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Ben Marcus: A Correction

Amy's project
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Megan Layton

on 15 December 2010

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Transcript of Ben Marcus: A Correction

INTERVIEW WITH BEN MARCUS

Dave: Language is central to the novel, the lack of it or the forms it can take. And there's such a blur between food and language, so much confusion between those two.

Marcus: It's one of those deep concepts that drives me as a writer. It's constantly coming out of me. I'm always stuffing cloth in a character's mouth. I'm always trying to mythologize the mouth, to make language animated so you can see it coming out of people's heads, destroying objects. It's provocative to me to look at the body and what the body does as a force of nature. Take the attributes and turn the volume up on them just a tiny bit, or maybe spray them with some revealing jelly so you see a little more than what might be there. In the lie you're telling there might be some little parable, some revelation of what is real. I could take up this reply by point. If the writer's array of motivations is like a wide-open fan, the need to be recognized, which André Lwoff speaks of, is perhaps not the most futile, demanding as it in the first place does a self-recognition, which in turn implies a "making", a "doing" (I make - I produce - therefore I am), whether it is a question of building a bridge, a ship, of bringing in a harvest or of composing a string quartet. And if we restrict ourselves to the realm of literature we should bear in mind that the Greek word for"make" or "do" is which is also the origin of the word poem, whose nature we should perhaps plumb even deeper. For if we are agreed in allowing some freedom of language to the kind of writer usually called a poet, on what grounds do we refuse it to the prose-writer, to whom we assign only one task: to tell apologetic tales, ignoring meanwhile all other aspects of the nature of this language, which he also has to use as a simple means of communication? Isn't this to forget, as Mallarmé says, that "each time a stylistic effort is made, there is versification", and to forget Flaubert's question in a letter to George Sand: "How come there is a necessary link between the exact word and the musical word?"
* * *
I am an old man now. Like the lives of many others who inhabit our old Europe, my early life was no little disturbed. I witnessed a revolution. I went to war in singularly murderous circumstances (my regiment was one of those the general-staffs coldly sacrificed in advance, so that a week later almost nothing remained of it). I have been taken prisoner. I've known hunger. Have been forced to exhaust myself with physical labour. Escaped. Been gravely ill, several times at the point of a violent or natural death. I've rubbed shoulders with all sorts and conditions of men, both clergy and incendiaries of churches, peaceable bourgeois and anarchists, philosophers and illiterates. I've shared my bread with tramps, in a word, I've been about the world ... all, however, without finding any sense to all this, unless it should be the one assigned to it, I believe, by Barthe, following Shakespeare: that "if the world signifies anything, it is that it signifies nothing" - except that it exists.

As you see, I've nothing, in Sartre's sense, to say. Even if some important truth of a social, historical, or sacred nature had been revealed to me, it would have seemed to me a burlesque proceeding, at the very least, to have invented fictions to express it, rather than by a reasoned philosophical, sociological, or theological thesis.







Stendhal experienced this phenomenon of the literary present. In his La Vie de Henri Brulard he undertook to describe the Army of Italy going over the Great St. Bernard. While doing his very best to give his tale all possible veridicality, he says, he suddenly realized he was perhaps describing, not so much the event itself, as an engraving of it, seen subsequently. This engraving, (he writes) "had (in me) replaced the reality". If Stendhal had meditated further on the matter, he would have realized - anyone can imagine the numbers of objects represented in the engraving: guns, wagons, horses, glaciers, rocks, etc., but their enumeration would fill several pages, whilst Stendhal's account fills exactly one, he would have realized, I say, that it was not even this engraving he was describing, but an image just then forming itself inside him, and which, in its turn, was replacing the engraving he thought he was describing.

More or less consciously, as a result of the imperfections, first of his perception and then of his memory, the author not only subjectively selects, chooses, eliminates, but also valorizes some few of the hundreds or thousands of elements in a scene: and immediately we are very far indeed from the impartial mirror walking along beside a road, to which this same Stendhal pretended ...

If a breaking point occurred, a radical change in the history of art, it was when painters, soon followed by writers, gave up pretending to represent the visible world, and contented themselves with the impressions it produced on them.

"A man in good health", writes Tolstoy, "is all the time thinking, feeling, and recalling an incalculable number of things at once". This observation should be set beside Flaubert's apropos Madame Bovary: "Everything she had in her, of reminiscences, images, combinations, escaped at once, in a single movement, like the thousand sparks of a firework. Sharply, in separate pictures, she saw her father, Léon, Lhereux' office, their own room downstairs, another landscape, unknown figures ..."

If Flaubert here speaks of a sick woman, the prey of a kind of delirium, Tolstoy, for his part, when he says "any man in good health", goes further and generalizes. Where they agree is in saying that all these reminiscences, all these emotions, and all these thoughts present themselves simultaneously. Only Flaubert is specific about it being a matter of "separate pictures", fragments, in other words; and that the aspect under which they present themselves to us is that of "combinations". And this exposes for us the weak side of Tynianov's timid proposition which, while regarding the traditional novel as passe, failed to conceive of a future type of novel, where the fable would merely be a pretext for an "accumulation" of "static" descriptions.

And here we come across one of the paradoxes of literature. A description of what one might call an apparently static "interior landscape", whose main characteristic is that nothing in it is near or remote, turns out itself, not to be static, but, on the contrary, dynamic. Forced by the linear configuration of language to enumerate successively such a landscape's components (which in itself involves priorities, thus a subjective valorization of certain objects in relation to others), the author, as soon as he begins to write down a word on paper, immediately touches on this prodigious whole, this astounding network of relationships established in and by this language which, as someone has said, "speaks before we do" by means of what one calls "figures of speech"; in other words tropes, metonymies, and metaphors. Nothing of this is the result of chance but, quite the contrary, a constitutive part of man's gradually acquired knowledge of the world and of objects.


* * *
Sometimes people talk, only too volubly and ex cathedra, of a writer's function and duties. Some years ago, using a formula that contains within itself its own contradiction, some people, not altogether undemagogically, even went so far as to declare that "a book is worth nothing compared with the death of a little child in Biafra". But why is such a death, unlike a baby monkey's, such an insufferable scandal? Surely because the child is a human infant, i.e., gifted with intelligence, a conscience (however embryonic), who, if he survives, will one day be capable of thinking and talking about his sufferings, of reading about the sufferings of others, and of in his turn being moved and, with a little luck, of writing about it.



To this path there can thus be no other term except the exhaustion of him who, exploring this inexhaustible countryside as he travels through it, contemplates the rough map he has drawn up in the course of his march, never quite sure he has done his best to follow certain enthusiasms, obey certain impulses. Nothing is sure, nor does it offer any other guarantees than those Flaubert, following Novalis, speaks of: a harmony, a music. Searching for it, the writer makes only laborious progress. Feeling his way forward like a blind man, he goes up culs-de-sac, gets bogged down and starts out anew. If we at all costs must find some edification in his efforts, one could say it lies in seeing that always we are advancing across sands which shift under our feet.

Thank you for your attention. Ben Marcus (1967-) Claude Simon

"Nobel Prize
Acceptance Speech"


(1985) In an article published in HARPER'S in October of 2005:

In the left temporal lobe of the brain, below the central sulcus of Ronaldo, but above and tucked behind both Broca's area and Heschl's gyri, sits Wernicke's area, a tufted bundle of flesh responsible for language comprehension. It gets its name from Carl Wernicke, a German neurologist who discovered in 1874 that damage to this region could cause an impairment of language comprehension. Think of Wernicke's area as the reader's muscle, without which all written language is an impossible tangle of codes, a scribbled bit of abstract art that can't be deciphered. Here is where what we read is turned into meaning, intangible strings of language animated into legible shapes. If we do not read, or do so only rarely, the reader's muscle is slack and out of practice, and the stranger, harder texts, the lyrically unique ones that work outside the realm of familiarity, just scatter into random words.The words maybe familiar,but they fail to work together as architectural elements of a larger world.

In the literary world, it's not politic to suggest that the brain is even involved in reading, or that our reading faculties might actually be improved. Mentions of the brain imply effort, and effort is the last thing we are supposed to request of a reader. Language is meant to flow predigested, like liquid down a feeding tube. Instead of the brain, it's the heart that writers are told they must reach in order to move readers, to stir in them the deepest, most intense feelings. If we are successful,we touch or break our readers' hearts. But the heart cannot be trained to understand language, let alone literary language, which might come in complex and challenging guises, and which can at times seem put to uses so foreign that it resembles the dialect of a new tribe of people.

Although this language might at first seem alien, immersion in its ways can show us unprecedented worlds of feeling and thought. Literary language is complex because it is seeking to accomplish something extraordinarily difficult: to engrave the elusive aspects of life's entanglements, to represent the intensity of consciousness, to produce the sort of stories that transfix and mesmerize.

And despite claims to the contrary by B. R. Myers, Jonathan Franzen, Jonathan Yardley,Tom Wolfe, and Dale Peck, among other critics and writers, literary language can also make a more abstract but no less vital entertainment-subtle, unfamiliar, less wedded to preapproved modes, but exhilarating nevertheless. A writer laboring intensely to produce art from words would almost certainly hope for an active Wernicke's area, rather than an atrophied one, on the part of his reader. As a writer of sometimes abstract, so-called experimental fiction that can take a more active attention to read, I would say that my ideal reader's Wernicke's area is staffed by an army of jumpsuited code-breakers, working a bam-sizespace that is strung about the rafters with a mathematically intricate lattice of rope and steel, and maybe gusseted by a synthetic coil.

The true elitists in the literary world are the ones who have become annoyed by literary ambition in any form that is stronger and more sensitive than either, like guitar strings made from an unraveled spinal cord, each strand tuned to different tensions. The conduits of language that flowpast it in liquid-cooled bone-hollows could triggerunique vibrations that resonate into an original symphony when my ideal reader scanned a new sentence. This would be a scheme so elaborate that every portion of language would be treated as unique, and its infinite parts would be sent through such an exhaustive decoding process that not even a carcass of a word would remain. My ideal reader would cough up a thimble of fine graypowder at the end of the reading session, and she could use this mineral-rich substance to compost her garden.

Shorr of this desire for a supreme reader's muscle, a writer might be forgiven for wishing to slip readers enhancements to their Wernicke's areas, doses of a potion that might tum them into fierce little reading machines, devourers of new syntax, fluent interpreters of the most lyrically complex grammar, so that the more difficult kind of sense writing might strive to make could find its appropriate turing machine, and would be revealed to the reader with the delicacy that the writer intended. This would liberate the writer to worry less about whether or not everyone could process even the most elementary sentences, and he might then move deeper into a medium that has only begun to be tapped, certain that at least some readers could be happily bushwhacking alongside him. But these enhancements to Wernicke's area in fact already exist, and they're called books: the fuel that allows this region of the brain to grow ever more capable. If reading is a skill, with levels of ability, and not simply something we can or cannot do, then it's a skill that can be improved by more, and more varied, reading. The more various the styles we ingest, the better equipped we are to engage and be moved by those writers who are looking deeply into the possibility of syntax as a way to structure sense and feeling, packing experience into language, leveraging grammar as a medium for the making of art. Whether or not this intense kind of reading makes us freaks is another matter, but the muscle grows and strengthens every time we use it, leaving us ever hungrier to encounter sentences we've never seen before. And there are certain books that do require us to be readers, that ask us to have spent some time with sentences of all sorts, and presume an intense desire for new language that might render notions of "effort" in reading meaningless. But now, in the literary world, writers are being warned off this ambitious approach, and everywhere are signs that if you happen to be interested in the possibilities of language, if you appreciate the artistic achievements of others but still dream for yourself, however foolishly, that new arrangements are possible, new styles, new concoctions of language that might set off a series of delicious' mental explosions-if you believe any of this, and worse, if you try to practice it, you are an elitist. You hate your audience, you hate the literary industry, you probably even hate yourself. You stand not with the people but in a quiet dark hole, I shouting to no one. The limits of my language mean the limits of my world. (5.6)


# If people did not sometimes do silly things, nothing intelligent would ever get done.

4.121 Propositions cannot represent logical form: it is mirrored in them. What finds its reflection in language, language cannot represent. What expresses itself in language, we cannot express by means of language. Propositions show the logical form of reality. They display it. TRACTATUS LOGICO-PHILOSOPHICUS

By Ludwig Wittgenstein Appendix: Ten Rules for "Serious" Writers

The Appendix: Ten Rules for "Serious" Writers at the end of the book is an ironic set of guidelines for writing, each of which refers to a previous violation of successful prose that he has criticized. Myers implies that following these rules will lead to literary success.

The rules are as follows:

1. Be Writerly: If your writing is too natural, then there is no way it is scholarly.

2. Sprawl: Content doesn't matter, it's all about size. Critics are impressed by big books, so brevity should be dismissed.

3. Equivocate: If it doesn't make sense, there can always be a good excuse. Truth can always be distorted as long as it makes the writer sound good. For example, the plot isn't important because the lack of plot is what's important.

4. Mystify: If people think that your writing is smarter than their writing, then they will respect your writing. If you sound smart (and definitely if you are published) then you must possess a brilliant mind.

5. Keep Sentences Long: If the sentence is not long and boring, then it is definitely not literature.

6. Repeat yourself: Repetition of words is important. If you don't mention your subject enough times, then the reader may not know what you are talking about. You may also use synonyms to show that you know how to use a thesaurus, and thus, must be an intelligent writer.

7. Pile on the Imagery: Your writerly credentials will bloom to greatness if your ability to tie together multiple similes and metaphors like the wooden pieces of a Lincoln log set, never disintegrate from the fiery visage of the sun. The more literary devices that you can throw together, the better the writing.

8. Archaize: If thine style of writing reflects an age long gone, and a world unfamiliar to the modern reader, than thou art indeed a master of the quill and the ink. This is very similar to rule number four, except you must write as if you are stuck in the past, rather than stuck in a dictionary.

9. Bore: The word boring may as well be a synonym to the word scholarly. Along the lines of rule number one, you cannot write naturally, or make your words interesting. It is simply not scholarly. People are not supposed to be able to understand your writing, they are only supposed to realize that your writing is brilliant, because it just might be the cure for insomnia.

10. Play the part: Remember to be as you write, scholarly, literate, practically a god. You must understand that when you seem smart, when you seem to believe in yourself, others will do the same, because, how could someone that is so smart and so pompous be wrong? 3.323 In everyday language it very frequently happens that the same word has different modes of signification—and so belongs to different symbols—or that two words that have different modes of signification are employed in propositions in what is superficially the same way. Thus the word 'is' figures as the copula, as a sign for identity, and as an expression for existence; 'exist' figures as an intransitive verb like 'go', and 'identical' as an adjective; we speak of something, but also of something's happening. (In the proposition, 'Green is green'—where the first word is the proper name of a person and the last an adjective—these words do not merely have different meanings: they are different symbols.)

3.324 In this way the most fundamental confusions are easily produced (the whole of philosophy is full of them). 4.022 Man possesses the ability to construct languages capable of expressing every sense, without having any idea how each word has meaning or what its meaning is—just as people speak without knowing how the individual sounds are produced. Everyday language is a part of the human organism and is no less complicated than it. It is not humanly possible to gather immediately from it what the logic of language is. Language disguises thought. So much so, that from the outward form of the clothing it is impossible to infer the form of the thought beneath it, because the outward form of the clothing is not designed to reveal the form of the body, but for entirely different purposes. The tacit conventions on which the understanding of everyday language depends are enormously complicated. THE BLUE BOOK


What should we gain by a definition, as it can only
lead us to other undefined terms? "Use-value or the value of any article," Marx writes in the first chapter of Das Kapital, "only has value insofar as it embodies and materializes human labour." And in fact, that is any value's laborious point of departure. I am neither a philosopher nor a sociologist; yet I am struck by the fact that it should be during the 19th Century that, parallel with the development of machinery and of a ferocious industrialism, we on the one hand see the growth of a certain bad conscience and, on the other, the whole concept of work (the ill-paid work of transmutation) being devalued. In this way the writer is denied the virtue of his efforts, in favour of what some people call "inspiration", and is turned into a simple intermediary, a spokesman of goodness knows what supernatural power, in such fashion that he, the whilom domestic servant or conscientious artisan, now sees himself, as a person, put out of court, negated. At best he becomes a copyist, the translator of a book already written somewhere else, a kind of decoding machine, whose job it is to deliver, in plain language, messages dictated to him from a mysterious "beyond". "Have they given Claude Simon the Nobel Prize to confirm the rumour that the novel is finally dead?" asks one critic. What he does not yet seem to have noticed is that, if by "novel" he means the literary model which established itself in the 19th Century, then it is certainly dead, no matter how many copies of amiable or terrifying tales of adventure, with their happy or desperate endings, railway station and other bookstalls are still buying and selling, and for a long time to come will go on selling, and whose titles announce such revealed truths as La Condition Humaine, L'Espoir, or Les Chemins de la Liberté ...

More interesting to me, it seems, is that when, at the beginning of our century, two giants, Proust and Joyce, opened up quite new paths, they were only sanctioning a slow evolution, in the course of which the so-called realistic novel had slowly committed suicide.

"I endeavoured," writes Marcel Proust, "to find beauty where I had never imagined it could be: in the most everyday objects, in the profound life of natures mortes." And in an article published in Leningrad in 1927, entitled On the Evolution of Literature, the Russian essayist Tynianov wrote: "Taken as a whole, the descriptions of nature in older novels which, from the point of view of one literary system, one would be tempted to reduce to the ancillary role of link-passages or of slowing up the action (and thus almost negating it), from the point of view of another literary system should be regarded as a principal element; the fable may be only a motive, a pretext for accumulating static descriptions". This text which, in certain respects, can be regarded as prophetic, also seems to deserve a few observations.

First and foremost, we should note that the chief dictionary sense of the word "fable" is: "A short tale from which a moral can be extracted". Immediately, an objection occurs: namely, that in reality the process of fabricating a fable unfolds in exactly the opposite direction: that it is the fable which is extracted from the moral, not vice versa. For the writer of fables, the moral - "The strongest reason is always best", or "Every flatterer lives at the expense of his listener" - is there first; only thereafter the story which he makes up, as an imagistic demonstration illustrating some maxim, precept, or thesis which he tries by means of it to render more striking.

It is this tradition which, in France, via the mediaeval fabliaux, the fablewriters and the so-called comedy of manners or character of the 17th Century, and then of the philosophical tale of the 18th Century, led up to the l9th Century's allegedly "realistic" novel, such as aspired to a didactic virtue: "You and a few beautiful souls, beautiful as your own", Balzac wrote, "will understand my thought as you read La Maison Nucingen immediately after César Birotteau. Does not this contrast contain a whole social doctrine?"

In its day and age a bold innovation (a point overlooked by latter-day epigones who, a century and a half later, would set it up as exemplary), and supported by a certain "flight of the pen" and bya certain larger-than-life quality which raised it above the level of its own intentions, the Balzac-type novel afterwards degenerated and gave birth to works retaining only its purely demonstrative element.

Seen through such a lens, all description would seem not merely supererogatory but, as Tynianov stresses, impertinent, since it parasitically attaches itself to the action, whose course it interrupts, merely putting off the moment when the reader at long last shall tumble to the sense of the tale. "When I come to a description in a novel", wrote Henri de Montherlant, "I skip a page". And André Breton (who had nothing else in common with Montherlant) declared he could die of boredom at the description of Raskolnikov's room, exclaiming furiously: "What right has the author to fob us off with his postcards?" ...
* * *
Figures in the traditional novel are social or psychological types "in situation", simplified to the point of caricature, at least in one French tradition. "Harpagon is a miser, pure and simple", Strindberg remarks, in his preface to Miss Julie. "Yet he could also have been an excellent town councillor, a paterfamilias or indeed anything else. But no, he's a miser, pure and simple!" The traditional novel's characters are caught up in a series of adventures, where chain reactions follow one another in accordance with some supposedly implacable law of causes and effects, such as gradually leads them to the dénouement which has been called the "novel's logical climax", and which serves to substantiate the author's thesis and tell his readers what view they should take of men and women, of society or History ...

The tedium of it all is that these supposedly determined and determining events depend only on the goodwill of him who relates them. It is at his good pleasure that one character meets another (or fails to), that they fall in love (or hate each other), die (or survive); and equally well these events, whilst of course perfectly possible, might not happen. As Conrad emphasizes in his preface to The Nigger of the Narcissus, all the author appeals to is our credulity; as to the "logic" of the characters, as of the situations, they could be discussed ad infinitum. On the one hand Henri Martineau, that eminent Stendhalian, assures us that from the outset of Le Rouge et le Noir Julien Sorel is predestined to fire his fatal pistol shot at Madame de Rénal. Whilst, on the other, Emile Faguet, for his part, finds this dénouement "impermissibly false".

No doubt this is one of the reasons for the paradox which, from the very moment of its birth, caused the realistic novel to work for its own destruction. Indeed, it was as if these authors, aware of the feebleness of the means they have recourse to in order to transmit their didactic message, felt a confused need, if their fables were to be convincing, to endue them with material density. Up to then, whether in La Princesse de Clèves, Candide, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, or even in La Nouvelle Héloise, a work of so great a nature-lover as Rousseau, description, in a novel or a philosophical tale, had been as it were non-existent, or only appeared in stereotypes: all pretty women's complexions are those "of the lily and the rose". They have "a fine figure". All old women are "hideous", all shadows are "cool", all deserts "monstrous", and so forth ... Not until Balzac (perhaps it was there his genius lay) do we come across minute and lengthy descriptions of place or character. As the century wore on, such descriptions would not only become steadily more numerous, but, no longer confined to the beginning of a story or the first appearances of its characters, progressively break up the action or, in more or less massive doses, are infused in it, even in the end becoming a kind of Trojan horse, quite simply ousting the fable which it had been their purpose to lend body to. Julien Sorel's tragic end on the scaffold, Emma Bovary's death by arsenic, or Anna Karenina throwing herself under a train may seem the logical climaxes of their adventures, whose sens moral they serve to underline. But none can surely be drawn from Albertine's end. Proust quite simply makes her disappear (one could be tempted to say "gets rid of her") as a result of a banal riding accident ...
* * *
An interesting parallel, it seems to me, could be drawn between the novel's evolution during the l9th Century and the evolution of painting, which had started so much earlier: "The end (the goal) of Christian art", Ernest Gombrich writes, "consists in making the sacred personage and, above all, sacred History convincing and moving in the eyes of the spectator". In its very earliest form, with the Byzantines, "the happening is described by means of clear and simple hieroglyphics that enable it to be understood, rather than seen". A tree, a mountain, a stream or some rocks are indicated by pictographic "signs".

"However, little by little, a new requirement makes itself felt: to proceed in such a fashion that the spectator as it were becomes a witness to the event (...) which is intended to be the object of his meditation." This leads gradually at the advent of naturalism, one of whose first artisans was Giotto, an evolution which pursued its course until, Gombrich tells us, "the naturalistic landscape of the backgrounds, hitherto designed according to the notions of mediaeval art about how proverbs should be illustrated or moral lessons inculcated, and which had filled up areas devoid of characters or actions (...), in the 16th Century this landscape as it were eats up the foregrounds, even to a point where the work is so well done by specialists like Joachim Pantinir that what the painter is creating no longer acquires its pertinence from some association with an important subject, but by reflecting, like music, the very harmony of the universe". And if, following Chlovski, we agree on defining the "literary act" as "the transfer of an object of habitual perception into the sphere of a new perception", how can the author hope to reveal the mechanisms which cause this "incalculable number" of apparently "separate pictures" within him to form associations which are his very self as a conscious being, if not in this language which is his very self qua thinking and speaking being, and in whose bosom, in its wisdom, and its logic, innumerable transfers or implied senses already occur to him?
...

Not demonstrate, but show; not reproduce, but produce; no longer express, but discover. Like painting, the novel no longer claims to draw its pertinence from its association with some important topic; but from the fact that it, like music, struggles to reflect a certain harmony.

...one perhaps could conceive an involvement for the act of writing which, in all modesty, contributes to changing the world every time it, even in the tiniest degree, changes the way in which man, by his language, relates to it. Questionless, the path then followed will be very different from that of the novelist who, starting out from a "beginning", reaches an "ending". This other way, which it costs an explorer of an unknown country such pains to find (losing himself, retracing his steps, guided or led astray by resemblances between different places, the same place's different aspects) will constantly call for rechecks, pass across crossroads already crossed. As for the end of this investigation into the "present" of images and emotions none closer or more distant than any other (word, namely, having a prodigious power to bring nearer and juxtapose objects which for lack of them would remain scattered in clock-time or in measurable space), this journey's end may well be that he comes back to his point of departure, the richer only for having indicated certain directions, thrown a few footbridges, and by obstinately penetrating particularities without laying claim to say everything that could be said, may even attain to that "common sense" where to some greater or smaller extent everyone can recognize some part of himself. Heesun's presentation on Ben Marcus TENDER BUTTONS, GERTRUDE STEIN (1914)

OBJECTS
FOOD
ROOMS OBJECTS



A CARAFE, THAT IS A BLIND GLASS.

A kind in glass and a cousin, a spectacle and nothing strange a single hurt color and an arrangement in a system to pointing. All this and not ordinary, not unordered in not resembling. The difference is spreading. ROOMS


The instance of there being more is an instance of more. The shadow is not shining in the way there is a black line. The truth has come. There is a disturbance. Trusting to a baker's boy meant that there would be very much exchanging and anyway what is the use of a covering to a door. There is a use, they are double.

If the centre has the place then there is distribution. That is natural. There is a contradiction and naturally returning there comes to be both sides and the centre. That can be seen from the description.

The author of all that is in there behind the door and that is entering in the morning. Explaining darkening and expecting relating is all of a piece. The stove is bigger. It was of a shape that made no audience bigger if the opening is assumed why should there not be kneeling. Any force which is bestowed on a floor shows rubbing. This is so nice and sweet and yet there comes the change, there comes the time to press more air. This does not mean the same as disappearance. GLAZED GLITTER.

Nickel, what is nickel, it is originally rid of a cover.

The change in that is that red weakens an hour. The change has come. There is no search. But there is, there is that hope and that interpretation and sometime, surely any is unwelcome, sometime there is breath and there will be a sinecure and charming very charming is that clean and cleansing. Certainly glittering is handsome and convincing.

There is no gratitude in mercy and in medicine. There can be breakages in Japanese. That is no programme. That is no color chosen. It was chosen yesterday, that showed spitting and perhaps washing and polishing. It certainly showed no obligation and perhaps if borrowing is not natural there is some use in giving. A BOX.

Out of kindness comes redness and out of rudeness comes rapid same question, out of an eye comes research, out of selection comes painful cattle. So then the order is that a white way of being round is something suggesting a pin and is it disappointing, it is not, it is so rudimentary to be analysed and see a fine substance strangely, it is so earnest to have a green point not to red but to point again. And certainly the language spoken by the greatest writers and musicians during the centuries before, during, and after the Renaissance - some of whom were treated like domestic servants, working to order - was an artisan's language. They referred to the fruits of their labours (here I'm thinking of Johann Sebastian Bach, of Nicolas Poussin ...) as works most laboriously and conscientiously executed. How to explain that today, for a certain school of criticism, the very notion of labour, of work, should have fallen into such discredit that to say of any writer that he finds writing difficult is just about the most scathing thing one could say about him? Perhaps we should dwell a moment on this problem, for it opens vistas on to horizons much vaster than derive from mere pique. Leaving aside the complaints that I am a "difficult", "boring", "unreadable" or "confused" writer, and recalling that the same reproaches have always been levelled at any artist who even to the slightest degree upsets acquired habits and the established order of things, let us wonder, instead, at the way in which the grandchildren of those people who in impressionist paintings once saw nothing but shapeless (i.e., illegible) daubs today form endless queues outside exhibitions and museums to admire the works of those very same daubers. Likewise, let us leave aside the insinuation that you have chosen me at the instigation of agents of a certain political police, seated among you - however curious it may be to note that, even today, the Soviet Union remains in certain circles the symbol of redoubtable forces hostile to social stability; forces with which I, a simple writer, flatter myself I am associated. For indeed, the egoistic and vain gratuity of what some people call "art for art's sake" has been so reviled that it is no small recompense for me to see my writings, which have had no greater ambition than to raise themselves to that level, ranked among the instruments of revolutionary and upsetting action. What do seem to me more interesting, worth taking into account and worth pausing over, are certain other judgments on my work which, by their nature and their vocabulary, reveal, not so much a misunderstanding which may exist between the supporters of a certain tradition and of what I would call living literature, as what would seem to be a reversed (or, if you like, inverted) situation, all the terms used pejoratively having been most judiciously chosen, the only difference being that, in my eyes and oppositely to what my critics intend, they possess a positive value. I will come back to those who reproach my novels for having "neither a beginning nor an end", which is perfectly correct. Here I would like to dwell on two adjectives regarded as defamatory, and which are always naturally or, one could say, correlatively associated, and which serve precisely to pin-point the nature of this problem; namely those which denounce my works as a product of "labour", and thus necessarily "artificial". The dictionary defines this last word as follows: "Made with art". Further: "Anything which is the product of human activity and not of nature", - a definition so pertinent that one would be happy to accept it, if it were not for its connotations, which, commonly loaded with pejorative meaning, paradoxically turn out under scrutiny to be highly instructive. For if, as the dictionary adds, "artificial" also implies something "factitious, fabricated, false, imitated, invented, supererogatory", the thought immediately occurs that art, which is the acme of invention, and likewise factitious (from the Latin facere, "to make") and thus "fabricated" (another word which should be reinstated) is par excellence imitation (something which also obviously postulates falsity). Nevertheless it is necessary to define the exact nature of this imitation, inasmuch as it is by imitating itself, so to speak, that art generates itself: even to a point where it is not the desire to reproduce nature that makes the painter, but the fascination exerted by museums, just as it is the fascination of the written word that makes the author. As for Nature, she (as Oscar Wilde so wittily put it) contents herself with "imitating art ..." "The best style is an unnoticeable style", we are in the habit of saying, remembering the famous formula of someone who wanted a novel should be nothing but "a mirror walking along a road": a flat, uniform surface, free of all asperities, and behind its thin polished metal plate containing nothing but these virtual images that he indifferently and objectively, one after another, places on it. In other words: "the world as if I were not there to give it tongue", in Baudelaire's ironical formula with which he defined "realism". The true elitists in the literary world are the ones who
have become annoyed by literary ambition in any
form that is stronger and more sensitive than either,
like guitar strings made from an unraveled spinal
cord, each strand tuned to different tensions. The
conduits of language that flowpast it in liquid-cooled
bone-hollows could trigger unique vibrations that
resonate into an original symphony when my ideal
reader scanned a new sentence. This would be a
scheme so elaborate that every portion of language
would be treated as unique, and its infinite parts
would be sent through such an exhaustive decoding
process that not even a carcass of a word would
remain. My ideal reader would cough up a thimble of
fine graypowder at the end of the reading session,
and she could use this mineral-rich substance to
compost her garden. Shorr of this desire for a supreme reader's muscle, a writer might be forgiven for wishing to slip readers enhancements to their Wernicke's areas, doses of a potion that might tum them into fierce little reading machines, devourers of new syntax, fluent interpreters of the most lyrically complex grammar, so that the more difficult kind of sense writing might strive to make could find its appropriate turing machine, and would be revealed to the reader with the delicacy that the writer intended. This would liberate the writer to worry less about whether or not everyone could process even the most elementary sentences, and he might then move deeper into a medium that has only begun to be tapped, certain that at least some readers could be happily bushwhacking alongside him. But these enhancements to Wernicke's area in fact already exist, and they're called books: the fuel that allows this region of the brain to grow ever more capable. If reading is a skill, with levels of ability, and not simply something we can or cannot do, then it's a skill that can be improved by more, and more varied, reading. The more various the styles we ingest, the better equipped we are to engage and be moved by those writers who are looking deeply into the possibility of syntax as a way to structure sense and feeling, packing experience into language, leveraging grammar as a medium for the making of art. Whether or not this intense kind of reading makes us freaks is another matter, but the muscle grows and strengthens every time we use it, leaving us ever hungrier to encounter sentences we've never seen before. And there are certain books that do require us to be readers, that ask us to have spent some time with sentences of all sorts, and presume an intense desire for new language that might render notions of "effort" in reading meaningless. But now, in the literary world, writers are being warned off this ambitious approach, and everywhere are signs that if you happen to be interested in the possibilities of language, if you appreciate the artistic achievements of others but still dream for yourself, however foolishly, that new arrangements are possible, new styles, new concoctions of language that might set off a series of delicious' mental explosions-if you believe any of this, and worse, if you try to practice it, you are an elitist. You hate your audience, you hate the literary industry, you probably even hate yourself. You stand not with the people but in a quiet dark hole, I shouting to no one. When I say to my boyfriend, get me a glass of orange juice, I am soaying 1. Isn't it funny that I am asking for orange juice in the evening. restive, how are words altered by their syntax, do words arrive in a syntax? TENDER BUTTONS: objects, food, rooms

...is the title of a 1914 book by Gertrude Stein consisting of word clusters chosen for their prosody, juxtaposed for the purpose of subverting commonplace dictionary meanings which Stein believed had largely lost their expressive force and ability to communicate. The words were re-defined using both their etymology and analysis of syllables by themselves. “I began to play with
words then. I was a little
obsessed by words of
equal value. Picasso was
painting my portrait at
that time, and he and I
used to talk this thing over
endlessly. At the time he
had just begun on cubism”

Gertrude Stein Stein is able to deconstruct language in many of the same ways that visual artists deconstruct the image. TENDER BUTTONS comprises a defamiliarization, fragmentation of form, and varied perspective to define a new understanding of literature.

Tender Buttons is immediately recognizable for its treatment of the subject in new contexts. By displacing everyday objects from familiar descriptive language, Stein effectively forces a re-evaluation of reality. In the same way that visual cubists defamiliarized the most relatable art, PORTRAITS, with new reflections of the body in stark lines and angles, Gertrude Stein jarringly infiltrates preconceptions of household signifiers. Gertrude Stein wrote TENDER BUTTONS as an experiment in eliminating nouns from her poetry. “I knew that nouns must go in poetry as they had gone in prose if anything that is everything was to go on meaning something." (Stein)

Stein’s argument is that nouns have lost their power to accurately signify meaning without also limiting its significance by excluding other meanings. Stein’s exclusionary theory of language, then, was her impetus for an exploration of literary cubism. Like the visual artists who rejected the possibility of a single objective representation, Stein’s poetry is a response to power dynamics behind systematic labels. TRANSFORMATION OF REPRESENTATION

EMPHASIZE THE MEDIUM: LANGUAGE (contrary to the long-held belief, the best style is an unnoticeable one)

MOVE BEYOND DESCRIPTIVE MIMESIS, FORGE THE POSIBILITY OF A NON-LINEAR NARRATIVE WHICH ALLOWS FOR A MULTIPLICITY OF MEANINGS Manifesto!

by Ben Marcus

A Seminar

“A manifesto is a communication made to the whole world, whose only pretension is to the discovery of an instant cure for political, astronomical, artistic, parliamentary, agronomical and literary syphilis. It may be pleasant, and good-natured, it’s always right, it’s strong, vigorous and logical.”

–Tristan Tzara

Course Description:

Shrill, ambitious, mocking, deranged, and delirious with possibility, the art manifesto is an incendiary text that comes out swinging. From the audacious declarations of the futurists to the enigmas of the surrealists, early art manifestos were shocking documents that taunted the status quo and tested the resolve and vision of artists. As the twentieth century unfolded, there was hardly an art movement that didn’t have a manifesto behind it, and these documents have frequently voiced intense and passionate aspirations, sketching a radical future for art while challenging the cultural and commercial norm. This seminar, open to all students in the School of the Arts, will survey a diverse range of art manifestos: Vorticist, Fluxus, Dada, Situationist International, Dogma 95, the Angry Young Men, the Stuckists, L.A.N.G.U.A.G.E Poetry, Dirty Realism, Minimalism, and the New Puritans, among many others. Our aim will be to examine the philosophical and often anxious underpinnings behind these diverse movements in the arts. We will not only question the conditions (social, political, and historical) that lead to the creation of a manifesto, but we’ll wonder just how faithful each movement has been to its defining credo. As the class progresses and we familiarize ourselves with the strategies and aftermath of art manifestos—the peculiar way they have served to inspire and frustrate in equal measure—we’ll pursue further open questions that might relate directly to the practice of artists today. For instance, does a manifesto liberate artistic activity? If a manifesto is more renowned than the art it prescribes, is it a hidden and overlooked genre of art in and of itself? What was wrong in specific cases that gave rise to the manifesto; in other words, what problem does each manifesto try to address? What is it about the last one hundred years that has generated such a surge in polemical statements about art? And how do we synthesize some of these questions into in examination of the current state of the art, whether in film, literature, visual art, theater, and beyond? Everywhere in our current cultural landscape, missions, rules, edicts and principles for art are broadcast without much examination, a moralism toward art making that pulses just under the radar. This course will attempt to surface and address even the most unconscious notions and mottos—at large in the cultural conversation—of what our art should be, the manifestoing impulse at the heart of much critical activity. In so doing, students might move closer toward clarifying their own artistic positions, however slippery. By the end of the term, students will write, construct, or otherwise create their own manifestos and submit them to the class for discussion.

Schedule

Week 1: Introduction.

Manipulation, propaganda, desire: the language of the manifesto. The shape of the vacuum: historical and social context. Models and Forms: The Communist Manifesto, The United States Declaration of Independence, The Cannibal Manifesto, The Cluetrain Manifesto, The Hacker’s Manifesto.

Week 2: Foundational Manifestos I: Enabling or Censoring?

The Futurist Manifesto. The Vorticist Manifesto.

Week 3: Foundational Manifestos II: The Realm of the Senseless.

The Dada Manifesto. The Surrealist Manifesto.

Week 4: A Walk in the Park.

The Situationist International. Fluxus. Artaud’s Theater of Cruelty.

Week 5: The Counter-Culture.

S.C.U.M. Body Art Manifesto. Maintenance Art Manifesto. AfriCobra.

Week 6: An Arm Behind Our Backs: Fantasies of Restriction.

Dogma 95, pluginmanifesto, Oulipo.

Week 7: The End of the Story.

L.A.N.G.U.A.G.E Poetry. The New Puritans. Tom Wolfe, Jonathan Franzen, B.R. Meyers and the Status / Contract Question.

Week 8: Against Design.

Crude Art Manifesto. The Stuckists. Group Hangman. Angry Young Men. The Yes Men.

Week 9: The Internet and the Death of the Object.

A Cyborg Manifesto. Hypertext and the End of the Book. Cyberfeminist Manifesto.

Week 10: Edict, Motto, Creed: The Unspoken State of the Art.

Less is more. Show don’t tell. Make it New. Unexamined rules of contemporary art making. The New York Times, The New Republic, Artforum, Etc.

Week 11: The Future: How to Write an Avant-Garde Manifesto.

Deducing manifestos behind the reigning works of art, literature, theater, film, and mixed-media.

Week 12: Student Manifestos. Presentations and discussion.

Week 13: Student Manifestos. Presentations and discussion. Conclusion.

Tags: Ben Marcus, Syllabus In an article by Ben Marcus published in
HARPER'S in October of 2005:

In the left temporal lobe of the brain,
below the central sulcus of Ronaldo, but
above and tucked behind both Broca's
area and Heschl's gyri, sits Wernicke's
area, a tufted bundle of flesh responsible
for language comprehension. It gets its
name from Carl Wernicke, a German
neurologist who discovered in 1874 that
damage to this region could cause an
impairment of language comprehension... "In the literary world, it's not politic to suggest that the brain is even involved in reading, or that our reading faculties might actually be improved. Mentions of the brain imply effort, and effort is the last thing we are supposed to request of a reader. Language is meant to flow predigested, like liquid down a feeding tube. Instead of the brain, it's the heart that writers are told they must reach in order to move readers, to stir in them the deepest, most intense feelings. If we are successful,we touch or break our readers' hearts. But the heart cannot be trained to understand language, let alone literary language, which might come in complex and challenging guises, and which can at times seem put to uses so foreign that it resembles the dialect of a new tribe of people.

Although this language might at first seem alien, immersion in its ways can show us unprecedented worlds of feeling and thought. Literary language is complex because it is seeking to accomplish something extraordinarily difficult: to engrave the elusive aspects of life's entanglements, to represent the intensity of consciousness, to produce the sort of stories that transfix and mesmerize. " A writer laboring intensely to produce art
from words would almost certainly hope for
an active Wernicke's area, rather than an
atrophied one, on the part of his reader. As a
writer of sometimes abstract, so-called
experimental fiction that can take a more
active attention to read, I would say that my
ideal reader's Wernicke's area is staffed by an
army of jumpsuited code-breakers, working a
bam-sizespace that is strung about the rafters
with a mathematically intricate lattice of rope
and steel, and maybe gusseted by a synthetic
coil... Think of Wernicke's area as the reader's
muscle, without which all written language
is an impossible tangle of codes, a scribbled
bit of abstract art that can't be deciphered.
Here is where what we read is turned into
meaning, intangible strings of language
animated into legible shapes. If we do not
read, or do so only rarely, the reader's
muscle is slack and out of practice, and the
stranger, harder texts, the lyrically unique
ones that work outside the realm of
familiarity, just scatter into random
words.The words maybe familiar, but they
fail to work together as architectural
elements of a larger world. pg. 47 violence, golden monica

placement of the human
Leg of Brother, who died early
What happens in this story?
Everyone write down what it is about.

What does it mean to catalogue?

What is rhetoric?
Split up into grousp and identify a plot...
What is speech?
What does it mean for the author to write himself into the ext what ontological barriers are ruptured...?

What does it do to our conception of objectivity and subjectivity?
What kinds of things (nouns) reappear again and again? The oldest encyclopedia was written by Pliny the Elder, Natural History, in 77 AD Pliny the Elder, 77 AD

My subject is a barren one - the world of nature,
or in other words life; and that subject in its least
elevated department, and employing either rustic
terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually
have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover,
the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor
one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not
one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet
one Roman who has tackled single-handed all
departments of the subject.



It is a difficult task to give novelty to what is old,
authority to what is new, brilliance to the common-
place, light to the obscure, attraction to the stale,
credibility to the doubtful, but nature to all things
and all her properties to nature.


(Disclaimer: never quote from wiki) What is the difference between expressing content
or producing content?


Art which renders the world, versus art which
usurps the world entirely... From "Art as Technique"

"If we examine the general laws of perception, we see
that as it becomes habitual, it also becomes automatic. So
eventually all of our skills and experiences function
unconsciously—automatically. If someone were to
compare the sensation of holding a pen in his hand or
speaking a foreign tongue for the very first time with the
sensation of performing this same operation for the ten
thousandth time, then he would no doubt agree with us. It
is this process of automatization that explains the laws of
our prose speech with its fragmentary phrases and half-
articulated words." Viktor Shklovsky (1893-1984)
Russian and Soviet critic "The purpose of art is to impart the sensation of
things as they are perceived and not as they are
known. The technique of art is to make objects
‘unfamiliar’, to make forms difficult, to increase the
difficulty and length of perception because the
process of perception is an aesthetic end in itself and
must be prolonged. Art is a way of experiencing the
artfulness of an object; the object is not important."

(Shklovsky, "Art as Technique", 12) "Defamiliarization" or "Estrangement"
in Literature What does it mean to catalog a culture?

What is the appeal of a catalogue, encyclopedia, or dictionary as a literary form? (as in Marcus, Bataille, Ballard, Stein)

What is the purpose of a dictionary, an encyclopedia in culture?

What expectation do we have when we encounter one of these texts? Cataloging Culture: Pliny the Elder

Victor Shklovsky and Gertrude Stein:
Literary Estrangement
(or defamiliarization)

Wittgenstein: Language Games

Claude Simon: no longer to express,
but discover * * *
And at once we glimpse an answer to the everlasting questions: "Why do you write? What have you to say?"...Well, in front of my blank sheet of paper, two things confront me: on the one hand, the troublesome muddle of emotions, memories, images inside myself. On the other, the language, the words I'm going to look for in order to express it, and the syntax which will determine their arrangement and in whose womb they in some sense are going to take form.

And immediately I find that, first: what one writes (or describes) is never something which has happened prior to the work of writing. On the contrary it produces itself (in every sense of the term) in the course of working, within its own present. It is the upshot, not of the conflict between the very vague initial project and the language, but, on the contrary, of their symbiosis, so that, at least in my case, the result is infinitely richer than the intention. Everyone write down a blurb for
THE AGE OF WIRE AND STRING.

(Something appropriate for Publisher's Weekly,
meant to inform possible readers of what to expect
when encountering this book...) EXAMPLE (negative):

Sea Escape Lynne Griffin. Simon & Schuster, $25 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4391-8060-0

Griffin follows up Life Without Summer with a drearily similar novel that alternates between the present of Laura, a nurse and mother, and the past of Laura’s mother, Helen. When Helen suffers a stroke, Laura becomes the care advocate for a mother she has long felt distanced from, a job that affects her children and husband as well. In a bid to understand Helen’s clinging to the memory of her dead husband, Laura begins to read their love letters, which contain hints about long-buried family secrets that break the ice between Laura and Helen and allow Laura to deal openly and honestly with her own husband and children. Though most of the right women’s fiction boxes are checked, this suffers greatly from characters who don’t feel particularly real and plot complications that thud into place without adding tension. (July) EXAMPLE (positive):

A Kind of Intimacy Jenn Ashworth. Europa (Penguin, dist.), $15 paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-933372-86-0

A Kind of Intimacy by Jenn Ashworth. In her debut novel, Ashworth takes on a formidable task: an insane yet sympathetic protagonist whose efforts at self-help spell disaster. Annie Fairhurst is a socially inept and obese Briton who has murdered her husband and child—which is alluded to but not confirmed until later in the story. She moves into a duplex occupied by an unmarried couple, Neil and Lucy, and Annie immediately becomes obsessed with Neil, who unfortunately makes the mistake of being friendly. In Annie's warped mind, Neil is sending her secret signals of love, although no rational human being would agree from the evidence presented. Annie clashes with Lucy from the start and as their relationship devolves, Annie's strange and aggressive behavior—putting trash through Neil and Lucy's mail slot, stealing Lucy's dress, listening to Lucy and Neil's conversations through the shared wall of their duplex—escalates from childish to, finally, criminal, in a shocking series of actions. Interspersed throughout are glimpses of Annie's past, her troubled marriage and stilted feelings toward her infant daughter, Grace. The beautiful, provocative prose and dangerous, quirky protagonist mark Ashworth as a writer to watch. (June) NOUNS: Who called it stories, a novel, fiction, nonfiction, a catalogue, a list of terms?

(When this book first came out there was a bit of confusion about where to place it on the bookshelves, though the author was adamant not to shelve it in poetry.)

ADJECTIVES:...

The PW reviews focus almost solely upon content,
plot, characters, etc (the enemies of fiction, according to a certain writer I cannot remember)...

So how do we describe? Sticks and Stones: An Introduction
Ben Marcus

TO ASSERT THE OPPOSITE of the nursery rhyme invoked above would be to maintain that language is not only physical enough to wreck a body--through precise rhetorical arrangements and sheer sentencery--but also that the word is as stone, a tool to smash obstacles and persons, the hard object that will outlive us all, implacable and immutable. But the original rhyme has it without metaphor. Names can never hurt us. Language is just air, a bit of homemade weather never sufficiently dense to tear the house down. If we stand strong, we'll keep the threatening words away. I tried to follow the rule as a kid, to keep it in mind that the language situation was something not as potent as I felt it to be. But I was everywhere getting smeared in it, eating it, feeling words literally, literally, building me up and breaking me down, foiling my coherence in favor of newer, deeper structures of kid-dreams and thoughts of God. My "mind" was nothing but this massy web of language exploding and growing, and I cried all the time, for what was always, always, a good reason: It hurt like hell. This was what language did. I read to get big and kick ass. I knew this then--reading would prepare me for the battle. A story was the purest food. It hurt, it helped--no difference--I was held or crushed by it. I still am. My history is first a history of my reading. I remember the stories I read as if they happened to me, because they did happen to me. The best stories fake me into the spot of teller, doer, done to, scene, voice, object, scheme. Language shapes me up, and fiction makes the hardest, most lasting shapes. This is all that I want from a story. Or this is everything that I want. The writers gathered here do not change the subject or perpetrate equations that dilute what we secretly know and need to know about the living project, about navigating our common air and living into the wind. I am thus instructed, and chastened, and hectored, and soothed by what I feel to be any vigorous mythmaking that would seek to install a new, or revised, or cleansed set of terms and behaviors into the daily museum we make for ourselves. Here are writers I take to be embarked on this task, and there are plenty more who could just as well be here if it weren't for the limits of space, the natural stricture of the submission period. They are writers who share a rigorous attention to composition that is seemingly unshakable, and otherworldly. Materiality of Language Questions: What does language do in the world?

"Poetry makes nothing happen...it survives in the valley of its saying, a way of happening, a mouth." What images reappear in THE AGE OF WIRE AND STRING?

Can you explain its mood?

Its relationship to culture?

To speech?

To family?

To shelter?

To mourning, death, and imprisonment?

What about the animal?

What about the autobiographical element? Groups:

AUTOBIOGRAPHY (Mentions of Marcus, Family, instances where the text feels so idiosyncratic as to suggest a personal story)

MOURNING (graves, mourning, death)

CULTURE (houses, remnants, histories) catalogue, n.

1. a. A list, register, or complete enumeration; in this simple sense now Obs. or arch.

b. fig. List, roll, series, etc.

2. Now usually distinguished from a mere list or enumeration, by systematic or methodical arrangement, alphabetical or other order, and often by the addition of brief particulars, descriptive, or aiding identification, indicative of locality, position, date, price, or the like. Something which is methodical, ordered, hierarchical and or exclusionary in the information it gathers and presents.

Something which is factual. SHARE (I need someone to record adjectives and someone to record nouns up on the whiteboard.) OUTLINE FOR TODAY TO GIVE NOVELTY TO WHAT IS OLD LETS TAKE A LOOK AT
ARGUMENT (AND EPIGRAMS) Lets take a look at

INTERCOURSE
WITH RESUCITATED WIFE

and
SNORING, ACCIDENTAL
SPEECH AIR TRANCE 16 DEATH OF WATER This first section, entitled SLEEP, what words are reappearing?

How do you orient yourself in this world?

What thems: (mourning, deaeth, decoding...)

Terms: Albert, Sadness, Shirt of Noise, Sleeping Group, Jennifer (Wittgenstein) Mourning, Death, Decoding (speech) Is language something to be deciphered? A code? Something cloaked (as in the cloth appearing in character's mouths)

Think of Kafka...to free language from a semiotic system where the pure sonorous noise of something (an animal cry) might convey the articulation without the arbitration of a sign or intermediary term which obscures the thought. Do you experience this confusion or multiple modes of meaning? Alphonso Lingis:

"Language is so essentially a power of contradiction
that instead of saying language is the way we recognize
mental beings should we not rather say that language
is the way what OTHERS have in their minds might
always be falsified?" DIED, page 20 Make sense of THE GOLDEN MONICA Claude Simon's Nobel Lecture Speech:

"What one writes (or describes) is never something which has happened prior to the work of writing. On the contrary it produces itself (in every sense of the term) in the course of working, within its own present. It is the upshot, not of the conflict between the very vague initial project and the language, but, on the contrary, of their symbiosis, so that, at least in my case, the result is infinitely richer than the intention....Not demonstrate, but show; not reproduce, but produce; no longer express, but discover. Like painting, the novel no longer claims to draw its pertinence from its association with some important topic; but from the fact that it, like music, struggles to reflect a certain harmony. " Can you think of anything which does this
(video, visual art, scultpure, etc)? Giovanni Battista
(1720 – 1778)

Prison Etchings 100 Headless Women (1929) Max Ernst, Oedipus 1984 WOOD RAT (dragon and monkey) (horse and rabbit)
1985 WOOD OX (rat and rooster) (tiger and horse)
1986 FIRE TIGER (dog and horse) (goat and ox)
1987 FIRE RABBIT (pig and dog) (rooster and rat)
1988 EARTH DRAGON (monkey and rat) (goat and ox)
1989 EARTH SNAKE (rooster and ox) (pig and monkey)
1990 METAL HORSE (dog and tiger) (rat and monkey)
1991 METAL GOAT (rabbit and pig) (ox and rat) Gogol Bordello
Henry Darger
The Brother's Quay Das Kabinett des Doktor Caligari
Part 2/8 AMY'S SOMETHING
Full transcript