I have decided to blog my ongoing work on my MA thesis. As with most graduate students, I'm sure, the whole thing is taking much longer than expected.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

anne on djuna

Last summer I sent my first *email interview* to Anne Stone. I asked her if she had ever read Djuna's _Nightwood_ and, if so, what she thought of it. She replied that she had a few years before. She wrote that she liked how Djuna's book ends with Robin's *dance* with the barking/panting dog, saying that she appreciated how Djuna brought the reader where language cannot go.
I like that. :-)

In desperate need of address book help!

Like you all know, I just got myself an iBook. I was on a PC before using Outlook. All my email addresses are, of course, in Outlook.
Please, someone tell me that there's an easier way to transfer my addresses from Outlook to my iBook without needing to manually transcribe them all!


Kristeva first presents the psychoanalytical make-up of the deject, the one who suffers abjection. Fine.

She then goes into short analyses of representations of abjection in literature, its main cultural manifestation. She speaks of Artaud, Proust, Lautréamont and Joyce. I've only ever read Joyce. My cégep French lit classes shied away from the other authors, I guess, and I just never got around to _Un amour de swan_, even if I've owned it for the past few years. She then goes into an extensive study of Céline's work, another man I've meant to read yet have never gotten around to it.

She does say that abjection is not something that should be looked at and considered only as far as a book's thematics are concerned. Yet then she explains the themes of the abject work as being mostly concerned with horror. So I ask myself, which is it? And which to what extent?

After much searching throughout the city of Montreal, I have found and bought Céline's _Voyage au bout de la nuit_. Written as if spoken, it concurs with Blau DuPlessis's idea or writing as breaking the sequence. It also deals with the first world war and is essentially rather morbid and a bit depressing. His horror is not at all hushed. He describes it. He philosophies it (a French trait?). He truncates it, but his text is not inscribed with silences. But yes, the writing is changed and the theme is horror. Yes, yes.

(I've not read him before because he was anti-semetic, which made it feel a bit yucky...)

Barnes and Stone, on the other hand, and as I mentioned to Lianne in an email this week, seem both transcribed in an economy of silence. Barnes, through verbal garbage, extensive eloquence, parler pour ne rien dire pour, en fait, tout dire. Stone, on the other hand, avoids, plays with readers' expectations, conceals and lets you imagine what you wish. She does so by the very way she writes her sentences. Cut in weird places. Unfinished. Interrupted.

I asked Lianne if such an economy of silence would be a female trait. I hate bringing things back to gender. It feels so limiting. At the same time, I sometimes have the impression that it is very hard to avoid. Yet I am sure that if my authors were male, gender would not even be considered. (But of course, me being me, I would...) So much feminist work done on and about gender and female constructions of narrative, and here I go thinking it doesn't matter, or just really wishing really really hard that it wouldn't.

I'm reading Céline to get a better idea of what Kristeva was aiming at when she wrote _Pouvoirs de l'horreur_. I don't want to imitate her, but I do want to learn from the master, so to speak. I'm liking Céline. The *argot* is sometimes difficult to read. The greater good of it is to help me understand what I should be doing with my texts.

(Oh yeah, revising the work I did last summer made me realise that though it wasn't useless, most of it is not useful. So it's back to the drawing board for me, and the anxiety of needing to write...)

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Apple Revolution!

I'm writing this post on my brand new lovely iBook. It's white. It's beautiful. And it's mine! Plus, it's extra light, which is very important to me. It's actually lighter than most of my school books. It's lovely!!!

Right now I'm connected by network. I haven't figured out how to connect wireless-ly. I must get in touch with Pat and ask him how to do that.

I must say, this blogspot interface looks a bit different on a Mac. There are less features. How do I href a link? It's like my options have vanished. Is that what's in store for me? I must sacrifice some options in order to have a better and faster computer? Mmm...

As for school, the point is to be able to leave my apartment to work & write. I can now write my thesis in the park!
I've been re-reading Kristeva's work on abjection. I've also been realizing that a lot of the work I did last Fall, so where I left off, is not useless but not exactly useful either. I'm thinking I need to redirect my work a bit. More on that fun stuff later!
Now, I must make the supper. Hamburgers.
miaammmm :)

Monday, May 16, 2005

notes from methodology course notes

Texts do not carry meaning. They merely provide clues to be used be readers in reconstructing the original meanings of writers.
Texts trigger meaning in the mind (schemata) of the reader = negotiation of meaning between text and reader = interactive process.
Reading comprehension is thus an interactive process between the reader and the text - the reader is required to fit the clues provided in the text to his/her own background knowledge.
What does this imply for experimental writing?
Notion of abjection?
If language carries no meaning but only triggers meaning, how does that apply to texts that seek to subvert meaning and/or narrative?

Language that has "no meaning": The confusion of deciphering the meaning causes the reader to continually renegotiate the meaning. The work becomes a continuous work-in-progress in the mind of the reader, which results in an "open-ended" text, a text with no closure. This is problematic because it opposes our internalized dichotomies, which in turn bothers most readers.

This leads me to two questions that, I think, imply notions of receptivity and readership:
1) Why do we read? What do we expect from it?
2) What, in the writing itself, makes reading difficult? In other words, what writing techniques are used to subvert meaning? More importantly to me, what are the techniques used by Djuna and Anne?

yes, it's been a while

I've been on vacation doing nothing other than being busy and cleaning up.
Didn't get the Ministère job. That's OK.
It's Monday morning and I've jogged, washed, went through my bathroom closet to throw out old and useless hair spray bottles and other such cluttering products, I've wiped my couch, bed and a few chairs of cat hair and am now ready to sit down and work. Though the floor can use some vacuuming....

Monday, May 02, 2005

about my webliography

I was at a party Saturday night and Helen, a Brit who’s in Montreal to teach English to elementary French-speaking kids, told me that she checked out my blog. She went over my webliography and decided to use the Spider-man exercises in one of her classes. Apparently it went over very well. The kids loved it and the class was a good one. It made me really happy to know that my blog, if one thing, helped complement an English class. :-)

i'm tired

I had my interview at the Ministère today. The job actually sounds interesting.

‘Nough said.

I went to the U of M afterwards. I plan on auditing Lianne’s course on contemporary
Montreal women authors. She has assigned Anne’s book to the reading list. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the room. I even asked the guard. The local corresponding to the room number he gave to me was empty. Go figure. I’ll email her.

I’m exhausted. My semester knocked me out. I realize that ‘cause once I do the slightest little thing, I become tired. Seriously, one errand and I’m out! Ben kept telling me at the end of my semester to make sure I don’t burn out so close to the end. Even Maïa wrote to me today saying that I should take a break. I believe that whatever happens now will be for the best. Work or no work. Rest or no rest. Whatever.