Don’t Be Taken In

Douglas Lord, Rev. of The Biographical Dictionary of Literary Failure by CD Rose, Library Journal 16 October 2014

Don’t be taken in, as I first was, by Sorbonne instructor Andrew Gallix’s Very Serious Introduction in which he notes all sorts of high-level details, such as that most of the writers “…devoted their lives to the pursuit of some Gesammtkunstwerk…”.
The Biographical Dictionary of Literary Failure 300dpi

An Anarchic Ship of Fools

David Winters, “An Interview with David Winters” by Matthew Jakubowski, truce 21 October 2014

My first book review was of Barthes’ The Preparation of the Novel. I sent it to Andrew Gallix at 3:AM. He published it, and made me an editor shortly afterwards. I’m grateful to Andrew for that. And to Barthes!

… As for “guiding” the magazine, for me the most attractive aspect of 3:AM is its refusal to “stand for” anything! As Andrew often puts it, the site has “no party line”. It was always supposed to be a broad church — or an anarchic ship of fools, to mix the metaphor. The most amusing attacks on us have come from bloggers who treat book reviewing as if it were some sort of moral crusade; who want to divide readers’ tastes into “right” and “wrong”. We find factionalism quite infantile, and upsetting these dogmatists is as good a reason as any to keep publishing.

Written Asunder

Karl Ove Knausgaard, “Handke and Singularity,” Archipelago Books 24 September 2014

Therein lies the merit of the poem [Paul Celan’s The Straightening], the fact that it cannot be referred to other than by quoting it, cannot be retold, cannot be used for something secondary, and points to nothing other than to itself; in other words, it is singular, primary, the thing-in-itself, as a stone on the ground is singular, primary, the thing-in-itself. That is to say as close to the singular and the primary and the thing-in-itself as a language can come, because even in a language which persistently negates itself, representation is of course unavoidable. Where it reads ‘Grass, written asunder,’ I imagine, in all its simplicity, the grass that grows on the lawn in the dark outside the window by which I sit and write, and by ‘written asunder’ I understand a form of violence which perhaps — or perhaps not — has something to do with the way in which it is seen or represented.

[From an essay presented by Knausgaard at the Skien International Ibsen Conference, 22 (?) September 2014.]

Mourning the Lost Modernist Energies

Lars Iyer, “Let A Thousand Flowers Bloom: Lars Iyer Interviewed,” by Daniel Fraser, The Quietus 12 October 2014

Diagnoses of the death of literature are old news. We’ve heard it before. There’s a dying breed of cultural pessimist, which mourns for a lost world of old culture, for the time when Art and Literature were taken seriously. But there’s another kind of cultural pessimist, who mourns for the lost modernist energies that depended on the old cultural world as a kind of foil.