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Monday, January 7, 2013

The Secret Subject

The secret subject of my book is elegy, as I discover today. I found myself citing Frank O'Hara's elegies for James Dean, Valente's elegy for his son, Lorca's "Llanto por Ignacio Sánchez Mejías," Motherwell's "Elegy for the Spanish Republic, etc..., in two successive chapters.

So elegy is about poetic legacy and influence. Why? The death of the author. The author as biographical subject is dead, as far as literary theory goes, but lives on as a necessary construction in any version of the artistic legacy. Elegy expresses the wide range of emotions, from nostalgia and anger to the desire for transcendence, to acceptance and even the possibility of forgetfulness.

My high school friend, after her father died, sent me this Christmas a rare book, a translation of Lorca's Llanto done in the 1950s by a Canadian artist as a school project. A beautiful piece of work. It's all starting to make sense.

This blog is part of the "80 hours" I work. It's a spill over or laboratory for the book I'm writing. I'm happy to learn I am also presumably working while asleep, since when I wake up I have all these fresh ideas.

1 comment:

Professor Zero said...

Interesting on elegy.

So they don't really know who Shakespeare was or F. de Rojas et al, and now the author is dead, so the author only existed for a little while.

I am finding though that having a counternarrative on C.V. helps. Even if one tried not to focus on the lacrimose life story it did infuence every reading and a lot of criticism. I am not sure what Steve Hart's objective is in trying to emphasize the crazy side -- I have the idea he believes in the unitary subject, too.

At my university, paradoxically, where we can count as part of work lots of things I would say are parts of life, we cannot count writing letters of recommendation or discussions of careers and stuff as part of advising or professional service or teaching or anything. It took me an entire evening to e-mail back and forth comments on a draft statement of purpose and also compose a correctly written, non perfunctory letter, going onto the websites where it has to be loaded, etc., the whole process took 3 hours and it does not count, partly because this does not count, and partly because nothing done for people who have finished counts and he is a 12/2012 graduate. !!! On the other hand I translated some documents for Mexican nationals who showed up in the office needing translations to get drivers' licenses, it was interesting, they had baptismal certificates and other documents like that but not birth certificates or passports so I had to kind of invent the birthdates and things like this, it was interesting and very Latin American and it counted as professional service whereas getting my student into a PhD program will not.