most things in the world can be cast down with a flick of the tongue; not him... resistant to all schemas, ideologies, and explanations. even that doesn't explain why I like it. Even skimming bad translations I get a feeling of irrepressible excitement... nothing can explain it.. I don't even really "get" the jokes. Also way more creative than most writers. Creativity is really underrated in literature. When was the last major literary work that had a non-human protagonist? I don't know, probably the tit one by the other jew. He's the only author that doesn't seem to write endlessly about unimportant nonsense.. (besides Borges). I'm anesthetic to literally all other fiction, too. Nothing but the shorts of Kafka, Borges, and some Zen proverbs have the intensity to pierce the scabrous leathery layers of my blockhead. Funny about zen proverbs, they give me the same butterflies in my stomach as Kafka... and he was an "orientalist", supposedly (OG weaboo).
Liking his works makes me feel guilty, though. He's antiquated, which means that my conceptions of the world are antiquated, "modernist". Out of touch with reality. Even that worry itself is a modernist worry, the desire to fix oneself like a brick into the stairs of time... so structuralist, uncool. I don't even know what I'm talking about. But people should read more than just the metamorphosis. Some things he wrote brush against infinity & are worth keeping in my mind; some of the things he said will remain true irrespective of what’s built up, erased, forgotten, or remembered—from now to the end of the end of time.
>>7325781 It's okay. Kafka tickles my fancy a bunch too. "A Hunger Artist" is probably my favorite short story.
My favorite, dunno. Kafka is up there. Hesse for content, definitely not for prose. Kobo Abe, Homer, Joyce, Dostoevsky, Yeats.. I really have a hard time finding one. I've gone through periods where each has cycled in to dominate my being at that point.
For me at least, he conceptually goes as far, if not beyond, almost every other writer, but also attacks the subjects through sound, the cadence of his sentences. He's rarely didactic or explanatory. A good analogy might be jazz music as opposed to punk in creating social unrest.
In terms of themes specifically, he's a cold war writer - paranoia, anxiety, war, individual v. the masses - but his work seems to be more and more relevant as time passes, because he works in the undercurrents of all that - weird unexplainable tensions and energies and momentums. Pynchon and DFW and people like that do the same thing I guess, but I think DeLillo does a better job.
in V. Pynchon describes Esther as assuming taking the ballet fourth position in order to kiss someone,
a change of mind as a shift in the configuration of sights and sounds he was now filtering out, choosing not to notice,
the feeling after sex as: After she left, there was only the ticking of the clock, until Schoenmaker yawned, sudden and explosive; rolled over to confront the ceiling and began swearing at it softly,
a hallucinating dog as: The dog began to scream at humid nightmare-shapes,
the phenomenon of commuting as the Dance of Death brought up to date,
uh, this: I felt as do many young men a sure wind of Greatness flowing over my shoulders like an invisible cape,
a bunch of Nabokovian shit that I'll leave out,
this: Pal leaves abraded together, shredding one another to green fibres of light; tree limbs scraped, leaves of the carob, dry as leather, throbbed ad shook. As if there were a gathering behind the trees, a gathering in the sky. The quiverings about us, mounting, panicked, grew louder than the children or ghosts of children. Afraid to look, we could stare only at the pavilion though God knew what might appear there,
...there'd been radiation counters—and radiation—enough to make the place sound like a locust-season gone mad,
the 'I am the twentieth century' speech,
the blackout at the end of Benny Profane's section...
...phew... that's just V. we can do Gravity's Rainbow & Lot 49. Any infidelity is because I'm d-runk, man, memory serves come, w/e, right?
>>7325972 Paranoia? Anxiety? War→Terrorism? Individual v. the masses→LTZ & IB? Work seems to be more and more relevant as time passes? AP is less relevant? As I get older I see people falling into Patrick & friends' roles and other people falling into humanity. He works in the undercurrents of all that→Imperial Bedrooms cuts deep into What Life Is About, does it not? Weird unexplainable tensions and energies and momentums→Isn't that also Ellis's MO?
I've read all of BEE, he was my favourite as a teenager. But I don't think he comes even close to hitting the notes that people like DeLillo do.
I think BEE usually has a particular motive at play, you can see he's saying "narcissism is bad" etc. etc, he doesn't seem to probe the nuances and paradoxes of the things.
But maybe its just a matter of taste. All I know is BEE hasn't ever written something like the final few pages of Underworld -
"And you can glance out the window for a moment, distracted by the sound of small kids playing a made-up game in a neighbor's yard, some kind of kickball maybe, and they speak in your voice, or piggy-back races on the weedy lawn, and it's your voice you hear, essentially, under the glimmerglass sky, and you look at the things in the room, offscreen, unwebbed, the tissued grain of the deskwood alive in light, the thick lived tenor of things, the argument of things to be seen and eaten, the apple core going sepia in the lunch tray, and the dense measures of experience in a random glance, the monk's candle reflected in the slope of the phone, hours marked in Roman numerals, and the glaze of the wax, and the curl of the braided wick, and the chipped rim of the mug that holds your yellow pencils, skewed all crazy, and the plied lives of the simplest surface, the slabbed butter melting on the crumbled bun, and the yellow of the yellow of the pencils, and you try to imagine the word on the screen becoming a thing in the world, taking all its meanings, its sense of serenities and contentments out into the streets somehow, its whisper of reconciliation, a word extending itself ever outward, the tone of agreement or treaty, the tone of repose, the sense of mollifying silence, the tone of hail and farewell, a word that carries the sunlit ardor of an object deep in a drenching noon, the argument of binding touch, but it's only a sequence of pulses on a dullish screen and all it can do is make you pensive—a word that spreads a longing through the raw sprawl of the city and out across the dreaming bourns and orchards to the solitary hills.
Nah, Underworld is probably the place to finish. White Noise is generally considered the best place to start. It's great, but its also the least DeLillo in terms of style. Maybe just read a few of his short stories - Human Moments in World War III / Midnight in Dostoevsky - if you don't like them you probably wont like the novels.
Also, regarding Ellis: I read him as a teen & as an adult. I took him seriously as a teen and found him hilarious and insightful as an adult. Maybe I'm just stupid, but those books took on VERY different meanings.
>>7325634 Denis Johnson or Delillo (I'm a forty year old man at heart) Have a Johnson quote: “Down the hall came the wife. She was glorious, burning. She didn't know yet that her husband was dead. We knew. That's what gave her such power over us. The doctor took her into a room with a desk at the end of the hall, and from under the closed door a slab of brilliance radiated as if, by some stupendous process, diamonds were being incinerated in there. What a pair of lungs! She shrieked as I imagined an eagle would shriek. It felt wonderful to be alive to hear it! I've gone looking for that feeling everywhere.” and my favorite one “But they hushed, all at once and quite abruptly, when he stood still at center stage, his arms straight out from his shoulders, and went rigid, and began to tremble with a massive inner dynamism. Nobody present had ever seen anyone stand so still and yet so strangely mobile. He laid his head back until his scalp contacted his spine, that far back, and opened his throat, and a sound rose in the auditorium like a wind coming from all four directions, low and terrifying, rumbling up from the ground beneath the floor, and it gathered into a roar that sucked at the hearing itself, and coalesced into a voice that penetrated into the sinuses and finally into the very minds of those hearing it, taking itself higher and higher, more and more awful and beautiful, the originating ideal of all such sounds ever made, of the foghorn and the ship’s horn, the locomotive’s lonesome whistle, of opera singing and the music of flutes and the continuous moanmusic of bagpipes. And suddenly it all went black. And that time was gone forever.”
>>7326177 'I'm a forty year old man at heart' ← I've heard this more than once & it's the mark of a boring men who reach out to the world thru brightly colored sox—I'm w/yr lovely lady, she's never a pure Anglo, and we're sneaking into buildings, bypassing alarms, I'm showing her the view from this rooftop, electric pinholes turning across the sky, I'm showing her the molding & architecture of the skyline & she's not even aware of yr swarm of texts—40 year old man? What is that? Why would you say that? Where is the spectroscopic demon dance of Man's Heart? What is this impotence you claim?
>>7326267 I am, in fact, German. I'd like to read the English translations one day, though.
Schmidt's fiction has very interesting premises (post-apocalyptic and empty world, - or a far-future nuclear wasteland in which centaurs are common mutations and all the artists live on a swimming, island-like boat, - or just simple stories set during the war or in the country) but he almost always tries to show a new literary technique with each story. His writings were never intended for a wider audience since he took for granted that a potential reader had read EVERYTHING he himself has read. Joyce was a big influence on him but also a shitload of nearly forgotten German writers of the 18th and 19th century. (During recent years, some of those books have been re-released as historical critical editions: >>7325902 ) His stories are impossible to read but also extremely funny at the same time. There is no writer who ever came close to him.
>>7326298 I'm very, very boring. I also suffer from debilitating anxiety and migraines. Most weekends are spent indoors downing novels and scotch in equal measure. I have become well adjusted to ebbs and flows of the worlds dolorous seas, allowing the box of my birth to carry me nearer and further to thee.
>>7326330 Tried, they make me feel empty inside and I can't write on them. I also read lots of history and political philosophy if that helps your assessment of me. For what it's worth, people tell me I'm too clever for my own good when I come out of my shell.
>>7326338 For too long I've been parched of WOW and unable to quench it. Too long I've been starving to death and haven't died. I feel nothing. Not the wind on my face nor the spray of a woman's squirt.
[steps into moonlight becoming a spooky skeleton]
You best start believing in post post modernist stories, Kiera—you're in one.
>>7326443 You want to play this game? Fine I know of rhet. Know of that wondrous art of persuasion that maneuvers men into panties and women onto podiums. That method by which we become more than decrepit. Tom painted fences with his tongue and Marx brought nations to wrong. Rhet you love of my life, you fire of my lungs, will you ever see fit to make this one feel young?
>>7325998 Why not? The language in the Iliad is one of the reasons I suddenly pursued an English minor as an undergrad. I remember looking forward to breaks between classes just so I could voraciously devour another Book.
I am grateful for the Iliad, and then Paradise Lost, for my passion for epic poetry.
>>7328424 I think I read Fagles in college. When I started teaching it, I favored Fitzgerald. If you recommend another translation, I'd be interested in knowing. I've wanted to read Pope's translation.
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