Hundreds of short texts. Outside the novel form

L’ho citato già altre volte:

"(...) Burroughs criticism has taken a surprisingly conventional literary approach to a project conceived so radically in opposition to the conventions of literature. The analysis of Burroughs’ novel-length cut-up texts has been at the expense of his myriad shorter texts from the same era, texts that, taken together, amount to a comparable body of work and demonstrate a much wider range of collage-based experiments. Even leaving aside his related work in other media — photomontage, collage scrap-books, tape-recordings, films — the effect of putting The Soft Machine, The Ticket That Exploded and Nova Express centre-stage is to distort the history and scope of Burroughs’ experimental practices. Minutes to Go does not fit the critical frame because it inaugurated and belongs to another history, one characterised by publication of hundreds of short texts in dozens of small underground magazines — a history, in other words, where the material, the publishing contexts, and the means of distribution all coincided with the world of avant-garde poetry in general, and the postwar revival of collage-based techniques in particular. It’s tempting to invert critical history altogether and say that, far from being the acme of Burroughs’ cut-up work, the trilogy is in fact its aberration, because the truest realisation of the project lay outside the novel form. At the very least, we can say that it is hard to grasp the poetic identity of the cut-up project so long as Burroughs is approached, first and last, as a novelist". (Oliver Harris,

È abbastanza chiaro?

Si può seguire questa direzione? È legittimo. (A prescindere da tutto e tutti).

Citare o mettersi sulla stessa strada di Burroughs, o su una strada che in qualsiasi modo abbia a che fare con la sua opera, è (soprattutto adesso) lavorare OUTSIDE THE NOVEL FORM.

Marco Giovenale = differx is editor, teacher & translator. Author of experimental prose pieces & poetry. Asemic writer & glitch artist. Also see

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