Saturday, February 05, 2005

Is Craig Raine a mwgnker?

In today's Guardian - bastion of lacunae - the editor of Areté writes:

For literary theoreticians, it is axiomatic that language is unequal to the task of encompassing reality. Its failure is inevitable, a given.

What's left out here is the name of any literary theoretician. But there is a reason for this: Raine means every single one, which now must include himself.

This literary theoretician would say, from experience, that the distance between word and thing is inherent in the thing itself. Actually, Raine's loving analysis of Kipling seems close to my feeling (or theory, whichever it is):

the essential thing for Kipling to describe is invisible - positive emptiness, artistic emptiness, aesthetically chosen emptiness.

The essential thing then: language.


  1. Anonymous3:15 am

    Profound, in a drunken sort of way, as always Steve. It is divided in two that we live-speak.

  2. Anonymous9:39 pm

    Repetition has its charms.

    I instantly thought of your many posts re: some-vague-writer-attacking-without-naming-names when I read this silly man Raine.

    You know you've been reading Mitchelmore for far too long, when...

    Another Guardian delicacy:,6000,1406653,00.html

    Louise France's suspect opening paragraph to an article on Alice Munro:

    "Imagine this: you pick up a collection of short stories by an unknown author. Maybe it's the title - Dance of the Happy Shades - that attracts you or the intriguing first sentence: 'Miss Marsalles is having another party.' Either way, you decide to buy it and take it to the slight, smiling woman at the till."

    "Intriguing first sentence"! Intriguing as a kitchen sink!



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