“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

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

On the Figure of the Aporia

“Why this language, which does not fortuitously resemble that of negative theology? How to justify the choice of negative form (aporia) to designate a duty that, through the impossible or the impracticable, nonetheless announces itself in an affirmative fashion? Because one must avoid good conscience at all costs. Not only good conscience as the grimace of an indulgent vulgarity, but quite simply the assured form of self-consciousness: good conscience as subjective certainty is incompatible with the absolute risk that every promise, every engagement, and every responsible decision—if there are such—must run. To protect the decision or the responsibility by knowledge, by some theoretical assurance, or by the certainty of being right, of being on the side of science, of consciousness or of reason, is to transform this experience into the deployment of a program, into a technical application of a rule or a norm, or into the subsumption of a determined ‘case.’”
                                           --Jacques Derrida, Aporias, 19.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Gerald Murnane's New Novel

So, according to an annual list published by the Fairfax papers here in Australia, Gerald Murnane's new novel, entitled A History of Books, is due out in June of 2011. It's still not listed on his publisher's website, but Murnane did speak about the book in a 2009 interview with the ABC, although his description is typically enigmatic: "I suppose this is getting outside the scope of our interview, but I'm very much aware and very proud of myself for having completed recently a 30,000-word novella called A History of Books. And I couldn't have written that if I hadn't first written Barley Patch because the whole subject of A History of Books is what we're talking about, and if you...well, please God you will eventually read that and you will be given far more on the subject, that this narrator, this self-examining, self-probing narrator, goes deeply into the matter of...and in fact memories from one book invade and mingle with memories from another, so that his mind seems to consist of very little else but this...call it a world, made up of these images that arose. They weren't sometimes even reported or described in the text but they arose while the reading took place."