dematerialisation in literature

woops

is not like other people
what's the trajectory then - as the novelistic word loses relevancy dematerialisation becomes less, not more prevalent? sugar glider is grounded
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
each further literalisation of the imagination is in some sense a enfeebling of the sugar glider, its an outwarding of the inner. for example pornography is a literalisation of the sexual fantasy but also an outsourcing of sexual fantasy. the move from page to moving image is another example of the same trajectory.
 

suspendedreason

Well-known member
I think using actual stuff from the internet seems trite partly because it's superficial and partly because people like Burroughs, Gaddis and Pynchon nailed how the internet feels and what it does to us decades before it really existed in its current form.
Not to jump back too far, but can we talk about this? I've seen this take a coupla times on these boards, despite my limited tenure here (maybe all the occasions were from you, version), but my familiarity with Burroughs and Gaddis is pretty low (like, a chapter of JR, a chapter of Recognitions, and those audio CDs Bill did). I've read a decent amount of Pynch though!
 

suspendedreason

Well-known member
I guess I tend to think about these things ("can there still be a novel in the age of the web?!") in terms of ecological niches, and what things provide that other media don't. Visual arts are in a real crisis now cuz photography set somethin off a century ago, and books are in a similar place with movies and TV. If you want immersive narrative form—traditionally the bread and butter of novels—a screen's an easier, smoother experience.

But I think the one things novels can still do that no other medium can touch yet is something like "psychic occupation"—the ability to get inside a consciousness. That's why in my mind it's no surprise authors like Knausgaard and Ben Lerner and Maggie Nelson are such constant presences.

I think people also still get something out of the "19th C social novel, updated" mode that Franzen made so much cash off in the 2000s, and that contemporary writers like that Irish woman, Sally whatsherface with the netflix special, get into. But it's a bit like dressing up in old timey clothing with your friends and getting some social gossip. Actually, come to think of it, books like Freedom or Normal People might be high enough in social information that they're in a league of their own, w/r/t say a television series doing similar... I'll have to think that thru
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
Not to jump back too far, but can we talk about this? I've seen this take a coupla times on these boards, despite my limited tenure here (maybe all the occasions were from you, version), but my familiarity with Burroughs and Gaddis is pretty low (like, a chapter of JR, a chapter of Recognitions, and those audio CDs Bill did). I've read a decent amount of Pynch though!
There's a line of thinking that Finnegans Wake is an early form of hypertext and I'd say the same of something like GR. It lives beyond the page and exists outside the text as much as inside it. There are so many links and references and allusions that it expands in all directions. It's like scrolling through a news feed or clocking the related vids on YouTube in that there's a constant stream of things competing for your attention which can take you off in any number of directions.

Generally, I'd say all three preempt the unreliability of the internet. Nothing's really stable in their work. It's all about disruption. Conversations are perpetually interrupted, narratives crumble, information is suspect, technology butts in. You take Gaddis in full swing and it's just like sitting in a fast-moving Discord server with everyone talking over one another, maybe someone shouting outside your window, music playing. It's all forcing its way into the text.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
There's a bit in Nova Express where Burroughs perfectly describes what Russian intelligence are alleged to have done in the US via Facebook groups. He talks about recording the most extreme messages of various groups and playing them back to each other to drive them into a frenzy.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
I'd say Pynchon's perhaps the most internet-y as he swamps the reader with so much information and so many competing narratives it's impossible to process and keep it all compartmentalised.
 
puppets of the scripts. jumping jellybeans.
the planes fracture. become multiple. the sky
is no longer a continuous integrated space
birds disappear, fly into adjacent dimensions,
as if words fell through
a / slit
in the page.

the sugar glider.
green light behind the eyelids
soar through
that other space. what wizard wheeze
what wonder-working, what whirling, wizard work!
I love that last line
 
the material world is subject to time but information is, in a very real sense, outside of time. many of Shakespeare's sonnets refer to this magical reality.
Information is material. What’s your definition of information? Language? Content? The symbolic
 
part of me feels this is tedious semantics another part that it’s the most important discussion to have
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
you wont get any sense out of me today i've been baking my bald head by the river for hours and now im drinking a beer.
 
Top