09 October 2006

What I found, wandering

Poetry is the world through the prism of self; prose is self through the prism of the world.


david raphael israel said...

An interesting way of framing or formulating the distinction.

Another thought:
The self is the world through the prism of prose;
the world is the self through the prism of poetry.
-- or some such (maybe I have it backwards).

The poem is prose thru the prism of the world; the prose is a poem thru the prism of the self . . .
The prism is a poem thru the self of prose; the banana is a hat thru the prism of a hatrack.

Scratch the above; regroup at zero.

Ian Keenan said...

Your invocation of ‘zero’ calls to question how the use of aphorism to attempt an absolute rendering of literary genre relates to Barthes’ ‘bathmology’ which he used to elaborate on his early title ‘Le Degré zéro de l'écriture.’ Bathmology likens literary theory to a stereo receiver where the elements of literature, such as language, style, reality, irony, commitment, etc., are modulated though dials, a device that seeks humanly to determine what constitutes the ‘zero’ setting, to the extent that mechanics are an extension of the human.

‘Zero’ may have originally come out of Barthes’ essay on Camus’s The Outsider that borrows heavily from Sartre’s review of the same book from the previous year, in which Sartre called Camus language ‘silent,’ bouncing from ‘void to void.’ ‘Le Degré zéro’ is of course so indebted to Sartre’s ‘What is Literature?’ that much of the terminology and subjects commented on are only explained in WiL?.

david raphael israel said...

Fascinating ricochet of references -- none of which I was much aware of (I may have seen the Barthes book in translation at a bookstore once, but didn't take time for it; though I've read other good things of his in or out of bookstores -- one in-store reading was the Chinese whispers essay for instance). Here, my "regroup at zero" was more imagined hackneyed techno-lingo for a clearing of a slate. I once saw a Chinese play / poerformance art thing in London that possibly was entitled something "degree zero" or something similar; I don't know if they were thinking Sartre, -- but I'm doubtful they were. They weren't whispering anyway.