Monday, December 12, 2022

Favourite books 2022

This selection does not include those books I enjoyed, that asinine dilution poured into innumerable books of the year lists, though I enjoyed those not included in this selection.

Jon Fosse – Septology

Thomas Bernhard – The Rest is Slander

"we are concealing a secret, a secret of which the Englishman is incessantly speaking, a secret that is actually directly opposed to what he supposes it to be." 

Marjorie Perloff – Infrathin: An Experiment in Micropoetics

'The “auditory imagination,” let’s recall, is defined by Eliot as “the feeling for syllable and rhythm, penetrating far below the conscious levels of thought and feeling, invigorating every word.” One cannot prove that Eliot consciously chose to produce the dense verbal-sonic-visual structure I have been describing, but the drafts suggest that in fact he did revise words and phrases in the interest of sonic and visual density as well as semantic subtlety.'

Giorgio Agamben – When the House Burns Down

"Reflection – the 'I think' – is … the point where the speaker who is about to discover himself unwillingly to be witness and poet finds a mirror in which to escape solitude, a last refuge from which he can still somehow offer meaningful discourse and propositions. We all cling to an 'I' in order to escape from the solitary encounter with language, in order not to be constrained to poetry. This is the meaning of Hölderlin's stubborn critique of reflection..."

And, unexpectedly, three books on the Bible:

Avivah Gottlieb ZornbergThe Beginning of Desire: Reflections on Genesis 

'The "rebellion" of the generation around the Flood can be understood as a failure to speak, to communicate with God – or, indeed, with each other. There is a pathology is the very "openness" of the Flood generation which converts openness to a dumbness, a dumbness of the babble rather than of silence.'

Gabriel Josipovici – The Book of God: A Response to the Bible

"The man in the field [Genesis 37: 15-17] and the young man in the sindōn [Mark 14: 51-52] stand for the primacy of narrative over interpretation. How they came to be there will never be known. That they are there cannot be gainsaid. To interpret them away, to provide explanations as to why they are there, is to do away with the whole Joseph story, the whole Passion narrative, and, in the wake of this, with the whole of Genesis, the whole of Mark, the whole Bible – and, in the end, with the whole of literature."

Massimo Recalcati The Night in Gethsemane: On Solitude and Betrayal

“From Jesus’ perspective, there is, in effect, no possible truth without its testimony. That means that the truth of the Word consists in its incarnation alone. It’s the radical ethical hermeneutics of Christianity: the letter without testimony is a dead letter; without heart—without desire—the meaning of the Law can’t be understood.”

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