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[xmca] Is the History Part of the Artwork?

This is really a belated response to Rod about Julian Jaynes and the origins of consciousness in a hypothetical breakdown of a hypothetical bicameral (schizophrenic) mind, some time between the writing of the Iliad and that of the Odyssey (which Jaynes says took place many centuries later).
There is some old jazz tune (Cole Porter?) that goes:
The Venus de Milo was noted for her charms
But strickly between us you're cuter than Venus
'N besides...you got arms!
I guess what I notice about this lyric is that it assumes that armlessness is part of the Venus itself. In the last decade or so (since the exquisite Rober Fagles translations) there have been nearly half a dozen new translations of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and they have all had to grapple with this question: Do we make Homer something FOREIGN, so that he sounds, as he is, a voice from long ago and far away? Or do we try to make him sound like he must have sounded to his audience, that is, like a rustic voice quite close to home?
In the eighteenth century, this debate was between the Chapman translation, which was rustic and homely, and that of Pope, about which people said "It is a pretty poem, but do not call it Homer!" In our own time, there is an interesting version of the debate which is concerned with the restoration of paintings. For the French, an old painting has to LOOK old, because the history is very much part of the artwork. But the recent restoration work on da Vinci's works (and even Caravaggio's) has tried to restore the effect that the paintings must have had the very day after they were painted.
It occurs to me that this is really related to the problem of whether words, as Bakhtin says, include the voices of everybody who has ever uttered them, whether meaning accrues to a word, and not simply to the intentions of the person who utters it. And that in turn answers a question that has been bothering me since Peter Smagorinsky's presentation (and upcoming article) on the Psychology of Art.
When Vygotsky says that a work of art has its own psychology, and that this psychology is actually, to some degree, objective, that is, independent of the psychology of the artist, what exactly can this mean? Does it conflict with the insight that one of the key differences between tools and signs is that the latter can only really be interpreted through the imaginative reconstruction of the mind of the sign maker? Or is it on the contrary merely a complication of that insight (an acknowledgement that it is not ONLY the mind of the sign maker which must be reconstructed imaginatively in the interpretation of a sign)?
If this is right, and if Jaynes is right, then the Odyssey, which is based on the breakdown of the bicameral mind, is interpretable and translatable to us, but the Iliad is gibberish. But is that really true? I think not (at least not in the key scene Vygotsky talks about, Hector's parting with Andromache).
David Kellogg
Hankuk University of Foreign Stuides 
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