Convolutes
Huh? What's a "convolute"?

Convolutes are fragmented connections.

Here are some fragments to explain:

[T]his is precisely Benjamin’s own practice: to dip in and take a quotation out of context and mount it into a dialectical image and see what sparks fly.

– Michael Jennings, in One Way Street: Fragments for Walter Benjamin (my transcription)

Method of this project: literary montage. I needn’t say anything. Merely show. I shall purloin no valuables, appropriate no ingenious formulations. But the rags, the refuse – these I will not inventory but allow, in the only way possible, to come into their own: by making use of them.

– Walter Benjamin, [N1a,8] Convolute N in The Arcades Project

convolute, adj. and n. Def. A. adj. Rolled up together.

from Latin convolūt-us, past participle of convolvĕre : to roll together, roll up, roll round, < con- together + volvĕre to roll

– OED Online, second ed.

 

History, retrospection and narrative

How does art stand in relation to the tradition and history which preceded it? How is the meaning of history made, un-made, or re-made? It is not that "history is written by the victors." No, the proper cliché to mention here is the moment in the classic adventure...

Art, Poetry, the Imagination and the Future

Is poetry a message in a bottle? A message from the future? Does it unearth the things we know, but cannot yet say? “In March 2003, Donald Rumsfeld engaged in a little bit of amateur philosophising: ‘There are known knowns. These are things we know that we...

Slavoj Žižek on wrapping your head around Hegel

Standard Žižek. Vulgar jokes combined with an encouragement to not settle for your initial, first-glance interpretation.   Also, the idea that Hegel somehow thought that history's over with him, that he comes at the end. It's -- I mean, it's empirically not true....

Anthony Trollope and Stephen King on writing ten pages per day

Two prolific writers from two different centuries agree: 10 pages a day keeps... uh, "not being prolific" away. All those I think who have lived as literary men,—working daily as literary labourers,—will agree with me that three hours a day will produce as much as a...

On fonts, mind control, contexts

Fonts control our minds. Everyone knows that. I feel like Roland Barthes' Mythologies really needs a chapter on The New Yorker's font and its connotations/myth.   Did I read The New Yorker? This question had a dangerous urgency. It wasn't any one writer or...

Writers on literary criticism and autobiography

What does literary criticism say about the critic? This is the story of my life—that is what must always be heard when someone speaks of someone else, cites or praises him or her. --  Jacques Derrida, Aporias p. 2   Dickens was no hero; he was a powerful, clever,...

Jacques Derrida and Stephen King on sleeping when not writing

I'm tempted to say this is true of any vocation. If you don't work at whatever it is you work at... That is to say, when I don't write, there is a very strange moment when I go to sleep. When I have a nap and I fall asleep. At that moment, in a sort of half sleep, all...

Charles Dickens, on not writing, for various reasons

On thinking about Barnaby Rudge (1840-41): "I didn’t stir out yesterday, but sat and thought all day; not writing a line; not so much as the cross of a t or dot of an i. I imaged forth a good deal of Barnaby by keeping my mind steadily upon him; and am happy to say I...

Slavoj Žižek, on writing books

I like his method. I have a very complicated ritual about writing. It's psychologically impossible for me to sit down, so I have to trick myself. I operate a very simple strategy which, at least, with me, works. I put down ideas, but I put them down usually already in...