"Representative experience is understood to be whatever a lot of people said they felt, and it is held to be the origin of, and to issue in, representative behaviour" (Belsey 431).
So majority rules? Truth and history occurs because of the majority of the society's experiences? That actually makes some sense, although it takes away the credibility of facts in this criticism. It also appears that the acts that occurred are not as important as the reaction to those acts. While I would agree with representative experiences for the most part, I would also like to believe that history is not only recalled or expressed the emotions of society. Those become opinions, rather than the facts that actually occurred. I am not saying that Belsey is doing this; I am simply saying that the representations are taking the places of the acts themselves, and opinions are being imposed on them in the literature. This argument by Belsey is focusing on a postmodernist view of history, not literature, which I find to be most intriguing, but in relation to literature, we need to consider the facts that actually occurred along with the reactions to those experiences.
I was going to discuss the mixed feelings of the War in Iraq as an example of reactions to history, but I really do not want to stir a debate on the war as much as Belsey's criticial argument on the portrayal of history.Posted by The Gentle Giant at April 18, 2007 2:57 PM