Dead Time

Tom Cutterham, “Banter and Posthumousness,” Cherwell 21 July 2011 [interview with Lars Iyer]

The use of novels? I rather like what Ferdinand says in Godard’s Pierrot Le Fou: ‘I’ve found an idea for a novel. No longer to write about people’s lives … but only about life, life itself. What goes on between people, in space … like sound and colours. That would be something worthwhile. Joyce tried, but one must be able, ought to be able, to do better.’

Life itself, as Ferdinand sums it up, I think of as the inconsequential, the incidental, as the froth of popping bubbles left by waves on a beach. I think of friendships again — of the play of conversation, of banter. I think of the dead time in which friends say nothing in particular. I think of fruitless journeys and failed encounters. I think of every kind of disappointment.

The novel is elastic enough a form to let such ‘sound and colours’ speak. To remember ‘what goes on between people’. And it is, by virtue of its length, its open-endedness, peculiarly suited for doing so.

Posthumous Literature

Tom Cutterham, “Banter and Posthumousness,” Cherwell 21 July 2011 [interview with Lars Iyer]

Literature has a kind of prestige today, it is true, but it is a fading one. The big books of our day are a kind of kitsch, and the pose of authors — serious authors — is laughable. The game’s up! The party’s over! Literature is like an ox-bow lake silting up in the sun. The river of culture has meandered elsewhere. But that’s not to say that there may not be another kind of writing, a post-literature literature, full of black laughter and a sense of its own posthumousness.