“Shame is Pride’s cloke.”*

*William Blake, “The Proverbs of Hell” (1789-90).

William Peterson writes, in The Kelmscott Press: A History of William Morris’s Typographical Adventure (1991):

“Notwithstanding his intense (but  sporadic)  interest in printing, Morris was drawn even more strongly to the arts of calligraphy and illumination. When the first sheets of The Golden Legend (1892) came from the Kelmscott  Press in May 1891, he was moved to remark: ‘Pleased as I am with my printing, when I saw my two men at work on the press yesterday with their sticky printers’ ink, I couldn’t help lamenting the simplicity of the scribe and his desk, and his black ink and blue and red ink, and I almost felt ashamed of my press after all.’ Morris often, to the surprise and amusement of his listeners, spoke disparagingly of printing, which he called a ‘trifling’ invention and of which he said he disapproved. Much as he might admire the illustrated books of the fifteenth-century printers, Morris knew that they represented medieval art in a state of decline; to discover the Gothic world in its wholeness and freshness, one had to return to the illuminated manuscript, preferably of the thirteenth century. Not surprisingly, Morris during the 187os, frustrated in his attempts to produce attractively printed books, resorted with increasing frequency to the writing and ornamenting of manuscripts…”

Merrilees Roberts wrote at The History of Emotions blog on 8.6.16:

“…As Adam Frank and Eve Sedgwick imply in their introduction to Shame and its Sisters, an edited collection of (Silvan) Tomkins’ work, understanding shame as an affect provides ways of identifying the presence of a self or subjectivity in literary texts. This is because shame has a unique relationship to a kind of rhetoric that uses reticence and ambiguity to limn subjectivity. Even where such rhetoric seems to resist direct expression, aspects of the self may still be revealed and communicated despite this withdrawal, and not just because shame cathects the values we believe we have denigrated or transgressed, which is how shame is often accounted for in moral philosophy. Shame-as-affect creates a kind of cross-section of how selfhood is shaped by moments of reflexivity that also seem to force an experience of inter-subjectivity.

This is perhaps not a new concept. The nineteenth-century philosopher Hegel wrote in his ‘Early Theological Writings’ that shame induces the feeling that we are reserving our innermost selves from complete loving union with another…”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s