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,…

“Pierre Guyotat: The Matter of Writing“; by Stephen Barber

  PIERRE GUYOTAT: THE MATTER OF WRITING In 1969, the French literary journal Tel Quel published an extract from Pierre Guyotat’s work in progress, Eden, Eden, Eden, under the title Bordels of Butchery. After the book’s publication in 1970, it was subjected to governmental censorship in France, was reviled by large sections of the Parisian literary establishment, and became one of the great divisive scandals of postwar French writing. The participants of Tel Quel, in collaboration with supporters and associates of Guyotat, mounted a defence of the book. Michel Foucault wrote: ‘Guyotat has written a book in a language of…

Alain Badiou; Pierre Guyotat, Prince of Prose

I say that Pierre Guyotat is the prince of prose. What does ‘prince’ mean? It signals first of all Guyotat’s nobility, the extraordinary nobility of his prose: a nobility without precedent since the speeches and sermons of Bossuet; and one that is all the more striking in that it organizes, or ennobles, materials drawn from the base layers of our existence, from the atoms of exposed flesh. Sex and cruelty, visible and solar, hook up with being qua excremental being: the word putains, ‘whores’, designates in prose the subsoil of the sublime order established by the retreat of the gods….

Pierre Guyotat; by John Taylor

  «A new book by Pierre Guyotat (b. 1940) is always an “event,” little matter whether one reads it. When Progénitures appeared in France, to the sort of consternated fanfare that has frequently greeted this writer’s output, one well-placed critic declared that neither he nor anyone else could, or would, read all eight hundred, bizarrely spelled, meticulously versified pages of this “novel” that is probably more akin to an extended Old Testament chronicle. This accusation of “unreadablenes,” attached to Guyotat’s strange and provocative work ever since (at least) the lexical and orthographic experiments of Prostitution (1975), is nonetheless qualified by…

PIERRE GUYOTAT; BODY OF THE TEXT

BODY OF THE TEXT THIS IS NOT WRITTEN. BUT DICTATED. IMPROVISED. NOTEBOOKS IN HAND— NOT FOR A STOCKTAKING OF PAST OR PRESENT JOTTINGS ON WHAT I AM ABOUT TO DESCRIBE: THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MASTURBATION AND WRITING— BUT IN ORDER TO SPEAK TEXT IN HAND AND EXPOSED TO VIEW—; NO USE EXPECTING THEN. A TEXT THAT MIGHT BE DESCRIBED AS “SCHOLARLY” OR “MARGINAL” (NECESSARY TERMS AT AN EPOCH DETERMINED BY POLITICAL ENGAGEMENTS OF AN ADMINISTRATIVE KIND. OR BY A HESITATION TO EXPRESS THE MOST VOCAL SOUNDINGS OF THE MASTURBATORY TEXT). NONETHELESS, THE NEED TO MAKE MY FIRST DECLARATIONS ON THE RELATIONSHIP…

Best books of 2017

Nanni Balestrini; Blackout / Commune Editions Heriberto Yépez; Transnational Battle Field / Commune Editions Attila József; Liste freier Ideen / roughbooks Ursula Andkjaer Olsen; Third-Millennium Heart / Action Books / Broken Dimanche Press Sean Bonney; Ghosts / Materials Georges Didi-Huberman; Die Namenlosen zwischen Licht und Schatten / Fink Pierre Guyotat; In der Tiefe / diaphanes Aimé Césaire; The Complete Poetry of Aimé Césaire / Wesleyan University Press The Invisible Committee; Now / Semiotext(e) Mark Fisher; The Weird and the Eerie / Repeater François Dosse; Gilles Deleuze Félix Guattari / Turia + Kant Harun Farocki; Zehn, zwanzig, dreißig, vierzig. Fragment einer Autobiografie /…

Pierre Guyotat; Self-portrait

  “This self-portrait is dated March 1962. I had returned from a mission as radioman in the interior, in the Djurdjura, having received a warning from my comrades in the radio station. I already knew when I got out of the jeep that I was in for a bad quarter of an hour, a quarter of an hour that could last a whole lifetime. I came back, and saw a secret service or military police jeep. I immediately disappeared into our room. My buddies had already hidden my notes and a few of my things – soldier solidarity. I only had…

Pierre Guyotat | The Prison

    “This text was written at the end of 1962, after my return from Algeria. It stands under the immediate impression of Dostoyevsky’s The House of the Dead, and is the result of a paraphrase of a very bleak text fragment from Johann Sebastian Bach’s St John ­Passion, which I sung as a child. For me the text is the matrix for Tombeau pour cinq cent mille soldats.” P.G.   Our prison was encircled by marshland where birds and sick dogs came to die. At night we could hear their cries and death rattles. We could see nothing of…

Pierre Guyotat, Donatien Grau. To lay a hand on the shoulder of future victims …

Donatien Grau: I have a sense that, in your recent work, the question of humanity has become more and more explicit. There has been a series of titles—Humains par hasard [Humans by chance, 2016], Joyeux animaux de la misère [Joyous Animals of Misery, 2014], Par la main dans les Enfers [By the Hand into the Hades, 2016]—that echo one another and call our humanity into question. Where do you stand these days on this question? Pierre Guyotat: I’ve always dealt with that question. It’s nothing new, and it necessarily lies at the core of every work of art. To begin…

LA RABBIA //PASSION PASOLINI

  «Haltet ihn gut fest, auch wenn er in seiner glühenden Hast versucht sich loszumachen; er wird alle Formen annehmen, sich in alles verwandeln, was auf der Erde kriecht, in Wasser, in göttliches Feuer; aber ihr müsst ihn festhalten, ohne nachzulassen; packt ihn noch fester; und wenn er dann sprechen will, wird er wieder Züge annehmen, die ihr an ihm gesehen habt, als er eingeschlafen ist.» (Eidothea warnt Menelaos vor den Listen ihres Vaters Protheus, dem die Gabe der Prophetie nachgesagt wurde, sein Wissen jedoch mit niemanden zu teilen gedachte. Ein Meister der Verwandlung, entzog er sich den Fragen, indem er…

CELAN SPUREN (2)

PC Notizen vom 10. Mai 1968 : Nächtliche Herausforderungen, wie Pascals von Feuer illuminierte Nacht vom 23. November 1654 (tief eingenäht ins Futter seiner Jacke), ich spreche und schreibe (durchschreibe) aus einem Ensemble erhoffter Stimmen – aber nie mit gefalteten Händen – von zwei Stunden weißen durchsichtigen Explosionen, ein Vernunftzerkrachen im Jahr der Gnade (magnalia dei), Zündholzgedanken eben. Die imago als genealogische Praxis verstanden. Rembrandt ist einer der Malerkönige. Seine Technik des Verbergens, besonders in den späteren Selbstbildnissen, scheint uns eine umso größere Wahrheit zu offenbaren. Mal Zeuxis, mal Demokrit löst sich bei ihm alles in nichts auf. Die  …

Best books of 2016 / Herausragende Bücher 2016

Pierre Guyotat; Herkunft (Diaphanes Verlag) Paul B. Preciado; Testo Junkie (b_books) Erin Moure; O Cadoiro (roughbooks) Pjotr Pawlenski; Der bürokratische Krampf und die neue Ökonomie politischer Kunst (Merve Verlag Berlin) Jacques Rancière; Politik und Ästhetik (Passagen Verlag) Daniel Bensaid; Ein ungeduldiges Leben (LAIKA Verlag) Andrew Duncan; Radio Vortex (Brüterich Press) Georges Didi-Huberman; Atlas oder die unruhige Fröhliche Wissenschaft (Wilhelm Fink) Rosmarie Waldrop; Ins Abstrakte treiben (Edition Korrespondenzen) Samuel Beckett; Wünsch Dir nicht, daß ich mich ändere (Suhrkamp Verlag) Tom McCarthy; Satin Island (Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt) Robert Kelly; Die Sprache von Eden (roughbooks) Cyrus Console; Brief Under Water (Brüterich Press) Sophie Wahnich; Freiheit…