Trees and Tarr

 I really liked Moretti's "Trees" chapter and the way it illustrated the shift from dialogical narrative of Dostoevsky to the stream of consciousness of Joyce and other modernists.  Moretti argues that Figure 33 (p84), "his tree of free indirect style in modern narrative," foregrounds the transition from the "doxa of public opinion" to "the secret, unconscious layers of psychic life" (88).  Although there are a few problems with this approach, I'm pretty much on-board with this idea and I think it matches some of the discussions from Modernism and New Media.  In short, the development of photographs and film perfected the "objective" visual portrayal of objects, which allowed (or forced) literature to seek new areas that cameras could not reach, the psyche.

Lewis's Tarr (the Klein version) suspiciously resists the interior monologues and streams of consciousness that the other modernists were using.  His plot depends on dialogues, and there are only a few instances of brief, interior thoughts in the novel.  Following Moretti's argument, the conversational form of the book reveals that Frederick Tarr, despite his best efforts to be an artist, is actually a "well-socialized individual" like "Austen's heroines" (82).  Lewis, in this way, further satirizes Tarr's "bourgeois–bohemian" lifestyle.  I haven't read anything by Flaubert, but Moretti's description of his character-type whose "inner space is unknowingly colonized by the common places of public opinion" matches my understanding of Tarr's inner space (82).  For me, this clarifies the opening scenes of Tarr.  We follow Frederick as he seeks others' opinions.  His confrontations with Bertha also seem like negotiations (he says battles), which are social exchanges instead of interior subjectivity.  The absence of interiority in Frederick Tarr exposes his inabilities to be an artist.