March 8, 2017

Clarice Lispector on betrayal

Filed under: literature,nicola deane — ABRAXAS @ 8:52 am

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No one knows how you feel inside when you are hired to pretend you are a traitor and you end up believing your own betrayal.

A job which consists of forgetting day after day.

Being expected to feign dishonour.

My mirror no longer reflects a face which can even be called my own.

Either I am an agent or this is truly betrayal.

They want me occupied and distracted, by whatever means.

For with my wandering thoughts and solemn foolishness I might impede what is happening inside me.

January 21, 2017

the traitor

Filed under: literature — ABRAXAS @ 2:53 pm

“No one knows how you feel inside when you are hired to pretend you are a traitor and you end up believing your own betrayal. A job which consists of forgetting day after day. Being expected to feign dishonour. My mirror no longer reflects a face which can even be called my own. Either I am an agent or this is truly betrayal. But I sleep the sleep of the just in the knowledge that my futile existence does not impede the march of infinite time. On the contrary: it would appear that I am expected to be utterly futile, that I should even sleep the sleep of the just. They want me occupied and distracted, by whatever means. For with my wandering thoughts and solemn foolishness I might impede what is happening inside me. Strictly speaking, I myself have only served to impede. The notion that my destiny exceeds me suggests that I might be an agent. At least, they might have allowed me to perceive as much, for I am one of those people who do a job badly unless I am allowed some insight. They made me forget what I had been allowed to perceive, but I still have the vague notion that my destiny exceeds me and that I am the instrument of their work.”

Clarice Lispector

The Egg and the Chicken

January 3, 2017

auto da fé – elias canetti

Filed under: elias canetti,literature — ABRAXAS @ 2:17 pm


December 27, 2016


Filed under: literature — ABRAXAS @ 9:55 am


October 30, 2016

Julien Benda – The Betrayal of the Intellectuals

Filed under: 2016 - Metalepsis in Black,literature,philosophy — ABRAXAS @ 8:20 pm


October 29, 2016

an interview with raphael d’abdon

Filed under: literature,raphael d'Abdon — ABRAXAS @ 5:20 am


first published here: http://shortsharpstories.bookslive.co.za/blog/2016/10/28/die-laughing-teaser-qa-with-raphael-dabdon/

September 20, 2016

Filed under: literature,philosophy — ABRAXAS @ 11:00 am


July 30, 2016

Aragorn Eloff reviews The Garden of Peculiarities

Filed under: Jesus sepulveda,literature,philosophy,reviews — ABRAXAS @ 12:57 pm


first published here: http://meme.co.za/?p=111

June 14, 2016

only for you

Filed under: literature — ABRAXAS @ 8:32 am

One night, I don’t know why, they changed our number. The scene of the new sketch was the London Embankment. My misgivings were immediate, our little English girls were expected to sing, off key and ostensibly on the banks of the Thames at night, while I played the part of a policeman. A totally silent role, walking up and down in front of the parapet. Suddenly, when I’d stopped thinking about it, their singing grew louder than life itself and steered fate in the direction of calamity. While they were singing, I couldn’t think of anything but all the poor world’s misery and my own, those tarts with their singing made my heart burn like tuna fish. I thought I’d digested it, forgotten the worst! But this was the worst of all, a song that couldn’t make it … And as they sang, they wiggle-waggled, to try and bring it off. A fine mess, all of a sudden we were knee deep in misery … No mistake! Mooning about in the fog! Their lament was dripping with misery, it made me grow older from minute to minute. Panic oozed from the very stage set. And nothing could stop them. They didn’t seem to understand all the harm their song was doing us all … They laughed and flung out their legs in perfect time, while lamenting their entire life … When it comes to you from so far, with such sureness of aim, you can’t mistake it and you can’t resist.

Misery was everywhere, in spite of the luxurious hall; it was on us, on the set, it overflowed, it drenched the whole earth. Those girls were real artists … Abject misery poured out of them, and they made no attempt to stop it or even understand it. Only their eyes were sad. The eyes aren’t enough. They sang the calamity of existence, and they didn’t understand. They mistook it for love, nothing but love, the poor little things had never been taught anything else. Supposedly, they were singing about some little setback in love. That’s what they thought! When you’re young and you don’t know, you mistake everything for love trouble …

Where go … where I look …
It’s only for you … ou …
Only for you … ou …

That’s what they sang.

It’s a mania with the young to put all humanity into one ass, just one, the dream of dreams, mad love. Maybe later they would find out where all that ended, when their rosiness had fled, when the no-nonsense misery of their lousy country had engulfed them, all sixteen of them, with their hefty mare’s thighs and their bobbing tits … The truth is that misery already had the darlings by the neck, by the waist, they couldn’t escape. By the belly, by the breath, by every cord of their thin, off-key voices.

Misery was inside them. No costume, no spangles, no lights, no smile could fool her, delude her about her own, misery finds her own wherever they may hide; it just amuses her to let them sing silly songs of hope while waiting their turn … Those things awaken misery, caress and arouse her …

That’s what our unhappiness, our terrible unhappiness comes to, an amusement.

So to hell with people who sing love songs! Love itself is misery and nothing else, misery lying out of our mouths, the bitch, and nothing else. She’s everywhere, don’t wake her, not even in pretense. She never pretends. And yet those English girls went through their routine three times a day, with their backdrop and accordion tunes. It was bound to end badly.

I didn’t interfere, but don’t worry, I saw the catastrophe coming.

First one of the girls fell sick. Death to cuties who stir up calamity! Let ’em croak, we’ll all ber better off! And while we’re at it, don’t hang around street corners near accordion players, as often as not that’s where you’ll catch it, where the truth will strike. A Polish girl was hired to take the place of the sick one in their act. The Polish chick coughed too, when she wasn’t doing anything else. She was tall and pale, powerfully built. We made friends right away. In two hours I knew all about her soul, as far as her body was concerned, I had to wait a while. This girl’s mania was mutilating her nervous system with impossible crushes. Naturally, what with her own unhappiness, she slid into the English girls’ lousy song li9ke a knife into butter. Their song began very nicely, like all popular songs it didn’t seem to mean a thing, and then your heart began to droop, it made you so sad that listening to it you lost all desire to live, because it’s true that everything, youth and all that, comes to nothing, and then you start harking to the words, even after the song was over and the tune had gone home to sleep in its own bed, its honest-to-goodness bed, the tomb where everything ends. Two choruses, and you felt a kind of longing for the sweet land of death, the land of everlasting tenderness and immediate foggy forgetfulness. As a matter of fact their voices were foggy too.

All of us in chorus repeated their plaint, reproachful of everybody who was still around, still dragging their living carcasses from place to place, waiting along the riverbanks, on all the riverbanks of the world, for life to finish passing, and in the meantime doing one thing and another, selling things to other ghosts, oranges and racing tips and counterfeit coins … policemen, sex fiends, sorrows, telling each other things in this patient fog that will never end …

Louis-Ferdinand Céline
Journey to the end of the night
translated into English by Ralph Manheim
New Directions isbn 0-8112-0847-8
New York

June 10, 2016

Alessandro Baricco on real living

Filed under: literature — ABRAXAS @ 12:29 pm

“Hij zei dat het volgens hem zo was dat mensen jarenlang leven, maar dat ze in werkelijkheid slechts een klein deel van die jaren werkelijk leven, namelijk de jaren waarin de kunnen doen waarvoor ze zijn geboren. Dan pas zijn ze gelukkig. De rest van de tijd is tijd tijd die verstrijkt met wachten of met terugdenken. Als je wacht of terugdenkt, ben je niet droevig en niet gelukkig. Je lijkt droevig, maar je bent gewoon aan het wachten of aan het terugdenken. Mensen die wachten zijn niet droevig, evenmin als mensen die terugdenken. Ze zijn alleen ver weg.”
(Alessandro Baricco, Het Verhaal, or Questa Storia in Italian)

June 8, 2016

Ursula le guin on dragons

Filed under: literature — ABRAXAS @ 11:53 am

To be valuable in a factual history, the raw material of experience has to be selected, arranged, and shaped. In a novel, the process is even more radical: the raw materials are not only selected and shaped but also fused, composted, recombined, reworked, reconfigured, reborn, and at the same time allowed to find their own forms and shapes, which may be only indirectly related to rational thinking—so that the whole thing may seem to be pure invention. A girl chained to a rock as a sacrifice to a monster. A mad captain and a white whale. A ring that confers absolute power. A dragon.

But there’s no such thing as pure invention. Invention is recombination. We can work only with what we have. It all starts with experience. There are monsters and leviathans and chimeras in the human mind; they are psychic facts. Dragons are one of the truths about us. The only way we may be able to express that particular truth is by writing about dragons — admitting their existence. People who deny the existence of dragons are often eaten by dragons. From within.

The Pedant

Filed under: literature — ABRAXAS @ 10:20 am

“She knew that in spite of his official duties, which swallowed up nearly all his time, he considered it incumbent on him to keep abreast of everything of importance that appeared in the intellectual world. She knew, too, that really he was interested in books on politics, philosophy, and theology and that art was utterly foreign to his nature; yet, in spite of this – or, rather, because of it – he never missed anything which was being discussed in the world of art, but made it his duty to read everything. She knew that in politics, philosophy, and theology he had his doubts and uncertainties; but on questions of art and poetry, and especially music – of which he was totally devoid of understanding – he held the most rigid and fixed opinions. He was fond of talking about Shakespeare, Raphael, and Beethoven, of the significance of new schools of poetry and music, all of which he had classified in his mind with the utmost precision.”

Leo Tolstoy

Anna Karenin

on what writing is

Filed under: literature — ABRAXAS @ 10:00 am

Lagioia: Someone who is truly rooted in life doesn’t write novels.

Ferrante: Writing is an act of pride. I’ve always known that, and so for a long time I hid the fact that I was writing, especially from the people I loved. I was afraid of exposing myself and of others’ disapproval. Jane Austen organized herself so that she could immediately hide her pages if someone came into the room where she had taken refuge. It’s a reaction I’m familiar with: you’re ashamed of your presumptuousness, because there is nothing that can justify it, not even success. However I state it, the fact remains that I have assumed the right to imprison others in what I seem to see, feel, think, imagine, and know. Is it a task? A mission? A vocation? Who called on me, who assigned me that task and that mission? A god? A people? A social class? A party? The culture industry? The lowly, the disinherited, the lost causes? The entire human race? The elusive subject that is women? My mother, my female friends? No—by now it’s blindingly obvious that I alone authorized myself. I assigned myself, for motives that are obscure even to me, the job of describing what I know of my era, that is—in its simplest form—what happened under my nose, that is to say the life, the dreams, the fantasies, the languages of a narrow group of people and events, within a restricted space, in an unimportant language made even less important by the use I make of it. One tends to say: let’s not overdo it, it’s only a job. It may be that things are like that now. Things change, and the verbal vestments in which we wrap them change. But pride remains. I remain, I who spend a large part of my day reading and writing, because I have assigned myself the task of describing. And I cannot soothe myself by saying: it’s a job. When did I ever consider writing a job? I’ve never written to earn a living. I write to bear witness to the fact that I have lived and have sought a yardstick for myself and for others, since those others couldn’t or didn’t know how or didn’t want to do it. What is this if not pride? And what does it imply if not “You don’t know how to see me and see yourselves, but I see myself and I see you”? No, there is no way around it. The only possibility is to learn to put the “I” into perspective, to pour it into the work and then go away, to consider writing something that separates from us the moment it’s complete: one of the many collateral effects of an active life.

May 10, 2016


Filed under: kagapoems,literature — ABRAXAS @ 9:34 am


April 27, 2016


Filed under: literature — ABRAXAS @ 1:37 pm


April 26, 2016

Filed under: literature — ABRAXAS @ 7:37 pm


April 21, 2016

“the panic of sounds”

Filed under: african noise foundation,literature — ABRAXAS @ 12:27 pm

Now there followed in succession various sentences in a strange chaos, because they were mixed up with the conversations of the 12th and 13th march companies, which went on at the same time, and the telegram got completely lost in the panic of sounds.

The Good Soldier Svejk
Jaroslav Hašek
translated by Cecil Parrott

April 19, 2016


Filed under: literature — ABRAXAS @ 2:49 pm

Before I wrote My Struggle, I had a feeling that novels tend 
to obscure the world instead of showing it, because their form is so much alike from novel to novel. It’s the same with films, with their attention to narrative structure. Most films, anyway. One thing I did while I was at work on the project was to watch the film Shoah, about the Holocaust. In the 
end, after you’ve seen these nine and a half hours, there is no form. Or it’s a kind of extreme form, which brings it closer to a real experience. I’d 
been thinking about that and about the world as it ordinarily comes to us filtered through news, through media. The same form, the same language, makes everything the same. That was a problem I had before I started 
My Struggle. The traditional form of the novel wasn’t eloquent. I didn’t 
believe in it, for the reasons I’ve said. Now, I don’t really pay much attention to the world. I’m not very present. I’m detached from almost everything. 
I’m very occupied with myself and my own mind. I’m not in connection with the world—but in writing, I can be. That’s a way for me to open a world up.

But this is a personal problem, not a general problem.

read the full interview here: http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/6345/writing-emmy-struggle-em-an-exchange-james-wood-karl-ove-knausgaard

KATHY ACKER on the use of fiction

Filed under: literature — ABRAXAS @ 9:24 am


“In such a society as ours the only possible chance for change, for mobility, for political, economic, and moral flow lies in the tactics of guerrilla warfare, in the use of fictions, of language.”

– Kathy Acker

April 18, 2016


Filed under: literature — ABRAXAS @ 2:34 pm


‘There’s a lot of shitting in every battle,’ the man from the escort chimed in again. ‘Not long ago one of the chaps who was wounded told us in Budejovice that when they were advancing he shitted three times in succession : first when they were climbing up from cover to the space before the barbed-wire entanglement; a second time when they started cutting the wire, and a third time when the Russians rushed at them with their bayonets and shouted “Hurrah.” Then they began to run back to the trenches and in their unit there wasn’t a single man who hadn’t shitted. And a dead man, who lay on top of the cover with his legs hanging down and half of whose head had been torn off by shrapnel, just as though he’d been cut in half, he too in the last moment shitted so much that it ran from his trousers over his boots into the trenches mixed with blood. And half his skull together with his brains lay right underneath. A chap doesn’t even notice how it happens to him.’

The Good Soldier Svejk
Jaroslav Hašek

The Good Soldier Svejk on existence

Filed under: literature,philosophy — ABRAXAS @ 12:29 pm

However it used to be, it used to be somehow
It never happened yet that it was no-how

Jaroslav Hasek

April 11, 2016

MARLON JAMES on the atrocity timetable

Filed under: literature,politics,race — ABRAXAS @ 12:14 pm


ADAM SMALL’s writing honoured

Filed under: afrikaaps,literature — ABRAXAS @ 12:05 pm


The Good Soldier Svejk

Filed under: literature — ABRAXAS @ 10:52 am



Filed under: literature,philosophy — ABRAXAS @ 9:15 am

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Preparations for the slaughter of mankind have always been made in the name of God or some supposed higher being which men have devised and created in their own imagination.

Jaroslav Hašek
The Good Soldier Svejk
translated by Cecil Parrott

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