Getting away from the gang (Pascal Quignard)

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[..] fleeing at full speed whenever I catch sight of bodies that have any sort of faith in any sort of institution or being; fleeing the feebleminded and atrocious conviviality of our time; building a lesser dependency within a small network of polite expressions,
of harmonies between grammatical tenses and musical instruments,
of small softer regions of the skin,
of certain berries, of certain flowers,
of rooms, of books and of friends,
this is to what my head and body devote the essential part of their reciprocal, always unadjusted, finally almost rhythmic times.

Pascal Quignard, The Hatred of Music, translated by Matthew Amos and Fredrik Rönnbäck

Autumn Lament (Mallarmé)

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Thus, my favourite time of the year is those last, lazy days of summer which immediately precede autumn, and my favourite time of the day for walks is when the sun perches for a moment on the horizon before setting, casting yellow copper rays on the gray walls and red copper rays on the window panes. Similarly, the literature my spirit turns to for pleasure is the dying poetry of Rome’s last moments, so long as the verse gives no whiff of the revivifying Barbarian invasion to come, and there’s no hint of the first Christian prose pieces.

Stéphane Mallarmé, Divagations, translated by Barbara Johnson

Literary Language (Maurice Blanchot)

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It seems that literature consists of trying to speak at the moment when speaking becomes most difficult, turning toward those moments when confusion excludes all language and consequently necessities a recourse to a language that is the most precise, the most aware, the furthest removed from vagueness and confusion—to literary language.

—Maurice Blanchot, Kafka and Literature, translated by Charlotte Mandell

“But what is the point of writing . . .” (Annie Ernaux)

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“But what is the point of writing if not to unearth things, or even just one thing that cannot be reduced to any kind of psychological or sociological explanation and is not the result of a preconceived idea or demonstration but a narrative: something that emerges from the creases when a story is unfolded and can help us understand — endure — events that occur and the things that we do?”

Annie Ernaux, A Girl’s Story, translated by Alison L. Strayer

This is, so far, the Ernaux that makes the most intense impression, though I will reread The Years again soon. Right before, I read A Man’s Place, affecting, but to a lesser degree perhaps.

Nothing to Talk About

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“Gilles Deleuze
53 rue de Colombier
Lyon 7ème

Dear Francois [Châtelet],

Thanks for your letter. You know that I would be happy to write for La Quinzaine, if the chance arose. Unfortunately, I can’t for Painter*. I am like you, I find the book atrocious and meaningless, and poor in its principle. And I do not want to do an article “against” something or “savaging” it (here again, I think I am like you, since as far as I know you have never done an article solely to say something was bad). To be able to write, you have to have some small amount of esteem. Painter was vaguely detective, vaguely ethnographer, vaguely erudite American shit . . . there is nothing to talk about. I will be in Paris at the end of the month and would be happy to see you if you have time.

Friendship and wishes,

Gilles”

*A reference to Painter’s Marcel Proust: A Biography, a nasty, gossipy, psychoanalytical-type biography, all that I loathe in biographies, as compared to the magnificent Paul Celan: Poet, Survivor, Jew by John Felstiner, or David Gilmour’s The Last Lepoard, a biography of Lampedusa. For the same reasons as Deleuze, I think I only wrote one post here about a book I found vaguely bad, to which the author, also a vaguely erudite American shit wrote to correct some points. I don’t remember the author or book and think I deleted the post.