Wednesday, January 19, 2011


At the TLS, Mairéad Hanrahan on Columbia University Press's new edition of Roland Barthes' notes-cum-teaching script The Preparation of the Novel (mmmm, I have to get this one and read it):
The first paradox is the overwhelming focus in the 1978–9 classes on the haiku, which has exemplary status as a “Notation of the Present”: its extreme brevity enables it to approximate most closely and truthfully to the “instant” that, for Barthes, writing seeks to capture. But the haiku’s instantaneity is also a limit. With no room either for narrative or, especially, for the “interweaving” together of truth and falsehood in fiction, it throws the novel into relief.

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