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Sunday, April 28, 2002

Time, Eternity, and Immortality in T. S. Eliot's Four Quartets by Terry L. Fairchild. Sound like a very, very, very typical reading of FQ - but could be interesting to read..


Thursday, April 25, 2002

I'm only scratching the surface of Four Quartets - this irritates me. I could write a chapter on each of the movements, but I have to limit myself and just pick the most important passages. This means I'm leaving out some rather subtle points and am skating across some of the sections I feel most strongly about. Some beautiful words are just left on the pages. You may think me silly for caring so much about words and phrases, but it hurts me to skip lines and metaphors in order to quickly get my point across. I cannot afford to linger, unfortunately.

(and I'm listening to Ted Hughes' reading of Four Quartets as I'm working. An echo of the words echoing on the page..)

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

The Hall of Mirrors: Drafts & Fragments and the End of Ezra Pound's Cantos - a review/article by John Young.

Kybernekyia: A Hypervortext of Ezra Pound's Canto LXXXI - looking at the poem I suddenly remember why I only made it to Canto XX before I gave up.

Sunday, April 21, 2002

Indeed, the fragmentary nature of language may well be said to constitute one of the main tropes found within Four Quartets. Shira Wolosky presents a believable case as she traces an ambivalent attitude towards language’s capability of carrying full meaning throughout T.S. Eliot’s oeuvre. She argues that Eliot’s self-proclaimed reliance upon the Judaic-Christian tradition prescribes an acute sense of linguistic limitation found in works as different as “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”, “Sweeney Agonistes”, “Mr. Eliot’s Sunday Morning Service” and “Ash Wednesday” . However, this ambivalent attitude towards language is at its most pronounced in Four Quartets as Eliot employs literary techniques borrowed from the mystic traditions in order to represent a unity otherwise unattainable. William Spanos’ rejection of reading Four Quartets as “an example of the “Modernist” lyric poem or of the “long poem” as a genre of the Modernist imagination in the hardened Tradition” has thus given way to critics such as Cleo McNelly Kearns, Eloise Knapp Hay and Shira Wolosky who all explore Four Quartets in terms of its legacy to (linguistic) mysticism


This is the only bit that I've written this week that I actually like. I like the phrasing, the movement of the sentences and the way I manage to tie up some loose ends. The real problem is that I do not like the rest of what I have written.

Saturday, April 13, 2002

So he became a dancer to God.
Because his flesh was in love with the burning arrows
He danced on the hot sand until the arrows came.
As he embraced them this white skin surrendered itself to
the redness of blood, and satisfied him.
Now he is green, dry and stained
With the shadow in his mouth.

from "The Death of Saint Narcissus" by T.S. Eliot

Wednesday, April 10, 2002

My dissertation does not make any sense. I just realised. My second chapter - which argues pro an ideologically necessitated construction of Modernism - does not make sense when I consider what I am writing about. My first chapter - on linguistic negativity and apophatic discursive strategies - makes sense. I'm almost satisfied with my first chapter (although I could do with a longer discus.. nevermind.). My third and final chapter - on Eliot and Four Quartets - will hopefully make sense. I'm still to write that one. Introduction has just been salvaged. But that second chapter does not make sense unless I find a miraculous way of using it in my third chapter. Damn.

So I'm lowering my standards even more. I'm going to include some half-hearted tidbit on how various critics of the schools discussed in chapter two read FQ. It's a waste of my time (and my readers' time), but .. it may just save me. It's just going to be one terrible muddle. Ughr.

Hello. Thank you for reading this. Haven't you got anything better to do with your time?
A scholarly look at 'Snow White':

'Snow White' is a scholarly resource for all those interested in folk and fairy tales and, more specifically, in the tale Snow White. It is designed as a teaching tool for group use during a course, and/or for individual study. The purpose is to bring together a sizable number of resources so that the user can focus on this traditional tale and study it in different versions and variants published over an extended time frame.

Tuesday, April 09, 2002

Finished second chapter. It may need a tidying-up paragraph, but it is otherwise done. Re-write of first (not very good) chapter commences tonight and finishes tomorrow morning. Wowsa.
Oh, Alex Golub - if you were an ice cream, I'd sprinkle you with shredded coconut. Er, that's a big compliment actually.

Above all, writing has the dialogic quality that interacting with another person has (something Gadamer pointed out). This is why writing is like the experience of art - at least as Gadamer portrays it and as I have felt it in performing arts (can't and don't care to make an argument for painting). The work appears to you simultaneously as something that you have written (your words and thoughts concretinizied) and as something foreign (a physically foreign object). Its this foreigness that makes it so editable. Putting them on paper basically slows them down enough you can get at them. Like everything that goes into and out of your body and then keeps circulating, it thrilling and a little scary to have people read what you write: little bit of you - your information - that always remain you and yet are you no more.


Filed away here at 6th Ed. for future worship at distant sun

Sunday, April 07, 2002

National Canons by Mihály Szegedy-Maszák.

As there is no selfhood without some other, a national canon -- whether attached to land or language -- is constituted in such a way that its identity has both intra- and intercultural aspects. In other words, it is mediated by the memory of the other and its development always involves at least two cultures. The court of Louis XIV, English Classicism, or the Weimar Klassik defined itself with reference to Graeco-Roman Antiquity. Thus, it is possible to argue that national canons reveal an interacting with other creeds. They are intercultural manifestations, conflictual as well as mutually complementary, configurations that are, in relation to each other, not only powerfully reciprocal but also strongly oppositional.

Headache. Written 127 words in 11 hours. Not Good:

Apophatic language thus works via paradoxes and doublings in order to overcome the obvious limitations of ordinary language. Michael Sells stresses the performative aspect of apophatic language usage as he outlines the “semantic re-enactment” of the mystical experience as that which “the writer and reader encounter in the act of writing and reading” . In order to understand this “transrational” language (to use Steiner’s term), the reader must perform/re-enact the text . This fusion is not only a collapse of reader/writer distinctions, but also foreshadows the general collapse generated by apophatic language . Stable (grammatical) categories are collapsed as well as spatial-temporal categories in order to avoid reification. Employing these strategies, apophatic language arguably performs the very ineffability and trans-rationality it simultaneously attempts to affirm and disaffirm.


It doesn't make much sense to other people, I suspect. It does make sense to me, but I also know how much better my writing could be. And how many more points (and more subtle than this crass exposition) I could be making.. Oh, Wolfgang Iser and Negativity, here I come. No use being grumpy over bad prose. Or far-too-simple points.

Friday, April 05, 2002

Oh bother. An entire 'good point' had to be deleted because I could not find the bibliographical details for a book I photocopied whilst still in Scotland. Grumpy.
Own notes. Ignore at will.

Trace (as sign):
1. intentional -> voluntary, message -> self-hood, individuality
2. symptomatic -> the sign left behind involuntarily -> blood, footprints -> traces left w. no message => organism, social

- only conscious of traces as we try to cover them up
- a trace obliterates and gives evidence of

- narratives -> thematic traces <- readers
- each element of differánce is related to something other than itself but retains the mark [supplement] of a past element

==> Iser? Moving from aporia (the difficult passage) and the aporetic discursive impossibility to Iser's blank and negation. Remember: presence: pre-sentia: before mediation.
“To say ‘X is beyond names”, if true, entails that it cannot then be called by ‘X’. In turn the statement, the statement ‘it cannot then be called X’ becomes suspect, since the ‘it’, as a pronoun, substitutes for a name, but the transcendent is beyond all names. As I attempt to state the aporia of transcendence, I am caught in a linguistic regress. Each statement I make – positive or ‘negative’ – reveals itself as in need of correction"

- Michael Sells; "Mystical Language of Unsaying".

“[A] certain typical attitude toward language, and within it, in the act of definition or attribution, an attitude toward semantic or conceptual determination. Suppose (..) that negative theology consists of considering that every predicative language is inadequate to the essence, in truth to the hyperessentiality /the being beyond Being of God; consequently, only a negative (“apophatic”) attribution can claim to approach God (..)"

- Jacques Derrida; "How to Avoid Speaking: Denials"

Head hurts. Hungry. God, is Oprah on at this hour? I wonder if the mailman has been here yet. Damn, I'm out of wine gums. Where's the chocolate?

- Tinka; "Intersections: Placing Herself in Bed to Catch Up On Much Needed Sleep"

Thursday, April 04, 2002

The most striking aspect of Scholem's academic activity and status is that he was not part of any existing discipline. He himself created the research sphere to which he devoted himself and which became identified with his name in the academic world: kabbala studies. Not only was he the only academic researcher in this sphere when he was appointed lecturer in kabbala at Hebrew University, but more than 40 years on, at his retirement, he was the only professor of kabbala in any university anywhere.


Mysticism and mystery of Gershom Scholem from Ha`aretz.

Techno-Kabbalah - by J. Lawton Winslade. A somewhat esoteric look at the representation of Kabbalah in, er, X-Files. But it is a fun read and appears scholarly sound.
God, I love my job. "..Michael Sells, on the other hand, does not attempt to unsay anything he has to say on the unsaying of 'unsaying'.." And Ol' Blue Eyes is swinging in the background. Mwah.

Wednesday, April 03, 2002

The Importance of the Mystical Element in Heidegger’s Thought.
The impossible has already occurred: Derrida and negative theology
Abstracts from recent Ph.D. dissertations on Mysticism

Tuesday, April 02, 2002

Lovely. Australian and New Zealand Studies in Canada has a few issues online.

The classic feud between C.K. Stead and Keri Hulme as explored by Margery Fee is unmissable. Bill Manhire(!) on Dirty Silence: Impure Sounds In New Zealand Poetry.. An entire issue devoted to Janet Frame. Anne French's poem When I die I want to be Canadian. French is one of my favourite NZ poets. Keri Hulme's Ten & A Bit Ways of Looking At Kai-moana is a must-read for anybody who enjoyed her "the bone people". Everything's gathered by Zoetropes.
Reminds me. Deep South has some issues online too. I can recommend the review of Ranganui Walker's "Ka Whawhai Tonu Matou - Struggle Without End". Frances Davis' "The Tomorrow Poems of Allen Curnow: Changes from 1930s to the Present Day.". The entire Winter 2000 issue which deals with contemporary NZ poetry.

Scary. I've actually read all of the above at various points throught the last five years. And I remember...
Theodor Adorno's Negative Dialectics (.pdf) is online. Or least 37 pages of it. Hmm.

Monday, April 01, 2002

Speech and silence in the Mumonkan: An examination of use of language in light of the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze by Philip Goodchild

The use of the negative differentiates between problems and solutions, and marks an excess of sense present in the indeterminacy of the problem as opposed to the determinacy of the solution. The use of the negative is therefore merely the shadow side of this difference in nature between problems and solutions. Silence, or apophatic language, gives way to a paradoxical form of speech which can still be studied, even if it cannot be reduced to a set of doctrinal axioms.


Wish I had found this earlier. I cannot include it in my dissertation. Bugger.

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