.

1.2.3. The Conceptualization of Barbarism 1.2.3.1. The Emergence of the Ethnocentric Enemy- and Identity-Concept

In Aeschylus’ and Euripides’s plays quoted in the previous section, the use of bárbaros as an ethnocentric enemy- and identity-concept begins to emerge. But the staging of the word’s phonetics and semantics, that is, the dramaturgy of the barbarian, opposes the disambiguation, which is a constitutive factor of the word’s conceptualization. This disambiguation takes place when the word is being used in philosophical or otherwise scholarly or would-be scholarly language. The word is then treated as a context-independent element of such language, that is, as a term. A term is meant to convey knowledge when it is related to an object in and through a proposition (Aussage). A concept is a term’s meaning; we speak of concepts when we abstract the term’s intensional and extensional meaning from its sound and the letters it is made of. In other words: conceptualization involves that we leave aside the phonic and graphic qualities of the word which represents the concept (Kamlah and Lorenzen 1973, 30, 86–87).64 A very controversial passage of Aristotle’s Politics may highlight the way in which the use of the word bárbaros as a concept in propositional statements emerges and at the same time deviates from the staging of the word in the mythopoetic dramaturgy of the barbarian. In the second chapter of Book 1 of his treatise, Aristotle states that the distinction between female and slave which applies to the Hellenes does not apply to the barbarians because they lack that which (or whom who) rules phýsei, by nature (τὸ φύσει ἄρχον οὐκ ἔχουσιν—“no class of natural rulers,” Pol. 1.1252b);65 62 See Maria Boletsi’s case study below in chapter 4. 63 See above, section 1.2.1 of this Introduction. 64 As for the both intensional and extensional quality of concepts, see below, section 1.2.3.2 of this Introduction. 65 English translation by H. Rackham (1944), quoted after the Perseus online edition.

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thus all barbarians are slaves. (This is a of course a justification of slavery as an institution insofar as the large majority of slaves living inside the polis were of foreign origin, Jüthner 1923, 12; Cartledge 2001.) Aristotle quotes in this context “the saying of the poets—‘’Tis meet that Greeks should rule barbarians,—’”(φασιν οἱ ποιηταὶ “βαρβάρων δ᾽ Ἕλληνας ἄρχειν εἰκός”), and he approves this saying, given that barbarians and slaves are by nature (phýsei) the same—ὡς ταὐτὸ φύσει βάρβαρον καὶ δοῦλον ὄν (1.1252b).66 The first half of Iphigenia’s famous statement functions here as evidence to substantiate the claim that the barbarians, being slaves, are politically inferior to the Greeks (which in fact is what Iphigenia herself claims in the second half of her statement) and therefore have to be treated as such.67 The evidence is based on what Quintilian later labels the ‘authority’ (“auctoritas,” Inst. 5.11.39) of certain poets’ sayings, as well as on the use of Iphigenia’s statement as a topos in the sense of context-independent commonplace (locus communis). As for the underlying argumentative topos, it is later labeled by Quintilian as natio, that is, the determination by one’s family or ethnic origin. To exemplify this category, Quintilian refers himself to the ethnic ‘otherness’ of the barbarians: “natio, nam et gentibus proprii mores sunt nec idem in barbaro, Romano, Graeco probabile est”—“then there is nationality, for races [!] have their own character, and the same action is not probable in the case of a barbarian, a Roman and a Greek” (Inst. 5.10.24).68 Aristotle’s use of the line quoted from Euripides as evidence based on authority and ethnicity (modern authors, as we have seen, will speak of ‘race’) involves that this line is decontextualized as well as disambiguated. Thereby, the word bárbaros becomes a concept fit to be used in propositions; in fact, the line is quoted by Aristotle as a normative proposition, as a rule based on observation. The de-contextualization lays the ground for the conceptualization insofar as the questioning of I­phigenia’s statement in the play depends on its dramaturgic context. It is this context that makes for the ambiguity of both bárbaros and its opposite Héllen, that is, for the questioning of their apparently rock-hard opposition. Already in Plato’s Republic (Politeía), bárbaros functions as a largely decontextualized, hardened enemy-concept (Resp. 470b–e), although in his Statesman (Politikós), the philoso­pher is aware of the logical incorrectness of the opposition between Hellenes and barbarians, Hellenes being a proper noun and barbarians being a common noun (Plt. 262c–d.), and although as early as Thucydides, we find the premises of an evolutionist relativizing of their opposition.69 Later, from Isocrates to Hellenism and early Christian writers, the opposition undergoes a series of revisions and criticisms, but its exclusionary function is never overcome (Winkler 2009, 39–40). Borst (1988, 25) observes accordingly that since Late Antiquity, the ethno- and later Eurocentric function of barbar- as an enemy-concept has prevailed. And as such, it has proven historically transferable:70 the reference of the concept, that is, its extension, adapts to 66 On this passage, see Jüthner 1923, 26–27; Hall 1989, 164–65, 196; Detel 1995, 1039–42. 67 On Iphigenia’s statement, see above, section 1.2.2 of this Introduction. 68 We quote Butler’s translation (see above, footnote 40 of this Introduction), which by choosing ‘race’ for the Latin gens reflects the modern racialization of the concept of barbarism. 69 See below, section 1.2.3.2 of this Introduction. 70 On the historical transferability of counter-concepts, see Koselleck 1989, 216; 2004, 159.

1.  Theoretical and Methodological Introduction       21

changing historical circumstances. The concept’s intension however, that is, the sum of its distinctive semantic attributes, in particular its exclusionary function, remains strikingly identical. The Romans for example relate it to all the peoples that oppose their bid for universal sway, and the Christians of the Middle Ages to all heathens, primarily to the Muslim people living outside European Christianity (Jones 1971; Gruber and Vismara 1997; Droit 2007, 209–17).This opposition is in turn superseded by the one, current in European ethnography since the beginning of early modern colonization of overseas’ territories, between ‘civilized’ Europeans and ‘barbarous’ indigenous populations. Throughout the history of the concept, the barbarian as persona has thus been ‘reinvented’ by means of “shuff[ling] the referents” (Boletsi 2013, 51), or, to use Lakoff’s and Turner’s terminology, by ‘mapping’ the concept of barbarism on “target domains” conceived as culturally alien and threatening or, occasionally, rejuvenating (1989, 3); in times of social crisis, the concept’s exclusionary function may indeed be inverted: barbarism then is valued as a positive force capable of overcoming or renewing decadent civilization (Koselleck 1989, 225). In the next section of the present chapter, we will discuss in detail Koselleck’s attempt to range the enemy-concept of the barbarian under the category of “asymmetric counter-concepts.” At this stage, we need to focus on the already mentioned,71 most striking aspect of the conceptualization of barbar-, namely that throughout its long history, the concept emerging from this lexeme in classical Antiquity has always remained linked to it. From the point of view of conceptual history, this firm link between the concept and the word representing it is exceptional (Koselleck 2006, 277). We may of course speculate on the reasons for this, one of them no doubt being auctoritas: the vernacular European languages borrowed the word as of the thirteenth century from authoritative Greek and Latin sources, namely the historians (from Herodotus to Tacitus), philosophers (Plato, Aristotle, and many others), the New Testament, the fathers of the Church, and—as of the Renaissance period—the Greek tragic poets (Funck 1981; Braun 1981). It is likely that the prestige of these sources as well as the supranational status of the word—in German it is to this day considered a Fremdwort, foreignism (Schnerrer 1997, included in the Deutsches Fremdwörterbuch)—have contributed to its use as a concept in global contexts. However, to the systematic definition of the present study’s premises, such historical motivations are less important than the semantic implications of the inextricable link between the lexeme barbar-, still present in all European languages, and the concept that it represents. This inextricability defies Quentin Skinner’s claim that “the persistence of [...] expressions tells us nothing reliable at all about the persistence of the questions which the expressions may have been used to answer” (1969, 39). It implies on the contrary that the powerful affects conveyed by the onomatopoetic and mythopoeic word are still at work in the apparently self-evident, knowledge-oriented, propositional use of the concept: to this day, the lexeme, not unlike a magical formula, evokes offensive and revolting, but sometimes also fascinating otherness that crystallizes into quasi mythical figures or personae. Thus Samuel Huntington, in his attempt to provide a ‘cultural’ redefinition of global conflict lines after the end 71 See above, section 1.1 of this Introduction.

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of the Cold War, conjures up the apocalyptic threat of barbarism’s victory over civilization: “On a worldwide basis Civilization seems in many respects to be yielding to barbarism, generating the image of an unprecedented phenomenon, a global Dark Ages, descending on humanity” (1996, 321). More recently, in a premeditated statement made in August 2014 during a press conference held with the Kurdish leader in northern Iraq, former German foreign minister Frank Walter Steinmeier used the same opposition to fuse together the rival religious or ethnic groups within Iraq and thus to foster the Iraqi resistance against the advancement of the militias of the Islamic State (IS or ISIS): “Es kann und wird nur gelingen, dem Treiben der Isis auf Dauer ein Ende zu setzen, wenn alle Iraker, Schiiten, Sunniten und Kurden, sich hier, in der ältesten Zivilisation der Welt, ver­ eint der Barbarei entgegenstellen.”72 (“Putting an end to Isis’ activities will only be possible if all Iraqis—Shiites, Sunnites, and Kurds—unite here, on the territory of the oldest civilization of the world, in fighting against barbarism,” my translation, M. W.). Steinmeier of course tries to rally public opinion at home for the German government’s plan to deliver arms to the Kurds. In both instances, the affect-related onomatopoetic word, by conveying terror and appealing to resistance, unfolds a mythicizing dynamic which draws on the above-mentioned law of mythical thought, namely “concrescence and coincidence of the members of a relation”: it shall fuse together not only rival factions within a nation, but also rival nations by genealogically linking the political discourse on present affairs to legitimizing old narratives shared by those to whom the discourse is addressed (these narratives being in Huntington the Apocalypse and the historiographical figure of the ‘barbarian invasions,’ and in Steinmeier the Old Testament as well as the saying ex oriente lux, which might be of biblical origin).73 As it did at its Greek beginnings, the use of the word functions here as a rallying cry, and it has again been used as such for example by the French authorities after the January and November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris74 and by Germany’s far-right party AfD two years after Arab immigrants had committed sexual assaults in Cologne: a prominent member of that party recently wondered whether a German police tweet in Arabic was an attempt “to appease the barbaric, Muslim, rapist hordes of men.”75 Simplification is another manifestation of this mythicizing dynamic: speaking of terrorist criminals or criminal immigrants as barbarians stands in the way of a historical or cultural analysis, as explained above.76 The concept confers a substance-like 72 The extended reference to this recording from the German television program Tagesschau can be found in the Works Cited list. 73 According to Büchmann (1972, 410), ex oriente lux might go back to Ezekiel 43.2.—On myth as a legitimizing narrative shared by the members of a community, see Jamme 1991, 21, 33, 272–74. 74 See for example President Hollande’s statement on January 7, 2015 (reference included in the Works Cited list). 75 “die barbarischen, muslimischen, gruppenvergewaltigenden Männerhorden so zu besänftigen.” These words are part of a tweet sent by AfD politician Beatrix von Storch on New Year’s Eve 2017. German original quoted after Neff 2018, English translation after Nasr 2018. Both explain the tweet’s political context. 76 See our observations on Aeschylus’ Persae in section 1.2.2 of this Introduction.

1.  Theoretical and Methodological Introduction       23

identity on those ‘others’ and thus proves to be a very efficient tool for the rhetoric of blame (Said 1993, 19–20, 45); it allows those who use it to exonerate themselves, that is, to hide their own involvement in the ‘barbarism’ that they blame entirely on the ‘others’ and to denounce it as ‘incomprehensible’—a denouncement pointing back to the concept’s onomatopoetic layer of meaning that however remains hidden: uncovering it might jeopardize the concept’s rhetorical efficiency. And this might in turn account for the striking discrepancy between the wide-spread rhetorical use of the concept and the reluctance to question its legitimacy. Genealogical analyzing and questioning of the concept has indeed the potential to undermine its political usefulness, as witnessed by the concept of race that in the wake of World War II has become an important research topic; as a result, “race” is, in large parts of European public discourse at least, no longer a politically or scientifically acceptable category.77 1.2.3.2. Scholarly Approaches to the Concept and Their Shortcomings

One might object that after all, the exclusionary function of barbarism as an ethnocentric concept has become an object of research.78 For the most part however, this research leaves out the inextricable link between the concept and the lexeme barbar-, thereby reproducing the disambiguating, decontextualizing conceptualization itself, namely the abstraction from the concept’s concrete onomatopoetic and mythopoetic layers of meaning as well as from the poetic and iconographic or otherwise aesthetic components of its history. This shortcoming no doubt is a consequence of the fact that literature’s and the arts’ contribution to and exploration of the conceptual his­ tory of barbarism are largely omitted, not only in philosophical and historiographi­ cal Begriffsgeschichte, but also in the history of ideas or in comparatist imagology. Here, this omission has misled specialists into relativizing the concept’s singularity by assimilating it to analogous ethnocentric concepts in non-European languages. A case in point is the article on “Barbarism and Civilization” published in the New Dictionary of the History of Ideas. The author of the article mistakenly claims that the meaning of the Latin barbarus is “the bearded one,” thereby confusing barbarus with barbatus. This mistake in turn becomes part of speculations on an etymological and intellectual kinship of barbarus and bárbaros with what the author considers to be “the Chinese word for barbarian” (Goulding 2005, 196).79 To invalidate this sort of speculation and simplistic parallel, we may refer to Edith Hall’s pertinent observations regarding the singularity of the Greek opposition between Hellenes and Barbarians: “This terminology finds analogues in the conceptual schemes of other ancient cultures, but no exact equivalent even among the xenophobic ancient Mesopotamians, Chinese, and Egyptians, none of whom invented a term which precisely and exclusively embraced all who did not share their ethnicity” and for none of

77 Research on this concept is documented in Taguieff 2013a. The ‘racialisation’ of the concept of barbarism as of the eighteenth century still needs further analysis. See the case study on Flaubert’s Salammbô in chapter 3.3 of the present study. 78 See below, section 1.3 of this Introduction. 79 Similar assimilations in Münkler 2005, 154–55, and—as for imagology—in Beller 2006 and 2007. As for the Chinese words for ‘barbarian,’ see Pulleyblank 1983, 440, and passim.

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whom the primary criterion in defining ethnic self-consciousness was linguistic, as was the case in Greek (Hall 1989, 4; my emphasis).80 The conceptualization of barbarism thus leads us back to the onomatopoetic making of the lexeme barbar-, because, as we have repeatedly underscored, the concept remains inextricably linked to it. With regards to our genealogical critique of the concept, we should highlight one more aspect of this link, namely that in onomatopoeia, “the sound of words and phrases becomes opaque: our consciousness of the sound of a word, and of its meaning, are inextricably intertwined” (Bredin 1996, 557). Thus the sound of bárbaros and its derivatives is part of their meaning. On the other hand, “sounds and concepts cannot ‘sound alike,’” because “concepts have no sound” (564).81 Therefore, no less than using the concept of barbarism as a rhetorical tool, research on this concept will be misleading as long as researchers treat the words representing the concept, namely bárbaros and its derivatives, as ‘transparent,’ that is, “without consciously adverting to, or subsequently remembering,” their “sound” (Bredin 1996, 556). Our genealogical approach thus leads us back to the hypothesis that any sustainable analysis of the use of the word as concept will have to question this use’s legitimacy, that is, the legitimacy of the conceptualization itself. At first sight, Reinhart Koselleck’s seminal analysis of bárbaros as an “asymmetric counter-concept” (2004; “asymmetrischer Gegenbegriff,” Koselleck 1989) does fulfill this criterion. According to Koselleck, asymmetric counter-concepts emerge when a specific group, by applying a ‘linguistically universal concept’82 to itself alone (e. g., “the Church” to the Catholics or “the Party” to the communist party), makes an exclusive claim to generality and rejects all comparability. This form of self-definition generates counter-concepts, which are “asymmetric” insofar as discriminating against the alien others to whom they are applied, they “function to deny the reciprocity of mutual recognition” (2004, 156); Koselleck explains this as follows: Thus there are a great number of counter-concepts recorded which function to deny the reciprocity of mutual recognition. From the concept of the one party follows the definition of the alien other, which definition can appear to the latter as a linguistic deprivation, in actuality verging on theft. This involves asymmetrically opposed concepts. The opposition is not equally antithetical. (156; translation modified, M. W.)83

80 Beller on the contrary claims from an ‘imagologist’ perspective that language is the main distinctive feature of any nation (2006, 261). The only proof he provides is the possibly oriental (Sanskrit or Sumerian) origin of the word at which Hall herself is hinting (see Beller 2006, 275), but which has been rejected by more recent etymological research (see Chantraine 1986 and Beekes 2009, and above, section 1.2.1, footnote 37 of this Introduction). Moreover, Beller confounds origin and function. 81 See above, section 1.2.1 of this Introduction. 82 “einen sprachlichen Universalbegriff ” (1989, 212). 83 “So kennt die Geschichte zahlreiche Gegenbegriffe, die darauf angelegt sind, eine wechselseitige Anerkennung auszuschließen. Aus dem Begriff seiner selbst folgt eine Fremdbe­ stimmung, die für den Fremdbestimmten sprachlich einer Privation, faktisch einem Raub gleichkommen kann. Dann handelt es sich um asymmetrische Gegenbegriffe. Ihr Gegensatz ist auf ungleiche Weise konträr” (213).

1.  Theoretical and Methodological Introduction       25

From our genealogical point of view, this definition seems convincingly de-legitimizing; emphasizing that the formation of the counter-concept verges on deprivation and theft, it shows structural affinities with the postcolonial analysis of the hierarchical spatial divide between a metropolitan center and remote territories to be controlled or even colonized by the center (Said 1993, 58–71). It also recalls the concise words with which Lévi-Strauss describes the violent dynamic inherent in the use of barbarism as counter-concept—a violence that reverses the asymmetric positions held by the counter-concept and its opposite and ultimately undermines their opposition itself by pointing to the inclusion of the so-called ‘barbarian’ in the very civilization that pretends to exclude it: “By refusing to consider as human those who seem to us to be the most ‘savage’ or ‘barbarous’ of their representatives, we merely adopt one of their own characteristic attitudes. The barbarian is, first and foremost, the man who believes in barbarism” (1952, 12).84 Yet Koselleck’s definition lacks logical precision insofar as the metaphorical attribute of the asymmetric seems related to the counter-concept as well as to the relation between concept and counter-concept; strictly speaking, only the latter is logically correct and susceptible to account for the fact that the positions of concept and counter-concept are not fixed. This lack of logical precision translates into the inconsistency of Koselleck’s choice of examples. Of the three pairs of opposed concepts he subsequently analyzes, namely ‘Hellenes and barbarians,’ ‘Christians and heathens,’ ‘humans and nonhumans’ / ‘super-humans and sub-humans,’ the first—which is of primary interest to us—does not correspond to his description of the emergence of counter-concepts: he himself states that Hellenes is a proper noun, not a linguistically universal concept, and that the common noun barbarian did not follow, but precede the use of Hellenes as a name for all Greeks (1989, 218).85 Thus at the beginning of the conceptual history of barbarism, the ‘positive’ component of the asymmetric polar opposition proves to be itself the counter-concept, as Koselleck also states: The name of one people—the Hellenes—became the counterconcept of all the rest, who were assembled under a collective name which was simply the negative of Hellene. Asymmetry was thus semantically based on this conscious contrast of a specific name with a generic classification. (2004, 161)86

The striking inconsistency of Koselleck’s argumentation points to the contingency of the onomatopoetic word’s emergence: as we have seen, the word barbarian emerged indeed before and independently of its later use as counter-concept. To be sure, Ko84 “En refusant l’humanité à ceux qui apparaissent comme les plus ‘sauvages’ ou ‘barbares’ de ses représentants, on ne fait que leur emprunter une de leurs attitudes typiques. Le barbare, c’est d’abord l’homme qui croit à la barbarie” (1990, 383). 85 Koselleck quotes here Jüthner 1923, 1–13 (Jüthner provides this information in fact on p. 5). On the asymmetry of proper noun and common noun, see also above, section 1.2.3.1 (p. 20) of this Introduction. 86 “Ein Volksname—Hellenen—wurde zum Gegenbegriff für alle anderen, unter sich verschiedenen Völker, die unter einer lautmalerischen Sammelbezeichnung subsu­ miert wurden. Eine semantische Wurzel der Asymmetrie liegt also in der selbstbewußten Gegenüberstellung von Eigennamen und Gattungsbestimmung beschlossen” (1989, 219).

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selleck himself underscores, although with some hesitation, that his analysis is primarily structural, not historiographical—not to mention genealogical (1989, 215; English: 2004, 158). This however makes him overlook that both the word’s making and its discriminatory function are sub-conceptual (not pre-conceptual in the Foucauldian sense of the term).87 In the above-quoted passage, he mentions but in passing the onomatopoetic meaning of the word. And neither here nor elsewhere in the article does he deal with its mythopoetic component. His analysis thus reproduces the word’s conceptualization,88 which, as mentioned above, tends to be misleading insofar as it represses the word’s opaqueness and mythopoetic layer of meaning. On the other hand, Koselleck stresses from the start that the asymmetric relation between concept and counter-concept, while making for the latter’s political efficacy, renders it unsuitable for being used as an instrument of scholarly knowledge (1989, 215; English: 2004, 158). Yet he does not critically analyze the ways in which counter-concepts have in fact been used in scholarly contexts, although he quotes himself a prominent example of such use, namely Thucydides’ attempt to relativize the opposition of Hellenes and barbarians by interpreting their respective lifestyles as stages of cultural development: πολλὰ δ᾽ ἂν καὶ ἄλλα τις ἀποδείξειε τὸ παλαιὸν Ἑλληνικὸν ὁμοιότροπα τῷ νῦν βαρβαρικῷ διαιτώμενον—“It may likewise by many other things be demonstrated that the old Greeks used the same form of life that is now in force amongst the barbarians of the present age” (1.6).89 This conclusion is based on ethnographic knowledge, and so is the theory it foreshadows, namely the Enlightenment’s anthropological temporalization of barbarism, according to which barbarism is a stage in human development that follows the savage state and precedes the civilized state. Here, barbarism becomes a category of anthropological knowledge based on ethnographic material, and it retains this status in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century evolutionist cultural anthropology and ethnology.90 None of this is mentioned by Koselleck. That is all the more surprising as temporalization (Verzeitlichung) is one of the key notions in Koselleck’s theoretical reflections on Begriffsgeschichte. In the Introduction to Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe, he views it as one of the hallmarks of what he metaphorically—and somewhat confusingly—labels as the ‘saddle-time’91 of conceptual history, that is, the time-span which reaches from the middle of the eighteenth century to the turn of the twentieth century and which marks the transition from the early modern to the late modern 87 See below, n. 108 of this Introduction. 88 It is telling that Koselleck refers to the above-mentioned, decontextualizing quotation of Euripides by Aristotle without analyzing it (1989, 220). 89 English translation by Thomas Hobbes (1843), quoted after the Perseus online edition. On this passage, see Funck 1981, 41. A German translation of the statement is quoted by Koselleck 1989, 222–23. See also Christian Moser’s observations below, chapter 2.1.1.2, p. 51, footnote 3. 90 See below, chapter 2.1 (Christian Moser). As for the use of the category in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century cultural anthropology and ethnology, see Petermann 2004, 478, 483–89, 742. For reasons to be discussed in the case study on Flaubert (see below, chapter 3.3), Lévi-Strauss qualifies this evolutionist anthropology initiated by the Enlightenment as ‘false evolutionism’ (1990, 385). 91 “Sattelzeit” (1972, xv).

1.  Theoretical and Methodological Introduction       27

period (Dutt 2011, 47). Koselleck observes that during this time-span, old political concepts such as ‘democracy,’ ‘revolution’ or ‘republic’ underwent a profound semantic change, while the words representing them remained unchanged. Due to the change, the meaning of the words became immediately (without translation) accessible and understandable to the modern mind. As for the semantic change, one of its factors was temporalization induced by philosophies of history.92 As we have seen, this no doubt holds true for the Enlightenment’s use of the word barbarian. Using it as a category of anthropological-historical knowledge, the Enlightenment tends to bring to an end the historical transferability, intensional constancy, and exclusionary function of the use of the word as counter- and enemy-concept. Why has Koselleck omitted this important chapter of the concept’s history in his study on asymmetric counter-concepts? Did he consider it as unimportant, given his conviction that asymmetric counter-concepts are not suitable for being used as categories providing scholarly or scientific knowledge? To be sure, the temporalizing anthropological use of the concept has not prevailed: as of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, it was countered by a de-temporalizing, racializing use, which contributed to recycling the ‘classical’ use of the word as enemy-concept while preserving a semblance of anthropological legitimacy.93 And ever since, the de-temporalizing and re-territorializing use of the enemy-concept asymmetrically opposed to that of civilization has predominated. From our genealogical point of view however, this historical fact must not be interpreted as the manifestation of a hidden, quasi ontological continuity and necessity. Yet that is the interpretation Koselleck proposes at the end of his study, paying a very problematic homage to Carl Schmitt. He now postulates a basic structure of possible oppositions (“basic structure of possible contrasts,” 2004, 191),94 the formula of which is according to him the opposition between friend and foe,95 as defined by Carl Schmitt in his 1932 treatise on the concept of the political (Der Begriff des Politischen). Schmitt views this opposition as the very essence of the political; speaking of “inherent reality and the real possibility of such a distinction” (1996, 28),96 he bestows on it a quasi-ontological, Platonic sanction. In the chapter on Carl Schmitt’s treatise to be included in the second volume of our study, we intend to demonstrate that Schmitt’s formula—which of course lent itself to national-socialist ideology—descends in reality from the ‘classical,’ counter-conceptual use of the word barbarian and not vice versa, as Koselleck suggests by claiming that the friend-foe-opposition, itself symmetrical, can be “load[ed]” with asymmetric counter-concepts (2004, 191).97 In other words, asymmetric counter-concepts are not imperfect descendants (in the platonic or neo-platonic sense) of the purely symmetrical opposition, on the contrary: the latter genealogically descends from them. Accordingly, the provenance and emergence of asymmetric 92 “Geschichtsphilosophische Fluchtlinien imprägnieren das ganze Vokabular” (1972, xvii). 93 See below, chapter 3.3, on Flaubert’s Salammbô. Carsten Dutt proposes to introduce (with regards to future research in conceptual history of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries) the notion of de-temporalization (“Entzeitlichung,” 2011, 48). 94 “Grundstruktur möglicher Gegensätze” (1989, 258). 95 “Freund und Feind” (258). 96 “die seinsmäßige Wirklichkeit und die reale Möglichkeit dieser Unterscheidung” (1979, 29). 97 “aufgefüllt” (1989, 258).

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oppositions such as civilization and barbarism are historically contingent, not ontologically necessary, as Koselleck fatalistically claims in the last sentence of his study: “As long as human agencies exclude and include, there will be asymmetric counterconcepts and techniques of negation, which will penetrate conflicts until such time as new conflicts arise” (2004, 191).98 Lacking a genealogical perspective, Koselleck’s at first sight de-legitimizing analysis of asymmetric counter-concepts thus leads to their final legitimization. We should underscore that this quasi-ontological legitimization is fundamentally different from our phenomenological systematization of the ways in which the word barbarian becomes significant, that is, of the purely formal— and as such non-historical—conditions of possibility of the word’s historically contingent meanings.99 Koselleck’s analysis however remains helpful if one re-interprets his notion of the counter-concept as being induced from the historically contingent, but presently predominant political use of the word barbarian. Moreover, from a methodological point of view, Koselleck’s analysis may be quoted to refute much of the criticism that the methodology of Begriffsgeschichte has undergone over the past decades, particularly the critique that it treats concepts as isolated units—a critique of Begriffsgeschichte that the historian of ideas Mark Bevir has formulated in the name of contextualism: “Yet the suspicion remains that once we allow that concepts can refer only in relation to one another, we should take something other than isolated, individual concepts as our principal unit of historical analysis; we should focus primarily on the webs of beliefs, traditions, speech-acts, problems, and discourses that give meaning to single concepts” (2000, 279).100 This criticism was motivated in part by the alphabetical listing of the concepts included in Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe and Historisches Wörterbuch der Philosophie. Koselleck responded by stressing that concepts are always related to their respective contexts and discursive networks (2006, 101).101 This evidently holds true for the concept of the barbarian, which as counter-concept necessarily is part of a network, as witnessed by the title of Pierre Michel’s article published in the Handbuch politisch-sozialer Grundbegriffe in Frankreich (which does not have an alphabetical structure): “Barbarie, civilisation, vandalisme” (1988). This title may also illustrate that the “webs of beliefs” and discursive networks of which the concept is part become particularly visible when the accent is laid on the concept’s extension:102 depending 98 “Solange sich die menschlichen Handlungseinheiten aus- und eingrenzen, wird es asymmetrische Gegenbegriffe und Negationstechniken geben, die in die Konflikte so lange einwirken, bis wieder neue Konflikte entstehen” (1989, 259). 99 See above, section 1.1.2 of this Introduction. It thus becomes obvious that Foucault, in his critique of traditional historical writing (2015 [1971] and 1984, quoted in 1.1.2), confounds the platonic and the phenomenological mode. 100 See also Bevir’s very detailed advocacy of contextualism and his nuanced presentation of the ‘contextualist’ Cambridge School (J. G. A. Pocock, Quentin Skinner) in 2002. For a presentation of Bevir’s own conception of the history of ideas, see 2004. 101 Following Koselleck, Carsten Dutt has stressed that philosophical concepts, like all concepts used in theoretical contexts, are part of networks and discursive formations (2011, 43). See also Bödeker 2002. 102 The analysis of concepts always has to take into account both their intension and their extension, as Lutz Geldsetzer underscores (“Begriffe müssen gegenüber den Bedeutungen durch Umfangs- bzw. Extensionsangaben ergänzt bzw. erweitert werden,” 2010, 71).

1.  Theoretical and Methodological Introduction       29

on the historical period, the concept may refer to revolutionary vandalism, to paganism, to ethnic or ‘racial’ inferiority (the ‘subhuman’), etc., always in conjunction with these referents’ positive opposites, namely civilization, Christianity, ethnic or ‘racial’ superiority (the ‘human’), etc. There are indeed numerous points of contact between Begriffsgeschichte, history of ideas, and discourse analysis. Yet to analyze the use of the word barbarian as enemy-concept, the methodological variant of Begriffsgeschichte that Koselleck presents in his study on asymmetric counter-concepts seems more appropriate than the methodologies of the history of ideas or of discourse analysis (in the Foucauldian sense of ‘archeology’). Koselleck repeatedly insists on the lexicological, in particular onomasiological component of conceptual history,103 whereas this component is of little or no concern to the history of ideas and discourse analysis. As for the history of ideas, the term idea is indeed too vague to fit the semantics of the lexeme barbar- and of its use as an enemy-concept. In the Preface to the New Dictionary of the History of Ideas, for example, ideas are defined as “pivotal topics of human concern” (Horowitz 2005, xxvii). This understanding of ideas no doubt opens promising interdisciplinary perspectives, and it has the merit of explicitly including “literature, performance, music, and the visual arts” (xxvii). But its lack of terminological precision and philo­ logical concern may lead to arbitrary parallels and wrong assumptions, as documented by the Dictionary’s above-quoted entry on “Barbarism and Civilization.” It fails to meet what the historical semantics of a primarily language-related word like barbarian requires, namely an approach based on a precise lexicological (in particular semasiological and onomasiological) analysis. Yet even to more rigid definitions of the history of ideas as a scholarly discipline, such as Bevir’s The Logic of the History of Ideas, the material quality of the signs that represent ‘ideas’ is of no concern: “[...] historians of ideas study works in order to recover hermeneutic meanings understood as expressions of beliefs” (2004, 28). For related reasons, the methodology of the pre-genealogical, that is, ‘archaeological’ Foucauldian discourse analysis can only be of limited interest to those parts of the present study that deal with the use of the lexeme barbar- as enemy- and counter-concept. Foucault’s archeology is concerned with the conditions of the existence and reality of knowledge. Yet the onomatopoetic word barbarian is the opaque, sub-conceptual, and affect-governed expression of a refusal to know: it reduces the foreign language to which it refers to meaningless sound. And this dynamic pervades, as we have repeatedly underscored, not only the lexeme’s mythopoetic meaning, but also its use as an enemy- or counter-concept; as such, it is not suitable for a somewhat scholarly or scientific use.104 Hence the counter-concept of the barbarian may only apparently and temporarily fall within those “procedures of exclusion” (1981, 52)105 that according to Foucault control and organize a society’s discursive production of knowledge, such as the opposition between reason and madness or between the true and the false. Only under the condition that the sub- or pre-conceptual semantic layers of the lexeme barbar- are overlooked or repressed, may the 103 See for example the passage quoted above in n. 86, and Koselleck 1972, xxiv. 104 See Koselleck’s above-mentioned (p. 26) statement (1989, 215; English: 2004, 158). 105 “procédures d’exclusion” (2015 [1971b], vol. 2, 229).

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concept of the barbarian become part of a “discursive field”106 and thus follow the field’s intra-discursive “rules of formation,”107 that is, the rules which govern the ways in which the field’s concepts are being used (1972, 63). Foucault only deals with these knowledge-producing schemata according to which concepts are being related to each other, but not with the sub-or pre-conceptual levels of meaning that relatively single, individual concepts may have: “These schemata make it possible to describe—not the laws of the internal construction of concepts, not their progressive and individual genesis in the mind of man—but their anonymous dispersion through texts, books and œuvres,” 1972, 60).108 Accordingly, Foucault’s analysis of the use that eighteenth-century “historical discourse” (2003, 197)109—be it aristocratic-reactionary (Boulainvilliers) or pre-revolutionary (Mably)—makes of the concept of the barbarian, does not question the conceptualization itself. It is limited to the ways in which the barbarian opposes not only the civilized, but also the savage stage (1997, 174–75).110 Foucault omits to mention here that this ternary structure was anticipated by an important anthropological current of Enlightenment, as mentioned above. Nevertheless, his observations form a welcome complement to Koselleck’s binary analysis of the functioning of counter-concepts. But although Foucault on this occasion reformulates aspects of his archeology of historical knowledge from a genealogical perspective,111 he is interested only in the “closely woven web” formed by “all these historical dis­courses” (2003, 207),112 that is, in the homogeneity of their rules of formation.113 He thus fails to submit the ‘epistemic’ use of the barbarian as historiographical concept to a de-legitimizing genealogical analysis. To some extent, Foucault even identifies with the conceptualization of the French word barbare in the texts he is dealing with insofar as this conceptualization emphasizes and vindicates the ‘barbarian’ layer of civil society. One of the goals of our own genealogical approach, as defined above, is to question and de-legitimize not only the use of the lexeme barbar- as a basic concept of Western identity-formation, but also the conceptualization itself and its underlying mythicizing dynamic. Thus scholarly analyses of the concept and its history become themselves objects of our genealogical critique if they tend to hypostatize (reify or 106 “champ discursif ” (2015 [1969], vol. 2, 66). 107 “règles de formation” (66). 108 “Ces schèmes permettent de décrire—non point les lois de construction interne des concepts, non point leur genèse progressive et individuelle dans l’esprit d’un homme—mais leur dispersion anonyme à travers textes, livres, et œuvres” (2015 [1969], vol, 2, 63). Foucault locates these inter-conceptual rules and schemes on a pre-conceptual level (64; English: 60), whereas our notion of the pre-conceptual relates to an internal semantic layer of the concept of the barbarian, namely mythopoeia. We qualify as sub-conceptual the onomatopoetic layer because it is by definition not transparent (see above, section 1.2.3.1 of this Introduction). 109 “discours historique” (1997, 176). 110 On this analysis, see Moser 2008; Winkler 2009, S. 54–56, and below, Moser’s observations in chapter 2.1.2.3. 111 See the introductory lecture of Foucault 1997. 112 “trame épistémique très serrée de tous les discours historiques” (1997, 185). 113 “l’homogénéité des règles de formation de ce discours” (185).

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personify) the word’s conceptual or mythopoetic layer of meaning, that is, to ascribe to them some sort of existence. We find traces of this in Manfred Schneider’s view of the barbarian as a supra-historical persona presiding over civilization’s discontents: according to him, the barbarian “lives in a timeless body opposed to law” and “periodically returns as the sovereign ruler of anti-civilizational rebellion” (1997, 237; my translation, M. W.).114 Roger-Pol Droit’s answer to the question in what sense one could speak today of the barbarian as a living being is entirely opposed to Manfred Schneider’s view, but no less hypostasizing: What characterizes the barbarian today is rather the phantasm of total self-control, namely the accomplished auto-transformation of the subject into a cog in a machine whose true nature, while escaping the subject, legitimizes the subject’s existence. In a way, it is the triumph of reason, but of a reason gone mad, deprived of limits and therefore inhuman, forgetful of its frame and of the finitude of its power. (My translation, M. W.)115

This view of the barbarian recalls to some extent Horkheimer’s and Adorno’s use of the word Barbarei in Dialektik der Aufklärung (a treatise not quoted by Droit) or cyclical models of history like Vico’s, who speaks of a reversion (ricorso) of the civilized state to that of barbarism.116 Schneider’s mythicizing view on the contrary leads us back to the tradition of civilization’s longing for rejuvenating barbarism. The contrast between both views must not make us overlook the hypostatizing tendency they have in common, which we may also detect in the essentialist final section of Koselleck’s study on asymmetric counter-concepts. To argue against this tendency, we do not need to profess philosophical nominalism, as genealogists in the wake of Foucault have done (Bevir 2008, 269). We only need to recall that the opaqueness of the word barbarian opposes the decontextualizing disambiguation that is the very basis of conceptualization. The ambiguities and ambivalences that the contrast between the views of Schneider and Droit exemplifies stem from the irreducible sub- and pre-conceptual semantic layers of the lexeme barbar-, as we have explained above.117 Thus the conflicting main scholarly approaches to the conceptualization of barbarism, instead of questioning the very legitimacy of the conceptualization, tend to propagate themselves the concept of an apparently necessary, universal barbarism. Given that questioning this is at the very core of our own genealogical approach, we can avoid addressing the already mentioned major and to this day unresolved the114 “[D]er Barbar [lebt] in einem zeitlosen Antigesetzeskörper. Er kehrt als kollektiver, aufgefrischter Souverän des zivilisationsfeindlichen Aufbegehrens immer wieder zurück.” 115 “Ce qui signe le barbare, aujourd’hui, serait plutôt le fantasme de la maîtrise absolue sur soi, l’autotransformation accomplie du sujet en rouage d’un mécanisme dont la vérité le dépasse et le justifie. En un sens, c’est le triomphe de la raison, mais d’une raison devenue folle, dépourvue de limites, et par là inhumaine car oublieuse de ses contours et de la finitude de son pouvoir” (2007, 303). The plural barbares that Droit uses in the title of his book corresponds to the fact that he treats the barbarian both as a concept and as a kind of person or persona. 116 On Vico, see Albrecht 2016; on Horkheimer and Adorno, see vol. 2 of the present study. 117 See section 1.2.2 of this Introduction.

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oretical problem of the relation between conceptual history (Begriffsgeschichte) and social or otherwise extra-conceptual, pragmatic history (Sachgeschichte).118 To be sure, there is no doubt that throughout its long history, the concept of the barbarian has played a major role as a basic concept of Western identity-formation, and it continues to do so, as our examples of current political rhetoric have illustrated; it has even been—and continues to be—an instrument of warfare.119 But instead of being an indicator of a somewhat given social or ethnic or cultural otherness, it has been a means of inventing, imagining and structuring an otherness the meanings and functions of which are complex and contradictory. These meanings and functions oppose and ultimately undermine terminological simplification in propositional statements, but they lend themselves to aesthetic exploration in literature and the arts.

1.2.4. The Aesthetic Exploration of Barbarism As our quotation from Césaire’s play Une tempête has shown in an exemplary way,120 literature has the potential to highlight and re-enact the hidden or forgotten or repressed onomatopoetic and mythopoetic semantic layers of the concept of barbarism. Such a re-enactment involves a re-contextualization that may recoup the concept’s ambiguity and the ambivalent attitude towards the mythopoetic persona of the barbarian. Our quotation has illustrated as well that the critical dramaturgy of the barbarian may verge on a vindicatory ‘barbarian’ dramaturgy: in Une tempête, ‘barbarian’ elements—in the quoted scene a Swahili word, in another scene (1969, 68–71; English: 1999, 47–49) a carnivalesque figure of Yoruba mythology—are mobilized to question and reverse the asymmetric opposition between civilization and barbarism. Césaire’s ambivalent exploration of the concept of barbarism thus corresponds to our heuristic distinction between an aesthetic of the barbarian and a ‘barbarian’ aesthetic.121 We use the modern and highly polysemic term aesthetic in this context to emphasize the relative independence and autonomy of the literary-artistic exploration of the concept of barbarism—an exploration which by definition is modern: the invention of aesthetics as a separate branch of philosophy dealing with the beautiful and the sublime, and the coining of the term aesthetic to designate this branch as well as a quality of what is aesthetic, namely an autonomous form of experience pertaining to an equally autonomous art, date from the European Enlightenment and Post-Enlightenment, and so does the term literature referring to written works that are to be appreciated for their intrinsic artistic value.122 This conceptualization of the aesthetic paves the way for its institutionalization as autonomous ‘literary field,’123 the 118 119 120 121 122

On this topic, see Bevir 2000; Gumbrecht 2006, 19; Koselleck 1972, xxiv. See above, sections 1.1.1 and 1.2.3.1 of this Introduction. See above, section 1.2.1 (p. 13–14) of this Introduction. See above, section 1.1.1 (p. 3) of this Introduction. See in Ästhetische Grundbegriffe the extensive and informative articles on “Ästhetik/ästhetisch” (Barck, Heininger, and Kliche 2000), “Autonomie” (Einfalt and Wolfzettel 2000), and “Literarisch/Literatur” (Rosenberg 2001). On the emergence of the aesthetic meaning of literature, see also Christian Moser’s observations below, chapter 2.1.2.8. 123 “champ littéraire” (Bourdieu 1998, 51).

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paradoxical logic of which has been described by Pierre Bourdieu as that of an “economic world turned upside down” (1996, 21).124 From Bourdieu’s almost exclusively French perspective, this field emerged and gained its autonomy in the wake of the French Second Empire marked by the all-pervading “reign of money” (48).125 From our comparatist perspective however, the autonomization of the literary field runs more or less parallel to the conceptualization of the aesthetic and thus can be traced back to the eighteenth century: by the time of the French Revolution, maecenasship had to a large extent disintegrated; accordingly, the production and reception of art underwent a privatization that paved the way for the modern literary market (Einfalt and Wolfzettel 2000, 455, 439, 441). We recall these well-known historic changes to substantiate our claim that the aesthetic forms a fourth and autonomous semantic layer of barbarism. To be sure, this layer is genealogically linked to the other layers, in particular the mythopoetic, but it cannot be mythopoetic in the way the Greek tragedy’s invention of the barbarian as persona was. This invention remained related to the communal religion of the polis and its institutions; for all the doubts, ambiguities and ambivalences it conveys, tragedy was part of the cult of Dionysus. We have therefore avoided anachronistically labeling as ‘aesthetic’ or ‘literary’ the mythopoetic invention of the barbarian in Greek tragedy. The aesthetic (literary or artistic) exploration of barbarism, which by definition is modern, may however share the neo-classicist or romantic longing for communal, quasi-religious narratives and compulsory cultic practices; it may thus be part of the program of a ‘new’ or a national mythology.126 But modern ‘barbarian’ aesthetic cannot attain the status of mythical belief and never has attained it, as our case studies will illustrate. The reasons for this are not only historical, but also structural, given the intrinsic link of ‘barbarian’ aesthetic with the critical aesthetic of barbarism. As we have already indicated, the latter is concerned primarily with barbarism as an enemy- (or counter-)concept, the exclusionary function of which may be inverted in times of social crisis.127 One may therefore surmise that the ‘barbarian’ aesthetic itself is often but an occasional and more or less provocative inversion of the critical aesthetic of barbarism. If this is the case, we may infer that conceptualization stands in the way of the barbarian aesthetic becoming a mythopoetic re-invention of the barbarian. The opposite holds true for the mythopoetic invention of the barbarian in Greek tragedy, insofar as it did not emerge from conceptualization, but gave way to it.128 A prominent example, namely Goethe’s Iphigenie auf Tauris, may help illustrate this difference and the complex filiation of the modern literary exploration of barbarism.129 Inspired both by neo-humanist classicism and by Enlightenment’s temporal124 “monde économique renversé” (51). 125 “règne de l’argent” (87). 126 On the early romantics’ program of a new mythology and on the late romantics’ contributions to a national mythology, see Winkler 1995, 27–36. 127 See above, section 1.2.3.1 (p. 21) of this Introduction. 128 See above, section 1.2.3.1 of this Introduction. 129 For a detailed analysis of Goethe’s play and of its intertextual relations to the dramatic versions of the myth that preceded it, see Winkler 2009.

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ization of barbarism,130 Goethe’s dramaturgy of the barbarian critically explores the mythopoetic provenance, authoritative status, and discriminatory function of ‘barbarian’ as counter-concept of ‘Greek,’ the latter signifying—from Goethe’s neo-humanist perspective—ideal and beautiful humanity. As for the mythopoetic provenance, Goethe’s play, like the plays of his numerous predecessors in the eighteenth century (Winkler 2009, 95–99), refers to and adapts Euripides’s version of the myth of the Taurian Iphigenia. Euripides’s Iphigenia in Tauris is indeed another example of Greek tragedy’s projection of polis ideology into the mythical past and of the ensuing ambiguities and contradictions.131 Euripides’s protagonist thus uses the opposition between Hellenes and barbarians to blame on Taurian barbarism the institution of human sacrifice and the corresponding superstitious view of Artemis as a blood-thirsty goddess (IT 380–91). Accordingly, in this tragedy too, the Hellenes who sacrificed Iphigenia take on a ‘barbarian’ hue themselves, as Iphigenia points out with drastic words (354–61). Nevertheless, the divide between Hellenes and barbarians receives a religious sanction in the course of the play and particularly at its end: Athena intervenes as dea ex machina to prevent the barbarian king Thoas from further pursuing the Hellenes who, by means of an intrigue, have ravished the statue of Artemis, and she orders both Iphigenia and Orestes to found on their return to Attica cults that in fact existed at the time the play was produced (1435–74). Thus Euripides’s adaptation of the myth becomes etiological, and it appeals to communal religious beliefs that were still attached to the old heroic myth. For obvious reasons, all modern transformations of Euripides’s play lack an equally mythical sanction of the divide between ‘Greeks’ and barbarians; the myth of Iphigenia, like all Greek myths, has lost its link with cultic practice. Instead of still being a matter of belief, it has become part of ancient mythology as a branch of learning. And to the poets, this branch of learning serves as a decontextualized reservoir of themes and topoi, the prestige of which stems from their status as ‘classical,’ that is, from their ancient Greek provenance. Thus in the Enlightenment’s versions preceding Goethe’s play, the classical myth of Iphigenia serves as an authoritative (and more or less allegorical) medium for the articulation of specifically modern concerns with fraudulent priests and tyrannical rulers; accordingly, the barbarian is simply the cruel, inhuman tyrant the elimination of whom is legitimate. In the versions written by La Grange-Chancel (1697), Guymond de la Touche (1758), and Johann Elias Schlegel (first published in 1761), Thoas must indeed be killed by the Greeks, since the intervention of a god or goddess putting an end to the violent clash between them and him is excluded by the rules of classicist dramaturgy (Winkler 2009, 98–99). Goethe’s play on the contrary takes into account that the specific semiotic structure of the myth and its intrinsic link with the practice of human sacrifice oppose such a simplistic allegorization and clear-cut divide between ‘Greeks’ and ‘barbarians.’ Accordingly, the myth becomes in Iphigenie auf Tauris a means of reflecting on the hidden mythopoetic past of the present use of the concept of the barbarian. Goethe thus explores the concept from a genealogical perspective, and he 130 See above, section 1.2.3.2 (p. 26) of this Introduction. 131 See above, section 1.2.2 (p. 17–19) of this Introduction.

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does so by adapting the mythopoetic invention of the barbarian to universalistic humanism: can we overcome the (violent and self-deceptive) exclusion of the barbarian from the human species by means of educating him to become a fully human being? And in doing so, can we purge the myth of Iphigenia itself from its own ‘barbarian’ past, that is, from its link with human sacrifice? Iphigenia’s extensive genealogical account in the third scene of Act I, which is without equivalent in Euripides and in Goethe’s modern predecessors, reveals however that this present humanist concern, incarnated by Iphigenia, has itself a ‘barbaric’ past: the atrocities committed by her ancestors, the Atrides, may ultimately de-legitimize humanism’s educational ambition and superior position as long as humanism perpetuates the authoritative ancient opposition between Greeks and barbarians instead of trying to overcome its legacy. This is what Thoas opposes to Iphigenia’s appeal to him for clemency after she has admitted the Greeks’ intrigue in Act V: “Du glaubst, es höre / Der rohe Scythe, der Barbar, die Stimme / Der Wahrheit und der Menschlichkeit, die Atreus, / Der Grieche, nicht vernahm?” (Goethe 1988, 612, ll. 1936–39). (“And dost thou think / that the rude Scythian the barbarian hears / the voice of truth and of humanity / which the Greek, Atreus, heard not?” 1794, 100.) And this is what Iphigenia herself experiences already in Act IV when she realizes that the Greeks’ intrigue, if carried out, would not only perpetuate that authoritative ancient opposition, but effectuate a regression into her own family’s barbaric past and the corresponding ‘barbarian’ belief in cruel, terrifying, and blood-thirsty Gods. At the end of Act IV, Iphigenia’s famous “Parzenlied” (“Song of the Parcae”) conjures up this regression. The rhythm of the song, by recalling the songs of the old Norse Edda (that is, the by definition ‘barbarian’ North), interrupts the play’s classicist tone and thus marks not only on the semantic, but also on the formal and stylistic level the point where the play’s dramaturgy of the barbarian momentarily turns into ‘barbarian’ poetry: the song indeed conveys the fascination with the ‘barbarian’ mythical sanction of overwhelming, triumphant violence symbolized by the distance that the gods create between them and the humans—a distance confirmed by the sacrificial offerings to the gods (Winkler 2009, 148–52). But this ‘barbarian’ song proves to be cathartic (on the diegetic level); it neither initiates a return to archaic mythical belief preceding the opposition of Hellenes and barbarians nor announces the mythicizing nostalgia for ‘barbarian’ aristocracies, traces of which one may find in Nietzsche’s later works.132 Through questioning the mythopoetic legacy of the opposition between Greeks and barbarians, it exemplifies the distance that separates the modern aesthetic dealing with barbarism from the ancient mythical belief that still pervades Euripides’ mythopoetic tragedy. There is no doubt that this momentary cathartic questioning prepares the ground for Iphigenia’s full confession of the Greek’s intrigue in Act V—a confession that is one of the major changes the myth undergoes in Goethe’s play. The confession itself however is highly ambiguous: at first sight, it seems to be a manifestation of her will to respect the ‘barbarian’ other as equal, thus substantiating her profession of universalistic humanism. Answering Thoas’ rhetorical question quoted above, she 132 See below, chapter 3.4.

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claims that everyone hears the voice of truth and humanity: “Es hört sie jeder,  / Geboren unter jedem Himmel, dem / Des Lebens Quelle durch den Busen rein / Und ungehindert fließt” (1988, 612, ll. 1939–42). (“It is heard / by all, beneath whatever climate born, / thro’ whose warm bosoms flows the stream of life / pure and uncheckt,” 1794, 100–01.) The relative clause however contains a qualification that undermines universalistic humanism insofar as it formulates a condition that the barbarians will not be able to fulfill, as long as they remain barbarians (Winkler 2009, 156). And the validity of their status as barbarian ‘others’ is indeed dramaturgically confirmed at the end of the play when Thoas reluctantly and monosyllabically agrees to let the Greeks return to their homeland (after Orestes has bestowed on Iphigenia the status of the goddess the statue of which they now agree to leave behind). Thus the opposition between Greeks and barbarians is finally reinstalled as a hierarchical (or ‘asymmetrical’) spatial divide, recalling thereby the mythopoetic invention of the barbarian as inhabitant of a distant territory. In other words: for all its specifically modern and critical exploration of the mythopoetic provenance of the opposition between Greeks and barbarians—an exploration that, as we have seen, is aesthetic and not mythopoetic—, Goethe’s play cannot bring the opposition’s authoritative status and discriminatory function to an end. It seems that universalistic humanism must reproduce the opposition and thus undermine its own program as long as it remains bound to the mythological and overall cultural tradition of which the concept of barbarism is a constitutive part. This perplexing difficulty translates into the play’s open ending, an echo of which we may find in the open ending of Césaire’s Une tempête. To be sure, Prospero’s, the colonizer’s, humanistic attempt to educate Caliban, the barbarian, is suffused with ridiculous arrogance. The play’s ending however remains open. Educating the barbarian thus proves to be a poetic figuration shared by Goethe’s neo-classical and Césaire’s post-colonial dramaturgy. From our preceding remarks we may infer that Goethe’s staging of barbarism’s hidden intertwinement with ‘Greek’ humanism is a substantial contribution to the knowledge of the dynamics that unfold from the concept of the barbarian. Iphigenie auf Tauris thus may serve as a prominent example of literature’s capacity to add a fourth semantic layer to the concept, namely the aesthetic. This layer is constituted by literary and hence non-conceptual modes of exploring the concept itself (the dramaturgic mode is but one of them); it therefore may be described as post-conceptual. Accordingly, literary approaches to the concept are less prone to hypostatize the concept or to reproduce the word’s conceptualization than the scholarly approaches discussed above. And this brings us back to our repeated claim that any sustainable scholarly approach to the modern conceptual history of barbarism has to take into account literature’s involvement in this history, that is, its contribution to the knowledge of and to the search for barbarism. The latter, namely the aesthetic pursuit of barbarism as a force of cultural rejuvenation or regeneration, aims at realizing the barbarian through language and form. According to Caruso and Rigoli (1998), Macphersons Ossian-forgery (1760) marks the beginning of this specifically aesthetic re-evaluation of barbarism;133 later 133 On ‘barbarian art’ in the eighteenth century, see also Christian Moser’s observations below, chapter 2.1.2.8.

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manifestations are attempts at performing ‘barbarian’ poetry and art. These range from Whitman and Rimbaud to the European avant-gardes of the first decades of the twentieth century. Their ‘barbarian’ onslaught on conventional form and meaning translates into more or less violent dislocations of the textual body. Yet they relate to the concept of barbarism no less than the critical aesthetic of barbarism. Thus Whitman, in the last part his “Song of myself ” (section 52 in the 1881 final edition of Leaves of Grass), explores the concept’s pre-conceptual, onomatopoetic provenance: “I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable, / I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world” (2009, 78). Whitman plays off this primary semantic layer of the concept against its conventional use as a discriminatory enemy-concept by stressing the powerful dynamic that may unfold from ‘barbarian’ opaqueness if, instead of being discriminated against, it is embraced by the poet and his listeners, who then together will operate life’s renewal through the revocation of ‘transparent’ language based on the opposition of signifier and signified. The symbol of the grass growing from the dead, central to the Leaves of Grass, conveys this cyclical movement from dislocation and decomposition to vital renewal: I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love, If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles. You will hardly know who I am or what I mean, But I shall be good health to you nevertheless, And filter and fibre your blood. Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged, Missing me one place search another, I stop somewhere waiting for you. (79)

Thus the very unintelligibility and apparent meaninglessness of ‘barbarian’ language hold the promise of a healthy rejuvenation and renewal from within. Similarly, although much more violently, in Rimbaud’s prose poem Barbare (probably composed between 1873 and 1875), a rejuvenating and relieving ‘barbarian’ deliverance takes place from within, namely from the heart of the earth which sacrifices (exhausts) itself by lavishing its treasures on ‘us’: Les brasiers pleuvant aux rafales de givre, – Douceurs ! – les feux à la pluie du vent de diamants jetée par le cœur terrestre éternellement carbonisé pour nous. – Ô monde ! – (2009, 309–10) Live embers raining in gusts of frost. Bliss!— fires in the rain of the wind of diamonds flung out by the earth’s heart eternally carbonized for us.—O world! (1957, 101)

Both poems transform the historiographical figure of the threatening barbarian invasions that in the wake of Edward Gibbon’s History of the Decline and Fall of the

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Roman Empire has become a wide-spread cliché.134 This figure stems from the discriminatory enemy-concept of the barbarian. Whitman and Rimbaud on the contrary invite the reader—“nous” respectively “us”—to imagine and to welcome the barbarian invasions as a creative, powerful force emanating or erupting from the earth, which holds and grounds the human world.135 We may thus hypothesize that both the aesthetic of barbarism and the ‘barbarian’ aesthetic crystallize into genuinely poetic figurations of barbarism. In Whitman’s and Rimbaud’s case, the rejuvenating barbarian invasion from within is a lyrical figuration which, as we have seen, proceeds from the transformation of a historiographical scheme that conveys the threat of a barbarian invasion from without. In Goethe’s play, educating the barbarians is a dramaturgic figuration proceeding from the Enlightenment’s attempt to overcome the asymmetric opposition of civilization and barbarism through temporalization. Another prominent example which will be discussed in detail in the present study is Constantin Cavafy’s figuration of barbarism already mentioned above, namely “Waiting for the barbarians.”136 This most influential figuration also proceeds from a transformation of the scheme of the barbarian invasions but unmasks it as an ambivalent phantasm which for all its vanity has been a founding concept of European identity ever since the Greeks’ mythopoetic invention of the barbarian. These as well as the other figurations of barbarism that will be analyzed in our case studies are innovative poetic genealogies of the concept of barbarism: they remain concept-related but are post-conceptual insofar as they uncover the hidden implications and dynamics of the concept and re-enact these implications and dynamics from very different points of view. Hence, they resist conceptual re-solidification and simplification, as will be demonstrated.

1.3. Structure and Content of Volume I It follows from the preceding remarks that the present study is concerned with innovative explorations of the concept of barbarism in theory, criticism, literature, and (as for the twentieth and twenty-first century) the arts. The study is not concerned with quantitative analysis, that is, statistics of the concept’s use, nor does it aim at a complete account of the concept’s history. It is however intended to be more than a succession of case studies: the systematic link between its different chapters grows out of its theoretical premises (laid down in the present Introduction) and its historical-discursive frame, as exposed in Christian Moser’s chapter (2.1) on “The Concept of Barbarism in Eighteenth-Century Theories of Culture and Sociogenesis.” Moser shows that in the eighteenth century, the semantics of barbarism indeed undergo a significant transformation the effects of which extend to the nineteenth century and beyond. The old binary and space-related opposition, dating back to Greek antiquity, between culturally superior Hellenes (Romans, Christians, Eu134 See Maria Boletsi’s observations in chapter 4.3.1 of the present study. 135 For a more detailed discussion of Whitman and Rimbaud, see Winkler 2017. 136 See below, chapter 4.

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ropeans, etc.) and a savage barbarian other is supplemented by a ternary model. Especially in the context of Enlightenment anthropology, political philosophy, and cultural theory, attempts are made to differentiate between ‘savage,’ ‘barbarian,’ and ‘civilized’ societies, thereby temporalizing a relationship that was formerly construed in spatial terms. ‘Barbarism’ acquires the status of a transitory stage that mediates between the original state of savagery and the developed stage of civilization. This involves that as of the eighteenth century, the concept of barbarism is given the status of an anthropological category of knowledge, albeit in a precarious manner, as the space-related use of the concept as discriminatory slogan lingers on and interferes with its temporalization. In his chapter, Moser retraces the semantic shift towards temporalization in the writings of (among others) Montesquieu, Anne Ro­ bert Jacques Turgot, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Adam Smith, Adam Ferguson, Edward Gibbon, Johann Gottfried Herder, and Goethe. Furthermore, he relates the new semantics of barbarism to Enlightenment reflections on the origin of property and law, the state, language, and literature. The chapter is followed by Moser’s case study (2.2) on the rapport between eighteenth-century social theory and literature: drawing on Friedrich Schiller’s drama (“Schauspiel”) Die Räuber (The Robbers, 1781), Moser demonstrates how this text unfolds the complexities of the new concept of barbarism and puts to the test its thespian potential, playing it out in its political, economical, psychological, and aesthetic dimensions. ‘Barbarism’ as category of anthropological knowledge based on the temporalization of the concept carried a particular challenge to another literary genre, namely the idyll, which in the wake of its renewal by Salomon Gessner became increasingly popular in the second half of the eighteenth century. Since its classical origins (Theocritus and Virgil), the idyll evokes an ideal space of leisure—the so-called locus amoenus—populated by ideal shepherds who can devote themselves to outdoing each other at singing (about love), given that they are free from any need to care about their sustenance. Historical change is excluded from that ideal space, although as early as Virgil’s first eclogue, it forms the idyll’s disquieting backdrop. In the eighteenth century, the challenge to the renewed genre arises from socio-genetic anthropology’s entirely different presentation of the shepherd: it is him who, as a rapacious, violent nomad, incarnates the transitional barbarous stage; this is a sort of leitmotif shared by most of the theories examined by Moser. Only Rousseau at times tries to present the barbarous intermediate state as idyllic by means of eliminating nomadism from it. However, in doing so, he gets entangled in contradictions, as Moser also demonstrates. The semantics of pastoral life thus become ambiguous and unstable. In his case study on Salomon Gessner and Maler Müller (2.3), Julian Reidy shows how the renewed genre of the idyll takes up the challenge of this ambiguity and instability. The study illuminates the close-knit relationship between, on the one hand, the eighteenth century’s anthropological view on pastoral barbarism and, on the other hand, the idyll’s traditional semantics of pastoral life. To this end, Reidy traces the complex, ambiguous semantics of barbarism in two ‘patriarchal,’ biblical idylls that were very popular at the time, namely Gessner’s Der Tod Abels (The Death of Abel, 1758) and Maler Müller’s Adams erstes Erwachen und seelige Nächte (Adam’s First Awakening and Blissful Nights, 1777). In doing so, Reidy pinpoints the interferences

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between the traditional understanding of barbarism derived from antiquity and the contemporary, historiographic temporalization of the concept. In Der Tod Abels, the idyllic setting is rendered precarious due to the unwitting presence of not only one, but two barbarians: the explicitly ‘barbarized’ Cain, who showcases most of the traits associated with barbarism since ancient times, and the implicitly ‘barbarized’ Abel, who, as a shepherd, represents an eighteenth-century notion of historicized, vestigial barbarism. This interference of two distinct semantics of barbarism makes Gessner’s aesthetic arrangement unstable: if it is to honor its biblical source, his text cannot help but attempt to direct the readers’ sympathies towards a character, Abel, who is a ‘barbarian’ in his own right. Reidy’s case study shows that Gessner attempts to ‘stabilize’ his idyll, to instill it with a sense of harmony, by modeling Cain’s downfall as a renunciation of reason, rationality and work ethic—as a betrayal of a progressive, more enlightened cultural stage and the mode of subsistence it entails. The comparative reading of the two idylls then elucidates that Maler Müller, intriguingly, deviates from Gessner’s template. The classical characteristics of ‘barbarism’ feature prominently in Adams erstes Erwachen und seelige Nächte, but they are mollified by the emerging trend of Sturm und Drang literature in which Müller’s idyll can be situated: through its celebration of the individualistic Kraftgenie, the ‘barbarism’ exhibited by Müller’s Cain is transformed from a ‘villainous’ set of traits into a phenomenon that is described by the narrator with a certain degree of fascination and awe. Re-reading Gessner’s and Müller’s biblical idylls in view of the contemporary discussions on the meaning of ‘barbarism’ proves that these discussions have left discernible traces on the idyllic genre—a genre which ostensibly deals in pacified, simplified, and subdued stories, but seems suitable for narrative explorations of exemplary social constellations and situations for that very reason. This subtle presence of the ‘barbaric’ as a marker of human potential, both negative and positive, lends the bucolic setting a tenuous ambiguity. In the wake of the French Revolution, the ambiguity of the relationship between barbarism and the pastoral gained a new political momentum, as Melanie Rohner shows in her case study (3.1) on Schiller’s play Wilhelm Tell (William Tell, 1804), which in the present volume marks the transition to the nineteenth century. It is well-known that Schiller conceived Wilhelm Tell as a response to the French Revolution’s regression into ‘barbaric’ violence: in the time of the Third Coalition’s war against post-revolutionary France, the staging of the Swiss confederates’ rebellion against their Habsburg rulers was intended to present the counter-model of an insurgency bringing about change without that violence. Rohner’s study is the first to analyze the ways in which this counter-model draws on the interfering semantics of barbarism and the pastoral. The study shows how the Enlightenment’s historicizing theory of barbarism as an intermediate, pre-civilized stage of human development, in which people still lived as shepherds, is put to the test and questioned through the staging of a historical (not biblical or mythological) subject-matter that yet again recalls the shepherd as the idyll’s persona. It is indeed significant that in William Tell, Schiller represented the prototypical Urschweizer as shepherds, even though it may be that on the Rütli Meadow none of the 33 plotters belonged to the shepherd class. Linking the Swiss confederates with pastoralism at first glance serves the goal of underlining the social and political purity of the old Swiss, according to the idyllic version of the pastoral. If, however, one reads Schiller’s Swiss topography of the

1.  Theoretical and Methodological Introduction       41

pastoral against the backdrop of the concepts of cultural stages in circulation at the time, then it primarily and from the very beginning points to the barbaric violence that could erupt from those mountain dwellers. Rohner demonstrates that Schiller’s complicated dramaturgy of this ambiguity results in a harmonious ending the quasi romantic improbability of which is reminiscent of the contradictions of Rousseau’s attempt to unite the ‘barbarous’ pastoral stage with the idyllic pastoral space. At the same time, she traces the link between this dramaturgy and nineteenth-century theorizing of the barbaric stage, such as Friedrich Engels’ reading of Lewis Morgan’s cultural anthropology. With its medieval setting, Schiller’s play also relates to Romanticism’s ambivalent fascination with Europe’s ‘dark ages’—as does for that matter his Jungfrau von Orleans (The Maid of Orleans, 1801), the revelatory subtitle of which is Eine romantische Tragödie (A Romantic Tragedy). Western European, in particular French Romanticism’s fascination with barbarism (medieval or other) has retained some scholarly interest (which however focuses less on conceptual history than on the barbarian as persona or barbarism as a way of imagining socio-cultural, ethnic or ‘racial’ alterity).137 However, barbarism in Eastern European Romanticism has been largely neglected, although it is of particular concept-historical interest, insofar as it attests to the persistence of the spatializing, discriminatory semantics of barbarism and its interference with the Enlightenment’s historicizing approach. In his chapter (3.2) on the uses of the concept of the barbarian or barbarism in Polish Romanticism, Jens Herlth focuses on two key authors, Zygmunt Krasiński (1812–1859) and Adam Mickiewicz (1798–1855). The concept of ‘barbarism’ and ‘the barbarian’ indeed plays a crucial role in both of the poets’ works. As for Krasiński, the ‘barbarian’ is a central figure in his early dramas The Undivine Comedy (1835) and Irydion (1836); yet the concept of barbarism also informs his correspondence and his later poems and essays. Its semantics vary from the attempts at self-barbarization in his correspondence of the 1830s to his rejection of communism, tsarism, and Russia in his late poetry. The concept was of equal importance for Mickiewicz, who used it in the early 1820s in order to position himself, and Romantic poetry on the whole, against the still-prevalent aesthetic dogmas of the Warsaw classicists. Later, in his Paris lectures on Slavic literature of the early 1840s, the barbarian serves as a kind of trickster figure who assures communication between the center of European civilization and its peripheries, i.e., the Slavic “North.” Both poets in fact came from a cultural sphere that, according to the stereotypical ideas established by European Enlightenment historiography and geography, was still seen by many as “barbaric.” It was this outside view that opened up a wide range of possible usages and instrumentalizations of the concept, the most important being the constant crossing of semantic, axiological, and actual geographical borders. In the second half of the nineteenth century, the spatializing, discriminatory semantics of barbarism drew not only on culture-geographical stereotypes, but also on the by then widely accepted concept of race, which provided a pseudo-scientific legitimation of discriminations on the social, cultural, and ethnic levels. ‘Race’ served 137 See in particular Michel 1981 and 1988, Schneider 1997, and the studies included in Rigoli and Caruso 1998.

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as a means to biologize socio-cultural differences that had grown out of historically contingent power-relations and to essentialize ethnic differences such as those based on the criterion of skin color. Of particular interest in the context of the present study is the literary exploration of the ways the concept of race interferes with that of barbarism in nineteenth-century historiography (e. g., Michelet) and racialist historical anthropology (e. g., Gobineau). Gustave Flaubert’s historical novel Salammbô (1862) is a particularly important case in point. It can be read as the narrative probing and genealogical de-legitimization of the contemporary scholarly uses of those two concepts, as Markus Winkler demonstrates in his chapter on the novel (3.3). Winkler sets out to show that Sainte-Beuve’s strong criticism of the novel’s rather obscure historical subject matter, namely the uprising of Carthage’s mercenary army, which led to a ‘truceless’ war, was misleading insofar as the novel is not primarily concerned with narrating in a captivating (and orientalist) manner the historical facts of the Mercenary War. Rather, it aims at narrativizing the concepts that guide the ways in which those facts were presented by ancient (Polybius) and modern (Michelet, Gobineau, et al.) historiographers and anthropologists. Above all, the concepts of barbarism and race undergo a narrative staging by way of free indirect discourse: Flaubert produces these concepts’ narrative genealogy by lending them anachronistically to the Carthaginians. It thus becomes evident that ‘race’ emerges from social class and that ‘barbarism’ conceals a blind dynamic of leveling out the very hierarchies that the concept is supposed to establish. Accordingly, the historiographical or anthropological knowledge organized by both concepts turns out to be empty. Moreover, the way the manifestations of extreme violence and cruelty are narrated in Flaubert’s novel calls into question eighteenth- and nineteenth-century anthropology’s hypothesis that civilization’s ‘descent’ from barbarism marks real progress. Flaubert’s genealogical narrative is even liable to call the founding values and concepts of civilization themselves into question, such as civilization’s opposition to barbarism. From here, a line can be drawn that leads to Nietzsche’s concept of barbarism, which is analyzed in the subsequent chapter (3.4). To be sure, a ­rather classicist and humanistic, rhetorical use of the concept of barbarism prevails in Nietzsche’s writings of the early and middle period, as Winkler explains in the first half of this chapter: ‘barbarism’ is the opposite of ‘culture’ (Bildung); it signals a lack of educational and aesthetic achievement, that is, a lack of unity and homogeneity on the levels of form and style. Only occasionally does Nietzsche hint at the possibility that the relation between barbarism and culture might rather have to be understood as an involvement of one in the other. In some of Nietzsche’s later works however, in particular in Beyond Good and Evil (Jenseits von Gut und Böse, 1886) and On the Genealogy of Morality (Zur Genealogie der Moral, 1887), the idea of this involvement leads to radical consequences, namely the genealogical de-legitimization of presently cherished values, concepts, and practices.138 This form of de-legitimization extends to the concept of barbarism itself: the violence to which the concept refers proves to be the hidden foundation of culture and not culture’s opposite. This seems to echo Flaubert’s narrative genealogy, but Nietzsche goes well beyond the novelist’s 138 See above, section 1.1.2 of this Introduction.

1.  Theoretical and Methodological Introduction       43

staging of the ‘leveling out’ dynamic that the concept conceals: what is commonly labeled as barbarian is in fact, he avers, the manifestation of creative aristocratic strength, namely the morality of the masters (“Herrenmoral”). Thus the derogatory concept of barbarism turns out to be a manifestation of the inversion of the morality of the masters by the morality of the slaves (“Sklavenmoral”). At times however, this de-legitimizing ‘perspectivization’ of the concept gives way to its mythicizing vindication: Nietzsche uses it then to legitimize his postulate of a neo-aristocratic morality ‘beyond good and evil.’ He shares this search for barbarism with contemporary poets such as Rimbaud and Whitman, and he bequeaths it to avant-garde critics and poets of the early twentieth century. His genealogy of barbarism thus proves to be profoundly ambiguous. Winkler holds that this ambiguity can be traced back to the interference of legitimization and de-legitimization which characterizes genealogies in the non-metaphorical sense, as mythical narratives of past origins. Nietzsche’s ambivalent fascination with barbarism prefigures the Greek poet C. P. Cavafy’s ambivalent “Waiting for the Barbarians” (1898/1904). With this poem, which is probably the poet’s best-known, we are at the “threshold of the twentieth century,” to quote the main title of Maria Boletsi’s extensive analysis of the poem and its manifold conceptual-historical ramifications. “Waiting for the Barbarians” has been cited, adapted, restaged, and evoked in a plethora of media, genres, and cultural or geopolitical contexts throughout the twentieth century and up to the present: novels, plays, poems, cartoons, operas, songs, internet blogs, works of cultural and political theory, and articles in the press. Critics have commonly projected the poem’s symbolic character as the crux of its appeal and adaptability to different contexts and uses. As ahistorical figures that capture a mythical archetype or a historical constant—the oppositional structure between civilized and barbarians—the poem’s empire and its anticipated (yet never arriving) barbarians become applicable to different historical, artistic, cultural, and political contexts. Challenging this assumption, Boletsi advances the hypothesis that the centrality of Cavafy’s poem in the Western literary, artistic, political, and cultural imaginary in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries stems from its immersion in history. The chapter reads “Waiting for the barbarians” as a meta-historical poem and probes the ways it relates to, and challenges, specific traditions of use of “the barbarian” in Western thought: from the barbarian in Enlightenment’s historiographical narratives of progress and evolutionary models, and humanist optimist narratives to ambivalent attitudes to civilization and barbarism in decadent European literature that ­prefigure a modernist ironic self-consciousness. The poem summons and ­pieces together divergent barbarian figures from European historical narratives—e. g., the barbarian as a dreaded destroyer and bearer of the new, the Germanic and the Oriental barbarian, the barbarian as interiorized or concomitant with civilization, the positive barbarian—exposing the contradictions and ambivalences that inhere in the uses of this figure. By unraveling the poem’s metahistorical vision, this chapter finally explores the entanglement of the barbarian with the concept of crisis, as it is dramatized in the poem. Since 1770, according to Koselleck, crisis has proven to be a key concept for interpreting historical time. The poem’s staging of civilization’s crisis becomes an occasion for exploring different conceptions of history and historical time, in

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all of which the barbarian plays a pivotal role, either as a fundamental figure from civilization’s past or a figure invested with future expectations. The crisis the poem diagnoses in European narratives dependent on the barbarians creates the possibility of a history in which the future is neither determined by eschatological, nor by linear progressive narratives, nor by cyclical or mythical conceptions of history. What is more, the poem invites the imagination of alternatives to the oppositional structure of civilization and barbarism and, more generally, to the dualistic choices often forced upon the ever-recurring ‘crises’ of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Setting a stage on which traditions of the barbarian and correlated conceptions of historical time confront, haunt, complicate, and ironize each other, the poem assumes a liminal function, mediating between, on the one hand, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century sensibilities, and, on the other hand, new emerging discourses and modes of thought that would take center stage in twentieth- and twenty-first century philosophy, literature, and theory, as will be shown in volume two of the present study.

2. Eighteenth Century 2.1. The Concept of Barbarism in Eighteenth-Century Theories of Culture and Sociogenesis Christian Moser

2.1.1. Concept-Historical Prerequisites. The Temporalization of the Concept of the Barbarian and the Construction of a Relationship between Savagery and Barbarism 2.1.1.1. The Changing Meaning of Barbarian in the Eighteenth Century—as Illustrated by Dictionary Entries The semantic content of the concept of barbarism was transformed in the Enlightenment era. It took on new meanings, becoming more multifaceted and complex. To gain an initial impression of the scope of these changes, it seems apposite to consult eighteenth-century dictionaries and encyclopedias. Comparison of dictionary entries from the early eighteenth century with those written towards the end of this era is particularly informative. The differences are significant. The definitions authored by English writer Samuel Johnson (1709–1784), leading figure in the British literary Enlightenment, are pertinent here. Johnson is widely known as the author of the famous and highly influential Dictionary of the English Language (1755). The fourth revised edition defines the barbarian as follows: “A man uncivilized; untaught; a savage” (Johnson 1773, vol. 1, s. v. ‘barbarian’). Under the lemma “savage” in the same dictionary we find the following entry: “A man ­untaught and uncivilized; a barbarian” (Johnson 1773, vol. 2, s. v. ‘savage’). Evidently, as Johnson understood the English language, the terms savage and barbarian were interchangeable synonyms. We find much the same thing if we consult Johann Heinrich Zedler’s Grosses vollständiges Universallexicon aller Wissenschaften und Künste (Great Complete Encyclopedia of all Sciences and Arts, 1731–54), a standard work of the early German Enlightenment. Under the headword Barbar, we read: “Man hat endlich dieses Wort in einem sittlichen Verstande angenommen, so daß man sich desselben zur Beschreibung eines grausamen, wilden und ungezähmten Menschen zu bedienen pfleget.” (“This word has finally taken on a moral meaning, such that there is a tendency to use it to describe a cruel, savage and untamed person.” Zedler 1731–54, vol. 3, 392, s. v. ‘Barbar,’ my emphasis, my translation, C. M.). Here too, savagery is a key attribute of barbarism, so the terms savage and

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barbarous largely cover the same semantic field. There is little sign of any contrastive distinction. A rather different picture emerges if we pick up the ‘bible’ of European Enlightenment thought, Jean le Rond d’Alembert’s and Denis Diderot’s Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers (Encyclopaedia, or a Systematic Dictionary of the Sciences, Arts, and Crafts, 1751–72). Here we find an attempt to demarcate savagery from barbarism. Under the headword sauvages we read: Il y a cette différence entre les peuples sauvages & les peuples barbares, que les premiers sont de petites nations dispersées qui ne veulent point se réunir, au-lieu que les barbares s’unissent souvent, & cela se fait lorsqu’un chef en a soumis d’autres. (Ency­ clopédie, vol. 14, 729, s. v. ‘sauvages,’ original emphasis) There is this difference between savage peoples and barbarian peoples that the former are small dispersed nations which refuse to unite, whereas the barbarians often unite, and this happens when one chief has subdued others. (Encyclopédie, vol. 14, 729, s. v. ‘sauvages,’ original emphasis, my translation, C. M.)

Here, savage peoples are distinguished from barbarian ones in light of their specific form of association. On this view, savages live in small, isolated social groups, whereas barbarians form larger societies that emerge from warlike conflicts. It is an open question whether the larger-scale barbarian societies emerge from the subjugation of small savage tribes or neighboring barbarian ones and it is equally unclear whether the contrast between savages and barbarians implies an historical sequence. These vague efforts to demarcate savagery from barbarism gained greater clarity and rigor towards the end of the eighteenth century. They also took on an air of self-evidence. Johann Christoph Adelung’s Grammatisch-kritisches Wörterbuch der hochdeutschen Mundart (Grammatical-Critical Dictionary of the High German Vernacular, 1774– 86; second revised edition: 1793–1801), a product of the late German Enlightenment, explained: “Die Menschen bestehen in Ansehung der Cultur aus drey großen Classen, aus Wilden, Barbaren und gesitteten Menschen. Der alte Deutsche war ursprünglich ein Wilder, in den spätern Zeiten ein roher Barbar. Der Wilde lebt, als der sorglose Pflegesohn der Natur, nicht von dem Eigenthume oder dem Werke seiner Hände, und unterscheidet sich dadurch von dem Barbaren.” (“With respect to culture, human beings consist of three major classes, namely savages, barbarians and the civilized. The ancient German was originally a savage, and later a brutish barbarian. As nature’s carefree foster son, the savage does not live from property or the work of his hands, and this distinguishes him from the barbarian,” Adelung 1793–1801, vol. 4, 1543, s. v. ‘wild,’ my translation, C. M.) Adelung distinguished clearly between three “classes” of people, who differ with respect to their way of life and mode of subsistence, but also in terms of their developmental status: savagery marks a more primeval stage of cultural development than barbarism, which in turn precedes the civilized state. Our cursory comparison of dictionary entries thus suggests the following conclusion: in the early Enlightenment, the terms savage and barbarian were still more or less synonymous. There were no clear criteria for demarcating them semantically.

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But as the century wore on, increasing attempts were made to distinguish barbarism from savagery. The barbarian possessed a different moral character, belonged to a different form of society, was at a different level of cultural development than the savage. This, however, meant that the old antithetical structure that had prevailed since Antiquity, which marked off the sphere of the familiar from the barbarian Other, establishing a hierarchy in which the former is superior to the latter, had begun to unravel. Previously, barbarism had always formed part of an asymmetric conceptual opposition (Koselleck 1989; Koselleck 2004) that initially set the Hellenes apart from the barbarian Persians or Scythians, then the Romans from the barbarian Germans, the Christians from the barbarian heathens and finally the Europeans from the barbarian inhabitants of the New World. Now a third term was brought into play that irritated these rigid oppositions. Binary contrasts were superseded by a ternary constellation: savage—barbarian—civilized. This was bound up with far-reaching semantic shifts that gave the concept of the barbarian a keener edge, shifts that occurred in two key respects: a) through the temporalization of the concept of the barbarian. Previously, this was chiefly defined in spatial terms, functioning as an ‘enemy-concept’ (Koselleck 1989; 2004) that marked off a ‘We’ from an Other, a good ‘internal sphere’ from a threatening, bad ‘external’ one, a superior centre from an inferior periphery (Winkler 2015; Moser and Wendt 2014). This spatial dimension of the concept of the barbarian took on concrete form in such famous frontier constructions as the Roman limes, intended to protect the civilized empire from the barbarian threat. In the eighteenth century, barbarism increasingly became a temporal category, a historical term (Pocock 1999, Osterhammel 1998, Vogt 2015, Moser 2015a). Rather than the space of the Other, who must be excluded, it now designated a specific phase of cultural history and a specific stage of societal development—not the earliest, archaic phase but one of transition, one situated between savagery and civilization (Rubel 1978). In a work of 1814, Friedrich Roth sums up the state of the discussion around 1800: “In der neueren Zeit bedient man sich oft des Wortes Barbar, um Völker zu bezeichnen, welche zwischen den Stufen der Wildheit und einer festen bürgerlichen Verfassung in der Mitte stehen.” (“In recent times the word barbarian has often been used to refer to peoples standing midway between the stages of savagery and a solid civil constitution,” Roth 1814, 15, my translation, C. M.) b) This is bound up with another development. In the eighteenth century, barbarism took on an expanded semantic profile, encompassing social, cultural, legal and political historical elements in the broadest sense. It increasingly stood for specific modes of association and particular forms of political organization, but also for a particular mode of subsistence and economic activity, a specific developmental level of technology, language, literature, arts, and, on a deeper level, a specific symbolic order or semiotics—all of this in contradistinction to corresponding manifestations of the savage stage on the one hand and civilization on the other. This new semantics of barbarism was conceived within the framework of a philosophical-anthropological historiography, which sought to describe society as a whole, that is, in light of its various spheres. It was the outcome of an innovative, comprehensive form of social and cultural history and was systematically related

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to the emergence of the modern concept of ‘culture’ (Niedermann 1941, 175–225; Bollenbeck 1994, 31–96; Luhmann 1995). As we will see, there is in fact a close relationship between the concept of barbarism and that of culture—even closer than that between culture and civilization.1 We might go so far as to assert (and this hypothesis underpins the following remarks) that the concept of barbarism is one of the genealogical taproots of the modern concept of culture.

2.1.1.2. Savagery in Relation to Barbarism: Antiquity and the Middle Ages Before tracing in detail the reconfiguration of the concept of barbarism in eighteenth-century syntheses of social and cultural history, we must first get a sense of its concept-historical prerequisites. The semantic equivalence of the terms savage and barbarian, as evident in the early Enlightenment, is the point of departure for the process I will be reconstructing here. But this equivalence itself is an historical phenomenon. It was not until the sixteenth century that it appeared in the major European languages. In the preceding centuries the concepts savage and barbarian followed differing historical paths that crossed only occasionally. J. G. A. Pocock is thus wrong to describe the figure of the ‘savage’ as a modern invention, a fiction of Enlightenment philosophy (2005, 3–4). It is certainly true that the terms sauvage, savage and selvaggio are relatively recent coinages.2 But in contrast to barbarism, the history of savagery as a word and as a concept are out of sync; the concept of savagery (but not the word) is about as old as that of barbarian. Within the new triad savage—barbarian—civilized, only civilization is a true neologism of the eighteenth century (Benveniste 1966, Starobinski 1989a, Fisch 1992). So the fact that in the early eighteenth century virtually no distinction was made between savage and barbarian does not mean that the concept of savagery has no history of its own. From the perspective of the longue durée, despite certain semantic overlaps, this is an entirely different concept, whose origins and development contrast with those of barbarism. One of the concept’s roots lies in the Judeo-Christian tradition (White 1972). The idea of barbarism originates in Greek Antiquity and was appropriated by Christianity in the early Middle Ages (Opelt and Speyer 2001, 846–95; Jones 1971). In the case of savagery, the picture is to some extent reversed. The concept emerged in the Judeo-Christian milieu (its earliest expression is palpable in the Old Testament) and later it was linked with ideas on savagery found in pagan Antiquity (which were partly of mythological and partly of philosophical 1

2

Just as the independent noun culture, the independent noun civilization emerged in the eighteenth century. For most of the century, both terms were treated as synonyms. At the end of the century, however, culture acquired a specific meaning, no longer relating to the state of enlightened civilization as the ‘goal’ of historical progress, but to autonomous collectivities held together by a common language, history and tradition (cultures in the plural) (Williams 1983b, 89). This new distinction between culture and civilization is related to the semantic shift affecting the concept of barbarism. See below, chapter 2.1.2.9. Incidentally, this does not apply to the German wild and its English counterpart wild. Both can look back on a lengthy history (see Grimm 1960, 8, and the Oxford English Dictionary, s. v. ‘wild’).

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provenance). The etymology of the German and English word wild is unclear, but there have been attempts to derive it from the word wood (Wald), as in forest (see Grimm 1960, s. v. ‘wild’; Oxford English Dictionary, s. v. ‘wild’). In other languages, this derivation is obvious. In English we find savage as well as wild, the former being an early borrowing from French (sauvage); in Italian the corresponding term is selvaggio. Savage, sauvage, selvaggio: all are derived from the Latin silvestris (of the wood), silvaticus (forestal) and thus ultimately from the Latin word silva (wood, forest). Etymologically the savage is a person affiliated with the woods, a forest-dweller. Originally, savage did not refer primarily to a living being, let alone to people living in certain conditions, but to a place or space. Savage (like barbarism) was spatially determined. But this space does not merely mark an Other or a sphere external to urban civilization. In the Old Testament the ‘wilderness’ is the place or space from which God has withdrawn his blessing; a locale (and by analogy any person living there) that has been cursed by God (White 1972, 13). In contrast to barbarism, which marks a chiefly cultural and anthropological difference from a civil order, savagery designates a moral, indeed metaphysical difference. The savage is shunned, impure, stigmatized. Typical Old Testament savages in this sense are Cain (cast out after the murder of Abel and bearing the ‘mark of Cain’), Ham (the son of Noah, cursed by his father), Ishmael (illegitimate son of Abraham) and Nimrod. Nimrod is perhaps the clearest embodiment of this type of savage: violent hunter, dark-skinned giant, a sinful rebel against God (according to tradition, he is the founder of the city of Babel and instigates construction of the Tower). Biblical ‘savages’ are always individual, isolated figures—not collective ones. This is a key point of difference from barbarism. This also goes for the concept of savagery as it developed in the European Middle Ages. The savage is a solitary being. He lives alone in the ‘wilderness,’ outside the human community, from which he has, often, been expelled. The figure of the ‘wild man’, which initially emerged in medieval folk beliefs and subsequently entered into literature, exemplifies this type (Bernheimer 1952). This figure shares key traits with the ancient pagan forest-dweller, with the mythological satyrs, centaurs, nymphs and naiads, but above all it incorporates elements of the ‘metaphysical,’ accursed savage as codified by the Bible. The topical attributes of the ‘wild man’ are nakedness, hairiness, gigantic proportions, animality, the way of life of the hunter and gatherer, a limited capacity for speech and sexual promiscuity (typically, the ‘wild man’ is an abductor of virgins and children). A well-known example of a wild man from the courtly literature of the High Middle Ages appears in Hartmann von Aue’s verse romance Iwein (ca. 1200). Arthurian knight Iwein is cast out of the Round Table because he has broken the promise he made to noblewoman Laudine. Gripped by madness, he flees into the woods, where he lives for a time as a naked, hirsute ‘wild man’. Here, then, the condition of savagery figures as the antithesis of the courtly world with its strict hierarchy, nuanced code of conduct and elaborate ritualization. This condition is marked as the result of a transgression (sin). From a medieval perspective, savagery is not just the lack of culture but the consequence of a ‘fall.’ It represents a danger that threatens every human being to the extent that he is a sinful being and participates in Adam’s fall; and this ‘fall’ can be averted only through God’s mercy. In other words, ‘wild men’ are beings not blessed with such mercy. They are the ostracized, the accursed, the condemned.

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Savages—in the sense of isolated individuals living in an animalistic state and far removed from all community—exist beyond the Judeo-Christian tradition. We can discern a second root of the concept in the literature of pagan Antiquity, chiefly in epics and political philosophy. Here, savages are similar to their Judeo-Christian counterparts in that they live solitary lives in isolated settings. But in contrast to them, they bear no stigma of damnation or sinfulness, instead representing an archaic, presocial way of life. This provides one starting point for the concept’s later temporalization or its functionalization within a developmental schema. One prominent example of such a savage man is the figure of the Cyclops Polyphemus in Homer’s Odyssey. Here, the Cyclopes, which lead a solitary existence, are explicitly described as ágrios (“savage,” “wild”; Hom. Od. 9.175). The most dramatic hallmark of this savagery is Polyphemus’s cannibalism. We are also told that the Cyclopes have “neither assemblies for council [boulephóroi] [...] nor appointed laws [thémistes]” (Od. 9.112). In addition to laws they lack another medium capable of binding human beings into a society: advanced language. Having been blinded by Odysseus, Polyphemus is unable to call on the other Cyclopes for help because his speech is incomprehensible to them. Without law, without language and without society: in the Odyssey the figure of the savage represents the ground zero of humanity. Such borderline figures of humanity also play a role in the ancient Near Eastern epic. One example is the ‘wild man’ Enkidu in the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh. Enkidu initially lives like an animal among the gazelles of the desert. Tamed by a shepherd, he later manages to become the celebrated companion of the great city founder and cultural hero Gilgamesh, King of Uruk. The epic thus brings out the humanizing force of the social order, which is bound up with an urban way of life. Like the epic, the political philosophy of Antiquity too contrasts this way of life with the presocial state of savagery. Here, tellingly, the emergence of society is envisaged not as a gradual process but as an isolated act of the establishment of order, an act of lawgiving. The locus classicus for such a scenario, the switch from savagery to civil society, is in Marcus Tullius Cicero’s Pro Sestio oration: Quis enim nostrum, iudices, ignorat ita naturam rerum tulisse, ut quodam tempore homines nondum neque naturali neque civili iure descripto, fusi per agros ac dispersi vagarentur, tantumque haberent, quantum manu ac viribus per caedem ac vulnera aut eripere aut retinere potuissent? Qui igitur primi virtute et consilio praestanti exstite­ runt, ii perspecto genere humanae docilitatis atque ingenii dissipatos unum in locum congregarunt eosque ex feritate illa ad iustitiam atque ad mansuetudinem transduxe­ runt. [...] Atque inter hanc vitam perpolitam humanitate et illam immanem nihil tam interest quam ius atque vis. (Cic. Sest. 42.91–92) For which of us, gentlemen, does not know the natural course of human history—how there was once a time, before either natural or civil law had been formulated, when men roamed, scattered and dispersed over the country, and had no other possessions than just so much as they had been able either to seize by strength and violence, or keep at the cost of slaughter and wounds? So then those who at first showed themselves to be most eminent for merit and wisdom, having perceived the essential teachableness of human nature, gathered together into one place those who had been scattered abroad,

2.1.  The Concept of Barbarism in Eighteenth-Century Theories       51 and brought them from that state of savagery to one of justice and humanity. [...] Now, between life thus refined and humanized, and that life of savagery, nothing marks the difference so clearly as law and power. (Cicero 1958, 159–161; translation modified, C. M.)

Cicero describes the establishment of a law-based society—which leads the human being to humanitas and thus makes him human in the first place—as a departure from the state of savagery (“ex feritate”). In the political philosophy of Antiquity, presocial human beings are generally described as savages living in isolation, but not as barbarians. And conversely, society and a law-based order typically emerge from the state of savagery rather than from barbarism. The concept of barbarism is applied to human beings who already live in society, albeit in a flawed social system not regulated by law (díke, ius). This is a crucial difference between the terms savage and barbarian in both their Greek and Latin forms. Savage refers to people not governed by laws who live outside society. Barbarian means people who are bound together in a society but who are governed not by laws but by kings, tyrants or despots. The pólis or civitas, by contrast, represents a human society governed by laws. This formula seems to suggest that we should conceptualize the concepts savage, barbarian and politikós or civilis as a triad. Ancient thought, however, eschews this option, working not with a triad of concepts but with two dichotomous conceptual oppositions that are only rarely interwoven with one another. Either the law-based urban society is contrasted with the savage’s isolated way of life, chiefly in contexts in which the emergence of a city is traced back to a mythical act of—divine or human— foundation or lawgiving. Or the pólis or civitas is contrasted with barbarian societies governed not by laws but by the whims of kings and despots. This tends to happen in contexts in which the (ethnocentric) goal is to extol the superiority of the Greek or Roman political system and culture. In ancient thought, these three concepts do not refer to an historical sequence of developmental stages—and barbarism is certainly not envisaged as bridging the gap between a state of nonsocial savagery and the law-governed community of the pólis. Among the Greeks and Romans, the concept of barbarism is too centred on enmity and demarcation for it to play such a role. The barbarian is considered so alien and other that any kind of mediation with Hellenic and Roman culture seems virtually inconceivable. Both savages and barbarians are ontologically separate from civilitas, in such a way that a transition could only be conceived of as a radical transformation of their being.3 3

This ontological conception of barbarism is primarily to be found in the context of ancient (political) philosophy and tragedy (on the latter see Hall 1989; Winkler 2009, 20–44). In other contexts, particularly in historiography, the rigid opposition between Hellenes and barbarians is occasionally relativized. The Greek historian Thucycides, for instance, asserts that the ancestors of the present-day Hellenes “had many [...] customs similar to those of the Barbarians of the present day” (Thucydides 1919, 13 [bk. I.6.6]; on this passage, see also above, chapter 1.2.3.2 of Winkler’s Introduction). Similar relativizing statements are made by Herodotus in his Histories, though he famously opens this work by distinguishing between the deeds committed by the Hellenes and the barbarians. On the (slightly more flexible) concept of barbarism used in Greek historiography see Hartog 2015, 32–35; Hartog 1988.

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The primacy granted to binary conceptual models over triadic ones—and the associated reluctance to use the category of barbarism flexibly as a developmental concept—is also typical of Greek theories of the state.4 Particularly significant here is the first book of Aristotle’s Politics. Aristotle begins by making two key distinctions. The first is binary, contrasting the “natural ruler,” namely “he that can foresee with his mind,” with the naturally servile, namely “he that can do these things with his body” (Arist. Pol. 1.1252a). All forms of governance must be derived from this fundamental opposition. The barbarian is immediately defined as servile by nature (phýsei)—as a natural slave (Arist. Pol. 1.1252b). In parallel to this, Aristotle makes another distinction, but this time of a tripartite character. It relates to the fundamental forms of community represented by house, village and city. This triad, like Aristotle’s declared intention to pursue objects “in the process of development from the beginning,” (Arist. Pol. 1.1252a) leads us to expect a genetic perspective. We might think we are about to be shown how the village (and its corresponding form of governance) develops out of the house, and how the city (and its corresponding structure of governance) emerges from the village. In fact, however, Aristotle subsumes house, village and the primitive city under one and the same form of government, which he contrasts with the Greek pólis of his time. That form of governance characteristic of both house and village, in which father rules over wife, children and animals (as naturally servile beings) is identified as the archetype of kingly rule over barbarians: “It is owing to this that cities [hai póleis] were at first under royal sway and that foreign races are so still” (Arist. Pol. 1.1252b, translation modified, C. M.). This form of rule contrasts with the Greek pólis, in which natural-born rulers govern themselves through a law-based order. The tripartite approach, with its inherent developmental history, is thus subverted by the Hellenes-barbarians dichotomy. The Politics mentions the Homeric Polyphemus as an embodiment of the village form of community and here, tellingly, the Cyclops appears as a barbarian rather than a savage. Aristotle quotes from the Odyssey, but not the verse describing the Cyclopes as savage and lawless—ἄγριοι οὐδὲ δίκαιοι (Hom. Od. 9.175). Instead he cites a statement depicting their form of government: “each one giveth law / To sons and eke to spouses” (Od. 9.114–15; Arist. Pol. 1.1252b). Here, then, rather than standing outside of society, Polyphemus epitomizes a particular form of society. The Odyssey presents him as a goat and sheep herder. This mode of subsistence interests Aristotle only inasmuch as it marks a relation of domination (human reason over animal sensuality). So for him there is no categorical difference between herder and tiller of the soil. Just as one is the master of his flock, the other is master of the oxen that plough his fields—and in the same way both rule over their wives and children with the kind of despotism with which the civilized treat barbarian slaves: “for the ox serves instead of a slave for the poor” (Arist. Pol. 1.1252b, translation modified, C. M.). The distinction between nomadic pastoralism and sedentary agriculture, which is central to the Enlightenment stage-based theory of cultural history, plays no role for Aris4

On the binaristic structure of classical Greek thought and mythography see DuBois 1991, 4–5; Tyrrell 1984, 40–64. As for Aristotle’s Politics, see also above, chapter 1.2.3.1 of Wink­ ler’s Introduction. In the present chapter, the English translation by H. Rackham (1944) is again quoted after the Perseus online edition.

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totle. Herdsman and agriculturalist represent the same barbarous-despotic form of rule—domination over beings that are naturally destined to serve. At no point does the Politics explain how we might conceive of the transition from this village type of governance to that of the Greek pólis. And ultimately, Aristotle leaves no room for such a transition. As born slaves, barbarians are naturally incapable of leading themselves (or others); they lack even the potential for reason-based self-governance. Therefore, as Aristotle argues, it is just to wage war on barbarians: war is a way of making a living, provided for by nature, that must be deployed (in the shape of the hunt) against animals and “such of mankind as though designed by nature for subjection refuse to submit to it” (1.1256b). Here, Aristotle builds on an idea developed by Plato, who views barbarians as enemies of the Hellenes “by nature [phýsei]” in the Politeía (Resp. 470c).5 On this view, if the Hellenes fight amongst themselves, this is not war but an internal disturbance (stásis), with a lenient approach being incumbent on both sides. Between Hellenes and barbarians, meanwhile, a natural state of war (pólemos) prevails that renders it permissible to ruthlessly annihilate, plunder and enslave the latter (470b). On these premises, a transition from barbarism to the Greek pólis seems inconceivable. Only as slaves can barbarians find entry to the pólis. The Greeks’ political philosophy evades consideration of possible transitions between the barbarian and Hellenic form of society, instead foregrounding categorical boundaries and rigidly demarcated locales. This goes for the theory of climate presented by Aristotle in the Politics as well. Once again, he constructs a seemingly tripartite organizational schema, distinguishing between the barbarian peoples of the north, who are brave but not intelligent, the barbarian peoples of the south, who conduct themselves cleverly but feebly and consequently lack control over their desires, and the Hellenes occupying “the middle position,” who are both vigorous and clever and are thus destined to rule (Arist. Pol. 7.1327b). Here, the “middle position” does not mark a conjoining transition between extremes but a centre of power and significance that keeps the barbarians at arm’s length. This arrangement of peoples and the corresponding forms of society are static and spatially determined. Each is naturally allocated a particular position whose status depends on its relationship to the centre. Again, a tripartite schema is subverted by a binarism: the opposition between Hellenic centre and barbarian periphery.

2.1.1.3. Savagery in Relation to Barbarism: the Early Modern Period In Antiquity and the Middle Ages, savage and barbarian thus functioned as spatially determined concepts of demarcation based on separate dichotomous structures. They could not, therefore, be systematically related to one another. Before later thinkers could place these concepts in a historical sequence and link them with one another in terms of their development or history, they first had to soften these dichotomous structures. Paradoxically, the terms savage and barbarian had to undergo a process of semantic assimilation before being newly differentiated within the framework of a stage-based developmental-historical model. To facilitate the seman5

See above, chapter 1.2.3.1 of Winkler’s Introduction.

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tic rapprochement of savagery and barbarism, a) the concept of savagery had to be secularized and liberated from metaphysical connotations of the sinful, accursed or demonic; b) the term savage had to lose its fixation on individuals living in isolation, enabling it to be applied to collectivities; and c) the concept of the barbarian had to become more flexible, no longer referring to ontologically categorical differences, which meant it could also be applied to manifestations of one’s ‘own’ group. These semantic shifts occurred in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and were closely bound up with the discovery of America and the confrontation with its indigenous population. The indigenous cultures of America unsettled the conventional European categories of the Other, while also disrupting the semantic framework formed by the concepts of savage and barbarian (Pocock 2005, 161). The increased flexibility of the concept of the barbarian is especially evident in the debate on the status of the indigenous American population, the main debaters here being sixteenth-century Spanish jurists and theologians (on what follows, see Pagden 1986). At its core, this debate revolved around how best to legitimize the violent subjugation of the Americans. One of the key factors stimulating this discussion was the rediscovery of Aristotle’s Politics, whose basic tenets, however, were merged with the scholastic theory of natural law and thus given a new slant (Pagden 1986, 38–48). All those who composed treatises on this topic self-evidently referred to the American Indians as barbari, though over the course of the debate this term largely lost its pejorative connotations, mutating into a neutral legal term (Fisch 1992, 698). This discursive exchange was kicked off by jurist Juan López de Palacios Rubios, who was the first to justify the conquest of America not in light of papal authority or the legal fiction of universal imperial rule, but in terms of the indigenes’ specific anthropological and psychological nature (Pagden 1986, 50–56). In his work Libellus de insulanis oceanis (1513), he imputes to the Indians a deficient capacity for reason and—very much in the spirit of Aristotle’s Politics—classifies them as natural slaves, who cannot, therefore, be ruled as free men but only through tyranny. This equation of the Americans with natural slaves was called into doubt by Francisco de Vitoria in his text Relectiones de Indis (1539; on Vitoria see Pagden 1986, 65–80). Here, he bases himself on the scholastic ius naturae, according to which all human beings are innately endowed with certain fundamental precepts (prima praecepta) that can be grasped through natural reason (lumen naturale), without this requiring any special revelation. In an attempt to clarify whether the Americans should be regarded as blessed with natural reason or as irrationales and thus as barbarian slaves in the Aristotelian sense, Vitoria runs through a catalogue of criteria of ‘civilized’ life. One of the most important criteria—the founding of cities—he regards as having been met. Another equally important one, meanwhile—the existence of a law-based order—he sees as lacking. This prompts him to conclude that the Indians cannot be considered irrationales; but their capacity for reason is only present in potential form and requires actualization. So rather than natural slaves they must be compared to children who have to be guided towards the full use of reason through education (i.e., Spanish dominion). Vitoria explains the fact that the Americans do not obey the praecepta of natural law and indulge in ‘unnatural’ practices such as cannibalism despite their rational potential by asserting that they are blinded by habits (customs and traditions) that take a wide variety of forms depending on climate, a ‘second

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nature’ that stands in for laws and eclipses the precepts of the ‘first nature’ inscribed in their souls. So Vitoria adds to the Aristotelian type of natural barbarism a second variety of the ‘culturally’ conditioned barbarian who is not fundamentally excluded from the cosmopolitan civitas of rational humanity and, because of his potential for reason, is ultimately entitled to full citizenship (Pagden 1986, 100–1). Following Vitoria, Bartolomé de Las Casas and José de Acosta expanded on this approach, developing a typology of different forms and stages of barbarism and rendering the concept even more flexible. Barbarism no longer functioned as a purely exclusionary concept: “The ‘barbarian,’ by definition an outsider, had now been brought ‘in’” (Pagden 1986, 105). The course was set for the temporalization of the concept of the barbarian. This also established a close connection between barbarism and what would later be called culture: in the writings of Vitoria and Las Casas, barbarism refers to social groups held together not by laws but by customs and traditions. At the same time as the concept of the barbarian was being made less rigid, that of the savage was taking on new semantic dimensions. In the sixteenth century, nominalized forms of the adjective sauvage/savage appeared in French and English for the first time. References to les sauvages or savages no longer indicated hommes sauvages or ‘wild men’ living in isolation but collectivities, savages living together in society in accordance with certain rules,6 a shift that was bound up with the dwindling of the term’s religious connotations and that was decisively propelled by European attempts to get to grips with the indigenous peoples of the Americas. It can be studied in paradigmatic form in a number of texts produced within the context of French efforts to acquire colonial possessions along the Brazilian coast. These texts refer to the Indian tribes of Brazil both as sauvages and as barbares. This in itself is an indication that these concepts were moving closer together semantically. We can also discern interesting trends towards a new type of distinction. In an account of his journey through Brazil from 1556 to 1558, Histoire d’un voyage faict en la terre du Brésil (History of a Voyage to the Land of Brazil, 1578), French Huguenot Jean de Léry oscillates between an essentially conservative and a more progressive use of the term sauvage. In one passage, he characterizes the Brazilian Indians as “true successors of Lamech, Nimrod, and Esau,” (“vray [sic!] successeurs de Lamech, de Nimrod, et d’Esau”) explaining this in light of the fact that they are “not only hunters and warriors [...] but also killers and eaters of men” (“non seulement chasseurs et guerriers, mais aussi tueurs et mangeurs d’hommes,” Léry 1990, 156; Léry 1994, 436). By linking the Indians back to an Old Testament genealogy, Léry evokes the traditional concept of the unholy, accursed savage. Conversely, elsewhere he describes “our American savages” (“nos sauvages Ameriquains”) as “natural men” (“hommes naturels”), who possess a “disposition and inclination common to all” (“disposition et inclination commune à tous”): namely “to understand something greater than man, on which depends good and evil” (“assavoir d’apprehender quelque chose plus grande que l’homme, dont depend le bien et le mal,” Léry 1990, lix; Léry 1994, 91). Here, Léry argues on 6

See Wartburg 1964, vol. 11, 617, s. v. ‘silvaticus’; Rey 1992, vol. 2, 1885–1886, s. v. sauvage; Oxford English Dictionary, s. v. ‘savage n.’ The earliest German evidence of the nominalized adjective (Moscherosch: “die wilden in Brasilien”; “the savages in Brazil”) dates only from the seventeenth century (Grimm 1960, 58, s. v. ‘Wilde’).

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the basis of natural law. Rather than being excluded from the human community as the accursed, like all human beings savages possess certain innate precepts, such as knowledge of the existence of a higher being. Savage points to certain elementary values that—despite the enormous differences—link the indigenous Americans with Europeans. Savage is no longer a matter of sin or withheld grace but is instead given a positive slant: It now spotlights the seeds of salvation that might be encouraged to sprout. But Léry brings out connections between Americans and Europeans in a negative as well as a positive sense. Tellingly, to mark this negative common ground, he often uses the term barbarous (Crouzet 1982). For example, he observes that antagonistic Indian tribes incessantly wage war against one another, explaining this in light of ingrained hatred and vengefulness: [L]eurs haines sont tellement inveterées qu’ils demeurent perpetuellement irreconciliables. Surquoy on peut dire que Machiavel et ses disciples (desquels la France à son grand mal-heur est maintenant remplie) sont vrais imitateurs des cruautés barbaresques [...]. (Léry 1994, 336–37) [T]heir hatred is so inveterate that they can never be reconciled. On this point one can say that Machiavelli and his disciples (with whom France, to her great misfortune, is now filled) are true imitators of barbarian cruelties [...]. (Léry 1990, 112)

The vice of vengefulness, Léry argues, holds sway over not just the savage Americans but also the supposedly ‘civilized’ Europeans. Some of them—the exemplary figure here being Niccolò Machiavelli and his philosophy of the state, as set out in his magnum opus Il Principe—go so far as to raise vengeance to the status of maxim of political acumen.7 Léry uses the cruelty imputed to the Indians as a way of holding up a mirror to comparable European behavior. But he generally declares such behavior to be barbarian rather than savage. In fact, Léry reserves the term savage for the American Indians. He never refers to Europeans as savage, even in cases in which their actions, as Léry repeatedly points out, resemble those of the ‘savages’ in revealing fashion. The Americans are savage and barbarous, the Europeans at most barbarous. This hints at a semantic difference between the savage and the barbarian that advances the temporalization of both concepts. In his famous essay “Des cannibales” (“On the Cannibals”, 1580) Montaigne goes one step further than Léry, whose Histoire probably served as one of his ethnographic sources. Montaigne too sometimes calls the indigenous Brazilians savag7

This comparison was made against the background of the confessional conflicts and religious wars of sixteenth-century Europe, with Léry espousing the Protestant cause. By the Machiavellians he means the opposing Catholic side, which according to him advocates an Old Testament-style eye-for-an-eye philosophy, closing its mind to the New Testament principle of grace so central to the theology of Luther and Calvin. This backdrop also explains Léry’s association of the Indians with the Old Testament savages Lamech, Nimrod and Esau: he systematically places Catholics and savage Americans on the same level—as unholy representatives of the Old Covenant not blessed by the act of grace that is the New Covenant. On the religious historical backgrounds to the Histoire, see Lestringant 2016, 117–46, 221–34.

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es, sometimes barbarians; he too reserves the term savage for the Americans.8 But while in Léry’s work the term still entails a residual religious significance, Montaigne ­endeavors to turn it into a wholly positive one. Savage is no longer a reminder of the Fall and of a primordially corrupted human nature; now it is the insignia of a natural purity: Or je trouve [...] qu’il n’y a rien de barbare et de sauvage en cette nation, à ce qu’on m’en a rapporté, sinon que chacun appelle barbarie ce qui n’est pas de son usage [...]. Ils sont sauvages, de mesme que nous appellons sauvages les fruicts que nature, de soy et de son progrez ordinaire, a produicts: là où, à la verité, ce sont ceux que nous avons alterez par nostre artifice et detournez de l’ordre commun, que nous devrions appeller plutost sauvages. En ceux là sont vives et vigoureuses les vrayes et plus utiles et naturelles vertues et proprietez, lesquelles nous avons abastardies en ceux-cy, et les avons seulement accommodées au plaisir de nostre goust corrompu. (Montaigne 1962, 203) I find [...] that there is nothing savage or barbarous about those peoples, but that every man calls barbarous anything he is not accustomed to [...].Those ‘savages’ are only wild in the sense that we call fruits wild when they are produced by Nature in her ordinary course: whereas it is fruit which we have artificially perverted and misled from the common order which we ought to call savage. It is in the first kind that we find their true, vigorous, living, most natural and most useful properties and virtues, which we have bastardized in the other kind by merely adapting them to our corrupt tastes. (Montaigne 2003, 231–32)

In Montaigne’s work savagery refers to an unadulterated state of nature.9 But this does not mean that this archaic condition can be equated with a presocial way of life. In fact, Montaigne’s savages live in social groups whose order the essayist praises as exemplary. At first sight, however, it seems that this order is distinguished by the lack of all those things that make up a society in the first place: “il n’y a aucune espece de trafique; nul cognoissance de lettres; [...] nul nom de magistrat, ny de superiorité politique; [...] nuls contrats; nulles successions; [...] nulle agriculture; nul metal” (“those people have no trade of any kind, no acquaintance with writing, [...] no terms for governor or political superior, [...] no contracts, no inheritances, [...] no agriculture, no metals,” Montaigne 1962, 204; Montaigne 2003, 233). The Brazilian Indian societies lack the artificial laws and media that generate societal cohesion. But if they possess no legal order and no ruling authorities to ensure its maintenance, do they at least have habits, traditions and customs that take the place of the law? This, of course, is the main argument put forward by the Spanish theologians and jurists: the Indian barbarians are captive of habits that blind them to the true natural principles of reason. And Montaigne does in fact go on to depict in detail the Indians’ customs, which seem so alien, bizarre and ‘barbarous’ to Europeans—particularly their cannibalistic rituals. But at the same time, he makes it clear that these are not 8 9

On Montaigne’s notion of barbarism see also Smith 2015. So there is some justification for regarding Montaigne as one of the founders of the ‘noble savage’ myth. See Mouralis 1989.

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mere habits as envisaged by the Spaniards. Instead, the Indians practice them in a considered way, on the basis of conscious choice: Et, afin qu’on ne pense point que tout cecy se face par une simple et servile obligation à leur usance et par l’impression de l’authorité de leur ancienne coustume, sans discours et jugement, et pour avoir l’ame si stupide que de ne pouvoir prendre autre party, il faut alleguer quelques traits de leur suffisance. (Montaigne 1962, 212) Lest anyone should think that they do all this out of a simple slavish subjection to convention or because of the impact of the authority of their ancient customs without any reasoning or judgement on their part, having minds so dulled that they could never decide to do anything else, I should cite a few examples of what they are capable of. (Montaigne 2003, 240)

With these words, Montaigne introduces his account of a conversation between three Tupi Indians and the King of France concerning the principles of their social life. It is clearly apparent from this, according to Montaigne, that the cannibals practice their customs neither on the basis of blind obedience to tradition, nor natural instinct, but in a considered way. In the Essais, the terms discours and jugement always refer to the conscious, considered appropriation of a form of knowledge or principle (Moser 2006, 740). The roots of the cannibals’ customs thus lie in an understanding of naturally given precepts. They live according to ‘natural law,’ whose provisions they clearly discern and that they consciously choose to apply. What seems to be mere habit is in reality a law-based order. Through choice and contemplation, the cannibals transform natural law into positive law—their societal order thus rests on lawgiving. In his essay, Montaigne therefore refers to the great lawgivers of Antiquity, Plato and Lycurgus, asserting that they could have found templates for their legal constructs among the savages. Montaigne’s savages, then, live in a social system anchored in natural law. By implication, however, this means that the Europeans by no means live within a rational social order in conformity with the precepts of natural law, but instead in accordance with contingent customs and traditions. What they view as a rationally grounded civilitas is ultimately no more than the product of convention and custom.10 What 10 In the spirit of radical scepticism Montaigne repeatedly relativizes established value- and law-based orders in the Essais. He demonstrates that these must be traced back not to principles of reason but to contingencies and exigencies: “La necessité compose les hommes et les assemble. Cette cousture fortuite se forme après en loix; car il en a esté d’aussi farouches qu’aucune opinion humaine puisse enfanter, qui toutesfois ont maintenu leurs corps avec autant de santé et longeur de vie que celles de Platon et Aristote sçauroyent faire. Et certes toutes ces descriptions de police, feintes par art, se trouvent ridicules et ineptes à mettre en practique” (“Necessity associates men and brings them together: afterwards that fortuitous bond is codified into laws; for there have been societies as ferocious as any that human opinion can spawn which have nevertheless kept their structures as sound and as durable as any which Plato or Aristotle could ever have founded. And indeed such descriptions of fictional and artificial polities are ridiculous and silly when it comes to putting them into practice,” Montaigne 1962, 934; Montaigne 2003, 108). Significantly, the savage peoples of America are excluded from this relativizing scepticism.

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this means is that the Europeans must be regarded as the true barbarians as imagined by the Spanish theologians; it is they who are blindly captive to customs and fail to recognize natural precepts. Montaigne thus endorses the linkage of the concept of barbarism to custom and tradition asserted by the Spaniards, but in reverse. This also implies that the European ‘barbarians,’ through their customs, have moved further away from the state of nature than the American ‘savages’: “il y a une merveilleuse distance entre leur forme et la nostre” (“there is an amazing gulf between their souls and ours,” Montaigne 1962, 211; Montaigne 2003, 239). This distance must be understood not (just) in spatial but (also) in temporal terms. In the work of Montaigne, then, we already see intimations of a historicizing distinction between savage and barbarian social orders. As we have seen in the case of Vitoria, Léry and Montaigne, in the sixteenth century the conceptual matrix of savagery, barbarism and civilitas underwent a shift. The terms savage and barbarian were increasingly detached from their rigid opposition to the concept of reason-based, law-based civilitas. Savage no longer referred to isolated individuals that live outside society but to primitive forms of society; barbarian indicated social groups whose members are governed by collective customs and have not yet fully developed their capacity for reason. This laid down crucial prerequisites for the temporalization of these concepts and for the transformation of both conceptual oppositions into a conceptual triad. After a certain delay, the third concept—civilitas—was also enveloped in this shift. In the seventeenth century, in the French as well as in the English language, the verb civiliser or to civilize makes its appearance, signifying the act of refining, educating or cultivating a person or a group of people, especially in the sense of bringing them in conformity with the norms of a well-ordered society.11 In the eighteenth century, the corresponding noun civilisation or civilization emerged and increasingly replaced civilitas (or its modern-language translations, civilité or civility). Contrary to civilitas, the term civilization preserved the notion of activity and processuality inherent in the verb to civilize. It marked the condition of being civilized as the outcome of a historical development (Williams 1983a, 58).12 Thus, civilization is the more dynamic and temporalized correlate of the static concept of civilitas (Benveniste 1966, 340; Benveniste 2009, 134; Starobinski 1989a, 15–16; Starobinski 2009, 153–54; Fisch 1992, 716). The new term referred both to a condition as well as to the process that leads to it. It was used by a number of Enlightenment thinkers in a basically political sense and in the same vein it referred to the successive development of state and law-based

11 See Oxford English Dictionary, s. v. ‘civilize v.,’ 1.a; Williams 1983a, 57. 12 See also Benveniste 1966, 340; Benveniste 2009, 134: “De la barbarie originelle à la condition présente de l’homme en société, on découvrait une universelle gradation, un lent procès d’éducation et d’affinement, pour tout dire un progrès constant dans l’ordre de ce que la civilité, terme statique, ne suffisait plus à exprimer et qu’il fallait bien appeler la civilisation pour en définir ensemble le sens et la continuité.” (“From original barbarity to the present state of man in society, a universal and gradual development was discovered, a slow process of education and refinement, in a word, a constant progress in the order of that which civilité, a static term, was no longer sufficient to express and which had to be called civilisation in order to define together both its direction and its continuity.”)

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orders.13 Others understood the term in a more moral and cultural sense, using it to refer to the refinement of customs and modes of conduct, but also to describe progress in the sciences and arts.14 But the fact that the term civilization could cover both fields, politics and culture, is already an indication of the holistic approach of Enlightenment historiography, which increasingly tried to understand societies in light of the totality of their dimensions. In its fully temporalized form, the concept of civilization no longer referred to any (teleologically intended) state but instead figured as pure process, as the dynamic unfolding of the endless perfectibility inherent in the human being (Condorcet 1988, 81; 1796, 4). The more dynamic concept of civilization thus no longer functioned as the antithesis of savage and barbarian; instead, it encompassed the developmental stages indicated by these terms. In this spirit French Enlightenment philosopher Condorcet, for example, defined the primitive societies of savage hunters and fishermen as the “first state of civilization” (“premier état de civilisation,” Condorcet 1988, 81; 1796, 5). Yet these semantic shifts by no means ruled out the continued use of these terms in their older sense. In the eighteenth century too, it was quite normal to apply the term barbarian in its original function as an ethnocentric term of demarcation. Likewise, there were contexts in which the term savages continued to refer to people living in isolation in a presocial state. This went especially for the decidedly modern conception of natural law that took off in the seventeenth century and privileged the model of the social contract. Every exponent of the social contract—from Hobbes through Pufendorf and Locke to Rousseau—anchored his theory in the assumption of a lawless state of nature, which savage man, living in isolation, overcomes when banding together with other savages on a contractual basis to create law-based societies. On this view, then, the switch from the state of nature to the state of society, from savagery to civilization, is a sudden change, with no transition. It is above all this conceptual model of a quasi-instantaneous sociogenesis that the champions of the stage model sought to combat. The new conception of barbarism as a crucial phase of historical, developmental transition, was to become one of the key weapons in their armory.

13 It is in this sense that the exponents of the Scottish Enlightenment understood the term civilization. However, Fisch is mistaken in attributing the coinage of the English noun civilization to Adam Ferguson, who employed the term strikingly on the opening pages of his Essay on the History of Civil Society (1767) (Ferguson 1995, 7; see Fisch 1992, 721–2). According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the noun appeared sporadically already in the seventeenth century, though records of its use increase significantly in the eighteenth century (see Oxford English Dictionary, s. v. ‘civilization,’ n., 1. and 3). Ferguson’s friend and colleague Adam Smith employed the noun as early as 1759 in his Theory of Moral Sentiments, referring to “this state of civilization” (Smith 2009, 263). 14 This goes, for example, for French Enlightenment writer Mirabeau the elder, who introduced the term into the French language in 1756 (see Moras 1930; Benveniste 1966, 337– 38; Benveniste 2009, 132–33; Fisch 1992, 717–18).

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2.1.2. Montesquieu to Ferguson: Barbarism as a Stage of Cultural and Social Evolution 2.1.2.1. Preliminary Remarks In early modern discourses on barbarism, the term barbarian no longer functions as a clear-cut concept of enmity and exclusion. Contrary to the savage, who has succeeded to the barbarian as a figure of extreme otherness (Pocock 1999, 316–17; 2005, 157–58), the barbarian has been brought in (Pagden 1986, 105). The term can be applied to both European and non-European people. Thus, the stage is set for temporalizing and historicizing the concept of barbarism. The temporalization of barbarism is accomplished in the eighteenth century by thinkers of the European Enlightenment. One of the fields in which this conceptual shift takes place is stadial theory, which reconstructs the development of different forms of human society in correlation to changing modes of subsistence (Meek 1976; Nippel 1990, 61–70). This theoretical approach feeds into the dominant type of Enlightenment historiography—into what the historian of ideas J. G. A. Pocock has coined “the narrative of civil government” (Pocock 1999). The narrative of civil government marks a hybrid combination of philosophy and history, or, to be more precise, of political and juridical philosophy, anthropology, political, cultural, and universal history.15 It is decidedly secular in its outlook, substituting divine providence by the principle of an immanent teleology that directs human history towards the goal of civilization. Narratives of civil government retrace the evolution of human society, from its earliest beginnings in primitive hunter-gatherer-communities to its allegedly most complex and highest development: urban civil society. Such narratives betray a totalizing and universalizing tendency in at least three respects: firstly, they are based on a holistic concept of human society, focusing not only on the sphere of politics, but also taking into account the development of legal systems, technological progress, economical, linguistic and cultural factors. Secondly, they seek to delineate a temporal totality, encompassing the entirety of human history from the original state of nature to the most recent accomplishments of civilization. Thirdly, their outlook is totalizing also in spatial terms. Though eurocentric in their bias, they highlight the interconnectedness of national histories and attempt to integrate them within a global framework, taking account of the histories of non-European, especially Asian, North African and American peoples, as far as they are known to them.16 The telos of these narratives is civil society, as realized in the nation states of eighteenth-century Europe. Civil society is marked by the institution of private property, a sophisticated legal system, 15 On the hybrid character of this complex mode of historiography, see Pocock 1999, 7–25, and Gisi 2007, who focuses on the productive combination of anthropology, mythography, and the philosophy of history. For more general studies on Enlightenment historiography and the eighteenth-century beginnings of modern historicism see Meinecke 1959; Meinecke 1972; Duchet 1971; Cassirer 1973, 263–312; Cassirer 1951, 197–233; Reill 1975; O’Brien 1997. 16 See O’Brien 1997, 1–2: “What they [sc. Enlightenment historiographers] share is the cosmopolitan (rather than universalist) recognition that all nations are endowed with valid histories and identities which intersect with, and complete, each other, but that individual states or nations are not, in themselves, intelligible units of historical study.”

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a balanced political structure, an accomplished literary culture, and an economy of free trade. Thus, commerce plays an important role in narratives of civilization: it sustains individual civil societies from within, but it also regulates their interrelationship on the outside. In the long run, international commerce is expected to effect a lasting pacification among competing civil societies and thus to pave the way for a global civitas of nations. At this point, narratives of civilization interlink with another precursor-discourse of globalization, the discourse of cosmopolitanism.17 Thus, eighteenth-century narratives of civil society are holistic in their alignment. Montesquieu’s De l’esprit des lois (The Spirit of the Laws, 1748) marks an initial instance of this genre; Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot’s Plan de deux discours sur l’histoire universelle (On Universal History, 1751), Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Discours sur l’origine de l’inégalité (Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, 1755), Adam Smith’s Lectures on Jurisprudence (1766/67), Adam Ferguson’s Essay on the History of Civil Society (1767), Immanuel Kant’s Idee zu einer allgemeinen Geschichte in weltbürgerlicher Absicht (Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Purpose, 1784), and Johann Gottfried Herder’s Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit (Outlines of a Philosophy of the History of Man, 1784/91) furnish further prominent examples. All these works strive to include the totality of human history and thus to eliminate any possible ‘outside.’ A clear indication of this tendency is their attempt to reconfigure the concept of barbarism. Previously, within the occidental tradition, the terms barbarian and barbarism had mostly been regarded as being part of a dichotomous structure. Barbarism was used as an ethnocentric term of enmity and exclusion, circuitously designating a ‘we’ that assures itself of its superiority by pitting itself against an ‘other’ who is denied the achievements of civility and the refinements of culture, an ‘other,’ therefore, who is relegated to a position of inferiority and exteriority. Barbarism referred not only to a spatial, but also to a temporal ‘beyond’—an area untouched by historical time. Eighteenth-century histories of civil society, however, transmute this binary structure into a ternary constellation. They distinguish between savage, barbarian and civilized stages of society, relating them to differences concerning climate and geographical environment on the one hand, to diverse modes of subsistence on the other: savages are hunters and gatherers who live in small, egalitarian communities, whereas barbarians are nomadic pastoralists who develop a primitive form of property, establish hierarchical political structures and subsist not only by stock breeding, but also by raping and plundering their neighbors. Thus the state of barbarism is historicized and turned into a transitory phase that mediates between primitive savagery and the advanced state of civilization. Barbarism no longer refers to an ‘other’ located in a distant space, an alien outside of culture, it no longer constitutes its diametrical opposite, rather it is integrated into the historical process of civilization. As a “middle stage” (Rubel 1978, 33) that links the civilized present to the prehistoric era of savagery, barbarism cannot simply be relegated to some distant time or 17 On the cosmopolitan dimension of the Enlightenment narrative of history see O’Brien 1997; see also below, chapter 2.1.2.9, my analysis of Immanuel Kant’s Zum ewigen Frieden (Perpetual Peace, 1795) and Johann Gottfried Herder’s Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit (Outlines of a Philosophy of the History of Man, 1784–91).

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place beyond civil society. Rather, narratives of civil government argue that barbarian institutions constitute the germs of civilized accomplishments and continue to exert their influence even within civil society. By stressing historical continuity, the proponents of the ternary model cast doubt on a fundamental tenet of early modern political philosophy—the idea that human society originates in a social contract. The figure of the savage ‘natural man’ who constitutes society by engaging in a legally binding compact is disparaged as a mere fiction. Contrary to Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Samuel Pufendorf, most authors of narratives of civil government do not believe in a foundational legal act that abruptly terminates the solitary state of nature and substitutes a carefully crafted social system for the anarchy of a bellum omnium contra omnes at one fell swoop. By contrast, they insist on the gradual emergence of legal and political structures, and since barbarism marks the transition between primitive savagery and civilization, they attest it a pivotal role within this evolutionary process. As Rousseau argues in Du contrat social (The Social Contract, 1762), the social contract must effect a radical change of human nature that is as sudden as it is thorough.18 According to narratives of civil government, however, the protracted evolution of society does not transform the essential or natural make-up of human beings; rather, it develops a potential they have always already possessed. The difference between savage, barbarian and civilized peoples is gradual, not ontological. Narratives of civil government tend to deontologize the categories of barbarism and savagery. Enlightenment narratives of civil government do not only differ from contractual theories of political philosophy with regard to their view on the origin of society. They also establish a different type of discourse that inaugurates new techniques of representation and innovative forms of writing. Whereas theories of social contract, in keeping with their legalistic bias, often emulate the form of the juridical treatise, narratives of civil society constitute a hybrid genre that combines philosophical reflection with the factual account of history and the ethnographic description of customs and manners. Though they discard the hypothetical fictions of natural law, they are far from eschewing fictional representation altogether as a means of constructing historical continuity. Where historical evidence or ethnographic data is lacking, “conjecture”—elements of speculative fiction—steps in as a legitimate supplement that fills the gaps within the narrative.19 Contrary to the treatises of early modern political philosophy, narratives of civil society strive to tell a gripping and convincing story. They possess a proto-literary quality. Not surprisingly, therefore, they have served as a source and inspiration to a number of literary works proper in the eight18 “Celui qui ose entreprendre d’instituer un peuple doit se sentir en état de changer, pour ainsi dire, la nature humaine; de transformer chaque individu, [...] d’altérer la constitution de l’homme” (Rousseau 1964c, 381) (“One who dares to undertake the founding of a people should feel that he is capable of changing human nature, so to speak; of transforming each individual, [...] of altering man’s constitution,” Rousseau 1994, 155). 19 The term conjectural history was coined by the Scottish historian Dugald Stewart to describe the methodology applied by thinkers such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Adam Smith and David Hume in their attempts to reconstruct archaic states of human development. See Garrett 2003, 79–80. On conjecture as a basic constituent of Enlightenment historiography, see Gisi 2007, 319–57.

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eenth century. It is not only their narrative structure that motivates a certain affinity to literature. By delineating nomadic pastoralism as a phase of historic transition, they imbue the concept of barbarism with a new semantic richness and complexity, an ambivalence, at times even a contrariness and paradoxicality that challenges poets to devise their own experimental scenarios of sociogenesis and political conflict. In what follows, I will take a closer look at representative philosophical narratives of civil society in order to retrace transformations in the semantics of barbarism in the eighteenth century. First, French works of the 1750’s (Montesquieu, Turgot, Rousseau) and Scottish texts of the 1760’s (Smith, Ferguson) will be analyzed with regard to the way they historicize the concept of barbarism.20 Subsequently, I will examine specific modes and media of barbarian social bonding as they are represented in eighteenth-century cultural theory: poetry, symbolic language, oaths, and gifts. Following a brief outlook at the nineteenth-century heritage of Enlightenment narratives of civil society, I will finally (in chapter 2.2.) present a literary case study on Friedrich Schiller’s drama Die Räuber (The Robbers, 1781), a text that plays through the ambiguities and contradictions inherent in a barbarian community, thereby referring critically to the philosophical discourse of Enlightenment social theory.

2.1.2.2. Montesquieu: Barbarism as an Intermediate Social Force Montesquieu’s De l’esprit des lois, a study in the philosophy of state, law and society, functions as a key to the Enlightenment discourse of barbarism. All later eighteenth-century ‘narratives of civil government’ grapple with it to a greater or lesser extent.21 Montesquieu’s treatise itself, however, has no linear narrative structure. Instead, it constructs a typology of forms of government and relates these to the diverse range of climatic, geophysical, economic and cultural conditions that determine the differences between nations. Montesquieu tends to hint at historical realities rather than address them explicitly. Nonetheless, his approach sets the course for the temporalization of the concept of the barbarian. He is the first to try to distinguish systematically between savage and barbarous peoples and thus to foreground their different ways of life and modes of subsistence. At the same time, he casts doubt on the static contrast between the state of nature and the state of society, a contrast that typified the ancient and early modern philosophy of state and discourse of natural law.

20 Though focussing on the downfall of Roman civilization and its defeat by barbarism (and not on the progress from savagery through barbarism to civilization), Edward Gibbon’s monumental The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (6 vols., 1776–1789) can also be allocated to this type of philosophical historiography, as J. G. A. Pocock has demonstrated in his magisterial study (see Pocock 1999 and Pocock 2005). However, since the stadial theory of social and cultural history does not inform the structure of this work but rather constitutes its backdrop, I will refer to Gibbon only occasionally. On Gibbon’s concept of barbarism (as epitomized in his famous formula of “barbarism and religion”) see Maria Boletsi’s chapter (4.3.1) in the present volume. See also below, chapter 2.1.2.9, footnote 128. 21 See Meek 1976, 32. On the particularly strong influence exerted by Montesquieu on the Scottish Enlightenment see Oz-Salzberger 2003, 170–71.

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Yet it is with this contrast between the state of nature and state of society, between natural law and positive law, that Montesquieu begins his treatise De l’esprit des lois. Later, though, he tones down this opposition. Montesquieu initially conceives of the state of nature in a very traditional way as a state of isolation, backing this up with reference to solitary “savages” (“hommes sauvages”) who roamed the woods in primeval times, and sometimes do so still (1989, 6, bk. I.2; 1951, 235, bk. I.2).22 He thus appears to be embracing the idea of the savage—as found in the political thought of Antiquity and in renewed form in modern natural law—as a pre- or extrasocial being. According to Montesquieu, this savage is subject to certain natural laws that serve self-preservation. One of these teaches him to be wary of other human beings and to avoid rather than attack them. This law ensures that the human state of nature is a state of peace: “la paix seroit la première loi naturelle” (“peace would be the first natural law,” 1951, 235, bk. I.1; 1989, 6, bk. I.1). Montesquieu thus dismisses Thomas Hobbes’s theory, which presents the state of nature as an anarchic war of all against all. But if the state of nature is distinguished by its peacefulness, what is it that prompts human beings to abandon it and establish societies? This question becomes even more pressing given that Montesquieu associates the emergence of the first societies with the state of war: “Sitôt que les hommes sont en société, [...] l’état de guerre commence” (“As soon as men are in society, [...] the state of war begins,” 1951, 236, bk. I.1; 1989, 7, bk. I.1). In society, people lose the sense of weakness inspired by their solitary vulnerability and become belligerent. Conflicts spread both within and between societies. Montesquieu shifts the Hobbesian bellum omnium contra omnes from the state of nature to the embryonic state of society. So again, we must ask: why should a human being be willing to exchange the peaceful state of nature for the warlike state of society? Montesquieu’s answer indicates his conviction that the state of nature is an untenable concept in the first place. He puts the human being’s exit from the state of nature down to two other natural laws that govern the conduct of the savage: on the one hand the procreative drive, which ties him to members of his own species, and on the other the affective desire for society (“the desire to live in society,” 1989, 7, bk. I.2; “le désir de vivre en société,” 1951, 236, bk. I.2). Montesquieu gives the drive to live in society the status of a natural law. Paradoxically, then, nature itself propels the end of its rule over human beings. In De l’esprit des lois, the only purpose of the state of nature seems to be to signal human beings that it is their destiny to live in society. Montesquieu’s assumption is a concession to the prevailing theories of natural law. The state of nature is de facto emptied of meaning—and the traditional conception of the savage along with it. Much the same goes for the state of war, which Montesquieu places at the start of human beings’ societal existence. This assumption too serves to hollow out the natural law concept of the social contract. Montesquieu has two objectives here. On the one hand, war motivates the human being existing within a society to establish political and legal orders as quickly as possible in order to contain violence. This 22 Tellingly, in this context the example to which Montesquieu refers is not the savage peoples of America but “the savage who was found in the forests of Hanover and who lived in England in the reign of George I.” (“le sauvage qui fut trouvé dans les forêts de Hanover, et que l’on vit en Angleterre sous le règne de George Ier,” 1989, 6, bk. I.2; 1951, 235, bk. I.2).

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allows Montesquieu to explain the fact that human societies everywhere have developed political and legal structures, almost from the outset. But only almost: the assumption of an initial state of war enables Montesquieu to distinguish between the origin of society and the origin of the political-legal order. The establishment of such an order is not constitutive of the state of society. Instead, in Montesquieu’s work, the emergence of societies precedes the establishment of a state of law. There are social groups prior to the establishment of laws and governments. Contra the early modern theory of natural law, in Montesquieu the foundation of societies is not a legalistic act in the manner of a social contract; in the first instance, its roots lie in the human desire to live in groups. Building on the work of Italian historian of law Gian Vincenzo Gravina, Montesquieu defines the “civil state” (“état civil”) as “[t]he union of these wills” (“[l]a réunion de ces volontés,” Montesquieu 1989, 8, bk. I.3; Montesquieu 1951, 237, bk. I.3)—as the fusion of particular wills, forming the overarching collective will to live in a community, a will that binds everyone together. Political institutions and laws are not enough to create societal cohesion. According to Montesquieu, something else is required for this. The will to live together is based on commonalities—such as shared ways of life and forms of subsistence, due to specific geographical and climatic conditions. These generate shared customs and traditions and, ultimately, a collective spirit: “des mœurs, des manières; d’où il se forme un esprit général” (“mores, and manners; a general spirit is formed as a result,” 1951, 558, bk. XIX.4; 1989, 310, bk. XIX.4). Rather than being produced by the social order, this “spirit of the nation” (“esprit de la nation,” 1989, 310, bk. XIX.5; 1951, 559, bk. XIX.5) precedes it, in such a way that the former must adapt to the latter. At the beginning of De l’esprit des lois, Montesquieu evokes the traditional opposition between state of nature and state of society only to immediately undermine it. As he sees it, living in society is the natural state peculiar to human beings. There is more to the emergence of society than a one-off legalistic act of establishing a state or concluding a contract. This process of emergence is multi-layered, complex and subject to varying geophysical conditions. Montesquieu thus implies that sociogenesis is a gradual process. We begin to see the possibility of temporalizing the different forms of society and government and analyzing them as historical phenomena. Initially, however, Montesquieu leaves this potential untapped. Instead, he describes the republic, the monarchy and despotism as three fundamental, prototypical forms of government without tracing them back to earlier, more primitive stages or positing genetic relationships between them. It is not until the seventeenth and eighteenth books of De l’esprit des lois, which discuss the influence of climatic factors and the resulting ways of life on lawmaking, that he foregrounds the historical dimension once again. It is typological reflections that dominate here, but Montesquieu also implies a sequence of historical stages. He identifies four fundamental modes of subsistence, whose practice depends on a given territory’s characteristics: hunting, herding, agriculture and commerce (1989, 289, bk. XVIII.8; 1951, 536, bk. XVIII.8). The last two of these modes of subsistence are attributed to more developed societies, the first two to primitive ones. This is clearly conveyed by the terms Montesquieu applies to the different social groups. Peoples that subsist mainly from hunting are designated as savage, while those that live from herding are called barbarous. Montesquieu thus recodes the terms savage and barbarous in a highly consequential way.

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As he seeks to define these concepts more precisely and differentiate them from one another, he goes one step further: Il y a cette différence entre les peuples sauvages et les peuples barbares, que les premiers sont de petites nations dispersées, qui, par quelques raisons particulières, ne peuvent pas se réunir; au lieu que les barbares sont ordinairement de petites nations qui peuvent se réunir. Les premiers sont ordinairement des peuples chasseurs ; les seconds, des peuples pasteurs. Cela se voit bien dans le nord de l’Asie. Les peuples de la Sibérie ne sauroient vivre en corps, parce qu’ils ne pourroient se nourrir ; les Tartares peuvent vivre en corps pendant quelque temps, parce que leurs troupeaux peuvent être rassemblés pendant quelque temps. Touts les hordes peuvent donc se réunir ; et cela se fait lorsqu’un chef en a submis beaucoup d’autres [...]. (Montesquieu 1951, 537, bk. XVIII.11) One difference between savage peoples and barbarian peoples is that the former are small scattered nations which, for certain particular reasons, cannot unite, whereas barbarians are ordinarily small nations that can unite together. The former are usually hunting peoples; the latter, pastoral peoples. This is clearly seen in northern Asia. The peoples of Siberia could not live together in a body, because they could not feed themselves; the Tartars can live together in a body for some time because their herds can be brought together for that time. All the hordes can, therefore, unite, and this occurs when one leader has subjected many others [...]. (Montesquieu 1989, 290–91, bk. XVIII.11)

The first crucial point here is that Montesquieu uses a concept of savagery quite different from the notion, anchored in natural law, which appears in the first few chapters of De l’esprit des lois. Savage no longer refers to individuals living in isolation but to collectivities. These groups too are isolated and dispersed but they are established societies. Savage no longer designates a presocietal state, but rather a primitive form of society. The isolation and small size of these societies is put down to their mode of subsistence and thus to environmental conditions: hunting cannot provide enough food to sustain larger communities. Compared with this the mode of subsistence practiced by barbarians is a sign of progress. Herds of domesticated animals represent a secure resource, capable of provisioning a larger number of people. Nonetheless, here too Montesquieu accentuates the primitive character of barbarous society by making an analogy between the formation of animal herds and human hordes: both are amenable to enlargement through merging, while the resulting larger units maintain a form of corporative cohesion. But this analogy also highlights a degree of progress: the taming of wild animals corresponds to the taming of savage human beings, turning them into ‘barbarians.’ And just as the animal herd is subordinate to human herders, the human horde is subject to a leader, a “chef ”: barbarous society possesses an hierarchical political order, however rudimentary it may be. This order is linked with the barbarians’ warlike character. They evidently sustain themselves not just by herding, but also by subjugating other barbarians, through conquest and predation. Montesquieu thus indicates that barbarous society has developed more complex structures than its savage counterpart. Strikingly, however,

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he does not derive the more complex formation genetically from the simpler one: barbarous societies emerge through the merging of other barbarian hordes and not, for example, through the unification of savage tribes that abandon hunting in favor of pastoralism. As the example of northern Asia demonstrates, for Montesquieu the relationship between savages and barbarians is one of spatial contiguity rather than temporal succession. Having established a correlation between savage and barbarous peoples, Montesquieu contrasts this pair with the agricultural and trading nations. Once again, this comparison serves to delimit more primitive from more developed forms of society. The latter differ from savagery and barbarism in that they have developed the institutions of land ownership and money (Montesquieu 1989, 291–93, bk. ­XVIII.13–17; Montesquieu 1951, 538–40. bk. XVIII.13–17). By no means does the lack of these institutions influence the political order of savage and barbarous societies in a (purely) negative way. According to Montesquieu, savages and barbarians are nomads—they are not tied to a particular territory. Their spatial freedom translates into a love of freedom in a political sense. Should a chief abuse the authority vested in him, his subordinates will abandon him and withdraw to the forest or steppe. This goes for both individuals and collectivities. They are loosely cohesive; large hordes easily disintegrate back into smaller entities if the chief’s power is felt to be overly oppressive. In addition to freedom, savage and barbarous societies are also characterized by a high degree of political equality. Lacking both money and land ownership, individuals cannot achieve authority on the basis of their wealth, but only through experience and special abilities: “Chez de pareilles nations, les veillards, qui se souviennent des choses passées, ont une grande autorité; on n’y peut être distingué par les biens, mais par la main et par les conseils” (“In such nations the old men, who remember things past, have great authority; one cannot be distinguished by one’s goods there, but by arms and by counsel,” Montesquieu 1951, 538, bk. XVIII.13; Montesquieu 1989, 291, bk. XVIII.13). Ultimately, the lack of money and land ownership also means that savage and barbarous societies tend to have just a few, simple civil laws. In contrast to political laws that define the relationship between rulers and ruled, civil laws regulate relations between citizens (1989, 7–9, bk. I.3; 1951, 237–38, bk. I.3). These relations have to do above all with property, which is present only in the elementary form of material assets in the case of savages and barbarians. Their civil laws are thus limited to regulations on the distribution of war booty and punishment of theft (1989, 291–92, bk. XVIII.13; 1951, 539, bk. XVIII.13). Barbarous social groups are regulated not so much by laws as by customs and traditions: “On peut appeler les institutions de ces peuples des mœurs plutôt que des lois” (“One can call the institutions of these peoples mores rather than laws,” 1951, 538, bk. X ­ VIII.13; 1989, 291, bk. XVIII.13). Their social cohesion is based mainly on a way of life common to all and the “esprit de la nation” to which this gives rise. Once again, the barbarous horde emerges as the antecedent of developed social forms: just as the will to live in a community and the resulting “esprit de la nation” precede a positive legal order, so too does barbarous society antecede its civilized counterpart. Nonetheless, Montesquieu insists that even savages and barbarians possess not just mœurs but also positive laws, however rudimentary they may be. As a result, he clearly baulks at using the term société civile and

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reserving it solely for agricultural and trading societies.23 Instead, for him, savages and barbarians too exist in an état civil. Within the état civil, there are only degrees of difference between savage, barbarous, agricultural and trading peoples when it comes to the complexity of their political and legal order. The ground has thus been laid for a historicizing perspective. At the same time, the term état civil, which points to a static state of affairs (in contrast to that of civilization, with its connotations of processual dynamism), indicates that these categories are yet to be consistently temporalized. Nowhere does Montesquieu set out how the various ways of life emerge from one another historically. In the eighteenth book of De l’esprit des lois, then, Montesquieu comprehensively revises the concept of barbarism, giving it a positive connotation. It now signifies a freedom-loving and egalitarian mode of human coexistence. Compared with savage hunting societies, barbarous herding society represents progress with respect to mode of subsistence, economic system and political order, progress that in some ways prefigures more developed social forms. Barbarism begins to emerge as a transitional social and political formation. This throws up the question of whether this formation already contains the seeds of the advanced state forms of the republic, monarchy and despotism. Does Montesquieu derive one or more of these political systems from barbarism? We can in fact discern the first signs of this in De l’esprit des lois. Two of the three governmental forms—monarchy and despotism—are traced back to barbarous roots. In order to establish this genealogy, Montesquieu must relativize his positive overall assessment of barbarism and introduce a fundamental distinction. According to him, freedom-loving egalitarianism characterizes only barbarous European and Arab peoples. Among the Asiatic Tartars—“the most singular people on earth” (“peuple le plus singulier de la terre,” 1989, 294, bk. XVIII.19; 1951, 541, bk. XVIII.19)—we find the antithesis of this attribute. Montesquieu derives the monarchic form of government from the European barbarism of the Germanic peoples and the despotic form from the Asiatic barbarism of the Tartars. In addition to the linkage of barbarism with nomadic pastoralism, this internal distinction between freedom-loving Western and despotic Eastern barbarism is the second crucial way in which Montesquieu recodes the concept.24

23 Montesquieu uses the term “nation with a police” (“nation policée,” 1989, 292, bk. XVIII.15; 1951, 539, bk. XVIII.15) just once—essentially in passing—to demarcate the more developed societies. On the terms police and policé as precursors to the concept of civilization see Starobinski 1989a, 26–30; Starobinski 2009, 160–64. 24 Though here too there are certain points of contact with ancient thought. In the Histories, Greek historian Herodotus contrasts the freedom-loving, nomadic Scythians with the despotic, effete Persians as two opposing forms of barbarous society. (There is a similar opposition between tough northern and effete southern barbarians in Aristotle’s Politics. See above, p. 53.) In Montesquieu, Herodotus’s opposition between northern and southern barbarians is transformed into one between west and east. Furthermore, Herodotus’s Scythians are ethnically related to Montesquieu’s Tartars, but rather than contrasting Persian despotism with Scythian-Tartar nomadism, Montesquieu derives the former from the latter. He finds ethnographic evidence of the freedom-loving and egalitarian character of the Germanic barbarians in the Germania, by Roman historian Tacitus, a source he makes extensive use of in De l’esprit des lois. On what follows, see Moser 2015a, 170–174.

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Montesquieu explains the special status of the Tartars with reference to a combination of climatic and geophysical factors that gives rise to their despotic character (on the following see Moser 2015a). First, he argues, there is nowhere to withdraw to in the vast steppe of Asia. The steppe is the prototype of a ‘smooth space’ that allows the conqueror to proceed unrestricted and offers no refuge to the embattled (see 1989, 283–84, bk. XVII.6; 1951, 529, bk. XVII.6; 1989, 294–95, bk. XVIII.19; 1951, 541–42, bk. XVIII.19).25 Second, according to Montesquieu, in contrast to Europe, Asia lacks a temperate climate zone. This is a continent where climatic extremes collide (1989, 179–281, bk. XVII.3; 1951, 524–26, bk. XVII.3). Barbarity marks an intermediate stage of social evolution, but in Asia, its development depends, paradoxically, on the absence of the intermediate climate zone. As a result, the Tartars, rough, strong, barbarian peoples of the north, immediately face the weak, soft, effeminate peoples of the south. Therefore, the latter are an easy prey to the former. Because of their weakness, the southerners are totally vanquished by their foes. In the new society that is constituted by conquest, they do not form a distinct class of slaves, but are assimilated without reserve to the body politic. Thus, this new society does not possess a complex hierarchy. It is hardly structured at all—it consists of a powerful despotic leader and a large mass of subjects who live in a state of total subjugation. There are no intermediate powers in Tartar society; there is hardly any positive law. Montesquieu asserts that the relationship between northern and southern Asians can serve as a model for the relationship between Asian barbarians in general: “les diverses hordes se font continuellement la guerre et se conquièrent sans cess les unes les autres” (“the various hordes are continually at war and constantly conquer one another,” 1951, 542, bk. XVIII.19; 1989, 294–95, bk. XVIII.19). Conquest always results in the total subjection and incorporation of the smaller horde by the larger one, because the ‘smooth space’ of the Asiatic plains offers no place of retreat. Thus, in Montesquieu’s view, the people of Asia can be seen as one huge amorphous body that permanently devours itself in a sort of auto-cannibalism. Hordes develop into large despotic empires by incorporating their foes, only to disintegrate into smaller units again as soon as the leader lacks the power to hold the growing body together, whence the process begins anew. Asia is engaged in a vicious circle of cannibalistic self-consumption which prevents it forever from attaining the stability of a developed civil society. According to Montesquieu, Asia is doomed to remain in the limbo of barbarian despotism.26 In Europe, by contrast, barbarism develops into the more stable political system of monarchy. According to Montesquieu, the passage from barbarism to monarchy 25 Significantly, Montesquieu inverts a line of thought that can be found in Herodotus’s Histories: according to Herodotus, the Scythians defeated the despotic Persians by luring their army ever onwards into the depths of the steppe. Here, the smooth space of the steppe is associated with nomadic freedom and self-defense, not with despotic conquest. On the opposition between the ‘smooth space’ of barbarian nomads and the ‘striated space’ of the civilized state, see Deleuze and Guattari 1988, 380–87. Deleuze and Guattari take up a line of geopolitical reasoning inaugurated by Montesquieu. 26 On the eighteenth-century cliché of Asian despotism, its function within European orientalist discourse and Montesquieu’s seminal contribution to it, see Osterhammel 1998, 275–96.

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is successful mainly for two reasons. First, geographically, Europe does not consist of the ‘smooth space’ of steppes and plains, but of a ‘striated space,’ a space articulated by rivers, mountains, peninsulas, and lakes. Europe has an abundance of natural boundaries, which prevent the barbarian nations of the north from proliferating into huge amorphous hordes. Secondly, there is a temperate climate zone which covers large parts of Europe. This means that the strong nations of the north do not immediately border on the effeminate societies of the south, rather, their neighbors are equally strong and equally free. Northern Europe contains many small barbarian nations that keep each other in abeyance. This principle of freedom and autonomy does not only pertain to the barbarian nations, but also, internally, to their individual members. The particular member of a European barbarian society is not subjected to a powerful despot, is not incorporated cannibalistically into the body politic. On the contrary, his king is but a primus inter pares, and he himself enjoys a high degree of personal independence. Montesquieu illustrates this by citing a famous passage from the Germania, a description of the ancient Germans by the Roman historian Tacitus: “‘Ils n’habitent point de villes, dit Tacite, et ils ne peuvent souffrir que leurs maisons se touchent les uns les autres; chacun laisse autour de sa maison un petit terrain ou espace, qui est clos et fermé’” (“‘They do not live in towns,’ says Tacitus, ‘and they cannot tolerate their houses touching one another; each leaves around his house a small parcel of ground or a space which is enclosed and shut in,’” Montesquieu 1951, 544, bk. XVIII.22; Montesquieu 1989, 297, bk. XVIII.22). While the Tartars devour and incorporate each other, thus violating limits of the body, the ancient Germans avoid even touching each other and carefully preserve borderlines. Each member of the German society surrounds himself by a neutral or intermediate zone. Mediacy achieves the status of a structural law that governs the relationship between barbarians, on the international as well as on the interpersonal level. In Europe, mediacy constitutes the principle of barbarian bonding. To be sure, Montesquieu’s European barbarians are no less given to warfare and violence than their Asian counterparts. However, where they succeed in subduing a culturally superior enemy, they do not establish a despotic regime, but a civil society. Conquest effected by European barbarians marks an evolutionary progress since it raises mediacy to a higher degree. The origin of French monarchy is a case in point. Concerning the beginnings of modern France, Montesquieu resumes the famous controversy between the count Boulainvilliers and the Abbé Dubos.27 In his Histoire de l’ancien gouvernement de la France (1727), Boulainvilliers defends the privileges of the French aristocracy against the encroachment of absolutist monarchy by tracing them back to the Frankish conquest of Roman Gaul. The privileges, he claims, are legitimated by the rights of the conqueror. Dubos, on the other side, argues that the Franks did not invade Gaul, but that the Frankish king was called in by the Roman and Gaulish people. Thus, his reign over Roman Gaul is the result of a social contract, and this contract legitimates the absolute sovereignty of the king at the expense of aristocratic privilege. Significantly, in this debate, Montesquieu takes sides with Boulainvilliers against Dubos. In his view, modern France is the 27 On this controversy, see Nicolet 2003, 91–96; Foucault 1997, 127–47, 170–76; 2004, 144–65, 190–97. On Montesquieu’s position regarding the controversy, see Meinecke 1932.

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product of barbarian Frankish invasion.28 Due to the specific geopolitical conditions of Europe, however, the Frankish conquerors did not succeed in totally subjugating and assimilating the Gaulish population. Instead, Frankish dominion was grafted onto the Gallo-Roman society, whose basic structures remained intact. The Frankish invaders constituted a new class, the nobility. Within society, this class served the function of an intermediary power, mediating between the king and the population, representing the archaic principle of barbarian freedom, guarding the autonomy of the separate classes and thus preventing monarchy from degenerating into a despotic regime. Just as barbarism marks an intermediary formation between savage and more advanced forms of society, the former Frankish barbarians represent an intermediary sphere within modern French society. Monarchy is established by internalizing the barbarian intermediary. Barbarism is not superseded, but integrated into the monarchical system, thus creating a system of checks and balances, a stable structure of multiple powers upheld by internal tensions and conflicts. Montesquieu thus defines barbarism as a transitional societal formation. Under the particular geophysical conditions of Asia, this gives rise to the unstable governmental form of despotism, while under the very different climatic conditions of Europe it engenders the stable governmental form of monarchy. This is a major step towards the temporalization of the concept of the barbarian. Yet Montesquieu himself does not follow this path through to its conclusion. De l’esprit des lois does not systematically turn the savage—barbarous—civilized sequence of stages into an historical schema of development. First, Montesquieu refrains from deriving the barbarous way of life genetically from its savage counterpart. Second, he relates the higher societal forms to barbarous precursors only to a limited degree. He highlights the barbarous roots of monarchy and despotism. But how does the republic fit into this picture? Montesquieu says virtually nothing about possible barbarous roots of the republican form of government.29 And yet it seems eminently reasonable to posit a barbarous genealogy for the republic in light of the freedom-loving-egalitarian character that Montesquieu ascribes to barbarism—particularly given that he declares the republican state form a typical product of Antiquity, its monarchical counterpart, conversely, a decidedly modern phenomenon.30 The relationship between the republic and the barbarous form of society is never ultimately clarified. Montesquieu’s arguments, then, are only historical some of the time. Rather than a 28 On what follows, see books XXX and XXXI of De l’esprit des lois. 29 In the eighth chapter of the eleventh book, Montesquieu asserts that prior to the establishment of the Roman Empire, all nations, with the exception of the Persian Empire, were republican in character. This would include the barbarous peoples of northern Europe and northern Asia, but also the ‘civilized’ republics of classical Greece. This notion at least hints that the roots of the freedom-loving republic lie in the egalitarian structure of barbarous societies. 30 We can merely speculate about why Montesquieu refrains from deriving the republic from barbarous origins. One possible reason is that he would have had to trace the archaic Greek republics back to the invasion of barbarous peoples from Asia (Minor), jeopardizing his thesis of the Asiatic origin of despotism. Another potential reason may be that he is keen to identify the French monarchy (to be more precise, the French, originally Frankish nobility) as the true cradle of political freedom, so only it can be descended from ‘good,’ freedom-loving barbarians.

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single, comprehensive history of humanity, society and culture, he narrates a number of histories, such as the emergence of European monarchy and the genesis of Asiatic despotism. These two histories essentially coexist rather than forming an integrated whole. But they are linked through the category of barbarism, which emerges in both cases as a precarious transitional stage of developmental history. To be more precise, barbarism appears as an evolutionary pivot that, under favorable conditions, may facilitate the transition to a stable civilizational order, or trigger a plunge into an unproductive spiral of violence under unfavorable ones. In Montesquieu’s work, historical dynamism and the constitution of the civil order are not yet systematically linked.

2.1.2.3. Turgot: Barbarism as an Engine of Social Progress French economist, statesman and Enlightenment author Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot (1727–1781) builds on the nascent temporalization of the concept of the barbarian discernible in Montesquieu’s work, fleshing it out and resolutely integrating it into his plan for a holistic, universal history of humanity and its progress. Turgot is not content to historicize the barbarous way of life, but makes barbarism the ultimate paradigm of the historical. For him, it embodies the principle of historical mutability and dynamism. Turgot outlines his concept of universal history in two essays, which he probably wrote as early as 1751 but which only appeared in print posthumously in 1808 in the edition entitled Sur l’histoire universelle (On Universal History), prepared by Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours.31 However, since he was friends with key players in the French Enlightenment (Diderot, d’Alembert, Helvétius) and frequented the relevant salons, we can assume that his model of history had already gained a degree of currency in the eighteenth century. According to Turgot, progress manifests itself not just in the fields of science and technology, but must be regarded as an all-encompassing historical phenomenon that includes every sphere of human activity— politics, economy, morality, and culture.32 Modes of subsistence play a key role here, for they are located at the intersection of a number of spheres of action, namely economy, technology, politics, and law. Montesquieu presents the more primitive forms of subsistence (hunting and herding) and the higher ones (agriculture and commerce) as two contrasting pairs, once again foregrounding the static opposition between state of nature and state of society. Turgot, meanwhile, constructs a linear sequence of developmental stages, deriving the higher social form genetically from its lower antecedent. He distinguishes between “hunting peoples” (“peuples Chasseurs”), “pastoral peoples” (“peuples Pasteurs”) and the “state of agriculture” (“état de laboureurs,” Turgot 1973, 66, 68; 1808, 218, 223). To the latter, Turgot assigns not just agriculture but also mercantilism and the urban form of settlement, interpreting the emergence of these phenomena as a direct consequence of the division of labor enabled by the new agricultural mode of subsistence. Montesquieu’s four forms of subsistence are replaced by a three-stage model. As in Montesquieu, the hunters are 31 Turgot 1808, 209–328. On the genesis of Sur l’histoire universelle, see Meek 1976, 68–72. 32 Rohbeck 1990, 12–13. On Turgot’s teleological concept of progress, see also Rohbeck 2010.

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small, scattered communities living in isolation, while the barbarous herders live together in larger social groups. But in contrast to Montesquieu, Turgot explains the existence of herding societies not just in spatial terms, by putting them down to particular environmental conditions, but also temporally, by tracing them back to the invention of a cultural technology and thus deriving them from the hunting stage. They emerge the moment savages discover that certain of the animal species they hunt can be tamed and kept in herds. The herding stage in turn functions as a bridge to the “state of agriculture” (“état de laboureurs,” 1973, 68; 1808, 223). Though the cultivation of plants was already practiced on a small scale in hunting societies, agriculture could be introduced only by resourceful herding barbarians, because only they, Turgot argues, possessed the tamed animals required for large-scale cultivation (1973, 68–69; 1808, 223). The barbarous way of life is thus the historical prerequisite for the development of civil society. Furthermore, that which savage hunters could at best have developed “by infinitely slow steps” (“par de progrès infiniment lents”), the barbarians rapidly achieved due to their higher technological but also moral state of development (their specific, culturally and politically determined ‘mentality’) (1973, 69; 1808, 223). They help speed up progress. Within the triadic historical sequence of stages, Turgot underlines that the barbarous herding stage is a dynamic transitional phase. Turgot’s herding stage emerges as a phase of transition and engine of historical dynamism not just in terms of modes of subsistence but also with respect to the development of social structures, political institutions and a moral habitus. Because the herding barbarians have subjugated certain animal species and acquired large herds, they develop a “spirit of property” (“esprit de la propriété,” 1973, 67; 1808, 219; translation modified, C. M.). The phrase is significant. First, it recalls Montesquieu, in whose work similar coinages (“esprit des lois,” “esprit de la nation”) play a key role. In Turgot’s work the “esprit de la propriété” is the specific “esprit de la nation” characteristic of herding peoples. Property is a crucial, novel category in these societies; the desire for it is vital to their way of life and character. In a sense, in Turgot’s work the herding barbarians figure as the inventors of property. However, and this is the second key point, this does not mean they already have a clear-cut, full-fledged concept of property. The “esprit de la propriété” is meant to indicate that the herders, rather than knowledge of property, have a (mere) sense for it, an intuitive, affective grasp of what it entails, a mere preunderstanding, which—on the objective level— corresponds to a mere prototype of property. The mobile possessions acquired by the herding nomads is not yet property in the ‘true’ sense of the term, as represented, for example, by land ownership within the framework of natural law. Neither in its form nor underlying concept does fluid, barbarous property provide the foundation for a stable, systematic edifice of legal norms and political structures.33 Instead, according 33 The classical example of the systematic natural law-based derivation of a legal system and political order from property comes from John Locke: Two Treatises of Government, Second Treatise, Chapter V (Locke 1988, 285–302). On this view, property is established by labor. For Locke, the paradigm of property (“the chief matter of Property”) is real estate (“the earth itself,” ibid., §32). He regards the fruit picked or animals hunted by savage gatherers and hunters as prototypical forms of property (ibid., §§ 26–31). Hunting and gathering are

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to Turgot, the herder-barbarians have a conception of property mediated through passions—through ambition and greed (“l’ambition” and “l’avarice,” 1973, 66; 1808, 218). This dovetails with the provisional nature and fluidity of the political order they develop. In addition to herding, the desire for property that motivates the herder-barbarians prompts them to engage in another form of subsistence as well. They become robbers and conquerors, plundering their neighbors. The nomadic herders subjugate not just animals but also other human beings, whose possessions they appropriate and who they degrade to the status of property by enslaving them. The conquered share the fate of the animals—“ils suivirent le sort des bestiaux et devinrent esclaves des vainqueurs” (“they shared the fate of the beasts and became the slaves of the conquerors,” 1808, 219; 1973, 67). This introduces a preliminary division of labor that adumbrates developed civil society. The conquered are condemned to tend the victors’ herds. The latter are thus relieved of their pastoral duties and can concentrate entirely on attacking other societies. Initially, the main effect of this is to enhance nomadic mobility. Freed from the need to accommodate their animals’ migratory movements, their predatory forces can speed unhindered across the ‘smooth space’ during their military campaigns, making them superior to ‘pure’ herding nations. Consequently, the victors continue their campaigns of conquest but with greater efficacy, giving rise to ever larger peoples with an even greater desire for conquest: “De là toutes ces inondations de barbares qui ont souvent ravagé la terre, ces flux et reflux qui font toute leur histoire” (“Hence all those inundations of barbarians which have so often ravaged the earth—those ebbs and flows which constitute their whole history,” 1808, 220; 1972, 67).34 In Turgot’s work, then, the “esprit de la propriété” sets in motion a crucial historical dynamic. As in Montesquieu, the barbarous societies find themselves in a permanent state of war and incorporate one another. Vast hordes arise before disintegrating back into smaller groups; these wage war on one another and the entire spectacle begins again. Yet in contrast to Montesquieu’s ideas, this dynamic not only encompasses the Asiatic barbarians but also typifies the herding stage as a whole. Furthermore—again in contrast to Montesquieu—this is not an empty, unproductive cycle. Quite the opposite: Turgot defines it as an engine of linear progress. The permanent military expeditions and mutual subjugation lead to a mixing of peoples: “Ces torrens grossissoient dans leur course, les peuples et les langues se mêloient toujours” (“The course of these torrents widened, with peoples prototypical forms of labor, yet in Locke’s work it is the cultivation and development of land that figures as labor in the true sense of the term, and it is the property that emerges from this labor that necessitates the introduction of positive laws. Tellingly, nowhere does Locke refer either to the taming of animals as a (prototypical) form of ‘labor’ or to the mobile property it establishes. 34 Throughout Sur l’histoire universelle, Turgot uses metaphors of fluidity, of torrents and of flow to capture the dynamism and mobility of the nomadic barbarians. In the cultural history produced in the eighteenth century, comparison between barbarous hordes and raging torrents is a recurring topos. It refers, first, to the destructive violence emanating from the barbarians, but also to the invigorating, regenerating and purifying force they embody. See for example Herder 1989, 43–44; Herder 1966, 18, quoted below in chapter 2.1.2.9, pp. 141–42.

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and languages constantly intermingling,” 1808, 219; 1973, 67). In this ceaseless mixing of the barbarous nations, which contrasts with the isolation of savage communities, Turgot discerns a prerequisite for Enlightenment and societal development. This mixing is a precursor of both mercantile and intercultural exchange between nations and leads to an expansion of knowledge: [...] ainsi les passions ont multiplié les idées, étendu les connoissances, perfectionné les esprits au défaut de la raison dont le jour n’étoit pas venu et qui auroit été moins puissante si elle eût rêgné plustôt. Celle-ci qui est la justice même, n’auroit enlevé à personne ce qui lui appartenoit, auroit banni à jamais la guerre et les usurpations, auroit laissé les hommes divisés en une foule de nations séparées les unes des autres, parlant des langues diverses. Borné par conséquent dans ses idées, incapable des progrès en tout genre d’esprit, de sciences, d’arts, de police, qui naissent de la réunion des génies rassemblés de différentes provinces, le genre humain seroit resté à jamais dans la médiocrité. La raison et la justice mieux écoutées, auroient tout fixé, comme cela est à peu près arrivé à la Chine. Mais ce qui n’est jamais parfait ne doit jamais être entièrement fixé. – Les passions tumultueuses, dangereuses, sont devenues un principe d’action, et par conséquent de progrès; tout ce qui tire les hommes de leur état, tout ce qui met sous leurs yeux des scènes variées, étend leurs idées, les éclaire, les anime et, à la longue, les conduit au bon et au vrai où ils sont entraînés par leur pente naturelle. (1808, 225–26) Thus the passions have led to the multiplication of ideas, the extension of knowledge, and the perfection of the mind, in the absence of that reason whose day had not yet come and which would have been less powerful if its reign had arrived earlier. Reason, which is justice itself, would not have taken away from anyone what belonged to him, would have banished wars and usurpations for ever, and would have left men divided up into a host of nations separated from one another and speaking different languages. As a result the human race, limited in its ideas, incapable of that progress in all kinds of understanding, and in the sciences, arts, and government, which takes its rise from the collective genius of different regions, would have remained for ever in a state of mediocracy. Reason and justice, if they had been more attended to, would have immobilised everything, as has virtually happened in China. But what is never perfect ought never to be entirely immobilised. The passions, tumultuous and dangerous as they are, became a mainspring of action and consequently of progress; everything which draws men away from their present condition, and everything which puts varied scenes before their eyes, extends the scope of their ideas, enlightens them, stimulates them, and in the long run leads them to the good and the true, towards which they are drawn by their natural bent. (1973, 70)

According to Turgot, war, robbery and the passions underlying them, particularly the desire for property, must not be regarded merely as negative, destructive factors. Viewed from the perspective of the longue durée that opens up to the universal historian, they actually play a positive, constructive role, one essential to the development of human abilities and knowledge. Had the nations not fought, pursued, subjugated and robbed one another in the barbarous phase of their development, they would have remained in a permanent state of isolation, resulting sooner or later in the per-

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nicious stagnation of their intellectual development. Turgot mentions China as an example of such an isolated and static society. China achieved Enlightenment at an early stage and thus established a societal order based on principles of reason. Yet this was to the nation’s detriment rather than benefit. According to Turgot, through its rational restraint, China has refrained from pursuing a policy of expansion and conquest driven by passionate impulses, as a result of which it has sealed itself off from the rest of the world and ultimately lapsed into a state of internal stagnation. For Turgot, China epitomizes a society that was perfected at an early stage but whose forms and institutions have become ossified and sclerotic precisely because of this.35 He sees a danger in the institutional and medial fixation of the state of knowledge and development a society has achieved. This fixation threatens to paralyze the dynamic of progress. For Turgot, Enlightenment is linked with movement in an elementary way—it is progress in the literal sense of forward movement. This is a basic principle of his sensualist anthropology. The human being begins to dispel the chaos of impressions, gained through sensory perception, that holds sway within his soul, the moment he moves: “C’est le mouvement qui débrouilla ce cahos [sic!]; c’est lui qui donna aux hommes les idées de distinction et celle d’unité” (“It was movement which cleared up this state of confusion, and which gave men the ideas of distinction and unity,” 1808, 256; 1973, 84). The human being who moves attains new impressions, and these facilitate comparison with those already acquired and thus help clarify and sharpen concepts. The nomadic herder-barbarians embody this originary element of movement, albeit in an excessive form. Characteristically, for Turgot—in contrast to Montesquieu—, the barbarous societies are held together neither by laws nor by customs and traditions. They are the antithesis of the Chinese: they fix nothing in place, they have no ties, but neither do they preserve anything. They possess no historical memory36—the upheavals they have triggered are committed to forgetfulness: “toutes ces révolutions sont ignorées; elles ne laissent pas plus de traces que les tempêtes sur la mer” (“all these revolutions are unknown to history; they leave no more traces than storms do on the sea,” 1808, 222; 1973, 68). Turgot’s herder-barbarians represent the unadulterated principle of forward movement and historical mutability. But this unbridled movement is an indispensable factor in historical progress. The fluidity and mutability that tend to distinguish the herding peoples in Turgot’s work also determine their political structure. Their warlike character requires 35 The image of China presented in Enlightenment historiography oscillated between enthusiastic sinophilia and supercilious sinophobia (Osterhammel 1998, 300–3), with Voltaire representing the positive extreme (Pocock 1999, 98–119), Herder marking the negative pole (Moser 2015b, 134–36). Turgot’s portrayal of China as an isolated nation, whose traditional forms and institutions have grown ossified, assembles stereotypes of Enlightenment sinophobia. See Osterhammel 1998, 392–93. 36 Here too Turgot sets himself apart from Montesquieu’s conception of barbarians. According to Montesquieu, certain individuals in barbarous society obtain a position of authority precisely because they have experience and a good memory—because, so to speak, they embody the social group’s cultural memory: “the old men, who remember things past, have great authority” (“les veillards, qui se souviennent des choses passées, ont une grande autorité,” Montesquieu 1989, 538, bk. XVIII.13; Montesquieu 1951, 291, bk. XVIII.13). Turgot’s barbarians are progressive and future-oriented, whereas Montesquieu’s strive to preserve tradition.

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the complete subordination of individuals under a single leader who holds military authority. His status is based on special abilities and leadership qualities (on his charisma, as we might say with Max Weber),37 as demonstrated in battle. These have earned him the reverence (“vénération,” Turgot 1973, 72; Turgot 1808, 230) and recognition of his followers; he thus rules only with their consent.38 This may be withdrawn at any time if he abuses his position. Supremacy is reversible rather than congealing into an established institution. So while the leader rules through violence and issues commands (“[il] força ceux même qu’il défendoit à lui obéir,” 1808, 230; “[he] forced the very people whom he was defending to obey him,” 1973, 72), there is a certain political equality in herding society (“une sorte d’égalité règne,” 1808, 231; “a kind of equality prevails,” 1973, 72). The form of rule found among the herder-barbarians is ambivalent—authoritarian and egalitarian at once. While Montesquieu distinguishes between egalitarian western or northern and despotic eastern barbarians, Turgot brings together the authoritarian and egalitarian elements and conceives of them as a paradoxical unity. This unstable, ambivalent character determines the status of barbarous herding society as a transitional phenomenon. 37 On charismatic rule in contrast to its traditional and legal counterparts, see Weber 1976, 122–76 (Weber 1978, 212–301). It is an interesting question whether the triad of forms of rule postulated by Weber are related genealogically to the triad savages—barbarians—civilized (or the associated political formations), as conceptualized in Enlightenment cultural historiography. 38 “Il ne faut pas croire que les hommes se soient jamais volontairement donné un maître; mais ils ont souvent consenti à reconnoître un chef” (“We need not believe that men ever voluntarily gave themselves one master; but they have often agreed in recognising one chief,” Turgot 1808, 224; Turgot 1973, 69). This way of putting things is notable, because here Turgot distances himself from the assumption of an originary social contract. The sovereign rules through consent and recognition, which he has gained from his fellow warriors as a result of his military skills, and through a lengthy process rather than a one-off act. This does not mean foregoing rights to freedom or the irreversible conferral of sovereignty on one person, as occurs through the social or political contract. Recognition and consent may be withdrawn again at any time. On Turgot’s rejection of the contractualist model of authority, see Rohbeck 1990, 74–75. See also Michel Foucault on the barbarous constitution of power in Society Must be Defended (2004), 196: “The savage [that is, the fictional character of the savage as hypostatized in natural law-based theories of the social contract] is a man who has in his hands, so to speak, a plethora of freedom which he surrenders in order to protect his life, his security, his property, and his goods. The barbarian never gives up his freedom. And when he does acquire a power, acquire a king or elect a chief, he certainly does not do so in order to diminish his own share of right but, on the contrary, to increase his strength, to become an even stronger plunderer [...] and to become an invader who is more confident of his own strength. [...] For the barbarian, the model government is, in other words, necessarily a military government, and certainly not one that is based upon the contracts and transfer of civil rights that characterize the savage.” (“Le sauvage, c’est celui qui a entre les mains une sorte de pléthore de liberté, qu’il vient à céder pour garantir sa vie, sa sécurité, sa propriété, ses biens. Le barbare, lui, ne cède jamais sa liberté. Et lorsqu’il se donne un pouvoir, lorsqu’il se donne un roi, lorsqu’il élit un chef, il le fait non pas du tout pour diminuer sa propre part de droits, mais, au contraire, pour multiplier sa force, pour être plus fort dans ses rapines, [...] pour être un envahisseur plus certain de sa propre force. [...] C’est-à-dire que le modèle de gouvernement, pour le barbare, est un gouvernement nécessairement militaire, et qui ne repose pas du tout sur ces contrats de cession civile qui caractérisent le sauvage,” Foucault 1997, 175).

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Turgot derives from this society both the governmental form of the republic and that of despotism. In Asia, where the mixing of peoples through war and predation has led to the emergence of large nations as a consequence of the special geophysical conditions prevailing there (the lack of natural borders), the authoritarian element has come to hold sway. Here we see the establishment of large-scale empires that are ruled despotically.39 In Europe, conversely, the more segmented nature of the land shapes the mixing of the barbarous peoples in such a way as to trigger the development of many small nations of a republican character. According to Turgot, it is no coincidence that Greece, its territory thoroughly partitioned by mountains, rivers and islands, is the ancestral home of the republican city-state (1808, 238; 1973, 76). The genesis of both the republic and despotism is preceded by a monarchical transitional stage—a barbarous warrior-kingship. In contrast to Montesquieu, then, Turgot takes a consistently historicizing approach, deriving all three higher forms of government from the barbarous way of life. One of these forms of government, however, is distinguished by the fact that the dynamism typical of barbarous nomadism lives on within it in a different form. The commercial spirit of the city republic is heir to the barbarous “esprit de propriété.” While Montesquieu characterizes the intermediary power of the aristocracy as the heir to barbarous freedom and custodian of a stable monarchical order, Turgot takes a more critical view of the nobility:40 He contrasts the cities’ dynamic “spirit of commerce” (“esprit de commerce”) with the “military spirit of a nobility which remained rooted in the countryside” (“esprit militaire d’une noblesse qui demeuroit à la campagne,” 1973, 73; 1808, 232, translation modified, C. M.). In a sense, the nobility represents a degenerate, sedentarized barbarism that is no longer open to the future, no longer geared towards expansion and change, but that instead clings stubbornly to the privileges acquired in the past. For Turgot, the true heir to barbarous progressiveness is the bourgeois homo oeconomicus driven by self-interest. The “esprit de commerce” develops out of the “esprit de propriété”; the mixing and reciprocal fertilization of the peoples, brought about by war and predation, is superseded by mercantile and intellectual exchange, which buttresses and intensifies intellectual progress. Turgot thus consistently historicizes the category of barbarism. Here, it designates not just an historical and societal transition phase, but also embodies the principle of historical progression and dynamism. When it comes to terminology, Turgot is, admittedly, less precise than Montesquieu. He initially uses the term barbarians without distinction for both hunting and herding peoples. But the term is narrowed down in his account. First, the hunting stage is displaced by the herding stage. Then the pastoral stage is pushed into the background by predatory activity. The warlike nomad advances to the status of paradigm of historical movement. Finally, Turgot 39 Like Montesquieu, then, Turgot too subscribes to an Orientalism of the kind highlighted by Edward Said: he contrasts the European sense of freedom with an Asiatic slave mentality. Unlike Montesquieu, however, he shifts the formation of this contrast into the post-barbarous developmental phase. According to Turgot, the societal order of all barbarians, irrespective of whether they make their home in Europe or Asia, fuses authoritarian-despotic with egalitarian and freedom-loving elements. 40 This is no doubt partly due to Turgot’s background in the politically liberal upper middle class. See Rohbeck 1990, 15–16.

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ceases entirely to refer to hunters and herders, and speaks only of barbarians, by which he means itinerant conquerors. Here too, then, the term takes hold to convey a specific historical, political and societal formation. To designate those peoples that have reached the third developmental stage, rather than falling back on the term civilization, Turgot, much like Montesquieu, refers to “agricultural peoples who were up to a point polished” (“des peuples laboureurs et policés,” 1973, 75; 1808, 236, translation modified, C. M.). Since Turgot is referring here chiefly to the way of life of the small city republics, the Greek root pólis is palpably present in his usage of the word policé (Starobinski 1989a, 26; Starobinski 2009, 160).

2.1.2.4. Rousseau: Barbarian Idylls As a transitional phenomenon, Turgot gives the barbarian form of association a key role within the developmental history of humanity. Further, he characterizes the barbarians’ sense for property as an indispensable driving force of progress, whose impact should not be restricted to the stage of pastoral nomadism, but must be applied to civil society as well, if the teleological movement of history—whose ultimate objective is perfection—is not to grind to a halt. In view of this close linkage of barbarism and progress it may seem surprising that in his theory of culture Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a thinker with a critical perspective on Enlightenment and civilization, also helped shape barbarism as an intermediate historical state. This is surprising, first, because Rousseau is regarded as one of the sharpest critics of notions of linear progress, as espoused by Turgot in his universal-historical writings or—more prominently still—Voltaire in his Essai sur l’histoire générale et sur les mœurs et l’esprit des nations (Essay on Universal History, the Manners, and Spirit of Nations, 1756).41 For Rousseau, history is not an ascent to more complex and more just societal institutions, consonant with the perfection of human cognitive and moral faculties, but a process of degeneration that leads human beings ever deeper into conditions of political inequality, alienation and moral anarchy. Second, Rousseau cleaves to tropes rooted in natural law, particularly the concept of the social contract and the associated contrast between state of nature and state of society. This static opposition, which can grasp the transition from one to the other only as a rupture or caesura, actually stands opposed to a temporalizing perspective. Yet it is precisely within the context 41 In the 1740s and 1750s, Rousseau was moving in the circles of the ‘philosophes,’ which may have familiarized him with Turgot’s universal historical approach. Voltaire’s complete Essai was first published as a book in 1756, but important parts of it had already appeared in 1745–1746 and 1750–1751 in the journal Mercure de France, so Rousseau was familiar with them when he wrote his Discours sur l’origine de l’inégalité (he wrote this treatise in 1753 as a response to the prize question posed by the Dijon Academy and advertised in the Mercure de France; the treatise was published in 1755). In the Essai, however, Voltaire does not use the term barbarism for a transitional historical formation, but in a purely negative and pejorative sense, as the antithesis of Enlightenment and progress. For example, as he strives to repudiate Bossuet’s concept of a Christian universal history and replace it with a radically secular model of historiography, he refers to Old Testament Jews as barbarians. According to him, in contrast to the precocious Chinese, these Jews possessed not even the beginnings of a higher culture. On this, and on Voltaire’s conception of barbarism, a simplistic one in comparison with his contemporaries, see Pocock 1999, 105–6, 123–24.

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of Rousseau’s contradictory efforts to link the trope of the historical rupture with that of the historical process that the transitional phase of barbarism takes on an enhanced significance and is endowed with new attributes. Rousseau thus adumbrates the affiliation of barbarism and culture subsequently found in the work of thinkers such as Adam Ferguson and Johann Gottfried Herder. Rousseau discusses the concept of the intermediate barbarous stage in his Discours sur l’origine et les fondements de l’inégalité parmi les hommes (Discourse on the Origins of Inequality, written in 1753, published in 1755) and in the Essai sur l’origine des langues (Essay on the Origin of Language, written between 1753 and 1764, published posthumously in 1781). In terms of content and the history of their genesis, these texts are closely related. The roots of the Essai sur l’origine des langues lie in a speculative reflection on the origin of language, which Rousseau initially wrote for the Discours sur l’origine de l’inégalité, but which he removed from the finished text prior to publication.42 In the Essai, Rousseau correlates the genesis of languages with the evolution of modes of subsistence and forms of society. The Discours, meanwhile, even after the excision of the passage that was to become the nucleus of the Essai, includes voluminous remarks on the origin and development of human language. In both texts the departure from the state of nature is linked with the evolution of the faculty of language; both devote a great deal of attention to the transitional phase between the state of nature and that of society. Further, both the Discours and the Essai strive to make terminological distinctions—especially when it comes to the difference between ‘barbarous’ and ‘civilized’ ways of life.43 In the Discours sur l’origine de l’inégalité, Rousseau builds on the discourse of natural law and the philosophy of the state, updating the trope of the social contract. At the same time, however, he seeks to detach this trope from the sphere of the virtual, from the speculative thought experiment, and integrate it into concrete historical contexts. On the one hand, Rousseau wishes to uphold the notion of a presocietal state of nature and accentuate the antithesis between the states of nature and society. 42 On the genesis and composition of the Essai, see Starobinski 1990, 193–98. 43 A third text fits within this complex of reflection—drawing on theories of language and society—on the origins of the human race: the epyllion Le Lévite d’Éphraïm (The Levite of Ephraïm), which Rousseau wrote in 1762 after his flight from Paris (published posthumously in 1781). This text tells the story of the Levite of Ephraïm—a subject Rousseau gleaned from the last three chapters of the Book of Judges in the Old Testament. He intended to publish the epyllion in book form along with the Essai sur l’origine des langues (see Starobinski 1990, 194). This epyllion was intended to illustrate Rousseau’s theory of the origin of language and in particular his view of the barbarous developmental stage of humanity. Yet there is more to this narrative than its illustrative function; it cannot simply be subordinated to the theory. In fact, it brings out contradictions and problems concealed by the theoretical discourse, while at the same time attempting to resolve them in its own way. This literary fiction signifies a specific mode of reflecting on barbarism. So in what follows I will refer only sporadically to Le Lévite d’Éphraïm; a more in depth analysis can be found below (chapter 2.1.2.7), where the literary-linguistic and juridical dimension of barbarism is treated separately. Much the same goes for my discussion of the relationship between the origin of language and barbarism, as outlined in the Essai. Here my initial focus is solely on the structure of barbarous society, its way of life and the function Rousseau ascribes to it within the overall historical process.

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On this view, the natural man (referred to throughout the Discours as the homme sauvage) is a quite different being than he who lives in the state of society (significantly, there are competing terms for this being in the Discours—Rousseau often calls him the homme civil, but sometimes also the homme civilisé). Entry into the state of society fundamentally transforms the human being. So the departure from the state of nature can only be presented as a traumatic rupture, an out-and-out ‘fall’ into the ontological form of historicity. The state of nature itself must be located outside history—it has its own ontological quality, standing outside time in a sphere all its own. On the other hand (and in paradoxical opposition to this), Rousseau processualizes human cultural and developmental history. He wishes to show that the departure from the state of nature occurred slowly, through small steps, and that none of these steps was inevitable. So this is not a development from within. Stimuli for historical change only ever come from outside, in the form of contingencies and disasters.44 The transition from the state of nature to that of society is no goal-directed process; on the contrary, it entails a succession of stages of fall and decline. Ultimately, therefore, this transition occurs not in the form of a continuous historical process, but as a sequence of ruptures and ‘falls.’ The single traumatic rupture that is the departure from the state of nature fans out into a large number of smaller breaches. This drags the state of nature into the dynamism of historical movement and temporality: the human being already changes within the state of nature. The homme sauvage has a history too. This paradoxical antagonism between rupture and development, between static and dynamic state of nature, is reflected in the structure of the Discours. The lengthy first section of the Discours depicts the état de nature as an inherently quiescent, 44 Rousseau concedes that, in contrast to the animal, the human being—both as species-being and individual—is characterized by “perfectibilité” (the ability to perfect himself). But he possesses this ability only “en puissance,” potentially, as a virtual faculty. So neither perfectibility, nor any other human intellectual or social faculties derived from it, can develop in and of themselves: “[elles] ne pouvoient jamais se developper d’elles mêmes, [...] elles avoient besoin pour cela du concours fortuit de plusieurs causes étrangeres qui pouvoient ne jamais naître, et sans lesquelles il fût demeuré éternellement dans sa constitution primitive” (“[They] could never develop by themselves, [...] they needed the chance combination of several foreign causes which might never have arisen and without which he would have remained eternally in his primitive constitution,” Rousseau 1964a, 162; Rousseau 1992, 42). The paradoxical assumption of a virtual developmental capacity already met with the disapproval of Rousseau’s contemporaries. See for example the argument against Rousseau’s perfectibilité put forward by J. G. Herder in his Abhandlung über den Ursprung der Sprache (Treatise on the Origin of Language, 1772): “Und ist in der Fähigkeit nichts da; wodurch soll es denn je in die Seele kommen? Ist im ersten Zustande nichts Positives von Vernunft in der Seele, wie wirds bei Millionen der folgenden Zustände würklich werden? Es ist Worttrug, daß der Gebrauch eine Fähigkeit, in Kraft, etwas bloß Mögliches, in ein Würkliches verwandeln könne – ist nicht schon Kraft da, so kann sie ja nicht gebraucht und angewandt werden” (“And if there is nothing in the postulated potentiality, through what should it ever get into the soul? If in the first state there is no positive trace of reason in the soul, how should it ever become real in millions of subsequent states? It is a verbal delusion that use can transform a potentiality into potency, can transform something merely possible into something real. If force is not present, it cannot be used and applied,” Herder 1985, 721; Herder 1966, 114).

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immutable state in which the human being remains identical with himself and, complying with elementary carnal needs, engages always in the same activities. He has absolutely no consciousness of time. The dimension of the future does not exist for him; he lives only in the present: “Son ame, que rien n’agite, se livre au seul sentiment de son existence actuelle, sans aucune idée de l’avenir” (“His soul, agitated by nothing, is given over to the sole sentiment of its present existence without any idea of the future,” 1964a, 144; 1992, 28). He might have persisted forever in this timeless state, according to Rousseau, had a fateful conjuncture of random events (“those singular and fortuitous combinations of circumstances,” 1992, 25; “ces concours singuliers et fortuits de circonstances,” 1964a, 140) not wrenched him out of it. The second part of the Discours no longer depicts the state of nature as a static tableau of the immutable but as an historical process, one that culminates in human beings ending the état de nature of their own accord by concluding a social contract. But the triggers for this process are not the exceptional, disastrous contingencies, hinted at in the first part, but banal difficulties (“difficultés”) and obstacles (“obstacles,” 1992, 43; 1964a, 165).45 These impede the immediate satisfaction of human needs, prompting people to activate the faculty of reason lying dormant within them.46 There is nothing anomalous or unnatural about these difficulties, so initially they have no serious consequences. These are in fact obstacles rooted in nature itself (“obstacles de la Nature”; “Nature’s obstacles”): trees so tall that people are unable to pick their fruit without implements; wild animals that threaten them, and so on (1964a, 165; 1992, 44). In contrast to the message conveyed in the first part of the Discours, then, the departure from the state of nature is a matter of course; nature itself, as it were, guides people towards this departure, inasmuch as such obstacles crop up with a certain degree of necessity. To overcome them, the homme sauvage devises two strategies. First, his technological intelligence is activated, and he uses it to invent tools and weapons. Second, he abandons his state of isolation and joins forces with other people in order to act on a collective basis. This association initially takes the (quasi-animalistic) form of an unstable, amorphous ‘herd’ (“troupeau,” 1992, 44; 1964a, 166), later giving rise to more stable forms of association: small family groups that arise the moment human beings build huts to ward off the cold and wild animals and become sedentary. Here, Rousseau discerns the first caesura in human history: “the epoch of a first revolution” (“l’époque d’une premiére révolution,” 1992, 46; 1964a, 167). The second caesura (this too Rousseau describes as a “great revolution,” 1992, 49; “grande révolution,” 1964a, 171) consists in the invention of agriculture and metallurgy. These two inventions go hand in hand because they are mutually dependent: in order to obtain and process metal, human beings must be freed of the need to acquire sustenance through a primary division of labor. Other people must therefore produce food in significantly larger quantities, which can be achieved only through systematic agriculture. This is in turn facilitated by the invention of the plough, a product of metalworking. Agriculture brings real estate 45 On Rousseau’s concept of the obstacle, which obfuscates the original self-transparency of natural man and induces reflection, see Starobinski 1988, 26–29. 46 On the virtuality of the capacity for reason in Rousseau’s homme sauvage, see above, footnote 44.

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and private property in its wake (here Rousseau adheres fully to John Locke’s natural law-based arguments: labor—prototypically the tilling of the fields—establishes property). Labor, division of labor and property also give rise to social inequality: from now on, there is a propertied and unpropertied class, rich and poor. Inequality in turn leads to rule by force. Due to their strength, the rich believe they have a right to usurp neighboring properties, while the poor band together to seize the property of the rich. Agriculture and property, then, do not (as in the work of Locke) establish a civilized society based on exchange, but instead usher in a phase of predation and general war. In this anarchic situation the rich, who have the most to lose, propose the conclusion of a social contract in order to establish secure conditions. This contract is only seemingly just, only apparently intended to achieve an accommodation; in reality it enshrines the existing relations of social inequality. This in turn means that the new societal and legal state of affairs is unbalanced from the outset. Its underlying inequality ensures that the dynamic of change, the passions of greed, envy, ambition, and desire for social status continue to operate in this supposedly pacified society. Indeed they intensify, propelling a history of continuous ‘revolutions,’ of intensified antagonisms between the unequal parties, which lead to ever graver conflicts and outbreaks of violence. As in Turgot’s theory of progress, here too predation and violence function as driving forces of civil society and its history, but to purely negative effect. Rousseau leaves us in no doubt: the state of nature formally ends only with the conclusion of the social contract.47 Rather than a homeostatic condition, then, the state of nature is a dynamic process that is internally differentiated and characterized by radical changes—“revolutions.” However, according to Rousseau, the phase that kicks off with the first revolution, namely sedentarization, and is ended by the second revolution, that is, systematic agriculture, is distinguished by a tremendous stability and homogeneity. Rousseau sees it as a transitional phase that mediates between the true state of nature (the “primitive state,” 1992, 48; “état primitif,” 1964a, 170) and the state of society. He associates this intermediate state with the concept of barbarism: [P]our le Philosophe ce sont le fer et le bled qui ont civilisé les hommes, et perdu le Genre-humain ; aussi l’un et l’autre étoient-ils inconnus aux Sauvages de l’Amérique qui pour cela sont toujours demeurés tels ; les autres Peuples semblent même être restés Barbares tant qu’ils ont pratiqué l’un de ces Arts sans l’autre ; et l’une des meilleures raisons peut-être pourquoi l’Europe a été, sinon plutôt, du moins plus constamment, et mieux policée que les autres parties du monde, c’est qu’elle est à la fois la plus abondante en fer et la plus fertile en bled. (1964a, 171–72)

47 “Telle fut, ou dut être l’origine de la Société et des Loix, qui donnérent de nouvelles entraves au foible et de nouvelles forces au riche, détruisirent sans retour la liberté naturelle, fixérent pour jamais la Loi de la propriété et de l’inégalité, d’une adroite usurpation firent un droit irrévocable” (“Such was, or must have been, the origin of Society and Laws, which gave new fetters to the weak and new forces to the rich, destroyed natural freedom for all time, established for ever the Law of property and inequality, changed a clever usurpation into an irrevocable right,” Rousseau 1964a, 178; Rousseau 1992, 54).

2.1.  The Concept of Barbarism in Eighteenth-Century Theories       85 [F]or the Philosopher it is iron and wheat which have Civilized men and ruined the human Race. Accordingly, both of these were unknown to the Savages of America, who therefore have always remained Savage; other Peoples even seem to have remained Barbarous as long as they practiced one of these arts without the other. And perhaps one of the best reasons why Europe has been, if not earlier, at least more constantly and better Civilized than the other parts of the world is that it is at the same time the most abundant in iron and the most fertile in wheat. (1992, 49)

In this remarkable passage, Rousseau outlines a stage model of human cultural history, distinguishing between a savage, barbarous and civilized developmental phase.48 In the phase of savagery, to which, according to Rousseau, the inhabitants of America are still captive, people live from fishing and hunting.49 Iron and grain, meanwhile, are the crucial factors in civilization. The barbarous intermediate stage is the lot of those who have yet to grasp the interdependence of these phenomena and how this interdependence enhances their utility, and who therefore practice just one of the two associated cultural techniques. Above all, this means those peoples that have become sedentary, have built huts and practice agriculture on a limited scale. Lacking iron implements, their agricultural yield is not enough to allow them to build up reserves and engage in commerce. Instead, agriculture merely supplements subsistence through hunting, which continues to be practised, enabling the small family groups to sustain themselves. As a result, in these barbarous social groups there is neither division of labor nor real estate and private property. Rousseau’s barbarians are located at the point of transition between the hunting and agricultural society. In marked contrast to Montesquieu and Turgot, Rousseau does not link the barbarous transitional phase to pastoral herding. The Discours is devoid of any reference to the taming of animals and the pastoralism based upon it. According to Rousseau, barbarians are neither nomads nor herders, but sedentary small farmers. But why does the Discours so conspicuously pass over the nomadic herding life? Why does Rousseau avoid identifying the barbarians as herders? This question becomes even more pressing in light of his succinct depiction of the barbarous way of 48 The fact that Rousseau developed his own idiosyncratic version of stadial theory has not yet been sufficiently recognized by scholars of the Enlightenment. See, however, the remark made by Heinrich Meier (with reference to Montesquieu’s distinction between savages and barbarians) in his edition of the Second Discourse (Rousseau 2008, 197) and its expansion by Melanie Rohner 2016, 64–65. 49 “Le long de la mer, et des Rivieres ils inventérent la ligne, et le hameçon; et devinrent pêcheurs et Ichtyophages. Dans les forêts ils se firent des arcs et des fléches, et devinrent Chasseurs et Guerriers” (“Along the sea and Rivers they invented the fishing line and hook, and became fishermen and eaters of Fish. In forests they made bows and arrows, and became Hunters and Warriors,” Rousseau 1964a, 165; Rousseau 1992, 44, my italics, C. M.). It should be noted: the savage fisherman and hunter is no longer the homme sauvage of the primitive state of nature, wandering through the forests on his own and living from roots and fruits. The savage becomes a hunter the moment he makes use of his technological intelligence; the hunting stage signifies a first step up the developmental ladder. So Rousseau (much like Montesquieu) uses two different concepts of savagery: on the one hand that of the savage as presocietal man of nature living in isolation, and on the other as member of an archaic form of society, based on the hunting mode of subsistence.

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life as a transitional formation, one featuring many similarities with the accounts of Montesquieu and Turgot. For example, Rousseau’s barbarous hut-dwellers know no real estate, but they do have “a sort of property” (“une sorte de propriété,” 1992, 46; 1964a, 167), a prototype of property. What he has in mind here are the huts themselves and their fixtures, which includes the women. As Rousseau argues, it is in the barbarous developmental stage that a distinction is first made between the sexes: the men see to “communal subsistence” (“la subsistance commune,” 1992, 50; 1964a, 169) in the forests and fields, while the women take care of “the Hut and the Children” (“la Cabane et les Enfans,” 1992, 46; 1964a, 168). There thus emerges a prototypical division of labor, which is linked to gender difference, along with a family group that prefigures the elementary (patriarchal) forms of rule.50 These forms of rule, however, do not yet find expression in established, artificial institutions. The barbarous social groups are held together not by laws but by affect, by love—this too an innovative accomplishment of this historical stage of development—between parents and children and between the sexes. In the larger societies that arise through the amalgamation of a number of families, this takes the form of patriotic love for the collectivity, which rests upon a shared way of life. It is in the barbarous intermediate phase, according to Rousseau, that the first nations arise: Les hommes [...], ayant pris une assiéte plus fixe, [...] forment enfin dans chaque contrée une Nation particuliére, unie de mœurs et de caractéres, non par des Réglemens et des Loix, mais par le même genre de vie et d’alimens, et par l’influence commune du Climat. (Rousseau 1964a, 169) Men [...], having adopted a more fixed settlement, [...] finally form in each country a particular Nation, unified by morals and character, not by Regulations and Laws but by the same kind of life and foods and by the common influence of Climate. (Rousseau 1992, 47)

Rousseau conceptualizes the barbarous nation as an extended family group. This nation too is held together by affinity—through a similarity of character and mentality, which its members possess due to their shared circumstances. This affinity can ultimately be traced back to sedentarism. Long-term cohabitation leads to the emergence of shared customs and traditions. As Rousseau sees it, the barbarous societies develop quasi-naturally. They do not arise through a contract and possess no political order. In this they differ from Montesquieu’s barbarous social groups, which are also regulated more by customs than laws, but which nonetheless find themselves 50 In the primeval state of nature, there is no difference between men and women with respect to their way of living. Both lead an isolated life in the forest and sustain themselves by gathering fruit and plants. This difference (of gender, not of sex, we would nowadays say) is introduced in the barbarian stage of social development. It is no natural given, but a cultural artefact. According to Rousseau, the barbarian stage marks the origin of gender difference, love between the sexes and the institution of the family. By forging an intimate link between the institution of the family and the barbarian mode of sociality, Rousseau sets the agenda for the subsequent discourse of social anthropology in the nineteenth century (Lewis Henry Morgan, Friedrich Engels). See below, chapter 2.1.2.9.

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in a clearly defined état civil; they differ more still from Turgot’s barbarians, which have neither customs nor laws, instead embodying an unbridled historical dynamism. Rousseau associates barbarism with a society that makes do without a state, a ‘nation’ whose cohesion is based solely on affect and culture.51 In the Discours, the barbarous ‘nation’ is firmly marked as an intermediate stage between the presocietal state of nature and the contract-based state of society. And according to Rousseau, precisely because this is an intermediate state, “a golden mean between the indolence of the primitive state and the petulant activity of our amour-propre” (“un juste milieu entre l’indolence de l’état primitif et la pétulante activité de nôtre amour propre,” 1992, 48; 1964a, 171), this era is the happiest one in human history: the barbarous individual stands midway between the passivity of the homme sauvage and the alienation and drivenness of the member of civil society. He enjoys the positive aspects of each, yet is negligibly afflicted by their negative characteristics. But this intermediate state is also happy because, as Rousseau believes, it is especially stable and enduring—“l’époque la plus heureuse, la plus durable [...]. [C]et état étoit le moins sujet aux révolutions, le meilleur à l’homme” (“the happiest and most durable epoch. [...] [T]his state was the least subject to revolutions, the best for man,” 1964a, 171; 1992, 48). Rousseau idealizes the barbarous intermediate state while also presenting it as an idyll.52 By linking it to the quasi-natural entities of the family and nation, which are buttressed by intimate affectivity and deep-rooted traditions, he attributes tremendous stability to it. It is obvious that he is consciously avoiding the concept of nomadism. Nomadism stands for movement and change, but Rousseau favors the isolated idyll, the stable, self-contained state. Only through an external contingency (“some fatal accident,” 1992, 48, translation modified, C. M.; “quelque funeste hazard,” 1964a, 171),53 not through its own internal developmental dynamism, are people wrenched out of this ‘static’ intermediate state. Rousseau tries to eliminate the principle of movement from history along with the nomadic barbarians. There can be no nomads in the Discours because they might subvert the idyll of the intermediate state. Rousseau replaces the mobile, dynamic-predatory barbarism à la Montesquieu and Turgot with the supposed idyll of a sedentary barbarous peasantry.

51 In Le Lévite d’Éphraïm, Rousseau presents the paradigm of such a society with reference to Old Testament Israel: “Dans les jours de liberté où nul ne régnoit sur le peuple du Seigneur, il fut un tems de licence où chacun, sans reconnoître ni magistrat ni juge, étoit seul son propre maitre et faisoit tout ce qui lui sembloit bon. Israël, alors épars dans le champs, avoit peu de grandes villes, et la simplicité de ses mœurs rendoit superflu l’empire des loix” (“In the days of freedom in which no one reigned over the people of the Lord, there was a time of license in which each, without recognizing either magistrate or judge, was alone his own master and did all that seemed to him good. Israel, then scattered in the fields, had few great cities, and the simplicity of its morals rendered superfluous the empire of laws,” Rousseau 1964b, 1208–9; Rousseau 1998b, 354). 52 On the close connection between the concept of barbarism and the literary genre of the idyll, see below, Julian Reidy’s chapter on Salomon Gessner and Maler Müller (2.3) and Melanie Rohner’s chapter on Friedrich Schiller’s Wilhelm Tell (3.1). 53 Later, Rousseau sets out in concrete terms what this contingency entails: a volcanic eruption that prompts human beings to discover metalworking (Rousseau 1964a, 171–72; Rousseau 1992, 49).

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A supposed idyll because it is ultimately impossible to eliminate the principle of movement and change from history. The love that emerges in this phase not only underpins societal cohesion but is simultaneously a destabilizing element. According to Rousseau, the passion of love entails the urge to appropriate the desired other.54 The prototypical form of property (“a sort of property,” 1992, 46; “une sorte de propriété,” 1964a, 167) that develops in the intermediate barbarous phase refers above all to women, as jealous men fight to win their favor.55 It is this specific kind of property—as Rousseau explicitly highlights—that gives rise to the first conflicts and wars: “d’où peut-être naquirent déja bien des querelles et des Combats” (“from which perhaps many quarrels and Fights already arose,” 1964a, 167; 1992, 46). But Rousseau goes further. He must ultimately concede that war and violence are an integral component of the barbarous way of life. Since the barbarians’ reflective capacity is underdeveloped and they are driven chiefly by feelings and passions, their disputes are in fact particularly ferocious: “les vengeances devinrent terribles, et les hommes sanguinaires et cruels” (“vengeances became terrible, and men bloodthirsty and cruel,” 1964a, 170; 1992, 48). This applies both to the relationship between individuals and between nations. The idyll of domesticated barbarism, captured in the image of families dancing merrily in front of their huts,56 has a nasty flipside, which Rousseau seeks to conceal, without much success. Like the state of nature itself, the idyllic intermediate state is internally fractured and subliminally violent, and thus unstable.57 We can learn much from Rousseau’s terminological approach to demarcating states and developmental phases. Two competing concepts of the state of nature are interwoven in the Discours in a contradictory way, namely the state of nature as static état, as hypothetical and ideal construct of presocietal existence, and the state of nature as an historical process that leads to the emergence of political societies. To refer to presocietal human beings living in a state of dispersed isolation, Rousseau uses the traditional term l’homme sauvage throughout (Rousseau 1964a, 135, 136 and passim; Rousseau 1992, 21, 22 and passim). Those people who live 54 On Rousseau’s complex conception of love, see Moser 1993, 37–63. 55 In Le Lévite d’Éphraïm Rousseau highlights that love in barbarous society is not just the cement for social cohesion but also the cause of conflict and war: members of the tribe of Benjamin rob the Levite of his partner and rape her, after he, out of love, had wrested her from her father in a rather illegitimate way. The brutal campaign of retaliation, with which the other eleven tribes respond, almost wipes out the Benjaminites. In the end, the few surviving Benjaminites are reintegrated into the people of Israel when the other tribes supply them with new women. Love is constitutive of society, but at the same time it is a threat to its order. 56 “On s’accoûtuma à s’assembler devant les Cabanes ou autour d’un grand Arbre: le chant et la danse, vrais enfans de l’amour et du loisir, devinrent l’amusement ou plûtôt l’occupation des hommes et des femmes oisifs et attroupés” (“People grew accustomed to assembling in front of the Huts or around a large Tree; song and dance, true children of love and leisure, became the amusement or rather the occupation of idle and assembled men and women,” Rousseau 1964a, 169; Rousseau 1992, 47). 57 See also the hybrid form or genre of the Lévite d’Éphraïm: as Rousseau states explicitly in the foreword (Rousseau 1964b, 1206; Rousseau 1998b, 352), preserved in fragments only, this is an idyll in the style of Salomon Gessner, but at the same time also an epic portrayal of a terrible civil war. The form of the idyll is disrupted by scenarios of epic violence. On the semantics of barbarism in Le Lévite d’Éphraïm, see Rohner 2016.

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in the primitive social groups of the dynamic state of nature are sometimes called sauvages, sometimes barbares. There are also competing terms for members of the developed state of society, namely l’homme civil and l’homme civilisé. It is striking that where Montesquieu and Turgot fall back on the term policé, Rousseau uses the participial form civilisé, from the verb civiliser.58 The substantive civilisation does not appear in the Discours.59 Yet Rousseau lays the ground for this coinage, by tending to contrast the presocietal homme sauvage with the homme civil, but the barbare of the transitional state with the homme civilisé. The homme civil, who embodies the contractually established state of civil society, correlates to the homme sauvage, who exists within the statically conceived state of nature;60 the homme civilisé, meanwhile, who represents the historically dynamic civilizing process, is paired with the homme barbare, who is at home in the more dynamic variant of the state of nature. Sauvage and civil are thus concepts that indicate static states, while barbare and civilisé are associated with dynamic processes. This applies, for example, to the passage quoted above, in which iron and grain are identified as civilizing factors (“ce sont le fer et le bled qui ont civilisé les hommes,” 1964a, 171), but also to the following statement: “l’homme barbare ne plie point sa tête au joug que l’homme civilisé porte sans murmure, et il préfere la plus orageuse liberté à un assujettissement tranquille” (“barbarous man does not bend his head for the yoke that Civilized man wears without a murmur, and he prefers the most turbulent freedom to tranquil subjection,” 1964a, 181; 1992, 57). Here, l’homme barbare refers to a human being in the transitional state, because the presocietal man of nature, who remains in his ahistorical state, makes no use of his freedom. The first to utilize this freedom is the man who responds to ‘obstacles’ by activating his capacity for reflection. ‘Turbulent’ freedom also signals that the moral passions, one of the engines of historical change, have already awoken, whereas the homme sauvage is driven by quasi-instinctive physical needs. Unlike the contrast between homme sauvage and homme civil, the terms homme barbare and homme civilisé do not entail a rigid opposition but instead indicate unstable states that blend into one another. Civiliser refers to a temporally extended civilizing process, whose origins already lie in the barbarous phase of the transition (iron and grain, we are told, civilize the barbarians, creating the preconditions for passage into the état civil). The term 58 We can merely speculate on the factors motivating Rousseau to replace policé with civilisé. It may be that he is disturbed by the fact that the adjective policé suggests associations not just with the substantive police (administration, order), but above all with the noun politesse (politeness, courteousness). In Rousseau’s work civiliser refers not so much to the refinement of manners as to a process that lays the foundation for the establishment of a state order—a civil society (société civile). Contrary to Mirabeau, Rousseau emphasizes the political dimension of what was soon being called civilization. See above, footnote 14. See also Heinrich Meier’s commentary on Rousseau’s use of the term civilité (Rousseau 2008, 190). 59 The first evidence of the noun civilisation comes from a text by the Marquis de Mirabeau from 1756 (Benveniste 1966; Schell 1959, 23–4; Fisch 1992, 718). The verb civiliser, however, already turns up in 1558 (Benveniste 1966). 60 See for example the following formulation: “Comparez sans préjugés l’état de l’homme Civil avec celui de l’homme Sauvage” (“Compare, without prejudices, the state of Civil man with that of Savage man,” Rousseau 1964a, 203; Rousseau 1992, 76).

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homme civil, meanwhile, which stands opposed to the homme sauvage, indicates the one-off act of establishing a civil society by means of a contract. The seemingly unremarkable difference between civil and civilisé conceals a fundamental difference between conceptual models, namely the philosophical-natural law discourse and its cultural-historical counterpart. The latter ultimately invalidates the distinction between state of nature and state of society because the human being is understood as always already in history and in society. The terminological triad savage—barbarous—civilized is thus already inherent in the Discours. The ambivalent copresence of competing terms (sauvage or barbare for the human being in the state of nature, civil or civilisé for his counterpart in the state of society) also indicates that here the mode of thought dominated by notions of stasis and natural law on the one hand, and its dynamic-temporalizing counterpart on the other, are still paradoxically intertwined. In the Essai sur l’origine des langues, this ambivalence is reduced in favor of a historicizing perspective. More consistently than in the Discours, here Rousseau embraces the stage model geared towards modes of subsistence. Terminologically as well he distinguishes clearly between savage, barbarous and civilized ways of life. These ideas are developed in the crucial ninth chapter of the Essai, “Formation of the Southern Languages” (“Formation des langues méridionales”). According to Rousseau, the first human beings sustain themselves by gathering fruit and hunting animals. In a second developmental phase, the hunting mode of subsistence gives rise to two different ways of life. In the climatically unfavorable conditions of the north, “the most active, the most robust” (“les plus actifs, les plus robustes,” 1998a, 308; 1995, 399) maintain the hunting way of life, but now it is people rather than animals that they hunt. They become violent conquerors and predators. It is in these groups that we find the first kings. Their cruel people hunts are so relentless that they include the extreme practice of cannibalism (1995, 399; 1998a, 309). The less active, peaceful majority flee to zones with a better climate and continue to live off animals, but rather than hunting them they tame them and keep them in herds. They become herders. In contrast to the conquerors and people-hunters of the north, these herders opt for a sedentary way of life: “Le plus grand nombre, moins actif et plus paisible, s’arrêta le plustôt qu’il pût, assembla du bétail, l’apprivoisa, le rendit docile à la voix de l’homme, pour s’en nourrir apprit à le garder, à le multiplier; et ainsi commença la vie pastorale” (“The greater number, less active and more peacable, settled down as soon as they could, gathered livestock, tamed them, made them compliant to the voice of man, learned to look after them, propagate them, in order to feed themselves; and so began the pastoral life,” 1995, 399; 1998a, 309). Rousseau’s herders are explicitly identified with the barbarous developmental stage: “Le sauvage est chasseur, le barbare est berger, l’homme civil est laboureur” (“The savage is a hunter, the barbarian a herdsman, the civil man a plowman,” 1995, 400; 1998a, 309). Unlike in the Discours, then, the barbarian is a herder rather than a peasant. But in marked contrast to the pastoral barbarians of Montesquieu and Turgot, rather than a nomad this herder is sedentary. Even more clearly than in the Discours, the barbarous transitional phase is characterized as an ideal state of humanity. Here too, the tendency to construct an idyll is unmistakable: “L’ art pastoral, pére du repos et des passions oiseuses est celui qui se suffit le plus à lui même. Il fournit à l’homme

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presque sans peine la vie et le vétement; Il lui fournit même sa demeure; les tentes des premiers bergers étoient faites de peaux de bêtes” (“The pastoral art, father of repose and of the idle passions, is the one that is most self-sufficient. It furnishes man with livelihood and clothing almost effortlessly. It even furnishes him with his dwelling; the tents of the first shepherds were made of animal skins,” 1995, 400; 1998a, 309). The herders’ way of life undergirds a self-sufficient, autarkic state devoid of labor and effort, one that exists in harmonious communion with a domesticated nature. Even the herders’ dwellings are made of animal skins, recalling the famous anecdote of the self-cooking cow reported among the barbarous Scythians by Greek historian Herodotus.61 But while Herodotus’s anecdote emphasizes nomadic dynamism (in the ‘smooth space’ of the steppe the Scythians leave behind no trace, no ‘waste,’ refusing to inscribe themselves in the soil), Rousseau underlines the ‘domestication’ of the animals—they are literally transformed into ‘homes,’ thus contributing to sedentarization and helping bind people to a particular location. Rousseau thus contrasts the cruel hyperactivity and dynamism of the nomadic people-hunters of the north with the idleness of the southern herders, with their self-contained peacefulness and domesticity. His herders are no warlike-violent Scythians, Tartars or Teutons, but biblical patriarchs—Moses, Noah and the Patriarchs are mentioned several times in chapter nine as representative of this developmental stage.62 There can be no doubt: Rousseau engages with but fundamentally recodes the distinction, present in the work of Montesquieu and Turgot, between belligerent-free northern barbarians and despotic-corrupt oriental ones. Rousseau sees in the northern barbarians no purgative, liberating power propelling historical progress, but passionate excess of the most destructive kind. For him, the pastoral variety of barbarism represents a golden age (“these barbarous times were the golden age,” 1998a, 308; “[c]es tems de barbarie étoient le siécle d’or,” 1995, 396)—but one distinguished by its seclusion, stationariness, stability, cyclicality, and autarky. Rather than an historical force, this is an embodiment of idyllic stasis. But this is only superficially so. On closer inspection it emerges that the pastoral idyll is maintained only with a great deal of artifice—for example through construction of canals and wells, an activity that, according to Rousseau, radically reconfigures the face of the earth, giving rise to out-and-out revolutions (“revolutions,” 1998a, 313; 1995, 404). These artificial revolutions are paradoxically necessary, in order to ensure the “equilibrium” (“équilibre,” 1998a, 313; 1995, 404) of nature. Rousseau puts the need for canal-building down to a geological disaster. Emblematic of this event is the finger of God, who tilted the earth’s axis relative to that of the universe, thus dividing the

61 See Herodotus 1998, 254–55: “If they do not have a pot, they rap all the meat up inside the victim’s stomach, add water, and then make a fire out of the bones. The bones burn very well, and the stomachs easily hold the meat once it has been stripped off the bones. In other words, the cow—or whatever animal the victim is—cooks itself!” 62 The wells constructed by the herders, for example, are described as the places where the first “traittés” were concluded, but also as the site of the first “querelles” (Rousseau 1995, 403; Rousseau 1998a, 312); in this context Rousseau refers to the well where Abraham and Abimelech swore an oath (Genesis 21).

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natural world into differing climatic zones (1995, 401; 1998a, 310).63 As a result of this disaster the water cycle, which makes life on earth possible, was dangerously disturbed. To remedy this, it was necessary for human beings to artificially intervene in the natural realm, in order to prevent the cycle from coming to a complete standstill: “Les eaux auroient perdu peu à peu la circulation qui vivifie la terre” (“The waters would gradually lose the circulation that vivifies the earth,” 1995, 404–5; 1998a, 313). Rousseau thus gives the pastoral construction of wells and canals, reestablishing the circulation of water, a global ecological dimension. Canal-building is also absolved of the charge of violent intervention in natural conditions. Instead its purpose is to reestablish an original natural equilibrium. Further, canal-building contributes to sedentarization. To relieve them (and their animals) of the need to move around in search of watering places, water is moved around through canals and made available for human use.64 In the south, nomadic dynamism, which entails excesses of passionate violence in the north, is in effect conferred on water, which is made to flow artificially through canals that simultaneously subdue it. This dovetails with the canalization of the passions that drive the barbarous herders. The primary passion they develop is love. According to Rousseau, there is as yet no love among the family groups of savage hunters and gatherers. Here, copulation occurs instinctively and without choice; sibling incest is par for the course.65 The wells constructed by barbarous herders, conversely, are a place where different families come together, where desire can be kindled by an object of choice: “Là des yeux accoutumés aux mêmes objets dès l’enfance commencérent d’en voir de plux doux. Le cœur s’émut à ces nouveaux objets, un attrait inconnu le rendit moins sauvage, il sentit le plaisir de n’être pas seul” (“There eyes, accustomed to the same objects from childhood began to see sweeter ones. The heart was moved by these new objects, an unfamiliar attraction made it less savage; it felt the pleasure of not being alone,” 1995, 405–6; 1998a, 314). Like the natural jet of water, the desire that arises at the well—an artificial wellspring walled in by human skill—is immediately contained, robbed of its wildness and toned down to the gentler form of love. This distinguishes the pastoral barbarians of the south from the nomads of the north, who are driven by the fierce passions of greed and acquisitiveness. The movement that takes on an excessive and destructive form among these people-hunters is subdued among the herders, thus also taming the historical dynamism of barbarism. Among the herders barbarism represents an art in the service of nature, an artificial nature that spatializes time. In the Essai, Rousseau continues the tendency, typical of the stage theory, to temporalize barbarism, but also reverses this tendency to some degree. When it comes to the pastoral barbarians of the south his goal is to suspend and spatialize 63 On Rousseau’s notion of the inclination of the axis of the globe and its sources, see Staro­ binski 1989b. 64 On the practical and symbolic significance of the canal in the work of Rousseau and in eighteenth-century cultural theory, see Moser 2015b. 65 “[L]e penchant naturel suffisoit pour les unir, l’instinct tenoit lieu de passion, l’habitude tenoit lieu de préférence, on devenoit maris et femmes sans avoir cessé d’être frére et sœur” (“[N]atural inclination sufficed to unite them, instinct took the place of passion, habit took the place of preference, they became husbands and wives without ceasing to be brothers and sisters,” Rousseau 1995, 406; Rousseau 1998a, 314).

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the flow of time—allegorically, for example, through the system of canals that tames the raging torrent of time. This reinforces the tendency, already evident in the Discours, to present the barbarous stage between homme naturel and homme civilisé as an idyll, immunizing it from historical change. The dynamic element of history and the associated violence, aggression and fervor is mitigated in the pastoral way of life. While Turgot ascribes to the barbarous passions an important role in historical progress, Rousseau presents them as destructive excess in the case of the northern nomads, while toning them down to pastoral love between the sexes among the southern barbarians.66

2.1.2.5. Adam Smith: Barbarian Economies of Predation and Gifts The speculative universal and cultural history pursued in France in the 1750s systematically temporalized the concept of barbarism, which now gained the status of transitional historical phase. This phase corresponds to a specific way of life bound up with nomadic pastoralism and certain forms of socialization, economic activity, political order, and moral-legal conditions. In the following decade these ideas fell on fertile ground among the exponents of the so-called ‘Scottish Enlightenment’—such as David Hume, Adam Smith, John Millar, Adam Ferguson, Hugh Blair and William Robertson.67 It is no great surprise that the new, historicized concept of barbarism was received with particularly great interest in Scotland. Eighteenth-century Scottish society was characterized by a contrast between the Highlands, which were regarded as backwards, whose economy was based on sheep and cattle farming and in which the old clan structures lived on, and the Lowlands, in which agriculture dominated, urbanization had already reached an advanced stage and there was a lively flow of trade with the neighboring English regions.68 From the perspective of Enlightenment thought, then, contemporary Scotland was itself undergoing transition to a civilized state. The awareness of living in a historical era of transition was reinforced by the English suppression of the Jacobite rebellion of 1745–1746, which aimed to re-establish an independent Scottish monarchy and which found considerable support in the Highlands. The representatives of the Scottish Enlightenment, however, by no means agreed in their assessment of this transition. Some—such as Adam Smith and David Hume— expected the alliance with England, sealed by the Act of Union of 1707, to advance social and cultural modernization and finally overcome supposedly barbarous social 66 In Le Lévite d’Éphraïm, Rousseau demonstrates that among the pastoral barbarians of the south the subduing of the passions is only superficial, that love in particular is capable of unleashing a dangerous dynamic. Here, the love between the Levite and a woman from Bethlehem triggers a chain of violent conflicts that almost results in the eradication of the Benjaminite tribe. 67 It was not until the early twentieth century that the term ‘Scottish Enlightenment’ gained currency, having first been used by William Robert Scott. See Broadie 2003, 3. On the Scottish Enlightenment’s particular interest in problems of sociality and its concomitant critique of individualism see Berry 1997, 23–51. 68 On the political, economic, and geographical contexts of the Scottish Enlightenment see Emerson 2003.

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structures. Others—including Adam Ferguson—perceived risks in uncompromising modernization and sought ways of preserving what they saw as the positive aspects of the ‘barbarous’ heritage in order to render them fruitful to civilized society. These differing views came to the fore as a result of two controversies that dominated public debate in the 1760s.69 The first related to the question of whether, following the English example, a citizens’ militia ought to be introduced in Scotland for purposes of national defense. Some saw the militia as an archaic institution for which there could be no justification in a modern society characterized by a division of labor and in light of the increasing mechanization of war. Others, meanwhile, welcomed it as an apt means of giving ‘barbarous’ martial prowess and ‘barbarous’ community spirit a place in civilized society. The second controversy was sparked by differing views on the authenticity of Ossian’s poems. While some (once again chiefly Hume and Smith) denounced them as fabrications and an expression of a backward-looking mentality, others (such as Blair and Ferguson) acknowledged them as documents of a barbarous past in which poetry still played a crucial role in creating a spirit of national solidarity. The concept of the barbarous, as a temporal category, gained further semantic depth and nuance in the wake of these controversies and the reflections on cultural and social history underlying them. It was philosopher and economist Adam Smith who took up the French attempts to write a comprehensive social and cultural history of humanity, a history differentiated according to different modes of subsistence, and rendered them fruitful to the Scottish debate. Smith’s engagement with the writings of Montesquieu and Rousseau was especially intensive,70 initially finding expression in his lectures on moral philosophy and history of law before a sizeable audience at the University of Glasgow between 1751 and 1764.71 Two extensive transcripts of the Lectures on Jurisprudence, which he gave in the academic years 1762–1763 and 1763–1764, have survived.72 The title of the lectures is somewhat misleading. Smith does not limit himself to reconstructing the genesis of legal and political institutions but embeds them in larger contexts of economic and social history. Here he ascribes a key role in developmental history to the barbarous herding stage. In his magnum opus An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776), Smith provides a trenchant account of the model, anchored in a developmental history and theory of stages that he set out in the Lectures. So in the following discussion of how Smith

69 On what follows see Pocock 2005, 268–69; Oz-Salzberger 1995b, xi–xii; McDaniel 2013, 162–67. 70 Personal encounters with other key exponents of the French Enlightenment—such as Turgot and the physiocrat François Quesnay—came later (between 1764 and 1766) when Smith undertook a trip to France as the tutor of the young Duke of Buccleugh. 71 Scots scholars John Dalrymple and Henry Home already published texts in 1757 and 1758 that refer to these French efforts and adapt the theory of stages, but according to Ronald Meek it is highly probable that both were influenced by Smith’s Glasgow lectures on moral theory and legal history (1752–53). Meek thus ascribes to Smith a pioneering role. See Meek 1976, 99, 106–12. 72 On the history of these transcripts and their transmission, see Meek/Raphael/Stein 1978, 5–13; Haakonssen 2016, 48–50.

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helped shape the temporalized concept of barbarism I refer to both the Lectures on Jurisprudence and The Wealth of Nations. In contrast to the older natural law-based perspective, Smith identifies the most important developmental step in the history of humanity not as sedentarization and the invention of real estate but as the taming of animals and the introduction of pastoralism. Smith articulates this idea by making a comparison between the indigenous population of America and the Germanic tribes that overran Europe in the course of the Barbarian Invasions: Among the northern nations which broke into Europe in the beginning of the 5th century, society was a step farther advanced than amongst the Americans at this day. They are still in the state of hunters, the most rude and barbarous of any, whereas the others were arrived at the state of shepherds, and had even some little agriculture. The step betwixt these two is of all others the greatest in the progression of society, for by it the notion of property is extended beyond possession, to which it is in the former state confined. (Smith 1978, 107)

According to Smith, the taming of animals and the pastoral way of life ushers in nothing short of a revolution, because for the first time it allows a distinction between possession and property. Even the archaic hunter and gatherer is familiar with a form of property, but this is limited to mere possession: the fruit the gatherer has brought under his power by picking it belongs to him and the same goes for the animal the hunter has acquired by catching or killing it.73 According to Smith, however, herding is possible only on the condition that the tamed animals are still recognized as belonging to the herder if they are separated from him for a time and no longer directly subject to his power: “The proprietor could not have all those animalls about him which he had tamed; it was necessary for the very being of any property of this sort that it should continue some what farther. They considered therefore all animalls to remain in the property of him to whom they apertaind at first, as long as they retain’d the habit of returning into his power at certain times” (1978, 20). The taming of animals renders abstract the owner’s relationship to the good he has acquired by overpowering it. But if the relation of ownership is to persist even in cases in which the good is no longer directly subject to the owner’s power of disposal, there is a need for an authority that stops others from seizing it. This appears all the more urgent given that the title of ownership is ultimately based on an act of violent subjugation, so at first glance the violent appropriation of tamed animals by another seems no 73 According to Smith, the caught animal becomes the hunter’s property only when he fully subjects it to his power. For Smith the term possession is analogous to that of power: “In most cases the property in a subject is not conceived to commence till we have actually got possession of it. A hare started does not appear to be altogether in our power; we may have an expectation of obtaining it but still it may happen that it shall escape us. The spectator does not go along with us so far as to conceive we could be justified in demanding satisfaction for the injury done us in taking such a booty out of our power” (Smith 1978, 17–18, my emphasis, C. M.). (Here “spectator” means the fictive entity of an “impartial spectator,” which Smith—drawing on his Theory of Moral Sentiments [1759]—hypostatizes in order to determine the natural principles of law and morality.)

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less legitimate than that carried out by the original owner. In contrast to the natural law-based discourse typical of Locke’s successors, in Smith’s work property is not constituted (solely) through labor, but (in part and primarily) through a primary act of violence.74 The effect of taming is to perpetuate, sublimate and internalize the resulting relations of power. An additional, external agency of power is required to secure and buttress this ideational relationship: “When once it has been agreed that a cow or a sheep shall belong to a certain person not only when actually in his possession but where ever it may have strayed, it is absolutely necessary that the hand of government should be continually held up and the community assert their power to preserve the property of individualls.” (1978, 208) The distinction between property and mere possession necessitates the introduction of legal regulations that protect property and also requires a social authority that monitors compliance and sanctions their violation. Consequently, according to Smith, human beings’ first legal and state efforts to create social order can be traced back to the developmental stage of barbarous herding: “The age of shepherds is that where government properly first commences” (1978, 202). By locating the introduction of the institutions of ‘law’ and ‘government’ in the herding stage, Smith conspicuously departs from natural law-based discourse and a number of prominent exponents of stage theory, who see the institution of the law as a crucial achievement of advanced civil society and link it to the presence of real estate. For example, in his Two Treatises of Government (1698) John Locke refers to “the Earth it self” as “the Chief matter of property [...]; as that which takes in and carries with it all the rest,” and derives from this all the important institutions of civil society (Locke 1988, 290–91, Second Treatise, § 32). In his Discours sur l’origine de l’inégalité, Rousseau argues that the invention of agriculture and metallurgy, and the associated introduction of real estate and a division of labor, should be viewed as causes of inequality among human beings, an inequality that in turn necessitated the conclusion of social contracts and the issuing of legal regulations. In his influential treatise De l’origine des loix, des arts et des sciences: et de leurs progrès chez les anciens peuples (The Origin of Laws, Arts, and Sciences, and Their Progress Among the Most Ancient Nations, 1758), French jurist and historian Antoine-Yves Goguet engages with the stage model but sees human beings’ sedentarization as a crucial prerequisite for the establishment of legal orders and governmental structures.75 Finally, Scottish jurist and philosopher Henry Home (Lord Kames), a patron of Smith, conceded that the taming of animals in the herding stage changed the conception of property and triggered the first stirrings of the distinction between property and possessions: “By this invention [...] the relation of property, though not entirely disjoined from possession, was considerably enlivened” (Home 1776, 99). But he insists that an idealized conception of property that abstains from the physical immediacy of the 74 The taming of animals is an act of overwhelming and subjugation, which differs only by degrees but not systematically from the overwhelming of the animal by the hunter. Taming renders permanent the relationship of power and domination between human and animal. 75 Goguet’s treatise was translated into English by the Scotsman Robert Henry; the translation was published in Edinburgh in 1761. On Goguet and his impact on eighteenth-century social historiography, see Meek 1976, 94–98; Pocock 2005, 42–64.

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possessive relation can come about only with the introduction of agriculture. The sublimation of property—the transformation of a physical into a mental relationship—thereby occurs through the medium of affect. According to Home, the labor invested by the farmer in cultivating the soil establishes an affective relationship to his possession: A man who has bestowed labour in preparing a field for the plough, [...] forms in his mind an intimate connection with it. He contracts by degrees a singular affection for a spot, which is in a manner the workmanship of his own hands. [...] It is an object that fills his mind, and is never out of thought at home or abroad. [...] By such trials, the relation of property is disjoined from possession [...]. (Home 1776, 103, my emphasis, C. M.)

This affective and mental connection to the land persists even when the owner is physically absent from it. In this way, the relationship that constitutes property and sets it apart from mere possession is internalized and stabilized.76 As in the work of Smith, for Home too this internal relationship requires external protection, which can be provided only by the state and legal regulations. But in contrast to Smith Home establishes a systematic connection between the genesis of such political institutions and the invention of agriculture. Agriculture, as he argues following Rousseau, presupposes a division of labor in society and in this way establishes a close reciprocal dependence among its members. Human beings’ economic and social interaction, based on the exchange of goods, in turn requires rules to ensure that it functions well: The true spirit of society, which consists in mutual benefits, and in making the industry of individuals profitable to others as well as to themselves, was not known till agriculture was invented. Agriculture requires the aid of many other arts: the carpenter, the blacksmith, the mason, and other artificers, contribute to it. This circumstance connects individuals in an intimate society of mutual support [...]. The shepherd-life, in which societies are formed by the conjunction of families for mutual defence, requires some sort of government; slight indeed in proportion to the slightness of the mutual connection. But it was agriculture which first produced a regular system of government. The intimate union among a multitude of individuals, occasioned by agriculture, discovered a number of social duties formerly unknown. These were ascertained by laws, the observance of which was enforced by punishment. (Home 1776, 56)

The internalization of property in the form of an affective relationship corresponds to the internalization of the relations that weld together the interdependent members of the agricultural community, with its division of labor, into a society. It is not just property or real estate but also the social relations based upon them that receive an 76 The difference from Smith’s conception of property is all the more striking in that Smith clearly refers to the work of his countryman and patron. In the work of Home labor constitutes property as an affective relationship, while for Smith a violent act of subjugation constitutes property as a relation of power. Smith eliminates the Lockean portion of Home’s theory of society.

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affective charge in the work of Home. Tellingly, the term intimate crops up twice in the quoted passage (“intimate society,” “intimate union”). The law is only the external manifestation of a “spirit of society,” of an affectivity that binds human beings to their land and also to one another. Conversely, according to Home the herding society, which is based merely on short-term, external forms of ownership, is held together only by the necessity for self-defense imposed by the outside world. So its cohesion is no more than superficial (“slight”); it constitutes no genuine “spirit of society.” Internal, ideational property (real estate) constitutes the intimate, affective cohesion of society and finds external expression in a coherent legal system. The approaches discussed above agree in deriving law-governed civil society from the cultural technology of agriculture and the introduction of real estate. Home presents the sentimental variant of this model—recoding Locke’s category of labor in such a way that it valorizes property not just in an economic but also in an affective sense, thus generating a strong communal spirit. Against this background, it now becomes possible to assess the originality of the theory put forward by Smith. This originality is by no means limited to the fact that Smith places the introduction of property, law and government further back in time, ascribing to the herding stage that which was previously considered an achievement of agricultural society. By tracing property back to the taming of animals, he endows the former with a quite different character than it possesses in the work of Locke, Rousseau, Goguet and Home. The fact that, according to Smith, pastoral property rests primarily on a relationship of violence also has an impact on the economic and political structures derived from it. Drawing on Home, Smith endows this property and the society based upon it with an emotional component, yet this is very different from the muted affectivity of reciprocal benevolence that his predecessor ascribes to agricultural society. The social order that Smith links with the herding stage possesses a specifically barbarous hue. Ultimately, this social order also influences the character of the civil society that—in a subsequent developmental step—Smith has emerge from it. The property that, as an abstract category, becomes detached—as Smith asserts— from mere possession in the barbarous herding stage, has a paradoxical status. First, as an invention of nomadic peoples, it is mobile. This property consists not of real estate but of movable belongings, namely animal herds that, like their herders, are constantly on the move. At the same time, however, in another sense this property is peculiarly rigid and immovable. In the herding societies only those commodities are manufactured that are immediately necessary for the keeping of animals, so according to Smith the herding barbarians engage in no trade and possess no medium of money. As a result they can make little use of the wealth they generate. There are only two options open to prosperous herders. They can amass ever larger herds, increasing their wealth and passing it on to their descendants, or they can give their surplus animals to the poor: “They have no possible means of spending their property, having no domestic luxury, but by giving it in presants [sic!] to the poor, and by this means they attain such influence over them as to make them in a manner their slaves” (1978, 405). Because the preconditions for the exchange of goods are absent there is nothing for the prosperous herders to do but give away their wealth to the poor. The prerequisites for trade are also absent in the sense that the poor possess nothing they might give in exchange for the gifts of the rich. They possess nothing

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but themselves, so their only means of repayment is their absolute obedience and total loyalty: “He [the rich barbarian] is at all times, therefore, surrounded with a multitude of retainers and dependants, who having no equivalent to give in return for their maintenance, [...] must obey him” (1976, vol. 1, 413, III.iv). But the very fact that some members of the herding society are so poor that they can give only themselves is a direct consequence of the new pastoral mode of subsistence and the form of property derived from it. The first herders to acquire animals on a large scale through taming robbed the hunters of their source of sustenance: “[T]hey could not now gain a subsistence from hunting as the rich had made the game, now become tame, their own property” (1978, 405). The herders’ property is rooted in a dual act of violence: first the animals’ subjugation, perpetuated by taming, and second a kind of ‘primal theft’ through which the original herders wrested the animals from the hunters, depriving them of their livelihood. This might prompt us to view the barbarous herders’ allocations to the poor as compensation for the damage done to the savage hunters as a result of the taming of animals. But this is far from being the case. These gifts are explicitly described as “presants” [sic!] of a generous and presuppositionless kind that are intended not to offset the ‘primal theft’ but to ensure that it is forgotten. These gifts seem all the more munificent in that they ensure the recipients’ survival. They are nothing less than gifts of life. The rich herder ultimately allows the poor to live and thus imposes on them a debt of gratitude that can never be paid off, except through the life, the very being of the recipients themselves. So the herder’s gift to the poor also highlights a theft: the recipients are robbed of their freedom and left in a state of total dependency. Gift and theft are two sides of the same coin. The system of property characteristic of barbarous herding society is based not on an economy of equivalent exchange but on a gift economy.77 The logic of excess underpinning the gift economy also determines the legal order of barbarous herding society. The first striking feature of this order is that it does not emerge from a social contract. Contracts are exchanges. They entail the just balancing out of differing interests.78 But in the herding society envisaged by Smith contracts have absolutely no validity: “contracts were noways binding” (1978, 88). The law intended to protect the herders’ property is not the result of a contractual agreement but is forced on the people by the rich herd owners: “Laws and government may be considered in this [...] case as a combination of the rich to oppress the poor, and preserve to themselves the inequality of the goods which would otherwise be soon destroyed by the attacks of the poor” (1978, 208). Just as the taming of animals renders permanent the power relations between human being and animal, the institution of the law does precisely the same for the power relations between rich and poor. Once again we find that in Smith’s work property, at its core, represents a power relation. The law itself, to which the herding society is subject, does not obey the principle of retributive justice. Instead it proceeds with excessive violence: “the 77 On the gift economy and the logic of excess that regulates its functioning, see the classical treatise by Marcel Mauss (1954). On the function of the gift in barbarous societies as imagined by the cultural historical and literary texts of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, see Moser 2008. 78 See Foucault 1997, 173–74; 2004, 194–95.

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punishments [...] for all crimes were in this stage of society [...] the most bloody of any and often far from being proportionable to the injuries” (1978, 130). The law of barbarous herding society does not represent an objective standard of justice but rather an instrument of power. Significantly, it does not exist in a written, objectivized form. It consists of a small number of very simple and general regulations (“[it] would be but very short and have few distinctions in it”), which are passed down orally from one generation to the next: “every man would understand it without any written or regular law” (1978, 213). With this word “regular,” Smith is alluding to the Latin etymon regula, which refers to a guiding principle or standard measure. Such a yardstick, which renders the law calculable, is just what barbarous law is not. Just as they lack the economic measure of value of money, the barbarians are also devoid of an objectifiable legal standard. From a relativizing perspective Smith concedes that the herding barbarians possess no genuine laws but only “some sort of law” (1978, 213). In order to illustrate how the barbarous dispensation of justice functions on this basis, in The Wealth of Nations he adduces an example from the recent history of the Scottish Highlands: It is not thirty years ago since Mr. Cameron of Lochiel, a gentleman of Lochabar in Scotland, without any legal warrant whatever, [...] and without being so much as a justice of peace, used, notwithstanding, to exercise the highest criminal jurisdiction over his own people. He is said to have done so with great equity, though without any of the formalities of justice; and it is not improbable that the state of that part of the country at that time made it necessary for him to assume this authority in order to maintain the publick peace. (1976, vol. 1, 416–17, III.iv)

In the remote Highlands, the British legal order clearly lacks all authority. Authority is vested solely in clan chief Cameron. When he dispenses justice within his sphere of influence, he does not concern himself with codes of law or procedural formalities. Instead, he himself embodies the law that is viewed as valid within his clan. The law is one with the person of the chief. It is telling that he is ascribed the quality of “equity.” An equitable judgment deviates from the letter of the law and from the objective generality of the norm in order to honor the specificity of the individual case.79 Equity is a law beyond the objectifiable norm and written law. In the legal thought of Antiquity and the Middle Ages it was traditionally viewed as the king’s law (Kaufmann 1971, 431). The king was the lex animata, living law. On this view, the legislation that was intended to enforce the legal order had no existence separate from the person of the king but instead existed “in scrinio pectoris, ‘in the shrine of his breast.’”80 Within the king’s jurisdiction, laws and their implementation, the norm and its equitable application to the individual case, formed an indissoluble, flexible unity that guaranteed the authority of the legal order. Equity thus highlights the unity of law and power in the person of the sovereign. Smith locates the origin of this form of law, which for him marks the wellspring of law itself, in the barbarous 79 The ‘classical’ definition of equity goes back to Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics, 1137b. On the Aristotelian conception of equity, see Michelakis 1953; Nussbaum 1998. 80 Kantorowicz 1957, 131; on the king as lex animata, see ibid., 127–30.

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herding stage. In herding society, the law is not yet an autonomous institution but is bound up with the person who applies it when dispensing justice. What applies to the law applies in much the same way to the other governmental functions whose origin Smith traces back to the herding stage: they are fused in the person of the barbarous chief, who possesses executive as well as judicial powers. These powers come into play above all in case of war, when he enjoys the power of command. Theft and pillage, in addition to herding, are a second source of subsistence for the barbarians and as a result, they are almost always at war. The leader’s power of command thus becomes firmly established as a permanent institution. Nonetheless, for Smith war and conquest do not play the crucial role ascribed to them by Montesquieu and Turgot. According to Smith, the chief’s authority is not rooted in his martial skills but in his wealth, which allows him to establish relations of dependency within society, as well as in his birth and background. Because there is no trade in herding societies great fortunes often pass intact to the next generation, facilitating the development of veritable dynasties of influential and powerful families: The distinction of birth not only may, but always does take place among nations of shepherds. Such nations are always strangers to every sort of luxury, and great wealth can scarce ever be dissipated among them by improvident profusion. There are no nations accordingly who abound more in families revered and honoured on account of their descent from a long race of great and illustrious ancestors; because there are no nations among whom wealth is likely to continue longer in the same families. (1976, vol. 2, 714, V.i.b)81

So in barbarous herding societies power, which is linked to wealth, can be inherited and it develops a certain temporal tenacity. The structure of these societies is therefore fairly stable. In making this assumption, Smith distinguishes himself from Turgot, who associates pastoral nomadism with the dynamism of historical change and discerns in barbarous predation an antecedent of mercantile exchange. According to Smith, barbarous herding societies tap their innovative or even revolutionary potential only through their relationship with the external world, in the wars and campaigns of conquest in which they engage: “[W]e find that more of the great revolutions in the world have arose from them than any other nation in the world” (1978, 220). As examples of such upheavals Smith mentions the immense conquests of the Tartars and Mongols, the fall of the Roman empire as precipitated by the Germanic tribes and the settlement of Greece by herding peoples from Asia Minor, which gave rise, following their sedentarization, to the classical republics of Antiquity. Internally, by way of contrast, Smith asserts that the barbarous herding societies develop structures that impede change and innovation.82 Because they lack the dynamic element of exchange and commerce, they tend to be conservative and 81 See also ibid., 267 (III.iv), and Smith 1978, 217. 82 On this point we have to contradict J. G. A. Pocock, who contends that Smith underlines only “the shepherd’s capacity to innovate,” and goes so far as to assert: “Smith’s most remarkable contribution to the natural history of society was his insistence that the shepherd stage was dynamic” (Pocock 2005, 316–17, 324).

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seek to reproduce existing relations of power and wealth. This seems to impede the transition to the following developmental stages of agriculture and commerce. In one respect, however, this transition is very straightforward. According to Smith, the idea developed by the herders that property is different from possession can be unproblematically transferred from herded animals to other objects: “When this is once established, it is a matter of no great difficulty to extend this from one subject to another, from herds and flocks to the land itself ” (1978, 107). It appears to be far more difficult, meanwhile, to mobilize property—which represents a stable, ideal relationship and, in its inalienable form, functions to guarantee power and influence—and transform it into an object of exchange. What might motivate the rich herder to trade his herd for other goods given that it ensures the dependency of his vassals and thus his dominant position? Smith answers this question anthropologically by underlining human beings’ characteristic self-interest. The selfish passions, which are the fuel of a civil society based on trade and the division of labor, also do much to dissolve the stable structures of herding society and its direct derivative, feudal society. Because these societies are not hermetically sealed off from the rest of the world, they eventually come into contact with peoples who already practice trade. From them they obtain the desirable goods capable of tempting the rich into trading their fixed property and ‘liquefying’ it: These gradually furnished the great proprietors with something for which they could exchange the whole surplus produce of [their flocks or] their lands, and which they could consume themselves without sharing it either with tenants or retainers. All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind. As soon, therefore, as they could find a method of consuming the whole value of their [produce and] rents themselves, they had no disposition to share them with any other persons. For a pair of diamond buckles perhaps [...] they exchanged the maintenance [...] of a thousand men for a year, and with it the whole weight and authority which it could give them. (1976, vol. 1, 418–19, III.iv)

If avarice and ambition prompt the herders to accumulate a fortune in the form of animal herds, the same passions are ultimately responsible for overcoming the economic form based upon them, namely the gift economy. The consumer and luxury goods introduced from outside allow the rich to give free reign to their selfish interests and to spend their wealth solely on themselves. According to Smith they willingly exchange the power and responsibility based on the herds and land they own in exchange for goods that serve exclusively to affirm their social prestige. What seems like a step backwards in moral terms represents progress in the history of society. Because when the rich use their wealth to acquire mercantile goods rather than supporting the have-nots, they simultaneously release them from their dependency. In trade-based society too the rich man provides for the livelihood of many others, but this occurs indirectly, through the mediation of money, which facilitates equivalent exchange: “Indirectly [...] he maintains as great or even a greater number of people than he could have done by the ancient method of expence” (1976, vol. 1, 420, III.iv). The artisans and traders who make a living satisfying the needs of the rich

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no longer offer up themselves, their bodies and their lives in exchange for a portion of their wealth, but their productivity, whose value can be precisely quantified: “his taylor, [...] his cook, etc. have each a share of it, but as they all give him their work in recompense for what he bestows on them, and that not out of necessity, they do not look upon themselves as [...] dependent on him” (1978, 202). The trade-based society, with its division of labor, liberates the poor from their dependency on the rich. Each individual now solely follows his self-interest and this is precisely how he contributes to the functioning of the whole.83 According to Smith, this is associated with the loss of a sense of social solidarity. For Home the division of labor entails an awareness of the reciprocal dependency of members of society and—in conjunction with the affectively charged relationship to real estate—engenders a deeper “spirit of society.” For Smith, conversely, trade and the division of labor generate an awareness of individual independence and thus weaken the community spirit. As he sees it, a strong sense of community is more typical of the barbarous herding society, whereas Home dismisses the sense of “mutual connection” among the barbarians as “slight.” The strong community spirit that Smith ascribes to the barbarous herders, however, cannot be separated from feelings of gratitude, devotion and obligation vis-à-vis the chief, who, so to speak, embodies the community. The tight, corporative cohesion of barbarous society is bound up with the person of the powerful leader. He figures not just as lex animata but also provides the community spirit with a symbolic body. To conclude, a word on the terminology used by Smith. In the Lectures on Jurisprudence the words barbarians and barbarous are initially employed without distinction in analogy to rude to refer to hunting and herding societies. But to the extent that Smith’s remarks are focussed on detailed analysis of the herding stage, the term barbarous takes on a more specific meaning. It increasingly becomes synonymous with pastoral. The following statement is a case in point: “Among neighbouring nations in a barbarous state there are perpetual wars, one continualy invading and plundering the other, and tho’ private property be secured from the violence of neighbours, it is in danger from hostile invasions” (1978, 522). This passage exposes the paradox, characteristic of the herding stage, that while property is protected by laws in pastoral societies, at the same time these societies as a whole live from robbing and making war on one another. Here the expression “barbarous state” is synonymous with “pastoral state.” Consequently, while Smith does not distinguish with the same systematic acuity as Montesquieu, Rousseau or Ferguson between savage and barbarous, he too does much to consolidate the linkage of the concept of the barbarian with the transitional pastoral stage and add depth to the semantic content of barbarism.

2.1.2.6. Adam Ferguson: Barbarism as Social Gambling Certain eighteenth-century social theories describe nomadic herding as a phase of historical transition, endowing barbarism with an ambivalent status. They evalu83 Here, Smith refers to Bernard Mandeville’s motto ‘private vices—public benefits’ (B. Mandeville: The Fable of the Bees: or, Private Vices, Publick Benefits, 1714) as well as to his own conception of the ‘invisible hand.’

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ate this ambivalence in contrasting ways. Teleological and progress-oriented approaches such as those of Turgot, Home, Smith or Gibbon underline the innovative, forward-looking potential inherent in the barbarous way of life. They foreground the historical dynamism unleashed by nomadic herding and banditry or valorize the new concept of property that underpins this mode of existence. This school of thought simultaneously spotlights archaic, resistant elements of barbarous society that must be overcome in order to develop this potential. These include the patriarchal relations of bondage between the wealthy herder and his underlings and the profound corporative cohesion characteristic of barbarous communities. Conversely, critiques of civilization such as that expounded by Rousseau view such resistant elements positively, while problematizing the early forms of the civil-commercial order that first appear in barbarism. These they consider signs of a nascent social alienation. This analysis goes hand-in-hand with an attempt to downplay the dynamic character of barbarous societies. Overall, the work of Scottish historian and philosopher Adam Ferguson (1723–1816) exemplifies this latter critique of civilization. Though he was friends with leading exponents of a progressive conception of history—namely Smith and Hume—and engaged intensively with their writings, he followed a different trajectory in his own treatise in cultural and social history, the Essay on the History of Civil Society (1767). For him the principles of the division of labor and self-interest—the underpinnings of the mature commercial society—are harmful if left unchecked by prudent legislation. This is because they destroy the republican community spirit characteristic of the “Rude Nations” (Ferguson 1995, 74), in other words savage hunters and barbarous warriors.84 Yet Ferguson’s civilizational critique differs substantially from that of Rousseau. This is evident in his categorical rejection of the supposition of a pre-societal state of nature. He believes human beings have always lived in society. In accord with the other representatives of the Scottish Enlightenment, then, he postulates an originary human social drive.85 What makes Ferguson’s approach special is his attempt to link this social drive to a— no less elementary—ludic drive. Exponents of teleological forms of Enlightenment thought considered the barbarian’s supposed passion for games an indication of his primitive roughness and sensuality.86 Ferguson, meanwhile, endows this tendency for play with a positive charge, linking socialization, play and civilizational critique. Nowhere did this constellation fall on such fertile ground as among his German readers (Oz-Salzberger 1995a), particularly Johann Gottfried Herder and Friedrich Schiller. Ferguson begins his Essay by critiquing natural law-based fictions of a pre-societal state of nature: “in framing our account of what man was in some imaginary state of nature, we overlook what he has always appeared within the reach of our own observation, and in the records of history” (1995, 8). He counters speculative hypotheses 84 On Ferguson’s ‘classical’ republicanism, see Oz-Salzberger 1995b, xiv–xv; McDaniel 2013, 54–63, 126–37 and passim. 85 On this ‘common denominator’ of social theory in the Scottish Enlightenment, see Berry 2003. 86 See Gibbon 1993/94, vol. 1, 246: “In the dull intervals of peace, these barbarians were immoderately addicted to deep gaming and excessive drinking; both of which [...] relieved them from the pain of thinking.”

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on the origins of society with the empirical observation of supposedly primitive peoples (in America for example) that illustrate the primal state of humanity, along with historical evidence from the earliest days of Europe (relating to the archaic Greeks, for example). The ‘real’ human being and his authentic history must oust hypothetical constructs. For Ferguson, observation and historical evidence point to the unavoidable conclusion that people have never lived outside of societal groups. The human being is by definition a social and thus cultural being. This overall critique of speculative originary fictions does not, however, stop Ferguson from indulging in a similar thought experiment himself. For him, the very premises of conventional originary hypotheses are flawed because—as demonstrated by Rousseau’s solitary savage or Condillac’s two children lost in the desert—they conceptualize the human being as an individual being rather than a social one.87 By way of contrast, Ferguson outlines a human experiment centred on a small collectivity: “a colony of children transplanted from the nursery, and left to form a society apart” (1995, 10). He goes on to hypothesize about how this isolated society of children would develop: The members of our little society would feed and sleep, would herd together and play, would have a language of their own, would quarrel and divide, would be to one another the most important objects of the scene, and, in the ardour of their friendships and competitions, would overlook their personal danger, and suspend the care of their self-preservation. Has not the human race been planted like the colony in question? Who has directed their course? whose instruction have they heard? or whose example have they followed? (1995, 10)

In a nutshell, this brief passage anticipates many of the ideas Ferguson goes on to develop in his Essay. First of all, the assumption of an artificially isolated group of children with absolutely no contact to the world of adults indicates the natural character of the social dynamism that distinguishes this social group’s subsequent development. In the absence of adults to guide it, the little society forms its structures independently, in accordance with principles and laws inherent in human nature. Ferguson simultaneously qualifies the artificiality of this experimental arrangement by highlighting that the development of this social group corresponds to the true early history of the human race.88 As he sees it, human beings band together to form groups ‘by nature’ and spontaneously, groups to which they feel affectively tied and 87 On Rousseau, see above, chapter 2.1.2.4. In his reflections on the origin of language, Etienne Bonnot de Condillac develops a fictional account of two children abandoned in the wilderness, who initially live separately: “je suppose que quelque temps après le déluge, deux enfans de l’un & de l’autre sexe ayent été égarés dans les déserts, avant qu’ils connussent l’usage d’aucun signe” (“I suppose that some time after the deluge two children of either sex got lost in the deserts before they had acquired knowledge of any sign,” Condillac 1746, t. 1, sect. première; my translation, C. M.). 88 Ferguson thus reveals himself to be an adherent of monogenism, which assumes that the human race emerged at a particular place on the earth before spreading across the planet. The most prominent exponent of polygenism in the eighteenth century was French philosopher Voltaire. Ferguson distances himself from Voltaire’s view of history—much like his German contemporary Herder, with whom he has a great deal in common.

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to which they feel a sense of belonging. Here this is evident in the children’s initial urge to ‘herd together.’ In a second step, conflict divides the primal herd and sparks the emergence of further small communities, which compete with one another. Friendship and conflict, association and division, community and competition are the basic drives propelling the history of the colony. For Ferguson the affects of friendship and enmity are more fundamental than the supposedly primal instincts of self-preservation and self-interest. As he sees it, social (friendly or hostile) behavior prevails even if it runs counter to the individual’s self-interest. This crucial motif pervades the Essay. Strikingly, the aspect of play receives special mention in this thought experiment. Human beings initially explore the social affects through play (the choice of children as experimental objects is significant here). Individuals band together in ‘herds’ in order to play. Ferguson thus regards ‘play’ as an important medium of sociation. Individuals form groups not because they believe this will help protect them from dangers or conclude that they can achieve self-preservation more effectively on a collective basis (the common natural law-based argument found in Hobbes, Pufendorf and Locke). Instead, they come together because they want to play with and against one another. But play is an end in itself. The motif of playing and gaming takes on tremendous significance as the Essay proceeds.89 Important in this connection is the phrase: “[they] would be to one another the most important objects of the scene”. In the first instance the ‘scene’ means the setting of the experiment (a desert island or suchlike), but there is also a hint of the scene in a theatrical sense, the ‘play.’ The social affects acted out by the children in the colony are in a sense ‘played,’ as on stage. They have an aesthetic and histrionic quality.90 This brackets off the ‘seriousness’ of “self-preservation.” The members of this small community are so deeply immersed in ‘playing’ their roles and the associated affects that to begin with they do not even perceive the “personal danger” they may face. Initially the social dimension unfolds as a ‘play’ or ‘game’ regardless of physical necessities, self-preservation and sensual interests. In his primitive beginnings, the human being is already a social being—and this simultaneously means a ludic, aesthetic being devoid of self-interest and partially set free from animal needs.91 But if Ferguson gives the social and ludic drives priority over the instinct for self-preservation and the associated private interests, this must inevitably mean that for him the forms of subsistence that ensure survival (hunting, herding, agriculture and commerce) are of secondary importance. And in fact the Essay ascribes to the various modes of subsistence a vastly less significant role in creating structures than they play in the social theories of Smith and Turgot. More important for Ferguson are other society-constituting factors such as the nature of warfare, as well as culture and literature. 89 On Ferguson’s concept of play, see Oz-Salzberger 1995a, 114–16. 90 On the aesthetic dimension of community spirit in Ferguson’s social theory, see Reinert 2008. 91 This opens up intriguing points of contact with Schiller’s concept of play in Über die ästhetische Erziehung des Menschen in einer Reihe von Briefen (On the Aesthetic Education of Man, 1795). See Oz-Salzberger 1995a, 280–315; see also the case study on Schiller’s Die Räuber in chapter 2.2. To a degree Ferguson also anticipates Johan Huizinga’s famous notion of the origin of culture in (and as) play. See Huizinga 1949.

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Ferguson goes on to flesh out and add nuance to his anthropological reflections on the fundamentals of society, examining what principles human societies are based on. Here he rejects both theories (like that of Thomas Hobbes) that trace the emergence of society back to a natural state of war, as well as those that presuppose an original state of “amity,” in other words that one-sidedly postulate either a “principle of fear” or, no less one-sidedly, a “principle of affection” as the basis for the emergence of society (1995, 21). According to Ferguson, both principles are always simultaneously at work and are inextricably interwoven: “Our attachment to one division, or to one sect, seems often to derive much of its force from an animosity conceived to an opposite one: and this animosity in its turn, as often arises from a zeal in behalf of the side we espouse, and from a desire to vindicate the rights of our party” (1995, 21). Ferguson thus distances himself from the Hobbesian notion that the universal state of war is overcome by a social contract. Rather than overcoming war, the establishment of society presupposes war. A society comes into being only when it can simultaneously demarcate itself agonally from another society.92 But the notion of an original drive for community, an elementary love of humanity, is also qualified. This love is always particular and limited. It is only ever directed at the members of one’s own group, the group to which one belongs, and is bound up with aversion to and hatred for others. But if there is no innate drive for community, what is the underpinning of human society and the love people feel for it? Ferguson’s answer seems to lead us round in circles. It is living in society itself that makes people love it and generates its cohesion: But neither a propensity to mix with the herd, nor the sense of advantages enjoyed in that condition, comprehend all the principles by which men are united together. Those bands are even of a feeble texture, when compared to the resolute ardour with which a man adheres to his friend, or to his tribe, after they have for some time run the career of fortune together. Mutual discoveries of generosity, joint trials of fortitude, redouble the ardours of friendship, and kindle a flame in the human breast, which the considerations of personal interest or safety cannot suppress. (1995, 22)

Here Ferguson is clearly trying to think the constitution of society against notions of utility, security and thus also the assumption that society is based on a contract. But he is also keen to keep the genesis of society separate from the natural instincts of herd and community formation. Individuals become firmly attached to a community by living in it. The bond they feel is nourished by collective life and shared experience, by overcoming dangers together and jointly passing the tests that life throws up, through mutual support and by practicing and benefitting from generosity—all of this over long periods of time. So according to Ferguson, it is collective history, 92 In this connection, Ferguson highlights the original meaning of the term ‘barbarian’: “Among the citizens of Rome [...] the name of a foreigner, and that of an enemy, were the same. Among the Greeks, the name of Barbarian [...] became a term of indiscriminate contempt and aversion.” (1995, 25) Like Koselleck he recognizes the ancient term as an enemy-concept. He considers the friend-enemy notion, encapsulated so stereotypically in the ancient term, a mechanism fundamental to the establishment of society.

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sedimented in the form of traditions—that is, a particular culture—that produces social cohesion. One of the key terms in the above-cited passage is that of generosity. According to Ferguson, what the individual receives from society and what he gives to it is not subject to calculations of utility. Such gifts are motivated by friendship with and love for one’s fellows. They are not based on petty calculation, but flow from an abundance of affect. They generate intensive mutual bonds because they oblige people to reciprocate. So it is living together that engenders the affects that establish and consolidate the community. Furthermore, it is only in society that the individual can get to know and fully develop his innate strengths and capabilities. Human society functions as the vital resonance chamber for the individual’s passions and abilities: Mere acquaintance and habitude nourish affection, and the experience of society brings every passion of the human mind upon its side. Its triumphs and prosperities, its calamities and distresses, bring a variety and a force of emotion, which can only have place in the company of our fellow-creatures. It is here that a man is made to forget his weakness, his cares of safety, and his subsistence; and to act from those passions which make him discover his force. (1995, 23)

According to Ferguson, the individual does not strive for a life in society because it offers security and sustenance. In fact, it is society that allows him to forget these ‘lower’ drives and discover his true (higher) powers and feelings. It is in society that the individual’s true passions are revealed to him. Here he can unleash them and, by sharing them with others, multiply them. Paradoxically, he realizes his true self by suppressing the requirements of self-preservation and giving free rein to the supposedly selfless social affects. But nowhere—another paradox—does the individual’s self-realization, based on selflessness, come to the fore as strikingly as in war, which threatens the self’s physical existence. In its elementary form, according to Ferguson, war has nothing to do with any kind of self-interest: “[We] observe, in the collision of separate societies, the influence of angry passions, that do not arise from an opposition of interest. [...] The statesman may explain his conduct on motives of national jealousy and caution, but the people have dislikes and antipathies, for which they cannot account” (1995, 27). On this view, war was not originally waged for reasons of self-interest or utility, to obtain booty, conquer territory or improve security. Instead the decisive factor is a hatred of the enemy that is devoid of self-interest, an affect that correlates with a love for one’s nation that is every bit as selfless. For Ferguson, these affects are primary realities. War provides an opportunity to develop and test out such passions and related psychic forces such as courage, fortitude, loyalty and magnanimity. War features a proto-aesthetic dimension. According to Ferguson, as an event devoid of self-interest it is akin to sport and play: Every animal is made to delight in the exercise of his natural talents and forces: The lion and the tyger sport with the paw; the horse [...] forgets his pasture to try his speed in the field; the bull [...] and the lamb [...] anticipate, in play, the conflicts they are doomed to sustain. Man too is disposed to opposition, and to employ the forces of his nature against an equal antagonist; he loves to bring [...] his courage [...] to the proof. His sports are

2.1.  The Concept of Barbarism in Eighteenth-Century Theories       109 frequently an image of war; sweat and blood are freely expended in play; and fractures or death are often made to terminate the pastimes of idleness and festivity. (1995, 28)

Ferguson discerns an affinity between war and the game. Like war, the game too serves to test out powers and capabilities, to generate affects that are enjoyed for their own sake. But this applies only to games that entail a certain risk and an element of seriousness. Only then will the player be motivated to play passionately, with heart and abandon, summoning all his strength. For Ferguson, then, the paradigm of the game is the game of chance played for high stakes. This is because the gambler does not play in order to win, let alone to obtain material profit. What he is after are the powerful emotions he feels at the moment of greatest risk: “The play is made deep [...]; he is carried on by degrees, and in the end comes to seek for amusement [...] only in those passions of anxiety, hope, and despair, which are roused by the hazard into which he has thrown the whole of his fortunes” (1995, 52).93 The gambler is not concerned with the outcome of the game but with the game itself, with taking unfulfilled passions to the peak of intensity. Even in the pathological form of compulsive gambling, such a passion for games remains an expression of a selfless character. The player is prepared to sacrifice everything for his passion. He generously gives, indeed squanders his resources. His passion for play is a depraved form of that selfless generosity Ferguson identifies as a constituent element of social cohesion. The gambler is ultimately prepared to risk himself—his physical existence. There is no longer any distinction here between the playful and the serious. This enables Ferguson to reverse perspective: “If men can thus turn their amusements into a scene more serious [...] than that of business itself, it will be difficult to assign a reason, why business [...], independent of any distant consequences, [...] may not be chosen as an amusement” (1995, 52). If the only kind of game truly capable of captivating and entertaining is one that borders on the deadly serious, it must also be possible to pursue serious endeavors—matters of life and death such as war—in the spirit of a game. ‘Business’ becomes a game the moment one disregards its possible consequences and practices it as an end in itself. According to Ferguson, war is the epitome of a highly serious endeavor that ought, like a game, to be pursued for its own sake. It does not serve primarily to ensure self-preservation, but helps the collectivity affirm itself. Meanwhile, by generously relinquishing their existence to the community, its members simultaneously experience the fullest realization of their true selves. As Ferguson sees it, then, human societies do not come about in order to achieve self-preservation, but as a consequence of a self-(re-)generating, selfless love for one’s community. Such societies are necessarily belligerent, with war being waged as a serious game that gives individuals the chance to develop their higher powers and passions. This systematic interaction between community spirit, war, and play, however, only functions in archaic societies, the so-called “rude nations,” which have not yet developed a sophisticated state apparatus, legal order or mercantile 93 The concept of ‘deep play’ has attained renown in the humanities thanks to American anthropologist Clifford Geertz, who traces it back to utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham (cf. Geertz 1972). But as we have seen, the concept is already present in the work of Ferguson and Gibbon (see above, footnote 86).

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economic system. In developed societies, the interplay between these three factors is disturbed. Here individuals’ self-interest weakens community spirit; the focus on utility suppresses a fundamentally ludic mindset. According to Ferguson—and here he does in fact ascribe a key role to the mode of subsistence—this is a consequence of the introduction of private property. The function of state institutions and laws is to protect the property of individuals. But this does not cause them to feel more attached to the society that affords them this protection. Quite the opposite: “[T]hey employ the calm they have gained, not for fostering a zeal for those laws, and that constitution of government, to which they owe their protection, but in practising apart, and each for himself, the several arts of personal advancement, or profit, which their political establishments may enable them to pursue with success” (1995, 58). According to Ferguson, the civilized state creates a protected space for the selfish activities of individuals who no longer identify with the common cause. In the shape of the state, legal system, and market, society develops abstract institutions incapable of generating a sense of community. Certainly, the self-interest-based activities of members of society contribute to the prosperity of the social whole. But they can no longer experience this whole as such, and it provides no resonance chamber for their higher affects. The tendency towards the atomization and abstract reification of the social is reinforced by the principle of the division of labor. Not only do individuals now concern themselves chiefly with their own affairs, but their activities are limited to a small subsection of social life: “Nations of tradesmen come to consist of members who, beyond their own particular trade, are ignorant of all human affairs, and who may contribute to the preservation and enlargement of their commonwealth, without making its interest an object of their regard or attention” (1995, 173). Henry Home believes the division of labor and the associated specialization of activities has the potential to intensify mutual dependence and thus strengthen social cohesion— including its affective dimensions.94 His compatriot Ferguson, conversely, sees it as a factor that promotes the individual’s alienation from the social whole. It is not just labor but society itself that becomes divided, disintegrating into a plethora of separate segments. These are certainly linked, but no longer make this linkage obvious to individuals: “Under the distinction of callings, by which the members of polished society are separated from each other, every individual is supposed to possess his species of talent, or his peculiar skill, in which the others are confessedly ignorant; and society is made to consist of parts, of which none is animated with the spirit of society itself ” (1995, 207).95

94 See above, chapter 2.1.2.5. Similar ideas are expressed by Gibbon 1993/94, vol. 1, 245: “In a civilised state, every faculty of man is expanded and exercised; and a great chain of mutual dependence connects and embraces the several members of society.” In this respect, Ferguson essentially takes his lead from Smith, who sees the division of labor as a prerequisite for detaching the individual from feudal relations of dependence. In contrast to Smith, however, he takes a negative view of the release of the individual through the division of labor—as a form of social alienation. 95 Schiller’s reflections on the division of labor and on its pernicious consequences in On the Aesthetic Education of Man (especially in letter 6) are strongly indebted to Ferguson in this respect. See Oz-Salzberger 1995, 306–307.

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According to Ferguson, there is one sphere of society on which the principle of the division of labor exercises a particularly adverse effect, namely warfare. In the civilized society, the art of war too is the concern of specialists.96 National defense is the responsibility of a standing mercenary or professional army. Just as laws protect the citizen internally, the army does so externally, ensuring he can go about his private business unimpeded. Not even in war, Ferguson tells us, is the citizen of a civilized society required to take a stand on behalf of his polity, let alone put his life on the line for it. Furthermore, the nature of warfare has enduringly changed. Modern wars are no longer waged in order to annihilate the enemy (that is, to eradicate the general population, “to wound the state by destroying its members,” 1995, 184). Private individuals are protected as far as possible. Instead the goal is to damage one’s opponent’s public authority, to conquer territories and resources. War too comes under the spell of self-interest. The consequence is the humanization of war. Yet Ferguson does not perceive this as straightforward progress. In his view the cruelty of archaic wars of annihilation, in which every member of the affected societies personally participates, is the condition for their total identification with a common cause. In such a war literally everything is at stake—both individual and collective survival. It is precisely this existential seriousness that makes it possible to approach war, indeed life itself, like a game: “battles were fought with desperation [...]. The game of human life went upon a high stake, and was played with proportional zeal” (1995, 184). Ferguson thus establishes an opposition between the archaic sense of community and modern private self-interest, between the ludic heroism of archaic citizen-soldiers and the prosaic utilitarianism of the civilized homo oeconomicus. The question now arises as how the barbarous societies in the narrower sense fit in to this dichotomous picture. This question is all the more pressing given that Ferguson adopts from his predecessors Montesquieu, Turgot, Rousseau, and Smith the distinction between savage and barbarous societies—thus factoring in the mode of subsistence as a key criterion. Ferguson defines the difference between savages and barbarians as follows: [Of the rude nations,] some intrust their subsistence chiefly to hunting, fishing, or the natural produce of the soil. They have little attention to property, and scarcely any beginnings of subordination or government. Others having possessed themselves of herds, and depending for their provision on pasture, know what it is to be poor and rich. They know the relations of patron and client, of servant and master, and suffer themselves to be classed according to their measures of wealth. This distinction must create a material difference of character, and may furnish two separate heads, under which to consider the history of mankind in their rudest state; that of the savage, who is not yet acquainted with property; and that of the barbarian, to whom it is, although not ascertained by laws, a principle object of care and desire. (1995, 81)

96 Besides warfare, there is a second sphere of social practice on which the division of labor has a particularly pernicious effect in Ferguson’s view: literature and art. In advanced civil society, the poet is just one specialist among many others. Poetry degenerates into a mere craft; it no longer serves to express individual and collective passions, but is fabricated according to mechanical rules. Literature and poetry are alienated from the collective life of the nation; they cease to function as a social medium. See Ferguson 1995, 37–43.

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Borrowing from his compatriot Smith, Ferguson sees the invention of property as the crucial social innovation of the barbarous stage of development. The introduction of property pulls the rug from under the political equality typical of savage social groups. Differences arise between poor and rich; self-interested passions such as avarice, envy and jealousy take hold, threatening the elementary community spirit so characteristic of archaic social groups. Concurrently, the need to protect property spurs the emergence of the first, rudimentary state institutions. However—and here Ferguson deviates strikingly from his key sources Montesquieu and Smith—this does not include the institution of the law. He explicitly remarks that in barbarous societies property is not secured by laws. Instead, it is vouchsafed by powerful leaders, who attain authority as a result of their wealth and success on the field of battle: “They unite in following leaders, who are distinguished by their fortunes, and by the lustre of their birth” (1995, 97). The introduction of property also triggers a profound shift in the nature of warfare. War—so it seems at first sight—loses its ludic character. It no longer serves solely as a means for the nation to affirm itself and as an outlet for social affects, but also as a means of obtaining booty. Ferguson underlines the rapacious character of barbarous social groups: They join the desire of spoil with the love of glory; and from an opinion, that what is acquired by force, justly pertains to the victor, they become hunters of men, and bring every contest to the decision of the sword. Every nation is a band of robbers, who prey without restraint, or remorse, on their neighbours. Cattle, says Achilles, may be seized in every field [...]. (1995, 97)

It thus seems as though Ferguson is defining barbarism as a degenerate form of the social. In a sense, at the barbarous developmental stage the social loses its playful innocence. The affective cohesion of the community is weakened by the onset of self-interested passions: “the bands of society must become less firm” (1995, 97). Barbarism seems to prefigure the competition and alienation typical of commercial society, with its division of labor. At the same time it is unable to provide the stable security and individual independence guaranteed by a legal order. The barbarous social group lacks both the savages’ community spirit and the legal protections enjoyed by the civilized. It thus signifies something akin to a liminal state, marked by despotic-arbitrary violence. Yet appearances are deceptive. In Ferguson’s work too, the ambivalence of barbarism—so characteristic of eighteenth-century social stage theories—comes to the fore. If barbarians’ negative characteristics stand out in contrast with savages, then comparison with the civilized highlights their positive traits all the more strikingly. Furthermore, Ferguson makes it clear that, when it comes to the intensity of affective ties to the collectivity, barbarous social groups outdo even savage communities. The ludic element plays a role here. Ferguson’s barbarians are—even more than the savages—playful gamesters: “They are still averse to labour, addicted to war, [...] addicted to violence, with hazardous sports, and with games of chance” (1995, 96–97). Play and risk are components of the relationship they maintain with their leaders. Therefore, barbarous leadership is less authoritarian and hierarchical than it may seem at first sight. A fundamental political equality persists even among the barbarians:

2.1.  The Concept of Barbarism in Eighteenth-Century Theories       113 The chieftain, sufficiently distinguished from his tribe, to excite their admiration, [...] is the object of their veneration, not of their envy: he is considered as the common bond of connection, not as their common master; is foremost in danger, and has a principle share in their troubles: his glory is placed in the number of his attendants, in his superior magnanimity and valour; that of his followers, in being ready to shed their blood in his service. The frequent practice of war tends to strengthen the bands of society, and the practice of depredation itself engages men in trials of mutual attachment and courage. What threatened to ruin and overset every good disposition in the human breast, what seemed to banish justice from the societies of men, tends to unite the species in clans and fraternities; formidable, indeed, and hostile to one another, but in domestic society of each, faithful, disinterested, and generous. (1995, 99)

The barbarous leader is primus inter pares. His rule is based on informal recognition by his fellows, which may be withdrawn at any time. This means that the barbarous form of rule differs not in principle but only by degrees from that practiced in savage social groups.97 The superiority of the barbarous leader is based on his conscious efforts to seek out the situations of greatest danger in war. In the ‘game’ of life and death it is he who takes the greatest risks, who plays for the highest stakes. He goes out on a limb for his followers and they repay him with love and unreserved devotion. The gift of life their leader is willing to give in the game of war triggers the counter-gift of their own unconditional commitment to the community, embodied in the person of the leader. Barbarous leadership complies with the excessive economy of gift and game, which contrasts with the calculating utilitarianism of commercial, civilized society. According to Ferguson, this also goes for the booty seized by the barbarians on their warlike raids. It is not material wealth that matters to them here. Like the gambler’s winnings, for the barbarous leader booty is of symbolic import. It is an indication of the boldness and daring that underlie its acquisition. Booty is a sign of renown: “the principle object is glory; and spoil is considered as a badge of victory” (1995, 100). The barbarous leader, furthermore, uses the booty to strengthen his followers’ devotion. According to Ferguson, since there are no luxury goods in barbarous societies and booty therefore consists only in ‘natural’ goods such as livestock, wine or corn, the leader cannot consume his wealth alone. He must share it with others, passing it on as a generous gift, which demands the presentees’ fealty as counter-gift.98 The property of the barbarians, acquired in war, is directly generative of community: “In this manner, the possession of riches serves only to make the 97 According to Ferguson, in savage social groups certain individuals achieve a position of authority due to their superior capabilities: “Power is no more than the natural ascendancy of the mind; the discharge of office no more than a natural exercise of the personal character; [...] youth, ardour, and valour in the field, give a title to the station of leader” (Ferguson 1995, 84). 98 Here Ferguson refers directly to the reasoning of his compatriot Smith (see above, chapter 2.1.2.5, pp.  98–99). Yet while Smith underlines the dependence and bondage generated by the barbarous gift economy, Ferguson highlights the intensive corporative cohesion it engenders. And while Smith sees the mechanisms of mercantile society, with its division of labor, as a means of overcoming such dependence, Ferguson considers it the cause of social alienation.

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owner assume a character of magnanimity, to become the guardian of numbers, or the public object of respect and affection” (1995, 238). Playing for the highest stakes in the dangerous game of life and passing this contribution on to his followers as a gift, the leader of the barbarous social group signifies no aloof agency of power. He directly embodies the barbarous community. He himself, his concrete person, is the tie that binds it together, “the common bond of connection” (1995, 99). This distinguishes barbarous from civilized society, where social interplay is regulated by the institutions of state and law, together with the mechanisms of commerce, with its division of labor, while society as a whole has become abstract. According to Ferguson, however, this also distinguishes it from the savage social group, which is devoid of elevated leaders. The love for one’s nation, which is highly pronounced among savages, is directed towards the collectivity as a whole. Because this collectivity is small and manageable, the affective focus remains fixed on a specific object. In barbarous society, the love for one’s nation shifts away from the collectivity towards the charismatic leader, who embodies and represents it. Community spirit and the associated affects are personalized and thus intensified. This is because love for a person is always stronger than that for a collectivity, however small. Moreover, this is love for a person from whom the members of the barbarous society have received generous gifts—in fact the gift of life itself.99 Barbarians participate in their leader’s charisma, which he has acquired through his daring in the game of war. The personalization of patriotism intensifies the community’s affective cohesion. Barbarous leadership, as Ferguson conceives of it, is not despotic rule. It is the rule of charisma, which seeks to unleash the power of affect.100 In this form of rule, terror and play are two sides of the same coin. The dangerous psychodynamics that underpins this system of authority is teased out and problematized in Friedrich Schiller’s play Die Räuber, as we will see in the next chapter (2.2.).

2.1.2.7. Barbarian Origins of Language and of Contractuality: Smith and Rousseau The shift in the semantics of barbarism that can be observed in eighteenth-century theories of culture and society also affects its relation to language. Originally, the Greek term bárbaros was an onomatopoetic word, suggesting the unintelligibility of an alien idiom and the inarticulateness of its sounds.101 Thus, the speech of the barbarian was not acknowledged as a language, it was reduced to the status of noise. Barbarism signified non-language. In Enlightenment theories of culture, by contrast, as barbarism is elevated to a key stage in the evolution of social institutions, 99 The barbarous leader thus takes on the role of maternal giver of life. He is not so much a despotic father figure as a nurturing mother figure, which explains the intensity of his followers’ feelings towards him. On the conflation of the barbarous form of society with a specific model of the family, see the analysis of Rousseau’s Le Lévite d’Éphraïm in chapter 2.1.2.7 and the case study on Friedrich Schiller’s Die Räuber in chapter 2.2. 100 On Max Weber’s concept of charismatic authority and its potential relevance to the eighteenth-century concept of barbarism, see above, footnote 37. 101 On the onomatopoetic roots of the term and their effects on its semantics, see Markus Winkler’s Introduction to this volume, chapter 1.2.1.

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it is also credited with effecting a decisive progress in the development of language. Some eighteenth-century theories of language even associate the stage of barbarian pastoralism with the origin of human language proper. According to these theories, articulated language consisting of spoken words which refer to specific conceptual entities was invented by barbarian shepherds. In his Essai sur l’origine des langues Rousseau, for instance, argues that the primitive hunters and gatherers of the savage stage of cultural evolution lacked such a language: “Dans les prémiers tems les hommes épars sur la face de la terre n’avoient de société que celle de la famille, de loix que celles de la nature, de langue que le geste et quelques sons inarticulés” (“In the first times, men, scattered over the face of the earth, had no society other than that of the family, no laws other than those of nature, no language other than that of gesture and some inarticulate sounds,” Rousseau 1995, 395; Rousseau 1998a, 305). Here, it is not the barbarian but the savage who produces inarticulate noise in lieu of meaningful language. Such language is an achievement of the barbarian pastoralist. Gesture and noise are replaced by articulated sounds only when several families have gathered together at a spring or well in order to water their livestock and when, as a consequence, the incestuous coupling of siblings prompted by the natural drive of procreation within isolated savage families has given way to passionate love between members of different families: “Là se formérent les prémiers liens des familles [...]. Là se firent les prémiéres fêtes, [...] le geste empressé ne suffisoit plus, la voix l’accompagnoit d’accens passionnés, le plaisir et le desir confondus ensemble se faisoient sentir à la fois” (“There were formed the first ties between families [...]. There the first festivals took place, [...] eager gesture no longer sufficed, the voice accompanied it with passionate accents; mingled together, pleasure and desire made themselves felt at the same time,” 1995, 405–6; 1998a, 314). Spoken language as a medium of desire is the product of the pastoral mode of life. Linguistic difference that allows to distinguish between sounds and words comes into being at the same time as sexual difference and the taboo of incest, which makes a distinction among the members of the other sex and introduces the social institution of mariage.102 Another eminent eighteenth-century theorist of language, the German writer and philosopher Johann Gottfried Herder, establishes an even closer connection between the pastoral mode of subsistence and the invention of language. In his treatise Über den Ursprung der Sprache (On the Origin of Language, 1772), he famously refers to the example of the sheep in order to illustrate how human beings coined the very first meaningful word of their language. Among the abundance of sensual data received by the mind of archaic man in his first encounter with a sheep—the whiteness of the animal’s color, the softness of its fleece, its bleating voice—, he fixes upon one sensation. This is transformed into a linguistic sign, a “Merkzeichen” (“characteristic sign of reason”), which stands in for the entire animal (Herder 1985, 722–29; Herder 102 According to Rousseau, incest marks the ordinary mode of procreation among savages: “Il falut bien que les prémiers hommes épousassent leurs sœurs. Dans la simplicité des prémiéres mœurs cet usage se perpetua sans inconvenient tant que les familles restérent isolées” (“The first men simply had to marry their sisters. Given the simplicity of the first morals, this practice was perpetuated without drawback as long as families remained isolated,” Rousseau 1995, 406; Rousseau 1998a, 314).

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1986, 115–23). The ambivalent German term “Merkzeichen” signifies a memorative sign which allows the human being to reproduce the experience at will in his memory, but it also refers to the mental activity of aufmerken (i.e., to focus one’s attention on something) and thus to the cognitive process that turns the complex of sensual data into a concept. It is no coincidence that sheep figures as the first human word in Herder’s theory of language. The sheep is the paradigm of a gregarious animal suitable for domestication. By singling out the sheep, the primal scene of language formation is located firmly in the context of pastoral nomadism. In his seminal work of cultural history, the Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit (Outline of a Philosophy of the History of Man, 1784–91), Herder makes this connection even clearer. Here, the act of designating the sheep is presented as paradigmatic of the human subjugation of nature. Desginating the sheep, Herder argues, is a first and indispensable step in the process of domesticating the animal and thus of appropriating it and its resources (its milk, its wool and its meat): Der Mensch z. B. der von den Tieren ein Merkmal der Benennung faßte, hatte damit auch den Grund gelegt, die zähmbaren Tiere zu bezähmen, die nutzbaren sich nutzbar zu machen und überhaupt alles in der Natur für sich zu erobern: denn bei jeder dieser Zueignungen tat er eigentlich nichts, als das Merkmal eines zähmbaren, nützlichen, sich zuzueignenden Wesens bemerken und es durch Sprache oder Probe bezeichnen. Am sanften Schaf z. E. bemerkte er die Milch, die das Lamm sog, die Wolle, die seine Hand wärmte und suchte das Eine wie das Andre sich zuzueignen. (1989, 356) The man, for example, who conceived a mark of designation from an animal, in so doing laid the foundations of domesticating tameable animals, benefitting himself by such as were useful, and rendering himself the general lord of every thing in nature: for in every one of his appropriations he does nothing in reality but mark the characters of a tameable, useful being, to be employed for his own convenience, and designate it by language or pattern. In the gentle sheep, for instance, he remarked the milk sucked by the lamb, and the wool that warmed his hand, and endeavoured to appropriate each to his own use. (1966, 240)

One and the same mental act of signification thus gives birth to a linguistic medium of communication, an epistemic instrument of cognition, a new mode of subsistence and a primitive form of property. Tellingly, Herder links this crucial achievement, which constitutes human culture as an autonomous sphere over and against nature, to barbarian pastoralism and not to the cultivation of land. It is the barbarian nomad who is credited with the creation of the symbolic order of culture. Thus, more is at stake in eighteenth-century theories of language than the origin of mere systems of communication. According to these theories, linguistic structure, epistemic order and social organization are interconnected. Speculations about the origin of language are linked systematically to the origin of society and its institutions: the origin of property, of marriage, and of the first legal forms devised to safeguard these institutions. As Rousseau argues in the Essai, the springs and wells where families first gathered together and formed primitive societies are also the places where the first covenants were made, the first oaths were taken and the

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first contentions arose: “c’est là que commencérent et leurs traittés et leurs querelles” (“it is [...] there that their treaties as well as their quarrels began,” Rousseau 1995, 403; Rousseau 1998a, 312). These places of assembly also mark the prototype of a public sphere. Therefore, the stage of barbarism is associated with language as medium of the public, of social bonding and of proto-legal contractuality. In the barbarian phase of cultural history, language achieves a binding power—the power to create a primitive public sphere, to forge social bonds and to generate elementary forms of legality. To be sure, eighteenth-century stadial theories of culture do not conceive of barbarian society as the product of a social contract. Rather, they link the stage of barbarism to the gradual emergence of ‘contractuality’ as such, that is, of proto-juridical modes of liability, such as the oath, the bond, and the covenant. These modes of liability are coupled with specific linguistic forms. Barbarian practices of social bonding correspond to certain elementary legal and linguistic forms. One of these forms is the oath.103 As we have seen, Adam Smith, in his Lectures on Jurisprudence, opposes theories of social constitution that link the origin of property to agriculture and sedentariness. According to Smith, the barbarian herdsman who succeeds in taming wild animals figures as the inventor of property. Property necessitates the introduction of social mechanisms that secure possession: law and jurisdiction, forms of government and of public authority. Smith rejects the idea that societies are constituted by a social contract. But though he insists on the fact that there is no foundational social contract on which the structures of society are erected, he concedes that contractual relations among individuals are the very stuff that civil societies are made of. So if property (and with it, the lineaments of civil society) originates among nomadic shepherds, must this not also be true of contracts? At first sight, Smith seems to to deny the fact that barbarian nomads were able to engage in contracts: “We find [...] that in the first periods of society, and even till it had made some considerable advances, contracts were noways binding” (Smith 1978, 88). In accordance with their volatile nature, their ineluctable mobility, barbarian nomads seem to be unable to commit themselves to the stability of a contractual relation. Smith goes on to specify the reasons for this inability. If their contracts lack the power to bind the contracting parties, he argues, this is due to the fact that they do not possess a medium which grants them permanence and stability. Their contracts are not binding because they suffer from an “uncertainty of language” (1978, 88). Just as the nomads refrain from settling in a fixed abode, they have difficulties to agree on settled meanings in their utterances: “Language at all times must be somewhat ambiguous, and it would be more so in the state of society we are talking about. This must render it very difficult to conclude with exactness the intention of the contracting parties” (1978, 88). In the age of barbarian nomadism, there is no public language in the strict sense of the term. Each individual speaks his or her own linguistic variant, nobody can be sure to be understood by the other. However, according to Smith, the members of nomadic society hit upon an ingenious expedient to repair this de103 On the prelegal forms of the oath, promise and covenant see also the Historical Law Tracts by Smith’s patron Home (Home 1776, 65–86). For a current view of the oath as a proto-­ legal mode of liability, see Agamben 2010.

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fect of language. They invent the oath—a supplement to, or rather a prototype of the contract that serves to stabilize its meaning. In fact, the oath constitutes the origin of the contract. It marks the primitive form of a mutual obligation characteristic of barbarian society: “Oaths we may observe are most in use amongst barbarous [...] nations” (1978, 91). In Smith’s view, the oath is not a performative speech act but rather serves a constative function—it clarifies the contractor’s intention: “Oaths [...] are there thought necessary to signify plainly the will of the person” (1978, 91); they consist of “a certain set form of words which it [is] agreed express[] the design of the contracter” (1978, 89). Smith’s line of reasoning is circular. In order to make binding contracts possible, the would-be contractors must already have concluded a contract—a linguistic contract as it were that fixes meaning by agreeing on a set form of words. The oath is the one linguistic form that possesses a clarity and fixity of meaning. Within a limited domain, it transforms the fluid and opaque language of nomadism into a stable and transparent medium—a medium of publicity. In shepherd society, the public originates as a function of language. The oath constitutes a first step towards ‘settling’ the barbarian nomad. The shepherd stage of society thus not only marks the origin of public power, it also marks the birth of an intralinguistic public, a reliable medium for the negotiation of public affairs. So Smith seems to conceive of the binding power of the contract as something that emanates directly from its unequivocal meaning, its rational clarity. Its illocutionary force is a function of its transparency: “the first contracts which were binding were those wherein the intention of the contractor was plain and uncontroverted” (1978, 89). Transparency of meaning is in turn linked to oral language. Contrary to what one would have expected, Smith does not attribute to the medium of writing the ability to fix meanings and to stabilize contractual relations. Far from it, in his view writing obstructs the transparency of meaning characteristic of the spoken word and therefore destabilizes contractual obligations: At this time no contract could be made but amongst those who actually uttered the words by which the contract was comprehended. An oath can only be taken from one who actually delivers it from his own mouth. A written and signed oath is of no effect. Writing is no naturall expression of our thoughts (which language is,) and therefore is more dubious and not so setled in the meaning. (1978, 91)

According to Smith, the barbarian oath is subject to the imperative of immediacy. He who takes an oath must do so in his own person; he must not delegate it to a substitute such as a piece of writing. Thus, apart from the alleged transparency of meaning, a second element defines the barbarian oath. The taker of the oath gives himself as a security. He must vouch with his very person and body for the fulfillment of the obligation he takes upon himself. The bond between two parties that is established by the oath binds them together immediately, bodily so to speak. In the end, transparency of meaning does not suffice to endow the barbarian oath with such a binding power. As Smith concedes, there must also be some kind of ritual, a ceremonial form: “Some solemnity is at first required to make a contract appear altogether binding” (1978, 97). The barbarian oath does not only serve the function of clarifying and fixing meaning, it is also an instrument of “solemnity.” It lends the

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contract an impressive and memorable form. By means of its solemn ritual form, the oath inscribes the contract into the memories and the bodies of the contractors. Smith gives a graphic example of the solemnity of barbarian oaths: “Herodotus tells us that the Scythians, when they desired to make a contract entirely binding, drew blood of one another into a bowl, dip’t their arrows in it, and afterwards drank it off ” (1978, 97).104 Here the oath that supplements the contract does not have the form of spoken words but of symbolic action. The oath obliges the contractors to literally incorporate the contract and to incorporate each other. Such oaths do not result in rational clarity, rather, they constitute “horrid ceremonies” which produce “fear and terror” in the contractors (1978, 97). They imply a superstitious belief in the magic power of blood. The opacity of blood signals a relapse into the irrational sphere of passion and sensuality. Thus, the status of the oath in nomadic society remains undecidable: it is both a medium of barbarous spectacle and of incipient rationality, both a source of symbolic exchange and an act of cannibalistic incorporation, of mutual predatory appropriation. Just as the barbarian shepherd acquires property by means of violent subjugation and rapine rather than by commercial exchange, the oath marks a mode of contractual reciprocity that incorporates the other rather than producing a relational balance. So Smith conceives of a primitive mode of contractuality specific to the stage of pastoral barbarism. Rousseau elaborates upon this concept in his writings on the history of society and culture. In his Essai sur l’origine des langues, he correlates the development of society to the development of human language. The origin of social bonding in the age of barbarian shepherds is linked to the origin of language—and this in turn is associated with the origin of contracts. In his reflections on primitive forms of contractuality, Rousseau takes up a line of thought he also develops in his pedagogical novel Emile ou De l’éducation (Emile or On Education, 1762). Therefore, in what follows, I will refer both to the Essai and to the Emile. Just as Smith, Rousseau connects the origin of the contract to a primitive mode of the public. The elementary public is based on a special type of language—a “langue des signes” (“language of signs,” Rousseau 1969, 645; Rousseau 2009a, 490; Rousseau 1995, 376; Rousseau 1998a, 290). This language is not spoken, it constitutes a silent language of visual tokens, gestures, and pantomimic display, a language of things and symbols. According to Rousseau, such visual symbols do not require any interpretation—they immediately reveal their meaning. The “langue des signes” is a transparent medium, hence its suitability for constituting a public sphere. The example Rousseau offers is highly significant. He refers to the age when the first contracts were concluded among men: Toutes les conventions se passoient avec solemnité pour les rendre plus inviolables ; avant que la force fut établie les Dieux étoient les magistrats du genre humain : c’est par devant eux que les particuliers faisoient leurs traittés, leurs alliances, prononçoient leurs promesses ; la face de la terre étoit le livre où s’en conservoient les archives. Des rochers, des arbres, des monceaux de pierre consacrés par ces actes et rendus respect-

104 Home cites the same example of the barbarian “solemnities” used for empowering oaths in his Historical Law Tracts (Home 1776, 67).

120       Christian Moser ables aux hommes barbares, étoient les feuillets de ce livre ouvert sans cesse à tous les yeux. Le puits du serment, le puits du vivant et voyant, le vieux chêne de Mambré, le monceau du témoin, voila quels étoient les monumens grossiers mais augustes de la sainteté des contrats ; nul n’eut osé d’une main sacrilége attenter à ces monumens, et la foi des hommes étoit plus assurée par la garantie de ces témoins müets qu’elle ne l’est aujourdui par toute la vaine rigueur des loix. (1969, 646) All their covenants took place with solemnity in order to make them more inviolable. Before force was established, the Gods were the magistrates of mankind. It was in their presence that individuals made their treaties and alliances and uttered their promises. The face of the earth was the book in which their archives were preserved. Stones, trees, heaps of rocks consecrated by these acts and thus made respectable to barbaric men, were the pages of this book, which was constantly open to all eyes. The well of the oath, the well of the living and seeing, the old oak of Mamre, the mound of the witness, these were the crude but august monuments of the sanctity of contracts. None would have dared to attack these monuments with a sacrilegious hand, and the faith of men was more assured by the guarantee of these mute witnesses than it is today by all the vain rigor of the laws. (2009a, 490)

Obviously, Rousseau evokes a biblical setting for the primitive public constituted by establishing contractual relations. We are in the world of the biblical patriarchs, of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. At the same time, these patriarchs are marked as herdsmen. Thus, we are transferred to the shepherd stage of stadial theory—the period in which, according to the Rousseau of the Essai, human society and language originated. In this period, society does not possess a government. The gods or God himself is the magistrate. Therefore, in order to gain binding power, contracts must be testified and sanctioned by God. Contracts are concluded in the face of God. In Rousseau’s view, however, the face of God is nature. The contractors commit themselves to their deed in the open space of nature. But nature not only attests the presence of God, it also functions as an archive, a medium that records and preserves the contract. The contract is inscribed into nature by means of a commemorative sign, a monument. By marking the earth, it attains a face, a physiognomy: “la face de la terre était le livre où s’en conservaient les archives.” Allegedly, this act of marking does not constitute a forceful intervention. The landscape is not violently transformed. Rather, the signs used for marking are provided by nature itself—elements of the landscape which are already there, which merely require ‘consecration,’ a gentle, non-invasive form or ritual, in order to become legible as signifiers: some rocks, a tree or a spring. The “langue des signes” which constitutes public space seems to grow out of nature organically; the medium employed to preserve the covenant constitutes a ‘natural’ form of writing. These marks point to the presence of God and to divine testimony, which secures the binding power of the contract. But it is also a witness in itself—a ‘témoin muet.’ Moreover, the sign that is openly placed in the middle of the landscape turns everybody—any passerby who might see it—into a witness of the conclusion of contract. The sign is accessible, visible and legible to all—to the contractors, to God, to the passersby, to all the members of society. By discerning the sign, any passerby is made a witness and guardian of the contract. Thus, the sign constitutes

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a public—a sphere of maximum openness, transparency and surveillance. Just as in the case of Smith, the transparency of meaning seems to guarantee the binding power of the contract. The sign attains an illocutionary force by virtue of the transparency it generates. It embodies the omniscient vigilance of God and the human public. The sign functions as a living eye, an œil vivant, to quote from Rousseau’s novel La nouvelle Héloïse (The New Heloise, 1761).105 Significantly, Rousseau mentions springs and wells as prominent examples of signs that warrant the validity of contracts. As we have seen, springs and wells—the places where pastoralists lead their herds to give them water—play a crucial role in the Essai. This is where primitive people gather together and found society; this is where spoken language originates. The clear water issuing from the well refers to the transparency of meaning established by the “langue des signes.” It is opposed to the opacity of blood that flows when the body is wounded, when nature is violated by means of an invasive inscription (as in the example of the Scythians mentioned by Smith). But wells also figure as eyes of the landscape. Wells and springs provide nature with eyes and therefore with a face. As natural signs, springs and wells allow for face-to-face communication between man and nature, man and God. Signs such as wells constitute a ‘natural writing,’ which is contrasted by Rousseau to the artificial writing developed in civil society. Rousseau speaks of the “vaine rigeur des loix”—the vain rigor of laws encoded in books, in the artificial signs of writing. These opaque signs lack illocutionary force—they do not have any binding power. In order to enforce the written laws of civilized society, its government must resort to supplementary means, to “force” on the one hand, the threat of physical violence and punishment, to “interêt” on the other hand, the incitement of self-interest by rewards and bribes (1969, 645; 2009a, 490; 1995, 428; 1998a, 331–32). Barbarian society, by contrast, does not require the coercive means of a state apparatus in order to enforce contractual obligations. The signs employed for ‘inscribing’ the primitive contract are powerful in themselves. So Rousseau, just as Smith, repudiates (alphabetic) writing as medium for preserving covenants. Contrary to Smith, however, he does not oppose the feebleness of the written to the power of the spoken word. Rather, he envisages an alternative, more ‘natural’ and more immediate mode of inscription which not only fixes the contract and guarantees the transparency of its meaning, but also grants its binding power. The gentleness and non-invasiveness attributed to this barbarian form of inscription with regard to the primal scene of covenant-making is merely an apparent one, however. Closer inspection reveals that the binding power attributed to the “langue des signes” is the result of a brutal act of violence devised to terrorize and overawe contractors into complying with their obligations. As in Smith, the bar-

105 In the novel, the literary character M. de Wolmar, paradigm of the enlightened and virtuous sage, expresses his desire to become the silent witness and surveillant observer of human society in order to read in its members’ hearts: “J’aime à lire dans les cœurs des hommes [...]. La société m’est agréable pour la contempler, non pour en faire partie. Si je pouvois changer la nature de mon être et devenir un œil vivant, je ferois volontiers cet échange” (“I like to read what is in men’s hearts [...]. I enjoy observing society, not taking part in it. If I could change the nature of my being and become a living eye, I would gladly make that exchange,” Rousseau 1964d, 491; Rousseau 1997a, 403).

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barian contract is inscribed into the bodies of the contracting parties. The example Rousseau gives to illustrate the “langue des signes” makes this clear: Quand le lévite d’Ephraïm voulut venger la mort de sa femme, il n’écrivit point aux Tribus d’Israël ; il divisa le corps en douze piéces et les leur envoya. À cet horrible aspect ils courent aux armes en criant tout d’une voix : non, jamais rien de tel n’est arrivé dans Israël, depuis le jour que nos péres sortirent d’Egipte jusqu’à ce jour. Et la Tribu de Benjamin fut exterminée. (1995, 377) When the Levite of Ephraïm wanted to avenge the death of his wife, he did not write to the Tribes of Israel; he divided the body into twelve pieces and he sent them to them. At this horrible sight they ran to arms, crying with one voice: No, never has anything like this happened in Israel, from the day our fathers left Egypt to this day! And the tribe of Benjamin was exterminated. (1998a, 291)

Here, Rousseau refers to the story of the Levite of Ephraïm told in the Book of Judges of the Old Testament. In order to obtain retribution for the rape and murder of his wife by members of the tribe of Benjamin, he sends a part of her dismembered body to each of the other tribes of Israel. By dismembering the body, the Levite inscribes a message into it and transforms it into a signifier—a sign that says all without the aid of words (“le signe a tout dit avant qu’on parle,” 1995, 376; “the sign has said everything before one speaks,” 1998a, 290). The dismembered body refers to the violence committed not only to the Levite’s wife, but also to the entire people of Israel by the heinous crime of the Benjaminites. Her fragmented body symbolizes the body politic of Israel and its impending destruction through the defection of the tribe of Benjamin. It reminds the tribes of the covenant that binds them together and calls for their loyalty to the alliance. Paradoxically, it is a dismembered body that recalls the act of covenant-making out of which an integral body corporate arose. The Levite must symbolically reenact the violence committed by the Benjaminites in order to reanimate the original covenant. His horrid deed reveals the violence required to form an alliance and to make a covenant binding in the first place. Tellingly, the tribes respond to this terrifying symbolic appeal by renewing their vow unanimously—by speaking with one voice (“en criant tout d’une voix”). To conclude, though the society of barbarian shepherds does not originate in a foundational social contract and does not possess an abstract body of laws, it is held together by certain pre-legal modes of liability such as the covenant and the oath. These primitive stipulations are preserved in an embodied form: they are inscribed either into the body of the earth inhabited by the respective social group or into the bodies of the contractors.106 According to Rousseau, the binding force exerted by such pre-legal forms of contractuality is extraordinary. They create a strong social cohesion. Thus, they constitute a preform of the social contract that underlies developed civil society. The barbarian covenant differs from the civilized contract with regard to the mode of exchange it puts into effect. Contractuality always implies an 106 On body-marks such as scarifications, tattoos etc. as archaic modes of inscribing the social contract or covenant see Clastres 1987; Moser 2012.

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exchange of material or immaterial goods, of rights and obligations (Foucault 1997, 173–74; 2004, 194–95). In civil society, this legal trade is rationalized. Rights and obligations are made calculable. In barbarian society, the exchange that takes place between the contracting parties obeys an economy of excess. Just as barbarian rape and plunder are supplanted by an economy of free trade in civilized society, the excessive give and take of pre-contractual barbarian liability is replaced by a just balancing of titles and obligations in civilized contractual law. This at least is the picture drawn by eighteenth-century stadial theory. The social function of pre-legal barbarian contractuality and the specific mode of exchange it implies are illustrated by a short narrative fiction authored by Rousseau and entitled Le Lévite d’Éphraïm (The Levite of Ephraïm).107 In this epyllion, Rousseau elaborates upon the drastic example of the dismembered body presented in the Essai. He tells the story of a barbarian people which, as a consequence of a heinous crime, lapses into an almost genocidal civil war that threatens to extermine one of its tribes and so to dismember the entire body politic. This threat is barely averted and in the end, the alliance between the tribes is reconfirmed. However, Rousseau indicates that reconfirmation of the alliance does not mark a return to some primal scene of covenant-making. Rather, it marks a progress on the scale of civilization (albeit, as is typical of Rousseau, an ambiguous one) involving social change: a transformation of the status of patriarchal authority accompanied by a modification of the structure of the covenant. At the beginning of the epyllion, Rousseau makes it clear that ancient Israel is to be seen as a barbarian society in the sense of stadial theory. It is not subjected to the rule of law and it lacks governmental institutions: Dans les jours de liberté où nul ne régnoit sur le peuple du Seigneur, il fut un tems de licence où chacun, sans reconnoitre ni magistrat ni juge, étoit seul son propre maitre et faisoit tout ce qui lui sembloit bon. Israël, alors épars dans les champs, avoit peu de grandes villes, et la simplicité des ses mœurs rendoit superflu l’empire des loix. (1964b, 1208–9) In the days of freedom in which no one reigned over the people of the Lord, there was a time of license in which each, without recognizing either magistrate or judge, was alone his own master and did all that seemed to him good. Israel, then scattered in the fields, had few great cities, and the simplicity of its morals rendered superfluous the empire of laws. (1998b, 353)

Rousseau’s description of ancient Israel as not being ruled by laws seems odd, given the fact that (as can be gleaned from the Old Testament) its first great leader, Moses, received the law directly from God in token of his covenant with the chosen people. But here as in his philosophical writings Rousseau disregards religious orthodoxy, adapting the biblical story to the end of conveying his idea of social and cultural evolution. Though Rousseau’s Israel is not governed by law, it is subject to the pre-le107 On the genesis of this text and the date of its composition see above, footnote 43.

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gal form of the covenant. Covenants and oaths are the stuff this barbarian society is made of: the covenant between God and his chosen people in the first place, but also the alliance between the twelve tribes as well as many particular alliances between individuals, especially alliances of love between men and women. Thus, the alliance between the Levite of Ephraïm and the young woman from Bethlehem clearly possesses a pre-legal status: he abducted her from her family without asking for her father’s consent. Their relationship is not sanctioned by the rites of mariage.108 As the Levite himself argues, he made her his own not by engaging in a marital contract (which would have involved the father), but by obtaining her love and by deflowering her, by taking into possession and marking her body: “Quel autre que moi peut honorer comme sa femme celle que j’ai receu vierge?” (”Who other than I can honor as his wife the one whom I received a virgin?” 1964b, 1210; 1998b, 354) The alliance between the Levite and the woman from Bethlehem is based on love, predation and bodily inscription. Significantly, in the Levite’s view, the fact that he robbed the woman out of her father’s custody does not impair the legitimacy of his property. On the contrary, the combination of predation, love and defloration seems to constitute a particularly powerful bond and a strong mode of ownership—so strong that its violation (the rape and murder of the woman by the Benjaminites) justifies an extreme and excessive form of retribution put into effect by the entire people of Israel. By violating the bond between the Levite and his ‘wife,’ the Benjaminites imperil the alliance that constitutes the people of Israel as a whole. Thus, the compact between lovers (a sort of engagement or betrothal) must be seen as a model for the pre-legal bond that integrates the tribes of Israel into one body politic. This interpretation is corroborated by the way the tribes react to the Levite’s symbolic appeal for retribution—an appeal, by the way, which is explicitly characterized by the narrator as a barbarian act (“le barbare ose couper ce corps en douze piéces,” 1964b, 1215; “the barbarous man dares cut that body into twelve pieces,” 1998b, 359). Not only do all the tribes (with the exception of Benjamin) respond unanimously: “il s’éleva dans tout Israël un seul cri, mais éclatant, mais unanime: Que le sang de la jeune femme retombe sur ses meurtriers” (“Instantly a single cry arose in all Israel, but resounding, but unanimous: Let the blood of the young woman fall back upon her murderers,” 1964b, 1216; 1998b, 359). What is more, the promise of retribution is reinforced by swearing an oath (“par un serment solemnel,” 1964b, 1217; “with a solemn oath,” 1998b, 360) or, to be precise, by swearing two oaths: The one stipulates that any member of Israel who refuses to partake in the war of retribution shall be killed, the other ordains that no member of Israel may marry his daughter to a Benjaminite. So the excessive violence of the rape and murder is not only answered by an excessively violent war of retaliation, but also by an excess of pre-legal bonding. 108 Rousseau makes this expressly clear: in a footnote (see Rousseau 1964b, 1209; Rousseau 1998b, 353) he refers to a law (Numbers 36.8) that forbids the women of Israel to marry outside their tribe if they do not have a brother (as is the case with the girl from Bethlehem). Thus Rousseau seems to contradict his initial statement according to which ancient Israel was not ruled by law. But this incoherence only serves to highlight the ambiguous status of the barbarian society: a society on its way to civil order, in a liminal sphere between lawlessness and legality, governed by proto- or pre-legal forms.

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In fact, these oaths exert an exorbitant binding power. They are treated as absolutely inviolable by the people of Israel—to the extent that they threaten to destroy the very corporative unity they are intended to constitute. Having slain the entire population of Benjamin save for 600 men, the avenging tribes suddenly realize that they are about to dismantle their own commonwealth. Therefore, they decide to spare the last surviving Benjaminites, to procure them women and to re-integrate their tribe into Israel. However, the oath obliges them to continue in the path of excessive violence in order to do so. First, they fall upon the expedient of destroying the city of Jabes, the only community outside the tribe of Benjamin, which had refused to partake in the campaign of vengeance. So they kill the men of Jabes and transfer their women to the Benjaminites—“comme une proye qu’on venoit de ravir pour eux” (“like prey they had just abducted for them,” 1964b, 1221; 1998b, 363). Still, 200 men of Benjamin remain unprovided for. An old man from Lebona seems to hit upon a solution to the riddle of how to keep the oath while at the same time procuring women for Benjamin: he proposes to allow the 200 single Benjaminites to assault and appropriate the young women of Israel who are about to return from the festivities at Shilo, thus obeying the letter if not the spirit of the oath which forbids the men of Israel “to give” their daughters to the sons of Benjamin (1964b, 1220; 1998b, 363).109 To conclude, the oath constrains the tribes of Israel to practice predation in order to preserve and renew their society. There seems to be a systematic relationship between the pre-legal form of the oath and the economy of rape on which this society is based. Both ‘incorporate’ men and women into the body politic in an immediate, literal way. The oath accounts for the powerful cohesion of the society of Israel, but also for the strong centrifugal forces that threaten to disrupt it. The unswerving solidarity demonstrated by the tribes when called upon to avenge one of its members and the self-destructive violence it unleashes are two sides of the same coin. Therefore, the rape of women proposed by the old man of Lebona is no real solution to the problem of social integration. It leads Israel straight back to the original misdeed and cause of the civil war, which was, after all, the abduction of a woman. Israel seems to be caught in a vicious circle of social auto-cannibalism. It is a body politic that constitutes itself by devouring its own members. How can it escape this vicious circle? Rousseau’s epyllion seems to suggest a way out. The fathers of the young women of Shilo protest against the abduction of their daughters by the Benjaminites. As a consequence, the assembly of the people of Israel decrees that these women should “decide their fate for themselves” (“[elles] décideront elles-mêmes de leur sort,” 1998b, 364; 1964b, 1222). This opens up the possibility of renegotiating the terms of the alliance that constitutes the body politic of Israel. The women are no longer to be the passive objects of a social dynamics in which they are either driven by sensual desire to form an alliance of love or the victims of violent rape and subjugation. If they decide to go with the Benjaminites and thus to contribute to re-constituting the 109 Here literalism—Israel’s imperturbable sticking to the letter of the oath—evokes the Pauline dichotomy of the spirit and the letter and its anti-Jewish implications. Rousseau, however, is less interested in these implications than in the interplay between a specific (pre-) legal form, a certain stage in the evolution of language and social structure.

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body politic, this is a rational choice expressive of their free will. The tribes of Israel have the opportunity of ‘rationalizing’ the alliance, so to speak, of transforming the pre-legal barbarian compact into a full-blown civilized contract. The negotiation that is to result in a new alliance is conducted paradigmatically between the old man of Lebona and his daughter Axa, who is among the young women of Shilo assaulted by the Benjaminites. Axa is in love with Elmacin, a member of her own tribe. So she must choose between the ‘old’ mode of alliance based on love and the new one, which involves the renunciation of her personal desire and her voluntary submission to the higher common good. Axa opts for the latter, the other women of Shilo follow her example, and thus the commonwealth of Israel seems to be reestablished on a more stable rational and contractual basis. Does Rousseau’s Israel really succeed in replacing the barbarian mode of bonding by a civilized social contract? In fact, this is not the case.110 Axa’s exemplary decision turns out to be less free and less rational than it seems at first sight. In her choice, she is guided by her father, who strives to persuade her by the following speech: Axa, lui dit-il, tu connois mon cœur ; j’aime Elmacin, il eut été la consolation de mes vieux jours: mais le salut de ton peuple et l’honneur de ton pére doivent l’emporter sur lui. Fais ton devoir, ma fille, et sauve-moi de l’opprobre parmi mes fréres ; car j’ai conseillé tout ce qui s’est fait. (1964b, 1223) Axa, he said to her, you know my heart; I love Elmacin, he would have been the consolation of my aged days, but the salvation of your people and the honor of your father must win out over him. Do your duty, my daughter, and save me from opprobrium among my brothers, for I have counseled everything that has been done. (1998b, 365)

The old man from Lebona exhorts Axa to renounce her love for Elmacin not only for the sake of Israel, but also for his own sake. Her decision to wed a Benjaminite would spare him public humiliation and shame. Her father’s public and paternal authority is at stake. Thus, rather than being supplanted by rationality, love persists as a principle of social bonding, though no longer in the form of spousal love, but in the form of filial and paternal love. Axa chooses wedlock with a Benjaminite out of love for her father. The new alliance that concludes the epyllion implies a strengthening of paternal authority. While at the outset of the story the Levite and the young woman from Bethlehem disregard paternal authority and thus set in motion a spiral of violence, Axa obeys her father’s will. On the other hand, paternal authority has also undergone a transformation in the course of the events. The old man from Lebona is no patriarchal despot who disposes over his daughter against her will. He yields 110 See Kennedy 2012, 38–39, who also doubts that the contract concluded at the end of Le Lévite d’Éphraïm succeeds in establishing a new social order. She compares this contract with the illegitimate social contract that terminates the state of nature in the Second Discourse: “Both are illegitimate in that they are the outcome of violence, war, oppression, and chaos and are premised on the false promises of peace” (Kennedy 2012, 39). In my interpretation, the contract is not illegitimate, but pre-legitimate, pre-legal, proto-legalistic. Hence it perpetuates barbarian modes of social bonding.

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to her the right to decide for herself. However, in yielding to her this right, he also partially revokes it.111 Axa does not possess the right to decide for her fate ‘by nature,’ rather she is given this right by her father. The right to decide is a generous gift, a token of paternal love, which demands a gift in return. Axa is indebted to her father; his gift of freedom imposes a “duty” (“devoir”) upon her. Insofar as the new alliance between the tribes of Israel is based on this model of paternal and filial love, it is not a rational contract. It still functions within the framework of an excessive economy of gifts, which, according to Adam Smith and Adam Ferguson, is typical of the stage of barbarian pastoralism.112 Axa owes her life and her freedom to her father and therefore gives them to him in return.113 On her father’s side, this compact contains an element of risk and of trust: Since the right to decide is a paternal gift, there always is the possibility of the daughter’s appropriating this gift without giving anything in return. By entrusting the decision to his daughter, the old man from Lebona puts Israel’s future at stake.114 He is a barbarian gambler such as Ferguson describes him in his Essay on the History of Civil Society.115 The new alliance forged at the end of the epyllion is not a contract but a covenant. According to Thomas Hobbes, a covenant (as distinguished from a contract) is set up when “one of the Contractors [...] deliver[s] the Thing contracted for on his part, and leave[s] the other to perform his part at some determinate time after, and in the mean time be trusted” (Hobbes 1996, 94, my emphasis, C. M.).

111 The specific mode of paternal authority constructed in Rousseau’s Le Lévite d’Éphraïm and the concomitant representation of the relationship between father and daughter must be seen within the larger framework of an attempt to redefine paternity in eighteenth-century literature. In particular, the genre of the bourgeois tragedy strives to ‘feminize’ the figure of the father, endowing him with the maternal qualities of a caring, nurturant parent and with tenderness and sensitivity. The relationship between fathers and daughters is thus charged with high affective value. In George Lillo’s The London Merchant (1731), for instance, the figure with the telling name Thorowgood generously grants his daughter Maria the right to choose her own spouse. She is so much abashed by this token of paternal love and trust that she abstains from making use of it: she renounces the man she loves, Barnwell, who turns out to be the murderer of his own uncle and foster father. Having fulfilled the deed and having received pardon by his dying victim, Barnwell compares himself to the Roman emperor Nero, thus indicating that by murdering a caring and loving ‘father,’ he not only committed patricide but also matricide. 112 See above, chapter 2.1.2.5 and chapter 2.1.2.6. 113 In other words: Axa sacrifices her freedom in order to secure patriarchal authority. Again, this leads us back to the beginning of the epyllion: when the Benjaminites threaten to do him violence, the Levite substitutes his beloved companion for himself und thus sacrifices her. At the end of the narrative, female self-sacrifice supplements the male sacrifice of women, but also perpetuates a social order based on the violence of excessive gifts (gifts of life). On the foundational function of sacrifice in Le Lévite d’Éphraïm, see also Rohner 2016, 62. 114 On the status of trust in literary representations of barbarian sociogenesis see Albrecht 2015. 115 See above, chapter 2.1.2.6.

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2.1.2.8. Barbarian Art: Herder and Goethe The positive revaluation of barbarism undertaken by some cultural theorists in the eighteenth century corresponds to a shift in the conception of poetry and literature taking place at the same time. The new poetics of self-expression developed by Rousseau in France, by the Sturm und Drang-movement in Germany and by pre-romantic authors in Britain refers—sometimes explicitly—to the notion of barbarism. This innovative poetics,116 which admonishes authors to disregard established poetic rules and to give free reign to the expression of their passions, individuality, and creative genius, views poetry as a primitive (savage, barbarian) mode of communication. Just as the barbarian horde figures as the model of a society that can do without the institution of abstract law, poetry is conceived of as a ‘natural’ language of the soul that can do without poetic rules. What is more, this innovative poetics recognizes poetry to be the expression not only of the individual, but also of the collective soul—the spirit of the nation. Poetry is redefined as a prime instrument of generating the cohesion of ethnic groups and nations. The intense solidarity that characterizes barbarian societies is linked to the expressive potential of poetry. This connection was developed by (among others) the German philosopher and writer Johann Gottfried Herder, the originator of the concept of ‘national literature’ (Nationalliteratur). In what follows, I will discuss Herder’s early work with regard to the correlation between literature, nationalism, and barbarian modes of social bonding.117 As is well-known, the modern idea of literature as imaginative writing is the outcome of a complex process that occurred in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, first in France, then in Britain and Germany,118 with Herder playing a prominent role in the crucial stages of this process. Previously, the term literature had not referred to a specific body of writing, but to the habitus of the scholarly person, to his or her familiarity with all areas of knowledge, including poetry, rhetoric, and the other arts and sciences. Gradually, the term was transferred to the objects of erudite knowledge, from which the sciences were excluded.119 This object literature was further specified in conjunction with the demise of traditional rhetoric, the rise of the new discipline of aesthetics, and the displacement of normative classicist poetics by the 116 For the new poetics of expression (‘Ausdrucksästhetik’) see the classical study by M. H. Abrams (Abrams 1953). 117 In a wider European context, this correlation was discussed in the course of the controversy about the authenticity of Ossian’s poetry, to which Herder contributed (see his important Auszug aus einem Briefwechsel über Ossian und die Lieder alter Völker [Extract from a Correspondence on Ossian and the Songs of Ancient Peoples, published in 1773]; Herder 1993b, 447–97). In this chapter, I will not rehearse the debate about Ossian, which has been substantially dealt with by scholarship (on barbarism in the context of the Ossian-controversy see Rubel 1978, 46–52; see also Winkler’s Introduction above, chapter 1.2.4). Rather I will focus on the more general, theoretical consequences resulting from the intersection of an innovative anti-classicist poetics and aesthetics and virulent notions of a specifically barbarian mode of sociality. 118 See Wellek 1978, 20. On the evolution of the modern European concept of literature, see also Arntzen 1984; Rosenberg 2001; Weimar 1997. 119 According to Wellek “the term [was] narrowed down to what we today call ‘imaginative literature’” (Wellek 1978, 19).

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idea of natural genius. By the end of this process, literature no longer signified texts that were generated by applying timeless poetical rules or imitating authoritative classical templates. Rather, they were regarded as the output of individual creativity, as products of the imagination. According to Herder, this power of the imagination is a characteristic of all human beings. Therefore poetry, its product, constitutes a common good of humanity. Herder universalizes the poetic faculty, and he thereby universalizes a specific concept of literature—literature as imaginative writing. However, if imaginative literature is a universal phenomenon, it is far from being uniform. The imagination takes on radically different shapes according to varying circumstances in terms of geophysics, ethnicity and social structure.120 Literature is culturally and nationally determined. It is not only the product of a single individual, the poet or writer, but also of a collective individual, the poet’s culture or nation. The concept of national literature, as developed in the German-speaking world chiefly by Johann Gottfried Herder, is systematically related to the new conception of literature as the product of artistic creativity. It couples the tendency towards universalization with the idea of cultural particularity and diversity. According to this conception, literary creativity is only possible within the framework of a national literature. The nation represents, as it were, the natural biotope for the free play of the literary imagination. In a circular process, then, the individual writer’s creative powers are derived from the literary productivity of the national collectivity, while the latter is in turn enriched by his output. Herder illustrates this nexus with an example from English literature and its outstanding representative, William Shakespeare. Herder contrasts Shakespeare with the authors of French classicism, explaining that the latter elevated ancient drama to the status of timelessly valid template, deriving from it binding rules for poetry. Forms of literary representation, which ought to be regarded as Greece’s “highest expression of its national character” (“höchste Nationalnatur,” Herder 2006, 296; Herder 1993a, 506) and which we can understand only in the historical and cultural context of its emergence, had thus been ripped from their original frame of reference and arbitrarily generalized. Shakespeare, meanwhile, rather than “aping” foreign models, drew on the materials and forms made available to him by the history and popular culture of his English homeland; he had managed to “create his drama out of his history, out of the spirit of the age, manners, opinions, language, national prejudices, traditions, and pastimes, even out of carnival plays and puppet plays” (“sein Drama nach seiner Geschichte, nach Zeitgeist, Sitten, Meinungen, Sprache, Nationalvorurteilen, Traditionen, und Liebhabereien, wenn auch aus Fastnachts- und Marionettenspiel [...] [zu] erfinden,” Herder 2006, 297; Herder 1993a, 507, original emphasis, translation modified, C. M.). From this perspective, it is only recourse to national and popular traditions that releases the creative powers of the genius. Even the genius does not ‘invent’ his plays in a vacuum; this is not a creation ex nihilo. Instead, he builds on existing elements of tradition, though according to Herder these should not be features of a heteronomous, aloof, aristocratic or scholarly culture but must 120 This tension between particularizing and universalizing tendencies is characteristic of Herder’s theory of culture and cultural history. See Fischer 1995, 218–29; Löchte 2005, 13–18.

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be rooted in the people. The genius’s creative powers can flourish only in the context of a national culture. Here the poet’s creative imagination is linked to the nation’s collective imaginary. For Herder literature as ‘imaginative fiction’ is conceivable only as national literature.121 In line with the logic of this approach, Herder divests the formerly exemplary literatures of the ancient world of their special status, viewing them as ‘mere’ national literatures. As he sees it, even the Greeks had done no more than construct a “secular and national literature” (“eine Sekular- und National-Literatur,” 1984, 219, original emphasis, my translation, C. M.).122 Rather than models of perfection, their works are the expression of national peculiarity and we can understand them only “in their place” (“auf ihrer Stelle”), in light of their time and situation (1991, 700, original emphasis, my translation, C. M.). Herder goes a step further in his efforts to relativize the prestige of the Greeks’ literature. Rather than viewing their works as generated by a highly developed if nationally constrained culture, he regards them as the products of an early stage of cultural development, comparable with the products of the most primitive of peoples, the kind of peoples European travellers might still encounter in far-off America or northern Asia.123 Herder char121 In 1760s Europe, Herder was by no means alone in his efforts to tie the new concept of imaginative literature to the idea of the nation. Significantly, Adam Ferguson was putting forward very similar ideas during the same period. Ferguson sings the praises of peoples who had, as he saw it, invented their own national mythology and a national literature underpinned by it. Such peoples, Ferguson tells us, are pervaded by an unbridled sense of freedom and national spirit: “It was no doubt of great advantage to those nations, that their system of fable was original, and being already received in popular traditions, served to diffuse those improvements of reason, imagination, and sentiment, which were afterwards, by men of the finest talents, made on the fable itself [...]. The passions of the poet pervaded the minds of the people, and the conceptions of men of genius being communicated to the vulgar, became the incentives of a national spirit. A mythology borrowed from abroad, a literature founded on references to a strange country, [...] are much more confined in their use: they speak to the learned alone” (Ferguson 1995, 77). Ferguson’s work, then, features the same circular, foundational trope as in Herder: the poetic genius is imbued by the people’s traditional mythology; the genius ennobles and elevates this mythology in his literary works and thus has an edifying effect on the people by strengthening its national spirit and giving voice to the nation. There is an interplay between the genius of the writer and the genius of the people—they stimulate one another. 122 This passage marks the first record of the term Nationalliteratur in German. See Koch 1992, 15. 123 Herder’s attempts to cast the formerly exemplary Greek literature in a primitivist light were consonant with the contemporaneous efforts being made in the British context, such as the anti-classical project of historicizing Homer (see for example Thomas Blackwell, An Enquiry into the Life and Writings of Homer, 1736), or comparisons between Homer and Ossian intended to identify both as savage or barbarian nature-poets (see for example Hugh Blair, A Critical Dissertation on the Poems of Ossian, 1763). In his Essay on the History of Civil Society Ferguson portrays the Greeks as a rough, violent nation, who were in no way different from their barbarian neighbors even at the height of their power: “[W]e should never have distinguished the Greeks from their barbarous neighbours, nor have thought, that the character of civility pertained even to the Romans, till very late in their history, and in the decline of their empire” (Ferguson 1995, 185). On the primitivist and barbarizing reinterpretation of Homer in the eighteenth century, see Rubel 1978, 39–101; Simonsuuri 1979, 75–155.

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acterizes the Greeks—and particularly Homer—as “semi-savages” (“Halbwilde”); he considers Orpheus equivalent to “the noblest shaman of Nordic Tartary” (“der edelste Schamane [der] Nordische[n] Tartarei”); the songs of Tyrtaeus resemble “warsongs chanted by North-American chieftains” (“Kriegsgesang [...] singender Führer der Nordamerikaner”); and Greek comedy is akin to the “mummeries among Greenlanders and Americans” (“Mummereien [...] unter Grönländern und Amerikanern,”1990, 63–64, original emphasis, my translation, C. M.). So to put Greek literature in its place Herder opens up a global perspective. He reverses the formerly typical approach: rather than judging peoples and their literatures by the standards of the Greeks, he assesses Greek literature in light of “different peoples”—very different peoples in fact, “free peoples, who knew nothing about of Greeks and Romans! Savages!” (“andrer Völker! freier Völker, die von Griechen und Römern nichts wußten! Wilder!” 1990, 64, original emphasis, my translation, C. M.) The completely alien, non-European world becomes the new benchmark of cultures—this is the only way to bring out the original “vigour and nature” (“Kraft und Natur”) inherent in Greek literature (1990, 63, my translation, C. M.). On this view, by contemplating ‘savage’ peoples not engaged in any form of exchange with European culture one can grasp what it means to be a nation still in its original state of unbridled freedom. According to Herder what these “savages” and “semi-savages” (i.e., barbarians) still are to some extent today is what the Greeks once were: self-sufficient, autonomous, passionate, inventive, and creative. This global, long-distance comparison serves to bring out the originality of nations and their literatures. The aim is not to demonstrate the extent to which different national literatures are mutually interwoven. Quite the reverse: the goal is to mark them as independent and isolated formations distributed across the entire globe. With the help of this comparison, Herder globalizes his concept of literature as a creative achievement. If it is true that the Greeks possessed as unrestrained and savage a national character as the American Indians, it is also true that the literature of these “savages” is capable of producing works as original as those of the Greeks. Across the world literature has national roots and at the heart of this national literature is the free play of the creative imagination. Because literature is national in its primary alignment, it establishes a particularly intensive form of property. In itself, this characteriziation of poetry as a form of property refers to the concept of barbarism as developed in stadial theory, since, according to this theory, property originates in the evolutionary stage of barbarism. In Herder’s view the Greeks, who have invented their own literature, possess the “sovereign right of original property” (“Herrenrecht des Eigentümlichen,” 1984, 200, my translation, C. M.) and here we need to grasp the dual connotation of the German word eigentümlich, which implies both ‘property’ and ‘individuality.’ Conversely, in the case of the Romans, who got their literary forms from the Greeks, this alien gift “has never been turned into their individual property” (“fast nie eigentümlich geworden”); consequently, their literature cannot be viewed as an “original property” (“Originaleigentum,” 1984, 200, my translation, C. M.). Literature as “Originaleigentum” is never something received, but something generated independently—a true cultural artefact.

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This aspect repays closer examination because it provides insights into the cultural traffic between barbarian nations. If Herder comprehends world literature (avant la lettre) qua the global diversity of autonomous national literatures, what is the nature of the relations between these entities? The manifesto of Sturm und Drang published jointly by Herder and Goethe, Von deutscher Art und Kunst. Einige fliegende Blätter (Of German Character and Art, 1773), contains a text by the latter writer that points the way towards answering this question. Goethe tackles the subject of Gothic architecture in a piece entitled “On German Architecture” (“Von deutscher Baukunst”). Here he attempts to establish that the Gothic style is a specifically German form of architecture and engages critically with the idea, so common among his contemporaries, that it is a barbaric art whose overladen ornamentation can be traced back to Oriental influences.124 In an attempt to rebut this accusation, he points to the example of Strasbourg Cathedral. But of this cathedral’s many builders he mentions just one, Erwin Steinbach, whom he ranks as a creative genius. He turns the accusation of barbarism into a positive: Steinbach was indeed a barbarian, an unlearned man who, “unconcerned, indeed unaware of anything extraneous” (“unwissend, ja unbekümmert alles Fremden,” Goethe 1994, 8; Goethe 1987, 422), took his creative lead solely from the indigenous building tradition. It was this very barbarian ignorance of the other that fostered his creative productivity. Goethe goes so far as to compare Steinbach’s architecture with the ornamentative art of the savages: “And thus savages decorate their coconut-fiber mats, their feathers, their bodies, with bizarre patterns, ghastly forms and gaudy colors” (“so modelt der Wilde mit abenteuerlichen Zügen, gräßlichen Gestalten, hohen Farben, seine Cocos, seine Federn, und seinen Körper,” 1994, 8; 1987, 421).125 But this globally inclined comparison serves neither to assert any exotic influence on Gothic architecture nor to derive the Gothic style from specific prototypes—rooted in human nature—of ornamentation or architecture. In fact, Goethe is harshly critical of theories that proceed in this way, genetically reconstructing a kind of primeval house or original hut, back to which we can trace all developed cultural forms of building.126 He relates Steinbach’s cathedral not to a natural form of building but to “the character of all our buildings, [...] our houses” (“dem Wesen unsrer Gebäude,” 1994, 8; 1987, 417, my emphasis, C. M.), that is, to the (supposedly) typical German house, with a roof and four walls, of the kind to be found everywhere in Germany for centuries, and thus to a specific cultural tradition. According to Goethe, there is no universally valid natural form of building. Even in its archaic (savage, barbarian) manifestation, architecture is nationally and culturally specific—and is thus “characteristic art” (“charakteristische Kunst,” 1994, 8; 1987, 421), original invention and original property. The fact that Goethe raises architecture, of all things, to the status of a para124 Specifically, he refers to the article “Gothisch” in Johann Georg Sulzer’s Allgemeine Theorie der schönen Künste (General Theory of the Fine Arts, 1771–74), which claims that the Saracens who had migrated to Europe created the first patterns for Gothic architecture (Sulzer Leipzig 1771, vol. 1, 489). On Goethe’s dispute with Sulzer in “Von deutscher Baukunst,” see also Kaufmann 2013, 37–40. 125 On the significance of this comparison, see also Kaufmann 2013, 41–42. 126 This primeval ‘Ur-house’ is the architectural equivalent to the hypothetical state of nature in political theories based on principles of natural law.

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digm of German art that correlates with the body art of savages is perhaps due to this aspect of particularity (German Eigentümlichkeit, with its connotations of ownership). Here architecture stands for an art that is so unique to its producers that it surrounds them like a second skin; they inhabit it as the soul inhabits the body. This property cannot simply be relinquished to another. Such a transfer is conceivable only as an act of violence—as brutal expropriation or predation. Significantly, Goethe concludes his essay with a portrait of the brilliant artist as savage predator: “Er will auf keinen fremden Flügeln [...] empor gehoben und fortgerückt werden. Seine eigne Kräfte sind’s die sich im Kindertraum entfalten, im Jünglingsleben bearbeiten, bis er stark und behend, wie der Löwe des Gebürges auseilt auf Raub” (“He does not want to be borne up and carried off on wings not his own [...]. He must provide his own strength, developed in childhood dreams and honed during youth, until, strong and lithe like a mountain lion, he can hasten forth to seek prey,” 1987, 422; 1994, 9). The genius makes recourse only to his own resources—whether the resources of the nation to which he belongs or those of his own imagination. But if he does wish to draw upon foreign sources, he seizes them by force, appropriating them completely and incorporating them unreservedly. Goethe depicts the artistic genius as a barbarian being whose creative work is deeply rooted in his national culture; his relationship to other cultures finds articulation in the aggressive form of plunder and predation. This peculiar constellation, which links creativity with barbarism, national singularity and marauding violence, harkens back to stadial theory as developed in the works of Montesquieu, Turgot, Rousseau, Smith, and Ferguson. According to stadial theory, the barbarians have a primitive form of property, primitive because it is established through subjugation: the animal belongs to he who has tamed it. But people too are subjugated: as we have seen, the property of barbarian nations comes chiefly from war, enslavement, plunder, and theft. Only at the next developmental stage, that of civilization, are theft and predation ousted as the privileged mode of subsistence by mercantile exchange, through the emergence of cities and trade, a division of labor and a money economy. The barbarian is a human predator, “an animal of prey” (Ferguson 1995, 97). Herder puts forward similar views. Certainly (despite his affinity with Montesquieu’s theory of culture), there is no clear evidence that he adopted the historical three-stage model and he makes no systematic distinction between savages and barbarians. But Herder does call the Greeks “semi-savages” (Herder 1990, 63, my translation, C. M.), which precisely captures the transitional stage between ‘savage’ and ‘civilized.’ Above all, though, he describes the manner in which national literatures act upon one another as a form of aggressive agonality. This manifests itself either as subjugation to the other or its assimilation. In this respect, he considers the Greeks exemplary: “[W]eil die Literatur dieses Volks nie ein tyrannisches Urbild hatte, was sie nachahmte, so ward ihnen alles Fremde eigen, und alle Eigne gelangte in ihrer Hand zur eigentümlichen Vollendung” (“Since the literature of this nation never followed a tyrannical archetype it was obliged to imitate, it succeeded in assimilating everything foreign, and everything it created on its own achieved a singular [eigentümlichen] perfection,” 1984, 200, my translation, C. M.). Appropriation of the other or subjection to it: according to Herder, this is the alternative facing every national literature. Moreover, there can ultimately be no ‘true’ rela-

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tionship to the other. This is because, according to Herder, literature only ever takes from another literature that which matches its unique character. It is not the alien that is appropriated but the familiar, making this process all the more vehement: a given literature appropriates only that which is “congenial with its nature, which can be assimilated” (“was mit [s]einer Natur noch gleichartig ist, was in sie assimiliert werden kann”), while it rejects the foreign with “contempt and disgust” (“Verachtung und Ekel,” 2004, 297; 1994, 39, original emphasis, translation modified, C. M.). To remain within the gastronomic imagery evoked by Herder—it spits it out or vomits it up. This does not mean developing a relationship to the other; instead, the other is a mere narcissistic reflection of oneself. On its literary forays national literature incorporates only that which it possesses anyway or is capable of producing in much the same manner.127 Thus Herder develops a global concept of literature in his early writings that defines literary activity as the free play of the creative imagination. This faculty is spread across the entire world, but takes different forms in accordance with local circumstances. Consequently, the play of imagination is not entirely free but is embedded in the cultural framework of a given nation or people. Only to the extent that the individual genius expresses the mindset of a particular nation can it become productive. There is an agonal relationship between the individual national literatures that emerge from the interplay of original writers and popular tradition. Rather than an exchange of themes and forms, the global interplay of literatures is typified by mutual barbarian subjugation. No true cultural transfer can take place under these conditions. It is only other things of the same kind that are appropriated. If a given literature absorbs something truly new and different, this import generally remains a foreign body—it degenerates to the outwardness of an imposed form or rule of art, whose mechanical implementation results in the self-alienation of the receiving literature. In his later work, by contrast, Herder reconceives the interplay between national literatures as an exchange of spiritual goods modeled on the paradigm of commercial trade. This also applies to the concept of Weltliteratur (world literature) coined by Goethe in the 1820s (see Moser 2018b).

2.1.2.9. Conclusion and Prospect: Anthropology; Philosophy of History To sum up, eighteenth-century theories of sociogenesis conceive of barbarism as a transitional stage within the history of civilization. In this view, barbarism represents a specific mode of sociality. Based upon the subsistence strategies of nomadic pastoralism and brigandage, the barbarian society develops a political structure that is characterized by a mixture of democratic and authoritarian elements. It is headed by a chief whose superior position is due to his charisma and prowess as evinced in combat. This society consists of an extended family group, combining the subordinative structure of patriarchy with the egalitarianism of fraternity. An important innovation of the barbarian stage of sociogenesis is the institution of property, though 127 Similar notions can be found in Ferguson 1995, 162: “If nations actually borrow from their neighbours, they borrow only what they are nearly in a condition to have invented themselves.”

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this is not yet subject to a system of equitable exchange but underpins an excessive economy of gifts and gambling. It gives rise to certain proto-legal forms such as the oath and the covenant, but does not yet lead to the establishment of an abstract body of laws. Hence, the barbarian society is not held together by a legal order and a state apparatus, but by the affectivity of personal and quasi-familial relationships, by a common language and national literature, and by customs and traditions derived from a shared mode of living that is not yet differentiated by the division of labor. According to Enlightenment theories of sociogenesis, the cohesion of barbarian societies is based on culture rather than on the rationale of a social contract and a legal system. The assessment of barbarian society varies according to the general bias of the respective cultural theory and of the narrative of social evolution it puts forward. Teleological narratives, which consider civil society to be the goal of human history, tend to emphasize the progressive elements of barbarism: they interpret the economy of gifts as a pre-form of mercantile exchange, the oath as a pre-form of the law, etc. The formation of barbarian society is seen as an important step in the ladder of progress that leads to civilization—a step, however, which is destined to be left behind. It possesses no intrinsic worth beyond its preparatory function. This view of barbarism characterizes the narratives of civil society presented by Turgot, Smith, and Gibbon.128 On the other side, theorists such as Rousseau, Ferguson, and Herder, who view civilization in a more critical light, evaluate the barbarian mode of sociality somewhat differently. They regard barbarism not (or not only) as a transitory stage to be surpassed, but (also) as a form of social bonding that is valuable in its own right. These theorists tend to depict it as an alternative model of sociality that can serve as a guideline to correct the flaws of civilization. Thus, they pave the way for a certain cultural relativism, which suggests itself all the more in the case of barbarism since it figures as a mode of bonding effected primarily by cultural means. Here, barbarism is not seen as an inferior or undeveloped, but simply as an other, in certain respects perhaps even better form of sociality. These opposing evaluations of barbarism point ahead to post-Enlightenment adaptations of the concept. In the late eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries, the barbarian mode of sociality is discussed especially in the contexts of anthropology and the philosophy of history. The progress-oriented, teleological view of barba128 Though Gibbon tells the story of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and hence of the destruction of a civilization, he, too, subscribes to the optimistic, progress-oriented conception of sociogenesis (see above, footnote 20 in chapter 2.1.2.1). This influences his view on barbarism. In Chapter IX of The Decline and Fall, which deals with the manners and the social order of the Germanic tribes before the invasion of Rome, he foregrounds their rude and undeveloped condition. Nevertheless, he concedes: “The most civilised nations of modern Europe issued from the woods of Germany, and in the rude institutions of those barbarians we may still distinguish the original principles of our present laws and manners” (Gibbon 1993/94, vol. 1, 237). In Chapter XXVI (devoted to the “Manners of the Pastoral Nations,” i.e., the Tartars) and Chapter L (devoted to the Arabs) he paints an even more positive picture of barbarian society, highlighting the progressive elements of their culture. He clearly refers to stadial theory and (in the case of the Arabs) retraces the transition from pastoralism to an economy of commerce and trade.

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rism is taken up by anthropologists influenced by Darwinian evolutionism. Here, the legacy of Enlightenment stadial theory falls on fertile ground. The distinction between savage, barbarian, and civilized stages of social and cultural development is expanded by the British anthropologist Edward Burnett Tylor in his seminal work Primitive Culture. Researches into the Development of Mythology, Philosophy, Religion, Art, and Culture (1871), and by his American counterpart Lewis Henry Morgan in his study on Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family (1871) and in his opus magnum, Ancient Society (1877). The subtitle of the latter work aptly captures the progress-oriented notion of barbarism propounded by Morgan: Researches in the Lines of Human Progress from Savagery through Barbarism to Civilization. Morgan’s approach is highly significant because it elaborates upon eighteenth-century notions of barbarian sociality. Morgan is presumed to be the originator of anthropological kinship studies (see Kuper 2005; Oppitz 2001; Petermann 2004, 480–86). In his treatise Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family, he builds upon the Enlightenment interpretation of the barbarian society as an extended family group (Nippel 1990b, 107–12). According to Morgan, the decisive evolutionary step that leads from barbarism to civilization is marked by the substitution of “classificatory” by “descriptive” systems of kinship (on the following, see Morgan 1871, vi–vii, 14–17; see also Moser 2017, 148–49, 159–62). In classificatory systems, there is no distinction between “lineal” and “collateral” lines of descent: here, my (biological) son, my brother’s son and my cousin’s son are all equally entitled to be my son and hence to profit from my duties of parentage. Classificatory systems generate large, undifferentiated kinship groups which serve specific social functions (e. g., they provide protection to individual members of society and generate intense group solidarity). Descriptive systems, by contrast, distinguish between different grades of kinship and privilege direct lines of descent (“lineal descent”). Such systems evolve as soon as human beings become sedentary and introduce private property. According to Morgan, the hereditary transmission of property necessitates the establishment of lineal modes of descent. In societies based on descriptive systems of kinship, the protective function formerly fulfilled by the collateral family group is transferred to the state and its legal system. The (barbarian) notion of society as an extended family group gives way to the abstract institutions of modern civil society. Tylor’s and especially Morgan’s enhancements of Enlightenment stadial theory exert a strong influence on subsequent anthropological and philosophical approaches to the question of sociogenesis. The co-founder of Marxist theory Friedrich Engels, for instance, directly refers to Morgan’s concept of social evolution in his study Der Ursprung der Familie, des Privateigenthums und des Staats (The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, 1884). Twentieth-century theorists such as the political anthropologist Pierre Clastres in his book La société contre l’État (Society against the State, 1974) or the philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari in their treatise L’ Anti-Œdipe (Anti-Oedipus, 1972) also tie in with the evolutionist concept of barbarism developed by Tylor and Morgan. All these works concur with their Enlightenment progenitors in their attempt to deontologize the distinction between barbarism and civilization. On the other side, however, even within the framework of progress-oriented theories of sociogenesis, there

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are early contrary tendencies, which strive to reontologize this distinction. One of these tendencies can be discerned in the context of a nascent scientific racism. In his Grundriß der Geschichte der Menschheit (Outline of the History of Mankind, 1785) the German anthropologist Christoph Meiners adapts the triadic scheme of stadial theory, differentiating between savage hunters, barbarian pastoralists, and civilized tillers (Meiners 1785, 80–91). However, this dynamic historical scheme is foiled by the introduction of a rigid dichotomy: Meiners divides humanity into two races, the Caucasian race, distinguished by its physical strength and beauty, its intellectual superiority and its moral excellence, and the Mongolian race, marked by brute manners, mental dullness, physical depravity, and ugliness.129 Only the supposition of two fundamentally different races, Meiners contends, can provide an answer to the question “why the European nations, even when they were still in the state of savagery and barbarism, so much excelled the savages and barbarians of the other continents in terms of their superior virtue, their predisposition to enlightenment, their political constitution, laws, and mode of warfare” (“warum [...] die Europäischen Nationen selbst im Zustande der Wildheit und Barbarey sich so sehr von den Wilden und Barbaren der übrigen Erdtheile durch ihre höhern Tugenden, durch ihre grössere Empfänglichkeit gegen Aufklärung, durch ihre Verfassung, Gesetze, und Art zu kriegen [...] auszeichneten,” Meiners 1785, n. pag., my translation, C. M.). According to Meiners, only the nations belonging to the Caucasian race possess a linear history that leads them from savagery through barbarism to civilization; the Mongolian nations—the peoples of Eastern and Southern Asia, the Pacific region, Africa and America—are doomed to remain in the conditions of savagery and barbarism. They are “almost unregenerate creatures” (“fast unverbesserliche Geschöpfe,” 1785, 84), hence the best they can hope for is to be ruled by enlightened European Caucasians. So in Meiners’s racialist theory of sociogenesis, there is a strong proclivity to conceive of barbarism in ontological terms. In his view, the Mongolian race is naturally predisposed to a barbarian mode of living and is thus ultimately barred from the progressive dynamics of history. In this respect, Meiners accords with the view presented by the German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel in Vorlesungen über die Philosophie der Geschichte (Lectures on the Philosophy of History, first published in 1837). Though Hegel does not employ the concept of race, he excludes certain peoples from the gradual ascent of human history, which is driven by the dialectical unfolding of the world spirit. Barbarian nations, i.e., nations that are incapable of developing a state and a legal order, stand beyond the pale of historical development. According to Hegel, this applies particularly to the continent of Africa: Er hat kein eigenes geschichtliches Interesse, sondern dies, dass wir dort den Menschen in der Barbarei, in der Wildheit sehen, wo er noch kein integrierendes Ingrediens zur Bildung abgibt. [...] In diesem Hauptteile von Afrika kann eigentlich keine Geschichte

129 Meiners, one of the major precursors of modern scientific racism, is the originator of the concept of the Caucasian race, which is still in use today. See Baum 2006, 84–89. On the interaction of the concepts of barbarism and race, see also Winkler’s observations below in chapter 3.3.

138       Christian Moser stattfinden. Es sind Zufälligkeiten, Überraschungen, die aufeinanderfolgen. Es ist kein Zweck, kein Staat da, den man verfolgen könnte. (Hegel 1994, 212, 214) It has no historical interest of its own, for we find its inhabitants living in barbarism and savagery in a land which has not furnished them with any integrating ingredient of culture. [...] In this main portion of Africa, history is in fact out of the question. Life there consists of a succession of contingent happenings and surprises. No aim or state exists whose development could be followed. (Hegel 1975, 174, 176, translation modified, C. M.)

Hegel conforms to Enlightenment stadial theories in defining barbarian communities as societies without a state and legal order. He differs from them, however, in that he does not concede to them the possibility of alternative (cultural) modes of bonding. As societies without a state, they are also devoid of culture and live in a natural, pre- or rather ahistorical condition of savagery.130 Hence, Hegel relapses into the old binarism and confounds the concepts of savagery and barbarism. For all the subtle versatility he displays in dissolving conceptual oppositions and following the dialectical movement of the world spirit through history, he reontologizes the distinction between civilization (or culture) and barbarism—with grave consequences: similar to Meiners, Hegel considers the colonial suppression and even the enslavement of Africans to be justified by their barbarous ‘nature.’131 Not only the teleological, progress-oriented interpretation of barbarism is adapted by nineteenth-century philosophy and anthropology. This also applies to the alternative view, which idealizes the non-legalistic barbarian community as an integrative, non-alienating mode of sociality. Here, barbarism acquires the status of a model: it exemplifies a different way of conceiving of the constitution of society, with culture (rather than law) figuring as the decisive constitutive factor. In this context, there is a tendency to universalize the concept of barbarism and to conflate it with the notion of culture. This tendency can be discerned, for instance, in the work of Johann Gottfried Herder, one of the originators of cultural anthropology. In order to make it visible, it seems apposite to compare Herder’s approach to universal history to the 130 “Die Neger sind ganz unbändig, und zu keiner Kultur zu bewegen; es ist das Kultur entbehrende, goldgefüllte Kinderland.” (“The negroes are altogether unruly, incapable of culture; it is the infantile country, filled with gold and devoid of culture,” Hegel 2005, 67, my translation, C. M.) 131 See Hegel 2005, 69–70: “In dieser tigerhaften Rohheit bleibt nun Afrika geschlossen, und nur durch Sklaverei hängen sie mit Europa zusammen. Den Europäern gab man Schuld, daß die Veranlassung zur Sklaverei von ihnen ausgegangen sei; dieses ist aber nicht wahr, denn die Sklaven wurden früher aufgefressen, wenn sie durch den Krieg gefangen wurden; jetzt werden sie wenigstens an Menschen verkauft. Der Neger existiert nicht als frei durch die Natur; er ist das Gegentheil. [...] Man muß die Freiheit durch Bändigung des Naturells der Neger ihnen anerziehen.” (“Africa remains locked in this tigerish rudeness, and slavery marks its only connection to Europe. The Europeans have been blamed for having given rise to slavery; but this is not true, for formerly the slaves were devoured; nowadays at least they are sold to humans. The negro does not exist as a naturally free being; he is the opposite. [...] It is necessary to instill freedom into the negro by taming his natural disposition.” My translation, C. M.)

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one represented by his major opponent (and former teacher), the Enlightenment philosopher Immanuel Kant. The comparison of Kant and Herder can also serve to highlight the contrasting assessments of barbarism in Enlightenment cultural theory by way of a conclusion. Both Kant and Herder emphasize the global, all-inclusive scope of their philosophies of history. In fact, they ascribe to the globe the status of a master trope. In Kant’s visionary sketch of a law of nations the globe functions as a warrant of teleological closure that is to ensure lasting global peace. By contrast, in Herder’s version of the narrative of civilization, the globe does not serve to underpin the validity of universal law as in Kant, rather it illustrates the existence of a more flexible cultural bond that is to unite the peoples of the world. Kant’s essay Zum ewigen Frieden (Perpetual Peace, first published in 1795) is often referred to in contemporary debates on cosmopolitanism and globalization. In his preface, Kant concedes that his vision of eternal peace might be perceived by some to be no more than a fantasy that stands in no relation whatever to the hard facts of reality. In order to counter this impression and to render his vision plausible, Kant takes two measures. First, he cloaks his design in the stark, matter-of-fact language of a legally binding contract based on the rational premises of natural law. Second, in a historical supplement (“Zusatz,” Kant 1983a, 217) to his legal treatise, he declares the global order of peace to be the necessary outcome of a teleological process. As Kant sketches it, this process bears a strong resemblance to the Enlightenment narrative of civilization; what is more, it is linked systematically to the figure of the globe (on what follows see 1983a, 214–22; 1991a, 106–12). Nature, Kant argues, has made provisions for the development of mankind, the spherical shape of the earth being the most important among them. In the beginning, men wandered aimlessly across the globe in small familiy units of savage hunters and gatherers. Since these units competed for game and food, they were in a perpetual state of war. But according to Kant this natural state of war served higher cultural purposes: on the one hand, among the victorious tribes, it lead to the emergence of larger social units which, in order to feed their increasing numbers, were induced to tame wild animals, thus entering the advanced stage of barbarian pastoralism. On the other hand, war prompted mankind to spread across the earth and to take into their possession even its most remote areas. However, the spherical shape of the earth set definite limits to this migratory diffusion of human beings: “[Auf der Erde], als Kugelfläche, [konnten] sie sich nicht ins Unendliche zerstreuen [...], sondern [mussten] endlich sich doch neben einander dulden” (“Since the earth is a globe, they could not disperse over an infinite area, but must necessariliy tolerate one another’s company,” 1983a, 214; 1991, 106; translation modified, C. M.). The surface of the globe is finite, therefore, having spread across the globe, nomadic savages and barbarians were urged to settle down, to take a limited stretch of land into their possession and to negotiate some kind of agreement with their neighbors. The spherical shape of the earth abetted the introduction of sedentariness and in its wake the institution of property, law, and political order. Thus, Kant systematically relates the emergence of civil society to the figure of the globe. Civilization is globalized, so to speak, and with it the rule of law. Consequently, only a few inhabitable areas of the earth remained unsettled. Deserts and oceans, Kant concedes, constituted a last refuge for lawless barbarian brigands such as pirates and the Bedouins.

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However, nature provides means to fill out even these blank spaces: “the camel (the ship of the desert)” (“das Kamel (das Schiff der Wüste),” 1991a, 106; 1983a, 214; original emphasis) allowed men to subdue the inhospitable desert regions and to convert these former barriers into highways, spaces of traffic and communication. As a result, Kant believes, the last remaining barbarians will ultimately be civilized. In fact, nature teleologically fosters the development of global traffic and commerce. Even in the most derelict regions of the world, it allows human beings to sustain themselves. The Eskimo have their fish, seals, and walruses. What is more, Kant marvels, in the treeless regions of the Arctic they are provided with driftwood from the Siberian forests. So there is a natural circulation of goods that integrates peoples into a global context. Once the Siberian tribes have been civilized and they begin to exploit their own natural resources, thereby interrupting the flow of driftwood, this global connection will not be severed, on the contrary, it will be strengthened: the natural circulation of goods will be substituted by an artificial one; the Eskimo will be induced to acquire their wood by trade and thus to establish friendly relations with other more civilized nations. The expanding network of commerce will serve to diffuse principles of justice and of civil legality. As a result, the rule of law will span the entire globe. In fact, Kant is convinced that this rule is on its way at the very moment that he writes his treatise: international commerce and the exchange of ideas have proliferated to such an extent, he argues, that “a violation of rights in one part of the world is felt everywhere” (“daß die Rechtsverletzung an einem Platz der Erde an allen gefühlt wird,”1991a, 107–108; 1983a, 216; original emphasis). To sum up, Kant conceives of the history of civilization as a teleological process of globalization. In his view, nature instructs mankind to emulate its circularity and globality. Based on the model of the natural globe, man is to create an artificial cultural globe, a seamless network of legally sanctioned commercial and cultural relations. This globe is devised to constitute a homogeneous sphere of exchange in which goods and ideas are allowed to circulate freely. Paradoxically, though, mankind must become settled to make this global mobility of goods and ideas possible. Kant’s global civilization is sedentary in its alignment. That is why he defines the cosmopolitan right of global citizenship (“Weltbürgerrecht”) as a “Besuchsrecht,” a “right of resort,” the right attested to the individual to travel and to visit other nations for a limited time (1983a, 213–214; 1991a, 105–106). Global circulation does not entail the migration of entire cultures or peoples. Kant’s global society of civilized nations is stationary. It is based on the model of the house, the oikos, with each nation occupying a room of its own within it. The global circulation of goods and ideas is modeled on the Greek root of the term ‘economy.’ The opening book of Johann Gottfried Herder’s groundbreaking work of cultural anthropology, Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit (Outlines of a Philosophy of the History of Man, 1784/91), is devoted to a contemplation of the earth in its totality. Herder reflects on the shape of the earth and raises the question what it means for humankind to inhabit such a planet. For, in Herder’s view, the earth emphatically belongs to human beings—it is their planet. Contrary to other animal species, humans can adapt to any terrestrial environment—the entire planet is their home. Herder’s initial contemplation of the planet’s shape is twofold. First, he considers the earth as an orb and examines the effects of its spherical form on hu-

2.1.  The Concept of Barbarism in Eighteenth-Century Theories       141

manity (see Herder 1989, 32–37; Herder 1966, 9–12). No single point on its surface is similar to another, he contends, therefore its shape accounts for the great cultural variety among human beings. This variety is contained, however, by the clearly marked line that bounds its circular structure. Like Kant, Herder insists on the finite character of the globe. The terrestrial habitat is limited, and this boundedness or closure ensures the unity of mankind. As inhabitants of a sphere, humans are one and at the same time manifold. Nevertheless, this synthesis of unity and diversity remains rather abstract as long as Herder contemplates the geometrical figure of the globe. The globe provides a static image of humanity—too static in Herder’s view. Paradoxically, to mobilize the planet and its human inhabitants, Herder must replace the globe by the “map of the World” (“Weltcharte,” 1966, 15; 1989, 40). The map reveals the morphology of the earth in much greater detail. It gives a clue to the planet’s genesis and with it to human history. Looking at the map, Herder is induced to surmise that mountain ranges constitute the germ from which the earth has developed. He identifies the Asian Himalaya as the highest and oldest terrestrial formation; it forms the trunk of the earth, as it were, from which other mountain ranges (and other continents) emanated like the branches of a tree. Human history is intimately intertwined with the history of the earth. According to Herder, the cradle of the human race is to be found in mountainous Asia, the origin of the planet and the origin of humanity thus coinciding. The mountain ranges of the earth and the rivers issuing from its peaks provide “directing lines” (“Direktionslinien,” 1966, 19; 1989, 45) for human migration. Following these lines, humans populate the earth and spread over the planet. Their descent from the mountains is also a cultural progression, a rise in the scale of civilization. As mountain-dwellers, humans are hunters and gatherers (“Jagdnationen,” 1966, 19; 1989, 45). Descending into the valleys and the steppes of the northern highlands, they become nomadic herdsmen and barbarian pastoralists (“Hirtenvölker[],” ibid.). Following the rivers into the fertile plains, they learn to plough the earth and settle as farmers. Following the rivers even further to the limits of the continent, they take to sea, found cities and engage in commerce. Thus, the lines of the earth lead humankind to civilization. Like Kant, Herder seems to track the plotline of a teleological narrative, a narrative of progression that is linked to a narrative of completion—of completing the globe, of surrounding the natural globe with a second, artificial globe of man’s own making. However, Herder’s global narrative differs from Kant’s in several important respects. In Herder’s scheme of cultural history, for instance, the barbarian other is never definitely brought in. The mountains provide a retreat for barbarian tribes who refuse to submit to the yoke of sedentary life. In Herder’s view, the mountain ranges preserve a human reservoir of original liberty, vitality and dynamism. Periodically, these mountain tribes break forth from their retreats and inundate the plains, destroying civilizations and driving entire populations across the globe: Kurz, die großen Bergstrecken der Erde scheinen so wie der erste Wohnsitz, so auch die Werkstätte der Revolutionen und der Erhaltung des menschlichen Geschlechts zu sein. Wie sie der Erde Wasser verleihen, verliehen sie ihr auch Völker: wie sich auf ihnen Quellen erzeugen, springt auch auf ihnen der Geist des Muts und der Freiheit, wenn die

142       Christian Moser mildere Ebene unter dem Joch der Gesetze, der Künste und Laster erliegt. Noch jetzt ist die Höhe Asiens der Tummelplatz von großenteils wilden Völkern; und wer weiß, zu welchen Überschwemmungen und Erfrischungen künftiger Jahrhunderte sie da sind? (1989, 43–44) In short, the great mountainous ridges of the Earth seem, as they were the first habitation of the human race, to be the grand repositories of the instruments of it’s revolutions and conservation. As they distribute water to the Earth, so also distribute they people: as from them fountains arise, so springs from them the spirit of bravery and freedom, when the gentler plains are sunk beneath the yoke of laws, arts, and vices. The heights of Asia are even now the rendezvous of people for the most part uncultivated: and who can tell what parts they are placed there to overwhelm and renovate in future ages? (1966, 18)

Thus, the barbarians intermittently disrupt linear historical progression and prevent civilization from ossifying in a sedentary sclerosis. Just as Herder prefers the irregular morphology of the earth displayed in the map of the world to the geometrical regularity of the globe, he allows for the vitalizing impact of barbarian “revolutions” to confuse the course of world-history. The barbarians provide a salutary impulse that keeps history going by obstructing its teleological linearity.132 So in Herder, it is not just ideas and commodities that circulate around the globe (as in Kant’s globalized civilization), but entire cultures and civilizations. In fact, he refrains from linking cultural progress to the act of settling down, becoming sedentary and cultivating the land.133 Culture is coupled with migration: “[D]enn fast jede Nation der Erde ist früher oder später, länger oder kürzer, wenigstens Einmal gewandert” (“[F]or almost every people upon Earth has migrated at least once, sooner or later, to a greater distance, or a less,” 1989, 509; 1966, 349). The migration of cultures is not merely the consequence of external necessity. It is a key attribute of human culturality itself; such movement is, after all, anchored in a capacity that distinguishes human beings from animals, namely an upright gait. While animals are chained to their specific environments by instinct, the upright gait opens up to human beings a broader sphere of perception and action.134 On this view, a nation’s ability to break away from its original dwelling and open up new territories is a yardstick of its culture. 132 The progressive linearity of history is overlaid with a recursive cyclicality. “Revolution” is to be understood literally—as a return to barbarian origins. In this respect, Herder ties in with Giambattista Vico’s cyclical model of history, which also envisions an intermittent reversion (ricorso) of the civilized state to barbarism. On Vico’s complex notion of barbarism see Albrecht 2016; see also above, Winkler’s Introduction to this volume, section 1.2.3.2. 133 Herder thus strives to sever the strong etymological link that connects the German word Kultur (‘culture’) to the Latin cultura with its original meaning of ‘agriculture, cultivation of the land.’ On the semantics of the concept of culture and its derivation from agriculture, see Böhme 1996. 134 According to Herder, the acquisition of an upright gait marks the decisive step of anthropogenesis. It transforms the human animal into a ‘cultural being.’ See 1989, 116–49; 1966, 71–94. On the upright gait as a key concept of Herder’s cultural anthropology see Bayertz 2012, 205–21; Moser 2017, 143–47.

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Migration requires a people to adapt to changed environmental conditions, to break with ingrained habits and develop new cultural forms. So a nation can only unfold its cultural potential if it opens itself up to the new and different. By coupling the development of culture to the migratory movement of peoples, Herder universalizes the dynamic principle of barbarian nomadism. The ‘goal’ of history is not a static condition of civilization secured by fixed laws, but the ongoing dynamics of cultural evolution. Herder associates ‘culture’ with movement and migration rather than with settlement and agriculture.135 Similar to Rousseau, he regards the invention of agriculture (and the concomitant establishment of ‘civilization’) in a critical light: Überhaupt hat keine Lebensart in der Gesinnung der Menschen so viele Veränderungen bewirkt, als der Ackerbau auf einem bezirkten Stück Erde. Indem er Handtierungen und Künste, Flecken und Städte hervorbrachte, und also Gesetze und Polizei befördern mußte: hat er notwendig auch jenem fürchterlichen Despotismus den Weg geöffnet, der, da er jeden auf seinem Acker zu finden wußte, zuletzt einem jeden vorschrieb, was er auf diesem Stück Erde allein tun und sein sollte. Der Boden gehörte jetzt nicht mehr dem Menschen, sondern der Mensch dem Boden. Durch den Nichtgebrauch verlor sich auch bald das Gefühl der gebrauchten Kräfte: in Sklaverei und Feigheit versunken ging der Unterjochte vom arbeitseligen Mangel zur weichen Üppigkeit über. Daher kommts, daß auf der ganzen Erde der Zeltbewohner, den Bewohner der Hütte, wie ein gefesseltes Lasttier, wie eine verkümmerte Abart seines Geschlechts betrachtet. (1989, 312) Generally speaking, no mode of life has effected so much alteration in the minds of men, as agriculture, combined with the enclosure of land. While it produced arts and trades, villages and towns, and, in consequence, government and laws; it necessarily paved the way for that frightful despotism, which, from confining every man to his field, gradually proceeded to prescribe to him, what alone he should do on it, what alone he should be. The ground now ceased to belong to man, but man became the appurtenance of the ground. Soon even the consciousness of powers, that had been used, was lost by their disuse: the oppressed, sunk in cowardice and slavery, were led from wretchedness and want into effeminate debauchery. Hence it is, that, throughout the whole World, the dweller in a tent considers the inhabitant of a hut as a shackled beast of burden, as a degenerate and sequestrated variety of the species. (1966, 207)

According to Herder, civil society, based on agriculture, the division of labor and the institution of the law, does not mark the apex of human cultural evolution but a degenerate condition. It induces political bondage and it causes man’s innate powers and capacities to languish. Culture, by contrast, is the collective actualization and expression of these very powers and capacities and thus the result of an organic process of growth and becoming as captured by the German term Bildung, which Herder uses extensively in the Ideen. On the other hand, he employs the word ‘civilization’—“a term not easy to express and even less so to think” (“schwer auszuspre135 Significantly, Herder considers human language—the essential medium of ‘culture’—to be the invention of nomadic barbarian pastoralists. See above, chapter 2.1.2.7. The link between barbarism and culture is later emphasized by Nietzsche: see below, chapter 3.4.3.

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chen, zu denken aber [...] noch schwerer,” 1966, 311; 1989, 459, translation modified, C. M.)—only once, and this in a deprecatory manner: here, ‘civilization’ signifies the futile attempt to impose culture on a people extraneously, by means of law and force (“[d]aß ein Ankömmling im Lande eine ganze Nation aufkläre oder ein König die Kultur durch Gesetze befehle,” ibid.). Civilization refers to a Bildung that is enforced and hence doomed to remain extrinsic and superficial; culture, by contrast, relates to the gradual unfolding of an innate potential. Thus, Herder induces a momentous semantic shift: the opposition between barbarism and civilization morphs into the new antithesis between culture and civilization. This antithesis—especially in its chauvinistically sharpened form of ‘German culture vs. French civilization’—is destined to play a highly dubious ideological role in German nationalist and conservative discourses of the early twentieth century, e. g., in works such as Thomas Mann’s Betrachtungen eines Unpolitischen (Reflections of a Nonpolitical Man, 1918) or Oswald Spengler’s Der Untergang des Abendlandes (The Decline of the West, 1918).136

136 On the opposition between culture and civilization and its history, see Bollenbeck 1999, Benne 2007. In addition to Herder, Kant also contributed to the establishment of this antithesis. See his “Idee zu einer allgemeinen Geschichte in weltbürgerlicher Absicht” (“Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Purpose,” 1784): “Wir sind im hohen Grade durch Kunst und Wissenschaft kultiviert. Wir sind zivilisiert, bis zum Überlästigen, zu allerlei gesellschaftlicher Artigkeit und Anständigkeit. Aber, uns für schon moralisiert zu halten, daran fehlt noch sehr viel. Denn die Idee der Moralität gehört noch zur Kultur; der Gebrauch dieser Idee aber, welcher nur auf das Sittenähnliche in der Ehrliebe und der äußeren Anständigkeit hinausläuft, macht bloß die Zivilisierung aus.” (“We are cultivated to a high degree by art and science. We are civilised to the point of excess in all kinds of social courtesies and proprieties. But we are still a long way from the point where we could consider ourselves morally mature. For while the idea of morality is indeed present in culture, an application of this idea which only extends to the semblances of morality, as in love of honour and outward propriety, amounts merely to civilisation,” Kant 1983b, 44; Kant 1991b, 49; this passage is also discussed below in Winkler’s chapter [3.4.3] on Nietzsche.) However, apart from this deprecative use of the term ‘civilization,’ Kant also employs it in a positive sense, e. g.: “Unsere Civilisierung [...] ist noch weit von der Vollkommenheit des Bürgers, d. i. der wahren Freyheit und Gleichheit unter weisen Gesetzen entfernt. Wir sind verfeinert und geschliffen, aber nicht bürgerlich gesinnet (civilisiert).” (“Our degree of civilization [...] is still far from the perfection of civil society, i.e., true liberty and equality as guaranteed by prudent laws. We are refined and polished, but we are not public-spirited (civilized).” Kant 1928, 897, my translation, C. M.) This positive notion of civilization underlies Kant’s essay Zum ewigen Frieden, which is discussed above.

2.2.  Case Study: Schiller’s Die Räuber (The Robbers, 1781)       145

2.2. Case Study: Schiller’s Die Räuber (The Robbers, 1781) Christian Moser

How do barbarism as an aesthetic category and barbarism as historico-political concept fit together? Are there literary works that not only implement the new aesthetic program—of nationally and individually encoded originality—in a practical sense but whose content embodies it? Are there texts that think the valorization of the barbarous through to its conclusion? Schiller’s early play Die Räuber (The Robbers, 1781) is an example of just such a text. It experiments with the new concept of barbarous predation on a number of levels, exploring the political and social theoretical dimension of the concept while also grappling with the new barbarous aesthetics of genius. Tellingly, Karl von Moor, future robber chief, yearns for the genius. “I hate this age of scribblers” (“Mir ekelt vor diesem Tintenklecksenden Sekulum”), to quote his famous first words on stage, “when I pick up my Plutarch and read of great men” (“wenn ich in meinem Plutarch lese von großen Menschen,” Schiller 1979b, 35; Schiller 1988a, 30, translation modified, C. M.). “The bright spark of Promethean fire” (“Der lohe Lichtfunke Prometheus,” 1979b, 35; 1988a, 30–31) has burned out, he goes on; in the world of today there is no room for the brilliant inventor and rebel against the tyranny of the Olympic gods. Karl Moor aspires to become a robber as a political protest against tyranny but also as a means of realizing aesthetic principles of freedom, creativity and original self-expression. Here the life of the robber is associated with creativity and the robber himself appears as the prototypical man of genius. In Schiller’s play the genius is introduced as both an aesthetic and political category but above all else he is designated a “barbarian.” At the end of the play Karl refers to himself explicitly as such, calling the members of his band “you all too zealous executioners of my barbaric command” (“ihr schadenfrohe Schergen meines barbarischen Winks,” 1979b, 159; 1988a, 159). Schiller’s contemporaries too clearly recognized the close interrelationship between genius, predation and barbarism. A representative case is the anonymous review of 1785 in the Magazin der Philosophie und schönen Literatur (see Grawe 2009, 227–29, my translation, C. M.). The reviewer refers to a group of misguided youths who had founded a band of robbers in southern Germany—after reading Schiller’s Die Räuber. “Can this be the poetical birth of a civilized person?” he asks incredulously, implicitly branding Schiller a barbarian (“Kann das die poetische Geburt eines civilisirten Menschen seyn?”). The association between Die Räuber and barbarism is then established even more clearly. If Schiller has portrayed the true state of Germany in his play, “then we are worse than the New Zealanders, and going by Die Räuber we ought to launch into Bürger’s New Zealand battle song” (“so sind wir ärger, als die Neuseeländer, und dürfen nach der Vorstellung der Räuber das Bürgersche neuseeländische Schlachtlied anstimmen ”).1 1 Bürger’s ‘adaptation’ of a Maori battle song appeared in 1782 in the Göttinger Musenalmanach (there is an English translation dating from 1824).

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Influenced by the travel reports of James Cook and his fellow explorers, the New Zealand Maori were viewed as prototypical belligerent, violent barbarians and cannibals. The naturalist Reinhold Forster, who accompanied Cook on his second Pacific voyage, characterizes the Maori explicitly as barbarous rather than savage (Forster 1783, 293– 94). And the reviewer evidently sees a parallel between the band of robbers portrayed by Schiller and Maori society. Bürger’s battle song is in fact relevant in this context: Neuseeländisches Schlachtlied Hallo, ihr Gesellen, empor und hervor! So stampfen, so tanzen die Wogen empor, Hoch über das Riff hin mit zorniger Macht; So tanzen wir muthig zur blutigen Schlacht. Zusammen! Zusammen! Zusammen heran, Was rühren an Schenkeln und Armen sich kann! Wie Wirbelwind schüttelt das Röhrich im Moor, So schwenken wir Schlachtbeil’ und Lanzen empor. Scharf sind sie gewetzt, wie des Wasserhunds Zahn, Zum Bohren, zum Spalten. Fleuch, Lanze, voran! Fleuch sträcklich! Tief, tief in den Busen hinein! Beil, spalt’ und zerschellere Schädel und Bein! Heut fodern wir Rache, heut bieten wir Mord; Wir fodern, wir kommen und halten das Wort. Nichts kümmert den Sturm, der die Wälder zerbricht; Wir fodern, wir kommen und schonen euch nicht. Heim bauen die Weiber und Kinder den Herd; Ein leckeres Fleischmahl ist heut uns beschert. Schon wölkt sich dort hinter den Bergen der Rauch; Schon knistert, schon lodert die Lohe vom Strauch. Uns lüstert, uns hungert schon lange nach euch. Heim lauern die Hunde am spülenden Teich. Wir schmausen heut Abend euch jauchzend im Hain Rein auf bis an’s klingende, blanke Gebein. Risch, rasch, ihr Geselle, risch an überall! Bald niesen die Nasen vom röstenden Mahl. Die Lohe verlodert; der Ofen ist gluh! Halloha! Halloha! Werft zu nun! Haut zu. (Bürger 1987, 330–31)

2.2.  Case Study: Schiller’s Die Räuber (The Robbers, 1781)       147 New Zealander’s Battle Song HALLO, ye, myfellows! arise and advance! See the white-crested waves, how they stamp and they dance High over the reef there with anger and might! So wildly we dance to the bloody-red fight. Then gather, now gather, come gather, ye all! Each thing that hath limbs and arms, come at our call! Like reeds on the moor, when the whirlwind sweeps by, Our lances and war-axes darken the sky. Sharp, sharp, as the tooth of the sea-horse and shark, They’ll bore ye, they’ll split ye. Fly, lance, to the mark! Home, home, to the heart! and then, battle-axe grim, Split, splintering and shivering, through brain-pan and limb To-day we ask vengeance, to-day we ask blood; We ask it; we’re coming to make our word good; The storm flinches not, though the woods choke its path; We ask it; we’re coming,—beware of our wrath! At home, wives and children a hearth for us lay; A savoury flesh-feast awaits us to-day: Behind yonder mountains e’en now the smoke streams, And the blaze of the brush-fire crackles and gleams. Long, long, have we hungered and thirsted for you; At home the dogs lurk round the clean table, too; Loud shouting, we eat you to-night, every one, Devour you clean to the white-ringing bone. Rush, rush ye, my fellows, rush on them like hail: Soon, soon, shall their roasting your nostrils regale; The fire is flaring; the oven is a-glow! Heave to now! hew through now! Halloha! hallo! (Bürger 1859, 321–22)

The song presents us with an egalitarian collectivity—one devoid of hierarchical distinctions, with no ruler or chief. The dancing Maori constitute an integral social body held together by violence and war. This body strives to literally incorporate its enemies, whose body is (or whose bodies are) to be rent asunder and ultimately devoured. The song depicts a barbarous-egalitarian community that is free, savage, tumultuous, and (literally) consonant. In the second verse, this powerful cohesion is accentuated and affirmed: “Zusammen! Zusammen! zusammen heran” (“Then gather, now gather, come gather, ye all!” 1987, 330; 1859, 321). The Maori collectivity constitutes a single, compact, warlike body.

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Thus, the reviewer characterizes Schiller as a ‘barbarous writer.’ In the (suppressed) preface to his play, Schiller himself seems to be headed in a similar direction. It begins with a rejection of the classical rules governing the poetics of drama and tragedy, the three unities in particular. Schiller then underlines that he regards the theatrical performance (“theatralische Verkörperung,” Schiller 1988b, 161) of his play as superfluous as well. There is no need for a performance to achieve the end of dramatic representation; this can be accomplished through reading too. All that matters is “the dramatic method” (“die Dramatische Methode”), which “so to speak, renders its world present to us, and conveys to us the passions and most secret movements of the heart through the characters’ own statements” (“uns ihre Welt gleichsam gegenwärtig stellt, und uns die Leidenschaften und geheimsten Bewegungen des Herzen in eigenen Äußerungen der Person schildert,” 1988b, 161, my translation, C. M.). This makes it possible “to catch the soul, as it were, as it carries out its most clandestine operations” (“die Seele gleichsam bei ihren verstohlensten Operationen zu ertappen,” 1988b, 161, my translation, C. M.). Shakespeare (in contrast to the French Classicists) is extolled as the “true genius of drama” (“der echte Genius des Dramas”)—he has demonstrated that “the true spirit of the play delves deeper into the soul, cuts more sharply into the heart, and instructs us more vividly than novel or epopee” (“der wahre Geist des Schauspiels tiefer in die Seele gräbt, schärfer ins Herz schneidet, und lebendiger belehrt als Roman und Epopee,” 1988b, 162, my translation, C. M.). Striking here is the violent imagery: cutting into the heart. Shakespeare appears here as the champion of drama, but paradoxically, according to Schiller, even his plays are not necessarily destined for the theatre. The genius of drama is not realized in ‘pure’ plays but in monstrous hybrid forms—closet plays that are half-drama, half-novel: “Ich schreibe einen dramatischen Roman” (“I am writing a dramatic novel,” 1988b, 162, original emphasis, my translation, C. M.). In order to achieve the desired effect—intensive, powerful and violent—Schiller barbarizes the classical rules of drama.2 But which heart is to be cut? That of the reader or that of the play’s protagonists? The latter too makes sense. As an anatomical metaphor, the cutting up of the heart points to the psychological analysis so central to Schiller-the-physician’s early poetics: the play functions as anatomical dissection, as the violent dismemberment of souls. According to Schiller the theatrical performance often conceals this analytical activity—another reason why he favors the reader over the audience member: “Der Zuschauer vom gewaltigen Licht der Sinnlichkeit geblendet, übersieht oft [...] die feinsten Schönheiten, [...] die sich nur dem Auge des bedachtsamen Lesers entblößen” (“The audience member, blinded by the intense light of sensuality, often overlooks [...] the most beautiful features, [...] which reveal themselves only to the eyes of the considerate reader,” 1988b, 164, my translation, C. M.). But this beauty is not that of classical harmony but rather the painful beauty of the anatomy of souls in which Shakespeare (the “British Aeschylus”) specializes “in all his brute Scyth2

The dramatic novel: here Schiller is building on the contemporary novelistic poetics of Friedrich von Blanckenburg. In his Versuch über den Roman (Essay on the Novel, 1774) the latter asserts the merits of the novel in dialogue form, highlighting its ability to render visible the ‘internal history,’ its pragmatic capacity to present the genesis of the action through the interplay of psychological processes and external factors.

2.2.  Case Study: Schiller’s Die Räuber (The Robbers, 1781)       149

ian splendour” (“in seiner rohen scythischen Pracht,” 1988b, 164, my translation, C. M.). The template of the Shakespearean play, then, is ‘brute’ and ‘Scythian,’ that is, ‘barbarous.’3 Here Schiller quite openly commits himself to a ‘barbarous art’—not ‘barbarous’ in the sense ascribed by Goethe and Herder to the art of the creative genius but in the sense of the anatomical exposure of psychological mechanisms, though this is no ‘cold’ form of exposure. This, after all, is what he rebukes the French dramatists for: they are “ice-cold observers of their rage or precocious professors of their passion” (“eiskalte Zuschauer ihrer Wut, oder altkluge Professore [sic!] ihrer Leidenschaft,” 1988b, 162, my translation, C. M.). Shakespeare, on the other hand, gives us rage in actu (and in light of its genesis within the individual). Hence the dual trajectory of ‘cutting into the heart,’ which entails the anatomical dissection of a given character’s heart but also the ‘heart-rending effect’ on the reader, who ideally empathizes with and relates to the depicted emotions. Two types of relationship constitute the basic axes of the play Die Räuber—that between father and son and that between brother and brother. They represent the ‘primal elements’ or models of two different types of sociation: patriarchal, authoritarian rule (father of the nation, king, despot) and the republican, fraternal bond. These signify two elementary forms of rule, both of which the play puts to the test and calls into question (alongside alternative models, particularly the social contract). The first scene of the first act includes the long monologue by the schemer Franz Moor, who is attempting to exclude his brother from his inheritance, get rid of his father and raise himself to the status of lord. This lengthy monologue provides a deep insight into Franz Moor’s motives, an example of the ‘anatomy of souls’ addressed above.4 First he indicts ‘nature,’ which has disadvantaged him in a dual sense—with respect to his looks (he has the appearance of a “Laplander,” a “blackamoor,” a “Hottentot,” 1979b, 33; “Lappländer[],” “Mohr[],” “Hottentotte[],” 1988a, 28), and second with respect to his birth (as ‘second-born’ with no right to succeed to the lordship). It is no coincidence that Franz invokes barbarous peoples here, positioning himself in proximity to barbarism. He assails attempts to trace power relations back to ‘nature.’ These supposedly ‘natural’ institutions are unmasked, from a consistently skeptical perspective,5 as contingent constructs. Revealing much, Franz asks: “Wer hat ihr [sc., der Natur] die Vollmacht gegeben jenem [sc., dem Bruder Karl] dieses [sc., das Recht auf den Thron] zu verleihen, und mir vorzuenthalten?” (“Who gave her [sc., nature] the power to make him [sc., his brother Karl] like that, and to keep it from me?” 1988a, 28; 1979b, 33). Nature is invoked by those who justify the prevailing order as the ultimate authority, but Franz asks: who endowed nature with this authority? Rather than being inherent in nature, this authority is an artificial creation, underpinned by concrete interests. A form of rule that is supposedly anchored in 3 4 5

The Scythians—in addition to the Persians—are the prototypical barbarians of ancient Hellas, just as the New Zealanders are the prototypical barbarians of the late eighteenth century. In this sense, as often remarked in scholarship, the opening monologue resembles that of the villain Richard III in Shakespeare’s royal history play of the same name. See above, chapter 2.1.1.3, footnote 10, on Montaigne’s attempt to trace legal orders back to contingent origins.

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nature is in fact an ideology. Yet even Franz subsequently invokes nature—though of a very different kind: Ich tu ihr Unrecht. Gab sie uns doch Erfindungs-Geist mit, setzte uns nackt und armselig ans Ufer dieses großen Ozeans Welt – Schwimme, wer schwimmen kann, und wer zu plump ist geh unter! Sie gab mir nichts mit; wozu ich mich machen will, das ist nun meine Sache. Jeder hat gleiches Recht zum Größten und Kleinsten, Anspruch wird an Anspruch, Trieb an Trieb, und Kraft an Kraft zernichtet. Das Recht wohnet beim Überwältiger, und die Schranken unserer Kraft sind unsere Gesetze. (1988a, 28) I do her an injustice. After all, she gave us the gift of ingenuity too when she set us naked and miserable upon the shores of this great ocean of the world: swim who can, and let sink who is too clumsy! She gave me nothing; what I can make of myself is my affair. Each man has the same right to the greatest and the least; claim destroys claim, impulse destroys impulse, force destroys force. Might is right, and the limits of our strength our only law. (1979b, 33)

True nature is the instinct for self-preservation, the struggle for survival, the war of all against all. According to Franz Moor, might is right. He adheres to a Hobbesian view of the state of nature. He also refers to a fundamental principle of Enlightenment anthropology: homo non nascitur sed fit.6 The human being is ‘nothing’ by nature, but instead creates himself. In Franz Moor’s view, the state of nature is not overcome through a state of society. It is not brought to an end by the social contract (and here he deviates from Hobbes’s views): “Wohl gibt es gewisse gemeinschaftliche Pakta, die man geschlossen hat, die Pulse des Weltzirkels zu treiben. Ehrlicher Name!  – Wahrhaftig eine reichhaltige Münze mit der sich meisterlich schachern läßt, wers versteht, sie gut auszugeben” (“It is true, there are certain conventions men have made, to rule the pulses that turn the world. Honourable reputation! A valuable coin indeed, one to drive a fine bargain with for the man who knows how to use it,” 1988a, 28; 1979b, 33). Here, tellingly, the social contract—a form of barter!—is compared with a currency, with money. The social contract establishes no social order to which all must equally submit. Instead, it is a currency with which one can engage in commerce—with which one can deceive and betray.7 Moor takes the exchange underpinning the signing of a contract literally—this contract establishes a barter but it does not facilitate equal treatment. Instead, it perpetuates the war of all against all, but in a concealed, refined and cunning rather than obvious and violent way. Equivalent exchange is replaced by betrayal and haggling (“schachern”).8 Franz

6 7 8

This Latin saying (‘man is not born but makes himself’), often quoted by Enlightenment thinkers, refers to man’s perfectibility and autonomy. See Moser 2010, 270–72. Carl Schmitt puts forward a similar argument to justify his critique of the concept of the social contract as found in Enlightenment philosophy. See Schmitt 2009, 70–71. Note the Jewish connotation of this term, which is deliberately evoked here: according to Grimm’s dictionary (Grimm 1893, 1961), schachern is derived from the Hebrew sâchar (to move around while trading), and has the meaning “to engage in small-scale purchases or barters, especially of Jewish peddlery, subsequently used for all kinds of profit-seeking

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Moor repudiates attempts to found authority on precepts of natural law. Patriarchal models of legitimation are also subsequently turned upside down. Franz questions paternal love; he debunks its alleged sacredness. He again attacks the principle of exchange associated with this love: “es ist dein Vater! Er hat dir das Leben gegeben, du bist sein Fleisch, sein Blut – also sei er dir heilig” (“he is your father! He gave you life, you are his flesh and blood; so let him be sacred to you!” 1988a, 29; 1979b, 34). The gift-of-life implies an obligation to reciprocate: what is owed is the son’s love and respect (and the same goes for the subject vis-à-vis the sovereign). Yet Franz shows this ‘pact’ to be null and void. There is no love of the father that requires his reciprocal love. His father did not beget him out of love, since at the time of conception he could not know him. The act itself involves nothing sacred; it is “the animal gratification of animal desires” (“viehischer Prozeß zur Stillung viehischer Begierden,” 1979b, 34; 1988a, 30). So Moor has nothing to thank his father for—the latter has ‘given’ him nothing. That he exists is the result of coincidence and contingency. He owes his father nothing. Franz Moor not only rejects theories of the state anchored in natural law and notions of the contract (as expounded by Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau), but also patriarchal models of rule (of the kind described by Robert Filmer in Patriarcha, or the Natural Power of Kings, 1680) that seek to ground sovereignty in the father’s ‘naturally given authority.’ These he replaces with the law of the jungle or the law of the more politically astute. For him politics is the continuation of war by other means (Foucault 1997, 16; 2004, 15). His goal is despotic rule: “Ich will alles um mich her ausrotten, was mich einschränkt daß ich nicht Herr bin” (“I will crush everything that stands in the way of my becoming master,” Schiller 1988a, 30; Schiller 1979b, 35). The second scene of the first act complements Franz Moor’s first appearance. Here Karl Moor is portrayed as Franz’s antitype. Yet he too is marked as a ‘barbarian.’ Franz represents the ‘bad’ (in Montesquieu’s terms: Asiatic, despotic) barbarian; Karl, on the other hand, is the ‘good’ (European, liberal, republican) barbarian. Tellingly, Karl invokes the Germanic prince Hermann (1979b, 37; 1988a, 32). He begins by describing his situation in Leipzig, where he is clearly drowning in debt and is thus in danger of being thrown “to gaol” (“[i]ns Loch,” 1979b, 36; 1988a, 32). His creditors are unwilling to grant him any further deferments. Karl is manifestly unable to cope in a world in which people trade and barter. Barbarous predation suggests itself as an alternative. He is equally unable to deal with the law, which “strait-jacket[s]” (“schnür[t]”) his will, its “snail’s pace” (“Schneckengang”) impeding the “flight of eagles” (“Adlerflug,” 1979b, 36; 1988a, 32) of the great man and genius: “Das Gesetz hat noch keinen großen Mann gebildet, aber die Freiheit brütet Kolosse und Extremitäten aus” (“The law never yet made a great man, but freedom will breed a giant, a colossus,” 1988a, 32; 1979b, 36). Like Franz, then, Karl too rejects contract, law and exchange, but for the sake of freedom, not the despotic freedom of the individual destined to rule but everyone’s freedom: “Stelle mich vor ein Heer Kerls

activity” (“kauf- oder tauschhandel im Kleinen treiben, besonders von jüdischem hausierhandel, dann von jeder art gewinnsüchtigen erwerbs gebraucht,” my translation, C. M.).

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wie ich, und aus Deutschland soll eine Republik werden, gegen die Rom und Sparta Nonnenklöster sein sollen” (“Give me an army of fellows like me to command, and I’ll turn Germany into a republic that will make Rome and Sparta look like nunneries,” 1988a, 32; 1979b, 37). Nonetheless, Karl does not reject every form of contract. He has faith in his reciprocal relationship with his father. He has written to him asking for “forgiveness” (“Vergebung,” 1979b, 41; 1988a, 37) and now expects both forgiveness and help (believing his father ought to pay off his debts). Karl trusts in this gift because he regards it as a counter-gift for his boundless love for his begetter. In contrast to the patently wicked robber Spiegelberg, poverty alone cannot turn him into a robber. It is only his father’s supposed breach of contract (which soon occurs via a letter forged by Franz) that prompts him to drop out of society and detach himself from the rule of law, to become an outlaw. Karl, then, is not fundamentally opposed to contracts, only those that insist upon precise calculation, on literal fulfillment of specific conditions (such as creditors who refuse to grant a deferment; an insistence on the letter of the law). He favors contracts based on generosity, on gifts and donations, as exemplified by the superabundance of love for one’s father, which requires tremendous mercy and forgiveness as a counter-gift, and later by the band of robbers, which is based on the unconditional gift of life, as manifest in the notion of loyalty unto death. “[L]ove for love” (“Liebe für Liebe,” 1979b, 48; 1988a, 44) is the principle underpinning this exchange, that is, superabundance for superabundance, a kind of potlatch of ‘devotion.’ Karl owes his father everything, namely his existence, and for this, he loves him beyond measure. In return, he demands boundless love and limitless forgiveness. The imperative here is to give everything and more—without totting things up. Karl’s ‘conversion’ to a life of robbery and murder also follows this logic of the lavish counter-gift: boundless love transforms into boundless hatred that cries out for retaliation and revenge, for the annihilation of the father: “ich hätte tausend Leben für ihn – schäumend auf die Erde stampfend. ha!” (“my life I would a thousand times—[foaming, stamping on the ground] ha!” 1988a, 44–56; 1979b, 48). He would have given not just one but a thousand lives: an excess of gift and counter-gift. He breaks off this sentence, in which he acknowledges the gift-of-life, abandoning himself to a scornful gesture of rage. The gift is revoked and transformed into its opposite: immeasurable hatred and a desire to annihilate, expressed in stamping on the ground and trampling underfoot. Karl wishes to “deal a deadly blow to this brood of vipers! [...] pierce the heart of its life, crush it, strangle it” (“dieser Otterbrut eine brennende Wunde zu versetzen! [...] das Herz ihres Lebens [zu] erzielen, [zu] zermalmen, [zu] zernichten,” 1979b, 48–49; 1988a, 45, translation modified, C. M.). Once again, an exchange is enacted: this offence must be balanced out by punishment, but in the shape of an excessive counter-gift, an immeasurable punishment, namely total annihilation. At the end of the scene, the fraternal alliance that is the band of robbers is then constituted by a reciprocal oath, a contract that itself upholds the principle of the excessive gift. Everyone gives everything, namely their lives: “Treu und Gehorsam bis in den Tod!” (“We swear loyalty and obedience to you till death!” 1988a, 46; 1979b, 49). The robbers and their leader Karl make a solemn vow to this effect. Instead of the rational contract based on balanced exchange, they embrace the pre-legal form

2.2.  Case Study: Schiller’s Die Räuber (The Robbers, 1781)       153

of the oath as defined by Smith and Rousseau.9 The band of robbers is anchored in the reciprocity of death, of annihilation: “Den soll dieser Arm gleich zur Leiche machen, der jemals zagt oder zweifelt, oder zurücktritt! Ein gleiches widerfahre mir von jedem unter euch, wenn ich meinen Schwur verletze!” (“If any show cowardice or hesitation or retreat, this arm shall strike him dead on the spot; the same fate meet me from any and every one of you, if I offend against my oath!” 1988a, 46; 1979b, 50; translation modified, C. M.). The only way to exit this community is as a dead man—literally by giving one’s life for it. The gift of life: this is the paternal gift. In the band of robbers, the men receive a new life—outside of the law, in anarchic freedom or rather under an archaic law, namely the law of the gift-of-life and counter-gift. Karl is the new father who gives (and takes) this life, taking the place of his own father: “Ich habe keinen Vater mehr” (“I have no father now,” 1988a, 45; 1979b, 49). This statement is highly significant, signaling the rupture of Karl’s relationship with his father and an attempt to break with the father-principle at the core of patriarchal society.10 The community of robbers is to mark an absolutely new beginning—a new, alternative order beyond all previously existing ordering structures, in a lawless and fatherless space, a ‘tabula rasa.’ Yet this newly founded alternative society reproduces the structures of domination typical of the ‘established’ society from which it seeks to break away. From Karl’s perspective, social order is based on the emotionally charged relationship between father and son. The supposed breach of this contract by his father prompts him to break away from his father, establishing a fraternal alliance of robbers. Yet right from the outset, this alliance is based on a patriarchal template. Karl himself takes on the role of father, while the robbers are his children; they owe him absolute obedience because they owe him their ‘lives.’ The profound cohesion of this community is rooted in a pact centered on the reciprocal ‘gift-oflife.’ Even before breaking off relations with his father, Karl does not recognize society and the state as an (abstract) legal order; in his eyes, the law is a mere “constriction” of freedom (“Einschnürung”). For him, society is only ever realized concretely in a paternal authority—yet this father figure does not represent the symbolic order but is instead emotionally charged, a maternally encoded fatherhood that facilitates a narcissistic mirror relationship. Moor senior is in fact a weak, ‘maternal’ father. This mirror relationship is also evident when father and son are envisaged switching positions. The dying father wants his son to sing him a “lullaby” (“Wiegengesang,” 1979b, 63; 1988a, 60), to rock him into death, figuratively rendering the son the father’s mother. The template for Karl’s vision of society is a narcissistically encoded father-son and mother-son relationship bearing a tremendous emotional charge, one that is intimate and incestuous. Tellingly, at no point do we learn anything about Karl’s biological mother. His father has occupied her place.11 He is his father and 9 See above, chapter 2.1.2.7. 10 On the central importance of the father-son-relationship in Die Räuber and its political implications see Borchmeyer 1987; Sautermeister 2005, 22–24. Neither Borchmeyer nor Sautermeister, however, perceive a connection to the eighteenth-century theories of barbarian sociality. 11 Here Schiller’s play builds on the familial constellations of the bourgeois tragedy. See above, chapter 2.1.2.7, footnote 111.

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mother at the same time, thus annulling (on the level of fantasy) the threatening act of symbol- and law-establishing ‘castration.’ As chief robber Karl establishes himself as just such a maternal father figure—an assimilating (incorporating, cannibalizing) authority that demands total devotion.12 The robbers’ alliance is to be fraternal in character (the robbers address one another as ‘brother’) but it is constituted quasi-automatically as a patriarchal structure. The robbers do not swear allegiance to one another (on the basis of equality). Instead, they immediately select a leader, a lord: “das Tier muß auch seinen Kopf haben, Kinder. [...] Auch die Freiheit muß ihren Herrn haben” (“the beast must have its head, children! [...] Even liberty must have its master,” 1988a, 43; 1979b, 47), as Roller puts it. Tellingly, Roller refers to his comrades as children. This archaic-republican social unit takes the form of a patriarchal order as it were naturally. Is a tendency towards despotic degeneration thus encoded in it?13 In any event, Karl ‘incorporates’ the community of the robbers, assimilates it, obligates it to absolute obedience. What has become of the much-vaunted freedom? Only as a whole does the community possess freedom, as a collectivity, not on the level of individuals. Karl is not elected as leader ‘democratically.’ No votes are counted (this, of course, would have meant calculating exchange rather than generous gift). Instead he is initially acclaimed by Schweizer,14 then everyone calls out together and over one another “[shouting aloud] Long live our captain!” (“mit lärmendem Geschrei: Es lebe der Hauptmann!” 1979b, 49; 1988a, 45). Unanimity and consonance prevail, but as a mass phenomenon (as in the New Zeelander’s Battle Song or in Israel’s reaction to the Levite’s appeal for retribution15); this is not the result of a regulated ballot but of spontaneous assent, a spontaneous expression of the collective will. The play presents us with the ‘natural,’ spontaneous genesis of the robbers’ alliance out of nothing. This alliance operates according to the principle of the gift-of-life, precisely as (in Karl’s eyes) the bond between father and son ought to have functioned. Schiller’s play Die Räuber experiments with the fundamental elements of human society as the eighteenth century strove to understand them; it plays an analytical game with (or performs an anatomical dismemberment of) the supposedly ‘natural forms’ of human sociality. In view of his father’s refusal to forgive him and pay off his debts, Karl Moor feels expelled from society. For him this withdrawal of fatherly love is tantamount to the breaking of the social contract, which he evidently comprehends on the model of a fundamental gift exchange. On this view, society is based on the ‘natural’ father-son relationship, the father’s gift-of-life, to which the son must respond with boundless love and devotion, obligating the father to love 12 Brittnacher is correct in observing that the band of robbers, devoted to the principle of fraternal solidarity, nevertheless perpetuates patriarchal authority. See Brittnacher 1998, 335. 13 “Die Räuberbande bleibt in ihren internen Verkehrsformen und ihren terroristischen Handlungen an den herrschenden Despotismus gebunden, von dem sie sich nur durch ihre Entstehung kritisch abhebt” (Sautermeister 2005, 22). Thus, the barbarian community of robbers is both despotic and egalitarian at the same time—in accordance with Turgot’s and Ferguson’s analysis of pastoral society. See above, chapters 2.1.2.3 and 2.1.2.6. 14 On the legal institution of acclamation and its representation in early nineteenth-century drama, see Hahn 2011. 15 As for the latter, see above, chapter 2.1.2.7.

2.2.  Case Study: Schiller’s Die Räuber (The Robbers, 1781)       155

him in return. Karl breaks with this patriarchal principle, attempting to step outside of society entirely and establish a more primitive, natural counter-society. This is no longer based on the principle of childlike devotion but on the principle of equality inherent in brotherhood. This is a society that rejects civil law, instead embracing the rules of fraternal, amicable coexistence, a ‘nomadic’ society that lives not from work and cultivation of the land but from robbery. Rather than fettering themselves to the land, its members wander around freely in the forests. This appears to be an egalitarian collectivity devoid of hierarchy, in which everyone stands by everyone else. Yet it is clear that at the very moment of its emergence, the society of robbers reproduces the structure of the patriarchal society from which it supposedly seeks to set itself apart. It is not egalitarian. Instead, as chief robber, Karl attains the status of a despotic paternal authority. He gives his life for the new collectivity in at least two respects: a) he obliterates his civil existence, his old life, with no possibility of return; b) in battle, he repeatedly puts his life on the line for the group. The members of the collectivity thus owe him their lives and their love. If, as he sees it, the ‘old society’ he has left behind is based on the principle of reciprocal devotion between father and child, then this applies to the new, alternative robbers’ society as well. In light of its constituent features (robbery, nomadism, profound affective cohesion combined with a permanent state of war with the ‘external world,’ the despotic authority of a ‘father figure’), this social group is clearly marked as ‘barbarous’ in the sense of Enlightenment theories of culture and society. But if this barbarous robbers’ society reproduces the basic structure of the ‘civilized,’ patriarchal society from which it has supposedly dissociated itself, what does this tell us about the civilized society? Above all, surely, that the latter is itself still ‘barbarous’ at heart. And this is no doubt the real point of Schiller’s critique of society: the seemingly alternative band of robbers is not so different after all, not as alternative as it claims. It holds up a mirror to civilized society. It is ‘barbarous’ but at the same time renders visible how barbarous civilized society still is in its basic structure. There are two longer scenes in Die Räuber (II.3 and III.2) specifically devoted to the band of robbers, which give us something of an ‘inside’ view of the robbers’ sociality. In both scenes, the play provides a precise description of the way this society functions. Here Schiller draws a kind of psychogram of the band, highlighting the socially sanctioned structures of affect that undergird its tremendous cohesion. Let us turn first to scene II.3. This takes place in the Bohemian Forest and shows the band of robbers in action, battling with the civil order, confronting the sovereign authorities and at war with civil society and its structures, which are regarded as unjust. This confrontation is articulated in the scene in two ways. 1. The immediate back-story: one of the robbers (Roller) has been taken prisoner by the authorities, and in a daredevil effort, the band of robbers has freed him, daring to attack the city of Nuremberg, where Roller had been detained. They engage in terrorism in order to liberate their captive ‘brother,’16 blowing up the city’s gunpowder magazine and 16 On Die Räuber as an early analysis of terrorist behavior, see Sautermeister 2009; Takeda 2010, 181–230. There are strong intertextual links between Schiller’s Räuber and Heinrich von Kleist’s Michael Kohlhaas narrative (1810), another example of an early, perceptive analysis of terrorism.

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killing eighty-three innocent people (mostly women, children and elderly people). 2. This act of liberation succeeds but as a result, an entire army sets out in pursuit of the robbers. The band is surrounded by this superior force and finds itself in a seemingly hopeless situation. A priest, a representative of the Church, enters the robbers’ camp as emissary of the civil order to carry out negotiations on their capitulation and surrender. Here, then, the confrontation takes the form of a negotiation, a dialogue between the robbers (or their chief) and a representative of the civil and moral order. Both these confrontations, the liberation of Roller and the negotiations with the priest, give us an insight into the structure of the robbers’ society. First, let us consider the freeing of the captive. Striking here is the peculiar balancing out of profit and loss associated with this act. The huge loss of innocent human lives brought about by Roller’s liberation is not merely accepted. It is in fact affirmed and joyfully welcomed because it serves to reinforce the group’s cohesion: “sollen wir uns ein Gewissen daraus machen, unserem Kamerad zulieb die Stadt drauf gehen zu lassen?” (“why the devil should we have any qualms at setting off the town for the sake of our comrade?” 1988a, 80; 1979b, 82), as Schweizer asks. Evidently, as he sees it, one liberated robber offsets the destruction of an entire city. Karl Moor makes much the same argument: “Roller, du bist teuer bezahlt.” (“Roller, your life is dearly bought,” 1988a, 81; 1979b, 83). But this is just what the economy of the robbers’ society involves—an excessive gift (and equally excessive retribution). There is no exact equivalence here, no precise calculations are made, and there is no attempt to neatly balance things out. Instead, debts are incurred in an unrestrained way. Following the massacre carried out to free him, Roller is deeply in the group’s debt and is thus incorporated by it all the more uncompromisingly. Because of him, the group has accrued massive (moral) debt. And Roller is ready and willing to ‘pay his dues’: “Moor! möchtest du bald auch in den Pfeffer geraten, daß ich dir gleiches mit gleichem vergelten kann!” (“Moor! I only hope you land in such a stew, so that I can repay you in the same coin!” 1988a, 79; 1979b, 82). What is meant by ‘the same coin’ here is nothing less than life itself (in other words everything, an immeasurable quantity). We are dealing here with reciprocal relations of infinite debt that can never entirely be paid off. One can never free oneself of one’s debts to the robbers’ society. The band incorporates the individual completely; its ties are indissoluble. This excessive economy of the reciprocal gift-of-life underpins an equally excessive distinction between ‘us’ and ‘them,’ between friends or brothers and others. Other people are not full-fledged human beings; their lives are worth less than those of one’s fellow robbers. Others are second-class human beings, ‘mere people’ rather than ‘brothers.’ In this respect too, the robbers’ band resembles the patriarchal society that it is so keen to repudiate. In his despair at being left in the lurch by his sons, Moor senior declares: “Keine Söhne! keine Töchter! Keine Freunde! – Menschen nur” (“No sons! no daughters! no friends!—only men” 1988a, 66; 1979b, 68). For him sociality can only take the form of the family; it must be based on the model of intimate familial relations. This explains his dismissive reference to “only men” (“Menschen nur”), mere people. People are less than friends, less than children. For him as for Karl, mere people not bound by relations of filiation or friendship are not full-fledged human beings. There is palpable animosity here towards the cosmopolitan and natural law concept of the person characteristic of the Enlightenment, a rejection of universal humanity and

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equality grounded in one’s status as human being. According to this concept, society is constituted by a contract between people (not, as Karl and his father believe, by a contract of love between givers and receivers of life). As Karl and Moor senior see it, mere people do not establish a society. Yet from the perspective of Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau, it is in fact people who establish social order on a contractual basis. For Karl and Moor senior, the mere human being is less than a human being. The community of which Karl is chief does not consist of people and citizens but is structured on the model of the family group. This is a group of children who owe their father their lives. From the robbers’ point of view ‘one of us’ is ‘worth’ far more than the ‘others.’ The others are ‘mere people,’ while ‘we’ are friends and brothers—‘true people.’ If intimate affectivity and total cohesion are made the basis of sociality, this implies an excessive ‘negative’ form of affect vis-à-vis ‘others,’ those who do not belong.17 How does Karl react to the news of the exorbitantly high number of innocent victims resulting from Roller’s liberation? On the one hand, his conscience is stirred: “Oh, the poor, miserable creatures!” (“Oh, der armen Gewürme!” 1979b, 83; 1988a, 81) he cries. But it is telling that Karl reduces the victims to the status of animals, of vermin (“Gewürm”). His sympathy is directed not towards his fellow human beings but towards lowly creatures. Even in his sympathy he distinguishes between an ‘in-group,’ whose members are worth more, and an ‘out-group’ consisting of ‘mere people,’ if that. Yet at the same time, he divests himself of all responsibility. Those ‘to blame’ are, first, ‘impure elements’ within his band, immoral monsters such as Schufterle, who—amid the anarchic struggle to free their comrade—took pleasure in raping women and stabbing children to death, and whom Karl wishes to exclude from the robbers’ community: “Laß dich nimmer unter meiner Bande sehen!” (“Never let me see you in my band again,” 1988a, 82; 1979b, 84). Karl wishes to instigate a great catharsis, to ‘purify’ his band: “Aber ich will nächstens unter euch treten, und fürchterlich Musterung halten” (“But I shall come amongst you, and terrible shall be my judgement upon you,” ibid.). What kind of purification is this? Is it based on a moral law? Is the law Karl rejected as a “strait-jacket” coming into play here after all? Is he now submitting himself and the band to this law? The answer is no, because he does not take responsibility for these murders but passes it off onto others. The exclusion of the impure is merely a pretext that serves to reinforce internal cohesion, to stabilize his absolute power as ‘leader.’ In the same breath he states: “Murrt ihr? – Ueberlegt ihr? – Wer überlegt, wann Ich befehle?” (“What are you murmuring? Are you hesitating? Who can hesitate when I command?” ibid.). The robbers should not engage in reflection (“überlegen”), contemplate the meaning and morality of their actions or question their conscience. They should not come to conclusions about the ethics of what they have done in an autonomous, individual way. What is required of them is unconditional obedience to their leader. Karl substitutes for their conscience and its inherent moral law. He is, he embodies the law, though he does not submit to it himself, precisely because he sweepingly equates it with his will, his spontaneous impulses. After all, 17 Regarding this aspect of social bonding, Schiller links up with Fergusons’s analysis of barbarian sociality. See above, chapter 2.1.2.6.

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without a moment’s thought he had the city burned to ashes by ordering the detonation of the tower. The robbers are to have no will or conscience of their own—all of them are fully incorporated by Karl. This brings out the band’s fundamentalism, which is rooted not in a written law but in the law embodied in Karl (the charismatic leader). The leader is the embodiment of the law: according to Smith, this is a key attribute of barbarous society.18 Following the terrorist attack on the city Karl initially behaves towards his robbers like a fiercely enraged father determined to punish their moral lapse and implement a process of purification. But the mood soon shifts again, with rage suddenly giving way to a quite different state of mind as it becomes clear that the robbers are surrounded by infinitely superior enemy forces: “Ich habe sie vollends ganz einschließen lassen, itzt müssen sie fechten wie verzweifelte. Laut Kinder! Nun gilts! Wir sind verloren, oder wir müssen fechten wie angeschossene Eber” (“I have let them encircle us completely, now these fellows will have to fight in desperation. [Aloud] Now, children! Now is the time! We are lost, or we must fight like wild boars at bay,” 1988a, 84; 1979b, 84, translation modified, C. M.). The existential danger facing the group from outside rekindles Karl’s protective instincts. There is no longer any talk of internal moral purification; instead the group closes ranks again vis-à-vis the outside world. The natural drive for self-preservation kicks in here, and it has a collective impact. Karl again takes on the role of protective parent, of protective mother (rather than punishing father): this is why he calls the robbers “children” (“Kinder”). Tellingly, he reveals the situation as his own work: “Ich habe sie ... einschließen lassen...” (“I have let them encircle us”). Does this mean he has deliberately brought his men into these dire straits? Has he calculatingly exposed them to an existential threat? This threat is in fact necessary to ensure their cohesion. Only through a constant struggle for self-preservation can the band achieve the tremendous internal cohesion, the corporative unity that is its distinguishing feature. Internal purification, a permanent struggle for survival and war with the outside world—these are the constituent elements of this sociality. These too are barbarous attributes as understood by Montesquieu, Turgot, and Ferguson: they all emphasize that barbarous societies find themselves in a constant state of war. At this point, it is useful to make a brief theoretical excursus on ‘purification.’ As Schiller clearly points up, this is of great significance to the robbers’ barbarous society. In fact, French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss distinguishes primitive from modern societies by drawing on this principle of purification. Modern Western societies, he argues, implement rigid procedures of self-purification, whereas archaic societies are integrative—rather than excluding damaging elements, they incorporate them into the social body. In this vein, Lévi-Strauss makes a fundamental distinction between two different types of society: celles qui pratiquent l’anthropophagie, c’est-à-dire voient dans l’absorption de certains individus détenteurs de forces redoutables le seul moyen de neutraliser celles-ci, et même de les mettre à profit; et celles qui, comme la nôtre, adoptent ce qu’on pourrait

18 See above, chapter 2.1.2.5.

2.2.  Case Study: Schiller’s Die Räuber (The Robbers, 1781)       159 appeler l’anthropémie (du grec émein, vomir); placées devant le même problème, elles ont choisi la solution inverse, consistant à expulser ces êtres redoutables, hors du corps social en les tenant temporairement ou définitivement isolés, sans contact avec l’humanité, dans des établissements destinés à cet usage. (Lévi-Strauss 1955, 464) those which practise cannibalism—that is, which regard the absorption of certain individuals possessing dangerous powers as the only means of neutralizing those powers and even of turning them to advantage—and those which, like our own society, adopt what might be called the practice of anthropemy (from the Greek émein, to vomit); faced with the same problem, the latter type of society has chosen the opposite solution, which consists in ejecting dangerous individuals from the social body and keeping them temporarily or permanently in isolation, away from all contact with their fellows, in establishments specially intended for this purpose. (Lévi-Strauss 2012, 388)

Lévi-Strauss establishes an analogy between the individual body of the cannibal and the collective body of archaic society. Just as the individual cannibal devours his enemy in order to appropriate his powers, the anthropophagic society as a whole strives to integrate threatening individuals into the social body in order to render their potentially destructive energy productive for the community. The incorporation of the individual into the social body, Lévi-Strauss goes on, occurs through an elaborate system of ‘gifts and counter-gifts’: the individual is punished for infringing social norms, but in return, he receives a form of compensation, which he must then reciprocate vis-à-vis the collectivity. Through this elaborate exchange of gifts and benefits, the individual is integrated into the network of social relations, whereas the anthropemic society punishes transgressions by severing all the offender’s social ties. According to Lévi-Strauss, modern punishment, as practiced in Western societies, is a social purgative: it cleanses the political body of detrimental and pathological elements. What Lévi-Strauss envisages as an irreconcilable opposition between different forms of sociation constitutes an indissoluble, systematic relationship in the work of Schiller. His robbers’ society exhibits both anthropophagic and anthropemic attributes. The social experiment in which Schiller engages in his play questions the rigid opposition between anthropophagy and anthropemy. Schiller highlights that rather than being mutually exclusive, incorporation and expulsion must be regarded as two complementary aspects of one and the same configuration. This robbers’ society is anthropemic, cleansing itself of insubordinate elements in order to incorporate its members all the more fully; and this totalistic incorporation means excluding others all the more relentlessly, cleansing itself of all foreign elements. Let us turn now to the second confrontation between robbers and civil society, which occurs in II.3: Karl’s confrontation with the priest at the end of the scene. The priest offers the robbers asylum and immunity from prosecution if they hand their chief Karl over to the authorities. The priest wishes to negotiate a “contract” (“Vertrag”) with them; he offers them a “general pardon, signed and sealed [by the sovereign himself]” (“hier ist der General-Pardon unterschrieben [...] mit eigener Hand,” 1979b, 91; 1988a, 90, translation modified, C. M.) in exchange for the extradition of their chief. Here, then, the robbers’ devotion to their leader faces a severe test. What does Karl do in this situation? He takes the barter, the ‘reckoning’ that

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underpins this contract to an extreme and turns it into a gamble for highest stakes. Instead of arguing that the authorities’ offer is immoral, inappropriate or simply a betrayal, he goes out of his way to underline its sincerity, highlighting the ‘bargain’ it represents for the robbers. Compared with the authorities he has nothing to offer them—no utility, profit, robbery or fame, only martyrdom and a dishonorable death on the gallows, devoid of any form of compensation. In a word: Karl throws nothing into the ring that might distinguish his contract from the amnesty offered by the authorities—nothing but himself. If the robbers opt to fight, they must do so solely for his sake. This would be absolute, total devotion, fighting for nothing and no one (not even for themselves) other than Karl. What is demanded here is unconditional devotion, unconditional love for the (maternal-paternal) leader. This one thing is worth everything else, it is worth the greatest, most complete sacrifice. Once again, then, Karl asserts the principle of the excessive gift and counter-gift. He risks everything, ‘giving away’ all the trump cards he still seemed to possess, divesting himself of all his former advantages, leaving himself completely naked. He is a barbarian gambler, as described by Ferguson in An Essay on the History of Civil Society.19 But he gives 19 Significantly, the barbarian concept of play as gambling conflicts with Schiller’s posterior idealist and aesthetic notion of play as developed in Über die ästhetische Erziehung des Menschen in einer Reihe von Briefen (On The Aesthetic Education of Man, 1795). Here he famously decrees: “der Mensch ist nur da ganz Mensch, wo er spielt” (“he [Man] is only wholly Man when he is playing,” Schiller 1992a, 614; Schiller 2004, 80; original emphasis). Schiller considers play to constitute an autonomous sphere of being, where “everything actual loses its seriousness because it grows small” (“alles Wirkliche seinen Ernst [verliert], weil es klein wird”), and where “necessity puts aside its seriousness, because it grows light” (“das Notwendige den seinigen ab[legt], weil es leicht wird,” 2004, 78; 1992a, 612; original emphasis). The ludic is reduced to the beautiful: “der Mensch soll mit der Schönheit nur spielen, und er soll nur mit der Schönheit spielen” (“Man shall only play with Beauty, and he shall play only with Beauty,” 1992a, 614; 2004, 80; original emphasis). This implies that the idealist theory of play disregards not only all ludic activity that lacks the quality of the beautiful and the graceful, but also all concrete, real practices of play “which are in vogue in actual life, and which are commonly concerned only with very material objects” (“die im wirklichen Leben im Gange sind und die sich gewöhnlich nur auf sehr materielle Gegenstände richten,” 2004, 79; 1992a, 613). Aesthetic play is an ideal play, alienated from material reality. Paradigmatic instances of such play are the “bloodless combats” (“unblutigen Wettkämpfe[]”) of the ancient Greeks “in their athletic sports at Olympia” (“in den Kampfspielen zu Olympia”). Schiller opposes them to “the death throes of a vanquished gladiator” (“Todeskampf eines erlegten Gladiators”), “the bull fights in Madrid” (“die Stiergefechte in Madrid”) and “the animal baiting in Vienna” (“die Tierhatzen in Wien”)—barbarous degradations of the original human ludic drive (2004, 79; 1992a, 613). Idealist aesthetics represses the elements of violence and of seriousness inherent in play, and with it the dimension of risk and contingency. “[S]ince games of chance are not a beautiful play,” Immanuel Kant says in the Kritik der Urteilskraft (Critique of the Power of Judgment, 1790), “we shall here set it [sic!] aside” (“Aber da das Glücksspiel kein schönes Spiel ist, so wollen wir es hier bei Seite setzen,” Kant 2000, 208; Kant 1983c, 436). By contrast, the young pre-idealist Schiller who wrote Die Räuber avers that play can be deadly serious; the barbarian mode of bonding is a sort of social gambling that implies the risk of violent dismemberment of the body politic. The mature Schiller’s change in his view of play corresponds to a modified conception of barbarism in Über die ästhetische Erziehung des Menschen. Barbarism no longer denotes a specific mode of sociality, nor does it relate to a transitional stage of development. Rather, it signifies a state of depravity, which is attendant upon modern civilization. Barbarism

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everything only in order to take everything, to appropriate everything: the robbers must devote themselves to him completely, surrender themselves to him completely, purely for his sake. Here Karl undertakes the “terrible [...] judgement upon you” (“fürchterlich[e] Musterung,”1979b, 84; 1988a, 82), the fundamentalist purification he announced earlier: the robbers are brought into line, sworn to him completely, fully incorporated and appropriated. There is no longer any reason to be in the band of robbers other than Karl (no prospect of booty or fame or any other kind of utility). At the same time—and this is the flipside—Karl thus puts himself entirely at his robbers’ mercy. He has taken everything from them and now he owes them everything in return, his entire self—lock, stock, and barrel. Another scene that gives us an inside perspective on the robbers’ society is III.2. This provides a contrast to II.3, no longer showing the robbers in action but in a state of rest. This scene is an idyllic interlude, thus linking up with Rousseau’s ambivalent barbarian idylls. The robbers are resting in a pleasant spot on the banks of the Danube, and tellingly we are presented with a rural scene centered on cultivated agricultural land (in contrast to the civilized urban life evoked by the city of Nuremberg in II.3), a place of fertility and ripeness where an autumnal atmosphere prevails: “wie schön das Getreide steht! – Die Bäume brechen fast unter ihrem Segen. – Der Weinstock ist voll Hoffnung” (“how fair the corn stands! The trees almost breaking beneath their fruits. The vine full of promise,” 1988a, 96; 1979b, 97). Civilized urban corruption is contrasted with a rural idyll, though this is presented as cultivated nature. This is a scenario that foregrounds a settled way of life and highlights culture. The cultivated land is clearly marked as belonging to a past time (in contrast to contemporary urban civilization). It is thus no surprise that here Karl Moor lapses into melancholy reveries, indulging in nostalgic reminiscences of his childhood. The beautiful, cultivated landscape points to the childhood of humanity as well as Karl’s own childhood. He succumbs to regressive fantasies—of both an individual and collective kind. On the collective level, this centers on work (cultivation of the land) that is remunerated directly and justly: “Und so würde doch Ein Schweiß in der Welt bezahlt” (“Then one man is repaid for the sweat of his brow!” 1988a, 96; 1979b, 97, translation modified, C. M.). The fertility of the earth appears as just payment for human beings’ labor. Interesting here is Karl’s desire to be born again, and indeed is no longer opposed to civilization but to Bildung: “Der Mensch kann sich [...] auf eine doppelte Weise entgegen gesetzt sein: entweder als Wilder, wenn seine Gefühle über seine Grundsätze herrschen; oder als Barbar, wenn seine Grundsätze seine Gefühle zerstören. Der Wilde verachtet die Kunst, und erkennt die Natur als seinen unumschränkten Ge­ bieter; der Barbar verspottet und entehrt die Natur, aber verächtlicher als der Wilde fährt er häufig genug fort, der Sklave seines Sklaven zu sein. Der gebildete Mensch macht die Natur zu seinem Freund, und ehrt ihre Freiheit, indem er bloß ihre Willkür zügelt” (“Man can be at odds with himself in a double fashion: either as savage if his feelings rule his principles, or as barbarian if his principles destroy his feelings. The savage despises Art and recognizes Nature as his sovereign mistress; the barbarian derides and dishonours Nature, but—more contemptible than the savage—he continues frequently enough to become the slave of his slave. The cultured man [Der gebildete Mensch] makes a friend of Nature and respects her freedom while merely curbing her caprice,” Schiller 1992a, 567; Schiller 2004, 34). On Schiller’s modified conception of barbarism, see also Markus Winkler’s chapter on Nietzsche in the present volume (section 3.4.2).

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as “a beggar” (“daß ich ein Bettler geboren werden dürfte!” 1979b, 99; 1988a, 98). In reality, he was born a rich aristocrat. In other words, in addition to the gift-of-life he has received many other gifts that indebt him to society in a range of ways, entrapping him in an array of relations and obligating him to provide a diverse set of counter-gifts. Opposed to all of this is his desire to have been born ‘without debts’: “to buy the sweet joy of a single afternoon’s rest” (“mir die Wollust eines einzigen Mittagsschlafs zu erkaufen”) as “one of these day labourers” (“wie dieser Tagelöhner einer,” 1979b, 99; 1988a, 98, translation modified, C. M.) through the sweat of honest work. The day laborer is only ever paid for the work of a single day, entering into no long-term obligations: this too is an elementary form of exchange (not a natural one as with the cultivator of the land, but still elementary). Here we see a vision of maximum freedom combined with the preservation of natural ‘justice,’ of the principle of balanced exchange.20 In other words, these are regressive fantasies of an archaic, just, ‘natural’ form of exchange that undergirds a primitive natural order. But in addition to his collective regressive fantasies, Karl also indulges in individual ones. He articulates his longing to be an innocent child again and memories of his childhood well up within him. He expresses a desire for union with his mother: “Daß ich wiederkehren dürfte in meiner Mutterleib!” (“that I might enter again into my mother’s womb!” 1988a, 98; 1979b, 99). This is bound up with the idea that “the whole world [represents] one family” (“die ganze Welt Eine Familie”) while “a father there above” (“ein Vater dort oben,” 1979b, 99; 1988a, 98) watches over it. He alone is “cast out” (“der Verstoßene”), he “alone [is] set apart from the ranks of the pure” (“allein ausgemustert aus den Reihen der Reinen,” ibid, translation modified, C. M.). As an outcast robber, Karl feels ‘impure,’ and he wants to find a way back to innocent purity, to the maternal origin. He regrets his robber’s life and imagines dropping out of it. But is the robbers’ society really so different from the maternally encoded sphere of nature and the family that Karl envisages here? While he weaves his regressive fantasies of dropping out of his current life he lies prostrate on the maternal earth and puts “his head on Grimm’s breast” (“legt sein Haupt auf Grimms Brust”), whom he addresses as “Brother! brother!” (“Bruder! Bruder!”), while the latter replies: “What? look! are you a child?” (“Wie? sei doch kein Kind!” 1979b, 98; 1988a, 98). So his fellow robber figures here as maternal (and fraternal) bosom—an indication that the band of robbers is modelled on the imagined innocent and natural community of the family. If Karl seemingly longs to leave the community of robbers and return to his familial origins, he fails to recognize how similar the two communities actually are (and this also means: the natural-familial ‘primal society’ is far more problematic and dangerous than the idealized version so central to his idyllic fantasies; its highly barbarous, totalitarian and violent counterpart is already inscribed in it). This covert kinship explains the sudden turnaround in behavior that subsequently occurs. When it appears as if Karl is on the point of ruefully terminating his life as 20 This contrasts with the robbers: they steal, do no work, and shed no sweat. They give nothing, only taking. According to Karl, however, this taking is retribution—revenge for the ‘theft’ that the powerful and corrupt have committed against society and against them. So this is an ‘exchange’ after all but an excessive rather than calculated one.

2.2.  Case Study: Schiller’s Die Räuber (The Robbers, 1781)       163

a robber, Schweizer returns from the river with a hatful of water (unnoticed by his chief he had left in order to satisfy his wish—which we can certainly understand in symbolic terms—for a drink of pure water, for ‘purification’). But Schweizer is bleeding, having fallen over and injured himself on his errand. Schweizer’s ‘gift of life and blood,’ his maternal care, which also engender ‘purification,’ ensure that Karl immediately feels at home among the robbers once again. Schweizer’s gift of blood and water allows Karl to purify himself, rekindling the original purity of barbarous times in the bosom of the band of robbers. It is among the robbers themselves that he finds his way back to his mother, to maternal nature. Tellingly, he reciprocates Schweizer’s purifying gift-of-life by purifying him in turn: “Moor gibt ihm den Hut zurück, und wischt ihm sein Gesicht ab: Sonst sieht man ja die Narben nicht die die böhmischcn Reuter in deine Stirne gezeichnet haben – dein Wasser war gut Schweizer – diese Narben stehen dir schön.” (“Moor [giving him back his hat, and wiping his face for him]: Let me—we do not often see the scars the cavalrymen left on your forehead, back there in Bohemia—your water was good, Schweitzer—these scars suit you well,” 1988a, 99; 1979b, 100). With maternal love and care Karl washes Schweizer’s face. He purifies him—literally, but also in a figurative sense. It is no coincidence that it is Schweizer who carries out this ‘purificatory exchange,’ this cleansing exchange of gifts with Karl. Among the robbers, Schweizer is Karl’s closest and most loyal companion—loyal unto death (ultimately, Schweizer will freely choose to pay with his life for the unredeemed promise to capture Franz Moor alive for Karl). Schweizer (like other robbers such as Grimm and Schufterle) has an evocative name. In the cultural histories of the eighteenth century, Switzerland represents a last remnant of ‘positive’ European barbarism: freedom-loving, warlike, natural and pure republics.21 In the cultural theories of the eighteenth century, the purifying function of barbarism is associated with Switzerland. Schweizer reminds Karl that he can find (supposed) maternal, pure innocence not just in his childhood and homeland but also among the robbers themselves. In this setting, Karl himself can be child and mother at once. At the same time, through his symbolic gift of water and blood, Schweizer reminds Karl of the obligation he has embraced vis-à-vis the robbers, of his oath. The reference to Schweizer’s scars is also important (the robbers’ scars are foregrounded again and again in this play—everyone apart from Spiegelberg has them). This physical mark inscribed in the robbers welds them together—literally— into a corporative unity.22 The scars function as a physical symbol of the gifts and sacrifices the robbers have made for their community, and they remind Karl of the primitive contract he has concluded with his fellow robbers. As a result of Schwei­zer’s maternal gift (and Karl’s equally maternal counter-gift) Karl suddenly renews his oath of loyalty to the robbers, in fact taking it one step further: “Ich will euch niemals verlassen.” (“I will never forsake you!” 1988a, 100; 1979b, 199). When Schweizer 21 See for example Herder on the barbarous mountain peoples, who preserve the spirit of freedom and periodically leave their mountain home to invade the plains like purifying floods, initiating a destructive purging of corrupt civilizations (quoted above, chapter 2.1.2.9, pp. 141–42). See also Melanie Rohner’s observations on William Tell (below, chapter 3.1). 22 This is another instance of Rousseau’s barbarian langue des signes, which inscribes the covenant of barbarian society into its members’ very bodies. See above, chapter 2.1.2.7.

164       Christian Moser

warns him to be careful (“Schwöre nicht! du weißt nicht, ob du nicht noch glücklich werden, und bereuen wirst”; “Do not swear! One day, you do not know! your good luck may return, and you will regret it,” ibid.), Karl even repeats his oath. The purificatory exchange, then, figures as a renewal of the barbarous social contract—as a maternal gift of life and love that founds this society and its indissoluble cohesion. What we are dealing with here is a contract that cannot be undone, a covenant that cannot be broken. Karl will, in fact, never be able to leave his robbers. This is evident in the play’s conclusion: the band of robbers refuses to let Karl go. Following the suicide of his brother Franz, Karl wipes the slate clean, confessing to his father and his beloved Amalia that he has become a robber and murderer. His father then dies in despair. Amalia, however, forgives him. This gift of forgiveness seems to open up the possibility of a new life, a route out of brigandism. But the band insists that Karl is permanently bound to them through his oath. They refer to him as their “bondsman” (“Leibeigenen”), whom they have “bought” (“angekauft”) with their “heart’s blood” (“Herzblut,” 1979b, 157; 1988a, 157)—capturing the true nature of their relations very precisely. The band is willing to release Karl only at a very high price—an equally concrete, equally physical and bloody price. This price is Amalia. And Karl is in fact prepared to pay this exorbitant price in order to free himself from his debt and his commitment to the robbers. He shoots his beloved. But has her death truly freed him from the robbers? Has he broken away from them entirely? Karl goes a step further in order to complete this breakaway: he declares his willingness to present himself to the authorities, to surrender himself to justice, that is, to submit himself to the law. It thus seems as though he is opting for a solution capable of terminating the endless cycle of violence (injury and retaliation), of excessive gift and counter-gift. Does this enable him to wash himself clean of guilt, to pay off his debts? Initially, it seems to. An alternative ending suggests itself (and Schiller fuels the reader’s or audience member’s expectation that this will occur): namely that Karl will carry out his own execution, that he will kill himself. But this would have meant taking the law into his own hands, self-administered justice, acting according to his own ideas of the law (‘incorporated’ law). Instead, he wishes to leave judgment to the generally recognized, independently existing legal system. He thus reinserts himself into the social, civil order from which he had fled as a robber: he wishes to be “reconcile[d] to the laws against which I have offended, and [to] restore the order which I have violated” (“die beleidigten Gesetze versöhnen, und die mißhandelte Ordnung wiederum heilen,” 1979b, 160; 1988a, 160). By killing himself he would have appropriated the law, making it his own—his own personal property; he would have robbed it (in barbarous fashion). But this is just what he seems not to do. So does the civil-legal order triumph in the end? We must answer in the negative. At the last moment, the plot takes another peculiar turn. Rather than delivering himself directly to the justice system, Karl surrenders to a “poor wretch [...]—a day-labourer, with eleven children living” (“einen armen Schelm [...] der im Taglohn arbeitet und eilf lebendige Kinder hat,” 1979b, 160; 1988a, 160). He wishes to ensure that the latter receives the award that has been placed on his head. In the end, then, he once again plays the role of generous giver (and robber). He gives to a poor father (a father, no less), thereby ‘indebting’ him and enabling him to pass on the ‘gift-of-life’ to his children and engage in the barbarian

2.2.  Case Study: Schiller’s Die Räuber (The Robbers, 1781)       165

economy of excess. In III.2, the day laborer still figures as the ideal of a person to whom nature has given nothing, and who therefore owes it nothing. But Karl wishes to make a gift to just such a day laborer, thus wrenching him out of the balanced economy of labor and wage. In the end, then, the principle of the gift-of-life and of excessive debt is asserted once again. Ultimately, Karl affirms not abstract law but the law—incorporated in the father—of the generous, eternally indebting gift-of-life. Karl subverts precise calculation and the carefully calibrated allocation of ‘law’ in accordance with merit or infringement, instead affirming the principle of the generous gift (and equally excessive theft). The tragedy of Karl is that he is unable to extricate himself from the archaic-barbarous social contract based on excessive gift exchange. He ultimately eschews the republican social contract, which rests upon precisely calculated exchange and establishes the abstract authority of the law. In Schiller’s play, this contract holds out the prospect of salvation and resolution, but we are shown no concrete route that might lead there. How can barbarians be ‘converted,’ detached from their intimate-familial ties and made subject to the law? The play leaves this question open. Thus, it calls into question the supposition made by Enlightenment stadial theory—namely that barbarism marks a stage of transition that prepares the advent of civil society.

166       Julian Reidy

2.3. Bemoaning the Loss of ‘Vernunft’ and ‘Tugend’: On the Semantics of Barbarism in Salomon Gessner’s Der Tod Abels (The Death of Abel, 1758) and Maler Müller’s Adams erstes Erwachen und seelige Nächte (Adam’s First Awakening and Blissful Nights, 1777) Julian Reidy

As Arno Borst observed, the term ‘barbaric,’ “used to strike out at and injure others, is a term for Europe. It is as old as Europe itself, and lives unchanged in all Euro­ pean languages” (1992, 3).1 It seems bewildering, then, that an extensive history of the term, which traces the development of its intension and extension from ancient Greek to the present day, is yet to be written (Winkler 2009, 22). From the vantage point of literary and cultural history, one of the most complex and least understood chapters of this development begins in the eighteenth century. During that time, the semantics of the lexeme ‘barbaric,’ ‘barbarian,’ underwent significant changes.2 As elucidated in the introduction to this volume, the term emerged in antiquity as an onomatopoetic pejorative with a clear spatial, exclusionary impetus. The barbarian was conceived of, or rather ‘invented’ (Hall 1989), as “he who speaks a different language, the non-Greek, the alien, the foreigner; [...] the uncouth savage, [...] the member of a different civilization.”3 Starting in the eighteenth century, however, the term also loomed large in various emerging theories on “the perfectibility of the human species and in idealistic philosophies of history”:4 the older, spatialized meaning of ‘barbarism’ was now complemented by a new philosophical, historical, and anthropological significance. At the time, the intense discussions on the ‘state of nature’ and the origins of government, property rights, familial structures, and religion led to the inauguration of several historical and anthropological models that conceptualized human his­ tory as a succession of distinct developmental stages. All of these models essentially postulated a “uniform process of civilization [...] which occurs heterochronously in

1 2 3 4

An “europäisches Schlüsselwort,” “das andere Menschen schlagen und verletzen will” (1988, 19). See above, section 2.1.1 of Christian Moser’s chapter. “derjenige, der eine andere Sprache spricht, Nichtgrieche, Fremder, Ausländer; [...] kulturloser Wilder, [...] Angehöriger eines fremden Kulturvolkes” (Opelt and Speyer 2001, 833–34). All translations are mine unless indicated otherwise, J. R. “Perfektibilität des Menschengeschlechts und in der idealistischen Geschichtsphilosophie” (Winkler 2009, 52). Even so, the word retained its old function of constituting identity via denigration and exclusion: in contemporary travelogues, for instance, it was systematically used to infantilize the ‘savages’ and ‘barbarians’ in Africa and North America (ibid.).

2.3.  Bemoaning the Loss of ‘Vernunft’ and ‘Tugend’       167

different societies.”5 Such a progression from ‘savagery’ to ‘barbarism’ to ‘civilization’—this being the typical tripartite model—transcends the traditional, exclusionary, and geographical semantic “dichotomy of culture and barbarism”:6 if a ‘civilized’ condition is achieved by means of a gradual process, as many eighteenth century thinkers posited, then the ‘civilized’ Europeans were once ‘savages’ themselves, and other peoples and societies are not inherently ‘savage’ or ‘barbaric,’ but merely stuck in a different phase of their very own trajectory towards ‘civilization.’ Or, to quote John Locke’s famous expression: “In the beginning all the world was America” (1970, 319). In contemporary thinking, the various stages of anthropological development are distinguished by the different modes of subsistence they entail. William Robertson, one of the founders of Scottish ‘conjectural history’ (Höpfl 1978), emphatically asserts this homology in his History of America (1777): “In every inquiry concerning the operations of men when united together in society the first object of attention should be their mode of subsistence” (1820, 108–09). The writings of French economist Anne Robert Jacques Turgot were also highly influential in shaping and strengthening the notion that the development of human societies evolved (and continues to evolve) in stages linked to specific “mode[s] of subsistence,” such as—most commonly—hunting and gathering in the ‘savage’ stage, herding and pastoralism in the ‘barbaric’ stage, and trade, husbandry, and agriculture in the ‘civilized’ stage (Winkler 2009, 53). All of these theories can be boiled down to the “essential idea” that “societies undergo development through successive stages based on different modes of subsistence” (Meek 1976, 6; emphasis Meek’s). Turgot himself posited three such stages: first come the “savages” (2011, 351)—“Sauvages” (1808, 216), nomadic hunters, then ‘barbarian’ shepherds, who steal from tribes in their vicinity, and finally husbandmen, who cultivate the land, and who, “being more wealthy,” allow for the creation of a leisure class and hence “more rapid progress in every sphere”: Des familles ou des petites nations fort éloignées les unes des autres, parce qu’il faut à chacune un vaste espace pour se nourrir : voilà l’état des Chasseurs. – Ils n’ont point de demeure fixe, et se transportent avec une extrême facilité d’un lieu à un autre. La difficulté des vivres, une querelle, la crainte d’un ennemi, suffisent pour séparer des familles de chasseurs du reste de leur nation. Alors ils marchent sans but où la chasse les conduit. [...] Il est des animaux qui se laissent soumettre par les hommes, comme les bœufs, les moutons, les chevaux, et les hommes trouvent plus d’avantages à les rassembler en troupes, qu’à courir après des animaux errans. La vie des Pasteurs n’a pas tardé à s’introduire partout où ces animaux se rencontroient [...]. La vie des peuples Chasseurs s’est conservée dans les parties de l’Amérique où ces espèces manquent [...] ; et c’est vraisemblablement la raison qui fait que cette partie de l’Amérique a êté policée plus aisément. Les peuples Pasteurs ayant leur subsistance plus abondante et plus assurée, ont êté plus nombreux. Ils ont commencé à être plus riches et a connoître davantage

5 6

“Gleichförmigkeit des Zivilisationsprozesses [...], der nur bei unterschiedlichen Gesellschaften zeitversetzt abläuft” (Nippel 1990a, 59). “einfache Dichotomie von Kulturwelt und Barbarei” (Nippel 1990a, 65).

168       Julian Reidy l’esprit de propriété. L’ambition, ou plustôt l’avarice, qui est l’ambition des barbares, a pu leur inspirer le penchant à la rapine, en même tems que le vœu et le courage de la conservation. – Les troupeaux donnent pour les conduire un embarras que n’ont pas les Chasseurs. [...]. [...] Les peuples pasteurs qui se sont trouvés dans des pays fertiles, ont sans doute passé les premiers à l’état de laboureurs. [...] Les laboureurs ne sont pas naturellement conquérans, le travail de la terre les occupe trop ; mais plus riches que les autres peuples, ils ont êté obligés de se défendre contre la violence. De plus, la terre nourrit chez eux bien plus d’hommes qu’il n’en faut pour la cultiver. De là des gens oisifs ; de là les villes, le commerce, tous les arts d’utilité et de simple agrément; de là les progrès plus rapides en tout genre, car tout suit la marche générale de l’esprit; de là une habileté plus grande dans la guerre que celle des barbares; de là la séparation des professions, l’inégalité des hommes; l’esclavage rendu domestique, l’asservissement du sexe le plus foible (toujours lié avec la barbarie) augmentant leur dureté en raison de l’augmentation des richesses. – Mais en même tems naît une étude plus approfondie du gouvernement. (1808, 216–23) Families or small nations widely separated from one another, because each required a very large area to obtain its food: that was the state of hunters. They have no fixed dwelling-place at all, and move extremely easily from one spot to another. Difficulty in getting a living, a quarrel, or the fear of an enemy are enough to separate families of hunters from the rest of their nation. So they move aimlessly wherever the hunt leads them. [...] There are animals which allow themselves to be brought into subjection by men, such as oxen, sheep, and horses, and men find it more advantageous to gather them together into herds than to chase after wandering animals. It did not take long for the pastoral way of life to be introduced in all places where these animals were met with. [...] The way of life of hunting peoples is maintained in the parts of America where these species are lacking [...], and this is obviously the reason why that part of America has been more easily civilized. Pastoral peoples, whose subsistence is more abundant and more assured, were the most numerous. They began to grow richer, and to understand better the idea of property. Ambition, or rather greed, which is the ambition of barbarians, was able to inspire them with the inclination to plunder, and at the same time with the will and the courage to hold their own. Tending herds involved trouble from which hunters were free [...]. [...] Pastoral peoples in fertile countries were no doubt the first to move on to the state of agriculture. [...] Husbandmen are not by nature conquerors; the cultivation of the land keeps them too busy. But, being more wealthy than the other peoples, they were obliged to defend themselves against violence. Besides, with them the land can sustain many more men than are necessary in order to cultivate it. Hence people who are unoccupied; hence towns, trade, and all the useful arts and accomplishments; hence more rapid progress in every sphere, for everything follows the general advancement of the mind; hence greater skill in war than in the case of barbarians; hence the division of occupations and the inequality of men; hence slavery in domestic form, and the subjection of the weaker sex (always bound up with barbarism), the hardship of which increases in proportion to the increase in wealth. But at the same time a more searching enquiry into government begins. (2011, 351–55)

2.3.  Bemoaning the Loss of ‘Vernunft’ and ‘Tugend’       169

Rousseau too, in his 1781 essay on the origin of languages, links stages of development to modes of subsistence: Des trois manières de vivre possibles à l’homme, savoir la chasse, le soin des troupeaux, et l’agriculture, la première exerce le corps à la force, à l’adresse, à la course; l’âme au courage, à la ruse : elle endurcit l’homme et le rend féroce. [...]. L’art pastoral, père du repos et des passions oiseuses, est celui qui se suffit le plus à lui-même. [...] A l’égard de l’agriculture, plus lente à naître, elle tient à tous les arts; elle amène propriété, le gouvernement, les lois [...]. A la division précédente se rapportent les trois états de l’homme considéré par rapport à la société. Le sauvage est chasseur, le barbare est ber­ ger, l’homme civil est laboureur. (2009b, 127–28) Of the three ways of life available to man, hunting, herding, and agriculture, the first develops strength, skill, speed of body, courage and cunning of soul, it hardens man and makes him ferocious. [...] The pastoral art, father of repose and of the indolent passions, is the most self-sufficient art. [...] As for agriculture, it arises later and involves all the arts; it introduces property, government, laws [...]. The preceding division corresponds to the three states of man considered in relation to society. The savage is a hunter, the barbarian a herdsman, the civil man a tiller of the soil. (1997b, 271–72)

Note however that while Rousseau, in his only explicit reflection on the semantics of ‘barbarism,’ defines shepherds as idle ‘barbarians,’ he still seems to hold them in some esteem and refrains from linking ‘barbaric’ pastoralism to “plunder.” Since agriculture implies the sort of progress which Rousseau obviously abhors—the creation of government, laws, property rights, etc.—, Rousseau’s contribution to the debate on ‘barbarism’ is based on different premises than, for example, Turgot’s: Rousseau would not consider Cain, the original biblical farmer, a harbinger of ‘progress,’ but rather the first symptom of man’s alienation from the state of nature. Be that as it may, Rousseau also conceives of the shepherd as idle and, even though he does not specify the term, a ‘barbarian.’ In any case, Turgot and Rousseau are but two examples of significant eighteenth-century writers who envisioned stage-based, linear models of anthropological development (Meek 1976, 5–10). It is striking that the concept of ‘barbarism’ and the ‘barbarian’ could apparently be seamlessly integrated into these theories on the philosophy of history. In the passages quoted from Turgot and Rousseau, the term is associated with a discrete segment of the history of human development: with the cultural stage of pastoralism and “the inclination to plunder” (Turgot) as well as with the shepherds’ “indolent passions,” with idleness and otium (Rousseau). Since the older, pejorative meaning of ‘barbarism’ is by no means extinct at that time (and does in fact persist in many languages to this day), one can state that the eighteenth century witnesses the emergence of an interference between that classical, ‘spatialized’ semantics of ‘barbarism’ and the term’s novel anthropological and historical usage. This interference produces ambiguity, a semantic fuzziness that has so far mostly escaped scholarly scrutiny. However, such scrutiny is definitely warranted. After all, shepherds—‘barbarians’ according to Turgot and Rousseau—are front and center in a literary genre that en-

170       Julian Reidy

joyed immense popularity all over Europe during the eighteenth century: the idyll.7 It is not a coincidence that Salomon Gessner and others modernized and revitalized the idyll, of all genres, just as philosophical theorizing on the origin and development of mankind was flourishing. Hence, this chapter is based on the working hypothesis that the shepherd in eighteenth century German-language idylls cannot be viewed as a mere stock character adopted from the genre’s pioneers Theocritus and Virgil: the shepherd turns into a fascinating, semantically charged figure in its own right due to the eighteenth century’s preoccupation or obsession with the putative stages of cultural development and their respective modes of subsistence. In other words: over the course of the eighteenth century, as the semantics of ‘barbarism’ become ambiguous and muddled, the figure of the shepherd can no longer be considered innocuous. Rather, the shepherd comes to be seen as a lazy plunderer, synecdochally representing an explicitly ‘barbaric’ phase of human history. It is quite unlikely that this development passed the genre of the idyll by without leaving a trace. I will attempt to demonstrate this using two exemplary, intertextually linked idylls: Salomon Gessner’s Der Tod Abels (1758) and Friedrich ‘Maler’ Müller’s Adams erstes Erwachen und erste seelige Nächte (1777). Both are biblical idylls, or “patriarchads,”8 a very popular variation on the genre at the time (Ehrich-Haefeli, 1990, 32)—Gessner’s idyll actually helped inspire Müller’s contribution to this trend (Heuer 1914, xxxviii).9 Both texts tell the story of the first family after the fall of man. Cain’s murder of Abel marks the tragic climax of Gessner’s idyll, while Müller’s text, retaining some amount of ‘idyllic’ pacification, ends on an ominous note before the killing.10 These two closely related idylls treat Adam’s proto-family as a synecdoche of early mankind, using it as a narrative framing device to elucidate stages and processes of human and cultural development. Just like their source, Müller’s and Gessner’s patriarchads contrast Cain and Abel not just in terms of their actions and personalities, but also with a view to their respective modes of subsistence: Abel and Cain compete for divine favor as a shepherd and as a farmer respectively. In light of the contemporary interest in cultural stages, this competition accrues additional semantic layers. As mentioned above, the relevant theorists generally conceived of 7

See above, Melanie Rohner’s chapter  3.1, and Christian Moser’s observations in chapter 2.1.2.4. 8 “Patriarchaden” (Behle 2002, 106). 9 One famous contemporary, Johann Gottfried Herder, attempted to explain the success of this type of idyll. He reasoned that during the time of the biblical patriarchs God first manifested or established himself in the physical world—“erste Haushaltung Gottes auf Erden”— and then proceeded to gradually—“stuffenweise”—reveal himself (1828, 297). Even though Herder also criticized the patriarchads, he considered it a great achievement of his “century” that “these first exemplary human souls now fell under the purview of poetry” (“Es ist immer mit eine glückliche Falte unsres Jahrhunderts gewesen, diese ersten Musterseelen des menschlichen Geschlechts auch auf den Schauplatz der Dichtung zu führen,” 1828, 297). 10 Later literary retellings of the biblical story of Cain and Abel like Lord Byron’s dramatization Cain (1821) rid themselves of the idyllic genre’s constraints. Byron’s play does not spare the feelings of its viewers and readers, since the killing is actually performed: an act of aggression is allowed to drastically tear the locus amoenus asunder—and while Gessner’s Cain is seduced by a lowly demon, Lucifer himself literally takes center stage in Byron’s text.

2.3.  Bemoaning the Loss of ‘Vernunft’ and ‘Tugend’       171

the shepherd as a plundering barbarian who occupies an intermediary position in the trajectory of human development, while the husbandman represents progress, or at least a more advanced cultural stage. Here, the contemporary semantics of ‘barbarism’ already seem to interfere with the bible’s rather clear distinction between the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ brother, thus infusing both idylls with the ambivalence that became characteristic of the term during the eighteenth century: Abel, the ‘good guy,’ is a shepherd, i.e., a barbarian, while the ‘bad guy’ Cain appears to have transcended that cultural stage because he tills the soil. In view of these semantic tensions, it may not come as a surprise that both idylls tie into the different (and contradictory) semantic layers of ‘barbarism’ that were available to their authors: idiosyncratically, they refer and defer to both the classical exclusionary and the modern anthropo-historical meaning of ‘barbarian’ and ‘barbarism.’ At first glance, the earlier text, Gessner’s Der Tod Abels, is a relatively stereotypical work “in the spirit of the age,” influenced as much by Bodmer’s “biblical epics” (Hibberd 1976, 67) as Milton’s Paradise Lost and Klopstock’s Messias. The five chapters or ‘cantos’ relate the rising tensions between Cain and Abel, which culminate in fratricide and lead to Cain being exiled, along with his wife Mehala and his children, to “wastelands untrodden by man”—“hinaus in öde Gegenden [...], wo noch keines Menschen Fußtritt gewandelt hatte” (Gessner 1973, 186). The narration of Cain’s fall from grace seems cut and dried. Contrary to Carsten Behle’s reading, Gessner does not squarely identify Cain’s “loneliness and unsociability” as the root causes of the “fateful aberration, the first murder committed by man.”11 Rather, an etiologically consistent analysis of Cain’s pathological development should point out that he does, at heart, wrestle with a problem of reason, or loss thereof: as already pointed out by Hibberd (1976, 66), Cain’s debasement is staged as a process of alienation from “virtue and goodness”—“Tugend und Güte”—and a concomitant escalation of dangerous “passions”—“Leidenschaften” (Gessner 1973, 109). From the very beginning, Gessner’s short-tempered Cain teeters on the brink of madness and violence; there is a lingering and ultimately justified suspicion that his ‘animalistic’ traits outweigh his ‘human’ capacity for reasoning and self-control: “An entire hell rages within me!” he exclaims in the first canto, “I am not worthy of living among men, I should dwell amongst the wild beasts who, without rhyme or reason, run riot in the wilderness.” (“Eine Hölle wütet in meinem Innern! [...] Ich bin nicht wert unter den Menschen zu wohnen; unter den wilden Ungeheuern sollt’ ich wohnen, die vernunftlos in der Wildnis toben,” 1973, 113). His plea, his prayer—“O may you return to me, reason and virtue” (“O kehret zurück, du Vernunft und du Tugend,” 1973, 113)—goes unanswered. Anamelech, an emissary from hell, exploits Cain’s confusion. While Cain sleeps, Anamelech conjures up a nightmarish vision, a scenario in which Cain’s descendants are enslaved by Abel’s tribe. With his weakened capacity for “reason” and “virtue,” Cain is “easy prey”—“leichte Mühe” (1973, 138)—for Lucifer’s forces. Dismayed by 11 “Einsamkeit und Ungeselligkeit [...] [bilden] die Grundlagen für eine folgenschwere Fehl­ entwicklung,” “an deren Ende der Mensch erstmals Hand an seinesgleichen legt[]” (2002, 107).

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his dream, Cain rises “like a shaggy lion”—“wie ein zottiger Löwe” (1973, 152)— and kills his brother. This act, foreshadowed by a plethora of references to Cain’s animal-like nature and his symbolic transformation into a beast, a “lion,” signifies an utter revocation of reason and seals Cain’s exclusion from all familial bonds—indeed, from all social bonds, since the ‘first family’ in the idyll represents the entirety of human society. Consequently, the act of killing also causes a sort of aphasia. Having given in to his beastlike nature, Cain no longer seems to be able to communicate: “Itzt saß er wieder tief seufzend, ohnmächtig und sprachlos” (1973, 160; “Now he sat again, sighing deeply, powerless and speechless”); “[I]tzt schwieg er, lang schwieg er in sein Elend gehüllt” (178; “Now he remained silent for a long time, silent and enveloped by his misery”); “‘[I]ch bin elend, unaussprechlich elend’” (178; “‘I am miserable, inexpressibly miserable’”); “Er sah sie und weinte [...] und blieb lange stumm; unaussprechlicher Schmerz schwoll sich auf in seinem Busen” (179; “He looked at her and wept [...] and remained silent for a long time; inexpressible pain swelled within his bosom”); “‘O vergönne diesen letzten Trost mir [...] in meinem unaussprechlichen Elend! [...] Ich will itzt fliehen, [...] von unaussprechlichen Martern verfolgt’” (183; “‘O please grant me this last shred of solace [...] in my inexpressible misery! [...] I shall flee now, [...] pursued by inexpressible agony’”). As he falls from grace, Cain regresses to a pre-lingual state. Even after Mehala forgives him and flees with him, his “soul [...] cannot express its gratitude, its sensations”—“Seele [...] ihren Dank, ihre Empfindung nicht ausdrücken” (185). Cain does, however, ‘express’12 his plan to “flee,” to stop communicating and merely to “cry and moan”—“klagen und heulen” (177), and he actually goes through with it, moving away with his entire family to “desolate plains”—“in öde Gegenden” (186). To Cain, all of this is a confirmation and ratification of the above-quoted curse he directed at himself in the first canto: “I am not worthy of living among men, I should dwell amongst the wild beasts who, without rhyme or reason, run riot in the wilderness.” To sum up, Cain’s fall into sinfulness is characterized by two interlinked developments: a regression into animalistic, irrational behavior and the loss of speech. This is not a coincidence. Both of these changes, the loss of reason and the absence of the ability to communicate, are key aspects of the traditional semantics of barbarism. To the ancient Greeks, the barbarians’ “wildness and fury”13 was complemented by their “animalistic way of life”; they were thought to “be like and live like animals,”14 and of course the barbarian has always been “he who speaks a different language”—or, in 12 The verb used by the narrator to reference Cain’s speech in the German original is, strangely enough, tönen (177), not sprechen or rufen as one might expect based not only on linguistic common sense, but also on all the inquits before this scene (113, 114, 144). Perhaps this choice of verb constitutes a reference to Luther’s translation of First Corinthians (13.1): “Wenn ich mit Menschen- und mit Engelzungen redete, und hätte der Liebe nicht, so wäre ich ein tönend Erz oder eine klingende Schelle.” (“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.”) 13 “Wildheit u. Wut” (Opelt and Speyer 2001, 838). 14 “[Sie] sind wie Tiere und leben wie Tiere” (Opelt and Speyer 2001, 839). The origin of this topos can be traced back to Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics: “And since it is rare for a man to be divine—just as the Laconians are accustomed to addressing someone, when they greatly

2.3.  Bemoaning the Loss of ‘Vernunft’ and ‘Tugend’       173

Cain’s case, he who cannot adequately express himself (anymore). Even though he is never explicitly labeled ‘barbaric’ in Gessner’s idyll, Cain exhibits these basic features of the ancient semantics of barbarism as he slips into an irrational, wordless state. Gessner thus appears to follow a stereotypical formula: Cain’s position as an antagonist is predetermined by the biblical story Gessner seeks to retell, so it seems convenient to ‘barbarize’ him using familiar topoi and tropes. The text conforms to the expectations of its intended audience, well-versed in both the classical tradition and the stories of the Bible. The reader’s sympathies are directed towards Abel, the ‘good’ brother, and the idyll as a whole promulgates the classical semantics of barbarism. It does so by casting Cain as the ‘Other’ writ large, as a degraded, irrational antagonist who communicates by means of violence instead of language and who is expelled in an act of catharsis: not just from his family, but from the family, the first, patriarchal and ancestral community, i.e., from society in its original manifestation, or even, in racial terms, from the normalized ‘white,’ European conception of what it means to be human. In Johann Heinrich Zedler’s Großes vollständiges Universal-Lexicon Aller Wissenschafften und Künste (1732–1754), the most comprehensive contemporary German encyclopedia and therefore a potentially influential point of reference for both Gessner and his educated audience, Cain is identified as the “progenitor of Indians and Africans”—“Die Indianer und Africaner [...] sollen von Cain herstammen” (Zedler 1731–1754, vol. 5, 138, s. v. ‘Cain’)—, which adds yet another dimension to his othering in Der Tod Abels. Just like the Zedler, Gessner’s presentation of the biblical story resonated with contemporary tastes; Der Tod Abels was “clearly one of the most popular works ever published in modern Europe” (Maniquis 1998, 168) and celebrated by an international readership.15 And yet this entire arrangement feels less coherent and harmonious if one reads Der Tod Abels with a view to the extensions and modifications which the semantics of barbarism underwent during the eighteenth century. Rather than simply retelling the story of the archetypal fraternal conflict with “cloying sentimental[ity],” as Peter Thorslev (1962, 95) noted in a scathing critique of Der Tod Abels, Gessner’s idyll actually narrates this conflict with an unexpected degree of complexity: as a violent clash of two different modes of subsistence. In other words: for an educated contemporary reader, the co-presence in Gessner’s text of two different stages of anthropo-cultural development might easily be as striking as its ‘sentimentality.’ In view of this, one is almost forced to read the patriarchad against the grain: its “sentimental” attempts to channel the reader’s sympathies and assign clear-cut roles to the characters turn out to be ambiguous and contradictory, because although Cain is made out to be a ‘barbarian’ in the classical sense of the word, his position as a farmer and husbandman evokes a more developed and civilized stage of human development—whereas the shepherd Abel, the ‘good’ brother, remains attached to a primitive mode of subsistence deemed ‘barbaric’ by leading eighteenth-century philosophers. admire him, as ‘a divine man,’ they assert—so also the brutish person is rare among human beings, he being present among barbarians especially [...]” (1145a). 15 Most notably in Great Britain and France (Schmidt 2003, 93; von Treskow 2000, 247; Laudin 2000, 183; Maniquis 1998, 168, note 3).

174       Julian Reidy

Even a cursory glance at Der Tod Abels reveals that the text does not merely treat “Cain’s and Abel’s different ways of life”16 as a biblical factoid that must be mentioned in order to stay true to the source. From the very beginning, the idyll insists on this discrepancy and explores it in some depth. The emphasis Gessner places on the brothers’ “different ways of life” should be taken seriously: unlike Cain’s general ‘otherness,’ which contemporary audiences could make sense of in racial terms, this particular difference is largely glossed over in the Zedler. The explanation offered there for the killing of Abel is telling in its speculative flimsiness: Einige Ausleger stehen in denen Gedancken, als habe ihr Streit irrdische Dinge zum Grunde gehabt, und soll er bald über den Besitz des Landes, bald über ihre Schwester, mit der sich ein ieder gerne verheirathen wollen, entstanden seyn. Andere leiten den Ursprung desselben von geistlichen Sachen, und sonderlich von der Erbauung eines Tempels her. Doch Moses hat uns in dem vorhergehenden die rechte Ursache gesaget. Habel hatte sich wegen des Opfers, das er im Glauben dargebracht, eine gnädige Erhörung versprechen können, so aber dem heuchlerischen Cain versaget worden. Solches hatte dieser so hoch empfunden, daß er sich auf dem Felde, wo sie von aller menschlichen Gesellschafft abgesondert waren, wieder ihn erhub, [...] ihn auf das grausamste zerriß [...]. (Zedler 1731–1754, vol. 5, 138, s. v. ‘Cain’) Some interpreters blame mundane earthly matters for the brothers’ conflict: a quarrel over land or over their sister whom both sought to marry. Others claim that they fought for religious reasons, specifically the erection of a temple. But Moses tells us clearly what the reason was. Habel, his sacrifice having found favor with the Lord, could expect further divine favor, which Cain, the hypocrite, could not. This angered the latter so much that he arose against his brother on the field, when they were far from human society, and [...] tore his brother apart most cruelly.

In their biblical idylls, both Gessner and Müller challenge and complicate this all-too neat and popular reading of the tale of Cain and Abel: their idylls explore “earthly matters” and “religious reasons,” they avoid simplistic interpretations of Cain’s deed and instead grant him psychological depth. Neither do they confine the conflict to a setting “far from human society.” Rather, Cain’s ‘barbarism’ is treated by Gessner and Müller as a wider, genuinely ‘social’ problem, the roots of which they locate precisely within “human society,” namely in the pathological family dynamic that developed after Adam and Eve’s expulsion from paradise. These idylls present themselves as experimental reconsiderations of a sup­pos­ edly familiar story, from which they glean new, surprising insights and implications that go beyond the formulaic analysis offered by the Zedler. Put differently, the two texts’ intellectual ambitiousness is not to be underestimated, and a quick look at the Zedler shows that the emphasis with which Gessner and Müller distinguish Cain’s and Abel’s respective modes of subsistence is a sign of that ambitiousness. This emphasis is tangible in Gessner’s idyll as it describes Abel greeting the new day with a 16 “unterschiedliche[n] Lebensform[en] Kains und Abels” (Böschenstein-Schäfer 1982, 20).

2.3.  Bemoaning the Loss of ‘Vernunft’ and ‘Tugend’       175

“morning chant”—“Morgengesang”—, which “brings gentle joy”—“mit der edelsten Freude”—to all but Cain (1973, 108). The latter reacts as follows: Mit zornigen Blicken sah er nach der Laub’ und sprach: Wie entzückt sie sind! wie sie ihn umarmen, weil er ein Lied gesungen hat! er kann wohl singen und Lieder dichten, sonst müßt’ er schlafen, wenn er müßig bei der Herde im Schatten sitzt. Mich senget die Sonne bei der rauhen Arbeit, mir bleibt weder Zeit noch Mut zum Singen. Wenn ich des Tages Last ausgestanden habe, dann fordern meine müden Glieder Ruhe, und am Morgen wartet die Arbeit schon wieder auf meinem Felde. Den sanften, müßigen Jüngling, (er stürbe, trüg’ er einmal meine Tageslast) sie verfolgen ihn immer mit Freudenthränen und zärtlichen Umarmungen; ich hasse die weibische Zärtlichkeit [...]. (1973, 109) [Cain] cast angry glances towards the loggia and spoke: how delighted they are! How they hug him, just because he sang a song! He may well chant and craft songs, for otherwise he would have to sleep while he idly sits by his herd in the shadow. I am burnt by the sun during my rough work and am left with neither the time nor the spirit to sing. When I have endured the day’s burden, my weary bones demand rest, and on the new morn my work on my field awaits yet again. Had he my duties but for one day, that meek idle boy would die, and yet they reward his every move with tears of joy and tender hugs; I detest all womanish tenderness [...].

Here, Cain articulates a twofold criticism of Abel: the latter’s vocation is shallow and easy, affording him leisure and the freedom to pursue creative activities, which in turn allows him to surreptitiously ingratiate himself to the rest of the family and makes him seem ‘womanish’ in Cain’s eyes. This complaint is reiterated time and again throughout Gessner’s patriarchad: Müßt ihr denn immer mit diesen dunkeln Vorwürfen mich verfolgen? Wenn nicht immer dies angenehme Lächeln auf meinen Lippen sitzt [...]; müßt ihr dann in meinem männlichern Ernst nichts als häßliche Laster suchen? Männlicher hab’ ich immer die kühnern Unternehmungen und die härtern Arbeiten gewählt; und diesem Ernst auf meiner Stirne kann ich nicht befehlen, daß er in Thränen und sanftes Lächeln zerfließe. Soll der Adler girren wie die sanfte Taube? (1973, 111) Why do you keep pursuing me with your ominous accusations? Just because my lips are not perpetually curled in a pleasing smile [...], you suspect ugly vices behind my manly seriousness. As befits a man, I have always pursued the bolder endeavors and have taken on the more arduous work; I cannot command this seriousness that furrows my brow to melt away into tears and gentle smiles. Should the hawk chortle like the gentle dove?

After a discussion with Adam, Cain declares his willingness to seek reconciliation with Abel. He is not ready to make any major concessions, however, especially since he perceives a causal link between Abel’s carefree nature and Adam’s and Eve’s fall from grace:

176       Julian Reidy Ich will ihn umarmen, sprach Kain, wenn ich vom Felde zurückkomme; itzt ruft mich die Arbeit. Ich will ihn umarmen! Aber – zu dieser weibischen Weichlichkeit wird meine männlichere Seele sich nie gewöhnen, zu dieser Weichlichkeit, die ihn so beliebt macht, so viel Freudenthränen euch entlockt; die den Fluch über uns alle brachte, da du [Adam] im Paradiese durch ein paar Thränen zu leicht erweicht [...]. (1973, 113) I shall hug him, Cain spoke, when I return from the field; now my work calls me. I shall hug him! But—my masculine soul will never ease into such womanly feebleness, the very feebleness that makes him so popular, that coaxes so many tears of joy out of you, but that also brought the curse upon us all, since you [i.e., Adam] were so willing to relent in paradise, all because of a few tears [...].

The reconciliation announced here is, of course, a fragile one, and shortly before the demon-induced nightmare that leads to fratricide, Cain does restate his case once more with intransigence: Zwar, ich bin der Erstgeborne; schöner Vorteil! ich Elender! [...] Sollen sie mich achten, mich, den der Herr nicht achtet, und den die Engel nicht achten? Mir erscheinen sie nicht, mit Verachtung gehen sie neben mir vorüber, wenn ich auf dem Felde meine Glieder müd’ arbeite und der Schweiß von meinem braunen Angesicht fließt, dann gehen sie mit Verachtung vorüber, ihn zu suchen, der mit zarten Händen in Blumen tändelt oder bei den Schafen müßig steht, oder aus dem Überfluß seiner Zärtlichkeit einige Thränen weint [...]. [...] Ihm lächelt die ganze Natur; ich nur esse mein Brot müd im Schweiße des Angesichts, ich nur bin elend. (1973, 133–45) Though I am the firstborn, what’s the use! Wretch that I am! [...] How should they esteem me that am not esteemed by the lord and his angels? They do not make themselves known to me; they pass me by with disdain as I work my bones weary on the field and the sweat drops from my brown face. They pass me by with disdain so as to seek him, the one who trifles with flowers and stands idly by the sheep or perhaps cries a few tears out of his overflowing tenderness [...]. All creation smiles at him; it is but me who eats my bread in the sweat of my face, it is but me who is wretched.

It must be stressed that the idyll never affirms or corroborates these invectives against Abel, who is consistently described as an almost annoyingly virtuous individual. When Adam reproaches Cain for both his self-righteousness and his selfpity, he does so as the empirical author’s mouthpiece, “with a conviction that echoes that of the author” (Hibberd 1976, 66): Adam refuses to countenance Cain’s “whining”—“Murren”—and “joyless behavior”—“freudenlose[s] Betragen” (Gessner 1973, 111) and points out that man can only feel “miserable”—“elend”—if “reason succumbs to tumultuous passion and impure, immoderate desires”—“[w]enn die Vernunft unter dem Tumulte tobender Leidenschaften und unreiner, unbeschränkter Begierden erliegt” (1973, 112). The text as a whole certainly seems to uphold Adam’s critical view of Cain as a stereotypically, ‘classically’ barbaric figure, deserted by reason, virtue, and language, otherized, too, in a racial sense by his “brown face”—thus inviting the intended readership, attuned as it was to the celebration of Empfindsam-

2.3.  Bemoaning the Loss of ‘Vernunft’ and ‘Tugend’       177

keit, to unambiguously identify the chronically unhappy, emotionally unstable, and irascible Cain as a, or as the archetypal barbaric “villain” (Hibberd 1976, 66). If, however, we assume this readership to be familiar with contemporary theories in the field of anthropological historiography, a different picture emerges. It was already mentioned above that from this vantage point, Cain and Abel can be read as embodiments of different cultural stages, and by foregrounding the brothers’ distinct modes of subsistence (much more so than in the Zedler or even in the Bible), Gessner actually encourages such a reading. Given the homology of ‘pastoralism’ and ‘barbarism’ on the one hand and husbandry and “rapid progress” (Turgot 2011, 355) on the other which emerged in contemporary philosophical theorizing, Cain’s complaints cannot be dismissed as unfounded “whining.” For if, as Turgot asserts, “the state of agriculture” engenders “rapid progress” while the more primitive shepherds tend to give in to their “inclination to plunder,” and if, as Rousseau writes, the husbandman is the “civil man” while the “herdsman” is a “barbarian” given to “indolent passions,” and if, as Adam Smith postulates in his Lectures on Jurisprudence, “theft” (1982, 197, 55) is the most pressing problem of the “age of shepherds” (1982, 196)17 while the “age of agriculture” (1982, 54) represents a higher form of culture—if, in short, there was a broad cultural consensus in the eighteenth century that conflated pastoralism and ‘barbarism’ and husbandry and ‘progress,’ it can be assumed that both Gessner and his readership were, at least to some degree, conscious of this context. For a reading of Der Tod Abels that takes this context into account, Cain’s villainy and Abel’s virtuousness can no longer be so clear-cut. In view of this context, one would have to agree with Cain’s outlook that he has “always pursued the bolder endeavors and [...] taken on the more arduous work” while Abel “trifles with flowers and stands idly by the sheep.” And Adam’s rebuttal, in which he qualifies Cain’s argument as “whining”—“Murren”—and insists that Cain should find satisfaction and fulfillment in his “work”—“Arbeit” (Gessner 1973, 111), rings hollow: obviously, Cain’s criticism of Abel’s ‘idleness’ does not just stem from a “grievance”—“Gram” (1973, 111) and is more than simple “whining”—Cain could call upon Rousseau, Turgot, and Smith as philosophical advocates for his position. He could also, avant la lettre, invoke Hegel, who in his Lectures on Aesthetics flatly opposed the (literary, pastoral) idyll with the argument that “man must not let life pass him by in idyllic stupor, he must work” (“Der Mensch darf nicht in solcher idyllischen Geistesarmut hinleben, er muss arbeiten,” 1966, 255). Gessner’s text itself, behind the author’s back, as it were, contains passages that support Cain’s position. Consider, for example, Adam’s description of how he, along with Eve, ‘invented’ the shepherd by ‘discovering’ sheep: Als ich hinging an den Fluß, Schilfrohr zum Dach für die Hütte zu sammeln, da sah ich fünf Schafe, weiß wie kleine Mittagswolken, und einen jungen Bock in ihrer Mitt’ am Ufer weiden. Leise trat ich da näher, zu sehen, ob sie mich auch flöhen, wie der Tiger und der Löwe, die sonst vor meinen Füßen gespielt hatten; aber sie flohen mich nicht, und ich trieb sie mit einem Rohrstab vor mir her auf den Hügel [...]. Da sah [Eva] sich um, ließ

17 On the problem of theft in the “age of shepherds,” see also McLean 2006, 67.

178       Julian Reidy freudig die Gesträuche aus ihren Händen zurückflattern, sie stund erst schüchtern still, dann rief sie: O sie sind sanft und freundlich wie im Paradiese! Seid mir gegrüßt! ihr sollt bei uns wohnen, angenehme Gesellschaft! (1973, 123) As I walked along the river to gather reed for the roof of our hut, I saw five sheep on the shore, white like small noon clouds, and a young buck among them. I quietly approached to see if they would shy away just like the tiger and the lion that had once played at my feet, but they did not flee, and I drove them in front of me with a rod of reed to a hill [...]. There, Eve looked back at me and dropped the bushels she was holding for joy. At first she stood shyly, then she shouted: Oh, they are tender and friendly like in the Garden of Eden! Be welcome! You shall live with us, pleasant companions!

It is not the privilege of the firstborn to occupy the “lovely”—“lieblich” (1973, 123)— position of shepherd. To add insult to injury, Adam’s retelling of his discovery confirms Cain’s conviction that his work is “bolder” and “more arduous”: the sheep behave as peaceably as all animals did before the first family’s expulsion from paradise. As a holdover of sorts from the lost state of grace, Abel’s pastoral mode of subsistence thus appears obsolete and primitive even within the patriachad’s internal logic. On the evidence supplied by Adam himself, Cain’s suspicions prove to be well-founded: he alone performs ‘bold’ work, he alone ‘eats his bread in the sweat of his face,’ which means that, by extension, he alone is “subject to the curse”—“der Fluch allein nur den Erstgebornen,” (1973, 144–145)—of original sin, and the family does indeed prefer Abel to him: “Abel – [...] mein bester Sohn” (162; “Abel, my best son”); “der süßeste Trost des frommen Vaters und der zärtlichen Mutter” (180; “the pious father’s and the tender mother’s sweetest solace”); “Kain! [...] Mörder des besten Bruders” (183; “Cain! [...] murderer of the best brother”). In view of these findings, Cain’s actual motive for killing Abel—the nightmare sent by the demon Anamelech—also merits closer attention. Using “wit” and “the power of imagination,” Anamelech evokes the following scenario for the sleeping Cain: Abels Söhne bewohnen [jene Gefilde] im wollüstigen Schatten [...]; nur Armut und Arbeit ist bei uns Elenden geblieben. [...] Schneeweiße Herden irrten im hohen Gras und mähten die duftenden Blumen weg, indes daß der zarte Hirt mit Blumen bekränzt dem liebäugelnden Mädchen, das halb im Schatten liegt, ein sanftes Lied singt. [...] Aus ihrer Mitte stund itzt ein Jüngling auf. Seid mir Gesegnet, Geliebte! so sprach er [...]. Zwar lachet uns die Natur [...]; doch fordert sie Pflege und Arbeit; zu ermüdende Arbeit für uns, die sanftern Geschäften uns widmen. Der Hand ist es schmerzlich, das Feld zu bauen, die gewöhnt ist, die zarten Saiten der Harfe zu rühren [...]. Laßt uns, wenn das Dunkel der Nacht da ist, auf jenes Feld hinausgehn, wo die Ackerleute [i.e., Cain’s descendants] wohnen, und wenn sie, von des Tages Arbeit müd, in hartem Schlaf liegen, in ihren Hütten sie überfallen und binden, und dann gefangen in unsre Wohnungen führen, daß die Männer für uns dienstbar die Arbeit des Feldes verrichten, und ihre Weiber und ihre Töchter euch, holde Mädchen, in euern Kammern dienen. [...] Itzt sah der Träumende das Dunkel der Nacht und hörte das Geschrei des Schreckens und des Jammers und des Triumphs [...]. Bei der Flamme sah er seine gebundenen Söhne und ihre Weiber und ihre Kinder, wie eine brüllende Herde, vor Abels Söhnen dahergehn. (1973, 150–52)

2.3.  Bemoaning the Loss of ‘Vernunft’ and ‘Tugend’       179 Abel’s sons live yonder, in the lascivious shadows [...]; for us, the wretched, only poverty and toil remain. [...] Snow-white herds stumbled through the high grass and mowed away the fragrant flowers, while the tender garlanded shepherd sang a gentle song to the girl with the covetous gaze, half-covered by the shade. [...] From their midst, a youth now rose to his feet. Hail to you, whom I love! he exclaimed [...]. Though nature smiles upon us [...], she demands care and toil; this work is too tiresome for us, who are used to milder activities. The hand that caresses the lyre aches if it must till the soil [...]. Let us go out to yon field when night falls, where the farmers [i.e., Cain’s descendants] dwell. They will be tired from the day’s hard work and fast asleep, so let us overwhelm and bind them and lead them to our dwellings as prisoners, so that their men will henceforth serve us as workers and their women and daughters will serve you, lovely girls, as chambermaids. [...] Now the dreamer saw the dark of the night and heard the cries of horror and woe and triumph [...]. In the light of the flame he witnessed his manacled sons and their women and their children, driven like a braying herd by Abel’s sons.

Of course, the text presents this horrific vision as a lie, a demonic seduction cooked up by “a member of one of the lower classes of demonic spirits”—“einer von der niedrigen Klasse der Geister” (1973, 135)—in Lucifer’s service, and Cain himself realizes by the end of the idyll that he was “deceived by a dream from hell”—“ein Traum aus der Hölle [...] täuschte” (184). But the nightmarish mise-en-scène that divides humanity into “cruel aristocratic aestheticism on the one hand and abject enslavement on the other hand”18 cannot be dismissed as a devilish chimera: in view of contemporary theories on the stages of cultural development, and especially of the nexus between “the pastoral way of life” and the ‘barbaric’ “inclination to plunder,” the scenario concocted by Anamelech seems quite believable. If the “age of shepherds” and the “age of agriculture” were not, as Smith held, distinct cultural stages, but actually coexisted—and in the Bible as well as in Gessner’s idyll, they do—, then it would only be reasonable for the farmers to fear the shepherds’ “inclination to plunder” and to guard against enslavement and “theft” (Smith 1982, 197). Cain’s vision is thus eerily plausible, as if Gessner were quite familiar with the pertinent stage theories of his time.19 Even though the text aims to discredit Cain’s fears by attributing them to a scheming demon, those fears seem eminently credible and well-founded in view of contemporary reflections on cultural development. In fact, one could easily consider the entire character of the evil Anamelech a narrative crutch that serves to obfuscate the plausibility of Cain’s vision and to cast Abel in a good light at all costs. Most analyses of Gessner’s patriarchad tend to interpret the two brothers’ conflict as an attempt by Gessner to negotiate a basic problem of the idyllic genre, namely the 18 “Menschheit [...] in ein ästhetizistisch-grausames Adelsgeschlecht und ein Geschlecht zu schwerer Arbeit verdammter Sklaven” (Böschenstein-Schäfer 1982, 21). 19 Interestingly, Turgot read Der Tod Abels and seems to have enjoyed it, since he was involved in the text’s translation to French (Ernst 1946). Of course, the basic motif evoked in Gessner’s idyll—the creation and stabilization of a bucolic state through acts of terror and barbarism—is not innovative in any way: it is prefigured in Virgil’s first Eclogue, in which Meliboeus laments his exile, which will lead to ‘barbarians’ appropriating his fields, while Tityrus is allowed to keep his homestead.

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problem of the relationship between ‘work’ and ‘leisure’ in the pastoral setting. This was a portentous discussion. As mentioned above, Hegel engaged in it by outright rejecting the entire genre as a corrosive apologia for idleness. Meanwhile, Gessner and many other writers of idylls were at pains to include “commitments to work” in their texts,20 as if to immunize both those texts and themselves against any Hegelian suspicions. But the clash between the fictional shepherds’ otium and the “internalized work ethic”21—or, rather, the fetishization of utilitarian, rational thought during the age of enlightenment (Winkler 2002)—was not so easily reconciled. In Renate Böschenstein-Schäfer’s convincing reading, Der Tod Abels serves as evidence that these tensions, this “conflict between work and leisure,” had also become “a problem for Gessner’s self-concept”22—and Markus Winkler is right to point out Gessner’s continual struggle to fashion a precarious “harmony between the delightful and the useful” (1998, 197). This struggle on Gessner’s part to valorize a contemporary “work ethic”23 further complicates the relationship between Cain and Abel: how can Abel be considered the noble, virtuous counterpart to the ‘barbarian’ Cain if he embodies a complete lack of any “work ethic,” namely the idle lifestyle of the bucolic shepherd, himself a ‘barbarian’ in a certain sense? The idyll offers no clear answer, and neither does Böschenstein-Schäfer’s diagnosis of a “neurotic dynamic” within the first family that “projects a shared trauma onto one family member.”24 Perhaps this aporia does affect the genre of the idyll as a whole and contributed to its loss of popularity, as Böschenstein-Schäfer speculates: “the integration of work into the idyll hastened the genre’s eventual decline, devouring it from within, as it were.”25 In any case, the idyll’s internal tensions and ambiguities contradict Maniquis’ observation that in Der Tod Abels “all the edges [...] are rounded,” “all [...] vitriol removed,” and all “political viciousness dissolved” (1998, 171). Not least on the basis of its original illustrations (Maniquis 1998, 181–83), Gessner’s text can certainly be read as such an attempt at “mythopoetic elision,” at “smother[ing] the act of wolfish aggression with purity” (173), and at a “sentimental transformation of violence” (179). But it is a failed attempt: Abel’s “purity” is in­evi­tably called into question by his own pastoral ‘barbarism,’ and since Cain’s disaffection is legitimized by contemporary philosophical thought, his “viciousness” is definitely not “dissolved” or otherwise smoothed out (Maniquis 1998, 179). Maniquis holds that Coleridge and Wordsworth were the ones to enhance and refine the “Gessnerish mode,” but Der Tod Abels already moves beyond “mythopoetic elision”: in this idyll, “the terrible” irrevocably contaminates “the pastoral” (1998, 179).

20 “Bekenntnisse zur Arbeit” (Böschenstein-Schäfer 1990, 158). See also Reidy 2011. 21 “verinnerlichten Arbeitsethos” (Böschenstein-Schäfer 1990, 158). 22 “daß die Auseinandersetzung zwischen Arbeit und Muße für den Bürger von Zürich zumindest halbbewußt zum Problem des Selbstverständnisses wurde” (1982, 20). 23 “Arbeitsmoral” (Böschenstein-Schäfer 1982, 20). 24 “neurotische Familienstruktur, in der die gemeinsame Krankheit an ein Mitglied delegiert wird” (1982, 20). 25 “die Integration der Arbeit in die Idylle [hat] zu dem allmählichen Niedergang der Gattung [beigetragen], als werde sie von dem verschlungenen Element von innen heraus verzehrt” (1982, 27).

2.3.  Bemoaning the Loss of ‘Vernunft’ and ‘Tugend’       181

I would like to propose a way of reading this specific idyll, Der Tod Abels, that negotiates these contradictions and ambiguities. Interpretations that consider Gessner’s patriarchad a prime example of the tension between an emergent ‘enlightened’ work ethic and the increasingly problematic acclamation of leisure in the idyllic ­genre are too short-sighted. They basically reduce Der Tod Abels to a conflict between two incompatible attitudes to human productivity. Gessner goes further than that: he stages a competition between two modes of subsistence. In other words, his biblical idyll is not about otium versus labor, it is about a farmer competing with and losing out to a shepherd. This distinction allows us to specify the basic discrepancy or contradiction between what Gessner’s idyll says and what it actually does. It says, with reference to classical topoi, that Cain is an evil barbarian and that his fear and hatred of Abel stem from sinful paranoia. At the same time, with a view to the changing meaning of ‘barbarism’ in the eighteenth century, Gessner’s Abel can be read as belonging to a lower, ‘idle,’ indeed ‘barbaric’ cultural stage that thrives on plunder and theft as its primary mode of subsistence. So what the text ends up doing is to destabilize the semantics of barbarism: both brothers are representatives of two different stages in the semantic development of this “term for Europe”—they are both, in distinct ways, barbarians. Accordingly, it hardly seems sensible to ascribe to Gessner’s patriarchad a binary structure centered around different notions of ‘work,’ around labor and otium, or to insist on its soothing “mythopoetic elision[s]” and “sentimental transformation[s] of violence” when the point seems to be that this very model breaks down in Der Tod Abels. A reading of the text as a competition, a paragone of sorts, between two barbarians and their respective modes of subsistence, is more convincing. The contradiction remarked upon above, i.e., the fact that the readers’ sympathies are focused on the character who represents a primitive, ‘barbaric’ cultural stage and does not conform to the ethics of utility and work espoused by the age of Enlightenment’s leading thinkers—this apparent contradiction can perhaps be better explained now. Cain’s actual fall from grace, if the idyll’s emplotment26 of it is to be taken seri­ ously, does not occur when he becomes a killer, but before that, when he proves unable to act rationally, in spite of his father’s exhortations. “Reason” is here conceived of as a regulative force, a mental capacity that “scrutinizes”—“prüfen”—“every wish, every craving, every impetuous passion”—“jede[r] Wunsch, jede Begierde, jede aufschäumende Leidenschaft” (Gessner 1973, 112). Cain fails to heed this directive as he self-avowedly becomes ever angrier and more animal-like, so that, eventually, a nightmare, plausible though it may feel, suffices to drive him to murder his own brother. Cain also fails to act ‘reasonably,’ though, because he cannot derive meaning, joy, and validation from his work. He does exhibit a certain pride when he calls his profession ‘bold,’ as opposed to Abel’s idleness, but he does not find contentment in work and instead seems to envy his brother’s otium. Here emerges a potential explanation for the porous semantics of ‘barbarism’ and the contradictory brotherly conflict: in Gessner’s text, the firstborn’s true privilege, his actual birthright, is his “bolder” work, the work of a farmer, the work that 26 In the sense given to the word by Hayden White: “the encodation of the facts contained in the chronicle as components of specific kinds of plot-structures” (1978, 83).

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heralds a new, more advanced cultural stage. Cain fails to appreciate this boon, and that is his sin against God’s plan, that is the moment he forfeits his salvation. Both brothers may be barbarians in different senses of the word, but in Der Tod Abels the truly destructive barbarian, the one who must be banished from the bucolic space in the end, is he who eschews reason, he who disrespects his own ‘bold,’ progressive mode of subsistence. In this way, Cain is shown to regress to a more primitive and problematic stage of development than the ‘barbaric’ pastoralism embodied by his happy-go-lucky brother. The text itself encourages such a reading. In a passage immediately before Cain has his fateful nightmare, he has just wandered off the field and away from his hut at the break of dawn: Itzt stund er unter dem von einem Felsen überhangenden Busch. O hier, hier versage mir deine Hilfe, deine Erquickung nicht, süßer Schlaf! so sprach er; wie bin ich unglücklich! [...] Hier, hier doch wird niemand mich stören, es sei denn, daß selbst die leblose Natur mich bis in die Stunden der Ruhe verfolgt. Vergönn’ es mir, Erde, die du in deinem zu strengen Fluch zu ermüdende Arbeit forderst, um länger zu leben, oder länger elend zu sein – von dieser Arbeit wenige die glücklichsten Augenblicke zu ruhen, wirst du doch vergönnen! So sprach er und legte sich aufs duftende Gras. Nicht lange, so breitete der Schlaf seine dunkeln Flügel über ihn aus. (1973, 149) Now he stood underneath the bush overhanging a rock. O, he spoke, sweet sleep, do not refuse me your aid, your refreshing powers here! How unhappy I am! [...] Here, here no one will disturb me, unless lifeless nature itself should persecute me even in my hours of rest. Grant me, earth, a respite from my work, even though your all-too severe curse forces us into all-too tiresome work just so we can live longer and hence suffer longer! So he spoke and lay down on the sweet-smelling grass, and before long, sleep covered him with its dark wings.

The devilish seduction Cain experiences immediately after this passage in the form of his nightmare is thus only made possible by his lapse into lassitude—when he flouts his “all-too tiring” duties for just one moment, hell strikes immediately. It is this regression into otium, this momentary lapse from the ‘bold’ mode of subsistence that proves fatal. “Earth” (or heaven, or hell) does not, after all, “grant” Cain “a respite from” his “work.” In view of all this, Der Tod Abels can hardly be read as yet another idyllic reflection on the dichotomy of labor and otium. What the text actually relates is the clash of an irrational and rebellious ‘barbarism’ that manifests itself in Cain and a more subtle form of pastoral ‘barbarism’ represented by Abel. The latter remains problematic—a vestige of more primitive times compared to Cain’s “bolder” work—, but at least Abel’s pastoralism, a typically Gessnerian hybrid of “the delightful and the useful,” allows for a peaceful and nevertheless productive mode of subsistence. The patriarchad narrates this clash as a process with its own particular internal logic: it is not pre-determined by an always already fixed binary opposition (say, between labor and otium, ‘barbarism’ and ‘civilization,’ ‘pastoralism’ and ‘agriculture,’ etc.), but remains dynamic and precarious as Gessner strives to revaluate Abel’s ‘accept-

2.3.  Bemoaning the Loss of ‘Vernunft’ and ‘Tugend’       183

able’ pastoral ‘barbarism’ while scrutinizing Cain’s ‘unacceptable’ regressive and violent ‘barbarism.’ Gessner’s apparent oscillation between a “delightful” retelling of a biblical story and an attempt to establish a “useful,” instructive link between said story and contemporary anthropo-historical debates may not always make for easy reading—but it speaks to the heretofore vastly underrated intellectual ambitions of Der Tod Abels. Even though Maler Müller’s biblical idyll Adams erstes Erwachen und erste seelige Nächte features a “transgressive, dynamic style” that markedly distinguishes it from Gessner’s more conventional patriarchad, both texts deal with “closely related problems.”27 In Müller’s take on the story of the first family, the tension between labor and otium is ratcheted up even further, not least because Müller’s Cain also exhibits some degree of verbal aggression and crudeness: Nicht weit von der Laube stand der rauhe Cain auf einem Steine; wild stieß er den Stab auf die Erde und blickt durch die Nacht nach seinem Sterne. [...] Cain ist verstoßen überall – – [...] Ist mein Nacken braun, die Sonne hat mich verbrannt im Felde. Ist meine Stimme so rauh? Ha! ist Kraft auch in meinem Gebein [...]. [...] Cain wieder auffahrend – der Bube! Nein er wird mir immer unerträglicher – bringt er ein Lied oder sonst was dumm geschnitztes herbey, nicht der Mühe werth zu beschauen – da ist ein lobens beym Vater, alles wird zusammen gerufen; warum Ochsen und Kälber nicht mit – müssen hinstehn, beschauen, bewundern und der Bube im Kreiß dann dummer noch als seine Schaafe, senkt, als schämt er sich, die Augen nieder und wartet aufs letzte Wort sein Lob aus – Pfui! (1977, 201–03) Not far from the loggia, Cain rested upon a rock; he violently poked his stick onto the ground and gazes into the night sky, looking for his star. [...] Cain is an outcast everywhere he goes— —[...] if my nape is tanned, it is because the sun burnt me in the field. Is my voice this raw? Hah! There is strength in my bodily frame [...]. [...] Cain exclaimed again: the knave! No, he is getting ever more unbearable—he brings a song or some inept carving, hardly worth looking at, and father is full of praise; one is almost surprised the calves and oxen don’t join in as all are summoned to admire, marvel, praise. Meanwhile, the boy stands in the midst of it all looking duller than his sheep, lowering his gaze as if he were ashamed, and yet he relishes the praises until the very last word is spoken—fie!

Müller also foregrounds Cain’s disproportionate suffering from the curse of original sin, emphasizing his “all-too intimate kinship with the father, to whom he is bound by a love-hate-relationship,”28 and just like in Gessner’s idyll, Cain feminizes his hated brother Abel (Müller 1977, 204; 206). 27 “abweichende, dynamische Diktion”; “enge Verwandtschaft auf der Ebene der Probleme” (Böschenstein-Schäfer 1982, 21). 28 “zu große Verwandtschaft zwischen Kain und dem ihm durch Haßliebe verbundenen Vater” (Böschenstein-Schäfer 1982, 21). For example, Eve points out that Cain “looks just like you, Adam”—“ganz deine Züge [...], Adam”—and that his status as the “firstborn” also

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In spite of the formal, stylistic differences, Müller’s narrative arrangement of Cain and Abel’s story bears great resemblance to Gessner’s. Still, there are striking discrepancies between these otherwise similar idylls that have so far evaded attention— not least because existing scholarship on both patriarchads is mainly concerned with the dichotomy of ‘work’ and ‘leisure’ and thereby emphasizes a motif shared by both texts instead of focusing on their differences. A closer reading reveals that Müller does diverge from Gessner’s hypotext in one particularly significant aspect, namely in the way he integrates the semantics of ‘barbarism’ into his idyll. The process of ‘barbarization’ as told by Gessner rids Cain of his capacity for speech and ratio­ nal thought and turns him into an animal-like ‘barbarian’ in the classical sense of the term. This process is already complete at the very beginning of Müller’s idyll. Here, “Cain” has always been “wild” (1977, 201; 202); he harbors “the ire of the bear, the rage of the tiger deep in his heart”—“der Unmuth des Bären, der Grimm des Tiegers sitzt tief in seinem Herzen” (192)—as he gazes upon the world with a “lion’s eyes”—“Löwenaugen” (200). He even exhibits a classically ‘barbaric’ trait with which the bashful Gessner does not burden his Cain: Müller’s Cain is endowed with a strong “libido” (Opelt and Speyer 2001, 838), and he sleeps with his sister Melboe (called Mehala in Gessner’s patriarchad) before they are married (Müller 1977, 175). Just like in Der Tod Abels, such behavior carries negative, regressive connotations in Adams erstes Erwachen. The narrator notes that Adam at least still enjoys a symbiotic relationship with all flora and fauna, dating back to his days in paradise, but the hierarchy is clear: even in the Garden of Eden, “all of nature worshipped” Adam—“huldigt [...] die ganze Natur” (1977, 170), and “all the animals were mine, given unto me by the Lord, and the animals understood my blessing and bowed deeply before me”—“alle [...] mein, [...] mir gegeben vom Herrn”; “[u]nd die Thiere verstanden all meinen Seegen, und neigten sich tief ” (174). Even so, and while Müller does take a critical view of Cain’s animal-like nature, he refrains from painting it as ‘barbaric’ and ‘villainous’ the way Gessner did. In Gessner’s idyll, Cain’s gradual regression from a human being endowed with reason to an animalistic killer takes center stage and, at least superficially, demarcates the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ brother. In Müller’s text, this regression is not described because it has already happened. Cain is beyond salvation from the very beginning. His murder of Abel is not part of the text, because it does not have to be, so foreboding and portentous is Müller’s narration. Moreover and as mentioned above, Cain’s animal-like behavior is not cast in a consistently negative light: he is also said to be “an example of noble masculinity”—“edler Mannheit voll” (1977, 193)—and a “proud lion”—“stolze[r] Löwe” (206). It would likewise be misleading to condemn Cain’s pre-marital intercourse with Melboe as yet another damning example of ‘barbaric’ means that “he is the first to carry the heavy burden of sin’s curse”—“erste, auf dem schwe­ rer Sündenfluch ruht” (Müller 1977, 193). In a later passage, Adam and Cain are described as “two identical paintings”—“[z]wey gleiche Gemählde”: “eines ist das Urbild  [...], daß andere Nachbild, mehr Werk des Kampfs, dem Zufall von gerathen unterworfen. Verlohren alle göttliche erhabne Einfalt” (1977, 207; “one is the original, the other is a copy, more visibly the embodiment of a struggle, subordinated to chance, bereft of all divine and sublime innocence”).

2.3.  Bemoaning the Loss of ‘Vernunft’ and ‘Tugend’       185

behavior: in Müller’s works, sensuality in all its manifestations is usually celebrated (Ehrich-Haefeli 1990 and Ehrich-Haefeli 2003).29 So even though Müller’s biblical idyll, like Gessner’s patriarchad, resorts to the classical semantics of ‘barbarism,’ mainly by focusing on Cain’s crude qualities and his overpowering sexual drive, this traditional understanding of ‘barbarism’ is subtly subverted: while Gessner expounds the problematic aspects of Cain’s ‘barbaric’ nature so as to render Abel more relatable and sympathetic, Müller appears to question and destabilize the pejorative implications inscribed in the topoi of ‘barbarism’ as handed down from antiquity. By making reference to man’s dominion over all animals, Müller’s text does seem to judge Cain’s brutish behavior as a regressive aberration—but it also tells of his ­lion-like “strength” with genuine fascination, and his sexual encounter with Melboe is welcomed even by Eve: “da erfreuet sich die zarte Mutter, freuet sich daß Melboe ihre sanfte also den stolzen Löwen hielt” (1977, 206; “the tender mother was overjoyed that gentle Melboe held the proud lion thusly”). Müller’s biblical idyll, then, twenty years younger than Gessner’s, establishes a fragile link to the classical semantics of ‘barbarism’: the basic features of the term in its classical sense are still present, but are no longer unambiguously pejorative and exclusionary. This change can perhaps be understood if one takes into account the development of the ‘literary field’ between the publication of Der Tod Abels and Adams erstes Erwachen. Cain, who enters the scene in Adams erstes Erwachen as a “proud” libidinous “lion” and is described with a mixture of horror (“bereft of all divine and sublime innocence”—“[v] erloren alle göttliche erhabne Einfalt,” 1977, 207) and awe, is a Kraftgenie typical of the so-called Sturm und Drang-period in German literature: indeed, Müller’s Cain is a perfect example of these “outsider figures” that “insist on their own individuality and specificity” and “clash violently with their community.”30 Cain’s expulsion from the first family and, by extension, the divine order, is thus narrated quite idiosyncratically in Müller’s idyll. As shown above, Gessner disperses the clash of the two brothers and their respective modes of subsistence, both problematic and ‘barbaric’ in their own ways, by characterizing Cain as a ‘barbarian’ in the classical sense who relinquishes “reason and virtue” and betrays the dogma of anthropological perfectibility by forsaking his ‘bold’ profession in a decisive moment. This narrative pattern—the villain is he who disregards the ‘enlightened’ dogmas of virtue, reason, and ‘work ethic’—is suspended in Müller’s text, which is part of a different cultural context: it conforms to the poetics of Sturm und Drang. Hence, the text constructs a different arc for its Cain-character. In one significant passage, Cain discusses his and Abel’s antagonism, taking into account their distinct modes of subsistence:

29 While Gessner’s rather chaste idylls are the blueprint for the genre’s renaissance in the eighteenth century, Müller’s sensual, light-hearted, humorous, and sometimes quite frivolous contributions are much more faithful to the idyll’s actual roots in antiquity, most notably in the works of Theocritus. 30 “in heftige Konflikte mit ihrer Umgebung”; “Außenseiter”, die auf ihre “besondere Individualität pochen[]” (Schmiedt 2005, 139). Müller’s hot-headed Cain is not only a testament to contemporary literary developments, however; he also recalls the ribald, sensual characters in Theocritus’ idylls that founded the entire genre in the first place.

186       Julian Reidy [I]n Abels Heerde gieng ich nun dir [Melboe] ein anders [Lamm] zu wählen – da hättest du nur hören sollen, was vor kluges Gewäsche mir der Junge da vormachte, von Arbeit und Mühe, Warten und Pflegen bey Tag und Nacht, und das mit so gescheiden Geberden, als wollte der unbärtige Milchbube mir weißmachen, er habe seine Lämmer [...] mit vieler Mühe selbst gemacht – Das dich der Hagel! Aber ich kriegt ihn – zwey der schönsten nahm ich ihm mit Gewalt. (1977, 204) I went to Abel’s flock to pick another one [another lamb] for you [Melboe]—and you should have heard that boy’s clever balderdash about work and toil, nourishment and grooming by day and by night, and all of it accompanied by such shrewd gestures as if to suggest that he, a beardless milksop, arduously created his lambs with his own hands— curse him! But I got the better of him—I took two of his most beautiful lambs by force.

This passage, situated near the idyll’s ending, makes for a much more believable prelude to Abel’s death at Cain’s hands than the contrived nightmare and the idealization of a rather unbiblical and anachronistic utilitarian, rational virtuousness in Gessner’s text. The importance of this scene becomes immediately apparent if one reads it in consideration of the anthropo-historical stage-theories discussed above: it describes, in so many words, a regression of the more advanced paradigm, husbandry, as embodied by Cain, to a primitive, ‘barbaric’ mode of subsistence—that of “theft” and “plunder,” which should, by rights, be exhibited by the shepherd in this scenario. The passage is afforded additional weight by the ending, which describes Cain’s plan to settle his differences with Abel: “Morgen wollen wir uns am Altar versöhnen, ich will einen Bock schlachten, den mir mein Bruder aus seiner Heerde geben soll” (1973, 220; “Tomorrow we shall reconcile at the altar; I will slaughter a buck which he shall give me from his herd”). Cain plans to make amends for his sacrilegious atavism by making an offering to God with Abel’s consent: he wishes to atone for his forceful taking (nehmen in the original German) of two lambs from Abel’s flock by means of a voluntary act of giving (geben). Even though, superficially, it is still Abel who has to ‘give’ and Cain who will ‘receive’ (“den mir mein Bruder [...] geben soll”), the ultimate beneficiary is, of course, God, to whom the buck will be offered in sacrifice, expiating Cain’s robbery of the lambs. It is telling that this reconciliation before God is conceptualized as a prospective one, as an event beyond the purview of Müller’s narrative: it obviously does not come to pass; Cain cannot reverse his theft, his relapse into the prototypically ‘barbaric’ mode of subsistence. This chapter confirmed the finding that the Gessnerian variant of the idyll remains ever “fragile,” and not just because of the inexorable friction between “the delightful and the useful” (Winkler 1998, 197). In Der Tod Abels at least, the narrative’s fragility is linked to the unwitting presence of not only one, but two barbarians: the emphatically ‘barbarized’ Cain, who showcases most of the traits associated with ‘barbarism’ since ancient times, and the more subtly ‘barbarized’ Abel, who, as a shepherd, represents an eighteenth-century notion of historicized, vestigial ‘barbarism.’ This interference of two distinct semantics of ‘barbarism’ makes Gessner’s

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aesthetic arrangement unstable: if it is to honor its biblical source, his text cannot help but attempt to direct the readers’ sympathies towards a character, Abel, who is a ‘barbarian’ in his own right. Gessner attempts to ‘stabilize’ his idyll, to instill it with a sense of “harmony,” by modelling Cain’s downfall as a renunciation of reason, rationality, and work ethic—as a betrayal of a progressive, more enlightened cultural stage and the mode of subsistence it entails. Here, the “problem of aggression”31— which, in its negation and suppression, is crucial to the genre of the idyll—is treated as part and parcel of the tension between two different modes of subsistence. This tension culminates in a violent deed committed, to put it succinctly, by a farmer who forfeits “reason and virtue” and thus proves himself unworthy of the more advanced cultural stage he supposedly embodies. A comparative reading of the two idylls showed that Maler Müller, intriguingly, deviates from Gessner’s template. The classical characteristics of ‘barbarism’ feature prominently in Adams erstes Erwachen und seelige Nächte, but they are, so to speak, mollified by the emerging trend of Sturm und Drang-literature in which Müller’s idyll can be situated: through its celebration of the individualistic Kraftgenie, the ‘barbarism’ exhibited by Müller’s Cain is transformed from a ‘villainous’ set of traits into a phenomenon that is described by the narrator with a certain degree of fascination and awe. The contemporary, cultural and historical denotation of ‘barbarism’ also comes into play, since the most unforgivable sin committed by Müller’s Cain appears to be his theft of Abel’s lambs, i.e., a regression into a mode of subsistence which Cain, as a farmer, should have transcended long ago. Re-reading Gessner’s and Müller’s biblical idylls in view of the contemporary discussions on the meaning of ‘barbarism’ proves fruitful: contrary to what one might intuitively expect, these discussions have left discernible traces on the idyllic genre—a genre which ostensibly deals in pacified, simplified, and subdued stories, but seems suitable for narrative explorations of exemplary social constellations and situations for that very reason. This subtle presence of the ‘barbaric’ as a marker of human potential, both negative and positive, lends the bucolic setting a tenuous ambiguity, not least because the concept of the ‘barbarian’ itself is rendered ambiguous and precarious during the eighteenth century. The results of the analyses undertaken here suggest that it might be productive to read other contemporary German-language idylls through the same lens. Perhaps the gradual loss of semantic coherence and clarity which ‘barbarism’ and its associated lexemes underwent over the course of the eighteenth century is inextricably linked to similar developments concerning the genre of the idyll: if, as Wink­ ler writes, “fragil[ity]” is constitutive of the idyllic mode because the equilibrium of ‘enlightened’ utilitarianism and bucolic idleness remains precarious, and if, as Böschenstein-Schäfer asserts, the threat from within, in the form of the “problem of aggression,” the forceful and ultimately futile “suppression of aggressive impulses,” is an “integral part” of the genre32 —if, in short, these readings of the idyll’s eight-

31 “Problem der Aggression” (Böschenstein-Schäfer 1990, 174). 32 “Abspaltung aggressiver Regungen”; “ein Strukturelement der Idylle” (Böschenstein-Schäfer 1977, 158).

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eenth-century variant as a deeply conflicted genre are correct, it pays to also take into account contemporary reflections and speculation on the development of human civilization. In this regard, this case study hopefully contributes to the beginning of a broader, systematic re-reading of eighteenth-century German-language idylls.

3. Nineteenth Century 3.1. The Relationship between Idyll and Barbarism in Schiller’s Wilhelm Tell (William Tell, 1804) Melanie Rohner

In his Lectures at the Collège de France in 1976, Michel Foucault declared that sooner or later, every revolution would face the problem of how to “establish the best possible fit between unfettered barbarism on the one hand, and the equilibrium of the constitution” that has to be rediscovered “on the other” (Foucault 2003, 197).1 The present chapter aims to highlight Friedrich Schiller’s post-revolutionary effort to come to terms with this problem in his drama Wilhelm Tell.2 Within the scope of this book, it is useful to analyze Wilhelm Tell after Die Räuber.3 Viewed one after the other, the two plays show how Schiller’s attitude towards the different concepts of barbarism changed considerably within a few years. While Schiller presents in Die Räuber a somewhat playful and experimental approach to the various possible meanings of the concept of barbarism, he almost shrinks back from its cruel implications in Wilhelm Tell. There was, of course, an epochal incision between the two plays: The French Revolution. Schiller, who had first welcomed the French Revolution, was severely shocked by the eruptions of violence and ‘terreur’ that were to follow in its second phase, eruptions that, as he wrote to Friedrich Christian von Augustenburg in July 1793, “flung a considerable part of Europe, and a whole century, back into barbarism and bondage” (my translation, M. R.; “einen beträchtlichen Theil Europens, und ein ganzes Jahrhundert, in Barbarey und Knechtschaft zurück[]schleudert[en],” 1992b, 262). With his dramatization of the rebellion of the ‘Waldstätten’ against the Habsburg dynasty, Schiller thus intended to contrast these ‘barbarisms’ with the counter model of an insurgent people who “even in rage, still honors humanity” (my translation, M. R.; “selbst im Zorn die Menschlichkeit noch ehrt,” 1980, 468).

1 2 3

“[C]omment va-t-on établir le point de jonction optimal entre le déchaînement de la barbarie d’une part et puis l’équilibre de cette constitution que l’on veut retrouver?” (Foucault 1997, 176). An abbreviated German version of this chapter was published in Monatshefte (2018). See chapter 2.2.

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According to a theorist who was a good two generations younger, and made quite a splash in the history of ideas of the revolution in his day (and took part in the celebrations of Schiller’s 100th birthday when he was still a 39-year-old exile in Manchester [Hunt 2009, 210–11]), this material is rather unsuitable for its stated purpose. On the occasion of the Sonderbundkrieg or civil war of 1847, which he hoped would finally achieve the comprehensive assertion of liberal values in Switzerland, Friedrich Engels described in the Deutsche-Brüsseler-Zeitung the uprising of the old Swiss Confederacy against the Habsburgs as a collision between backward mountain folk and the civilized world: Der Kampf der Urschweizer gegen Österreich, der glorreiche Eid auf dem Grütli, der heldenmütige Schuß Tells, der ewig denkwürdige Sieg von Morgarten, alles das war der Kampf störrischer Hirten gegen den Andrang der geschichtlichen Entwicklung, der Kampf der hartnäckigen, stabilen Lokalinteressen gegen die Interessen der ganzen Nation, der Kampf der Rohheit gegen die Bildung, der Barbarei gegen die Zivilisation. (1957, vol. 4, 393) The struggle of the Ur-Swiss against Austria, the glorious oath on the Grütli, Tell’s heroic shot, the eternally memorable victory at Morgarten, all this was the struggle of stubborn shepherds against the onward march of historical development, the struggle of obstinate, rooted local interests against the interests of the whole nation, the struggle of crude ignorance against enlightenment, of barbarism against civilisation. (1976, vol. 6, 369)

By calling the oath-takers brutal barbarians, Engels broke with both the German and the French tradition of interpreting the material. In other words, he turned their dialectic on its head. As early as the Tell plays by Samuel Henzi (1749) and Antoine-Marin Lemierre (1767), to cite just two examples, it was not the ‘Waldstätter’ who were vilified as barbarians, but the Habsburgs (Henzi 1762, 62; Lemierre 1767, 36). Schiller himself did not use this word in Tell, although his idiosyncratic definition of the term would fit the pitiless and denatured Gessler of the apple-shooting scene. In his Über die ästhetische Erziehung des Menschen, Schiller defined barbarians as representatives of a ‘monoculture of reason’ à la Franz Moor. In the first translations of the drama, however, the expression reappears. In Jean-Henri Merle d’Aubigné’s French and William Peter’s English versions of Tell, the Habsburgs, who break into the innocent confederate pastoral idyll, are repeatedly called “barbares” respectively “barbarians” (Schiller 1818, 83; Schiller 1839, 13). Engels’ perspective on the story of Tell could not assert itself enough to change the course of its reception history. The attribution of inhumane barbarism to the Habsburg invaders persisted, at least until Max Frisch’s Wilhelm Tell für die Schule (1971). Nevertheless, it is worth examining Schiller’s play in the light of Engels’ interpretation. From his perspective, even here, contrary to Schiller’s intention, the Swiss confederate league is still inscribed with barbarism and cruelty, so that the restored idyll at the end of the piece also remains latently at risk. Secondly, Engels’ words point to the ambivalence in the concept of the barbarian since the cultural stage theories of the Enlightenment. He does not simply ascribe this term to the oath-takers because they are supposed to have been particularly coarse brutes. By

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associating them with a certain form of subsistence, he clearly also classifies them as barbarians—within his own teleological optimistic conception of history—in historical philosophical terms. They were thus simply “herdsmen,” who functioned— as stated above—in the earlier universal historical development models of Turgot, Rousseau, Smith or Ferguson as characteristic representatives of the middle, pre-civilizational period of barbarism.4 Based on these models, in Der Ursprung der Familie, des Privateigenthums und des Staats (The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, 1884) Engels was still dividing human history into “three main epochs” of “Savagery, Barbarism and Civilization” (1933, 19), just like his contemporary Edward Burnett Tylor and, later on, Vere Gordon Childe.5 Considering the historical development of the semantics of barbarism, rather than focusing on the moral and discriminatory aspect, Engels is not the only one to classify the old oath-takers like this. On the contrary, he draws on concepts that had already become ‘common sense’ with the ‘discovery’ of the Alps in the eighteenth century. For Johann Jakob Bodmer, who also composed a Tell drama and was apparently an avid reader of Rousseau,6 this pre-civilizational itself remained even in the Age of Reason an important substrate for the culture of the Swiss mountain cantons. Without splitting the uncivilized into two subcategories, in his periodical Die Discourse der Mahlern in 1722 he bluntly classified the “old Swiss” (“alten Schweitzer”) as ‘savages’: Eben dieselbe Ursache welche uns beweget die Geschichten der Wilden zu studieren, erwecket uns auch die Curiositet und das Verlangen einen Moralischen Nouvellisten dieser alten Schweitzern zu haben, welche wir aus Respect und Hochachtung der ungeschminckten Natur, der sie gefolget haben, Wild nennen. Diese Wildheit der ersten Eids-Genossen ist indessen unter denen andern Moden der Complimenten und der Poli­ tesse noch nicht so gäntzlich verlohren gegangen, dass wir nicht annoch in gewissen Cantons einige käntliche Reste des natürlichen spühren, von dem dieselben sich unterweisen lassen. (1722, 94–95) The same force which moves us to study the stories of savages also awakens our curiosity and demand for a moral chronicler of these old Swiss, whom we call savages out of respect and esteem for the unadorned nature to which they adhere. This savage nature of the first oath-takers has not been so completely covered by a veneer of compliments and politesse that it would be impossible to sense traces of its influence in certain cantons. (My translation, M. R.)

While Schiller seems to have paid little attention to Bodmer’s didactic play Tell (Alt 2009, 568), another similar text that further exoticized the people living in the Alps was all the more important to him. In his Briefe über ein schweizerisches Hirtenland (1782), the Bernese patrician Carl von Bonstetten described the “Hirtenvolk” in the 4 5 6

See above, chapter 2.1.2.2–2.1.2.7. See above, chapter 2.1.2.9. Johann Jakob Bodmer, Wilhelm Tell, oder, Der gefährliche Schuss, n.p. 1775. On Bodmer’s reception of Rousseau see Speerli 1941, esp. 76–84; Mahlmann-Bauer 2008, 209–72; Rei­ling 2010, 281–89; Cheneval 2000, 425–46.

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Bernese Saanenland as semi-nomadic and compared them precisely with the model barbarians of Montesquieu and Rousseau, the Tartars:7 Das Hirtenvolk im Sanenland hält ein Mittel zwischen feldbauenden Völkern und wandernden Arabern oder Tartaren. Jährlich verändert jede Familie fünf oder sechsmal ihre Wohnung; jede Woche trift man auf Hausväter, die mit Weib und Kindern, mit ihren voranziehenden Heerde, ihrem Käseteffel, und einigem hölzernen Geräthe, nach einer neuen Wohnung wandern. (1782, 38) The shepherd race in the Saanenland strikes a balance between the agrarian way of life and that of the nomadic Arabs and Tartars. Every year, each family relocates five or six times, every week you encounter householders with their wives and children, driving their cattle before them, bearing their cheese block and a few wooden vessels, moving on to settle in a new place.8 (My translation, M. R.)

These Letters are a good example of the fact that Schiller certainly did not confine himself to sources about the old oath-takers in his reworking of the Tell story. When, on August 9, 1803, he asked his publisher Johann Friedrich Cotta if Bonstetten’s letters could be delivered to him, he also requested “Füßli’s Geography, Tschocke’s Work on Switzerland [...] and also Ebel’s writing about the mountain peoples” (my translation, M. R.; “Füßlis Erdbeschreibung, Tschockes Werk von der Schweitz [...] so wie auch von Ebels Schrift über die Gebirgsvölker,” 1980, 371; original emphasis). These works present the contemporary, rather than the historical, Swiss mountain folk to stylize Switzerland as an Arcadian “shepherd land” (Schmidt 1990, 153; Hentschel 2000, 67–68; Piatti 2004, 60). They all evoke the myth that the same kind of person who successfully fought against the external threat of tyranny in the Middle Ages could still be found in the Swiss Alps. Schiller could come across this topos of the archaic and static Alpine region even in the historical studies he consulted. For his part, Johannes von Müller, who published the Letters of his friend Bonstetten, noted the reason for the “victories of the old Swiss” (“Siege der alten Schweizer”) in his Geschichte der schweizerischen Eidgenossenschaft: “their customs” (“ihre Sitten”), which he had “seen for himself many times in the Alps” (my translation, M. R.; “in dem Alpengebürg vielfältig noch gesehen,” 1780, xvi). Against this background, it is no accident that Schiller presents the original Swiss as herders in Tell. At least one of the two central plot lines of the play is in some sense characterized by this state. “Before the rising of the curtain” (“Noch ehe der Vorhang aufgeht”), the audience can hear “the lowing of the cows, and the tinkling of 7 8

See above, chapter 2.1.2.1 and 2.1.2.3; Rousseau 1995, ch. IX; Moser 2015a. See also the further quotes compiled by Barbara Piatti (Piatti 2004, e. g., p. 60: “Als ich den vielen Haufen kraftvoller Männer mit dem Degen in der Hand, freien Ganges wandernd, begegnete, glaubte ich die Vorväter dieses Landes zu sehen, wie sie vom Freiheitssinn belebt ihre Fesseln zerbrachen, wie Jung und Alt zu den Waffen griff, und von allen Orten zusammen strömte, um ihre Feinde zu vertilgen.”; “As I encountered the many groups of powerful men, sword in hand, wandering freely, I thought I saw the forefathers of this land, as they were moved by a sense of freedom to break their shackles, as young and old took up arms, and streamed together to destroy their enemies,” my translation, M. R.)

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cattle bells” (1951, 13; translation modified; “Kuhreihen und das harmonische Geläut der Herdenglocken,” 1980, 131). The central scene at Rütli plays out in a meadow where the herdsmen normally pasture their cattle (1980, 163, ll. 725–28). To find allies for the league and to promote the oath-takers’ cause, Arnold vom Melchthal of Unterwald travels to the “herdsmen on the hills” (1951, 44). The oath which is finally sworn on the Rütli meadow is historically legitimized with herdsmen’s tales.9 The emissary of the original canton of Schwyz, Werner Stauffacher, raises the story about the origin of the Swiss people with the words: “Hört, was die alten Hirten sich erzählen” (1980, 181, l. 1166; “Hear, then, what aged herdsmen tell,” 1951, 66). He also comes close to describing those who took the oath as shepherds, when he dismisses them from the Rütli with these words: Jetzt gehe jeder seines Weges still Zu seiner Freundschaft und Genoßsame, Wer Hirt ist, wintre ruhig seine Heerde, Und werbʼ im Stillen Freunde für den Bund […]. (1980, 192, ll. 1454–57) Now every man pursue his several way Back to his friends, his kindred, and his home. Let the herd winter up his flock, and gain In secret, friends for this great league of ours! (1951, 76)

This continuous association of the “old Swiss” (“alten Schweitzer”) with the shepherd state is noteworthy: on Schiller’s Rütli, scarcely anybody of the thirty-three men swearing the oath may be a shepherd. The majority of the oath-takers gathered here are probably members of the third estate. Ulrich the Smith cannot become an elder, despite his old age, because he is “not a freeman” (1951, 65; “nicht freien Stands,” 1980, 180, l. 1141), that is, he does not have passive suffrage (Koschorke 2003, 113). Hence, in Wilhelm Tell für die Schule, Frisch notes that the people who appear in the Chronicles are “Stauffacher, Melchtal, Fürst, the oath-takers [...] are all known landholders. The idea that shepherds swore the oath dates from a later period” (1978, 447; “Stauffacher, Melchtal, Fürst, die Eidgenossen [...] alle bekannt als Grundeigentümer. Die Idee, ein Volk der Hirten habe sich verschworen, ist späteren Datums,” 1998, vol. 6, 447; Ockende 1989–90, 34). The association between the ‘Waldstätter’ and the shepherd’s way of life, which it took considerable effort to establish, was obviously intended to emphasize their social and political innocence. As indicated above, in his Essai sur l’origine des langues and Discours sur l’inégalité, Rousseau saw the ideal state of human existence as the transition from an ‘état de nature’ to an ‘état civilisé,’ during which people still lived as herdsmen, without owning the land (2008, 193–95; 1995, 395–407). “These times of barbarism,” as he wrote in Essai, “were the golden age” (2006, 75; “Ces tems de bar9

See above, chapter 2.1.2, for the typical association of barbarians and oaths.

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barie étoient le siécle d’or,” 1995, 396); “the barbarian [is] a herdsman” (2006, 79; “le barbare est berger,” 1995, 400). In Rousseau’s work, however, this natural, relatively egalitarian and therefore idyllic peaceful existence of self-sufficient idleness proves latently threatened from the outset. The naivety of the shepherds, while constitutive for the idyll, also implies that these herders have an almost infantile fear of strangers and the unknown, and fight it with remarkable brutality. With some irritation, the research has shown that Rousseau’s “happiest and most durable epoch” (2014, 88; “époque la plus heureuse, et la plus durable,” 2008, 192) coincides with a period of excessive violence. The shepherd peoples are only spared this as long they can keep out of each other’s way: “Les hommes, si l’on veut, s’attaquoient dans la rencontre, mais ils se rencontroient rarement. Par tout régnoit l’état de guerre, et toute la terre étoit en paix.” (1995, 396; “Men may have attacked one another upon meeting, but they rarely met. Everywhere the state of war prevailed, yet the whole earth was at peace,” 2006, 75). This syndrome of a paradisiacal idyll and propensity to violence is ultimately also tangible in Tell. Even before the oath, Attinghausen assures his ­nephew Rudenz that the medieval Swiss herdsmen can turn into determined fighters at any moment: “Lern’ dieses Volk der Hirten kennen, Knabe! / Ich kenn’s, ich hab’ es angeführt in Schlachten” (Schiller 1980, 170, ll. 909–10; “Learn, foolish boy, to know this shepherd race! / I know them, I have led them on in fight,” Schiller 1951, 55). While even Stauffacher with his “house—no nobleman’s more fair!” (1951, 25; “Haus, reich, wie ein Edelsitz,” 1980, 142, l. 207) appears to be subsumed into the “shepherd race,” the text of the play only emphasizes the particular means of subsistence of one character. Schiller invents a specific ‘craft’ for his eponymous hero, which is not found in the sources.10 Wilhelm Tell is a hunter and thus provides for himself in a way that is typical of the oldest stage of development in the stage theories: “Le sauvage est chasseur” (Rousseau 1995, 400; “The savage is a hunter,” Rousseau 2006, 79). The ‘noble savage’ (“edle Wilde,” Hartwig 1963, 84) Tell is supposed to have lived “Quiet and harmless” (“still und harmlos”) in “peace” (“Frieden”) and harmony with nature. Only as a result of the ‘clash’ with the Habsburg civilization are “appalling deeds” made “familiar to” his “soul” (1951, 126–28; “Zum Ungeheuren hast du mich gewöhnt,” 1980, 244, l. 2568–74). Schiller primarily made his Tell a hunter, because hunting in the hills was a more appropriate and sublime way of life for the hero of a serious drama than the unheroic idyllic daily life of a shepherd (see e. g., Schulz 2005, 218). This instantly has the effect of distancing the protagonist and his murder from the Arcadian oath-takers. This murder on the pass near Küssnacht, the Hohle Gasse, has always divided opinion. Not infrequently, it was argued that Tell was acting as a primitive hunter according to natural law. The Anglo-Saxon criticism in particular repeatedly expressed “a clear unease with the romanticization of a fatal ambush” (Knobloch 2011, 528; my translation, M. R.). Tell was sometimes accused of “moral casuistry” because “he transforms a crime into a moral duty” (ibid.). Alongside the glorification of his deed, there is also evidence in the play that by committing this murder, Tell laid the burden of guilt upon himself. He calls himself “a sinful man” (1951, 154; “Mensch der Sünde,” 10 In the Chronicon Helveticum Tell is introduced only as a “Land-Mann” (“countryman”). Tschudi 1734–36, vol. 1, 238.

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1980, 274, l. 3222) and hides his face when he meets the Kaiser’s killer, Parricida: in the theatrical language of antiquity this is a “gesture of guilt”11 (Piatti 2004, 120; Alt 2009, 262). Thus, his deed is not only loaded with associations of liberation; it also creates the impression of barbaric brutality. Schiller already hinted at the sinister nature of such acts in a letter of March 1789 to Lotte von Lengefeld, who had offered him her “admiration for the Swiss heroes” (“Bewunderung” for “Schweitzerische Helden”): “Ich mache den Schweitzern die Tapferkeit und den Heldenmuth nicht streitig – nichts weniger. Aber [...] [o]hne das, was die Franzosen férocité nennen, kann man einen solchen Heldenmuth nicht äusern.” (1979a, 232; “I do not dispute the bravery and valour of the Swiss—on the contrary. But without [...] what the French call férocité, this kind of valour cannot be expressed,” my translation, M. R.). This hint of “férocité” may have been the main reason why Schiller presented his hero as a solitary Alpine figure who—like the isolated ‘savage’ figures of the Bible12— goes his own way “alone” (Schiller 1980, 151, l. 437). Tell does not have political motives. As a ‘noble savage,’ he is situated outside the political order and therefore, unlike in Schiller’s historical sources, he also does not participate in the gathering on the Rütli meadow.13 His murder of Gessler remains a form of individual revenge or, in Schiller’s words, a “private matter” (“Privatsache,” 1980, 374). The wedding party which passes through the Hohle Gasse before Tell’s murderous attack, excluding the protagonist from one more alliance, is perhaps further evidence of this. In Albrecht Koschorke’s analysis of the play, Tell’s isolation and exclusion from the actual oath takers is a condition for the dramatic representation of tyrannicide. In Korschorke’s view, this separation of the two plot lines also serves to disconnect the murder from the foundation of the republic: they are kept apart from each other so that the violence does not haunt and de-legitimize the political foundation (Koschorke 2003, 118).14 The text of the drama is strangely driven by an effort to make Tell’s own action the reason that the uprising succeeds and liberties are secured: that the people ultimately hail Tell as “our freedom’s founder” (“unsrer Freiheit Stifter”) and “saviour of our country” (1951, 148; “Retter von uns allen,” 1980, 267, ll. 3083 and 3086) is barely underpinned by the plot—not least because the men who swore the oath at Rütli expressly prohibited such behavior: “Denn Raub begeht am allgemeinen Gut / Wer selbst sich hilft in seiner eignen Sache” (1980, 192, ll. 1464–65; “For he whom selfish interests now engage, / Defrauds the general weal of what to it belongs,” 1951, 76). De facto, the two central story lines of the drama are very loosely connected. Accordingly, Hans Knobloch stated that Tell only appears to be a liberator because everyone in the play says so (2011, 531). The oath-takers’ uprising is thus distinguished from the French Revolution because it is a revolution in the original sense of the word: not an act of rebellion against the outdated order which served the creation of new political and social 11 Peter von Matt is cited here in a Weimar interval talk with Katharina Mommsen. 12 See above, chapter 2.1.1. 13 It is absolutely clear from Tschudi that Tell was “ouch heimlich in der Pundts-Gesellschafft” (Tschudi 1734–36, vol. 1, 238; “also a secret member of the league”; my translation, M. R.). 14 Seen in this way, Schiller appears to invalidate avant la lettre Nietzsche’s claim that barbaric violence is the foundation of every cultural order. See below, chapter 3.4.3.

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conditions, but a ‘return’ and restoration of the old legal rights of the ‘ancien régime’ (Borchmeyer 1994, 442). The ‘progress-resistant’ Alpine rebels of Schiller’s sources differ from their French counterparts by their surprisingly bloodless course of action, which even contemporaries perceived as ridiculous.15 The castles of Sarnen and Rossberg appear to be conquered without bloodshed—or at least their death toll is uncounted or indeterminate in the text. The Zwing Uri (“The Keep of Uri,” Schiller 1951, 32) is even uninhabited when it is razed. The spokesman of the confederate league, Stauffacher, who leads an attack on a castle in Schiller’s relevant source,16 remains oddly passive throughout the entire uprising. Walter Fürst also compliments Melchthal for abstaining from revenge, although his father’s eyes have been gouged out: “Wohl euch, daß Ihr den reinen Sieg / Mit Blute nicht geschändet!” (1980, 259, l. 2913–14; “Oh, well for you, you have not stain’d with blood / Our spotless victory!” 1951, 141). Foucault’s question as to whether a revolution can take shape by redirecting “unfettered barbarism” onto the right track may be a central issue for the history of the revolution, but it does not even arise for the oath-takers. The conceptual artifice of the play whisks the separate Tell plot line out of sight, so to speak. If the confederate uprising remains marked by barbarity and violence, however, this is not predominantly due to Tell’s deed. Finally, or perhaps even primarily—Koschorke does not go into this—another barbaric crime is the ultimate precondition for the autonomy of the old oath-takers. The crime which ensures that autonomy is committed by Parricida. Only parricide born of vanity and greed makes the restitution of the original Swiss idyll possible. If Kaiser Albrecht I had survived, the oath-takers could hardly have expected their uprising to go unpunished. This crime is deliberately condemned and contrasted to Tell’s tyrannicide in the text. Yet Parricida’s parricide, which is barbaric in the most common sense of the word, expressly brings the ‘Waldstätten,’ which are “unpolluted” (“rein”) by this, lasting “blessing” (“Segen”). In his speech at the end of the play, Stauffacher puts this interdependence of the barbaric and idyllic in a nutshell: “Den Mördern bringt die Untat nicht Gewinn, / Wir aber brechen mit der reinen Hand / Des blutgen Frevels segenvolle Frucht” (1980, 264, ll. 3015–17; my emphasis; “The assassins reap no profit by their crime; But we shall pluck with unpolluted hands / The teeming fruits of their most bloody deed,” 1951, 146). Just as Tell was indeed celebrated by the oath-takers, but excluded by Stauffacher from the collective “we,” the problematic ambivalence of his deed has also left traces in newer versions of the material. Although the Tell legend has been an important part of the national identity and has remained so in certain circles until today, Tell’s shot, if you will, has also provoked compensation fantasies. In 1829 Ludwig Uhland, for example, dramatized the story in the ballad Tells Tod. And in Jeremias Gotthelf’s prose adaptation of 1845, the national hero has to bury his son exactly seven years 15 After seeing the premiere of Tell in Weimar, Benjamin Constant wrote in his Journaux intimes 1804: “il y a une foule d’incidens ridicules: la destruction d’une bastille [!], exécutée par un seul homme, avec le Calme allemand et un petit marteau [...]. Dans tout grand théâtre on auroit sifflé” (Constant 2002, 88; “there are a multitude of ridiculous incidents: the destruction of a bastille [!], executed by a single man, with the German calm and a small hammer [...]. In any great theater, the spectators would have hissed,” my translation, M. R.). 16 According to Tschudi, Stauffacher carried out a successful attack on Lowerz Castle. Ockende 1989, 37.

3.1.  The Relationship between Idyll and Barbarism       197

after shooting the apple: the eponymous Knabe des Tell dies in battle. Furthermore, Uhland’s ballad was the main inspiration for the central Swiss genre painter (and Gotthelf illustrator) Hans Bachmann to create a painting for the Tell’s Chapel in the Hohle Gasse (Utz 2013, 36). This painting is a symptom of the underlying discomfort that the legend of Wilhelm Tell could trigger, despite or perhaps just because it is so firmly anchored in Swiss national mythology. Since 1905, the monumental depiction not only of Gessler’s, but also of Tell’s own death has thus been displayed on the very site where the tyrannicide took place. For Engels too, incidentally, the ‘barbaric’ stage of culture ultimately became an idyll. A few decades after his article in the Deutsche-Brüsseler-Zeitung of 1847, he wrote Der Ursprung der Familie, des Privateigenthums und des Staats (1884), a ground-breaking text for the genealogy of Marxism. In it, Engels followed Marx’s annotations to Lewis Morgan’s Ancient Society or Researches in the Lines of Human Progress from Savagery through Barbarism to Civilization (1877), but no longer associated what they both still called the barbaric stage of development with “Rohheit” (“brutality”) and “Störrigkeit” (“obduracy”). With reference inter alia to Johann Jakob Bachofen, who conceptualized the middle, gynaecocratic stage of his stage theory as “poetry of history” (1967, 84; “Poesie der Geschichte,” 1861, XIII), Engels changed his view of the barbaric age of clans or gentes (“gentile societies”) (1933, 91). He now perceived it rather as a proto-communist phase of human history; as a pe­ riod of “liberty, equality and fraternity” (“Freiheit, Gleichheit und Brüderlichkeit”), in which there were no “poor and needy” (“Arme und Bedürftige”) and everyone was “equal and free [...] including the women” (1933, 79; “gleich und frei [...] auch die Weiber,” 1990, 205). The future he envisioned would be a renaissance of this period, an epoch in which the barbaric gentile constitution would be taken to a new level. He ended his book by quoting Morgan, with these words: Demokratie in der Verwaltung, Brüderlichkeit in der Gesellschaft, Gleichheit der Rechte, allgemeine Erziehung, werden die nächste höhere Stufe der Gesellschaft einweihen, zu der Erfahrung, Vernunft und Wissenschaft stetig hinarbeiten. Sie wird eine Wiederbe­le­ bung sein – aber in höherer Form – der Freiheit, Gleichheit und Brüderlichkeit der alten Gentes. (1990, 271) Democracy in government, brotherhood in society, equality in rights and privileges, and universal education, foreshadow the next higher plane of society to which experience, intelligence and knowledge are steadily tending. It will be a revival, in a higher form, of the liberty, equality and fraternity of the ancient gentes. (1933, 157)

Morgan and Engels can thus be understood as Schiller’s followers in the history of the concept of barbarism. Schiller was obviously reluctant to accept the violent barbarity of the eighteenth century’s stage theories and tried to eliminate their cruel potential in Wilhelm Tell, as the preceding analysis has shown. But it was only Morgan and Engels who made it disappear almost completely. They continue to qualify the intermediate stage of human development as “barbarism”; but this barbarism has little to do anymore with cruelty and violence.

198       Jens Herlth

3.2. “These are the mysteries of the barbarians, my dear”: The Concept of Barbarism in Polish Romanticism (Zygmunt Krasiński, Adam Mickiewicz) Jens Herlth

3.2.1. Introduction In his groundbreaking study on the emergence of the idea of Eastern Europe in late eighteenth-century Europe, Larry Wolff points to the curious synchronicity of the concretization of the concept of civilization being the antithesis of barbarism and Eastern Europe as the realm of Slavdom (1994, 12). In the late eighteenth century, the anthropological and geographical imagination of civilization meant Western Europe, whereas the countries in the “North” of the continent were seen as, if not “barbaric,” then at least arrested in their cultural development. Wolff notes how Western writers and philosophers throughout the nineteenth century thought about “Eastern Europe” and the Slavic peoples as a “link [...] between civilization and barbarism” (1994, 12). Maria Janion, an eminent Polish literary scholar and cultural critic, expressed a similar idea in a somewhat simpler form: “In the modern world the ancient opposition between ‘civilization’ and ‘barbarism’ was translated into the opposition between ‘West’ and ‘East’.”1 For the English or French travelers, whose accounts were quoted in Wolff’s book, Polish and Russian habits, customs and manners, and even infrastructure are rich in barbarian features or leftovers from earlier stages of societal development (1994, 35). He furthermore explains how the “categories of ancient history that identified the barbarians of Eastern Europe, in Peyssonnel and above all in Gibbon [...] entered directly into the emerging social science of anthropology” (1994, 286). This state of knowledge persisted throughout the nineteenth century. Polish and Russian intellectuals who were educated in (Western) European culture, did their mandatory Grand Tour to ‘Europe’ (i.e. Germany, Switzerland, Italy, France), developed their intellect and sensibility reading French journals and English novels, were sooner or later confronted with this view of their cultures as ‘backward,’ ‘belated,’ or ‘barbarian.’ However, this also meant that writers and historians from Eastern Europe could claim to have a specific historical expertise, at least as matters of barbarism were concerned. This distinguished them from their Western European counterparts, who conceived of the barbarian as an abstract notion from ancient history—or a character in contemporary fiction. Chateaubriand, presenting the sources of his Études ou Discours historiques sur la chute de l’Empire romain ... (1831), argued that the historians of Russia, Poland, Sweden, and Germany offered worthy sources 1

“Starożytna opozycja ‘cywilizacji’ i ‘barbarzyństwa’ w świecie nowożytnym przełożyła się na opozycję ‘Zachodu’ i ‘Wschodu’” (2007, 165; all translations are mine unless indicated otherwise, J. H.).

3.2.  “These are the mysteries of the barbarians, my dear”       199

for the history of the “first centuries of the barbarian times,” even if, generally, they wrote later than “our” historians (1831, VIII). If Eastern Europe is traditionally seen as a dark and ‘barbaric’ region, it is also the area where historiography and anthropology came into contact with the non-European, ‘savage,’ uncivilized, ‘barbaric’ peoples earlier than in Western Europe. This at least was the general conviction in the Western and Eastern imaginary geography of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Eastern European writers often incorporated this external view in critical appraisals of their own cultures. Alexander Etkind has aptly described this tendency in Russian Europeanist discourse as “internal colonization” (2011).2 This application of the concept of barbarism to ‘native cultures’ by the natives themselves remains consistent with the original understanding of the concept. However, the very shift from an external to an internal perspective reveals the potential of the “enemy-concept”3 of barbarism to move from one camp to the other and then to be used in improper, metaphorical, ironic or also affirmative ways. Thus, Eastern European intellectuals such as Alexander Herzen or Adam Mickiewicz could proudly claim their ‘barbaric’ origins in front of a ‘decadent’ and depleted Western European public, deliber­ ately inverting the original asymmetry of the concept. Barbarians then are not only powerful, vital, and young (as they always are), but they are also intellectually and spiritually superior to their Western counterparts. The future belongs to them as they overcome the decrepit civilization of Western Europe. Interestingly enough, barbarism was a key notion in Bolshevik political rhetoric. It referred to the prerevolutionary social order, notably to such institutions as serfdom, the peasantry, and the village community (Trotsky 1965, 72, 402, 475). In a 1918 article for Pravda, Lenin called up his comrades to follow the example of Peter the Great and not recoil from “barbaric means in the struggle against barbarism.”4 On the other hand, many representatives of the traditional Russian intelligentsia (political sympathies with the October Revolution notwithstanding) were full of discontent about the rise of uneducated peasants and workers to key positions in the new Soviet society. They used the notion of the barbarian to denounce the ignorance and the lack of education present in large parts of the Soviet elite. The following quote from Boris Pasternak’s novel Doctor Zhivago is highly telling in this context: В эти первые дни люди, как солдат Памфил Палых, без всякой агитации, лютой озверелой ненавистью ненавидевшие интеллигентов, бар и офицерство, казались редкими находками восторженным левым интеллигентам и были в страшной цене. Их бесчеловечность представлялась чудом классовой сознательности, их варварство – образцом пролетарской твердости и революционного инстинкта. (2004, 347)

2 3 4

Etkind quotes the Russian Westernizer Vissarion Belinskii who stressed the “Asian, barbarian, Tartar” features of pre-petrian Russia (Etkind 2011, 95; the original phrase can be found here: Belinskii 1954, 136—and not on p. 103 as Etkind indicates). See above, section 1.2.3.1. of the Introduction. “[...] не останавливаясь перед варварскими средствами борьбы против варварства” (1962, 301).

200       Jens Herlth In those early days, men like Pamphil Palykh, who needed no encouragement to hate intellectuals, officers, and gentry with a savage hatred, were regarded by enthusiastic left-wing intellectuals as a rare find and greatly valued. Their inhumanity seemed a marvel of class-consciousness, their barbarism a model of proletarian firmness and revolutionary instinct. By such qualities Pamphil had established his fame, and he was held in great esteem by partisan chiefs and Party leaders. (1997, 349)

Virtually every Eastern European or Central European national culture saw itself as a bulwark against ‘barbarian’ threats from the East. This menace could occur in different shapes and under various names: Huns, Tartars, Mongols, and Ottomans, to name some of the most noteworthy ones. The function of the notion of the barbarian as an asymmetric counter-concept has been described in the introduction to the present volume so there is no need to reiterate that the barbarian served as a means of radical exclusion and, by this, as a self-affirmative declaration of adherence to a superior world of European or Christian civilization and values. In this chapter, I will be dealing not so much with neat distinctions but rather with paradoxical reinterpretations and sometimes clearly counterintuitive uses of the concept. The barbarian has been a figure of self-representation in Eastern European societies ever since writers and intellectuals from these cultures had access to Western writings about ‘their’ part of the world. He is not only situated outside of these cultures; he is very much a part of them, as the above quoted examples from early twentieth-century Russian political rhetoric show. During the nineteenth century, Eastern European debates about modernization were accompanied or subverted by ironic self-barbarizations. Fedor Dostoevsky, in his “Winter Notes on Summer Impressions” (1863), mocks the Russian public’s inferiority complex by ironizing newspaper accounts of ‘barbarian’ remnants in contemporary Russian mores. In his novel The Idiot (1868–69), he lays bare the concept which is at play when the notion of the barbarian is used in political discourse. At the end of a fervent tirade against Catholicism and European civilization, the main protagonist, Prince Myshkin, argues that the world is afraid of Russia’s growing strength since “they expect nothing from us but the sword, the sword and violence, because, judging by themselves, they cannot imagine us without barbarism” (2003, 546). (“[...] они ждут от нас одного лишь меча, меча и насилия, потому что они представить себе нас не могут, судя по себе, без варварства,” 1973, 453). Here barbarism is alien to Russia as it is alien to Europe in the minds of the European people. Dostoevsky lets his feverish hero (who will inadvertently smash an expensive Chinese vase at the end of his tirade) analyze the structure of the notion of barbarism; it serves to externalize the negative features a culture recognizes in itself. Europe cannot think of Russia other than along the terms of barbarism, since it is in itself ‘barbarian’ (contrary to ‘saint’ and ‘innocent’ Russia). The semantic possibilities of the notion of barbarism are widened when a culture is suited to react to the attribution of barbarism, which would not have been possible in the ancient, Hellenic model of barbarism when the word presupposed a strict linguistic border between those who use it and those to whom it refers. In this model, a barbarian reading and reacting to texts about his own ‘barbarian’ culture is a contradiction in itself. The situation gets even more complicated—and more interesting—when we look at Polish culture. Since the late eighteenth century, Polish

3.2.  “These are the mysteries of the barbarians, my dear”       201

elites resorted to the notion of barbarism in order to describe the political conflicts that led to the end of the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth and the Tsarist Empire’s occupation of large parts of former Polish territories. The same elites were well aware of the traditions of late eighteenth-century anthropology and historiography, according to which their country was part of the ‘barbarian’ North of Europe. In the Encyclopédie we read: Poland, as it is today, in its moral as well as in its physical shape, presents astonishing contrasts; royal dignity with the name of a republic, law with feudal anarchy; formless strains of the Roman republic with gothic barbarism; abundance and poverty.5

Voltaire, in his Essai sur les mœurs (1756), described medieval Poland as “far more barbarian than Christian”—“beaucoup plus barbare que chrétienne”—and attributed this to the persistence of Sarmatian customs (1963, 473). We can in fact note an interesting link between French Enlightenment views on Poland and the cultural tradition of ‘Sarmatism’ in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from the fifteenth to the mid-eighteenth century. The basic idea of ‘Sarmatism’ comes from the ancient origins of the Polish nobility who traced their genealogy back to the barbarian tribe of the Sarmatians. Sarmatism was the dominant cultural orientation in the Polish Baroque; it informed the historical and the social self-consciousness of the Polish nobility until the eve of the partitions of the late eighteenth century. Hence, there is an imagined ‘barbarian’ background in the Polish elite culture, which could be playfully or ironically referred to by the Poles themselves, or, more earnestly, by foreign observers (Marty 2003, n. pag.). This did not hinder Polish nobles from resorting to the concept and the imaginary register of barbarism when they wanted to stress their civilizational superiority over Russia. The very concept of the barbarian or barbarism is of striking ambivalence and variety in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Polish culture. A member of the cultural elite, who was familiar with (Western) European writing of the time, was inevitably confronted with the views of French travelers who saw a habitat for barbarians in his home country. He could read history books or essays in which Poland was seen as a rampart against the menace of barbarism from the East. The recent history of the partitions and Russian rule over Poland provided examples of ‘barbaric’ violence against the Poles. And, after all, the peasants of his own country estate, most often ethnically Ukrainian, could represent a sort of real ‘barbarism’ for him, not only for their lack of literacy and knowledge of the Polish language, but also for the constant threat of rebellion and violence that they represented to their owners. The most memorable of these revolts, the so-called “Galician Slaughter” of 1846, came about at the end of the romantic era when peasants in the Habsburg partition of Poland killed thousands of noblemen and destroyed their estates. This event left a deep mark in the collective memory of the Polish upper class. All of these facets 5 “La Pologne, telle qu’elle est aujourd’hui dans le moral & dans le physique, présente des contrastes bien frappans ; la dignité royale avec le nom de république ; des lois avec l’anarchie féodale  ; des traits informes de la république romaine avec la barbarie gothique  ; l’abondance & la pauvreté” (de Jaucourt 1751, 931).

202       Jens Herlth

of the concept of barbarism were present in Polish romantic literature. Poets and critics of the period, along with philosophers and historians, described or imagined themselves as barbarians or labeled others as barbarians according to their respective goals. The apparent inconsistency of the use of the concept in romantic writing is as striking as is its productivity in poetic and political contexts. The following pages will shed light on various occurrences and uses of the concept in the works of Zygmunt Krasiński (1812–1859) and Adam Mickiewicz (1798–1855), two key figures of Polish romantic literature. Mickiewicz is Poland’s uncontested ‘national poet.’ Traditionally, Krasiński is considered less influential, but his romantic dramas The Undivine Comedy (Nie-Boska komedia, 1835) and Irydion (1836) are part of the Polish literary canon. Krasiński’s mystic poetry of the 1840s was read by generations of Polish readers and served as a source of national self-assurance. The 1840s saw the emergence of the myth of the romantic “bards” or “poet p ­ rophets” in Polish culture; Mickiewicz and Krasiński figured in this group from the very beginning; a third poet, Juliusz Słowacki, followed a little later (Markiewicz 1996, 38–42). Krasiński as well as Mickiewicz wrote their most important works in exile, though Mickiewicz was arguably more of an émigré than Krasiński. After a forced stay in Russia from 1824 to 1829 he lived in Western Europe and never returned to his native land. Krasiński traveled freely between the centers of European and Polish émigré cultural life and his family manor in the Russian part of Poland. Still he was a part of Polish émigré culture and published his works anonymously in order to avoid provoking the Russian authorities. Jerzy Fiećko analyzes the ideological confrontation between the two poets, who both lived as emigrants and knew each other personally after a trip to the Alps in 1830 (2011). He convincingly argues that their conflict was not only one of the most prominent ideological clashes among Polish émigré writers, but is also of lasting relevance for Polish culture today.6 The differences in their respective assessments of the revolutions and liberation movements of 1848 reveal diametrically opposed views of culture, society, Europe, and other concepts and categories that have shaped contemporary debates in Poland and beyond. The concept of barbarism and the barbarian plays a crucial role in both poets’ works. A closer analysis of the various shapes of barbarism will help us identify the profound differences on the poetical level as well as on the political and ideological. The barbarian is a central figure in Krasiński’s drama Irydion; barbarism informs his correspondence along with his later poems and essays. Mickiewicz repeatedly used the notion in various contexts from his first written works to the end of his career as a poet, professor of literature, journalist, and political activist. In what follows, I will retrace the various appearances and functions of the barbarian in the two poets’ works. Moreover, I will show that the barbarian is a crucial figure of the Polish romantic imagination and that a closer look at the shifts and ruptures in the semantics of barbarism might help us to better understand the shifts and ruptures in the romantic poets’ understanding of culture and community and hence the inner contradictions in Polish debates about society and history. 6

See also Janion 2000, 70.

3.2.  “These are the mysteries of the barbarians, my dear”       203

3.2.2. The Imagined Barbarian: Zygmunt Krasiński’s Letters to Henry Reeve Zygmunt Krasiński was born into of one of the most influential and wealthy families in Poland; his father Wincenty had been a general in Napoleon’s service during the Russian Campaign of 1812 and he earned the reputation of a national hero among his contemporaries, who had put hopes in the emperor’s alleged plans to restitute Poland as a state. During the 1820s, the salon at the Krasiński’s town house in Warsaw was the spot of the most important literary debates of the time (Kowalczykowa 1987, 73). Young Zygmunt, who dabbled in poetry and prose since early adolescence, was considered to be a literary wunderkind. His fate changed dramatically in 1829 when he refused to join his fellow students for what turned out to be the greatest patriotic manifestation of the 1820s in Warsaw, the burial of Marshal Piotr Bieliński (Ko­wal­ czy­ko­wa 1987, 63). The marshal was generally seen as a national hero for his role as the president of the Sejm Court. In 1828, Bieliński was responsible for the light verdict given to the members of the “Towarzystwo Patriotyczne” (Patriotic Association) who had been accused of high treason by the Russian authorities. However, Wincenty Krasiński was the only member of the court to vote for capital punishment; by making this decision, he irrevocably compromised himself in the eyes of the Polish public. When the students of Warsaw University left to participate in the funeral procession, the general’s son was one of the two students to remain in the lecture hall. This provoked conflict between him and other students, which eventually led to his exclusion from university (Kowalczykowa 1987, 64), upon which his father decided to let his son continue his studies in Geneva. There, Krasiński attended courses in philosophy, law, and history, and he also read the works of contemporary French historians and philosophers who were mostly moderate traditionalists such as Guizot and Ballanche.7 Krasiński was a defender of gentry values and the old European social order; his reflections on ruptures in history and the role of human interventions in providential affairs were influenced by the French traditionalists’ negative assessment of the French Revolution and its aftermath. The concept of the barbarian was virulent in the debates of the time; since Gibbon’s famous work on the end of the Roman Empire, contemporaries were eager to draw historical parallels between late antiquity and the situation in early nineteenth-century Europe. So when the nineteen-year-old Zygmunt Krasiński wrote to his father that the “the decline of contemporary European society is imminent” and that the current historical situation was similar to that of “the Roman state, which died under the attacks of the barbarians”—“szybko zbliża się upadek teraźniejszego towarzystwa europejskiego [...], w podobnym jesteśmy położeniu do państwa rzymskiego, konającego pod napadem barbarzyńców” (1963, 270), we can assume that this resulted from his readings of ancient history or overhearing discussions on the matter. However, there was a current event as well beginning to shape the concept of the barbarian in Krasiński’s writings. The November Uprising of 1830–31 in Poland had stipulated a great deal of journalism and historical writings in which the 7

Krasiński was a member of the “Société de Lecture” in Geneva (Gerber 2007, 39).

204       Jens Herlth

Russians, or more often the “Moskals” (Muscovites), were labeled barbarians. Historians and critics like Maurycy Mochnacki or Joachim Lelewel continued a Polish historiographic tradition of stressing the uniqueness and constant endangerment of Polish civilization being surrounded by hostile ‘barbarians.’ From the impact of recent developments, the idea of Poland as antemurale christianitatis was revived in Polish romanticist historiography. Had the term barbarians hitherto been mostly reserved to non-Christian tribes or nations, it was at the time used more and more for the Russians, or more precisely the “Moskals,” who played the role of the other in Polish historiography, journalism, and poetry about the Uprising and subsequent battles.8 However, the philosophical or political factors were not the only issues that informed Krasiński’s concept of the barbarian. His early writings of the Warsaw period already show a fascination with romantic frénésie; it is not easy to tell if the political and historical semantics of the notion outweigh its aesthetic and poetic appeal or if it is the other way round. Most likely both factors played their roles. His Geneva professors’ lectures impressed Krasiński not only for their factual content but also, and possibly even more so, for their rhetoric and somehow their poetic imaginary. In a letter to his father, he gave an account of the lectures of his professor Pellegrino Rossi (1787–1848) on the history of the Roman Empire: Kurs pana Rossi o historii Rzymskiej wielce jest ciekawym. [...] Trudno mu zrównać w obrazach nagłych i pełnych kolorytu. Wymowny i piquant przez swój cudzoziemski akcent, romantycznie zupełnie wykłada historią w niektórych miejscach, np. opisując, jak Tulia tratowała po ciele ojca w ulicach Rzymu, powiada: Et on vit le sang du père jaillir sous les roues du char de la fille. W drugim miejscu znowu mówił nam: Qu’en considérant les débordements des peuples du Nord sur l’Empire Romain on croit encore entendre le bruit de la marche de l’espèce humaine. (1963, 108) Mr. Rossi’s lecture course on Roman history is utterly interesting. [...] It is hard to equal him in spontaneous images, full of atmosphere. Eloquent and piquant by his foreign accent, he sometimes lectures on history in a completely romantic manner, thus for instance, when he describes how Tullia trampled on her father’s body in the streets of Rome, he says: Et on vit le sang du père jaillir sous les roues du char de la fille. At another place he said: Qu’en considérant les débordements des peuples du Nord sur l’Empire Ro­ main on croit encore entendre le bruit de la marche de l’espèce humaine.9

The news of the uprising in Poland and his father’s urgent escape to St. Petersburg worried Krasiński profoundly. At the same time, the events in his home country 8

9

Stefan Garczyński (1805–1833), possibly the most celebrated among the poets who actually fought in the rebellion, depicted the Russian soldiers as “barbarians” in one of the poems of his cycle Memories from the Times of the Polish National War (Wspomnienia z czasów wojny narodowej polskiej, 1831) (1863, 148). English translation of the two French sentences: “And one saw the father’s blood gush from under the wheels of the daughter’s chariot. [...] That considering the intrusions of the Northern populations into the Roman Empire, one might have the impression of listening to the steps of the human species moving forward.”

3.2.  “These are the mysteries of the barbarians, my dear”       205

offered him an opportunity to display his romanticist imagination, to reflect on violence and barbarism on an entirely different level. In Geneva, Krasiński made the acquaintance of Henry Reeve (1813–1895), an Englishman who later became a famous and influential journalist.10 Just like most of the European public in general, Reeve supported the Polish cause. For many contemporaries this was a conflict between a freedom-loving nation and a despotic, reactionary Empire; it was reminiscent of the Greek rebellion against Ottoman rule in the 1820s. In letters to Krasiński, Reeve urged his friend to follow the example of many young Polish noblemen, who had joined the Polish troops in their desperate struggle against an overpowering adversary (Krasiński 1980 2, 304, 322, 327). Krasiński’s initial response, however, was rather evasive. He was in a highly delicate position of being torn between the ethos of Polish nationalism and youthful struggle for freedom on the one hand and the loyalty to his father, who sojourned in St. Petersburg and implored his son to keep away from the Polish insurrectionists on the other. In a letter to his father, Krasiński actually announced that he was intending to go to Poland (1963, 226), but he never put this plan into action. Finally, Krasiński resolved to give a definite response to Reeve’s questions. In a letter dating from November 18, 1831—NB about two months after the decisive defeat of the Polish troops—, he resorted to the semantics of barbarism in order to explain his origins from a world that was totally alien to his European friend, and hence, a world unintelligible to him. As a child, Krasiński declared, he had sucked the hatred towards the Russian oppressors with his foster mother’s milk. He continued: [...] plus tard, elle [la haine] est venue, forte et irrésistible, s’établir dans mon cœur, à la vue de ma patrie foulée aux pieds par de vils barbares, au bruit que faisaient les gémissements de mes frères et les sanglots de mes sœurs. (1980, vol. 1, 546–47) [...] later, hatred came to settle in my heart, strong and irresistible, at the sight of my fatherland thrown to the feet by villain barbarians, at the sound of the moans of my brothers and the sighs of my sisters.

What he describes had nothing to do with real biographical experience, he had grown up as the offspring of a wealthy Polish magnate and general in the service of the Russian tsar. This did not hinder him from using all his imaginative power to evoke the topoi of romanticist emergency nationalism. His aim was to legitimize his “hatred” as an integral part of his identity, which Krasiński conceded was not consistent with Christian values: “Certes, il y a un étrange amalgame dans moi.” (“For sure, there is a strange amalgam in me.”) The contradiction could only be justified with recourse to the figure of the barbarian: Aussi, reconnaissez-le, dans moi vous trouverez mille contrastes : du passé féodal et du passé polonais, beaucoup d’amour et beaucoup de haine, croyances en la foi chrétienne et, par-ci, par-là, une orgueilleuse espérance en l’avenir. Tout ce mélange fait de moi

10 He was editor of the Edinburgh Review from 1855 up to his death.

206       Jens Herlth quelque chose de semblable à un barbare du sixième siècle. Mais, j’ose le croire, il y a de la poésie dans tout cela. (1980, vol. 1, 548–49) And you have to acknowledge that you will find a thousand contrasts in me: the feudal past and the Polish past, a lot of love and a lot of hatred, the belief in the Christian faith, and, here and there, a proud hope for the future. All this mixture makes me resemble a barbarian from the sixth century. But I do dare to hope that there is poetry in all this.

What Krasiński presents is in fact a strange mixture, a superposition of his readings in the history of late antiquity with the contemporary political situation in his homeland enriched by poetic imagination. However, we can draw a philosophical idea from this: Krasiński needs the barbarian as a figure that legitimizes radical exclusion from Christian salvation history. This is why Krasiński refers to a barbarian from the sixth century—a barbarian who is still a barbarian in a world that is successively getting Christianized. According to him, the scope of the Russian-Polish conflict can only be understood if it is compared to the clashes between Roman civilization and the barbarians in late antiquity. Paradoxically, the barbarian serves to save the idea of a harmonious, Christian Europe. There is, according to Krasiński, a sphere at the margins of Europe, where radical evil is still possible. This evil imposes its rule on the people involved in that struggle, even if they fight on the right side, as Krasiński would have—if he had fought at all. Hatred is unchristian but necessary and therefore a legitimate emotion of a Christian who has to survive in a barbarian world. M’avez-vous vu jamais haïr quelqu’un en Europe, ou vous exalter le sentiment de la haine en poésie? Non, ma haine ne se rapporte qu’à un monde dont vous ne connaissez rien, à un monde de douleurs et de privations, d’asservissements et de crimes. Ce monde, pour vous, restera toujours inconnu, ténébreux. Il est à vous ce qu’était la Thrace aux Grecs, la Germanie aux Romains. Mais moi, qui dois y vivre et y lutter, il m’y faudrait succomber bientôt, si je n’avais la haine pour soutien. Là où le malheur et la destruction sont en quelque sorte frénétiques, il faut des passions frénétiques pour contempler ­cette vaste perdition et n’être pas ébloui. Ce sont les mystères des barbares, mon cher. (1980, vol. 1, 550) Have you ever seen me hating someone in Europe or have I ever praised the feeling of hatred in poetry? No, my hatred only refers to a world of which you do not know anything, to a world of pains and deprivations, of enslavements and crimes. This world will always remain unknown and dark to you. It is for you what Thrace was for the Greeks, Germania for the Romans. However, I, who have to live and to fight in this world, I would soon have to succumb to it, if it was not for my hatred to support me. Where disaster and destruction are in a way frenetic, one needs frenetic passions in order to be able to watch this perdition and not to be blinded by it. These are the mysteries of the barbarians, my dear.

I would like to argue that Krasiński’s image of the barbarian, its alleged connection with Russian atrocities in the streets of Warsaw notwithstanding, is not so much based on personal memory than on the young poet’s extensive readings of con-

3.2.  “These are the mysteries of the barbarians, my dear”       207

temporary French philosophy of history. It was above all Pierre-Simon Ballanche whose writings yielded a decisive influence on Krasiński‘s historical imagination. In Ballanche’s Essais de Palingénésie sociale (1827–29, published 1830)11 and other essays of this mystic philosopher, Krasiński found the topics that would occupy him for the following decades: the relationship between divine providence and human history and the risks that are inextricably linked to every project of social development. Krasiński’s Russian barbarians are probably the result of images from ancient history that had already gone through a process of actualization in Ballanche’s accounts of revolutionary terror. In the preface to the first edition of his Œuvres, Ballanche recalls the “terror of the revolution” (1830, vol. 1, 5) and presents the outline of a narrative that he had conceived in his younger years; this narrative however was never carried out. His idea was to construct a remote historical perspective in order to fully assess the disaster of “barbarism” which had ravaged his country and his hometown of Lyon during the siege of 1793. Fifteen hundred years after the events, a traveler from America would come to Lyon, where he would try to reconstruct the history of ancient times based on “popular songs” and “some writings saved from the devastations of the times of barbarism.”12 Ballanche used barbarism as a device of estrangement, very much in the Shklovskian vein—defining something as ‘barbaric’ means putting it outside of the common axiological frame of reference. The possibility of an outside perspective, not only in a spatial or geographical sense, but also in a historical and religious one, fascinated Krasiński. In his letters to Reeve he constructed an artificial a-synchronicity between Western European history and the “fields of blood and death” (1980, vol. 1, 34) somewhere on the very outskirts of civilization. Ballanche’s œuvre attracted the young poet for its “gloomy and dreadful po­etry.”13 Ballanche was not a standard reactionary thinker who categorically rejected social progress in any form. Instead he wanted to conciliate progress with divine Providence and find a road of harmonious social development, a road that, other than that taken by the Jacobins and their philosophic forerunners, would not be paved with blood and terror. In an “Éloge” to the politician Camille Jordan reprinted in the second volume of his Œuvres, Ballanche describes the politics of the Convention nationale after May 31, 1793 as a combination of “the barbarism of the ancient peoples with the fierce energy of the Middle ages, with the most sophisticated military concepts.”14 Ballanche was seventeen years old at the time of the events and the memory haunted him even at the very moment of giving his speech on Jordan before the Académie de Lyon in 1823, as he lets his listeners know: “Days of disaster, days of dismay, go off from my thoughts.”15 Krasiński’s barbarian is indeed an “amalgam” of the modern revolutionary and the antique warrior, a mixture of the “two distinct sets of ideas about barbarism” 11 12 13 14

Cp. Krasiński 1963, 254. “quelques écrits échappés aux ravages des temps de la barbarie” (1830, vol. 1, 7). “poésie toute funèbre et toute terrible” (1830, vol. 1, 8). “la barbarie des peuples sauvages avec la farouche énergie du moyen âge, avec les plus savantes conceptions militaires” (1830, vol. 2, 489). 15 “Jours de malheur, jours d’épouvante et de crime, éloignez-vous de ma pensée” (1830, vol. 2, 489).

208       Jens Herlth

that we find in Ballanche (McCalla 1998, 322).16 It is also possible that his father’s interpretation of the Polish insurrection of 1830–1831, who saw it as a social revolution, played a role here as well. In a letter to his son from around May 1831, the elder Krasiński described the events as “anarchy,” deliberately provoked by a gang of “clubistes” (i.e., members of political associations): “Rabunek i zabieranie wszystkiego iest rozkazem dziennym” (Kallenbach 1904, vol. 1, 264). (“Robbery and appropriation of everything is the order of the day.”)17 According to him, it would not be appropriate to speak about “nations” in the present situation; there are only two camps—order and destruction. “From afar you cannot know what is happening,” he appealed to his son. (“Z daleka nie możesz wiedzieć, co się dzieje,” Kallenbach 1904, vol. 1, 165–66). This last proposition was of course true. Krasiński was forced to imagine what happened. He had to invent a story in which he could nevertheless play a part since the real story was going on far away from him. This is why he resorted to Ballanche’s barbarians. Krasiński was well aware of the image of his home country in the minds of contemporary Western Europeans. In an early letter to his father, written upon his arrival to Geneva, he complains that his interlocutors generally conceived of Poland as a “dark and not in the slightest degree civilized country.” They asked him if this or that basic item of everyday life was known in Poland; it would not at all surprise him, he wrote, if they would ask themeselves whether Poland was actually populated by human beings. (“To, co jest nieznośnym tutaj, że uważają Polskę za kraj najciemniejszy i najmniej cywilizowany. [...] mi się zdaje, że przyjdzie do tego, że będą się pytać, czy są ludzie w Polszcze,” 1963, 48). In his letters to Reeve, Krasiński inverts these ste­ reo­types so that the barbarian element does not degrade the Poles; on the contrary, it dignifies them. Barbarism is imposed on them by circumstances they cannot control. It requires a heroic mode of acting that distinguishes the Poles from other European nations, who, just as Henry Reeve, “were born in silence, whose childhood passed in silence and whose youth was a poetic silence”18 According to Krasiński, the life of his English friend resembled an idyllic painting: “Jusqu’aux Alpes, tout vous a parlé, inspiré paix, béatitude, bonheur, oubli, silence, rêverie” (1980, vol. 1, 548). (“Right up to the Alps, everything spoke to you of and inspired you with peace, beatitude, joy, forgetfulness, silence, reverie.”) Especially when we read these lines against the background of Ballanche’s concept of the barbarian, we see that Krasiński’s concern is to emphasize Poland’s vital power and sublimity as opposed to harmless European “rêverie.” In Ballanche’s Essais de palingénésie sociale, the historical barbarians represent the access to a primordial state that was more original than the myth and thus superior to it:

16 See also Michel 1981, 182. 17 Unfortunately, there is no edition of Wincenty Krasiński’s letters to his son. Józef Kallenbach, one of the first Krasiński scholars, who had access to the family archive, quoted from them extensively in his biography of the poet’s early years. They were destroyed during World War II (Pigoń 1963, 7). 18 “Dans le calme vous êtes né ; dans le calme a passé votre enfance” (1980, vol. 1, 548).

3.2.  “These are the mysteries of the barbarians, my dear”       209 I said the mysteries of the barbarians, deep and primitive. I have to add that these mysteries are intuitive; since, for the pagans, they are the expression of the old age of religion, bottomless, of every origin that one could not comprehend. [...] Going back to the barbarians meant nothing other than searching beyond the myth. (My emphasis, J. H.)19

For Ballanche, barbarism is closely linked to the sacred; the Greeks, he pointed out, assumed that the gods liked to be venerated in the language of the barbarians (1830, vol 4, 26). When Krasiński wrote of the Polish “mysteries of the barbarians”—“mystères des barbares”—that had to remain inaccessible to his friend, he implicitly called into question Reeve’s capacity to understand, let alone to morally assess the events in Poland. Krasiński wanted to tell him that he simply was not qualified to judge his Polish friend’s inner struggle between the loyalty to his father and the loyalty to the Polish national cause. The implicit reference to Ballanche’s concept of the barbarian as a pre-mythic and mysterious figure helped him to blur the real lines of conflict. Ballanche highlighted the role of Thrace as the place of origin for Greek history and mythology; there was not only an “ideal chronology,” he argued, but also an “ideal geography” (1830, vol. 4, 23). In Krasiński’s romantic stylization of Poland’s historical fate (and, above all, of his own personal dilemma), his home country was parallel with ancient Thrace and thus etched with this same “ideal geography.” Poland represented a space beyond Christian Europe. This ideal geography conferred a peculiar value to his home country since it was on the fields of this strangely uncontemporary Poland that the struggle between Christianity and evil, between civilization and barbarism, was fought out. This being said, it should not surprise us that, when it came to history, Krasiński gave preference to poetry above facts as he wrote to Reeve: “Lisez Ballanche, et vous verrez là un grand et noble système qui peut être de l’erreur, mais n’est pas de la médiocrité” (1980, vol. 1, 364). (“Read Ballanche and you will find a great and noble system, which is maybe faulty, but certainly not mediocre.”) In Ballanche’s writings, the source of poetry is itself mythically linked to barbarism; Orpheus, the Thracian singer, is presented as the guardian of the “mysteries of the barbarians” (1830, vol. 4, 229).20 This affinity must have interested Krasiński. The state of emergency which he sketched in his letter to Reeve can also be read as a state of poetry. Through barbarism, the young poet had access to a sphere of romantic frénésie that was not ‘poetic’ in the sense of ‘belles lettres’ (as anything his friend Reeve would ever be capable to write or even think of), but deeply authentic and original. There is hence a higher degree of poetry in Krasiński’s world, even if he does not leave to “live and fight” on the fields of modern Thrace or Germania, as he had boastfully announced to his friend (1980, vol. 1, 550). Reeve on his part permitted himself to conclude that Krasiński turned out to be a “barbarian” in his gloomy picture of Polish-Russian affairs: “Vous 19 “J’ai dit les mystères des Barbares, profonds et primitifs. Je dois ajouter que ces mystères sont intuitifs; car, pour la gentilité, ils sont l’expression de toute antiquité religieuse, insondable, de toute origine dont il était impossible de rendre compte. [...] Remonter aux Barbares n’était autre chose que chercher au-delà du mythe” (1830, vol. 4, 26, 27; my emphasis, J. H.). 20 We can find similar ideas in Chateaubriand’s writings. The barbarian has access to the sacred; his beauty and appeal is above all “mysterious” (Michel 1998, 175).

210       Jens Herlth

me parlez des mystères des barbares ; à la vérité il s’en trouve dans votre lettre, si par barbare je dois entendre Sigismond Krasinski” (Krasiński 1980, vol. 2, 542). (“You are talking to me about the mysteries of the barbarians. Actually, there is one in your letters if by barbarian I have to understand Sigismond Krasinski.”) This seems to be exactly what Krasiński had intended when he associated his own biographic experience and the recent historical experience of his compatriots with the sphere of barbarism. Barbarism was for him also a means of poetic self-fashioning. Apparently, in his letters to Reeve, Krasiński felt free to construct whatever image of Poland he pleased. He benefitted from Western Europe’s traditional ignorance about its Eastern regions, an ignorance that left it to the ‘natives’ to create ‘their’ image of their country of origin. However, what is surprising, at least at first glance, is that Krasiński proceeded to barbarize Poland in a letter to Konstanty Gaszyński (1809–1866), who, contrary to Krasiński, had really fought in the November Uprising. Krasiński wrote from Paris on March 17, 1832: Ha, jakże ich nienawidzę, nie cierpię tych Moskali! [...] Zawiścią dzikiego człeka ku nim goreję; rad bym zaśpiewać im w oczy pieśń wodza i puszcz Ameryki wybierającego się na boje z niecierpianą hordą – z łukiem w ręku i z maczugą sunie po zielonej łące i woła: “Krew waszą żłopać będę, w waszych czaszkach pić krew waszą będę, a z waszych włosów porobię ozdoby, z którymi igrać będą moje dzieci. [...]” (1971, 37) Ah, how I hate them, how I cannot stand them, these Moskale! [...] I burn in the hatred of a savage man for them; I would be glad to sing the song of a chief from America’s virgin forests who goes to war with his terrible horde—with arrow and club in his hand he treks through green grasslands and cries: “I will soak your blood, I will drink your blood from your skulls, I will make jewellery out of your hair and give it to my children for play. [...]”

Zbigniew Sudolski supposes that this passage was inspired by Chateaubriand‘s “roman indien,” Les Natchez.21 It is important to note that Krasiński resorts to the figure of the savage and not to that of the barbarian,22 while Chateaubriand’s novel is more or less consistent in the use of the terms. For him, Indians are, above all, “savages”—“sauvages” (1827, vol. 1, 84)—who live in a “state of nature,”23 but they are only rarely labeled “barbarians.” The notion is present in the novel wherever it is concerned with an act of infamous, wicked cruelty; but then again, it may apply to the actions of the Indians as well as to those committed by Europeans: “[...] les plus civilisés des hommes [...] deviennent, quand ils le veulent, les plus barbares” (1827, vol. 1, 259) (“The most civilized of men [...] will turn into be the most barbaric when they just want to.”)

21 Cp. Krasiński 1971, 39 22 On this differentiation, see Christian Moser’s chapter in the present volume, sections 2.1.1.2, 2.1.1.3, and 2.1.2. 23 “état de nature” (1827, vol. 1, xii).

3.2.  “These are the mysteries of the barbarians, my dear”       211

Actually, Krasiński did not care too much about the semantic differences between the two notions. His letter to Reeve, in which he explains his own ‘barbarian’ background, starts with a scene from a novel about American Indians: Mon cher Henry! il y a une grande différence entre une haine de sauvage et une haine de chrétien. Dans la première, l’ennemi est attaché à un poteau, des charbons rou­gissent autour, on lui arrache les ongles, on lui tenaille le crâne, à petit feu on le brûle, et on jouit. Dans la seconde, on invoque Dieu, on se repose avec confiance dans sa justice [...]. (1980, vol. 1, 546) My dear Henry! There is a huge difference between the hatred of a savage and the hatred of a Christian. In the first case, the enemy is tied to a stake, coals are glowing around him, one tears off his fingernails, tortures his head, one burns him on a small flame, and one enjoys it. In the second, one invocates God and one trusts calmly in his justice [...].

Then he switches to the “vile barbarians”—“vils barbares” (1980. vol. 1, 546–47)— who had ravaged his native land in order to legitimize his own unchristian, i.e., savage hatred. His “mysteries of the barbarians” referred to Poland; but the phrase served only to suspend the morals and values of Christianity. However, it was above all the poetic touch of such scenes and the like that fascinated him. As a matter of fact, Krasiński’s fascination with the American Indians was not too original in the context of his time. From the medieval settings inspired by Walter Scott, whom he read in his youth, he switches to the exotic spots of contemporary adventure novels. Possibly, this was also an echo of James Fenimore Cooper, whose The Last of the Mohicans had been published in Polish translation in 1830 as Sokole Oko, czyli przyjaciel Delawarów (Falcon’s eye or The Friend of the Delawares). In March 1832, he wrote to Gaszyński: “Jadę niedługo do Polski, tam ich szarańcza zaległa nasze niwy; przejdę między nimi z dumą człowieka, pana zwierząt [...].” (1971, 37). (“Soon I will go to Poland. The swarm of the Russians lies above our meadows; I will stroll among them with the pride of a man who is a master among animals [...].”) Two weeks later, in early April, he wrote from Geneva to Gaszyński, again referring to his forthcoming journey to Poland: Szczęśliwyś! Przyzwyczajonemu żyć europejskim życiem, okropnie będzie wrócić znów do barbarzyńskiego obyczaju, do udawania, do tajenia swych myśli, do karmienia wśród ciemności zemsty i nienawiści. To ja zowie barbarzyńskim życiem, a takie teraz mi przy­ sta­ło, nie insze, ale takie i takim żyć będę, dopóki nie zadzwoni zbawienia godzina. (1971, 45) You are lucky! For those who have become accustomed to European life, it will be terrible to return to the barbarian habit, to deceit and to the concealment of one’s thoughts, to cherish a desire of revenge and a feeling of hatred in the dark. I call this a barbarian life and this is the life I will lead now, not any other, such a life I will lead, as long as the bell of salvation will not have tolled.

212       Jens Herlth

The “barbarian life” served to poeticize Krasiński’s otherwise rather eventless life. At the same time, it implied a vision of impending apocalypse, a sense of a menace, jeopardizing the peaceful European life. Barbarism is constructed as a challenge for an understanding of history and providence that, from the eyes of an Eastern observer, has become self-sufficient and oblivious of the dangers that it is exposed to.

3.2.3. Krasiński’s Irydion: A Half-Barbarian’s Journey from Rome to “the land of graves and crosses” Krasiński’s view of history and civilization in the first half of the 1830s were deeply affected by his “catastrophic” and “apocalyptic” ideas (Janion 1962, 231; 1989, 86). In his framework, the barbarian and the barbaric played a crucial role. Inspired by his readings in French traditionalist and counterrevolutionary philosophy and historiography, Krasiński was convinced that contemporary European civilization found itself at the threshold of decline. The barbarians as the historical agents of doom and destruction fascinated him and roused his imagination. From 1833 to 1835, Krasiński worked on the historical drama Irydion, which he sketched an outline of in a letter to Reeve: Maintenant, du chaos des Romains, des barbares, et des premiers chrétiens, j’ai tiré la pensée qui me tenait tant à cœur ; et, cette pensée, je l’ai faite homme à ancêtre grec, cherchant, au jour de la domination et de la corruption des Césars, vengeance contre cette Rome qui avait trompé Athènes et étouffé Corinthe. (1980, vol. 2, 197–98) And now, from the chaos of the Romans, the barbarians, and the first Christians, I have drawn this idea which is so important to me; and this idea, I have made it a man with a Greek ancestor who, in the days of the domination and the corruption of the Caesars, is looking for revenge against this Rome that had deceived Athens and crushed Corinth.

The play was published anonymously in Paris in 1836. It was set at the time of the Emperor Elagabalus (204–222), who governed from the year 218 until his death. In the annotations that accompanied the text in the 1836 edition, Krasiński informed his readers about the historical and religious background. He particularly high­ lighted the situation of ‘inbetweenness’ the Roman Empire found itself in; on the one hand, there was chaos carried by the barbarian hordes, while on the other, there was Christianity as the “movement of love” (1973, 737). The drama, he explained, was set right at the eve of their mutual “impregnation”—“poczęciem się” (738), which is to say at the very starting point of “modern history” as Chateaubriand understood it in his Études ou Discours historiques.24 This is important, because the barbarians in Krasiński’s drama are thus a force that is alien but not hostile to Christianity—contrary to the contemporary nineteenth-century ‘barbarians’ who followed the path of the terreur of the French Revolution. 24 “l’histoire moderne” (1831, 26).

3.2.  “These are the mysteries of the barbarians, my dear”       213

The conjunction and separation of historical epochs, historical time and its relationship to Providence, is the central idea in Krasinski’s play; it is also reflected in the very form of the text. The four dramatic parts are preceded by a prologue; the prologue’s narrator is a certain “singer” who can easily be identified as the author’s alter ego. His first words are: “Już się ma pod koniec starożytnemu światu – wszystko, co w nim żyło, psuje się, rozprzęga i szaleje – bogi i ludzi szaleją” (1973, 563). (“The old world stands on the brink of the grave. Everything that once had life falls into corruption, crashes into ruins; and gods and men together rave!” 1875, 275).25 These words are at least ambiguous; of course, they refer to the epoch of late antiquity, but they could also speak of nineteenth-century Europe. The whole play is built on historical parallels and it establishes a symbolic synchrony between the two epochs of decline. In the beginning, we find Irydion, sleeping between life and death. The singer explains that he fell asleep centuries ago, immediately after he had given an oath to wake up when the time would have come to “tread upon the giant’s corpse” (1875, 278)—“by deptać po zwłokach olbrzyma” (1973, 566)—, i.e., on what has been left of ancient Rome in modern times, in the nineteenth century. The story, which the singer announces in his introduction, is nothing else but the drama Irydion, and he says that he wants to tell it “before” his hero awakes. For an appropriate understanding of Irydion, it is essential to see that the drama represents a doubly encoded historical allegory. On the cultural level, Rome, the center of an empire and civilization (which are both inevitably doomed), is of course a metaphor for the Western world.26 At the same time Rome is also the capital of an empire that oppresses other groups of people and nations at its periphery; hence, on the political level, it represents Moscow and the tsarist Empire. This double layer of meaning is achieved through the widening of the drama’s historical scope, as we learn from the “Epilogue”—“Dokończenie”—that Irydion fell into a deep sleep upon the sale of his soul to Masinissa—“Mnie Rzym, tobie duszę moją!” (1973, 721; “Rome to me! To you, my soul!” 1875, 444)—and comes to life again on “one night in the year 1835” (1980, vol. 2, 199). Jesus Christ himself (quoted by the author of the “Epilogue”) orders him to go northward, “to the land of graves and crosses”—“ziemia mogił i krzyżów”—, to submit to a “second trial” at the end of which he and his newly acquired “brothers” (i.e., the Poles) will gain “happiness” and “freedom” (1973, 730). Krasiński introduces the providential principle of verticality (Auerbach 1946, 19, 75) in order to highlight the parallels between the historical situation in the third century after Christ and that of the nineteenth century. The vertical bind between Rome and contemporary Europe allowed him to split up the latter into two opposite features—Western Europe, in all its decadence and dangerous revolutionary fervor, and tsarist Russia, in its despotism. The split gets even more problematic and more significant when it comes to the main protagonist’s identity. Irydion sees himself as Greek, but Krasiński adds a bar25 Walker Cook’s translation (Krasiński 1875) is often rather inaccurate. Wherever I deem it necessary, I will refer to the original text and give my own translation (J. H.). 26 Cp. Krasiński’s remark in a letter to Reeve (4.5.1835): “Mon siècle me fournit des emblèmes de corruption et d’oppression” (1980, vol. 1, 188). (“My century provides me with emblematic impressions of corruption and oppression.”).

214       Jens Herlth

barian feature to his character as well by making him the son of Grimhilda, a priestess of Odin. Irydion’s father, a Greek, met his future wife Grimhilda, daughter of Sygurd, on the island of Jutland. He kidnapped her and carried her off to the island of Chiara (1973, 573), where she bore him two children, Irydion and his sister Elsinoe. Irydion’s mother sometimes calls him “Irydion” and sometimes “Sygurd” (574). In Rome he is called “Sygurd” by some and “Hieronim” by others (656). Irydion clearly has a split identity; he is somewhere between the barbarian and the civilized, but he is also between the barbarian and the Christian. Even though he is baptized, he still carries the “old man” in himself, since he is full of hatred towards Rome, and his words are full of scenes of blood and frenetic violence (630, 635). For Krasiński it was important to set the drama at a time when such ambiguity did not yet pose a problem for Catholic theology; at a time, when Christianity in itself was still surrounded and perhaps permeated by barbarism. In a letter to Gaszyński written some years later (on November 20, 1839), Krasiński, referring to Juliusz Słowacki’s tragedy Balladyna, implicitly defends the historical trustworthiness of his main hero’s half-barbarian identity: “Czemuż poeta nie ma tworzyć postaci na pół chrześcijańskich, na pół barbarzyńskich, kiedy ludzie, którzy wonczas żyli, w całej prawdzie teraźniejszości swojej takowymi byli?” (1971, 208). (“Why should a poet not create half-Christian and half-barbaric characters, when the people, who lived in those days, really were like this?”) Recalling the beginnings of Christianization, Ballanche had pointed to the fact that the cross was an instrument of torture (1830, vol. 3, 209); barbarism was still a part of Christianity at the time when Irydion was torn between loyalty to his home country on the one hand and the Commandments of Christian love on the other. Why was this barbarian element so important? It turns out that the protagonist’s half-barbarian origin is of high strategic value to him when it comes to finding allies in his struggle against Rome. It makes him sensitive to the needs of oppressed peoples. When his interlocutor, Ulpianus, wonders why he does not enchain or execute prisoners, even though he would have all the right to do so, Irydion’s laconic answer is: “Matka moja barbarzynką była” (1973, 601). (“My mother was a barbarian.”) This is a statement that, of course, confuses common ideas of barbarism since it means that Irydion is refusing to commit ‘barbaric’ acts precisely because he feels that he is, at least in part, a barbarian himself. Barbarism is now in the very center of Rome, it is no longer a figure indicating radical enmity and exclusion, but it rather becomes part of the human world, carrying in itself even the potentiality of salvation, contrary to Rome and the Romans. Irydion even calls the barbarians who appear on stage in the second part as the “chorus of barbarians”—“chór barbarzyńców”—his “brothers” (652). The password to receive their weapons for the final uprising against their Roman oppressors is “Sygurd, son of Grimhilda.” These barbarians, even though they have given their soul to “the new God,” declare that they are willing to give their “body” to Irydion so that he can continue the struggle against Rome that was once launched by his fellow barbarian “Herman” (652). This reveals Krasiński’s idea of the communion of the barbarian and the Christian element in late antiquity. At the same time, Irydion’s self-consciousness is clearly marked by the rhetoric of emergency which is so characteristic of modern nationalism: “Will I ever rest my head without anticipation, without danger, free, loved, loving, full of happiness?” he

3.2.  “These are the mysteries of the barbarians, my dear”       215

asks his friend and mentor, the demonic Masinissa, who tells him to wait until the time has come. (“Czy kiedy opuszczę głowę bez oczekiwania, bez niebezpieczeństwa, wolny, ukochany, kochający, szczęśliwy?” 625). Later, in direct preparation of the uprising, Irydion reminds his listeners of all the evil Rome has done to them: [...] o bracia, kto was odpędził ot bitej drogi człowieczego rodu i przymusił stąpać ścieżkami ciemności? – kto od kolebki wycisnął wam na czołach znamię pragnienia i głodu? – kto w latach późniejszych nie dał wam ukochać niewiasty i zasiąść w świetle domowego ogniska? (1973, 699) What foe has driven you from the pleasant paths Allotted to humanity, and forced You into regions of perpetual gloom; Who from your cradles branded on your brows The seal of hunger, thirst, and misery; Who has forbidden you to love a wife, To offer her a quiet home of peace, Or sit with children round a happy hearth. (1875, 420)

Needless to say that the soldiers’ answer to all these questions will be: “Rome!” The image of “Hellas” in Irydion is paralleled with Poland in the contemporary world; it represents an ancient civilization, “[h]er songs were the lords of the world,” and she “fought back the reckless barbarians who came from the East with the rattling of her saber and the sound of her chords,” says the singer-narrator in the prologue. (“[...] pieśni jej były paniami świata – barbarzyńców zuchwałych, co przyszli od wschodu, odpędziła szczękiem szabel i dźwiękiem strun swoich,” 1973, 571–72). This reminds us of Orpheus’ role according to Ballanche’s conception as presented in the latter’s “social epic” (Juden 1970, 137–38) “Orphée.”27 Orpheus’ lyre symbolizes a civilizatory mission: “The strings of the lyre are religious and civilian laws.”28 At the same time, Orpheus knows “the mysteries of the barbarians” (229) as he might as well be of barbarian descent himself.29 This makes him a figure of ‘inbetweenness,’30 just like Irydion in Krasiński’s play, and just like Count Henryk in Krasiński’s first drama, The Undivine Comedy (published one year prior to Irydion, in 1835)—and just like Krasiński himself, if we were to take his self-fashioning in the letters to Reeve for granted. Irydion is between the barbarian and the Greek, between the Christian and the Pagan, between Greece and Poland; Henryk is between the old and the new world; and Krasiński is between Christian belief and emotions of hatred and vengeance, between loyalty to his family and loyalty to the Polish nation. Krasiński and 27 “My lyre, which succeeded in overcoming barbarism,” says Orpheus. (“Ma lyre qui sut vaincre la barbarie,” 1830, vol. 4, 197). 28 “[...] les cordes de la lyre sont les lois religieuses et civiles” (1830, vol. 4, 145). 29 “Non, je ne sais rien sur ma naissance; je ne sais si c’est le sang d’un Scythe barbare ou d’une glorieuse divinité, qui coule dans mes veines” (1830, vol. 4, 130). (“I do not know anything about my descent; I do not know if the blood of some Scythian barbarian or of some glorious divinity is running through my veins.”) 30 See also McCalla 1998, 237.

216       Jens Herlth

Henryk are poets, just like Orpheus; only Irydion, a man of deed above all, lacks the poetic element. They all, in one way or another, are linked to or come in touch with the semantics of barbarism. The pre-Christian barbarian is of high value to Krasiński, since this allows him to go back to the real, even pre-Christian origins of human community. In this as well he followed Ballanche, who associated barbarism with “primitive wisdom” (McCalla, 322) and understood the very word “barbarians” as a “vague expression” indicating the “source of doctrines, the unknown point of departure of traditions.”31 Krasiński needs ‘barbarism’ to legitimize the absolute hostility he finds in the conflict between the Russian Empire and the oppressed Polish nation during his time. Contrary to his father, who put an emphasis on the affiliation between modern ‘barbarism’ and the heritage of the French Revolution, suggesting that the Polish insurrectionists’ intentions were to overthrow the social order (for him they were Jacobin ‘barbar­ ians’), Krasiński stressed the symbolic link between the Polish liberation movement and ancient, proto-Christian barbarism. This proto-Christian barbarism was not yet corrupted by a conscious rejection of Christianity and Christian morals, as was the barbarism of the Jacobins in the understanding of Krasiński and his French precursors Ballanche and Chateaubriand. Krasiński needed the proto-Christian barbarian for what he viewed as a combat for freedom in a modern European world. This is why he portrays Rome in an era when the traditional distinction between barbar­ ians attacking from the outside and Christians attacking from the inside no longer worked.32 The grey areas of barbarism are of use for Krasiński’s romantic nationalism precisely because they serve to legitimize hostility and violence—instead of delegitimizing it, as is usually the case when the notion of barbarism is evoked. There is thus a categorical distinction to draw between ancient barbarism and its modern equivalent on the one hand and modern barbarism on the other. Ballanche made this very clear in a contribution to the journal Le Polonais (The Pole) in 1833. He emphasized the immediate threat Russia was to the very existence of Europe. If Russia were ever to dominate Europe, this would mean the end of Europe and of Russia itself, “in a terrible destruction.” He proceeded to draw a comparison between Russia and the barbarians of the ancient world: The barbarians who divided among themselves the remains of the Roman Empire were not marked by this premature seniority, by this precocious decay which render unfit for any sort of future. And above all these barbarians had not perverted in themselves the moral sense of Christianity through which the moral destiny of all humanity would be renewed.33

31 “[...] ne pouvons-nous pas supposer que ce mot Barbares est une expression vague, indéterminée, pour désigner la source ignorée des doctrines, le point de départ inconnu des traditions?” (Ballanche 1830, vol. 4, 8–9). 32 Cp. Chateaubriand 1831, cxii. 33 “Les barbares qui se partagèrent les dépouilles de l’empire romain n’avaient pas cette vieillesse prématurée, cette précoce dépravation qui rendent inhabiles à tout avenir. Et surtout ces barbares n’avaient pas perverti en eux le sens moral du christianisme, par lequel allaient se renouveler les destinées générales de l’humanité” (1833, 244).

3.2.  “These are the mysteries of the barbarians, my dear”       217

Krasiński’s barbarians of the third century could not be accused of having perverted the “moral sense of the Christian religion,” since they were just entering the era of Christianity. Naively, they assure their leader Irydion: “[...] idziemy za tobą. – Jezus niech nas sądzi potem!” (1973, 688). (“We will go with you—Jesus shall punish us later!”) We can see that Krasiński’s poetic investigations in barbarism are all about shifts on the historical timeline. The overlapping of different historical developments and different gradations of ascent and descent is at the core of Krasiński’s interpretation of the Russian-Polish conflict. We have seen that Ballanche, too, interpreted Russia’s historical essence in a similar way, resorting to the idea of a peculiar line of development, distinct from other countries, but nevertheless authorized by divine providence. It is essential to see that the overlapping of different historical stages is always closely linked to topological or geographical ideas. Krasiński’s as well as Ballanche’s reflections on barbarism are chronotopical in the Bakhtinian sense, narrative time cannot be separated from its concretization in space (Bakhtin 1981). The barbarians are always on the move and they come from beyond the frontiers of the Empire. A barbarian in the center of the Empire is already and by himself an irritating and threatening element. Their space of origin is unmarked, it is empty, devoid of semantics: “Rome does not see anything but seclusion at its borders, it thinks it has nothing to fear; however, it is in these empty fields that the Almighty collects the army of nations.”34 Krasiński was fascinated by this geo-historical void; in his correspondence with Reeve, he constructed his own home country as a part of this blank space. For Chateaubriand, the barbarians do not care about where they are from; they have no past: “They do not know where they come from, but they know where they are headed: they march on the Capitol, summoned, as they say themselves, to the destruction of the Roman Empire as if to a banquet.”35 These words are almost literally reiterated in Irydion’s mother’s prophecy right before her death: “Bracia moi, do boju – na siedmiu wzgórzach namioty wasze – na szczycie Kapitolu biesiada wasza – a tam nisko, w dole, zgrzyta i płacze w łańcuchy spętana, zdeptana Roma, Roma, Roma” (1973, 577). (“To Battle! To Battle, my Brothers! Raise your tents upon the seven hills—upon the Capitol itself your feast is spread [...] far below you, gnashing her teeth and wailing,—prostraite—ruined—trodden in crimson pools,—lies Rome! Rome! Rome!” 1875, 290.) The country that the voice of Jesus Christ sends Irydion to in the epilogue is not at all a desert; it is marked by its past and by its link to Christian religion, “[t]he land of graves and crosses”—“ziemia mogił i krzyżów” (1973, 730)—is, of course, Poland. The manipulation of time, which allows him to see Rome in ruins, was only possible with the help of the devil Masinissa. The uprising failed because Irydion 34 “Rome, qui n’aperçoit à ces frontières que des solitudes, croit n’avoir rien à craindre ; et nonobstant, c’est dans ces camps vides que le Tout-Puissant rassemble l’armée des nations” (Chateaubriand 1831, 15). 35 “[...] ils ignorent d’où ils viennent, mais ils savent où ils vont : ils marchent au Capitole, convoqués qu’ils se disent à la destruction de l’empire romain, comme à un banquet” (Chateaubriand 1831, 16).

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had not respected the laws of Providence. Sleeping on the edge of nothingness, he had to wait in order to be woken up, when Rome has fallen to ruins (720). The pact with the devil is obviously highly problematic, but Irydion can still be saved if he passes his second trial. Finally, upon his awakening, he sees his plan of getting revenge. Irydion somehow loses his barbarian features in the epilogue—he is now exclusively the “son of Greece” (“syn[...] Grecji,” 720)—and becomes aware of the time-transcending, extra-historical significance of the symbol of Christianity. “By Kornelia’s witness, by Kornelia’s prayer, you are saved, for you loved Greece!” the narrator exclaims. (“Świadectwem Kornelii, modlitwą Kornelii ty zbawion jesteś, boś ty kochał Grecję!,” 730).36 The barbarian half of Irydion’s identity is then completely dismissed. On an eschatological scale, his love for Greece cancels out his unchristian plans of vengeance and even the deal with Masinissa. What is then to follow, the “go and act”—“[i]dź i czyń” (731)—addressed to Irydion by the voice of Jesus himself, refers to history in a messianic sense. There is no place for barbarism in this his­ tory; and, we have to stress this, this is history seen from the standpoint of the year 1835. In Krasiński’s logic, the play in its epilogue enters real history. Or perhaps, one should say that this is not so much real history as history in the ideal Christian understanding—back on track, clarified and purified by Providence. From now on, barbarism is excluded from the eschatological plan and, interestingly enough, from Krasiński’s poetics as well. This makes its reemergence in the European revolutions and rebellions of the 1840s, from the streets of Paris to the Polish manors in Galicia, all the more disturbing for him. In his letters to Reeve and in his drama Irydion, barbarism had been a concept that allowed him to introduce a space of struggle and cruelty in which the rule of Christian ethics were suspended. Barbarism had its function in a Providential plan, and it was notably the perspective on barbarians as not yet Christianized people that helped him to integrate the concept into a Christian worldview.37 In the 1840s, barbarism lost its place in Krasiński’s poetic imagination. It was no longer an object of at least partial identification or fascination for him; from the 1840s onwards, he considered it as radically alien and hostile. In his correspondence in the 1840s, barbarism was a political category, which he applied to the current political situation in Europe. According to Krasiński, two camps represented barbarism in mid-nineteenth-century Europe: “Moscow and the Red Republic”—“Moskw[a] i Rzecz[...] pospolit[a] Czerwon[a]”: “Oba dążą k’zbarbarzynieniu świata i odchrystusowania go” (Krasiński 1970, 537). (“Both of them strive after the barbarization of the world and its de-Christianization.”) Such were his words in a letter from Heidelberg to Adam Sołtan on July 28, 1848. In his Psalms of the Future (Psalmy przyszłości), written in Paris from 1844 to 1848, Krasiński expressed the same idea in poetic form. In the last part, entitled “Psalm of Complaint” (“Psalm żału”) and published in 1848, he drew a picture of Po36 Kornelia is a Christian woman who had refused to join Irydion in this fight. 37 For Ballanche, his key reference of the time as far as issues of historiosophy were concerned, barbarism was in fact solely a matter of time—historical phases—that would be synchronized in the long run, entailing a complete disappearance of barbarism. He spoke, e. g., of the “still barbarian peoples”—“peuples encore barbares” (1830, vol. 3, 207; italics mine).

3.2.  “These are the mysteries of the barbarians, my dear”       219

land fatally wedged between “icy Siberia” and “Ivan the Terrible” with their “sulfuric kvass” on one side and the “club tyrants” with their “poisoned bullets” on the other. (“Tu Sybiry mroźne / I Iwany Groźne – / A po drugiej stronie / Klubowe tyrany, / Kule strute – kwas siarczany – Ludożercze bronie!” 1973, 244). In this dark vision, Poland is predestined to become the link between the two camps, the “conjunction of two barbarisms”—“[d]wóch barbarzyństw – ma być spojem” (244). We can notice a certain openness towards the risk of ‘barbarism’ in Polish culture, at least on the historiosophical level. In the 1840s, Krasiński was no longer interested in a sensational rendering of frenetic violence. He was at the time more concerned about harmony. No longer did he flirt with the barbarian features of his own persona, nor did he see barbarian strategies as a possible course to pursue. At the same time barbarism had gotten more real than it had ever been for him; Krasiński’s Psalms of the Future were a direct reaction to the news of massacres of landowners during the 1846 peasant revolt in Galicia.38 We can assume that it was this advent of ‘barbarism’ in the midst of ‘Polish’ society that led Krasiński to exclude barbarism from his poetic visions of Poland’s future.39 Krasiński worked on the treatise “On the Situation of Poland from a Divine and a Human Point of View” (“O stanowisku Polski z Bożych i ludzkich względów”) from 1841 onwards, with an intensive phase of writing in 1846–1847 (it remained unfinished). In the text, the poet outlines the model of an ideal nation, which would be in perfect harmony with the laws of Providence. We can easily recognize Poland in this story of a nation that loses its statehood for the sake of humanity. What is interesting in the treatise is that Krasiński emphasizes that only “higher influences” must enter this nation, “never lower, barbarian ones,” which is all the more daring as this nation has to be open to foreign influences: “no Chinese wall of prejudice” must separate it from Europe, no “high and difficult mountains, no seas must ever delimit it from the civilized part of the world.”40 We can conclude that the border to (non-civilized, non-European) Russia would nevertheless be closed, but this boundary is no longer sufficient as an assurance against barbarism since Europe has in itself become a source of lower “influences.” The ‘inner barbarian’ of early twentieth-century Polish conservative cultural criticism reared his head here. In many letters form the late 1840s and early 1850s, Krasiński stresses the danger of radical evil that lay

38 Cp., from the “Psalm of Love” (“Psalm miłości”): “Przeciw piekłu podnieść kord! / Bić szatanów czarny ród! / Rozciąć szablą krwawy knut / Barbarzyńskich w świecie hord! / Lecz nie nęcić polski Lud / By niósł szlachcie polskiej mord!” (1973, 211). (“Raise the long knife against hell! / Beat the black clan of the devils! / Cut up with a saber the bloody knout / Of the barbarian hordes! / But do not beguile the Polish people / To murder the Polish nobility!”). 39 Krasinski deliberately ignored the fact that the majority of the peasants involved in the uprising were ethnic Ukrainians. 40 “Lecz wyższe wpływy tylko tak łacno doń przenikać będą, nigdy zaś niższe, barbarzyńskie, bo wtedy, zamiast podwyższania niższych, sam by się poniżył, ulegając ich działaniu. Nic zatem w jego charakterze wyłącznego nazbyt, z resztą świata chrześcijańskiego na zabój sprzecznego ni dzikiego być nie może – on żadnymi przesądy, jakby murem chińskim, się nie oddzieli od Europy – żadne wysokie i trudne góry, żadne morza go od cywilizowanej części świata odgraniczać nie powinny” (1999, 44).

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in degeneration to “barbarism,” triggered by progressive ideas and revolutionary movements.41 In spite of the lofty messianic visions of his poetry of the 1840s, Krasiński was well aware of the political realities of his time. His letters testify to his subtle feel for ideological tendencies. His accounts and judgments were often expressed in a somewhat overexcited style, but from today’s point of view, they seem more sober and clear-sighted than those of his peers and counterparts in Polish émigré circles (notably Mickiewicz’s). Stanisław Tarnowski, a historian of Polish literature and a prominent representative of the camp of Krakow conservatives in the last third of the nineteenth century, particularly stressed Krasiński‘s “sense of reality”42 and characterized his poetry as “the most political of all poetries in the world.”43 For Krasiński, poetry’s mission is to establish harmony in the world; it is superior to the sphere of politics insofar as it is nearer to religion. The barbarization of his poetic imagination and of his own persona (in the 1831 letters to Reeve) helped him to compensate and legitimize his forced passivity during the months that followed the November Uprising. In the 1840s and 1850s, he no longer ascribed to himself any features of barbarism. Superficially, Krasiński’s use of the word in his political articles and letters of the 1840s and 1850s lacked the nuances that were so characteristic of his play with ‘barbarian’ ideas and elements in the 1830s; it was consistent with traditional Polish self-representations in the struggle against Asia and/or ‘Muscovia.’ However, one should notice the strange convergence of ultra-progressive and ultra-conservative political views and strategies in Krasiński’s parallelization of ‘communism’ and the ‘Tsar,’ a line that was later continued in Polish conservative thought and echoed effectively in Jan Kucharzewski’s opus magnum From the White Tsardom to the Red (Od białego caratu do czerwonego) that appeared in seven volumes from 1923 to 1935.

3.2.4. “Let us not disdain the barbarians”: Adam Mickiewicz and the Re-Evaluation of Barbarism Adam Mickiewicz made use of the figure of the barbarian as early as 1822 in the preface to his first collection of poems (Poezye I). He intended to deliver a programmatic definition of “romantic poetry.” To this end, he gave an account of the history of poetry from Greek literature onwards, which led him to the time of the end of the Roman Empire and the “northern hordes” that settled down and mingled with the local population.44 Mickiewicz talked about societal development of these groups 41 Cp. in a letter to the philosopher August Cieszkowski (March 21, 1851): “[...] świat z prędkością pary w tył się rozpędziwszy, pędzić będzie rakiem, aż stoczy się na tysiąc dwieście lat zasię, w noc, ciemność, otchłań, barbarzyństwo!” (1988, vol. 1, 583). (“The world, having moved backwards with the velocity of steam, will still regress further, until it plunges twelve-hundred years behind itself, into night, darkness, an abyss, barbarism!”). 42 “zmysł rzeczywistości” (1912, 443). 43 “[n]ajbardziej polityczna ze wszystkich poezyi na świecie” (1912, 447). 44 “Na ruinach państwa rzymskiego usadowione hordy północne i z ludem miejscowym zmieszane, miały kiedyś obudzić uśpioną długi czas imaginacyą i zdobydź się na wcale

3.2.  “These are the mysteries of the barbarians, my dear”       221

who led a “wild and nomadic life,” and at a certain point labeled them as “barbarians” (1822, xviii). According to him, the “myths and the imaginations of the barbarian peoples,” their religious exaltation, and their “respect for the laws of honor” together were the grounds for a “romantic world,” which emerged in the Middle Ages. “The poetry of this world,” he concluded, “is also called romantic.”45 Mickiewicz discussed this understanding of romantic poetry and pointed out the shortcomings of this rather narrow and superficial categorization of poetry. For his contemporary readers, who were sensitive to the aesthetic and historical categories he evoked, it was clear from these words that the young poet from Wilno (Vilnius) saw himself and his stylizations of ‘folk poetry’ (‘poezja gminna’) rather in a line of affiliation with the poetry of the barbarian peoples than with the neoclassical poetry favored by the Warsaw literary circles of the time. In the framework of the romantic/classic opposition in early nineteenth-century Polish poetry, Mickiewicz was not the first to bring up the notion of barbarism. Since the middle of the 1810s, proto-romantic ideas were entering into Poland and the dominance of French-style neoclassical poetics was increasingly brought into question. As early as 1815, one could read in an article by the writer and critic Franciszek Wężyk that “wherever there is beauty and truth, there is also poetry.”46 In his essay, he dealt with the primal state of poetry, when the “first man” looked on the world that surrounded him and then raised his voice to God without any rules of “dithyramb or ode” since there were no such rules at the time (1815, 41). Wężyk may not have used the notion of barbarism to describe these scenes of ‘free’ poetry, but years later, in 1846, he recalled that back in the 1810s and 1820s, many took him for a “barbarian” in Warsaw literary circles and that only out of politeness did his colleagues keep from using the term in his presence (1914, 37).47 Three years prior to the publication of Adam Mickiewicz’s Poezye I, Jan Śniadecki (1756–1830), a professor of mathematics, astronomy, and philosophy at the Imperial University of Wilno (Vilnius), had published an article “On Classical and Romantic Writings” (“O pismach klasycznych i romantycznych”) in the journal Dziennik Wileński (Wilno Daily), in which he expressed his discontentment with new currents in Polish and European Literature from a strictly classicist and Enlightenment point of view and condemned fashionable romantic features as effects of “barbarism.”48 Later, in his programmatic poem “Romanticism” (“Romantyczność”) from Poezye I, Mickiewicz ridiculed Śniadecki as a shortsighted “old man”—“starzec” (1822, 9)— nowy rodzaj poezyi. Hordy te, ile ich bydź mogło, miały zapewne właściwe sobie uczucia, opinije, wyobrażenia mityczne i podania; lecz pośród nich nie powstawały talenta poetyckie, któreby tak świetnie, jak niegdyś u Greków, mogły świata bajecznego użyć; wpłynąć na uobyczajenie ludów; charakter narodowy oczyszczać i wzmacniać” (1822, xvii–xviii). 45 “[...] podania mityczne i wyobrażenia ludów barbarzyńskich, dawniejszych pogan i no­wo­ czes­nych chrześcijan pomieszane razem; oto jest, co stanowi w wiekach śrzednich świat romantyczny, którego poezya zowie się też romantyczną” (1822, xix). 46 “Gdzie tylko się znayduie pięknosć i prawda, tam się znayduie poezyia” (1815, 37). 47 Wężyk’s letter to Kajetan Koźmian is quoted by Barbara Czwórnóg-Jadczak (2002/2003, 8). 48 “Czary, gusła i upiory nie są naturą ale płodem spodlonego niewiadomością i zabobonem umysłu, nie są narodowością niemiecką bo to są głupstwa ledwo nie wszystkich ludów pogrążonych w barbarzyństwie i nie objaśnionych czystą religią” (1958, 109).

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who had no sensitivity for spirits, ghosts, and feelings, and hence no access to the real life. ‘Barbarism’ became again a multifaceted notion in what is generally seen as the Polish querelle des Anciens et des Modernes, that is, the discussions between those adept at eighteenth-century Enlightenment philosophy and classicist poetics and those who followed the romantic agenda formulated by Mickiewicz. According to the critics who vindicated classical principles, ‘barbarism’ stood for the danger of a relapse into the “uncivilized chaos” of the Middle Ages or the age of “Jesuit literature.”49 The romantics in turn, far from idealizing the social state of ‘barbarism,’ stood up for literature’s vocation to merge with what they understood as the ‘spirit of the people,’ the specifically “rough language” they obtained through “bold imagination and hot feelings”;50 hence Mickiewicz’s attack against the rational shortsightedness of Śniadecki’s worldview. In the romantic party, ‘barbarism’ was for once not a concept of debasement and exclusion, but rather one of inclusion. Mickiewicz used it to give historical legitimacy to him and his peers’ interest in ‘folk poetry.’ As one of the constitutive features of “folk poetry” (the central “genre” of the “romantic style,” according to Mickiewicz),51 ‘barbarism’ allowed them to draw a holistic view of man and his customs. Discussing barbarism in this sense, Mickiewicz adopted a European perspective, referring to examples from English, French, and German literature. Paradoxically, his concept of poetry was no less European and supra-national than that of the representatives of “classical” poetry, but Mickiewicz’s approach was broader and more synthetic, for he was convinced that poetry should not only be discussed from an aesthetic, but also from a “historical, philosophical, and moral vantage point.”52 We should not forget that Mickiewicz probably took up the concept of barbarism from the writings of anti-romantic critics. He inverted not so much the factual, but the moral and, so to say, philosophical meaning of barbarism in the Polish debates at the end of the 1810s and the beginning of the 1820s. In Mickiewicz, barbarism became an inclusive concept. For him it was one of the historical antecedents of the ideal form of ‘romantic literature’—namely “folk poetry.” This reevaluation was directed against the elitist ideas of the Enlightenment writers and critics, for whom the high standards of literature were to serve as a goal and target for the lower classes of society. However, barbarism is a highly abstract concept in this context. The inner contradiction of the romantics’ imagined community with ‘the people’ and their poetic idealization of ancient times is put straight in Jan Śniadecki’s assertion that “[t]own dwellers certainly do not long for groves and forests, for violent assaults and bloody battles with the Romans”; they would certainly prefer guaranteed property rights to “feudal oppression and robbery.”53 49 “Stąd powszechna trwoga, abyśmy nie wpadli znowu w barbarzyństwo wieku literatury jezuickiéj” (Mickiewicz 1829, xii). 50 “poeci romantyczni język niokrzesany zdobili śmiałą imaginacyą i gorącem uczuciem” (Mickiewicz 1822, xxix). 51 “tak cały rodzaj romantyczny, jak i szczególny jego gatunek, poezya gminna” (1822, xxxix). 52 “historycznie, filozoficznie i moralnie” (1822, xxxviii). 53 “Mieszkańcy miast nie tęsknią zapewne do borów i lasów, do napaści i krwawych bojów z Rzymianami. Przy opiece praw własności i rządnego towarzystwa nikt zapewne nie wzdycha do ucisków i rozbojów feudalnych” (1958, 109).

3.2.  “These are the mysteries of the barbarians, my dear”       223

The primal state of literature (and hence also: barbarism), so solemnly evoked some years earlier by Franciszek Wężyk, is fundamentally devalued in Śniadecki’s essay. After all, the idealization of barbarism can also be refuted by references to real, contemporary ‘barbarians.’ Śniadecki confronted the barbarians of romantic genealogical narratives with more or less empirical accounts of real contemporary ‘barbarism’: [...] the state of savagery and barbarism was probably never a state of innocence; this was the case only in the dreams of the poets. The testimonies of sailors and wanderers, the hordes of Africa and America do not confirm these assumptions.54

The reality of ‘barbarism,’ according to Śniadecki, threatens culture and civilization, and above all, good taste. This last category was probably the most common antithesis of ‘barbarism’ in the debates of the time.55 Mickiewicz re-historicized, and by this, re-aestheticized barbarism in the preface to his first collection of poems. Needless to say that he was perfectly aware of the provocative power of the concept as well as of its almost emblematic value in the quarrel between Wilno (Vilnius) and Warsaw as well as between romantic and classicist literature in Poland around 1820. In what follows, I will skip the more conventional use of the concept of the barbarian in Mickiewicz’s narrative poem Konrad Wallenrod (1828), where it is applied once to the still pagan Lithuanians and once to the Teutonic Knights’ German language (1998, 69, 98). I will also not deal with The Books of the Polish Nation and Pilgrimage (Księgi narodu i pielgrzymstwa polskiego, 1832), where Mickiewicz evokes the myth of the Poles as defenders of Christendom against pagans and “barbarians” (1996, 17), for here as well he remains in the framework of the conventional semantics of barbarism. It was not until 1840 that Mickiewicz, by then the holder of the newly established chair of Slavic literature at the Collège de France in Paris, gave the concept a new spin. The “barbarians” enter the scene in the very first of Mickiewicz’s famous Lectures on Slavic Literature, a series of talks on the history of the Slavic literatures, which turned out to become an important event in the cultural life of the French capital.56 Speaking about “[t]he importance of the study of Slavic literature,” Mic­ kie­wicz called up his Western European listeners to revise their ideas about the role of the Slavs in Europe. His argument consisted basically in a change of perspective: Nous, qui de Barbares sommes arrivés à occuper la place des Grecs et des Romains, nous gémissons de leur laconisme à l’endroit de nos ancêtres. Ne nous exposons pas à mériter de la postérité le même reproche. Les Slaves ont pesé et ils pèsent encore sur l’Occident. De leurs contrées sont sorties ces foules qui ont détruit Rome, Rome qui ne

54 “Stan dzikości i barbarzyństwa nigdy podobno nie był stanem niewinności, chyba w urojeniach poetów. Doniesienia żeglarzy i wędrowników, hordy Afryki i Ameryki nie po­twier­ dza­ją tego mniemania” (1958, 109). 55 See also Stanisław Potocki (1816, 137), who spoke of the “barbarism of bad taste” that had ruled in Polish prose before Ignacy Krasicki. 56 The lectures lasted from December 22, 1840 to May 28, 1844.

224       Jens Herlth voulait pas songer aux Barbares, tandis que ces Barbares s’occupaient avidement de tout ce qui se passait à Rome! Ne faisons pas comme la ville éternelle, ne dédaignons pas les Barbares ! (1849 1, 10)57 We, former barbarians, who have come to take the place of the Greeks and the Romans, we are sighing when confronted with their laconic judgments concerning our ancestors. Let us not earn the same reproach from posterity. The Slavs have lain heavy on the Occident and they still continue to do so. From their regions these masses set out who destroyed Rome, the Rome that did not want to think of the barbarians, whereas the barbarians devoted themselves eagerly with everything that happened in Rome! Let us not do like the eternal city, let us not disdain the barbarians!

In the preface to an early printed edition of his lectures in German, Mickiewicz announced that, for lack of libraries and written materials, he had been forced to search for “means and assistances” for his class “in myself,” speaking without notes, relying solely on memory.58 One might be tempted to read this as a topos of modesty, but it is important to be aware of the specific approach Mickiewicz adopts here—an approach which is very much based on intuition and emotion and which sets up a specific spiritual communion between the lecturer and his listeners. Mickiewicz notes that a large part of his audience were Slavs,59 thus stressing their common background, their common experience, and possibly also the common conviction in the performative power of language which he ascribed to the Slavic people(s), especially in the later lectures. Implicitly, ‘barbarism’ in Mickiewicz’s lectures also denotes a certain transgression of the rules of academic discourse, a reliance on intuition and improvisation rather than on quotations and conclusiveness of argumentation (Kuziak 2013, 21). Mickiewicz asked his readers to forgive his negligence in dealing with dates and facts, arguing that this was due to the circumstance that he and his fellow émigrés, who assisted him in the preparation of the edition, had other, more important obligations to fulfill and that for them literature and academic work were merely matters of minor importance (1843, vii). We should take into account all these aspects since Mickiewicz’s reference to the “barbarians” was closely linked to the introduction of himself to his listeners at the Collège de France. “I am a stranger,” he declared at the beginning of his first lecture, emphasizing that he was speaking in a language that had “nothing in common” with the one that normally served him as an “organ of his thought” (1849, vol. 1, 2). (“sert 57 It should be noted that we cannot entirely be sure about the actual textual shape of the Lectures on Slavic Literature. The published editions mostly rely on notes made by the listeners; it is unclear to what extent Mickiewicz was involved in the process of publishing. I am referring here to the first edition in French, which sometimes differs from the Polish edition of Mickiewicz’s Collected Works. See also Koropeckyj 2008, 271. However, it is certain that Mickiewicz did indeed raise the issue of barbarism during his inaugural lecture: a short account in the daily Le Constitutionnel quotes his “let us not disdain the barbarians” (1840, 3). 58 “Mittel und Beihülfen für diesen meinen Cursus war ich gezwungen in mir selber zu suchen” (1842, vi). 59 “[...] mein Publikum bestand zum großen Theil aus Slawen” (1843, vi).

3.2.  “These are the mysteries of the barbarians, my dear”       225

habituellement d’organe à ma pensée.”) When, in the paragraph quoted above, Mic­ kie­wicz says “nous,” this is ambiguous since he seems to speak from the point of view of a Frenchman, i.e., of someone who normally in 1840 no one would consider to be part of a ‘barbarian’ community. At the same time, Mickiewicz establishes a neat parallel between the role of the barbarians in Roman times and the role of the Slavs in mid-nineteenth-century Europe. That is to say that to his listeners, he presents himself simultaneously as a barbarian and as a Roman. The crucial point, however, is that for him it was precisely this double identity that was characteristic of the barbarian—he, the barbarian, occupies himself avidly with whatever is going on in the metropole (Rome/Paris), whereas the Romans / the French are characterized by their complete ignorance as far as matters of Slavdom are concerned. This initial assessment of Slavic superiority notwithstanding, during his lectures Mickiewicz repeatedly slips into the perspective of a Western European, when he speaks of the Slavs as less civilized people. The seeming arbitrariness of his point of view was however highly consistent with his ideas about the specific expertise of someone who belongs to a dominated culture and who can use the specific perspicacity of the newcomer to analyze the relationship between the cultural center and the periphery (Casanova 2008, 70). As a Slav in Paris, Mickiewicz could adopt both points of view, that of the Roman and that of the barbarian. His short overview of the history of the Slavic peoples and their achievements in arts and sciences called into question common views—not about the lower degree of civilization, but about a general indebtedness of the peoples of the North to their European neighbors. The degree of civilizational development, such is Mickiewicz’s idea here, does not tell anything about the historical merits, nor about the future potential of a people or a nation; rather would it be appropriate to assume an inverse proportionality here. The ambiguity of ‘barbarism,’ as applied to the Slavs, informs the whole of the Lectures on Slavic Literature. In the five volumes of the French edition covering the three and a half years of his activity as a professor, Mickiewicz repeatedly refers to the traditional semantics of barbarism. He subscribes to the view that the historical mission of the Poles was to defend Europe against “barbarism” and “orthodoxy,”60 and he labels the Russians as “barbarians” (1849, vol. 2, 416). Speaking on the geographical situation of Ukraine, he describes the steppes situated between Asia and Europe as a “battlefield par excellence,” a neutral zone, where the “invasion of the barbarians” had been fought back.61 But at the same time, Mickiewicz equally reads ‘barbarism’ against the grain by applying it to himself, his literary school or the future mission of the “Slavic nation,” with the central idea being a youthful, vital force as opposed to outmoded, obsolete forms. Thus, he speaks of the literary debates of the early 1820s, recalling that the Warsaw critics conceived of the new currents in Polish literature as an “invasion of the barbarians” when in fact they were directed against “the domination of an infer60 “La nation avait la mission reconnue de combattre la barbarie et le schisme” (1849, vol. 2, 384). 61 “Les peuples qui voulaient arrêter l’invasion des Barbares, ou vider leurs querelles par le combat, descendaient dans ces steppes, pays neutres, champs de bataille par excellence” (1849, vol. 1, 32).

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tile and feeble civilized class.”62 What is interesting here is the fact that Mickiewicz does not refer to the romantic/classic dichotomy. For him the geographical paradigm is more important; he sees the debates of his early years as a conflict between the center (Warsaw) and the periphery (Ukraine and Lithuania) as well as between one-dimensional rationality and emotion or spirituality. In Mickiewicz, the concept of the barbarian brings a specific chronotopical structure; it is about a well-known, regulated center and a mysterious, enigmatic periphery, as well as about an energetic, menacing movement from the old to the new. It is about an axiological inversion; the center losing its value and the periphery taking over, ‘invading’ the center, at least spiritually—prominent evidence of this was of course the presence of a poet from the Lithuanian provinces at the lectern of one of the most distinguished academic institutions in Paris, which was by then the informal world capital of culture. In his general observations on the history of the Slavs, Mickiewicz referred and reacted to the state of knowledge in his times. An important point of reference for him (as for many other representatives of early pan-Slavic thought) was, of course, Johann Gottfried Herder, who wrote a chapter devoted to the Slavs in the fourth part of his Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit (1791). Herder praised the Slavs as a particularly peace-loving and friendly tribe that had often been mistreated by other nations, above all by the Germans (1989, 696–99). He transformed the Slavs and their living conditions into a perfect, rural idyll (Janion 2007, 25), implicitly neglecting their historical role and their capability to enter the stage of world his­ tory. Mickiewicz of course well remembered what Herder had written half a century before; the chapter was translated into Polish and published in the important journal Pamiętnik Warszawski (Warsaw Diary) in 1820, by none other than Kazimierz Brodziński, one of the most important literary critics of the 1810s and 1820s in Poland.63 Mickiewicz gave a short summary of Herder’s ideas to his Parisian listeners (1849, vol. 1, 76–77). However, he also polemicized with the German philosopher, pointing out that the Slavs could by no means be considered “barbarians,” as “the Germans” had done when comparing them to the “savages of America” as a way to justify their acts of violence committed on the Slavs.64 Herder indeed labeled the Native Americans “barbarians,” (1989, 242), but at no point did he apply this term to the Slavs; this would have been contrary to his ideas. Brodziński’s introduction to his 1820 translation of Herder’s chapter on the Slavs in fact quotes common views of the Poles’ ancestors as “barbarians,” referring notably to the idea that “German peoples” had brought them “light,” “law,” and “even agriculture” (1820, 213). However, what followed was Herder’s text, where these assumptions were refuted by the image of the Slavic tribes as peace-loving peasants. Herder had indeed compared 62 “La critique ne pouvait s’empêcher de regarder cette nouvelle littérature comme une invasion des barbares, et réellement c’était une réaction contre la domination de la classe civilisée devenue déjà faible et stérile” (1849, vol. 3, 311). 63 Kazimierz Brodziński included the chapter in the second of his Letters on Polish Literature (1820, 219–24). 64 “On aurait tort cependant de les considérer comme des Barbares, ainsi que le font souvent les étrangers et surtout les Allemands, qui veulent absolument les comparer aux sauvages de l’Amérique pour excuser ou justifier sans doute les violences qu’ils ont commises envers ce peuple” (1849 1, 77).

3.2.  “These are the mysteries of the barbarians, my dear”       227

the exploitation and oppression of the native Americans to that of the Slavs, which is what allowed Mickiewicz to construct his somewhat speculative reproach against “German” writers. Mickiewicz possibly got this wrong in his memory.65 Nevertheless, it is highly telling that Mickiewicz firmly objected to the alleged labeling of the Slavs as barbarians by German philosophers while he proudly reclaimed barbarism for himself and his fellow Slavs on frequent occasions during his lectures. As we can see in the first of his Lectures, Mickiewicz’s concept of the barbar­ ian was still oscillating between his creative reinterpretation and common semantic traditions. Subsequently, he got more and more independent and original in his understanding of the term. He separated the negative features of barbarism from their initial context, classifying infamous acts of violence or moral corruptness as “barbarian,” even if their authors were representatives of civilized nations or belonged to the social elites. This critical approach to the notion of barbarism allowed him to question more common uses of the term. Thus, he referred to Count Jan Potocki’s apprehensions that the northern countries would inevitably fall back into “barbarism” if the Revolution some day should seize this part of Europe. “But what did Count Potocki and other writers of the époque understand by the words civilization and barbarism?” Mickiewicz asked. (“Mais qu’est-ce que le comte Potocki et les autres écrivains de cette époque comprenaient par les mots civilisation et barbarie?” 1849, vol. 3, 120). A Polish peasant who lived in miserable conditions but was nonetheless ready to defend his country, respected the laws of religion and the customs of his nation—should he really be called a barbarian? In what follows, Mickiewicz denounces cases of Polish and Russian nobles who lived on their servants’ charge, selfishly squandering their fortune and betraying their fatherland (1849, vol. 3, 120– 22). We can detect a social meaning in the word barbarian that went against established eighteenth-century conceptualizations of the term. Mickiewicz deconstructed Potocki’s understanding of barbarism, exposing the moral sense of the concept while using it against the count’s initial intention and against the ancient régime as such. He opposed the degenerate customs of the Polish or Russian nobility (the national distinction was clearly of minor importance in this case) to “the people,” who “always conserved the foundation of its ancient traditions”—“le peuple qui conservait toujours le fond de ses antiques traditions” (122). It was due to literature that the Polish nobles did not entirely lose their attachment to their country and its people. The writers of the time, as Mickiewicz pointed out, had already appropriated many ideas from France and Germany; still one could find “some features of national literature”—“quelques éléments de la littérature nationale” (122) in their works. Arguably, these were very much the same features that had been incriminated as “barbarian” by the representatives of the “classical” camp in the Polish literary controversies of the 1810s and 1820s. In Mickiewicz’s reading of Polish cultural and social history, the morally noble barbarism of ancient national traditions, carried by “the people” (i.e., the peasantry), was to overcome the actual moral barbarism of the Polish nobility.

65 It is astonishing to see how even contemporary scholars wrongly ascribe the “portrait of the Slavic barbarian” to Herder. See, e. g., Ruszczyńska 2010, 113: “Portret słowiańskiego barbarzyńcy autorstwa Herdera [...].”

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Mickiewicz’s reinterpretation of the concept of barbarism reached its climax in the third to last lecture, which was held on April 30, 1844. In the course of the preceding months, he had become more and more focused on the notion of messianism. Influenced by the Polish mystic Andrzej Towiański (1799–1878)66 and his esoteric ideas, Mickiewicz moved away from literary and cultural history. His aim was to prepare the leap from word to deed, to lay a foundation for political activism under the sign of Towiański’s messianic “revelation.” It was this reorientation of his lectures, the increasing idiosyncrasies in his argumentation, and the more and more frequent enthusiastic exaltations in his manner of talking—not forgetting his eulogy to Napoleon in the last lecture—that eventually led to the forced interruption of his activity and, several years later, to his exclusion from the Collège de France. This lecture was entitled “Les barbares. L’ homme Éternel” (“The barbarians. The eternal man”). Mickiewicz continued his meditations on the spiritual as well as on the political future of Europe. He resumed the appeal “Let us not disdain the barbarians,” by which he had opened his lectures three and a half years ago: Messieurs, Les contrées dont j’ai parlé, les races dont je vous ai raconté l’histoire, s’appelaient, selon les idées reçues, barbares. Les sociétés civilisées, dans des temps où elles arrivent à leur développement définitif, appellent barbare tout peuple nouveau. Nous avons franchement accepté cette dé­no­ mi­na­tion : nous sommes réellement les barbares de l’époque actuelle. Notre pays a été la barbarie de l’Europe : tous les anciens peuples, connus sous le nom de barbares, ont traversé notre pays et notre histoire nationale. C’est après avoir foulé aux pieds des populations slaves qu’ils allaient s’abattre sur la Gaule, sur l’Espagne, sur l’Occident. Notre histoire est donc, plus qu’aucune autre, liée à celle des barbares. (1845, 230–31) Gentlemen. The regions I have been talking about, the races whose history I have told you, were called, according to common ideas, barbarians. Civilized societies, when they accomplish their definitive development, call every new group of people barbarians. We have sincerely accepted this denomination; we really are the barbarians of our times. Our country was the barbarian part of Europe: all of the ancient peoples, which were known by the name of barbarians, crossed our country and our national history. It was after having trodden at the feet of the Slavic population that they attacked Gaul, Spain, or the Occident. Our history is hence, more than any other, linked to the history of these barbarians.

So far, Mickiewicz’s understanding of the role of the barbarians in ancient history was consistent with common historiographical knowledge; then, however, he proceeded to a fundamental reevaluation of the barbarians’ historical significance, reassuming and developing the ideas he had only hinted to in the first lecture. The common judgment, which stated that the barbaric invasions were responsible for a rupture in civilizational ascent, was profoundly misleading, argued Mickiewicz 66 See Koropeckyj 2008, 281–355, esp. 322.

3.2.  “These are the mysteries of the barbarians, my dear”       229

as he refers to a non-materialistic, providential understanding of human history. In the fifth century, progress—defined by Mickiewicz as our “inner self’s development, its march to God”67—was surely not to be found in the subjects of the Roman Empire. The “foreign peoples” stood for dynamism and movement, while “inertia” (“veritable barbarism,” according to Mickiewicz)68 was to be found on the side of the Romans. More explicitly and surely in a more affirmative way than his colleague Krasiński, Mickiewicz pointed out the symbolic parallel between the barbarians of ancient times and his own people in the nineteenth century. Just as for Krasiński, Mickiewicz too understood that the key lay in an integration of the barbarians into a Providential interpretation of human history, that is to say, in a reading of the real historical barbarians through the prism of their significance for Salvation History. However, unlike Krasiński, who in his letters as well as in Irydion had been anxious to conserve the barbarians’ unchristian features, Mickiewicz fitted them seamlessly into the history of Christianity: La source d’où découlent les actions héroïques est celle d’où sortent aussi les grandes découvertes scientifiques ; cette source tarissait dans l’empire romain, elle s’ouvrit alors au sein de la barbarie. C’est du sein de la barbarie que sont sortis alors presque tous les grands saints, les apôtres du christianisme, les serviteurs les plus actifs de la parole. (1845, 232–33) The source from which springs all the heroic actions is also the source from which all great scientific intentions emerge. This source drew up in the Roman Empire, and then it broke open in the bosom of barbarism. It is from the bosom of barbarism that came nearly all the saints, the apostles of Christendom, the most fervent servants of the word.

From a systematic point of view (even if Mickiewicz himself categorically rejected “systems”), this was the crucial idea of the lectures; the apotheosis of Napoleon in the last of the Paris talks was nothing more than an epilogue (and, undoubtedly, a provocation directed against the political authorities in France).69 It was here that the Slavs, the poet, and “the word” (“la parole”) came together—“in the bosom of barbarism.” Barbaric language is devoid of systems and philosophies; barbarians have no libraries since they do not need any because in their community the word has performative power.70 It can inspire “the enthusiasm of great deeds.”71 Recalling 67 “le progrès [...] n’est autre chose que le développement de notre homme intérieur, sa marche vers Dieu” (1845, 232). 68 “l’inertie, qui est la véritable barbarie” (1845, 233). 69 Mickiewicz was forced to stop teaching after this lecture by a decree from the Minister of Education. He was officially on sabbatical leave for several semesters and then finally discharged in 1852 (Koropeckyj 2008, 330, 332). 70 Cp. Mickiewicz 1845, 249: “On ne mettra pas le feu aux bibliothèques, mais espérons qu’on les fréquentera moins quand la vie publique sera devenue plus instructive” (“We will not put fire to libraries, but let us hope that they will be attended less often when the public life itself will have become more instructive”). 71 “l’enthousiasme des grandes actions” (1845, 234). Cp. the following passage: “Chez les barbares [...] le mot d’ordre était ‘ein Wort, ein Mann’, la parole, c’est l’homme: l’homme

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an episode from ancient history, Mickiewicz compares a Slavic bard with a Roman poet. The barbarian/Slavic bard represents “the cult of the word”;72 for him, contrary to his Roman counterpart, ‘literature’ as pure amusement does not exist. Mickiewicz constructs a primordial form of communion between the word, the deed, and a political community. What he has in mind is of course the community of the Slavic peoples, a community that, according to him, is already palpable in Slavic literature(s) and symbolically prefigured in his lectures at the Collège de France (“cette rencontre pacifique sur ce noble champ”—“this peaceful meeting in this noble field”), as Mic­ kie­wicz had pointed out at the very beginning of his course (1849, vol. 1, 14). We should not forget that it is above all Mickiewicz himself who worships the “cult of the word.” Especially in the transcriptions of his last lectures in the Spring of 1844, we find remarks on the reactions of the audience which let us sense how intense the atmosphere in the auditorium must have been and how eager Mickiewicz was in his effort to electrify his listeners, to prove his theses on the charismatic power of the (Slavic) word—he who understood the role of the professor as a “minister of the word.”73 This high estimate for “the word” should not surprise us. Mickiewicz was a (Slavic) poet, a professor, and a journalist. His professional interest was very much centered on the status and the value of the word in the modern world, and the figure of the barbarian was, among others, a means to claim relevance for his métier. It played an equally important role in Mickiewicz’s idea of the mission of the Slavs as did his reference to “prophecy” in an Old Testament understanding of the concept.74 In his ‘barbarian’ fervor—he again stresses that he cannot express himself properly in the foreign French language—,75 Mickiewicz takes up antirationalist ideas, but at the same time, he is very adamant to emphasize that his understanding of the current spiritual and political situation in Europe is at the very forefront of modernity. Thus he quotes common journalistic and liberal uses of the concept that serve to disqualify the masses, the “barbarism of the people”—“barbarie populaire” (1845, 239)—as a danger for civilization and the legal system of the country.76 Mickiewicz took up this usage of the word as an enemy-concept and transformed it into an affirmation of the vital energy of lower classes. This was very much in line with contemporary usages of the word in the context of liberal and leftist political rhetoric. Only two years later, Mickiewicz’s friend Jules Michelet would write in his Le peuple (The People): Often in these days, the rise and progress of the people are compared to the invasion of the Barbarians. The expression pleases me; I accept it ... Barbarians! [...] We other

72 73 74 75 76

(człowiek) et la parole (słowo) ont chez les Slaves la même origine” (234; “For the bar­bar­ ians [...] the word of order was ‘ein Wort, ein Mann,’ the word is the man: the man (człowiek) and the word (słowo) have the same origin in Slavic languages”). “le culte du mot” (1845, 234). “ministre de la parole” (1845, 278). For the latter, see Weintraub 1982. “Je m’exprime difficilement” (1845, 279). For more on “barbarie populaire” in French journalism and criticism of the time, see Michel 1981, 353–422.

3.2.  “These are the mysteries of the barbarians, my dear”       231 Barbarians have a natural advantage; if the upper classes have culture, we have much more vital heat. (1846b, 13)77

And Frédéric Ozanam, a literary scholar and ardent Catholic, who, just as Mickiewicz himself, had frequented Charles de Montalembert’s salon in the early 1830s (Cholvy 2003, 540), even went so far as to declare, at the eve of the Revolution of 1848, that “the papacy is taking the side of democracy, of these Barbarians of modern times”;78 he even called up to “pass over to the barbarians, to follow [Pope] Pius IX” (1848, 24). It was Mickiewicz’s original idea to assure Poland a specific role in this new history of barbarism by positing an affinity between the non-bourgeois parts of French society and “the other Slavic barbarians” (1845, 239). Still the conjunction of reflections on literary history and barbarism was not entirely uncommon a phenomenon in these times. It was again Ozanam who, in a lecture on “The Literary Tradition in Italy” published in the monthly Le Correspondant in 1843, had highlighted an interesting development in Roman letters after the time of the conquests had come to an end: “Rome subdued the earth for a second time,” through the propagation of its literature. As a result of this process, “strangers” had obtained the “right of citizenship in the republic of letters as well as in the State.” Rome’s glory was that it did not withdraw in view of the dangers entailed by this development. Despite the danger of a “loss of nobility and elegance,” it nevertheless decided to “civilize” these “sons of Barbarians.”79 Mickiewicz, a civilized “son of barbarians” himself, brought together these two lines of thinking, the literary-historical and the contemporary social perspective, by declaring that there was an affinity between “French spirit” and the oppressed people in contemporary Europe (the latter represented, of course, by Poland). He argued that there was a barbaric feature in the “French spirit” and that this spirit consisted notably in the rejection of “fastidious details, particularities, scheme.”80 In this sense, the French have always been young, fresh in spirit, spontaneous, and intuitive: “always barbarian, always young and new.”81 The political mission which Mickiewicz sketched during his last few lectures especially was a direct consequence of his belief in the performative power of the word. To develop this idea, and to implement it, Mickiewiecz had to free “the word” from the institutional or more precisely discursive burdens that it had acquired over the course of the centuries. 77 “Souvent aujourd’hui l’on compare l’ascension du peuple, son progrès, à l’invasion des Barbares. Le mot me plaît, je l’accepte ... Barbares ! [...] Nous avons, nous autres Barbares, un avantage naturel ; si les classes supérieures ont la culture, nous avons bien plus de chaleur vitale” (1846a, 35–36). 78 “Maintenant [...] la Papauté se tourne du côté de la démocratie, du côté de ces Barbares des temps nouveaux” (1848, 24). 79 “[...] elle [Rome] subjuguait la terre une seconde fois et plus souverainement, par sa langue et ses institutions. [...] Ainsi les étrangers obtiennent le droit de cité dans la république littéraire comme dans l’Etat. Rome n’ignore pas le danger de cet envahissement ; elle est avertie de ce qu’elle doit perdre d’élégance et de noblesse au commerce de ces fils de Barbares. Sa gloire est de n’avoir point reculé. Elle les naturalise, elle les civilise [...]” (1843, 203). 80 “minutie, détail, spécialité, système” (1845, 239). 81 “toujours barbare, toujours jeune et nouveau” (1845, 240).

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The barbarian word is, above all, a word that is spread and disseminated, that transgresses borders and invades new territories. Only four years later Marx and Engels would write in their Manifesto of the Communist Party that the “bourgeoisie, by the rapid improvement of all instruments of production, by the immensely facilitated means of communication, draws all nations, even the most barbarian, into civilization” (2007, 13).82 Whereas for Marx and Engels, the “barbarians” are the most determined adversaries of this all-including civilizational progress, Mickiewicz, in his idea about a spiritual, but no less political integration of the European peoples, resorts to the barbarian as a mediator and transmitter of ideas, i.e., precisely as a transgressor of boundaries. He does not need “railways,” and “electric telegraphs” (2007, 14; ch. 1) that the dissemination of the capitalist mode of production depends on. Mickiewicz’s notion of barbarism is situated solely in the superstructure and it has very little to do with concrete economic or social conditions. His barbarian can be seen as a kind of ‘trickster,’ in the Lévi-Straussian sense of the term (2014, 237); he freely commutes between different spheres, bridging the gap between pairs of opposites. The figure of the barbarian is traditionally linked to the idea of movement and transgression—the image of ‘invasion’ coming to one’s mind quasi-automatically in this context.83 The fact that Mickiewicz found himself on the podium before the cultural elite of France in late 1840 when he gave his first lecture testified to a sort of ‘invasion’ performed by the poet from remote Lithuania, who had come to the center of contemporary civilization to hold a chair at the most prestigious educational institution in France. His switching between the standpoint of the outsider (the barbarian) and the insider (the civilized) can very well be read through the prism of this figure from mythical thinking: the barbarian is ‘in between,’ but he is also mobile and highly adaptive, which makes him a mediator between two spheres—barbarism and the civilized world—which are opposed in the traditional thinking. In his first lecture, before he even approaches barbarism, Mickiewicz puts an emphasis on “a mutual feeling that pushes the peoples to get closer to one another.”84 For him, this was the crucial feature of the historical era, and he clearly saw his own task as a professor in the context of this mutual approximation of the European peoples. As we already know, he later developed this idea to an all-encompassing mission of the Slavic peoples, together with their spiritual relatives, the French, to transform the whole of Europe into a harmonious union of free nations. This spiritual union, this approximation however required a concept of communication, and it was here that the figure of the barbarian came into play. Indeed, Mickiewicz attributes the germs of this “mutual feeling” to the ancient barbarians, who, he stresses, were highly eager to learn about “everything that was going on in Rome” (1849, vol. 1, 10). In this respect, the Slavs of the nineteenth century are similar to the ancient barbarians: “The

82 “Die Bourgeoisie reißt durch die rasche Verbesserung aller Produktionsinstrumente, durch die unendlich erleichterten Kommunikationen alle, auch die barbarischsten Nationen, in die Zivilisation” (1959, 466; ch. 1). 83 See Markus Winkler’s Introduction to the present volume, section 1.2.4. 84 “sentiment mutuel qui pousse les peuples à se rapprocher” (1849, vol. 1, 3).

3.2.  “These are the mysteries of the barbarians, my dear”       233

desire to get closer to the rest of Europe, to create close links with the nations of the Occident, is nowhere as vivid, as general, as in the Slavic peoples.”85 I propose to see the core of Mickiewicz’s idea precisely in this aspect: the future of Europe lies in mutual solidarity between different nations, in what he calls “links of spiritual sympathy” (1845, 280). This solidarity is something spiritual, it cannot be found in the physical world, and it can be made palpable only by metaphors (or, of course, by deeds). He quotes a Romanian poet who “predict[s] a migration of the Slavic spirits” to France.86 The Slavic spirit is essentially about “a special organ” (281), a “sort of second sense”87 which allows the Slavic poets to communicate with the spirits of other nations. “In the days of July,” Mickiewicz explained, “some unusual rays of light” evoked a feeling of “enthusiasm” in the Polish peasants, which remained intellectually incomprehensible for them, but even still their feeling of solidarity was real (284). The bullets which chased away the “ancient regime” during the July Revolution “passed silently over Germany,” but “in our country they were transformed into cannonballs.”88 For Mickiewicz, the barbarian symbolizes and personifies the capacity to transgress the boundaries between nations and territories. The traditional idea of the barbarian as a nomad who invades foreign countries is transformed into the idea of a person full of sensitivity for remote ideas who heeds spiritual sympathy for foreign peoples. Mickiewicz deployed this concept primarily on the synchronic level, but he also put a strong emphasis on historical solidarity, solidarity not between peoples, but between epochs. This is why in the lecture from April 30, 1844 he spoke of “the Barbarian” and “the Eternal man” (“L’ homme Éternel”) at the same time. “The Eternal man” referred to the protagonist of the novel Historia (History, 1779) by the Polish writer Ignacy Krasicki (1735–1801). This immortal man lives through various historical epochs, from Alexander the Great up to the Middle Ages, adopting different nationalities, from Chinese, to Carthaginian, to Roman and, of course, Polish (1845, 244). Speaking of Krasicki’s novel, Mickiewicz emphasizes the necessity for each individual to live through the historical epochs that preceded one’s existence. Only this can teach us the full scope of our existence (1845, 244). Mickiewicz’s ‘barbaric’ view of contemporary society in France and the future of Europe, albeit original in its political radicalism, must be seen in the broader framework of a generation of liberal post-revolutionary Catholics’ quest for a reconciliation between religious doctrines and the obvious social and political dislocations in pre-1848 France. Just as the ‘Romantic Catholics’ of his time, he strove for a vitalization of faith and just like them he was prone to fuse religion and politics by expanding the realm of the former (Harrison 2014, 213). Mickiewicz was friends 85 “Le désir de se rapprocher du reste de l’Europe, de former des liens étroits avec les nations de l’Occident, n’est nulle part aussi vif, aussi général que chez les peuples slaves” (1849, vol. 1, 4). 86 “vers votre pays” (1845, 283). 87 “une espèce de seconde vue” (1845, 288). 88 “[...] la commotion qui ébranla dans les journées de juillet les pavés de votre cité remua tout le sol de la vieille Pologne ; les balles qui chassaient de chez vous l’ancien régime, en passant silencieusement par-dessus l’Allemagne, se changèrent dans notre pays en boulets de canon [...]” (1845, 273).

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with Charles de Montalembert, Jules Michelet, and Edgar Quinet; he was in contact with George Sand, Frédéric Ozanam, and other democratic or, so to say, pre-socialist intellectuals of his time. However, the increasing esotericism of his lectures was met with growing skepticism. The case of George Sand is telling in this regard: In a letter to Mickiewicz from May 5, 1843, she delicately explained why she had decided to cut out of one of his articles to be published in her journal La Revue indépendante the passages concerning “messianism” (Mickiewicz 2014, 370). Mickiewicz in turn generously granted her the right to make whatever changes she deemed necessary; for him it was all about the communion of spirits and not so much about the “letter” (2004, 160).

3.2.5. Conclusion From a figure of radical exclusion, the barbarian has become a figure of all-encompassing inclusion in Polish romantic literature and thought; at least this is what Mickiewicz’s re-interpretation of the term was about. As we can see now, Mic­kie­ wicz’s concept is quite different from Krasiński’s interpretation of barbarism and the barbarian. Nevertheless, there are some similarities. I pointed out that Irydion is a character of ‘inbetweenness,’ a link between the Christians and the barbarians, between the pagans and the Greeks. Irydion’s origin and family history exemplifies the transgression of vast spaces and the conjunction of different traditions and peoples as well. However, the most important point in this respect is Irydion’s reawakening in modern times. In the final passages of the play, he serves as a link between late antiquity and the nineteenth century. Moreover, he is called on by Jesus to go to the North and accomplish a second mission. The reason why Irydion, the half-barbarian and half-Greek, should go to Poland and help the members of this oppressed nation to gain “happiness” and “freedom” (Krasiński 1973, 731) is possibly the same for which Mickiewicz’s Slavic peasants are fascinated by political events in remote countries. In Polish romantic literature, the barbarian, who once was a cruel and violent invader and destroyer, has become an agent of transnational communication, sympathy, and solidarity. The idea of transnational solidarity in itself was not new at the time; it was very popular among the community of the exiled Poles in Paris, with one of its key proponents being Lelewel. However, Mickiewicz and Krasiński, in resorting to the figure of the barbarian, integrate this new political idea in a broader understanding of history and Christianity. Both Krasiński and Mickiewicz identify themselves to a certain point with what they viewed as ‘barbarians.’ Doing so allows them to switch freely between various frames of reference (historical, political, and moral) and to explore the grey areas at the margins of the political worldview of post-Enlightenment Europe. They both know that they are acting in a world that is becoming more and more globalized, and that this process takes place even in the most morally or geographically remote regions. The writings of Ballanche show that there was no longer a place for an essentialist understanding of ‘barbarism’ in the nineteenth century since it was no longer the opposite but very much a part of humanity—“it is more a delay than a

3.2.  “These are the mysteries of the barbarians, my dear”       235

difference.”89 However, at the same time, through its inherited semantics, the barbarian is still not entirely commensurable with the dominating tendencies in political and social thought, there is always something irritating about him. Where there are sharp oppositions, the barbarian is the ‘amalgam’ that serves to explore the hidden connections between them, as in Krasiński’s reading of the November uprising, or he is the ‘trickster’ who can freely commute between both spheres, as in Mic­kie­wicz’s lectures. Where there is a harmonious space of all-encompassing inclusion, the barbarian will serve to maintain distinctions; he is a placeholder for the other, and by this an agent of constant criticism and constant renewal.

89 “Elle [la barbarie] est moins une différence qu’un retard” (Michel 1981, 181).

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3.3. Interfering Semantics of Barbarism and Race in Flaubert’s Salammbô (1862) Markus Winkler

3.3.1. Why Write a Historical Novel on a Remote War of Barbarians against Barbarians? Flaubert’s historical novel Salammbô was published in November 1862. The author had worked on it for about five years, undertaking extremely arduous scholarly research. That December, Charles-Augustin Sainte-Beuve published a detailed and sharp, yet nuanced critique of the novel in the daily newspaper Le Constitutionnel. The three long articles of which the critique consists form the basis of what is known as the ‘Salammbô dispute’ (“Querelle de Salammbô”). Flaubert himself and the archaeologist Guillaume Frohner contributed to this dispute with letters and articles.1 Sainte-Beuve’s most important argument against the novel is the remoteness of its historical subject. It is set during the war between Carthage and its mercenary army, which was made up of many different ethnic groups. The war took place from 241 to 238 BC, following the First Punic War (264–241 BC), which ended after the naval battle off the Aegadian Islands with a peace treaty obligating Carthage to pay high reparations to Rome. As a result, Carthage felt unable to issue the demobilized mercenary army their outstanding pay. This in turn led to the uprising of the army against the Carthaginian rulers. The rebels were supported by the indigenous North African population exploited by the colonial power of Carthage, especially the Libyans and Numidians (though some of the Numidians later joined the Carthaginian camp). The uprising escalated into a war that lasted about three years and was waged with extreme cruelty on both sides. It ended with the destruction of the rebel army by the Carthaginians under their commander Hamilcar Barkas, Hannibal’s father.2 Hamilcar Barkas had already distinguished himself as a commander in the First Punic War, but he had given up his position at the end of the war and had left the demobilization of the army to the Carthaginian strategist Geskon (Günther 2006a, n. pag.; 2006b, n. pag.; Flaubert uses the habitual French spelling “Giscon,” rendered as “Gisco” in A. J. Krailsheimer’s 2005 English translation). Sainte-Beuve writes in his critique that this complicated subject, the historiography of which is far from comprehensive, lies entirely beyond the cultural memory 1

2

See the reprint of all documents relevant to this dispute in: Flaubert 2013, 936–1010. Apparently, the dispute was intentional on Flaubert’s part (Saminadayar-Perrin 2011, 605).—A German pre-version of the present chapter was published in Comparatio. Zeitschrift für Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft (2017). For more detail on this see Günther 2006c and 2006d. Günther stresses that the mercenaries’ war is “poorly attested historiographically,” as Polybius, who remains the most important source, is “oriented towards the cliché of the disloyal mercenary” (2006d, n. pag.).

3.3.  Interfering Semantics of Barbarism and Race       237

of the contemporary reading public and thus contravenes a fundamental rule of the historical novel, a genre the critic unsurprisingly derives from the model of Walter Scott’s body of work. The historical novel should, as in Scott’s paradigmatic contributions to the genre, tell a story that is somehow relevant to the reading public; it requires a certain familiarity (“familiarité,” Sainte-Beuve 2013 [1862], 961) with the material. The immense archaeological, mythological, historical, geographical, and ethnographic knowledge that Flaubert has incorporated into his novel—albeit often in the form of “conjectures,” (941) analogies, and speculation—could not compensate for the strangeness and remoteness of the novel’s subject matter: Comment voulez-vous que j’aille m’intéresser à cette guerre perdue, enterrée dans les défilés ou les sables de l’Afrique, à la révolte de ces peuples libyens et plus ou moins autochtones contre leurs maîtres les Carthaginois, à ces mauvaises petites haines locales de barbare à barbare ? (963) How do you want me to become interested in that remote war, buried in the defiles and sands of Africa, become interested in the rebellion of those Libyan and more or less autochthone peoples against their Carthaginian masters, become interested in those petty little and local outbreaks of hatred of barbarians against barbarians? (My translation, M. W.)

It would have been better to write a travelogue: On aurait décrit tout à son aise le pays et le paysage ; on aurait montré les habitants, les races confondues ou persistantes, et discuté jusqu’à quel point il est légitime de conclure du présent au passé, et des autres peuples sémitiques de par-delà l’Égypte à ceux d’Afrique, si traversés et si mélangés. (965) With a mind set at ease, one would have described that land and its scenery; one would have portrayed its inhabitants and mixed or persistent races and one would have discussed to what extent it is legitimate to see the present as an indicator of the past and the other Semitic peoples living beyond Egypt as similar to the Semitic peoples of Africa, which are so crossed and mixed. (My translation, M. W.)

The present case study will set out how Flaubert’s novel decisively answers SainteBeuve’s rhetorical question about why the reader should be interested in the mercenaries’ war as a historical subject; the novel indeed puts forward this question as one to which an answer is expected. The answer consists, as will be demonstrated, in the epic probing and the associated genealogical de-legitimization of the concepts of barbarism and race.3 Sainte-Beuve for his part does not perceive these concepts as problematic, as the two passages quoted above illustrate. On the contrary, unlike the novelist, he uses them altogether uncritically as categories of historical-anthropological and ethnographic knowledge, that is, as categories which were common cur3

Here and below, the use of the term genealogy is linked partially to Nietzsche and Foucault; see Saar 2007, Bevir 2008, and above, section 1.1.2 of the Introduction.

238       Markus Winkler

rency at the time. The primary reason for the difference between the novelist and his respected critic is their attitude to the use of both concepts in the historiographical tradition of the mercenaries’ war. While the critic only finds the historical facts problematic, but not the historiographical ordering of these facts according to the concepts of barbarism and race, the novelist fills the gaps in Polybius’ handing down of the facts with fictional plot devices which enable him to de-legitimize both concepts and their interaction through narrative. The three most important of the numerous fictional components that fulfil this function are the love story between Salammbô, the daughter of Hamilcar, and the Libyan Mâtho, a leader of the mercenary army;4 the repeated mass murder of captured mercenaries by the Carthaginians; and the child sacrifice which the besieged Carthaginians, cut off from any water supply, offer to their god Moloch for rain. All three are not only, as one might suspect on a superficial reading, orientalist decorations and epic exaggerations of the traditional events, because Flaubert does not, as Sainte-Beuve wrongly assumes from his positivistic perspective, set out to teach the historical facts in an entertaining way. Instead, he is concerned with the legitimacy of the concepts that determine the knowledge of the facts (and not only of those of the mercenaries’ war). The fictional components accordingly serve, above all, the ‘narrativization’ of these concepts, especially the concepts of barbarism and race; they are being sounded out through narrative.5 Next, I consider the presence of both concepts in the historiographical tradition of the mercenaries’ war. Subsequently, in the third and last part of the present chapter, I will analyze exemplary passages from the novel to find out how Flaubert transfers this tradition into the historical novel.6

3.3.2. ‘Barbarism’ and ‘Race’ in the Historiographical Tradition of the Mercenaries’ War To date, Polybius’ Histories (around 200–120 BCE) remain the most important ancient source of knowledge about the mercenaries’ war. From the outset, Polybius gives his detailed presentation of the war a didactic accent. By way of introduction, he formulates the lessons that could be drawn from this war, which one commonly 4

5 6

Polybius (1.78.8) only states that Hamilcar promises his daughter, who is not mentioned by name, to the Numidian Prince Narr’Havas to win him as a loyal ally. Here and below, Polybius is quoted from the bilingual edition published in the Loeb Classical Library: The Histories Bks 1–2. Polybius Vol. 1. Trans. W[illiam] R[obert] Paton. Revised by Franck W[illiam] Walbank and Christian Habicht. 2nd ed., Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010 (here: 228–31). For an analogous process in Kafka, the enthusiastic Flaubert reader, see Sokel 1981 (here: 6, 19–20). It should be noted here that the extensive research on Flaubert’s novel has indeed emphasized that the opposition of barbarians and non-barbarians is called into question in the work; see, e. g., Séginger 2000, 170; Saminadayar-Perrin 2010; Toumayan 2008; Neefs 2013; Leclerc and Séginger 2013, here 1223–24 (other relevant works are cited in the course of the following discussion). The research however has not, or not sufficiently, pursued the position of the novel in the history of the concepts of barbarism and race, as does the present chapter.

3.3.  Interfering Semantics of Barbarism and Race       239

calls the “truceless war” (2010, 193)—ἄσπονδον πόλεμον (1.65.6).7 The course of the war, in his view, is an example of the difference between ‘mixed’ barbarian peoples and ethnically homogeneous peoples which have been shaped by civic education, civil law, and civil manners: τί διαφέρει καὶ κατὰ πόσον ἤθη σύμμικτα καὶ βάρβαρα τῶν ἐν παιδείαις καὶ νόμοις καὶ πολιτικοῖς ἔθεσιν ἐκτεθραμμένων (1.65.7). (“[I]n what lies the great difference of character between a confused herd of barbarians and men who have been brought up in an educated, law-abiding, and civilized community,” 2010, 192–93.) Accordingly, Polybius takes the Carthaginians’ side against the mercenaries, although he does not deny the strategic errors made by the Carthaginian leadership and clearly highlights the fact that Carthage, as a colonial power, has excessively and cruelly exploited the African populations. He goes on to say, how­ ever, that the mercenaries in their bestiality had cast off their human nature and were punished for it in the end by the gods and the Carthaginians; they deserved their defeat (1.67.6, 1.81.9, 1.84.10, 1.88.5; English: 2010, 199, 241, 251, 259).8 So Polybius uses the classic concept of barbarism, as coined by, among others, Herodotus, Thucydides, Plato, and Aristotle.9 Barbarians are all the things that you yourself are not or do not (any more) want to be, namely, animal-like, cruel, treacherous, wicked, and unfree, in that they live in communities without a fixed political and ethnic order; they are slaves ‘by nature’ (φύσει [phýsei]), as Aristotle stresses in his Politics (1252b),10 and wars of extermination must be waged against them as enemies of the Greeks ‘by nature’ (φύσει [phýsei]), as Plato states in his Republic (470c–472b).11 During his presentation of the mercenaries’ war, Polybius also introduces an initially purely linguistic criterion for distinguishing between civilized and barbaric peoples. The mercenary army was united neither by ethnicity nor by language; it was therefore difficult for the army’s different ethnic groups to understand each other, and the Carthaginians cleverly exploited this fact to forestall acts of collective disobedience. The linguistic diversity in the mercenary army also made communication with the Carthaginians difficult at a moment of crisis. Hanno, negotiating for the Carthaginians, was unable to give the mercenaries in Sicca (to which they had withdrawn) accurate information and thus reassure them, because he could 7

The French translator Paul Pédech translates Polybius’ characterization of the war as ἄσπονδος (literally ‘without a contract,’ ‘without a ceasefire’) with the adjective “inexpiable” (‘[war] that cannot be atoned for,’ 1989, 106). The term inexpiable is already found in the translation of Dom Vincent Thuillier (Paris 1727), which Flaubert clearly used; see the part of the translation relevant to the mercenaries’ war reprinted in Flaubert 2013, 1011–27 (here: 1011). 8 On the strategic errors of the Carthaginians and their practice of exploitation, see 1.71.8– 1.72.3 (English: 213). On Polybius as a source for Flaubert, see Fay 1914, a philologically very precise work, which is still worth reading. Fay emphasizes the closeness of the novel to the historical source in his analysis, which focuses on the traditional events of the war (not on the conceptual processing of this event). 9 Opelt and Speyer (2001) provide an overview of the relevant evidence. 10 Passage quoted above, in chapter 1.2.3.1, p. 19–20. 11 Passage referred to above, in chapter 1.2.3.1, p. 20, quoted here from the bilingual edition published in the Loeb Classical Library: Plato. Republic Bks 1–5. Plato Vol. 5. Ed. and Trans. Chris Emlyn-Jones and William Preddy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013 (here: 526–35).

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not understand their different languages (1.67.3–11): τὸν μὲν γὰρ στρατηγὸν εἰδέναι τὰς ἑκάστων διαλέκτους ἀδύνατον (1.67.9). (“[F]or how could the general be expected to know all their languages?” 2010, 200–01.) From an etymological perspective, the barbarian is primarily a foreigner whose language you do not understand, but also do not want to understand. The onomatopoetic lexeme barbar- disqualifies the language of the foreigner as a per se unintelligible, meaningless noise.12 I will show later on how Flaubert uses and accentuates this basic language-related meaning of the lexeme. In doing so, he makes allowance for the interaction between the concepts of barbarism and race, for which there is evidence from as early as the late eighteenth century—for example in the work of Christoph Meiners (Winkler 2009, 60–61)13—and which is widespread in the nineteenth century, as in SainteBeuve’s critique of Salammbô cited above. Unlike the concept of barbarism, “race” is not an ancient concept, although the romance language words that represent it, such as the French race, seem to have roots in the Latin word ratio (Wartburg 1962, 111–15).14 This French word appears around the year 1500; German borrowed it in the eighteenth century and English already in the sixteenth century. As used in Flaubert’s time it refers to hereditary physical similarities between groups of people, especially skin color. However, it also serves the judgmental pseudo-biological identification of cultural and historical commonalities (see TLFi, s. v. ‘race’). This identification is pseudo-biological because, viewed in logical terms, it involves a vicious circle: Cultural and historical commonalities are seen as characteristic of the respective ‘race,’ whose particular value however can be determined not biologically, but only with reference to cultural and historical commonalities (Frank 1988, 113). Nevertheless, in the Western world from the 1850s, this concept of race, which apparently provided biological justification for historical and cultural features, was, in the words of Jürgen Osterhammel, “a picture of the world that was one of the most influential of the age” (2014, 860).15 In Arthur de Gobineau’s Essai sur l’inégalité des races humaines (1853–1855), which received wide attention in the entire Western world, the concept of race becomes the anthropological key to world history.16 The white, the black, and the yellow ‘races’ are, according to Gobineau, “the three constituent elements of the human race” (1915, 207),17 but they are not equal, because only the white ‘race’ can create civilization: “all civilizations derive from the white race”

12 For the etymology of barbaric, see Beekes 2009, vol. 1, 201. 13 On Meiners’ role in the genealogy of the term race in the eighteenth century, see Rupp-Eisenreich 2014. See also Christian Moser’s observations above, chapter 2.1.2.9, p. 137. 14 In Wartburg’s view, this dates back to ratio in the late Latin sense of ‘type’ or ‘quality’; see the arguments for this in 1962, 115–16, where Wartburg also underscores that the French word is borrowed from the Italian razza. The popular French dictionaries such as Le Grand Robert de la langue française accept this etymology, although, as Wartburg himself points out, it leaves some questions open. 15 “eines der einflussreichsten Weltbildmuster der Epoche” (2009, 1221). See also Reynaud-Paligot (2014). 16 The Inequality of Human Races, Adrian Collins’ 1915 translation, remains to this day the standard English version. It is however incomplete. Some of the passages quoted on the following pages are therefore my own translation. 17 “les trois éléments constitutifs du genre humain” (1983, 342; bk. I, ch. 16).

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(210).18 In his list of the ten great civilizations of humankind, the Indian comes first. This hierarchy no doubt echoes late romantic views on Sanskrit as proto-language, but in Gobineau, the supposed linguistic origin has become racialized: the source and center of the Indian civilization was indeed, according to Gobineau, the white nation of Aryans (“a white people, the Aryans,” 211).19 It forms the “stock” (212)20 from which the creative energy of the subsequent civilizations is derived. Gobineau’s standard of racial purity reflects this genealogy: for him, progressive miscegenation benefits the lower and damages the higher races, and it ultimately causes degeneration and anarchy, as illustrated by the history of humankind (1983, 342–46 [bk. I, ch. 16]; English: 1915, 207–11). In the present context, it is particularly interesting how Gobineau applies this concept to the history of Carthage: according to him, Carthage owed its rise to greatness to its foundation by the—admittedly ‘mixed’—aristocracy of Tyros;21 the decline of the city, like that of all Phoenician colonies, was due to predominance by the ‘black’ element: “the black element predominated. This led to an unbridled love of physical pleasure, to profound superstition, to an inclination towards the arts, to immorality and ferocity” (my translation).22 Elsewhere, Gobineau seeks to accentuate this consistent discrimination of the ‘black element’ and legitimize it historically by bringing the old concept of barbarism into play. He argues that the elite white race has always branded the black and yellow

18 19 20 21

“toute civilisation découle de la race blanche” (1983, 345). “la nation blanche des Arians” (1983, 347). “souche” (1983, 347). On the mythologizing perception of the Aryans, see Bordat 2013. In this context, Gobineau uses the words métis (‘half-caste’) and mulâtre (‘mulatto’). See 1983, 400 (bk. II, ch. 3): “Carthage n’eut point d’enfance. Les maîtres qui la gouvernaient étaient sûrs d’avance de leur volonté. Ils avaient pour but précis ce que la Tyr ancienne leur avait appris à estimer et à poursuivre. Ils étaient entourés de populations presque entièrement noires, et partant inférieures aux métis qui venaient trôner au milieu d’elles. [...] comme la cité de Didon ne reçut jamais, pour toute immigration blanche, que les nobles tyriens ou chananéens, [...] elle appesantit son joug tant qu’il lui plut. Jusqu’au moment de sa ruine, elle [Carthage] ne fit pas la moindre concession à ses peuples. Lorsqu’ils osèrent en appeler aux armes, elle sut les châtier sans faiblir jamais. C’est que son autorité était fondée sur une différence ethnique qui n’eut pas le temps de composer et de disparaître.” (“Carthage had no childhood. The masters who governed her were in advance sure of their intentions. They pursued a well-defined goal that ancient Tyre hat taught them to appreciate and to pursue. They were surrounded by almost entirely black populations, who were therefore inferior to the half-casts that came to sit on the throne in their middle. [...] as Dido’s city never received any other white immigration than that of Tyre’s and Canaan’s aristocracy, [...] she made her yoke as heavy as she wanted to. Until her downfall, she [Carthage] made not the slightest concession to those populations. When they dared to rise up in arms against her, she would chastise them without ever weakening. The reason for this is that her authority was based on an ethnic difference for which there was no time to compromise or to disappear,” my translation, M. W.) A little later he discusses a “Canaanite race”—“race chananéenne”—as a “Phoenician or Carthaginian nation of mulattoes”—“nation de mulâtres, phénincienne ou carthaginoise” (1983, 405; my translation, M. W.). 22 “[...] l’élément noir y domina. De là, amour effréné des jouissances matérielles, superstitions profondes, dispositions pour les arts, immoralité, férocité” (1983, 405).

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races as ‘barbarians,’ a name which ‘bears eternal witness to a righteous contempt.’23 Thus, in many points in the Essai, the barbaric is an attribute of the black or yellow or mixed ‘race’ (e. g., 1983, 185 [bk. I, ch. 5], 519 [bk. III, ch. 2]; English: 1915, 48 [no English translation found for bk. III]). The Roman labeling of the ancient Germanic peoples as barbarians, however, is unjustified, Gobineau insists (1983, 136 [“Dédicace”]; English: 1915, xii [“From the author’s dedication”]).24 Thus the stereotype of the Germans as a culture-bringing Aryan ‘race’ is already detectable in his treatise (1983, 347 [bk. I, ch. 16], 1983, 980–1016 [bk. VI, ch. 3]; English: 1915, 211–12).25 With Gobineau, the concept of race and its interaction with the concept of barbarism therefore have genuinely racist, reactionary, and culturally pessimistic tendencies. This is not the case in post-revolutionary French history of the early nineteenth century. For instance, the term barbarian as used by Augustin Thierry is the traditional attribute of the Germanic Franks, a foreign ‘race’ that once invaded Gaul and oppressed the local ‘race.’ In Thierry’s view, some of the evils of modern France can be attributed to this, especially the opposition of the nobility and the people (“le peuple”): [...] it appeared to me that, notwithstanding the distance of time, some remains of the barbarian conquest still weighed upon our country, and that the present sufferings might be traced back, step by step, to the intrusion of a foreign race into the centre of Gaul, and its violent dominion over the natives. (1845, ix)26

The distinction between foreign barbaric and indigenous ‘races’ is used here to designate one’s own nation, the ‘people,’ as a body which responds to supra-individual stimuli, as Corinne Saminadayar-Perrin stresses: Resorting to this ‘biological’ notion must be interpreted as the corollary of the interest that ‘revolutionized’ historiography shows in the masses as a body moved by drives that pertain neither to the individual nor to reason. The psychology of the masses necessarily involves a physiology, from which the concept of race emerges as the synthesis of the collective body. (My translation, M. W.)27

23 “[...] quand vinrent les conflits, la race d’élite flétrit les deux groupes inférieurs, surtout les peuplades noires, de ce nom de barbares, qui resta comme le témoignage éternel d’un juste mépris” (1983, 622; bk. III, ch. 6). 24 This rehabilitation of the Germanic peoples was not new (see note in 1983, 1282–83). 25 Chapter 3 of book VI is significantly entitled “Capacité des races germaniques natives” (“Capacity of the native Germanic races,” my translation, M. W.; no English translation found for bk. VI). 26 “[...] il me sembla que, malgré la distance des temps, quelque chose de la conquête des barbares pesait encore sur notre pays, et que, des souffrances du présent, on pouvait remonter, de degré en degré, jusqu’à l’intrusion d’une race étrangère au sein de la Gaule, et à sa do­ mination violente sur la race indigène” (1836, vi). 27 “Le recours à cette notion ‘biologique’ apparaît d’emblée comme le corollaire de l’intérêt que l’histoire ‘révolutionnée’ porte aux masses conçues comme corps, mues par des pulsions irréductibles aux logiques de l’individuel et du raisonnable – la psychologie des foules passe nécessairement par une physiologie, d’où le concept de race comme synthèse du corps collectif ” (2003, 387–88).

3.3.  Interfering Semantics of Barbarism and Race       243

However, this ‘progressive’ variation of the concept of race brings criteria into play that, without being biological, are biologized by association with ‘race,’ such as the primarily linguistic distinction between Indo-Germanic (or ‘Aryan’) and Semitic peoples (Bordat 2013, 133–34). In this regard, the revision of Polybius’ representation of the mercenaries’ war in Jules Michelet’s Histoire romaine (1831) is revealing. Michelet paraphrases Polybius, but reassesses the events of the mercenaries’ war: he holds that this war was a punishment inflicted on the rich Carthaginians for setting their barbaric mercenary army upon other nations (1831, 203 [bk. II, ch. 4]; English: 1856, 143).28 The mercenaries, he underscores, were only defeated thanks to the military genius of Hamilcar, who is actually of another ‘race’ than the Carthaginians: [...] this duality of race frequently betrays itself in the history of Carthage: the military genius of the Barcas belonged, as the name of Barca seems to indicate, to the warlike nomads of Libya, more than to the Phoenician merchants. The true Carthaginians are the Hannos, covetous administrators and incapable generals. (1856, 133)29

Michelet apparently seeks to suggest that Hamilcar is actually a Libyan ‘barbarian’—a curious speculation, which may be attributable to the confusion between the words Berber and barbarian at the time (Larousse 1867, s. v. ‘Berbères ou Berbers’).30 His pejorative image of the Carthaginians is shaped by an idea which had already gained significant ground at the time, namely that the supposed conflict between the superior Indo-Germanic and the inferior Semitic ‘races’ was necessary. Michelet suggests that the Punic Wars are manifestations of this conflict: “On the one side the heroic genius, that of art and of legislation; on the other, the spirit of industry, navigation, and commerce. These two hostile races have everywhere encountered and everywhere attacked each other” (1856, 125).31 Accordingly, the superposition of the concepts of barbarism and race in Michelet’s text entails that his hierarchizing demarcation of the border between the spaces of civilization and barbarism differs from the one we find in Polybius. As mentioned above, Polybius sets the civilized, ethnically homogeneous Carthaginians in opposition to the barbaric, ethnically mixed mercenaries, thereby assimilating the former to the Greeks and Romans. As for Michelet, he sets the Carthaginians against the Romans, because unlike the latter, the former were ethnically heterogeneous traders; as mentioned above, he counts the “duality of race”—“dualité de races”—as one of their characteristic features. The 28 To characterize the mercenary army, Michelet uses the term barbarian with the same meaning as Polybius does (1831, 189 [bk. II, ch. 3]; 1856, 133). See the quotation of this passage further below. 29 “[...] cette dualité de races se décèle fréquemment dans l’histoire de Carthage; le génie mi­ litaire des Barca appartient, comme le nom de Barca semble l’indiquer, aux nomades belliqueux de la Lybie, plus qu’aux commerçans [sic] phéniciens. Les vrais Carthaginois sont les Hannon, administrateurs avides et généraux incapables” (1831, 188; bk. II, ch. 3). 30 On the unclarified etymological relationship between barbare and berbère, see Turbet-Delof 1973. 31 “D’un côté le génie héroïque, celui de l’art et de la législation ; de l’autre l’esprit d’industrie, de navigation, de commerce. Ces deux races ennemies se sont partout rencontrées, partout attaquées” (1831, 177; bk. II, ch. 3).

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racialized distinction between Indo-Germanic ‘Aryans’ and Semites does not touch on the ethnocentric exclusionary function of barbarism as an ‘enemy-concept’ and ‘asymmetric counterconcept’ (Koselleck),32 but because of their “duality of race,” the Carthaginians draw closer to the barbarians (the stereotype of the oriental barbarian which goes back to Aeschylus’ tragedy The Persians asserts itself here). Michelet indeed describes the Carthaginian occupation of Corsica as “the barbarous monopoly of the Carthaginians” (1856, 137).33 And he sees the Carthaginians’ use of barbarian mercenaries instead of “national troops” (134)34 as a commercial transaction, like buying a commodity: “[...] in this kind of commerce, as in every other, Carthage would select her merchandise with discernment. She did not use many Greeks, who had too high a spirit, and did not allow themselves to be led easily. She preferred the barbarians” (133).35 This partial approximation of the Carthaginians to the barbarians foreshadows Sainte-Beuve’s remark that the mercenaries’ war was waged between two barbarian sides and therefore uninteresting. Yet this is exactly why it is interesting to Flaubert. He follows Michelet’s shift of the boundaries between civilization and barbarism to the extent that his narrative calls into question Polybius’ claim that the war between the Carthaginians and mercenaries was exemplary of the conflict between civilization and barbarism. However, unlike Michelet, who brings Rome into play as the essence of Western civilization—and thus as a positive counterpoint to both the Carthaginians and ‘barbaric mercenaries’—, Flaubert does not offer any positive counterpoint. The word barbarian thus loses its very foundation, because its differentiating and discriminatory use as an ‘asymmetric counterconcept’ depends on its respective opposite (Moser and Wendt 2014). Simultaneously, the differentiation between higher and lower ‘races’ also collapses, since the semantics of barbarism and race overlap in Flaubert’s novel. This collapse however is not comic in any way. ­Rather, it occurs as “violent undifferentiation,” to use one of René Girard’s analytical categories (2005, 81, 259, 260, 261).36 This will become obvious by the examples below.

3.3.3. The Narrative Staging of ‘Barbarism’ and ‘Race’ in Flaubert’s Novel “C’était à Mégara, faubourg de Carthage, dans les jardins d’Hamilcar” (Flaubert 2013, 573). (“It was at Megara, a suburb of Carthage, in Hamilcar’s gardens,” 2005, 17). The famous first sentence of the first chapter of the novel (“Le festin”/“The Feast”) is the prelude to the story of the mercenary army’s revelry in Hamilcar’s gar32 See above, chapter 1.2.3.2, our discussion of Reinhart Kosellecks “Zur historisch-politischen Semantik asymmetrischer Gegenbegriffe” (1989) (“The Historical-Political Semantics of Assymmetric Counterconcepts,” 2004) and “Feindbegriffe” (2006). 33 “monopole barbare des Carthaginois” (1831, 192). 34 “troupes nationales” (1831, 190). 35 “[...] en ce genre de commerce comme en tout autre, Carthage choisissait les marchandises avec discernement. Elle usait peu des Grecs qui avaient trop d’esprit, et ne se laissaient pas conduire aisément. Elle préférait les Barbares” (1831, 189). 36 “indifférenciation violente” (1998, 81, 99, and passim).

3.3.  Interfering Semantics of Barbarism and Race       245

dens laid on for the ‘barbarians’ by the “Council of Elders” (2005, 91)—“Conseil des Anciens” (2013, 647)—without the consent of Hamilcar, who has not yet returned from Sicily. This purely fictitious episode, narrated with an epic sweep, is more than just a grand-scale Orientalist operatic spectacle. Together with chapter II, it sets out the conflict between the ‘barbaric’ mercenaries and the civic, apparently civilized Carthaginians. Accordingly, chapter I contains an epic catalogue of the ethnic groups (“nations,” 2013, 574—“[m]en from every nation,” 2005, 18) which make up the banqueting army. Ironically, this includes many which, in Flaubert’s time, were counted as Indo-European (‘Aryan,’ i.e., for authors like Gobineau, non-‘barbaric’), such as Gauls, Greeks, Lusitanians, and Balearians. They are characterized, as in Polybius, by the diversity of their languages: “Ils déliraient en cent langages” (2013, 580) (“They raved in a hundred languages,” 2005, 24)—but also by their skin colour: “Negroes” (2005, 18, 19, 208, and passim)—“Nègres” (2013, 574, 575, 761, and passim)—are repeatedly described as a separate ethnic group in the barbarian army. ‘Barbaric’ acts of violence and destruction are committed during the revelry; the soldiers willingly behave like wild animals and are designated as such: “bêtes féroces”; “bêtes brutes”; “bêtes sauvages” (2013, 577, 579, 581)—“wild beasts”; “enraged [...] animals”; “wild beasts” (2005, 20, 22, 24). Nevertheless, on the sidelines of the feast, when Salammbô and Mâtho meet for the first time, an (apparently illusory) prospect for reconciliation opens up, as both feel strongly attracted to each other, despite their surroundings: “À quand les noces?” (2013, 585). (“When is the wedding?” 2005, 28).37 Chapter II (“À Sicca”/“At Sicca”) narrates the story of the barbarian army’s withdrawal two days later from the Carthaginians’ perspective. In doing so, the chapter indicates the range of social strata which the watching townspeople (“la foule des Carthaginois,” 2013, 589—“the crowds of Carthaginians,” 2005, 33) belong to. It reaches from “sailors” (2005, 33)—“matelots” (2013, 589)—to members of the Council of “Elders” (2005, 34)—“Anciens” (2013, 589). All share the desire to get rid of the armed ‘barbarians,’ to whom false promises were made for this purpose. Excluding the ‘barbarians’ thus makes it possible for the urban population to have a unifying vision of themselves. Both fear and contempt are the driving forces of this dynamic of exclusion. The strength of the withdrawing troops is indeed emphasized, but also their poverty. This aspect, which is not biological or ethnic, but again social, becomes particularly noticeable in the following description of the barbarian army’s rear guard: Puis vint la cohue des bagages, des bêtes de somme et des traînards. Des malades gémissaient sur des dromadaires ; d’autres s’appuyaient, en boitant, sur le tronçon d’une pique. Les ivrognes emportaient des outres, les voraces des quartiers de viande, des gâteaux, des fruits, du beurre dans des feuilles de figuier, de la neige dans des sacs de toile. On en voyait avec des parasols à la main, avec des perroquets sur l’épaule. Ils se faisaient suivre par des dogues, par des gazelles ou des panthères. Des femmes de race libyque, montées sur des ânes, invectivaient les négresses qui avaient abandonné pour les soldats les lupanars de Malqua ; plusieurs allaitaient des enfants suspendus à leur

37 This question is posed in a decidedly mocking tone by the Gaul Autharitus (who is still not named at this point); Spendius translates it from Greek into Mâtho’s language.

246       Markus Winkler poitrine dans une lanière de cuir. Les mulets, que l’on aiguillonnait avec la pointe des glaives, pliaient l’échine sous le fardeau des tentes ; et il y avait une quantité de valets et de porteurs d’eau, hâves, jaunis par les fièvres et tout sales de vermine, écume de la plèbe carthaginoise, qui s’attachait aux Barbares. (2013, 590) Then came the throng of the baggage train, the animals, and stragglers. The sick groaned on dromedaries; others limped along, supported on the stump of a pike. Drunkards carried off wineskins, those greedy for food took hunks of meat, cakes, fruit, butter wrapped in fig leaves, snow in linen bags. Some appeared holding parasols, with parrots on their shoulders. They had mastiffs, gazelles, or panthers following them. Libyan women, riding on donkeys, reviled Negresses who had abandoned the brothels of Malqua for the soldiers; a number of them suckled children slung round their necks on a leather strap. The mules, spurred on at sword point, bent double under the load of the tents; and there were many servants and water-carriers, wan and yellow with fever, filthy and verminous, scum of the Carthaginian populace, who joined the Barbarians. (2005, 34)

Free indirect speech—the style indirect libre—is the form used here to render the perspective of the Carthaginians’ gaze at the retreating soldiers. It is thus a collective, not an individual, voice that interferes with the narrator’s voice. This interference mediated by the genre of the historical novel enables Flaubert to lend anachronistically to the Carthaginians the concepts of barbarism and race: in narrating the epic, he tests the former as a category of classical and contemporary historiography, and the latter as a category of contemporary anthropology and ethnology. In doing so, he highlights the semantic features that the conceptions of the barbaric and of racial inferiority have in common, namely the subhuman, the animalistic, the abnormally diseased, the physically and morally repulsive, and the disgusting. At the same time, the novel also proposes a narrative genealogy of the idea that there is a barbaric race to be excluded: it hints that a class distinction lies behind this idea.38 In other words, racial differentiation helps to interpret social class differences in terms of biological necessity and immutable territorial hierarchy, thus obfuscating the fact that said differences have emerged contingently and therefore may themselves undergo change. Thus, in the passage quoted above, the “scum of the Carthaginian populace”—“écume de la plèbe carthaginoise”—joins the barbarian army. Hence, the Carthaginian population itself is shown to have emerged from a combination, if not an actual mixing of barbaric and non-barbaric ‘races,’ as is hinted at in the quoted passage and explicitly highlighted later on.39 The fact that a segment of the Carthaginian populace joins the barbarian army thus appears to 38 This also reflects the fact that as of the first half of the nineteenth century, the French bourgeoisie used the concept of barbarism to discriminate against the proletariat considered as a threat (Michel 1981, 9–11). In a later part of his study, Michel (1981, 420) surmises that this class conflict and its bloody manifestations, such as the June Days uprising in 1848, is to some extent echoed in Salammbô. 39 See the passage cited below and referred to in note 42 on the ‘Canaanite race’ of the Carthaginian elite. The fact that Flaubert personally had no sympathy for the proletariat (Czyba 2001, 233–34) is not of concern in this context, and neither is Flaubert’s occasional

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be ethnic cleansing or segregation, which allows the remaining population to see itself as an ethnically homogeneous, superior ‘race.’ The horizontal movement of exclusion corresponds to the vertical movement of—supposed—homogenization. As the novel progresses, the form of the double-voiced narrative genealogy sketched above comes into clearer focus, such as in the fourth chapter (“Sous les murs de Carthage”/“Beneath the walls of Carthage”), which narrates the impending siege of the city by the mercenary army. The chapter begins with a description of Carthage, specifically from the ‘barbarian’ perspective. This is in turn followed by a description from the Carthaginian perspective40 of a plebeian part of the popu­ lation living outside the city walls, namely the so-called “Unclean-Eaters” (2005, 62)—“Mangeurs-de-choses-immondes” (2013, 618): Il y avait en dehors des fortifications des gens d’une autre race et d’une origine inconnue, – tous chasseurs de porc-épic, mangeurs de mollusques et de serpents. Ils allaient dans les cavernes prendre des hyènes vivantes, qu’ils s’amusaient à faire courir le soir sur les sables de Mégara, entre les stèles des tombeaux. Leurs cabanes, de fange et varech, s’accrochaient contre la falaise comme des nids d’hirondelles. Ils vivaient là, sans gouvernement et sans dieux, pêle-mêle, complètement nus, à la fois débiles et fa­rouches, et depuis des siècles exécrés par le peuple, à cause de leurs nourritures immondes. Les sentinelles s’aperçurent un matin qu’ils étaient tous partis. (2013, 617–18) Outside the fortifications lived people of another race and unknown origin—all porcupine hunters, eaters of shellfish and snakes. They went into caves to catch hyenas alive, then amused themselves in the evening by racing them along the sands of Megara, between the steles of the tombs. Their huts, of seaweed and slime, clung to the cliff like larks’ nests. They lived there, without rulers or religion, all mixed together, completely naked, both sickly and wild, execrated by the people for centuries because of their disgusting diet. One morning the sentries noticed that they had all gone. (2005, 61)

As we learn immediately afterwards (2013, 618; English: 2005, 61–62), they have also joined the ‘barbarians’ and play a certain role in the failure of the first negotiations between the mercenaries and the Carthaginians (later on, they are repeatedly referred to as a group fighting in the barbarian army). In the quoted passage, “race” thus marks an exclusion that adheres to the social, aesthetic, and political criteria of the excluding authority. The concept reinforces and biologizes the concept of barbarism, which is not used explicitly here, but conjured up by the semantic features of the subhuman, repellent, disgusting, and politically lawless. Yet the text indicates simultaneously that this “race” is in fact an indigenous population that the Phoenician colonizers and city founders have not eradicated, but completely marginalized. Thus the narration again hints at the emergence of the ‘barbaric race’ from the ‘plebeian’ class. To the same effect, the narrator reports elsewhere that many African ethnic groups from the Carthaginian hinterland join the ‘barbaric’ mercenary army to wage war ‘romantic’ use of the concept of barbarism in his correspondence until the middle of the nineteenth century (Michel 1981, 415–19). 40 On this perspective change induced by means of the style indirect libre, see Adert 1998, 58.

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against the hated colonial power of Carthage. Chapter XII (“L’ Aqueduc”/“The Aqueduct”) is of particular interest here. It takes the story up to the beginning of the weeklong siege of Carthage by the mercenary army, which marks a dramatic turning point: the Greek Spendius, one of Hamilcar’s prisoners of war who was freed by the mercenaries and rose to become one of their most cunning strategists, manages to make a breach in the aqueduct that supplies Carthage with water. In this chapter, the narrator includes a both classically epic and ethnographically precise catalogue of those indigenous African ethnic groups—in the free indirect speech of the novel, ‘races’—which join the army (2013, 760–62; English: 2005, 206–09; cp. 2013, 599–600; English: 2005, 43 [ch. II: “À Sicca”/“At Sicca”] and 2013, 644–45; English: 2005, 88–90 [ch. VI: “Hannon”/“Hanno”]). Carthage has oppressed, exploited, and despised or otherwise excluded all of them. The physically and mentally disabled form a separate group, described in a manner reminiscent of the new ‘science’ emerging in Flaubert’s period, eugenics: Enfin, comme si l’Afrique ne s’était point suffisamment vidée, et que pour recueillir plus de fureurs, il eût fallu prendre jusqu’au bas des races, on voyait, derrière tous les autres, des hommes à profil de bête et ricanant d’un rire idiot ; – misérables ravagés par de hideuses maladies, pygmées difformes, mulâtres d’un sexe ambigu, albinos dont les yeux rouges clignotaient au soleil ; tout en bégayant des sons inintelligibles, ils mettaient un doigt dans leur bouche pour faire voir qu’ils avaient faim. (2013, 762) Finally, as if Africa had not been sufficiently emptied and, to assemble still more furies, it had been necessary to go to the dregs among races, there could be seen, behind all the others, men with the features of animals and giggling with idiot laughs; wretches ravaged by hideous diseases, deformed pygmies, mulattoes of dubious sex, albinos with red eyes blinking at the sun; as they mouthed unintelligible sounds, they put a finger in their mouth to show that they were hungry. (2005, 208)

Here, too, and again in the collective free indirect speech of the Carthaginians, the concept of race lent to them is realized through narrative and at the same time ge­nea­ logi­cally de-legitimized. For what appears to be the effect of degeneracy and ‘miscegenation’ (“mulâtres”—“mulattoes”) is shown to be the consequence of malnutrition, that is, extreme poverty. As for the exploitative ruling ‘race,’ that is, the Carthaginian elite, it is descended from the Phoenician colonizers. The narrator convincingly emphasizes that this rich merchant class or ‘Canaanite race,’ as they are repeatedly called, are guilty of the very barbarism which they ascribe to the ‘races’ that they consider as foreign to themselves, including the autochthons. They are “sharks”—“requins”—who have risen to power through piracy (a type of predation, that is, of the anarchic, ‘barbaric’ form of subsistence),41 usury, and brutal exploitation.42 Elsewhere, the narra41 According to the evolutionist anthropology of the nineteenth century, which drew on the Enlightenment, predation as a means of subsistence is characteristic of the ‘barbaric’ stage of human development; see above, chapters 2.1.2 and 3.1. 42 “Les hommes de race chananéenne avaient le monopole du commerce. En multipliant les bénéfices de la piraterie par ceux de l’usure, en exploitant rudement les terres, les esclaves et

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tor emphatically stresses their ethnic heterogeneity and origins in ‘miscegenation’: “Ces hommes étaient généralement trapus, avec des nez recourbés comme ceux des colosses assyriens. Quelques-uns cependant, par leurs pommettes plus saillantes, leur taille plus haute et leurs pieds plus étroits, trahissaient une origine africaine, des ancêtres nomades” (2013, 666). (“These men were generally stocky, with hooked noses like those of the Assyrian colossi. Some, however, with their more prominent cheekbones, greater height and narrower feet, betrayed an African origin, nomad ancestors,” 2005, 111.) So it is even more important to them that the fiction of ‘racial purity’ is maintained. Hamilcar however, who takes command of the Carthaginian forces after the outbreak of war, seeks to break down the walls separating the poorer non-Canaanite and richer Canaanite ‘races’ out of concern for the social cohesion of the urban population. Nevertheless, vertical social differentiation remains: Mais la différence des fortunes, remplaçant la hiérarchie des races, continuait à maintenir séparés les fils des vaincus et ceux des conquérants ; aussi les patriciens virent d’un œil irrité la destruction de ces ruines, tandis que la plèbe, sans trop savoir pourquoi, s’en réjouissait. (2013, 693) But inequalities of wealth, replacing the hierarchy of race, continued to maintain separation between the sons of the conquered and those of the conquerors; so the patricians were annoyed to see these ruins destroyed, while the common people, without really knowing why, were delighted. (2005, 138)

Thus the delusory ‘racial superiority’ is upheld. Yet the exclusionary and differentiating dynamic of the concepts of barbarism and race must finally give way to a violent ‘undifferentiation’ (Girard). The novel shows this convincingly, as will be demonstrated later on. First, another aspect of the deceptive, even fraudulent fictionalization and manipulation that emanates from the semantics of barbarism and race deserves our attention. Both serve, as explained, to enforce the social vertical difference within the republic and the horizontal difference between Carthaginians and ‘barbarians.’ They impede the possibility of overcoming divisions to achieve a peaceful understanding between either autochthons and Phoenicians or Carthaginians and ‘barbaric’ merles pauvres, quelquefois on arrivait à la richesse. Seule, elle ouvrait toutes les magistratures ; et bien que la puissance et l’argent se perpétuassent dans les mêmes familles, on tolérait l’oligarchie, parce qu’on avait l’espoir d’y atteindre. [...] Donc la force de Carthage émanait des Syssites, c’est-à-dire d’une grande cour au centre de Malqua [...]. Les Riches se tassaient là tout le jour [...] tous forts et gras, à moitié nus, heureux, riant et mangeant en plein azur, comme de gros requins qui s’ébattent dans la mer” (2013, 647–48). (“[M]en of Canaanite race had the monopoly of trade; by multiplying the profits of piracy with those of usury, by crude exploitation of the land, the slaves and the poor, some people achieved wealth. Wealth alone opened up the magistracy; and although power and money were perpetuated in the same families, the oligarchy was tolerated because one could always hope to attain it. [...] Thus the strength of Carthage emanated from the Syssitia, that is a great courtyard in the centre of Malqua [...]. The Rich crowded there every day [...] all big and fat, half naked, happy, laughing and eating under the blue sky, like great sharks playing in the sea,” 2005, 91–92.)

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cenaries. This lack of understanding—which points back to the primary layer of the semantics of barbarism, namely incomprehensible speech43—is certainly not only created by those who hold sway in Carthage. The semantics of barbarism are also effective in the actions of the so-called barbarians themselves. Spendius plays a key role in this. As mentioned, he is of Greek descent; he once was a Roman slave and Hamilcar’s prisoner of war. The army freed him from his dungeon at the feast in Hamilcar’s gardens. From then on, he does everything he can to prevent an understanding between mercenaries and barbarians. Rightly, he fears that in the event of such an understanding, he would be surrendered to the Carthaginians and by them to the Romans (2013, 578, 592; English: 2005, 21, 36). When the Carthaginian suffete Hanno, Hamilcar’s adversary and involuntary ally, seeks to negotiate with the mercenary army at Sicca, the polyglot Greek deliberately misinterprets Hanno’s words so badly that he turns the mercenaries against Hanno. To the same end, he skillfully exploits the chance arrival of the Balearic mercenary Zarxas, who reports on the massacre of those Balearic slingers who have been delayed as the army withdrew (2013, 603–07; English: 2005, 47–50).44 Spendius’s role in Sicca and the massacre of the Balearic slingers are Flaubert’s additions, which serve both to provide motivation for the plot and to illustrate the effect of the semantics of barbarism and race. The inability to reach an understanding, which conceals an unwillingness to under­stand, subsequently provokes the outbreak of hostilities. In chapter IV, it manifests itself in the murder of the Carthaginian interpreters—an atrocity which Flaubert also added to the historical facts (2013, 624–26; English: 2005, 68)45—as well as in the imprisonment and torture of the Carthaginian delegation led by General Gisco (it has come to the mercenaries’ camp to negotiate with them). The Gaul Autharitus tortures the captured Carthaginians, who have been thrown into the sewage pit, under the pretext that they cannot understand his insults: “Autharite, tout en les surveillant, les accablait d’invectives ; comme ils ne comprenaient point sa langue, ils ne répondaient pas ; le Gaulois, de temps à autre, leur jetait des cailloux au visage pour les faire crier” (2013, 624). (“As he watched over them, Autharitus poured invective on them, but as they did not understand his language, they did not answer; the Gaul periodically threw stones at their faces to make them cry out,” 2005, 70.) Autharitus, who is one of the ‘barbarians,’ thus treats the Carthaginians as barbarians in the onomatopoetic sense of the word, by forcing them to emit cries of pain instead of human speech. The so-called ‘barbarians,’ who are barbarians for the Carthaginians in the onomatopoetic sense of the word, that is, incomprehen­ sible strangers, as the failed negotiations at Sicca show, now transform the ‘civilized’ Carthaginians into ‘barbarians.’ The differentiation that the overlapping concepts of barbarism and race are intended to enforce thus turns into violent ‘undifferentiation.’46 However, as explained 43 See above, chapters 1.1.1 and 1.2.1. 44 In the corresponding chapter of Polybius (1.67; French: 1989, 108–10; English: 2010, 198– 201), there is no mention of Spendius. 45 It remains unclear who committed the crime. The context suggests that it was planned by Spendius and Mâtho. It marks the beginning of the war, as Adert (1998, 58) underscores. 46 On this analytical category used by René Girard, see above, footnote 36.

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above, the narrative genealogy from the start conveys the insight that horizontal differences created and legitimized with those concepts are deceptive. Yet this insight is only reached on the extradiegetic level; it is reserved for the reading public. On the intradiegetic level of the plot, the war which appears to legitimize the semantics of the two concepts has the effect of violent undifferentiation, that is, a bloody leveling of the differences between the barbaric and non-barbaric ‘races,’ which are the very differences that the war is being waged to maintain. The bloody leveling ultimately also affects the vertical differences concealed in the two concepts, that is, the social differences within Carthage. I will now discuss more examples of both dimensions of this undifferentiation. From the beginning, the atrocities which the Carthaginians and the barbarian army commit reduce the horizontal differences between so-called barbarians and non-barbarians. A case in point is the aforementioned spontaneous massacre by the Carthaginian population of three hundred Balearic slingers who were accidentally delayed during the withdrawal of the mercenary army from Carthage. The massacre degenerates to some extent into anthropophagy, an extreme form of predation, which since the Greeks has been one of the basic features of the semantics of barbarism: Puis, les cadavres furent placés dans les bras des Dieux-Patæques qui bordaient le temple de Khamon. On leur reprocha tous les crimes des Mercenaires : leur gourmandise, leurs vols, leurs impiétés, leurs dédains, et le meurtre des poissons dans le jardin de Salammbô. On fit à leurs corps d’infâmes mutilations ; les prêtres brûlèrent leurs che­ veux pour tourmenter leur âme ; on les suspendit par morceaux chez les marchands de viandes ; quelques-uns même y enfoncèrent les dents, et le soir, pour en finir, on alluma des bûchers dans les carrefours. (2013, 605) Then the corpses were placed in the arms of the Pataeci Gods lined round the temple of Khamon. They were blamed for all the Mercenaries’ crimes: their gluttony, their thefts, their impiety, their scorn, and the death of the fish in Salammbo’s garden. Their bodies were shamefully mutilated; the priests burned their hair to torment their souls; they were hung up in bits in butchers’ shops; some even sank their teeth in them, and in the evening, to finish it off, bonfires were lit at cross-roads. (2005, 49)47

47 The “Pataeci Gods”—“Dieux-Patæques”—are demons with frightening traits and Khamon is a Canaanite deity.—On anthropophagy in Salammbô, see ch. XIV, in which some groups of mercenaries that are enclosed in the “Defile of the Axe”—“Défilé de la Hache”—practice cannibalism to find a way out of slowly starving and dying (2013, 803–04; English: 2005, 250–51). On cannibalism as a key feature of the semantics of barbarism, see Winkler 2009, 53–54. Euripides’s Hecuba provides important evidence: the Thracian king Polymestor, blinded by the Trojan women prisoners of war, crawls out of the tent on all fours like a wild animal, threatening to eat the women (Hec. 1057–58, 1070–72). Agamemnon then admonishes him to banish the barbaric (τὸ βάρβαρον) from his mind (1129).—The most important early modern evidence for the association between barbarism and cannibalism is Montaigne’s essay “Des cannibales.” On the association of barbarism and cannibalism, see also above, Christian Moser’s chapters 2.1.1.2, 2.1.1.3 (with a discussion of Montaigne), 2.1.2.2., 2.1.2.4, 2.1.2.7, and 2.2.

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After the outbreak of the war, the vertical differences of ‘races,’ that is, classes, disappear within Carthage in the course of a massacre perpetrated on captured ‘barbarians.’ The Council of Elders ensures that all strata of society participate in the torture and executions of two thousand ‘barbaric’ prisoners of war. Even the autochthonous families, that is, those who are not members of the Canaanite ‘race,’ are now included, as the narrator stresses: “l’exaltation gagnait jusqu’aux gens de Malqua, issus des familles autochtones et d’ordinaire indifférents aux choses de la patrie. [...] et les Anciens trouvèrent habile d’avoir ainsi fondu dans une même vengeance le peuple entier” (2013, 710). (“[...] even the people of Malqua were moved by the excitement; coming of autochthonous stock they were usually indifferent to affairs of state. [...] the Elders thought it was clever thus to have combined the whole people in a single revenge,” 2005, 154.) The effect is the same here as in the case of the barbarian withdrawal from Carthage discussed above. In that case however, the violence against the ‘barbarians,’ which allows the population to see itself as a whole for a moment, remains latent until it is spontaneously discharged on the remaining Balearic people. Violence against victims, who temporarily capture the violence that threatens the existence of the community from the inside, is repeatedly presented in the novel as reducing social differences while simultaneously appearing to create unity (Girard 1998, 150–54, and passim). The terrible human sacrifice however that the most distinguished families of Carthage offer to the god Moloch because of the acute water shortage following Spendius’s dismantling of the aqueduct is ‘sanctified’ as part of a sacrificial ritual and thus not a spontaneous outbreak of violence. This is why it becomes possible that rather than ‘barbarian’ prisoners, children of the distinguished Carthaginian families now serve as victims. Yet the children are made to resemble the ‘barbarians,’ as the priests and the crowd participating in the ritual no longer perceive them as human beings, but animals: “‘Ce ne sont pas des hommes, mais des bœufs !’” (2013, 795). (“‘These are not men, but oxen!’” 2005, 241.) Some of the crowd also behave like animals, as the ‘barbarians’ did at the feast in Hamilcar’s gardens: “Les buveurs de jusquiame, marchant à quatre pattes, tournaient autour du colosse et rugissaient comme des tigres” (2013, 796). (“The henbane drinkers crawled on all fours round the colossus [i.e., the huge Moloch statue, M. W.] roaring like tigers,” 2005, 241.) The ‘sacred’ violence however only apparently reconciles the strata of the Carthaginian society with each other and the angry deity. In reality, it lays bare the ‘barbaric’ foundation of civilization, as the reaction of “the Barbarians to the foot of the walls”—“les Barbares au pied des murs”—shows: “[...] ils regardaient béants d’horreur” (2013, 796)—“[...] they watched, aghast with horror” (2005, 242). Even for the so-called barbarians, the leveling of the difference between civilization and barbarism by the sacrifice that is to restore and sanction this difference is deeply disturbing. The narration stages here an insight that the characters themselves remain deprived of: the differences which the war is being waged to maintain are only apparent; they are in fact progressively leveled by the war and by human sacrifice. The narrative staging of this undifferentiation, which the characters fail to see, includes a symmetrical crucifixion scene. Towards the end of the war, Hamilcar gives the command for ten of the betrayed and captured barbarian leaders to be crucified.

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Thereupon Mâtho risks a sortie and orders for thirty members of the Carthaginian Council of Elders, including Hanno, to suffer the same fate (2013, 816–20; English: 2005, 262–66). Polybius already highlights the undifferentiating equivalence of both crucifixion groups and associates it with the doings of fate—τύχη (1.86.7; French: 1989, 135; English: 2010, 254–55). In Flaubert, in contrast, there is no indication that a higher power is at work. The only remaining factor is the characters’ ignorance, here Hamilcar’s, the seemingly outstanding strategist’s, who is now faced with a catastrophic shift in the course of the war: “Le Suffète n’avait rien pu savoir” (2013, 820). (“The Suffete had been unable to know anything of this,” 2005, 266.) That the Carthaginians nevertheless win the final battle—although starting from an almost hopeless position—is indeed in Flaubert’s novel none of Hamilcar’s doing, but the work of the Carthaginian populace, including the elderly, the sick, women, and children. With skewers, sticks, and hammers, they unexpectedly join in the action of the battle (another episode added by Flaubert) in a sort of ‘total mobilization’ (to use a term later coined by Ernst Jünger): “[...] la populace punique exterminait les Mercenaires” (2013, 826). (“[...] the Punic populace was exterminating the Mercenaries,” 2005, 272; translation modified, M. W.) This “populace” also includes the despised underclass of autochthons who tended to turn to the barbarian side since the mercenary army’s withdrawal in chapter II. Now, however, these poor and disenfranchised are fighting out of “anguish” (2005, 271)—“angoisse” (2013, 826)—against their peers in the mercenary army. Once more, the horizontal social and ethnic difference between Carthaginians and mercenaries is leveled violently, and tragically as well. Yet the destruction of the mercenary army and the capture of Mâtho, the only one whom the Carthaginians spare in order to execute him publicly—another human sacrifice—seems to clear the way for the final restoration of public order in Carthage. As demonstrated, this order depends on the vertical hierarchy of ‘races,’ which conceals a hierarchy of classes and on the—horizontal—distinction between the civilized urban population and the ‘barbarians.’ Spatially, this order is reflected in the vertical arrangement of the Carthaginian population during the victory celebration, part of which is Mâtho’s torture and sacrifice. The spectators form a visible social scale that ascends from the common people who fill the streets to the terrace on which Salammbô is enthroned, surrounded by those in power: Ayant ainsi le peuple à ses pieds, le firmament sur la tête, et autour d’elle l’immensité de la mer, le golfe, les montagnes et les perspectives des provinces, Salammbô resplendissante se confondait avec Tanit et semblait le génie même de Carthage, son âme corporifiée. (2013, 832) With the people thus at her feet, the firmament above her, and all around the immensity of the sea, the gulf, the mountains and views of the provinces, Salammbo in her splendour merged with Tanit [that is, the moon goddess, whose priestess she is, M. W.] and seemed to be the very genius of Carthage, her soul incarnate. (2005, 278)

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This mythicizing arrangement tends towards kitsch, insofar as it blends hetero­ geneous components (people, nature, the human world, and the divine) in order to create a sort of total work of art (Gesamtkunstwerk) that conceals the fragility of the social order instead of overcoming it.48 To be sure, the entire hierarchically stratified population now seems to participate in the ceremonial torture and execution of Mâtho. The ceremony culminates in the moment in which Tanit priest Schahabarim, Salammbô’s mentor, tears Mâtho’s still-beating heart out of his breast in order to offer it to the setting sun; this is obviously the climax of the kitsch arrangement. The execution thus becomes a human sacrifice, which apparently unites the Carthaginians once more: “[...] ce fut un seul cri; [...] Carthage était comme convulsée dans le spasme d’une joie titanique et d’un espoir sans bornes” (2013, 836). (“[...] there came a single shout; [...] Carthage was as if convulsed in a spasm of titanic joy and boundless hope,” 2005, 282.) Yet immediately after, a symmetrical correspondence that recalls the symmetrical crucifixion scene puts a shocking end to the kitsch arrangement: the death of Mâtho, the ‘barbarian,’ is immediately followed by the death of Salammbô, the Carthaginian. Like him, she falls backwards, so the impression of symmetry is created through gesture: “Il s’abattit à la renverse et ne bougea plus. [...] Elle retomba, la tête en arrière, par-dessus le dossier du trône” (2013, 836). (“He fell over backwards and did not stir. [...] She fell, her head back, over the back of the throne,” 2005, 281–82.) This dénouement that ends the novel49 breaks down the horizontal and vertical differences which the sacrifice was performed to recover and reaffirm. The Libyan ‘barbarian’ and the Carthaginian demigoddess become a couple, as in their act of love “In the Tent” (“Sous la tente,” to quote the title of chapter XI); their Liebestod also echoes and fulfills the initial prediction of a “wedding”—“noces.” Not this wedding, but the continued existence of the republic under the auspices of the “genius of Carthage” (2005, 282)—“génie de Carthage” (2013, 836)—proves an illusion; the novel indeed alludes repeatedly to Carthage’s final downfall.50

48 These are features that characterize kitsch in the Gesamtkunstwerk as well as in the totalitarian staging and representation of power (Kliche 2001, 277, 283). In the final scene of his novel, Flaubert indeed anticipates and dismantles a totalitarian kitsch arrangement avant la lettre. 49 Since I have not discussed the episode in which Mâtho steals Tanit’s veil in the temple and the subsequent episode in which Salammbô re-captures the veil in Mâtho’s tent, I refrain from analyzing the ambiguous last sentence of the novel: “Ainsi mourut la fille d’Hamilcar pour avoir touché au manteau de Tanit” (2013, 836). (“Thus died Hamilcar’s daughter, for touching Tanit’s veil,” 2005, 282.) I but indicate here that the sentence may be an allusion to the fact that Salammbô was poisoned (by Schahabarim?), but it may also be the ironical (free indirect) staging of a mythicizing speech that seeks to capture the shock. 50 See the allusion to the dictum “Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam” attributed to Cato the Elder (“le cri de mort qu’il répétait dans Rome,” 2013, 645—“the call for death which he repeated in Rome,” 2005, 89) and Hamilcar’s prophecy of the downfall of Carthage (2013, 670–71; English: 2005, 115), which culminates in the phrase: “Tu tom­ beras, Carthage!” (2013, 671) (“You will fall, Carthage!” 2005, 115.)

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3.3.4. The Contribution of Flaubert’s Novel to the History of ‘Barbarism’ and ‘Race’ The frequency with which ‘barbarism’ and ‘race’ are used in Flaubert’s historical ­novel corresponds to their cultural and historical significance: both are identity-forming basic European concepts, one of ancient, the other of Early Modern ori­ gin. The novel stages and probes their interaction in contemporary historiography and cultural anthropology. While they are supposed to pass on reliable knowledge by means of inclusions and exclusions, in the novel they turn out to be formulas, which merely simulate knowledge and mask lack of knowledge or of willingness to know. Thus, they are a means of deceptive and even self-deceptive enforcement of differences that conceal contingent structures of power. The literary method of this genealogical de-legitimization includes the ironical projection of the idea of inferior barbarian races onto the very ethnicities which according to contemporary anthropology represent the superior and civilizing ‘races’ (Indo-Germanic or ‘Aryan,’ in any case predominantly white peoples), namely the Greeks, Gauls, Celtiberians, etc. One medium for this projection is the style indirect libre or free indirect speech. Where the narrative voice approximates the voice of the Carthaginian upper class, it anachronistically lends this class both concepts, producing a distancing effect. At the same time, it gives the reader to understand that, in genealogical terms, the ‘barbaric race’ masks low social class and the ‘pure race,’ the ruling class. This extremely elaborate, contrapuntal and polyphonic form of narrative conveys to the reading public the knowledge the characters are not privy to. They are mere actors in an epically staged game, the rules of which are defined by the two concepts. Yet the actions intended to bring about differentiation between ‘races’ and between the ‘barbarians’ and the civilized have exactly the opposite effect, namely violent undifferentiation. Indeed, as Sainte-Beuve complains, only barbarians make war on barbarians here, but the epic realization of the appalling cruelty with which they wage this war operates within a decidedly Greek tradition, as he fails to realize when he asks: [...] pourquoi [...] l’auteur n’a-t-il pas eu l’idée de nous faire rencontrer un Grec, un seul, animé de l’esprit de Gélon, un disciple, par la pensée, des Xénophon, des Aristote, des anciens sages de son pays, un jeune Achéen [...] qui, fourvoyé dans cette affreuse guerre, la jugeant, sentant comme nous et comme beaucoup d’honnêtes gens d’alors en présence de ces horreurs, nous aiderait peut-être à les supporter ? (2013 [1862], 959) Why has the author not had the idea of introducing a Greek to us, just one, filled with the spirit of Gelo, the disciple of thinkers like Xenophon and Aristotle, of the old wise men of his country, a young Achaean [...], who, somehow thrown into this dreadful war, and faced with its horrors, would help us to put up with it by expressing opinions about it and feelings shared by us and by the many honest people of those days? (My translation, M. W.)

To counter such illusionary humanistic misconceptions, the novel reveals what is profoundly disturbing and inhumane in the Greco-Roman ‘heritage.’ Thus the biologizing notion of ‘race,’ already long established by the nineteenth century, proves

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to be a modern-day equivalent of the Greek adverb phýsei, ‘by nature,’ with which Plato and Aristotle reinforce the ethnocentric and discriminatory tendency of the concept of barbarism. The military action accordingly appears in the novel as a series of events which are inevitable, that is, devoid of any control by reason. Nevertheless—and in contrast to Polybius’ version—there is no fate of any kind. From the first, the novel draws our attention to the contingency of the factors that trigger the war. These include, in the first chapter, the accidental release of Spendius, without whose later intrigue an understanding could perhaps have been reached, and in the second, the no less accidental delay of the Balearic slingers, who are then spontaneously massacred by the Carthaginian population. Only these and other coincidences allow the senseless disaster to run its course.51 Thus, unlike Sainte-Beuve, Flaubert does not reproduce the ethnocentric Greek concept of barbarism, which had long become Eurocentric by his time. Instead, as a novelist he draws our attention to the suppressed dynamics of the concept and its interaction with the concept of race. Probably for this reason, he emphasized in his reply to Sainte-Beuve that “[n]othing is more complicated than a Barbarian” (1982, 40)—“Rien de plus compliqué qu’un Barbare” (2013, 970). The genealogical knowledge that the novel mediates to the reading public, whereas it passes the characters by, often foreshadows the genealogical analyses of Nietzsche, Freud or even Charles Darwin. The latter writes, less than ten years after the publication of the novel, in The Descent of Man: “The main conclusion arrived at in this work, namely that man is descended from some lowly-organised form, will, I regret to think, be highly distasteful to many persons. But there can hardly be a doubt that we are descended from barbarians” (1871, 404). With this statement, Darwin places himself within the tradition of theories of culture and sociogenesis which extend from the historical anthropology of the Enlightenment (Montesquieu, Turgot, Ferguson, Robertson, and others) to the evolutionist and neo-evolutionist ethnology and anthropology of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (Tylor, Morgan, and Childe).52 They have in common the conjecture that the boundary between civilization and barbarism is permeable (Winkler 2014, 36–37, with supporting reference to Petermann 2004, 223–53, 478, 483–89, 742). At the same time, Darwin’s use of the adjective distasteful (touching on the realm of aesthetics) emphasizes the double-edged nature of this model. Does the hypothesis of civilization’s ‘descent’ from savagery and barbarism mark real progress, or is it liable to call the values of civilization into question, maybe even to disavow them, as Nietzsche later suggests in Beyond Good and Evil and On the Genealogy of Morality?53 Flaubert’s novel seems to respond to this question with the second answer. Rituals such as the sacrifice of children or that of Mâtho at the end of the novel clearly show that ‘barbarism’ is the foundation of civilization and that civilization periodically regresses to ‘barbarism.’ Yet in two respects, the novel goes decidedly beyond what nineteenth-century anthropology and ethnology as well as cultural and literary criticism have to say on the subject. While these firmly establish ‘race’ and ‘barbarism’ 51 On the novel’s image of history, see Séginger 2005. 52 See above, chapters 2.1.2 and 3.1. 53 See below, chapter 3.4.3.

3.3.  Interfering Semantics of Barbarism and Race       257

as historical-anthropological, ethnographic, and aesthetic categories of knowledge,54 the ‘narrativization’ of both concepts in Flaubert’s novel shows, firstly, that they both only appear to convey, but in reality oppose and undermine knowledge. Secondly, it shows that the interaction of the semantics of the two concepts reinstates the pri­ mary space-relatedness of the concept of barbarism, that is, its function as an enemy- and counter-concept, given that the concept of race is also primarily space-related, as the passages cited from Gobineau’s Essai illustrate.55 Thus, one effect of the interaction of both concepts is that the temporalization of the concept of barbarism since the Enlightenment, that is, its scholarly use to refer to a stage of human development, becomes implausible. What remains is an epistemologically empty concept, as emphasized above. Its meaning always depends on its respective opposite and its use results in the supposed opposite’s turning into the excluded so-called ‘barbarian’: “Le barbare, c’est d’abord l’homme qui croit à la barbarie” (Lévi-Strauss 1990, 383)—“The barbarian is, first and foremost, the man who believes in barbarism” (1952, 12).56

54 Nietzsche is an exception insofar as he sketches a genealogical critique of the concept of barbarism in On the Genealogy of Morality. He does not subject the concept of race to comparable criticism; see below, chapter 3.4.2. On the presence of the concept of race in nineteenth-century evolutionist anthropology, see Flühr Lobban 2006, 80–95. 55 This result corresponds entirely to the statistical finding that space-related words dominate in Flaubert’s historical novel, in marked contrast to another famous historical novel of the nineteenth century, Victor Hugo’s Notre-Dame de Paris. See Nugues (n.d.). 56 See above, chapter 1.2.3.2, p. 25, where this pertinent observation has already been quoted.

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3.4. Nietzsche’s Concept of Barbarism: From Rhetoric to Genealogy Markus Winkler

3.4.1. Preliminary Remarks The concept of barbarism plays a major role in Nietzsche’s cultural criticism: Nietzsche-Source lists 202 textual units in which the lexeme barbar- occurs. They range from the early writings to the latest, including the posthumous fragments. The concept of barbarism thus proves to be as prominent as that of decadence (208 textual units), with which it forms a complex semantic relationship, but it has not nearly received as much scholarly attention as the latter and its semantic relative, namely nihilism (175 textual units). The online Weimarer Nietzsche Bibliography mentions ten articles dealing with various aspects of Nietzsche’s concept of barbarism, all published between 2003 and 2016;1 as for decadence, there are 179 entries ranging from the beginnings of Nietzsche scholarship (1893) to the present (2016). One may surmise that the reasons for this striking discrepancy are similar to those already mentioned in our introductory chapter in order to account for the lack of a comprehensive conceptual history of barbarism. There is first the dif­fi­ culty of abstracting the concept of barbarism from the affect-related onomatopoetic lexeme representing it; this involves that barbarism is a pseudo-concept unsuitable for being used as an instrument of scholarly knowledge (that is, in propositional statements) and difficult to define as an object of research in conceptual history.2 Second, there is the concept’s widespread and efficient rhetorical use throughout occidental cultural history, which makes for its apparently self-evident legitimacy.3 Both aspects—barbarism’s problematic status as concept and its use as a rhetorical slogan—inform not only Nietzsche scholarship, but also Nietzsche’s own use of the concept. As will become clear, he is from early on aware of the concept’s problematic status. It is only in some of his later writings that he questions the concept’s legitimacy by analyzing it from the perspective of genealogical critique, the aim of which is to uncover the provenance and origin or emergence of our moral prejudices (“Herkunft unserer moralischen Vorurtheile,” 1980-KSA, vol. 5, 248 = Zur Genealogie der Moral, “Vorrede” 2; “Ursprung,” 248 = “Vorrede” 3; “Entstehungsgeschichte,” 313 = II, § 12).4 1

2 3 4

See Dias 2003; Martin 2003; Decker 2007; Lepers 2009; Decker 2009; Moura 2010; Gentili 2011; Bornschlegell 2011; Bosincu 2015; Sommer 2015. To these should be added Brennecke 1976 and Reschke 2000a, as well as the entries in the Nietzsche-Handbuch (Reschke 2000b) and in the Dictionnaire Nietzsche (Choulet 2017). See above, chapter 1.1. and 1.2.3.2. See above, chapter 1.2.3.1. Throughout this chapter, I will write in italics the words the letters of which are spaced out in the Kritische Studienausgabe of Nietzsche’s works (quoted as Nietzsche 1980-KSA).—On Nietzsche’s hesitation about using the word Ursprung (‘origin’), see Foucault 2015 [1971],

3.4.  Nietzsche’s Concept of Barbarism: From Rhetoric to Genealogy       259

Apart from this, his overall use of the concept is largely shaped by the humanist and classicist opposition between barbarism and ‘culture’ (Bildung), which is a German variant of the English and French opposition of civilization and barbarism.5 After the present preliminary remarks, I will analyze some key variations on this opposition in Nietzsche’s early and middle works. In doing so, I will emphasize the structural as well as the historical-conceptual aspects, since the latter have not yet been sufficiently highlighted in the scarce research mentioned above. I will also pay attention to passages in which Nietzsche more or less reluctantly questions the opposition of barbarism and culture, because these passages pave the way for Nietzsche’s genealogical critique of the concept, with which I will deal in the last part.6

3.4.2. Variations on the Opposition of Barbarism and ‘Culture’ (Bildung) As a classical philologist, Nietzsche is from early on aware of the problematic status of the lexeme barbar- and the concept of barbarism; in a posthumous fragment written between summer 1872 and early 1873, he admits: Das Wort Barbar und Barbarei ist ein böses verwegenes Wort und nicht so ohne Vorrede wage ich es, es zu gebrauchen: und wenn es wahr ist daß die Griechen von dem Sprachtone fremdländischer Völker wie von einem Gequacke sprachen und daher mit einem gleichen Namen die Frösche benannten, so sind Barbaren also Quäcker sinnloses und unschönes Geplapper. Mangel an aesthetischer Erziehung. (1980-KSA, vol. 7, 515 = NF 1872, 19 [313])7 The words “barbarian” and “barbarism” are mean, reckless words, and I do not dare to use them without some prefatory remarks: and if it is true that the Greeks spoke of the sound of foreign languages as croaking, and for that reason applied this same term to frogs, then barbarians are croakers—senseless, ugly chatter. Lack of aesthetic education. (1999b, 94)

The beginning of this fragment seems to warn against the use of the word barbarian; since it aims at hitting and hurting, as Arno Borst has stated (1988, 19),8 one cannot use it without certain caveats. Nietzsche’s reflection on the word’s etymology however, instead of corroborating the warning, leads him to adopt the word’s dis-

5 6 7 8

vol. 2, 1282–86. Foucault states convincingly: “Des termes comme Entstehung ou Herkunft marquent mieux que Ursprung l’objet propre de la généalogie” (1286). (“Entstehung and Herkunft are more exact than Ursprung in recording the true objective of genealogy,” 1984, 80.) The German differentiation between ‘culture’ and ‘civilization’ takes shape as of the late eighteenth century (see the quotation from Kant below in section 3.4.3 of the present chapter), but its ideological quality dates from the early twentieth century (Fisch 1992, 724–69). Unlike Lepers (2009), I will not take into account all occurrences of the lexeme. On this passage, see also Martin 2003, 28. Quoted above in chapter 1.1.

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criminatory dynamic: the phrase “Mangel an ästhetischer Erziehung” makes it clear that he intends to draw on this dynamic in culture-related aesthetic and pedagogical debates. The phrase thus signals a metonymic shift from observations on the word’s etymology to the word’s rhetorical use in aesthetic-pedagogic value judgments, the middle term of this shift being the ugly (“unschönes”). From a historical-conceptual perspective, this shift is not surprising: it reproduces the genealogical link between the onomatopoetic word bárbaros and the rhetorical term barbarismus, which refers to aesthetically and morally offensive incorrectness of speech.9 In Nietzsche’s fragment, the expression ästhetische Erziehung reveals that the shift is also building on Schiller’s use of the word to denounce a lack of human wholeness brought about by a temporary result of cultural development (not of the lack thereof), namely hypertrophic reason suppressing nature, that is, ‘principles’ ­(“Grundsätze”) destroying ‘feelings’ (“Gefühle,” 1962, 318 = Ueber die ästhetische Erziehung in einer Reihe von Briefen, “Vierter Brief ”).10 From Schiller’s neo-humanist and classicist perspective, ancient Greece serves as paradigm of the lost wholeness (1962, 321–28 = “Sechster Brief ”). From a similar perspective, Hölderlin’s Hyperion qualifies the Germans of his time as barbarians of old whom science and religion have barbarized even more: “Barbaren von Alters her, durch Fleiß und Wissenschaft und selbst durch Religion barbarischer geworden” (1994, 168). In a posthumous note of 1873, Nietzsche does not quote Hyperion’s diatribe, but an equivalent passage from a letter Hölderlin wrote to his brother on June 4, 1799; the beginning of the quoted passage reads as follows: [...] du wirst durchaus finden, dass jetzt die menschlicheren Organisationen, Gemüther, welche die Natur zur Humanität am bestimmtesten gebildet zu haben scheint, dass diese jetzt überall die unglücklicheren sind, eben weil sie seltener sind als sonst in anderen Zeiten und Gegenden. Die Barbaren um uns her zerreissen unsre besten Kräfte, ehe sie zur Bildung kommen können [...]. (1980-KSA, vol. 7, 680 = NF 1873, 29 [106])11 [...] You certainly will discover that today human organizations, dispositions, which nature appears to have created most distinctly for the purpose of humanity, that everywhere today these are the least fortunate, precisely because they are less frequent than in all other eras and regions. The barbarians who surround us are destroying our best energies before they can be cultivated [...]. (1999b, 244)

In this passage, the opposition of humanist culture (“Bildung”) and barbarism does not refer to ethnic otherness, as it is at least in part the case in Goethe’s Iphigenie, but to alienation from the human being’s destination, namely “development of his 9 See above, chapter 1.2.1. 10 On Nietzsche’s building on Schiller’s concept of barbarism, see Martin 2003, 29–30; Gentili 2011, 338–46. 11 Apart from minor orthographic changes, Nietzsche quotes the letter correctly, probably after the edition Hölderlin 1846, 64–65, although this volume is not part of Nietzsche’s personal library (Campioni et al. 2002, 309). On this quotation, see Waibel 2004, 56. For a recent edition of the quoted letter, see Hölderlin 1992, 354–60.

3.4.  Nietzsche’s Concept of Barbarism: From Rhetoric to Genealogy       261

powers to a complete and consistent whole” (Humboldt 1854, 11), to quote Wilhelm von Humboldt’s well-known formulation (“Bildung seiner Kräfte zu einem Ganzen,” 1960, 64). Accordingly, Nietzsche qualifies in another posthumous fragment (written in spring 1870) division of labor as barbarism’s principle (“Arbeitstheilung ist das Princip des Barbarenthums,” 1980-KSA, vol. 7, 73 = NF 1869, 3 [44]). The manifestations of this principle are the rule of mechanism, modernity’s individualism and its opposition to classical antiquity, as well as the ensuing enslavement by a science, a concept or a vice: “Der ganz vereinzelte Mensch zu schwach und fällt in Sklavenbande: z. B. einer Wissenschaft, eines Begriffs, eines Lasters” (73). (“The completely isolated human being is too weak and becomes enslaved, e. g., by a scholarly discipline, by a concept or by a vice,” my translation, M. W.) Here, the middle term of the metonymic shift from the Greek word’s meaning to its modern application is slavery, which is, as already mentioned, a constitutive and constant semantic feature of the Greek word. Nietzsche underscores this middle term with the fragment’s heading: “Das Sklaventhum der Barbaren (d. h. von uns)” (73). (“The slavedom of the barbarians, that is, of us,” my translation, M. W.). This aesthetic-pedagogic notion of modern slavery may in turn be associated with barbarism’s etymological provenance: “Sprechen- und Schreibenlernen heisst freiwerden: zugegeben dass nicht immer das Beste dabei herauskommt; aber es ist gut, dass es sichtbar wird, dass es Wort und Farbe findet. Barbar ist einer, der sich nicht ausdrücken kann, der sklavenhaft plappert” (1980-KSA, vol. 7, 834 = NF 1874, 37 [8]). (“To be able to speak and write means to be liberated: I admit that this is not always for the best; but it is good for it to become visible, for it to take on word and color. Anyone who cannot express himself, who slavishly prattles, is a barbarian,” 1999b, 386.) Such transfers and shifts from etymological observations to value judgments defy historiographical contextualization and ethnographic differentiation. They reflect the word’s genealogy, but have no connection with the modern temporalization of the concept of barbarism according to which barbarism is a stage in human development that follows the savage state and precedes the civilized state.12 As Christian Moser has explained above, this view extended from the Enlightenment to evolutionist cultural anthropology and ethnology of the nineteenth century.13 It tends to transform the lexeme barbar- into a concept suitable for propositional statements, thereby tending towards the de-legitimization of its use as a discriminating counter-concept or rhetorical slogan in value judgements. Contrary to this tendency, Nietzsche’s own application of the lexeme in value judgments (to be distinguished from the etymological observation quoted above) is informed by the rhetorical use of the lexeme’s discriminatory dynamic and, more specifically, by the rhetorical notion of barbarismus. A particularly formulaic expression of Nietzsche’s association of barbarism with a lack of linguistic-aesthetic achievement and education is part of the following passage from the first of the Untimely Meditations (Unzeitgemäße Betrachtungen):

12 See chapter 2.1.2. 13 See Melanie Rohner’s quotations from Engels and Morgan in chapter 3.1.

262       Markus Winkler Kultur ist vor allem Einheit des künstlerischen Stiles in allen Lebensäusserungen eines Volkes. Vieles Wissen und Gelernthaben ist aber weder ein nothwendiges Mittel der Kultur, noch ein Zeichen derselben und verträgt sich nöthigenfalls auf das beste mit dem Gegensatze der Kultur, der Barbarei, das heisst: der Stillosigkeit oder dem chaotischen Durcheinander aller Stile. (1980-KSA, vol. 1, 163 = David Strauss der Bekenner und Schriftsteller, § 1) Culture is, above all, unity of artistic style in all the expressions of the life of a people. Much knowledge and learning is neither an essential means to culture nor a sign of it, and if needs be can get along very well with the opposite of culture, barbarism, which is lack of style or a chaotic jumble of all styles. (1997a, 5–6)

In the second Untimely Meditation, this counter-conceptual use of the lexeme receives further explanation and legitimation by means of an analysis of contemporary German Innerlichkeit, that is, hypertrophic inwardness. Nietzsche denounces the cleavage between Innerlichkeit and external life: the former grows out of plethoric erudition incapable of exteriorizing itself in a way relevant to the entire German people, that is, to the building of their cultural unity embracing spirit and life (“Einheit des deutschen Geistes und Lebens”); as a result, exterior German life becomes the heteronomous and slavish imitation of foreign, in particular French, conventions (1980-KSA, vol. 1, 271–78 = Vom Nutzen und Nachtheil der Historie für das Leben, § 4). This critique of German plethoric erudition seems imbued with Gallophobic nationalism. Yet it is itself indebted to French classicism and moralism, in particular to the ideal of honnêteté, which excludes pedantry and other forms of particularisms, among which are excessive learning and its ‘barbaric’ jargon (Auerbach 1933, 12–13, 24–25, 32).14 Barbarism is thus linked again to an aspect of its etymology, namely the inability to express oneself decently, as evidenced by barbarisms in the rhetorical sense.15 This inability as well signals a lack of wholeness: Die Cultur eines Volkes als der Gegensatz jener Barbarei ist einmal, wie ich meine, mit einigem Rechte, als Einheit des künstlerischen Stiles in allen Lebensäusserungen eines Volkes bezeichnet worden; diese Bezeichnung darf nicht dahin missverstanden werden, als ob es sich um den Gegensatz von Barbarei und schönem Stile handele; das Volk, dem man eine Cultur zuspricht, soll nur in aller Wirklichkeit etwas lebendig Eines sein und nicht so elend in Inneres und Aeusseres, in Inhalt und Form auseinanderfallen. (1980KSA, vol. 1, 274 = Vom Nutzen und Nachtheil der Historie für das Leben, § 4) The culture of a people as the antithesis to this barbarism was once, and as I think with a certain justice, defined as unity of artistic style in all the expressions of the life of a people; this definition should not be misunderstood in the sense of implying an an-

14 In French, the meanings of jargon include barbarism in the rhetorical sense (Grand Robert de la langue française, s. v. “jargon n.m.”). Nietzsche opposes the linguistic obscurity of German writers to the clarté of the French moralists (see below, our quotation from Mensch­li­ ches, Allzumenschliches). 15 See above, chapter 1.2.1.

3.4.  Nietzsche’s Concept of Barbarism: From Rhetoric to Genealogy       263 tithesis between barbarism and fine style; what is meant is that a people to whom one attributes a culture has to be in all reality a single living unity and not fall wretchedly apart into inner and outer, content and form. (1997a, 79–80)

From the preceding remarks it follows that Nietzsche’s early use of the lexeme barbar- is intertextually linked not only to German neo-humanism as Schiller’s and Hölderlin’s, but also to French classicism and moralism as well as classical rhetoric. Nietzsche indeed held Montaigne and the French moralists in high esteem: Europäische Bücher. — Man ist beim Lesen von Montaigne, Larochefoucauld, Labruyère, Fontenelle (namentlich der dialogues des morts) Vauvenargues, Champfort dem Alterthum näher, als bei irgend welcher Gruppe von sechs Autoren anderer Völker. Durch jene Sechs ist der Geist der letzten Jahrhunderte der alten Zeitrechnung wieder erstanden, — sie zusammen bilden ein wichtiges Glied in der grossen noch fortlaufenden Kette der Renaissance. (1980-KSA, vol. 2, 646 = Menschliches Allzumenschliches II: Der Wanderer und sein Schatten, § 214) European books.—When reading Montaigne, Larochefoucauld, La Bruyere, Fontenelle (especially the Dialogues des Morts), Vauvenargues and Chamfort we are closer to antiquity than in the case of any other group of six authors of any other nation. Through these six the spirit of the final centuries of the old era has risen again—together they constitute an important link in the great, still continuing chain of the Renaissance. (1996, 362–63)

Later in the same paragraph, he praises their wittiness (“Witz”) and clarity (“Helligkeit”)—a reference to the French clarté, the equivalent of the Latin grammatical-rhetorical term perspicuitas—and opposes them to the style of German thinkers, the characteristics of which are “its obscurity, exaggeration and occasional thinness and dryness” (363)—“das Dunkle, Uebertriebene und gelegentlich wieder Klapperdürre” (647). Nietzsche qualifies these characteristics as “faults” (“Fehler”), that is, vitia in the rhetorical sense. He maliciously adds that because of these faults, the ancient Greeks would not have understood the German thinkers, whereas they would have admired “those Frenchmen” (363) —“jene[] Franzosen” (647). The rhetorical opposition of perspicuitas and obscuritas, which the reference to French clarté brings into play, thus conjures up the opposition between puritas and barbarismus, the latter being considered (e. g., by Quintilian) as vitium.16 In Nietzsche’s text, both oppositions serve as criteria in value judgments that bear witness to the author’s well-known deep rootedness in classical rhetoric (Stingelin 2000). This in turn helps to explain why his opposition of culture and barbarism is primarily language-related. Moreover, by qualifying the six authors as a link in the continuing chain of the Renaissance of classical Antiquity,17 Nietzsche presents himself as a European Ancien 16 Lausberg 2008, 254–57 (= §§ 463–70) and 274–75 (= §§ 528–31, with a reference to clarté in § 529); Ueding and Steinbrink 2011, 226–31. As for Quintilian, see above, chapter 1.2.1. 17 According to Sebastian Kaufmann (Freiburg/Br.), the expression “letzte[] Jahrhunderte der alten Zeitrechnung” (“the final centuries of the old era”) either refers to the centuries

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opposed to Germanic barbarism, as he repeatedly does in his work.18 He also conjures up a cultural stereotype that was particularly popular with Italian Renaissance authors (Schillinger 2008) and echoed in French classicism as well as in Hölderlin’s Hyperion (see above), namely the equation of ‘Germanic’ and ‘barbarian.’19 This stereotype and the related cultural topography, namely the opposition of the ‘barbaric’ North and the ‘civilized’ South, later serve him to racialize and territorialize Gibbon’s historiographical views on the decline and fall of the Roman Empire: [...] es hätte überhaupt keine Verchristlichung Europa’s gegeben, wenn nicht die Cultur der alten Welt des Südens allmählich durch eine übermässige Hinzumischung von germanischem Barbarenblut barbarisirt und ihres Cultur-Uebergewichtes verlustig gegangen wäre. (1980-KSA, vol. 3, 493 = Die fröhliche Wissenschaft, § 149)20 [...] Europe would never have become Christian in the first place if the culture of the ancient world in the south had not gradually been barbarized through an excessive admixture of Teutonic barbarian blood, thus losing its cultural superiority. (1974, 195)21

However, this stereotypical opposition may give way to its inversion; ‘barbarian blood’ may then seem to be the rejuvenating fresh blood decadent civilization (or ‘culture’) has always been yearning for.22 As early as Tacitus’s Germania (the most important of the classical sources to which the opposition of barbaric North and cultivated South points back), the awareness of the threat of invasions emanating from the barbarians and the abhorrence of some of their customs such as human sacrifice or excessive drunkenness is ambivalently mixed with admiration of their ethnic purity, piety, valor, chastity, and simplicity of lifestyle (4, 8, 39, 45).23 German humanists like Celtis, Frischlin, and Hutten drew on this ambivalence to re­evaluate traditional attributes of Germanic barbarism, including even the stereotypical ­furor

18 19 20

21 22 23

preceding the birth of Christ according to the Christian dating system or to the centuries preceding the creation of this system in the sixth century AD. I am grateful to Sebastian Kaufmann for this explanation. See, e. g., Menschliches, Allzumenschliches II.1: Vermischte Meinungen und Sprüche, § 173 (1980-KSA, vol. 2, 453), quoted below, and Ecce Homo: Warum ich so klug bin, § 3 (vol. 6, 285). As for echoes of this stereotype in French classicism, see, e. g., Dominique Bouhours’ Entretiens d’Ariste et d’Eugène (1671 [= Bouhours 1920]). On Gibbon, see Maria Boletsi’s observations below, chapter 4.3.1.—On Nietzsche’s notion of race, see Jochen Schmidt’s (2015, 316–21) insightful commentary of Morgenröthe’s (Daybreak’s) notorious § 272 (“Die Reinigung der Rasse,” 1980-KSA, vol. 3, 213–14; “The purification of the race,” 1997b, 274). It should be mentioned that later, in Der Antichrist (§ 51; 1980-KSA, vol. 6, 231), Nietzsche explicitly rejects any attempt to racialize Christianity’s triumph, that is, to attribute Rome’s Christianization to the decline of the Roman ‘race.’ In a footnote, Walter Kaufmann qualifies this statement as a “slap in the face of German racism” (Nietzsche 1974, 195, n. 36). Yet Nietzsche speaks here the language of a racialist vision of cultural history. See above, chapter, 1.2.3.1. On Tacitus’ notion of the barbarians, see Ndiaye 2008.

3.4.  Nietzsche’s Concept of Barbarism: From Rhetoric to Genealogy       265

teutonicus (Schillinger 2008, 108–115).24 Nietzsche’s strange enthusiasm for the blond Ger­manic beast might echo this revaluation (Umwertung),25 as does in his early and middle work the occasional questioning of the rigid opposition of barbar­ ism and culture: Der Krieg unentbehrlich. — Es ist eitel Schwärmerei und Schönseelenthum, von der Mensch­heit noch viel (oder gar: erst recht viel) zu erwarten, wenn sie verlernt hat, Kriege zu führen. Einstweilen kennen wir keine anderen Mittel, wodurch mattwerdenden Völ­kern jene rauhe Energie des Feldlagers, jener tiefe unpersönliche Hass, jene Mörder-Kaltblütigkeit mit gutem Gewissen, jene gemeinsame organisirende Gluth in der Vernichtung des Feindes, jene stolze Gleichgültigkeit gegen grosse Verluste, gegen das eigene Dasein und das der Befreundeten, jenes dumpfe erdbebenhafte Erschüttern der Seele ebenso stark und sicher mitgetheilt werden könnte, wie diess jeder grosse Krieg thut: [...] eine solche hoch cultivirte und daher nothwendig matte Menschheit, wie die der jetzigen Europäer, [bedarf] nicht nur der Kriege, sondern der grössten und furchtbarsten Kriege — also zeitweiliger Rückfälle in die Barbarei — [...], um nicht an den Mitteln der Cultur ihre Cultur und ihr Dasein selber einzubüssen. (1980-KSA, vol. 2, 311–12 = Mensch­liches, Allzumenschliches I, § 277) War indispensable.—It is vain reverie and beautiful-soulism to expect much more (let alone only then to expect much) of mankind when it has unlearned how to wage war. For the present we know of no other means by which that rude energy that characterizes the camp, that profound impersonal hatred, that murderous coldbloodedness with a good conscience, that common fire in the destruction of the enemy, that proud indifference to great losses, to one’s own existence and that of one’s friends, that inarticulate, earthquake-like shuddering of the soul, could be communicated more surely or strongly than every great war communicates them: [...] so highly cultivated and for that reason necessarily feeble humanity as that of the present-day European requires not merely war but the greatest and most terrible wars—thus a temporary relapse into barbarism—if the means to culture are not to deprive them of their culture and of their existence itself. (1996, 176)

Nietzsche obviously questions here the counter-conceptual, asymmetric relation between ‘culture’ and ‘barbarism,’ insofar as it involves the quasi ontological exclusion of barbarism from culture or vice versa. A case in point of this exact inversion is Montaigne’s essay on the cannibals (Des Cannibales), where corrupt European culture—in the sense of ‘agriculture’ and ‘art’—is excluded from healthy indigenous so-called barbarism, which proves to be pure “nature,” that is, social life ruled by natural law (2007, 211–12).26 Nietzsche even indirectly admits that barbarism

24 Klaus von See (1994, 57) has highlighted that this stereotype goes back to Lucan’s epic Pharsalia and that in the Renaissance period, Petrarch was one of its prominent advocates. 25 See below, section 3 of this chapter. 26 On Montaigne’s place in the conceptual history of barbarism, see Christian Moser’s observations in chapter 2.1.1.3, p. 56–59.

266       Markus Winkler

precedes culture, as he explicitly does in an earlier posthumous fragment.27 He suggests however that the “temporary relapse into barbarism” is but a momentary stimulus to culture’s reinvigoration. Therefore, barbarism seems only relatively included in culture; it shall remain distinct from the proper “means to culture” (“Mitteln der Cultur”). Similarly, in the domain of ‘aesthetic education,’ to which, as mentioned above, Nietzsche’s use of the lexeme barbar- primarily refers, barbarism may only be admitted as a temporary, pedagogically motivated exception to the principle of the preeminence of the classical: Eine Kunst, wie sie aus Homer, Sophokles, Theokrit, Calderon, Racine, Goethe ausströmt, als Ueberschuss einer weisen und harmonischen Lebensführung — das ist das Rechte, nach dem wir endlich greifen lernen, wenn wir selber weiser und harmonischer geworden sind, nicht jene barbarische, wenngleich noch so entzückende Aussprudelung hitziger und bunter Dinge aus einer ungebändigten chaotischen Seele, welche wir früher als Jünglinge unter Kunst verstanden. (1980-KSA, vol. 2, 453 = Menschliches, All­ zumenschliches II, § 173) An art such as issues forth from Homer, Sophocles, Theocritus, Calderon, Racine, Goethe, as the surplus of a wise and harmonious conduct of life—this is the art we finally learn to reach out for when we ourselves have grown wiser and more harmonious: not that barbaric if enthralling spluttering out of hot and motley things from a chaotic, unruly soul which as youths we in earlier years understood to be art. (1996, 254)

Further down in this paragraph, Nietzsche stresses that only “during certain periods of life” (“für gewisse Lebenszeiten”) such barbarian art is a need to be fulfilled in order to kindle the longing for the other, non-barbarian art. This characterization and relativization of the role of ‘barbarian art’ might be a self-critical allusion to the way in which in The Birth of Tragedy (Die Geburt der Tragödie), Nietzsche insists that the Dionysiac art-world of intoxication (“Rausch”) has a status equal to that of the opposed Apolline art-world of dream (1980-KSA, vol. 1, 25–26; English: 1999a, 14–15). In both scenarios however, the dynamic interplay of barbarism and its opposite in the area of art implies that barbarism is a priori involved in culture. In The Birth of Tragedy, an indicator of the reluctance with which Nietzsche admits this involvement is the clear distinction he tries to establish between the Dionysiac Barbarians (first of all the oriental non-Greeks indulging in cruel sexual orgies) and Dionysiac Greeks (1980-KSA, vol. 1, 31–32; English: 1999a, 20). With the Greeks, 27 “Keine Kultur ist in drei Tagen gebaut worden, noch weniger ist jemals eine aus dem Himmel gefallen: sondern nur aus einer früheren Barbarei entsteht eine Kultur und es giebt Zeiten langen Schwankens und Kämpfens, in denen es zweifelhaft ist” (1980-KSA, vol. 7, 512 = NF 19 [306]). (“No culture was ever built in three days, nor has one ever descended from out of the blue: on the contrary, a culture emerges only out of previous barbarism, and there are extended periods of vacillation and struggle in which it remains in doubt,” 1999b, 92). This temporalization does not echo the Enlightenment’s temporalization of the concept, but rather classical sources such as Thucydides, quoted in our Introduction (section 1.2.3.2). It is revealing that it does not contradict the clear-cut distinction between culture and barbarism.

3.4.  Nietzsche’s Concept of Barbarism: From Rhetoric to Genealogy       267

he avers, the Dionysiac is no less than the Apolline a force coming from within their own national culture: “aus der tiefsten Wurzel des Hellenischen” (32)—“from the deepest root of the Hellenic character” (20). Yet when he stresses that neither of the two conflicting forces can be without the other, and that Attic tragedy was the child born from their mysterious marriage, he cannot but regard the barbarian as belonging to the Greek variant of the Dionysiac: “Apollo konnte nicht ohne Dionysos leben! Das ‘Titanische’ und das ‘Barbarische’ war zuletzt eine eben solche Nothwendigkeit wie das Apollinische!” (40). (“Apollo could not live without Dionysos. The ‘Titanic’ and ‘barbaric’ was ultimately just as much of a necessity as the Apolline!” 27.) And a few lines later, he speaks of “the Titanic-barbaric nature of the Dionysiac” (28) —“das titanisch-barbarische Wesen des Dionysischen” (41). These two passages prove that Nietzsche is unable to uphold the clear distinction between the Dionysiac and the barbarian.28 As Jochen Schmidt has emphasized, Nietzsche’s orientalist distinction between Dionysiac Greeks and Dionysiac Barbarians was topical in nineteenth-century scholarship. It is a remnant of German neo-classicism’s idealizing vision of Greece. From a historical perspective, it is inaccurate; Euripides’s Bacchae already highlight the oriental origin of the Dionysiac and its destructiveness (Schmidt 2012, 127). This inaccuracy manifests itself in the corresponding attempt to exclude the barbarian from Greek art, which, as already mentioned, contradicts its subsequent inclusion in the sentences admitting its necessary presence in Greek culture. It seems that this blatant contradiction results from Nietzsche’s attempt to con­ sider the reading public’s expectations. In that respect, a long posthumous fragment of an enlarged version of the Birth of Tragedy (1980-KSA, vol. 7, 333–49 = NF 10 [1]) is revealing.29 Here, Nietzsche asserts without the reluctance, relativization, and hesitation one finds in the above-quoted published texts that barbarism, in particular its manifestation in war and enslavement, is part of both political and aesthetic culture and therefore involved in culture’s highest achievement, namely the military and artistic ‘genius.’ The Greek polis illustrates this involvement, which Nietzsche now considers not as a temporary ‘relapse,’ but as a permanent inclusion: Diese blutige Eifersucht von Stadt auf Stadt, von Partei auf Partei, diese mörderische Gier jener kleinen Kriege, der tigerartige Triumph auf dem Leichnam des erlegten Feindes, kurz jene unablässige Erneuerung jener trojanischen Kampf- und Greuelscenen, in deren Anschauung lustvoll versunken Homer der typische Hellene vor uns steht — wohin deutet diese naive Barbarei des griechischen Staates, woher nimmt er seine Entschuldigung vor dem Richterstuhle der ewigen Gerechtigkeit? Stolz und ruhig tritt der Staat vor ihn hin: und an der Hand führt er das herrlich blühende Weib, die griechi­

28 On this contradiction, see also Lepers 2009, 115–16. 29 Nietzsche wrote this fragment in early 1871. He first included, but finally removed it from the version of the Birth of Tragedy which he published in 1872 (Schmidt 2012, 39). He later used most of it for Der Griechische Staat, which is one of the Fünf Vorreden zu fünf ungeschriebenen Büchern that he offered Cosima Wagner for Christmas 1872 (1980-KSA, vol. 1, 764–77).

268       Markus Winkler sche Gesellschaft. Für diese Helena und ihre Kinder führte er jene Kriege: welcher Richter dürfte hier verurtheilen? (1980-KSA, vol. 7, 344 = NF 1871, 10 [1]) This bloody jealousy of one town for another, one party for another, this murderous greed of those petty wars, the tiger-like triumph over the corpse of the slain enemy, in short, the continual renewal of those Trojan battle-scenes and atrocities which Homer, the typical Hellene, stands before us contemplating with deep relish—what does this naïve barbarism of the Greek state indicate, and what will be its excuse at the throne of eternal justice? The state appears before it proudly and calmly: leading the magnifi­ cently blossoming woman, Greek society, by the hand. For this Helen and her children, he waged those wars: what judge would condemn this? (2007, 169; translation modified, M. W.)

This passage is an allegorical illustration of the entire fragment’s aim which is to draft the political and social conditions of the birth (“Geburt”) of (Dionysiac, Apolline, tragic, military) genius, as exemplified by the polis (335). From Nietzsche’s perspective, the state as a form of civil society based on “naïve barbarism,” namely cruel warfare and the enslavement of the population’s vast majority, provides those conditions: there is, Nietzsche claims, no culture without slavery and no law without the violent acts that the victor inflicts on the vanquished (339–42). Accordingly, the fragment relies on the same pessimistic Schopenhauerian metaphysics of the ‘will’ as the published version of the Birth of Tragedy (see in particular the fragment’s beginning, 333–39). Yet the published version denounces ‘Socratic culture’ as the archetype of theoretical optimism opposed to ‘tragic culture,’ whereas the fragment launches in a much more direct way a diatribe against political liberalism and optimism; and in the published text, the polemics against Socratic culture has anti-Semitic undertones,30 whereas the fragment is suffused with openly anti-Semitic remarks. Here, Nietzsche claims that the “liberal-optimistic world view” (2007, 171)—“liberal-optimistische[] Weltanschauung” (1980-KSA, vol. 7, 346)—serves primarily a “stateless money aristocracy” (171)—“eigensüchtigen staatlosen Geldaristokratie” (346).31 As is well known, Nietzsche later distanced himself from anti-Semitism and even became an anti-anti-Semite (Brömsel 2000, 184–85). Anti-Semitism was indeed not a necessary component of his questioning of the counter-conceptual, asymmetric relation between ‘culture’ and ‘barbarism’ and of the revaluation of barbarism as a force from which culture emerges and into which it may ‘relapse.’ The same holds true for racist doctrines other than anti-Semitism. The concept of race doubtless has had lasting effects on Nietzsche’s thought and vocabulary,32 as it is the case with many

30 Schmidt (2012, 58) underscores that these anti-Semitic undertones were meant to please Richard and Cosima Wagner. 31 Such formulations foreshadow Carl Schmitt’s Begriff des Politischen. On Schmitt, see above, chapter 1.2.3.2, and the chapter on Schmitt in vol. 2 of the present study. 32 On Nietzsche’s racialism, see above, footnote 20, and Günzel 2000; Schank 2000; Conway 2002; Wotling 2013; Salanskis 2017.

3.4.  Nietzsche’s Concept of Barbarism: From Rhetoric to Genealogy       269

thinkers of his time, but it only occasionally interferes with his use or questioning of the concept of barbarism.33 It has become clear that in Nietzsche’s early and middle work, both this questioning and the corresponding revaluation coexist with their opposite, namely the rhetorical and counter-conceptual use of the lexeme barbar- in aesthetic-pedagogic value-judgments that bear witness to his classicist and humanist allegiances. This coexistence of opposite semantics of barbarism, of which one finds traces in the later work as well (in The Antichrist for example), is not particular to Nietzsche. An earlier manifestation is the concomitance of Enlightenment’s temporalization of the concept of barbarism with its persisting rhetorical use, e. g., in Benjamin Constant’s historical anthropology of religion (Winkler 2014, 37). This parallel however should not let us overlook the difference between the temporalization of the concept and Nietzsche’s above-quoted observations on the involvement of barbarism in culture. Unlike the proponents of the concept’s temporalization, Nietzsche does not conceive barbarism as a transitory stage in the irreversible progress of the human species towards civilization and culture, but rather as one of culture’s lasting ingredients or even as culture’s reverse side. This may remind us of Kant’s historical anthropology, as exposed in his essay “Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Purpose” (“Idee zu einer allgemeinen Geschichte in weltbürgerlicher Absicht,” 1784).34 According to Kant, “antagonism” within society, namely “the unsocial sociability of men” (1991b, 44)—“die ungesellige Geselligkeit des Menschen” (1968, vol. 8, 20)—is the anthropological constituent of all historical-cultural development: the ravages caused by “discord” (45)—“Zwie­ tracht” (21)—, a basic quality of human nature (“Natur”), ultimately forces the humans to form a civil society—“bürgerliche[] Gesellschaft” (22)—ruled by reason and law, thereby limiting “wild freedom” (46)—“wilde[] Freiheit” (22). By analogy, the ravages caused by the wars that the different states wage against each other ultimately forces them to form a “great federation” of nations (47)—“Völkerbund” (24). Kant interprets these wars and their preparation through armament as a manifestation of the “barbarous freedom of established states” (49)—“die barbarische Freiheit der schon gestifteten Staaten” (26). On the level of the relationship between states, barbarism thus corresponds to the human being’s initial state of “wild freedom” (46)—“wilde[] Freiheit” (22)—that precedes the establishment of civil society. This distinction between the “lawless state of savagery” (47)—“gesetzlose[r] Zustand[] der Wilden” (24)—, barbaric warfare, and civil society resp. the federation of nations no doubt echoes the Enlightenment’s triad.35 Despite many skeptical reservations about human nature,36 Kant thus argues in favor of a hypothetical and regulative (not metaphysical) ‘idea,’ namely that progress 33 Some of these interferences will be analyzed below in section 3.4.3. 34 See also the analogous observations in Kant’s Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View (Anthropologie in pragmatischer Hinsicht, 1798), in: 1968, vol. 7, 321–33. 35 See Christian Moser’s observations on Kant and Herder in chapter 2.1.2.9, p. 139–44. 36 Expressed for example in the following passage of the essay: “[...] aus so krummem Holze, als woraus der Mensch gemacht ist, kann nichts ganz Gerades gezimmert werden” (Kant 1968, 23). (“Nothing straight can be constructed from such warped wood as that which man is made of,” 1991b, 46.)

270       Markus Winkler

towards peace within civil society and between the different states is ultimately irreversible; although initiated by savagery and barbarism, progress tends to gradually overcome them. Kant therefore rejects (although cautiously) the opposite hypothesis that discord might in the end prevail and annihilate all progress through “barbaric devastation” (48)—“barbarische Verwüstung” (25). The difference between this view of the relation between political culture and barbarism and Nietzsche’s view is evident. To be sure, Kant’s regulative teleology of history proceeds from the anthropological paradox of “unsocial sociability” (“ungesellige Geselligkeit”) that to some extent foreshadows Nietzsche’s observations on the involvement of barbarism in culture. From the perspective of Kant’s essay however, Nietzsche’s attempt to legitimize war as an invigorating and only “temporary relapse into barbarism” turns out to be nothing but a rhetorical-ideological tribute paid to an already existing barbarism. Moreover, this attempt fails to recognize that such a relapse might entail culture’s catastrophic destruction, not invigoration. As a manifestation of pre-civilized freedom, namely unbridled aggression between the states, barbarism, Kant suggests, is indeed an energizing force and, as such, a means to the end of political culture, but it is a dangerous force that the states shall progressively overcome, even if it may always remain a lingering threat.

3.4.3. The Ambivalence of the Genealogical Approach to the Concept of Barbarism As it has become clear in the previous section, variations on the humanist and classicist opposition of ‘culture’ and ‘barbarism’ in Nietzsche’s early and middle work at times give way to the idea that their relation is rather to be understood as an involvement of barbarism in culture. In some of Nietzsche’s later works, in particular Beyond Good and Evil (Jenseits von Gut und Böse [JGB], 1886), On Genealogy of Morality (Zur Genealogie der Moral [GM], 1887), and the related posthumous fragments, the idea of this involvement leads to radical consequences, namely the genealogical de-legitimization of presently cherished values, concepts, and practices. This form of de-legitimization extends to the concept of barbarism itself, but the concept also resists its de-legitimization: Nietzsche’s revaluation of barbarism as a force of cultural rejuvenation persists and even produces visions of future revolutions. The following analysis shall demonstrate that this tension between the de-legitimization of the concept and its vindication proceeds from the ambivalence inherent in genealogy itself, as underscored above,37 and that Nietzsche fails to recognize this ambivalence, because he does not reflect on the metaphorical status of the philosophical use of the term genealogy. He in fact never provides a concise definition of this term, but in the preface to On the Genealogy of Morality, he outlines it pragmatically by presenting it as a way of uncovering “the descent of our moral prejudices” (2007, 4)—“Herkunft unserer moralischen Vorurtheile” (1980-KSA, vol. 5, 248)—and of approaching the “real history 37 See above, chapter 1.1.2.

3.4.  Nietzsche’s Concept of Barbarism: From Rhetoric to Genealogy       271

of morality” (8)—“wirkliche[] Historie der Moral” (254)—, namely “that which can be documented, which can actually be confirmed and has actually existed, in short, the whole, long, hard-to-decipher hieroglyphic script of man’s moral past” (8)—“das Urkundliche, das Wirklich-Feststellbare, das Wirklich-Dagewesene, kurz die ganze lange, schwer zu entziffernde Hieroglyphenschrift der menschlichen Moral-Vergangenheit” (254). In doing so, genealogy will uncover “that much older and more primitive kind of morality which is toto coelo removed from altruistic evaluation” (6)—“jene viel ältere und ursprünglichere Art Moral, welche toto coelo von der altruistischen Werthungsweise abliegt” (251). Since morality is inseparable from value judgments which by definition engage concepts such as ‘good,’ ‘evil,’ ‘bad,’ ‘guilt,’ ‘(good or bad) conscience,’ and ‘duty’ (these are the main concepts that undergo genealogical analysis in the first two treatises of Genealogy of Morality), the genealogy of morality proves to be inseparable from etymology and conceptual history. Nietzsche stresses this in a note in which he proposes a question that might direct a series of academic prize studies: Welche Fingerzeige giebt die Sprachwissenschaft, insbesondere die etymologische Forschung, für die Entwicklungsgeschichte der moralischen Begriffe ab? (1980-KSA, vol. 5, 289 = GM I, § 17, “Anmerkung”) What signposts does linguistics, especially the study of etymology, give to the history of the evolution of moral concepts? (2007, 34)

Since the concept of barbarism is being used in moral value judgments, it indeed becomes in both Beyond and Genealogy an object of partly language-related genea­ logical analysis. One may therefore wonder whether Nietzsche, in order to achieve this analysis, resumes his above-quoted, isolated observation on the etymology of the lexeme barbar-. As already mentioned, his intuition that this etymology might lead to a questioning of the concept’s legitimacy does not prevail in his early and middle works, where he continues to use the lexeme in aesthetic-pedagogical v­ alue judgments which vary the classicist and humanist opposition of barbarism and culture and defy historiographical contextualization. Contrary to this, the two later writings emphasize the historical approach to basic moral concepts. Hence, one may expect that here at last, the concept of barbarism is thoroughly questioned; questions of aesthetics and pedagogy have indeed receded to the background. The beginning of Part 9 of Beyond Good and Evil bears witness to the way the genealogical perspective does indeed affect Nietzsche’s interpretation of the relation between barbarism and culture. In the opening § 257, after provocatively stating that “[e]very enhancement so far in the type ‘man’ has been the work of an aristocratic society”—“[j]ede Erhöhung des Typus ‘Mensch’ war bisher das Werk einer aristokratischen Gesellschaft”—a statement that remains without any historical concretization (Sommer 2016, 735),38 Nietzsche drafts the genealogy of such a society: 38 Sommer shows that the opposite is the case in Nietzsche’s sources such as Friedrich von Hellwalds Culturgeschichte in ihrer natürlichen Entwicklung bis zur Gegenwart (1876–77 [2nd ed.]).

272       Markus Winkler [...] die Wahrheit ist hart. Sagen wir es uns ohne Schonung, wie bisher jede höhere Cultur auf Erden angefangen hat! Menschen mit einer noch natürlichen Natur, Barbaren in jedem furchtbaren Verstande des Wortes, Raubmenschen, noch im Besitz ungebrochner Willenskräfte und Macht-Begierden, warfen sich auf schwächere, gesittetere, friedlichere, vielleicht handeltreibende oder viehzüchtende Rassen, oder auf alte mürbe Culturen, in denen eben die letzte Lebenskraft in glänzenden Feuerwerken von Geist und Verderbniss verflackerte. Die vornehme Kaste war im Anfang immer die Barbaren-Kaste: ihr Übergewicht lag nicht vorerst in der physischen Kraft, sondern in der seelischen, — es waren die ganzeren Menschen (was auf jeder Stufe auch so viel mit bedeutet als “die ganzeren Bestien” —). (1980-KSA, vol. 5, 205) [...] the truth is harsh. Let us not be deceived about how every higher culture on earth has begun! Men whose nature was still natural, barbarians in every terrible sense of the word, predatory people who still possessed an unbroken strength of will and lust for power threw themselves on weaker, more civilized, more peaceful races of tradesmen perhaps, or cattle breeders; or on old and mellow cultures in which the very last lifeforce was flaring up in brilliant fireworks of spirit and corruption. The noble caste always started out as the barbarian caste. Their supremacy was in psychic, not [primarily in39] physical strength,—they were more complete people (which at any level amounts to saying “more complete beasts”—). (2002, 151–152; translation modified, M. W.)

I will discuss later in this chapter what kind of aristocracy Nietzsche might think of and concentrate first on the way he now conceives the involvement of barbarism in culture: not any more as a stage preceding culture or as culture’s ingredient, but as every higher culture’s very foundation. This is all the more remarkable as the main attributes of barbarism mentioned here, namely ‘conquest’ and ‘predation’ (Raub), are conventional: within Enlightenment’s triad, they are considered to be the pre-civilized ‘barbarian’ form of subsistence as opposed to ‘trade’ or ‘commerce,’ their civilized counterpart.40 In our passage, they still remain opposed to ‘civilization’ (present here in the adjective gesittet), but not to ‘culture,’ according to a differentiation between civilization and culture an early manifestation of which can be found in Kant’s above-quoted essay: Wir sind im hohen Grade durch Kunst und Wissenschaft cultivirt. Wir sind civilisirt bis zum Überlästigen zu allerlei gesellschaftlicher Artigkeit und Anständigkeit. Aber uns für schon moralisirt zu halten, daran fehlt noch sehr viel. Denn die Idee der Moralität gehört noch zur Cultur; der Gebrauch dieser Idee aber, welcher nur auf das Sittenähnliche in der Ehrliebe und der äußeren Anständigkeit hinausläuft, macht blos die Civilisirung aus. (1968, vol. 8, 26)

39 I supplement here an English equivalent to an important word of the German original that the translator leaves out, namely the adverb “vorerst.” This adverb indicates that it is pri­ mari­ly the psychic, not the physical strength that makes for the barbarians’ supremacy, but that physical supremacy may nevertheless very well be involved. 40 See Christian Moser’s explanations in chapter 2.1.2.1–2.1.2.7.

3.4.  Nietzsche’s Concept of Barbarism: From Rhetoric to Genealogy       273 We are cultivated to a high degree by art and science. We are civilized to the point of excess in all kinds of social courtesies and proprieties. But we are still a long way from the point where we could consider ourselves morally mature. For while the idea of morality is indeed present in culture, an application of this idea which only extends to the semblances of morality, as in love of honour and outward propriety, amounts merely to civilization. (1991, 49)41

This differentiation of ‘culture’ and ‘civilization’ however is only relative; both remain opposed to ‘barbarism,’ which Kant defines as pre-civilized freedom, namely unbridled aggression between the already established states.42 Nietzsche on the contrary, while maintaining the opposition of ‘civilization’ and ‘barbarism’ and associating ‘culture’ with ‘morality,’ now views barbarism as a form of culture: He attributes to the ‘barbarians’ not only sound morality (“ungebrochne[] Willenskräfte und Macht-Begierden”), as he already did before in line with the long tradition of barbarism’s revaluation.43 He now attributes to it also the wholeness that, in accordance with Schiller, Humboldt, and others, he had viewed before as the result of culture (in the sense of Bildung) or as the hallmark of ancient Greek culture. Barbarism being now conceived as culture’s very beginning (and not only as an ingredient or temporary stimulus), the very opposition of ‘culture’ and ‘barbarism’ gives way to the relative opposition between culture’s ‘barbarous’ beginning and decadent (‘old and mellow’) end. This in turn implies that as a concept, barbarism proves to be deceptive and misleading, insofar as it has been used as a discriminating counter-concept to exclude from culture the very dynamic that produces culture, namely “unbroken strength of will and lust for power”—“ungebrochne[] Willenskräfte und Macht-­ Begierden.” The print manuscript of Jenseits von Gut und Böse includes a long continuation of § 257 that sheds more light on the deceptiveness of the semantics of barbarism. Nietzsche outlines here the cyclical dynamic that gradually ‘humanizes’ and thereby weakens the ‘barbarian’ conquerors and concomitantly ‘barbarizes’ their enslaved subjects to the point that these become strong enough to reverse the existing hierarchy and enslave their former masters; then the game starts all over again: “Das Spiel beginnt von Neuem” (1980-KSA, vol. 14, 372). If one relates this observation, which implies the complementarity of ‘barbarism’ and ‘decadence,’ to other parts of the published text and to Genealogy of Morality, one may infer that in Nietzsche’s eyes, the cyclical dynamic ultimately proceeds from “life” (“Leben”) conceived as “a process of appropriating, injuring, overpowering the alien and the weaker,” that is, as “will to power” (2002, 153)—“Überwältigung des Fremden und Schwächeren, Unterdrückung, Härte, Aufzwängung eigner Formen,” “Wille zur Macht” (1980-KSA,

41 On this passage and its place in the history of the differentiation between ‘civilization’ and ‘culture,’ see Christian Moser’s remarks above, chapter 2.1.2.9, footnote 136. See also chapter 2.1.1.1, p. 48, footnote 1, and Fisch 1992, 724–30. 42 See above, section 3.4.2. 43 See above, section 3.4.2.

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vol. 5, 207–08 = JGB, § 259).44 This is a hermeneutical process as well: Nietzsche insists [...] dass [...] die Ursache der Entstehung eines Dings und dessen schliessliche Nützlichkeit, dessen thatsächliche Verwendung und Einordnung in ein System von Zwecken toto coelo auseinander liegen; dass etwas Vorhandenes, irgendwie Zu-Stande-Gekommenes immer wieder von einer ihm überlegenen Macht auf neue Ansichten ausgelegt, neu in Beschlag genommen, zu einem neuen Nutzen umgebildet und umgerichtet wird; dass alles Geschehen in der organischen Welt ein Überwältigen, Herrwerden und dass wie­ derum alles Überwältigen und Herrwerden ein Neu-Interpretieren, ein Zurechtmachen ist, bei dem der bisherige “Sinn” und “Zweck” nothwendig verdunkelt oder ganz ausgelöscht werden muss. (1980-KSA, vol. 5, 313–14 = GM II, § 12) [...] that the origin of the emergence of a thing and its ultimate usefulness, its practical application and incorporation into a system of ends, are toto coelo separate; that anything in existence, having somehow come about, is continually interpreted anew, requisitioned anew, transformed and redirected to a new purpose by a power superior to it; that everything that occurs in the organic world consists of overpowering, dom­ inating, and in their turn, overpowering and dominating consist of re-interpretation, adjustment, in the process of which their former ‘meaning’ [Sinn] and ‘purpose’ must necessarily be obscured or completely obliterated. (2007, 51)

The obvious logical difficulty raised by this radical genealogical “perspectivism” (2002, 4)—“das Perspektivische” (1980-KSA, vol. 5, 12 = JGB, “Vorrede”), namely performative inconsistency, does not escape Nietzsche’s notice (37 = JGB I, § 22). The present study can leave aside this difficulty and concentrate instead on the question of how the concept of barbarism, in the light of genealogical perspectivism, proves to be an interpretation driven by the ‘will to power.’ In doing so, it has to take into account Nietzsche’s genealogical analysis of the opposition between ‘good’ and ‘evil,’ given that as a counter- or enemy-concept, the lexeme barbar- refers to specific forms of ‘evil’; hence its semantics is included in that of ‘evil’ which in turn is the counter-concept of ‘good.’ Yet for Nietzsche, the opposition of ‘good’ and ‘evil’ is not a spontaneous creation, but the resentment-driven interpretation of the spontaneous aristocratic opposition of ‘good’ and ‘bad,’ that is, ‘noble’ (vornehm) vs. ‘despicable’ (verächtlich), as Nietzsche states in § 260 of Beyond Good and Evil. To systematize this difference, he establishes here the typological distinction between “a master morality and a slave morality” (2002, 153)—“Herren-Moral und Sklaven-Moral” (1980-KSA, vol. 5, 208–09), according to which the former’s value-system based on the opposition of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ undergoes in the latter a profound transformation: what is ‘good’ according to master morality becomes ‘evil’ according to slave morality, and what it ‘bad’ according to the former (above all the criterion of utility—Nützlichkeit), is ‘good’ according to the latter. 44 We renounce discussing the controversial question of whether or not this definition of life as will to power is metaphysical, because it would lead us beyond the limits of the present study.

3.4.  Nietzsche’s Concept of Barbarism: From Rhetoric to Genealogy       275

In Genealogy of Morality, Nietzsche looks for historical evidence to substantiate this rather abstract typology. With primarily etymological arguments, he attempts to demonstrate a “conceptual transformation” (2007, 13)—“Begriffs-Verwandlung” (1980-KSA, vol. 5, 261 = GM I, § 4) that the notion of ‘good’ has undergone in the “different languages” (“den verschiedenen Sprachen”). Everywhere, he avers, good in the sense of ‘spiritually noble’ emerged from good meaning ‘aristocratic’ and ‘noble’ in terms of social class; and in parallel with this, bad in the sense of ‘simple’ emerged from common and plebeian (GM I, § 4). Quoting examples from the German, Sanscrit, Iranian, Slavic, Greek, ancient Greek, and Celtic languages, he suggests that racialist distinctions based on skin or hair color (blond vs. black) have the same social origin, namely the opposition of powerful conquerors and weaker native inhabitants. Hence it seems that in Nietzsche’s eyes, anthropological history based on race distinctions such as Gobineau’s has to be translated into anthropological history based on class distinctions (GM I, § 5). In this context as well, Nietzsche indeed allows for the possibility of a cyclical reversal: he interprets the rise of contemporary democracy, anarchism, and socialism as a “throw-back”—“Nachschlag”—entailing the defeat (even in physiological respect) of the formerly conquering “master-race” (15)—“Herren-Rasse” (264). This involves that ‘race’ does not mean a hereditary type defined pseudo-biologically by unchanging physical qualities such as skin color and equally unchanging cultural superiority, as is the case in Gobineau.45 Here and in the following paragraphs, Nietzsche uses the word in the pre-racialist sense of (aristocratic) lineage,46 although like Gobineau and many others, he simultaneously uses the word “Aryan”—“arisch”—to qualify the “conquering race” (14)—“Erobe­ rer-Rasse” (263). The sway however that such an ‘Aryan race’ or rather lineage holds over the “subject race” (15)—“unterworfene Rasse” (263)—is limited: as mentioned above, Nietzsche believes—at least at times—that the ‘subject race’ will at some stage become itself the aristocratic, culture-initiating ‘master race’—a reversal the possibility of which is unthinkable within the racist doctrines of Gobineau and his followers, e. g., Vacher de Lapouge.47 Nietzsche thus emphasizes the role of culture, not biology, by stating “the rule that the concept of political superiority always resolves itself into the concept of psychological superiority” (15)—“diese[] Regel, dass der politische Vorrangs-Begriff sich immer in einen seelischen Vorrangs-Begriff auslöst [sic]” (264 = GM I, § 6). A complication arises when the priestly caste splits off from the warrior caste, because this entails the powerlessness of the former, which in turn leads to its resentment-born, poisonous, and extremely powerful form of spirituality: the spirit of priestly revenge—“Geist der priesterlichen Rache” (267 = GM I, § 7)—, against which all other spirit (“Geist”) cannot stand a chance, brings forth the radical revaluation (“radikale 45 On Gobineau, see above, chapter 3.3.2, p. 240–42. 46 See part I of the entry “race n. f.,” in: Grand Robert de la langue française. We refer to this dictionary because English race and German Rasse are borrowings from French race. On the etymology of race, see above, section 3.3.2 of our chapter on Flaubert’s Salammbô, p. 240. 47 On Georges Vacher de Lapouge (1854–1936), author of L’ Aryen, son rôle social (1899), and the place he holds in the history of racist thought between Gobineau and Houston Stewart Chamberlain, see Taguieff 2000 and 2013b.

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Umwerthung”) of their enemies’ and conquerors’ noble form of valuation, so that “the aristocratic value equation (good = noble = powerful = beautiful = happy = blessed)”—“die aristokratische Werthgleichung (gut = vornehm = mächtig = schön = glücklich = gottgeliebt)”—is transformed into its opposite: “die Elenden sind allein die Guten, die Armen, Ohnmächtigen, Niedrigen sind allein die Guten, die Leidenden, Entbehrenden, Kranken, Hässlichen sind auch die einzig Frommen, die einzig Gottseligen, für sie allein giebt es Seligkeit, — dagegen ihr, ihr Vornehmen und Gewaltigen, ihr seid in alle Ewigkeit die Bösen, die Grausamen, die Lüsternen, die Unersättlichen, die Gottlosen, ihr werdet auch ewig die Unseligen, Verfluchten und Verdammten sein!” (267) ‘Only those who suffer are good, only the poor, the powerless, the lowly are good; the suffering, the deprived, the sick, the ugly, are the only pious people, the only ones saved, salvation is for them alone, whereas you rich, the noble and powerful, you are eternally wicked, cruel, lustful, insatiate, godless, you will also be eternally wretched, cursed and damned!’ (17)

Later, Nietzsche explicitly adds the ‘barbarian’ to this catalogue of revaluated aristocratic values: Die vornehmen Rassen sind es, welche den Begriff “Barbar” auf all den Spuren hinterlassen haben, wo sie gegangen sind; noch aus ihrer höchsten Cultur heraus verräth sich ein Bewusstsein davon und ein Stolz selbst darauf [...]. Diese “Kühnheit” vornehmer Rassen, toll, absurd, plötzlich, wie sie sich äussert, das Unberechenbare, das Unwahrscheinliche selbst ihrer Unternehmungen — ihre Gleichgültigkeit und Verachtung gegen Sicherheit, Leib, Leben, Behagen, ihre entsetzliche Heiterkeit und Tiefe der Lust in allem Zerstören, in allen Wollüsten des Siegs und der Grausamkeit — Alles fasste sich für Die, welche daran litten, in das Bild des “Barbaren”, des “bösen Feindes”, etwa des “Gothen”, des “Vandalen” zusammen. (275 = GM I, § 11) It was the noble races which left the concept of ‘barbarian’ in their traces wherever they went; even their highest culture betrays the fact that they were conscious of this and indeed proud of it [...]. This ‘daring’ of the noble races, mad, absurd and sudden in the way it manifests itself, the unpredictability and even the improbability of their undertakings [...]—their unconcern and scorn for safety, body, life, comfort, their shocking cheerfulness and depth of delight in all destruction, in all the debauches of victory and cruelty—all this, for those who suffered under it, was summed up in the image of the ‘barbarian’, the ‘evil enemy’, perhaps the ‘Goth’ or the ‘Vandal’. (23)

This genealogy of barbarism as discriminating enemy-concept growing out of weakness omits the onomatopoetic provenance of the lexeme barbar-, which Nietzsche only discusses in the above-quoted early posthumous fragment. Why is there no more question of it, although in Genealogy of Morality, as mentioned above, he himself stresses etymology’s important contribution to conceptual history? Probably because he tacitly continues to attribute the onomatopoetic beginning of the lexeme

3.4.  Nietzsche’s Concept of Barbarism: From Rhetoric to Genealogy       277

to a rhetoric that refers to defective linguistic form and style—a rhetoric that he has vindicated himself so that he is reluctant to link it to the enemy-concept emerging from resentment as the driving force of slave morality. Yet he very well could have tried to describe the transition from one to the other in his own terms, namely as the result of an ‘overpowering’ interpretation by resentment. From that perspective, the fact that those called barbarians were, according to him, aware of this insulting label and even proud of it,48 would be an indicator of another ‘overpowering’ interpretation or at least of the attempt thereof, namely the transformation of the insult into an attribute of nobility: the ‘barbarian’ turns out to be ‘brave.’ 49 However, as stressed in the Introduction to the present volume,50 the conceptual history of barbarism is not just a series of ‘interpretations’ that violently replace each other. The subsequent ‘interpretations’ have not replaced the violence inherent in the very word barbarian; this violence pervades its different meanings which emerged contingently but continue to co-exist. This continuity, which corresponds to the concept’s intensional constancy, defies one of the basic rules of Nietzsche’s genealogical method, namely that the emergence of a thing (in our case a concept) and its ultimate usefulness are worlds (“toto coelo”) apart. This in turn might in part explain why in the passage just quoted, Nietzsche was unable to apply rigidly that basic rule. As mentioned, this rule is part of genealogy as a way of de-legitimizing presently cherished concepts, values, and practices. In Nietzsche’s text, the de-legitimization convincingly extends to the concept of barbarism, insofar as the latter is a resentment-born, violent attempt to exclude from culture the very dynamic that in Nietzsche’s eyes produces culture. Yet the historical evidence with which he tries to substantiate his claim that those who suffered from the ‘noble races’ denounced them as barbarians is vague and inconsistent: after claiming that the Jews initiated the “slaves’ revolt in morality” (18), “Sklavenaufstand in der Moral” (268) and that Christianity brought its victory, he randomly mentions as examples of the ‘noble ­races’ all sorts of nobility (Roman, Arabic, Germanic, Japanese) as well as the Homeric heroes, the Scandinavian Wikings, and even the Athenians of the Age of Pericles. As for the invaders of the Christianized Roman Empire, who indeed were qualified as barbarians by those who suffered from those invasions, he alludes to them even more vaguely: “perhaps the ‘Goth’ or the ‘Vandal’.” Including the Athenians in that list of aristocracies qualified as barbarians is as inaccurate as leaving out the fact that it was the Greeks who referred to the Persian invaders as barbarians. The vagueness, inconsistency, and inaccuracy of the list of aristocracies is blurred by the well-known metaphor of the blond beast that shall embrace them all: “Auf dem Grunde aller die­ ser vornehmen Rassen ist das Raubthier, die prachtvolle nach Beute und Sieg lüstern schweifende blonde Bestie nicht zu verkennen” (275). (“At the centre of all these noble races we cannot fail to see the beast of prey, the magnificent blond beast avidly 48 This pride is rather typical of certain poets of Nietzsche’s time, such as Rimbaud and Whitman; see below in this chapter. 49 As mentioned in chapter 1.1.1, footnote 8, the etymological link between barbarus and Spanish bravo (and its equivalents in the other Romance languages as well as in German and English) has often been highlighted, but continues to be controversial. 50 See chapter 1.1.2.

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prowling round for spoil and victory,” 23.) A few lines later, Nietzsche accentuates the metaphor’s implied cultural topography by speaking of “the raging of the blond Germanic beast” (23)—“dem Wüthen der blonden germanischen Bestie” (276). In th