the rigorous m

bits and bobs, quotes and catching up

Archive for August, 2015

patrick chamoiseau on making sense of a life

Posted by rigorousm on August 28, 2015

Lives don’t make sense in realty, they come and go and often, like tsunamis, with the same crash, and they sweep away the dregs stagnating in your head like they were relics, which are treasures to you but don’t stand still. What a necropolis of sensations! … these heart throbs of which there’s nothing left… these smiles remembered by a simple wrinkle… what’s the use of all these people one meets and who go by and are no more? … and why forget those it would be pleasant not to forget, these beings with a heart in your image, and who go away from you… transient zombies, how to keep you inside?

Patrick Chamoiseau, pg. 310, Texaco, trans. Rejouis & Vinokurov


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patrick chamoiseau on writing

Posted by rigorousm on August 27, 2015

The feeling of death became even more present when I began to write about myself, and about Texaco. It was like petrifying the tatters of my flesh. I was emptying my memory into immobile notebooks without having brought back the quivering of the living life which at each moment modifies what’s just happened. Texaco was dying in my notebooks though it wasn’t finished. And I myself was dying there though I felt the person I was now (pledged to what I was going to be) still elaborating. Oiseau Cham, is there such a thing as writing informed by the word, and by the silences, and which remains a living thing, moving in a circle, and wandering all the time, ceaselessly irrigating with life the things written before, and which reinvents the circle each time like a spiral which at any moment is in the future, ahead, each loop modifying the other, nonstop, without losing a unity difficult to put into words?

Patrick Chamoiseau, pg. 322, Texaco, trans. Rejouis & Vinokurov

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Posted by rigorousm on August 13, 2015

“.. the nineteenth century also opened up new possibilities for subjects, objects, and bodies in the fantasies of reuse that arose from these projects, as well as in the visions of modernity—in movements decadent and utopian, bohemian and modernist—that even the most abject loss of self in filth seemed able to enable. The Parisian flaneur enshrined by Baudelaire… provides but one example of urban refuse remade as cultural capital; his later avatar, the bohemian, might actually get lost in the dirt…. Although Paris is the locus classicus for discussions of such diabolically ebullient modernity, Lynda Nead has made a case for also considering late-Victorian London in relation to Benjamin’s concept of how “the sites of the modern city stand on layer upon layer of an underground city, which maintains a hellish and ghostlike presence within modernity.”

Introduction to Filth: dirt, disgust, and modern life, page xxi.

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hamlin on meditating on the grave

Posted by rigorousm on August 10, 2015

“As a religious discourse about nature, these meditations on self as filth are a far cry from argumentative natural theology. Unrelentingly, these writers deny us the satisfaction not only of material achievement, but also of body, health, and even of self. These meditations are often (though not invariably) sad, but it is a preutilitarian sadness, a fully valid response to the world implying no problem in need of resolution and reflecting an outlook in which happiness is not the benchmark against which all social and natural phenomena are to be measured .The meditations are full of contradiction. The grave is both a place of peace where nothing happens but a form of “sleep” and a place of incessant chemical and biological activity. The desire to merge into something vaster coexists with the terror of losing self. Absolute dignity, with its maintenance of boundaries, is exchanged for absolute indignity. …”

“Good and Intimate Filth” by Christopher Hamlin in Filth: dirt, disgust, and modern life, ed. William A. Cohen and Ryan Johnson, p 13.

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