Late Again At XFX

images-5.jpgThe new year rolled around and I successfully updated all the parts of A Celebration of Reading (ACOR) to start the new reading list and catalog the books I read during the year. I even contemplated removing or radically modifying my Bookshelves entries since I will be donating most of the books as I move to much smaller quarters in Florida and since I have replaced so many of those books with digital versions to read on my iPad.

So I’m sitting here sipping tea and noting the imaginative, experimental books I have already read this month and contemplating a few upcoming titles that have my own bodily fluids gurgling when I realized that I had forgotten to update and extend the reading list for the embedded Experimental Fiction reading group (XFX).

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Tropisms

images-3.jpgNathalie Sarraute describes tropisms as the “interior movements that precede and prepare our words and actions, at the limits of our consciousness.” They happen in an instant, and apprehending them in the rush of human interactions demands painstaking attention. Tropisms are the key to all of Sarraute’s work.

Since Sarraute is also a central writer in the nouveau roman, it is interesting to compare her “tropisms” to Robbe-Grillet’s Snapshots. In both works it is commonly asserted that they show the sources of the theory and technique of these writers (although one critic referred to R-G’s work as “aesthetic squiggles”).

The comparison is apt but I will suggest that Robbe-Grillet is more a noun while Sarraute is more a verb.

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Ecstasy

LispectorHere’s a little rumination I had a while back. I noticed an interesting parallel between my readings in Clarice Lispector (specifically The Passion According to G. H.) and a show I watched on HBO where an older Asian gentleman informed me that the orgasm is a bad thing. In the West the orgasm is the pinnacle of ecstasy but in the East, the ecstasy does not end with the orgasm. In the West the man has his orgasm and like a blowout, he goes flat and is useless. Lispector writes:

“… what invokes me and calls me is neutrality. I have no words to express it, and I therefore speak of neutrality and have only then ecstasy that too is no longer what we have been calling ecstasy, for it isn’t culmination. But that culminationless ecstasy the neutrality of which I speak.”

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