Mehdi Belhaj Kacem, Philippe Sollers | What is the Meaning of the Avant-garde’s Death?

FIRST PUBLISHED: DIAPHANES How could Dante be avant-garde? Mehdi Belhaj Kacem: Mr. Sollers, for 23 years you were the editor of Tel Quel, doubtless the very last important literary review that can be considered “avant-garde.” It published some of the biggest “avant-garde” writers of its time, like Pierre Guyotat, Maurice Roche, Jean-Jacques Schuhl and yourself, as well as still-unknown academics like Jacques Derrida, Roland Barthes and Gérard Genette. You also published Pierre Boulez and Jean-Luc Godard, who, like the writers and thinkers I just mentioned, were the leading avant-garde figures in their respective fields. In 1983 you left Les Éditions du Seuil,…

D.S. Marriott | Response to Race and the Poetic Avant-Garde + Poems

  What is “avant-garde poetry”? is a question long on answers, if short on consensus. On the one hand, the notion of the avant-garde is invariably seen as a historical category. The history of modernism and the authority of certain authors converge here in a kind of hermeneutic presumption, as if the meanings and values of both constituted readymades. The avant-garde poet emerges as a figure (invariably male, invariably white) that history and culture no longer need to put in question. But on the other hand, those European and American avant-gardes posed a question about the relation between the reading…

Best Books of 2019

    Miyó Vestrini | Grenade in Mouth Those who write are not even of a race. Nor a caste. Nor a class. Nor are they one. They ruin the point of living, like women in a world of science. Behind thick lenses, the court is never dull. They have all privileges: from philosophy up to anger, passing through conjugal relations, and the length of the paragraphs. Between the rights of man it is figured that the writer should write largely for himself first, then for the others, with a purpose well or poorly defined: to flood the window displays,…

Martin Bakero | Militancy of Poets

  The first revolutionary action that people from the Commune of Paris did in 1871, was to break all the clocks of the city. That action engaged the possibility to revolutionaries to go beyond all the limits that reality imposes upon us. Centuries before, the troubadour poets, the “Knights of Joyful Knowledge”, met together once a year to find a new word or neologism in the manner of an antidote for words that limited the freedom of people. One of them was the word “mors” (dead), the poet who were chose for that task, Truc Malec, returns the next year…

Disruptions — An interview with Jacques Rancière

  Dwaipayan Chowdhury with Jacques Rancière (Spring 2019) LATERAL | JOURNAL OF THE CULTURAL STUDIES ASSOCIATION   I Nor is there singing school but studying Monuments of its own magnificence W. B. Yeats With this reference from Sailing to Byzantium the art historian Clement Greenberg takes us to a quandary.1 This quandary pertains to the efficacy of (western) art in general with regard to the operations of artistic systems. With “of its own” Yeats takes us to the magnificence of the monuments. For Greenberg, what is at stake in this journey to magnificence is the establishment of the cleavage, within the integrity of…

Esther Leslie | Walter Benjamin

Esther Leslie | Walter Benjamin  ⇒   PDF (Full book)       For a Marxist Poetics of Science: An Interview with Esther Leslie First published in Historical Materialism Can you tell us a bit about your intellectual and political formation? I come from a political family — my parents were Trotskyists, my grandparents on one side were anarchists and, on the other, one grandfather had been involved in unemployment marches. There was a strong sense of class consciousness and political engagement at home. My anarchist grandfather, who was German, was a book publisher and bookseller in London and so we were…