The Pure Event of the Word

December 20, 2014 § Leave a comment

An extract from my review of Aaron Hillyer’s The Disappearance of Literature: Blanchot, Agamben, and the Writers of the No (Bloomsbury) featured in this week’s Times Literary Supplement:

If language cannot speak the world, “can the world speak in language”? That is the crucial question at the heart of The Disappearance of Literature. It proceeds from an agonistic relation to language, which is construed as a curse or, at best, a negative force. From this post-Hegelian perspective, words give us the world by taking it away: they negate things and beings in their singularity, replacing them with concepts. The answer, Hillyer argues, is to negate the negation by deactivating “the tendencies that cause our experience of the world to be as abstract as the language we use to describe it”. Literature must go through a “zone of decreation” that deactivates its habitual signifying and informative functions “in order to communicate communicability itself, openness to the world itself”. Such openness is predicated on the author coinciding with her work; disappearing momentarily into a thingly, asignifying language that now speaks itself. Only a writer who has vanished into “the pure event of the word” — where the telling becomes the teller — may express (although not in so many words) “what absolutely escapes our language”.
disappearance

The Literature of Disappearance

December 17, 2014 § Leave a comment

My review of Aaron Hillyer’s The Disappearance of Literature: Blanchot, Agamben, and the Writers of the No (Bloomsbury) appears in this week’s Times Literary Supplement (p. 36).

disappearance

It Feels As if You’ve Lost Something

December 16, 2014 § Leave a comment

“I know I’m never going to fully grasp life in my art. It’s never as good as having the sun on your face. Even if you film someone with the sun on their face it feels as if you’ve lost something.”
Laure Prouvost, “The Sun On Your Face,” Interview by Zoe Pilger, freeze 166 (October 2014)

Those Who Never Achieved Greatness

December 14, 2014 § Leave a comment

Stuart Kelly, “Stuart Kelly: Diversity Rules in Non-Fiction,” The Scotsman 13 December 2014

But my personal favourite in this genre [literary biography] has to be The Biographical Dictionary of Literary Failure, by CD Rose and Andrew Gallix, a glorious alphabetical compendium of those who never achieved greatness.

The Biographical Dictionary of Literary Failure 300dpi

Girlfriend in a Comma

December 13, 2014 § Leave a comment

Gustave Flaubert

I spent the morning putting in a comma and the afternoon removing it.

Beautiful Losers

December 12, 2014 § Leave a comment

Julian Hanna, “Beautiful Losers,” Rev. of The Biographical Dictionary of Literary Failure by C. D. Rose, 3:AM Magazine 11 December 2014

The introduction, a brilliant extended meditation on ‘real’ failure by 3:AM’s own co-editor-in-chief Andrew Gallix, complements the fictional failures that follow.
The Biographical Dictionary of Literary Failure 300dpi

Literary Failure and Failures in Literature

December 9, 2014 § Leave a comment

Mark Diston, Rev. of The Biographical Dictionary of Literary Failure by C. D. Rose, The Register 6 December 2014

The introduction by Andrew Gallix, editor of 3:AM Magazine, is a fascinating essay of literary failure and failures in literature.

The Biographical Dictionary of Literary Failure 300dpi

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