:: Buzzwords Archive: September 2010. Click here for the latest posts.

The Missing Links (published 19/09/2010)


Listen to Tom McCarthy in conversation with Lee Rourke at the LRB Bookshop. * A Swiss exhibition devoted to Arthur Cravan. * The annotations inside some of David Foster Wallace‘s books. Plus: DFW’s unfinished novel gets release date. * Mods and rockers. * The Brighton underground of the mind. * Jeanette Winterson on Shelagh Delaney. * The pocket notebooks of 20 famous men. * The return of the long novel? * A review of Simon Critchley‘s excellent How to Stop Living and Start Worrying. * Ben Myers on RSI. There’s an extract from Ben’s forthcoming novel, Richard, in the NME and a review here. * Meet DBC Pierre. * John Le Carré on Channel 4 News. * An interview with Don Draper. Almost. * A Mad Men reading list. * 3D Wonderbra ad. * Noel Fielding‘s exhibition at Gallery Maison Bertaux. * Has present-tense narration taken over fiction? * Free Coconut Unlimited mixtape. * The return of The Gang of Four. * Einstürzende Neubauten‘s 30th anniversary. * The Brighton Rock remake. * Laurence Johns on the Not the Booker Prize. * Plans for Nazi invasion of Britain. * Woman’s migraine gives her French accent! * Oscar Wilde love letters. * Maurice Blanchot‘s Political Writings (via). Plus: this here. * Literary doppelgangers. * Treasuring Hubert Selby Jr. * Bus driver caught on tape reading Kindle while driving. * Downloadable Beckett plays. * Promo author photos. * Papal graffiti. * Drinking whine with Henry Miller. * How to choose a typeface. * Ornette Coleman interviewed by Jacques Derrida (via). * Comic strip double entendres.

3:AM Reloaded (published )


What you (may have) missed on 3:AM this week:

Interviewed: Greory Frye talks to Richard Thomas

Reviewed: Max Dunbar on Gabriel Josipovici’s What Ever Happened to Modernism?; Joe Kennedy on Slavoj Žižek’s Living in the End Times

Non-fiction: Stuck Inn XI, Charles Thomson on the art Damien Hirst stole

Fiction: ‘Remains’ by Michael Keenaghan

Poetry: ‘Five Poems’ by Steven Dube; ‘Ten Poems’ by Zvonko Karanović; In the 27th of the Maintenant series, SJ Fowler interviews the Serbian poet Zvonko Karanović:

The Serbian literati disgraced themselves in the 90s. There were no real disidents, nor any kind of radical resistance to the dictatorship. The most ingratiating to the authorities were the nationalistic poets. They seriously took it as their task to establish the highest national goals. In the late 80s and early 90s the rivers of patriotic verse in an archaic/neo-nationalist language were flowing in books and literature magazines. The maintream of poetry had turned back to the 19th century from modernism and post modernism, towards the romantic zeal needed to establish a national identity. For their activities the nationalistic poets were awarded flats, membership in the Academy of Sciences, saw their poems published in anthologies, canonized by literary prizes. Unfortunately, after the collapse of the former regime the literature did not undergo any significant renaissance. In the small incestuous environment of the Serbian literary scene, there was no strength for subversion. The consequences of the moral black hole that swallowed the literary Serbia in the 90s are felt even today. It is hard to avoid its gravity field that lost its strength, but left chaos in the value system. Hanging on to the literary tradition, shut to the new methods of writing and performing poetry and ignoring the spirit of the times are still some of the largest obstacles that the new generation of poets has to cope with. The generation of the new literary critics, or those yet to be born, will have just one task: to consider the 90s in a serious critical manner, to systematize and revaluate artistic achievements, to unmask the new fake classics. The infestation of the cultural zeitgeist by political ideologies in the 90s created a great discontinuity in the development of Serbian poetry. This development must be jumpstarted, if for no other reason but to reinstante & continue the line of great and honorable predecessors.

Catching Vibration (published )


Lee Rourke and Tom McCarthy in conversation:

Lee Rourke: Talking of dividuality, ruptures and networks, the protagonist of C, Serge Carrefax, this doomed, crazed kind of modernist hero – he’s also blocked and ruptured within a strange network of codes, transmission and signals. You get the feeling when reading C that not only is there a spanner in the workings of Serge himself but in the structure of the whole novel, too. As though the rug is being pulled from under us. It’s the only novel on the shortlist which questions the status of literature within culture, for instance. I’m thinking that, combined with your collaborative work as a conceptual artist, your manifestos and declarations with the INS and your essays and so on, it’s all part of some grand scheme.

Tom McCarthy: Yeah: it’s what my friend Margarita Glutzberg calls a Gesamtcuntwerk! I suppose you could view what I do as a kind of grand anti-humanist manifesto. But it’s not like I set out to write an anti-humanist manifesto. All I set out to do is make good art. It’s really simple.

LR: You’ve said in the past that all art is repetition.

TMcC: Yeah: Joyce’s “commodius vicus of recirculation” . . . Or Mark E Smith’s three Rs: repetition, repetition and repetition . . .

LR: I’ll drink to that. It’s like a never-ending transmission that can’t be switched off.

TMcC: The transmission thing is important. There’s that Kraftwerk song, “I am the receiver and you are the transmitter”, or however it goes. One way of thinking about art, or the novel, is that the writer is the transmitter, the originator: I have something to say about the world and I’m going to transmit it. But this isn’t how I see it, I see it as exactly the inverse: the writer is a receiver and the content is already out there. The task of the writer is to filter it, to sample it and remix it – not in some random way, but conscientiously and attentively. This is what Heidegger says about poets: to be a poet is to listen before speaking; it’s first and foremost a listening and not a speaking. Kafka said it as well: “I write in order to affirm and reaffirm that I have absolutely nothing to say.” Writing, or art, is not about having something to say; it’s about aspiring to a heightened state of hearing. It’s why C is a totally acoustic novel and a receptive novel. The hero, Serge, sits there for hours trawling the aether waves, absorbing, listening to ship-to-shore transmissions, stock market prices, sports results, writing them all down. In a way, if you could see Serge’s transcript it would probably read like an Ezra Pound canto.