lost in the hall of mirrors; is self awareness the beginning of the end?


Well-known member
he definitely has been nicking my ideas. i dont mind but he could at least of dropped me a line, offered me a honoroy 'researchers' position, put me on the pay roll.

Actually wouldn't be surprised, apparently he used to post around the brixton lot over at u75.


is not like other people
If language is the mode of literature, does that then mean that language must be renewed in order to literature to escape this unfolding hall of mirrors?

Cynicism and irony are not meant to be rejections of authentic sincerety. They are tools of its perservation. They are essential to the survival of sincerity amid the pathetic, pastiche, cliche, by exposing them for what they are.

But this is where language, as it is commonly thought of, becomes a challenge, because over time, with a set language, more and more of it will enter the realm of the cliche, right? At some point you will just be left with a number of stock phrases, signifiers long excavated of meaning by self-conscious reproduction.

I'm not big on linguistic theory but I suppose this was what some of the postmodernist writers were doing with language, right? Trying to blow up this set of expressions that has shaped literature and create something new, something that gets beneath the exterior and not just reflects emotion but embodies it.

The new sincerety inevitable fails by calling attention to itself and subordinating itself to the old order - feigning innocence - turning a blue eye towards authenticity.
wow what a great post i keep missing stuff


Well-known member
I've been reading a bunch of Tom McCarthy interviews recently and, along with a William Gass one I also read, it's shifted my perspective on this for the time being.

McCarthy's contention's that we've never been authentic or original, so this quest for authenticity and originality's bogus from the off. Everything's networks and remixes and always has been. Gass says everyone is and should be mining the past and what's important's why you're doing it, whether you're extracting something of the essence or just grabbing baubles.
Modernists all rode the recycling bike. The modernist tradition certainly rejects certain parts of the past, but only certain parts. Even when you have someone like Ezra Pound saying “make it new,” he’s going back to Provençal troubadours, to the Greeks. At the same time he’s saying this, he’s off stealing something from Confucius. So you can call, let’s say, Picasso modern, but he’s borrowing from Japanese, African, or other sources. This always takes place. What is important is not whether you are looking back (you had better), but how and for what reason. When you go back as a modernist in architecture, you’re going back to see, for instance, in Palladio, what you can discover about the very foundation of architecture. You can find in an earlier writer like Sterne, the very foundations of fiction—its possibilities. You don’t reach back to imitate them, to use Sterne like little signatures later on so people will say “Sterne!” When an architect suddenly starts using columns or round windows or friezes to remind us of the past, he’s probably only employing pastiche. But to go back to somebody with the idea of discovering what the art is all about, not by copying their style or mode, but by discovering the fundamental principles which they may help you to wield, that is what modernists tried to do at their best. Corbusier goes back to earlier principles to find out what architecture is all about, not to dance the Palladian polka...

So when one returns to an earlier model, it’s not to copy something, it’s to refine the essence of the whole task...
On a superficial level, there is a lot of literary encryption going on in Remainder. For example, the building that he constructs in order to replay his displaced trauma memories, or his constructed memories of a time before the trauma, is called Madlyn Mansions, which is kind of a reference to Proust and the madeleine, which is the memory trigger for him. And there are other things. There is a whole sequence that is almost exactly paralleling the rhetorical pattern of the opening of Kafka’s The Great Wall of China, when he’s talking about how he went about building the house.

But, in a way, that doesn’t matter, I mean that’s kind of cute if you want to notice it. And in fact, if it were conscious, were it really explicit, if the hero had been an intellectual and said, “Oh, this is a bit like Proust,” then the novel would be over then and there, and you don’t need to write it. So it’s quite important that whatever influence is going on there does get buried. In that respect, encryption is actually an absolutely fundamental necessity in order to do something new, otherwise we are just annotating the old stuff.