Stochastic Bookmark

abstruse unfinished commentary

about correspondence


Day Today

Good reading throughout the week, by authors who I'd read at most once previously:

16-20Jan: What is the What by Dave Eggers. I suspect that what is invented are only the more plausible bits, to keep structure intact. That Valentino Achak Deng was kept intact is the more remarkable.
21Jan: Today I read Today I Wrote Nothing, by Daniil Kharms (ed/trans Matvel Yankelevich), prompted by RW. The closest thing to Soviet surrealism, though with a Gombrowiczian inflection; where some narratives parodize, he parodies narrative. I regret lacking the background in Russian verse to appreciate the poetic invention properly.
22Jan: Of Illustrious Men, by Jean Rouaud (trans Barbara Wright), continuation of the lyrical melancholy of Fields of Glory.
23-24Jan: Written Lives, by Javier Marías (trans Margaret Jull Costa), brief, askew looks at well-known authors, which he was prompted to compile following thumbnail bios of extremely obscure authors in his anthology Unique Tales, which still awaits translation, as do I.
25Jan: Bloodchild, by Octavia Butler, prompted by SEK (dipping my toes in before taking on Xenogenesis).



When I first picked up The Arcades Project, my first act was to perform the Sortes Benjaminae, and I lighted upon [M19,2]: "The sandwich-man is the last incarnation of the flâneur." Walking past Macy's on the way to the train tonight, I saw someone wearing a placard, but on only one side, but it was advertising a sandwich. I guess they're serving open-faced now.

David Leavitt, The Indian Clerk: Impure mathematics: queering GHHardy (works with Gaye, not with Thayer) imposing his ideals upon Ramanujan amidst Cambridge, Apostles, WW I. Put on to by TEV.
Donald Davidson, Subjective, Intersubjective, Objective: Too language-dependent, I think.
Stanley Elkin, Van Gogh's Room at Arles: Novella's his proper length, but of the three here, only the title cut stands out.
Robert Pinget, Monsieur Levert (trans Richard Howard): Beckett does Faulkner, prodigally.
Alan Bennett, The Uncommon Reader: We are much amused.
Lyndall Gordon, A Private Life of Henry James: Two Women and His Art: Imposing his ideals upon Minny Temple and Constance Fenimore Woolson, that is; more of a triography, except that there was another woman.

Currently in the midst of Michel Butor, Passing Time (trans Jean Stewart, serviceable, but doesn't l'emploi du temps = the timetable?), a bitemporal narrative, twinned mystery entwined in an enigma wrapped in a map, as it presents itself to a foreign clerk. 15.1 23:31 Time forks more often as it goes on. Typeface, Borgis [var of Borges?] Baskerville-Antiqua, appropriately.