Monday, June 13, 2011

Reading Notes (Montano’s Malady)

Stray hints of intent. Needing a place for “reading notes”—the kind of things I formerly accumulated on paper scraps and index cards (inevitably lost). Whatever moves one to jot it down, or type it up. Presenting an argument unargued, of sorts. (A trial run.)

Enrique Vila-Matas, Montano’s Malady (New Directions, 2007)

“. . . what Gombrowicz feared most was Sincerity, he knew that Sincerity in literature led nowhere: ‘Has there ever been a diary that was sincere? The sincere diary is without a doubt the most fallacious, because frankness is not of this world. And also—sincerity, what a bore! It isn’t even faintly fascinating.’”

Jean Echenoz’s pointer re: narratological means (abrupt-style): “A bird goes by . . . I follow it. This enables me to go wherever I like in the narrative.”

The end of Cesare Pavese’s journal: “Suicides are timid murderers . . . All this is sickening. Not words. An act. I won’t write any more.”

Writing as sleepwalking. Shakespeare’s Lady MacBeth as writer, suffering a writerly spell (akin to Spicer’s radio receiving Martian transmits): “A great perturbation in nature,—to receive at once the benefit of sleep, and do the effects of watching.”

Enrique Vila-Matas’s Robert Musil saying: “Let us not just hand ourselves to the age as it covets us.” Argument against all that baseless “it’s a fragmented age” mimickry. Though, too, quoting Musil’s “Our whole being is just a delirium of many.” See Vila-Matas’s:
There were two odysseys, the classic one, a conservative epic going from Homer to James Joyce, in which the individual returned home with an identity, despite all the difficulties, reaffirmed by the journey across the world, and also by the obstacles encountered along the way . . . The other odyssey was that of Musil’s man without qualities, who, unlike Ulysses, moved in an odyssey without return, in which the individual hurried forward, never returning home, continually advancing and getting lost, changing his identity instead of reaffirming it, dissolving it in what Musil called “a delirium of many.”

Whitmanesquerie of Enrique Vila-Matas’s version of lines out of the diary of Valéry Larbaud’s A. O. Barnabooth: “En publiant ce livre, je m’en débarrasse. Le jour où il paraîtra sera le jour où je cesserai d’être auteur. Et je le renie tout entier: il s’achève et je commence. Ne m’y cherchez pas; je suis ailleurs; je suis à Campamento . . .” Vila-Matas: “It is over, I begin. Do not seek me in its pages, I’m somewhere else, I’m in Campamento, in South America.”