Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Baton Rouge, New York, Miami

At Bookforum, Wayne Koestenbaum considers Hervé Guibert's unbridled eroticism:
A born diarist, Guibert regarded the genre of “novel” with a fatigued, valedictory suspicion: “It is perhaps preferable to circle around the idea of the novel, to dream it, like in Gide’s Marshlands, and to botch it, rather than succeed, since the successful novel is perhaps a very banal form of writing.” He wants writing to be a form of physical adventure—a leap, a plunge, a way to befriend the abyss: “I would like one day to throw myself into a narrative that would be but an event of writing, without a story, and without boredom, a true adventure. . . . The other day I wrote that it was necessary to surrender to pure events of writing (just as the most pure photos are pure events of light).” What is a pure event of writing? Certain French thinkers called it “writing the body,” a phrase that doesn’t get sung a lot these days, though I hope that Guibert’s journal will bring this philosophically inclined subset of body-smeared literature back into prominence. What else is there to write but the body? “Pains in my left eye where it seemed I let a bit of semen penetrate by rubbing my eyes after having jerked off . . .” As in Monique Wittig’s pronoun-slashed The Lesbian Body, every organ within Guibert’s literary body intramurally huddles with its mates; his journal invents a body where “semen” and “left eye” belong to each other, even if their spunky wedlock causes distress.

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