Stochastic Bookmark

abstruse unfinished commentary

about correspondence


Jump Diffusion

Switching gears, from Broch's meditation (including Socratic dialogue between Virgil and Octavian) on whether a poem is meant to be, or not to be, to an Oulipoan Hamlet Festshrift, Hortense in Exile by Jacques Roubaud, whom I'd not yet read, unlike other authors of that ilk (Perec, complete in translation, including the incomplete 53 Days, about which I have no complaint other than that he ended too soon; Queneau, everything in trans but Exercises in Style, a self-imposed constraint [hey, readers can do that too], and merely sampling many sonnet permutations [also available in the original]; Calvino, all in their English renderings save Italian Folktales [I'll get to that too one day]; Mathews, well, not everything, but everything everybody else reads) ...

but I couldn't make that big a jump without interposing something, so settled on Jiří Gruša's The Questionnaire. The recent interview hosted by his US publisher gives a chronology at variance with other sources, in particular with what Josef Škvorecký has to say in his '99 preface (2 months served in '78, involuntary exile in '80), and filling in his ambassadorships to Germany and then Austria with a brief stint as Minister of Culture (or was it Education? per prior other source: "I'm always half-way on the road between Prague and Vienna."). It would appear, on the evidence of his text, that the charge of 'initiating disorder' was not unfounded, and that his C.V. is similarly chaotic, or, at least, questionable. It's a shame, though, that the interview to which the Context interview refers isn't linked or where it appeared cited, unless of course that interlocutor is also an invention, since the supposed arrest date in her intro is prior to completion of the novel, as noted at its end (February 28, 1974-April 14, 1975), one can suppose ... particularly given what follows, in conclusion: Narraverunt mihi fabulationes, sed non ut lex tua; ego autem loquebar de testimoniis tuis ... but it could all be erroneous factchecking ... or more chrononautical chartistry. And wit still carries over borders in translation. So it seems I couldn't have found a better bridge (catwalk?) between such otherwise widely disparate books.

(Posts may become fewer and farther between til the new year. Work happens.)


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