“Such are the perfections of fiction...Everything it teaches is useless insofar as structuring your life: you can’t prop up anything with fiction. It, in fact, teaches you just that. That in order to attempt to employ its specific wisdom is a sign of madness...There is more profit in an hour’s talk with Billy Graham than in a reading of Joyce. Graham might conceivably make you sick, so that you might move, go somewhere to get well. But Joyce just sends you out into the street, where the world goes on, solid as a bus. If you met Joyce and said 'Help me,' he’d hand you a copy of Finnegans Wake. You could both cry.” – Gilbert Sorrentino, Imaginative Qualities of Actual Things

Monday, November 22, 2010

Quote of the Day: Giorgio Agamben

'What is new about modern poetry is that confronted with a world that glorifies man so much the more it reduces him to an object, modern poetry unmasks the humanitarian ideology by making it rigorously its own the boutade that Balzac puts in Beau Brummel’s mouth: “Nothing less resembles man than man.” Apollinaire perfectly formulated the proposition in Les peintres cubists, where he writes, “above all, artists are men who wish to become inhuman.” Baudelaire’s antihumanism, Rimbaud’s call “to make one’s sole monstrous,” the marionette of Kleist, Lautremont’s “is it a man or a stone or a tree,” Mallarme’s “I am truly decomposed,” the arabesque of Matisse that confuses human figures and tapestries, “my ardor is rather of the order of the dead and unborn” from Klee, “the human doesn’t come into it” of Gottfried Benn, to the “nacreous snail’s trace” of Eugenio Montale, and “the head of the medusa and the Robot” of Paul Celan.'

--Giorgio Agamben, Stanzas, 50.

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