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August 05, 2008

Comments

ejh

Using "iconic" = lazy writing. (Also see "excellent".)

jamie

Not as lazy as this:

"Hawes, an Oxford graduate and university lecturer, emphasises his total admiration for the literary Kafkaesque genius who wrote brooding classics such as The Metamorphosis, The Castle and The Trial"

Kafkaesque is lazy enough. Using Kafkaesque to describe Kafka is bone fucking idle.

ejh

Heh, if I hadn't been such a lazy bastard myself I'd have spotted that.

jamie

The "literary's" good too. Who's neice is the author, do we think?

Fellow Traveller

Gore Vidal dubbed history 'a higher form of gossip' and this bears witness to the truth of that observation. The middle class prefers the contemplation of trivia over the truth.

The language in the quoted news item reminds me of one of Roland Barthes comments about stereotype in writing -

"the phrases 'explode important myths', 'dark and shocking' and 'banned journals' all support the myth of the newspaper as the exposer of the hidden truth behind the lives of the rich and famous (for a most recent example, one only has to look at the Moseley affair). Whereas, in actuality, the newspapers provide ideological cover for the whole society that permits the existence of this class.

"Someone writes to me that 'a group of revolutionary students is preparing a destruction of the structuralist myth.' I am captivated by the stereotypic consistency of the expression. The destruction of the myth begins from the very announcement of its putative agents with the finest of myths, the 'group of revolutionary students' - quite as good as 'war widows' or 'old soldiers.'

Usually the stereotype is a sad affair, since it is constituted by a necrosis of language, a prosthesis brought in to fill a hole in writing. Yet at the same time it cannot but occasion a huge burst of laughter: it takes itself seriously, believes itself to be closer to the truth because indifferent to its nature as language. It is at once corny and solemn."

Writers, Intellectuals, Teachers Barthes

- punctuation amended (JK)

Fellow Traveller

Forgot to close italics. Oops.

ejh

Whose niece is the author, do we think?

Er, dunno. What am I missing?

jamie

Oh, just random snark to the effect that I doubt the hack got where she is by a rigorous interviewing process.

FT - I think it's more about commerce and hypocrisy than ideology per se, though the things can't be entirely separated. How do you make money out of a dead author already chewed over extensivley? By giving a peek at his porn stash: or rather "exposing" it. It sticks in the throat that the dirty little biographer prasies his own courage in doing so, but I guess that's the territory. Brod should have burned the lot.

Alex

Also, "saintly"? He was a lawyer with a reputation as a vicious kaffeehaus wit and a difficult love life, not someone hiding in a (highly stereotyped) garret.

Regarding Barthes, this reminds me of the friend of Robert Graves who was beaten at school for reading Shelley. "Shelley is beautiful!" he protested. Bollocks. Now Barthes, well..

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