Text of pleasure: the text that contents, fills, grants euphoria; the text that comes from culture and does not break with it, is linked to a comfortable practice of reading. Text of bliss: the text that imposes a state of loss, the text that discomforts (perhaps to the point of a certain boredom), unsettles the reader’s historical, cultural, psychological assumptions, the consistency of his tastes, values memories,brings to a crisis his relation with language.
The Pleasure of the Text
In that, who would opt for the texts of pleasure are those who are not only placid to fare farther in the world of written texts but also to those who were numbed by a culture reeking with sameness (that is, preservative of the present social and economic make-up)? The texts of bliss are for those who are want to constantly explore a variety of terrains, slippery and steep, in the written world, where every lunging forward can lead to asteroidal bizarreness, or Danteish hell, or Dickensian spheres where virtue always prevails.
“Literature should shock, shatter and provoke experience.” If it isn’t transformative why read?
Stumbled across this while absent mindedly trawling the internet for sources relevant to my essay on Derrida, and I’m glad I did- short, sharp passage is just what I need after tiring myself reading densely knitted, opaque theory. In regards to literature I’m in agreement with you; Kafka also had the right of it: “…we need books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us”
Any other use of literature, to use another of Kafka’s words, is merely “decoration”.