josh blog

Ordinary language is all right.

One could divide humanity into two classes:
those who master a metaphor, and those who hold by a formula.
Those with a bent for both are too few, they do not comprise a class.

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3 Oct '05 06:28:05 AM

One is hardly allowed time to think, by the world or by one's self.

26 Sep '05 06:13:13 AM

This post by Alex is remarkable. The Derrida thread he refers to is here.

9 Sep '05 07:01:43 AM

I'm writing a bibliography.

It's exciting!

1 Sep '05 08:05:11 PM

A nice little phrase - 'how we stand toward people'.

30 Aug '05 04:58:18 AM

On Döblin and speed: part of Döblin's style is so inconspicuous that it took me hundreds of pages to realize the effects it was working: much of the prose posed relative to the characters' thoughts and feelings is relatively undifferentiated from that of other characters (whose consciousnesses may also be expressed by nearby sentences, though usually not too nearby), and indexical words and phrases are made to do more work in determining the meanings of the sentences than in 'more standard' novelistic prose. At times I can even catch myself making the imaginative effort, to keep in mind when I read a sentence who the pronouns refer to, what those characters have just done, what their longer-term relationships have been.

11 Aug '05 06:14:03 AM

Vahid's zombie term paper.

11 Aug '05 05:51:11 AM

<stasis that one wants to break only in the right way>

10 Aug '05 09:11:41 AM

A curious note at the end of the compiler's introduction to the Oxford Book of Aphorisms:

'There is one gap in this anthology which I particularly regret. I had hoped to include a number of aphorisms by Wittgenstein, drawn principally from Philosophical Investigations (1953) and Culture and Value (1980), but unfortunately permission to do so was refused by his literary executors.'

Not cool, literary executors. Not cool.

9 Aug '05 09:08:10 AM

In that Continuum edition, dialogue occurs in paragraphs without breaks at new speakers. This probably helps enable a significant feature of Döblin's style, one that makes the montage more effective - that apart from the internal content of the montaged material, there's almost no indication, typographically, that there has been a jump. Sometimes with a new paragraph will come a cut, but some cuts also occur inside paragraphs. Rhymed material that in some books might be set separately is put inline just like everything else. There is no special use of dashes, capital letters or different typefaces, anything like that, to indicate to the reader that the type of sentence has just changed.

(In contrast, in this edition the smaller subsections of each of the nine books are introduced by titles, or captions, set in a sans-serif font different from the font of the text. These captions seem to vary from more or less sympathetic to the characters and more or less inflected to sound as if delivered from the point of view of a character. Then, in a similar face but smaller size, each book is headed by a brief comment on the narrative of the forthcoming book, in kind of a synoptic, summary style consistent with the notice by the narrator before the beginning of the novel ('This book reports the story of Franz Biberkopf...').)