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The blog of author Dennis Cooper

If you don’t speak French, you’ve likely never read — or, if you only speak English, even heard of — Roger Laporte, so, for future reference … *

* (restored)
—-

 

Laporte, Roger (1925-2001). A philosopher by training, Laporte is primarily known as the author of a series of unusual works (including La Veille, 1963; Fugue, 1970; Moriendo, 1983) where attention focuses on the activity of writing itself, to the virtual exclusion of other subject-matter. Assembled in one volume (Une vie, 1986), the nine separate texts are experiments in a new genre, labelled ‘biographie’ (see Carnets, 1979; Lettre à personne, 1988), where the writer’s self is apprehended in its primordial relationship to language and utterance. Austere but rigorous and elevating, Laporte’s work often invokes kindred spirits such as Mallarmé, Artaud, and Blanchot, on whom he has written with penetration (Quinze variations sur un thème biographique, 1975). While a number of Laporte’s essays on contemporary philosophers have been published in periodicals and anthologies in the UK and the United States, only a very few fragments of his own vastly significant writing have been translated into English. Nonetheless, the scholar Ian Maclachlan’s brilliant and acclaimed book length study of Laporte’s work, Roger Laporte: The Orphic Text, was published by Oxford University Press in 2000. Laporte died in 2001.

 

 

‘Roger Laporte’s Fugue takes away
in advance all metalinguistic
resources and makes of this
quasi-operation an unheard
music outside of genre.’
— Jacques Derrida

 

 

a tribute to Roger Laporte by Derrida, Giraudon, Deguy, & others

 

‘A pure reading which does not call
for another writing is incomprehens-
ible to me. Reading Proust, Blanchot,
Kafka, Artaud gave me no desire to
write on these authors (not even,
I might add, like them), but to write.’
— Roger Laporte

 

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A rare translated fragment: from ‘Fugue’ (1970)

‘Fugue is a long monologue in which a narrator proposes to write a novel that would expose his experience of writing in its immediacy, that is, as he sets his hand down to write on the blank page. The narrator states that his purpose “is to write a book that would be its own content, a book that would produce and register its own elaboration”. His project is dictated, he says, by his intention to “reveal the inner workings of the thought process”. The metafictional theme of writing is maintained throughout the novel. It is in fact its fundamental organizing principle.
—-”In the fugal structure and in the novel, a single theme is present as a unifying element. In both, it is a base element that is “searched out”. In the case of the fugue, it is the multiple entries of, and variations on, the theme that expose its musical potential. In the novel, the narrator proposes various models that he hopes will shed light on the question “What is writing?”. Thus the fugal theme or subject, as it is also called, and the novel’s theme can be projected onto each other as counterparts. Particular features — both are monothematic compositions whose themes have a unifying function and provide the potential for exploration and development — are recruited to participate in the construct of a blended space.’

from Frederique Arroyas’ ‘When is a Text like Music?’ (read the entirety)

 



 

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for our French speakers

Extrait du chapitre consacré à Marcel Proust

On peut en revanche essayer de comprendre pourquoi chez Proust les expériences de mémoire affective s’accompagnent toujours d’un tel sentiment de félicité que sa propre mort, véritable hantise, lui devient indifférente. – Une expérience majeure, constante, partagée par Swann et par le narrateur, est celle de l’oubli. Donnons un seul exemple, mais particulièrement probant on sait quelle longue et très cruelle souffrance fut pour le narrateur le départ, puis la mort d’Albertine. Le temps passe. Le narrateur est à Venise. Il reçoit un télégramme : la signature, à la suite d’une erreur de la poste, ne porte pas le prénom de Gilberte, mais celui d’Albertine…. ce que le narrateur accueille avec indifférence, car son amour pour la jeune fille en fleur est complétement mort. Proust a raison de penser que non seulement nous oublions le passé, mais que notre moi d’alors, le moi par exemple de celui qui aimait Albertine, n’existe plus, du moins en apparence. Il n’est pas question de mésestimer le temps retrouvé, mais nul mieux que Proust ne nous apprend que 1a mort ne coïncide pas avec la fin de notre existence, qu’elle ne se réduit point au trépas, mais que nous ne cessons de mourir tout an long de notre vie ». Sans doute la mémoire affective qui s’accompagne toujours d’une bouleversante félicité, ne vaut-elle que pour Proust lui-même, mais qui, plus que lui, a souffert de l’oubli! A un ami qui part pour un long voyage, Proust écrit “il est triste de leur séparation, mais qu’il est encore plus triste à la pensée que dans un certain temps il sera devenu indifférent. Si Proust avait été moins vulnérable, moins sensible à l’oubli, à la mort de soi, il n’aurait pas éprouvé une immense joie en retrouvant un moment du passé complètement oublié, perdu en apparence à jamais, en ayant ainsi la preuve que la mort, n’existe pas dans la mesure où il se retrouve lui-même tel qu’il était alors. A présent nous sommes mieux à même, non de partager l’incommunicable, mais de comprendre la félicité proustienne.

 

Extrait du chapitre consacré à Georges Bataille

S’il on est Balzac, on peut s’aventurer, avec plus ou moins de bonheur, à résumer La Chartreuse de Parme, mais aucun des trois récits majeurs de Bataille ne saurait être repris en peu de mots; même faire des citations est impossible et d’abord serait ridicule. On peut seulement dire avec Marguerite Duras:

« Edwarda restera suffisamment inintelligible des siècles durant… le sujet d’Edwarda se situant en deçà ou au-delà des acceptions particulières du langage, comment en rendrait-il compte! »

Par je ne sais quelle inconséquence, quel manque de lucidité cruel, il est arrivé à Bataille d’écrire de volumineux, d’ennuyeux ouvrages de sociologie ou d’anthropologie, par exemple L’Erotisme, Histoire de l’érotisme… sans parler de La Part maudite, mais ces ouvrages ne nous touchent guère, car ils parlent de l’érotisme, mais précisément ils ne font que parler de l’érotisme, à jamais extérieur au livre. Chez Bataille, non pas l’auteur des traités d’anthropologie (auxquels il a consacré beaucoup de temps!), mais l’auteur de textes érotiques, comme chez nul autre, même chez Sade, l’érotisme et l’écriture sont « coextensifs » pour reprendre la judicieuse remarque de Denis Hollier. Ces récits sont inséparables de leur trajet, de leur mouvement – celui d’une « crue », bien mise en lumière par Lucette Finas -, de leur caractère excessif, de plus en plus outrancier : aucune barrière ne limite la fiction. S’imaginer qu’écrire de tels récits érotiques est une partie de plaisir est une naïveté et d’abord un contresens, car l’acte d’écrire, touchant à l’extrême, rencontre le danger, que naturellement Bataille ne fuit pas, mais tout au contraire recherche. Ici encore Denis Hollier voit juste lorsqu’il écrit :

« Pour Bataille, l’écriture est une pratique réelle de déséquilibre, un risque réel pour la, santé, mentale. La folie est contamment en jeu dans ce qu’il écrit. Mais la “folie” est précisément l’inimitable écriture sans règle ni modèle . »

 

 

 

Extrait du chapitre consacré à Maurice Blanchot.

Si écrire est lié, au silence comme à son destin, si « le silence est la seule exigence qui vaille, “ on comprend que Blanchot ait pu dire : « … de cette écriture toujours extérieure à ce qui s’écrit, nulle trace, nulle preuve ne s’inscrit visiblement dans les livres. – N’arrive-t-il pas à Blanchot de nuancer cette affirrtiation ? Dans un texte dont E. Levinas souligne qu’il a été écrit « d’une façon prophétique plus de six mois avant Mai 68 », on peut lire ces lignes de Blanchot : « De cette écriture toujours exitérieure à ce qui s’écrit, nulle trace, nulle preuve ne s’inscrit visiblement dans les livres, peut-être de-ci de-là sur les murs ou sur la nuit, tout, de même qu’au début de l’hommes c’est l’encoche inutile ou 1’entaille de hasard marquée dans la pierre qui lui fit, à son insu, rencontrer l’illégitime écriture de l’avenir, un avenir non théologique qui n’est, pas encore le nôtre”. Puisque le silence doit passer par l’écriture pour s’accomplir n’est-ce pas lui qui devient impossible ? Dans La Part du feu , commentant encore une fois Mallarmé, Blanchot cite ce texte : « L’aramature du poème a lieu parmi le blanc du papier, significatif silence qu’il n’est pas moins beau de composer que le vers. » Blanchot remarque que ce blanc matériel « est peut-être le dernier vestige du langage qui s’efface, le mouvement même de sa disparition, mais il apparaît davantage encore comme l’emblème matériel d’un silence qui pour se laisser représenter doit se faire chose, ce qui reste ainsi le scandale du langage, son paradoxe insurmontable ». Blanchot résume ce paradoxe en cette formule : « Tout proférer, c’est aussi proférer le silence. C’est donc empêcher que la parole redevienne jamais silencieuse. De cette impossibilité, Mallarmé ne s’est jamais affranchi. » On peut ajouter: de cette impossibilité Blanchot ne s’est jamais affranchi. Il y a chez Blanchot une nostalgie de l’effacement, un amour de la discrétion, une passion pour le silence qui n’échappe à aucun lecteur, mais, par une contradiction insurmontable, ce désir d’une parfaite absence ne cesse de se montrer, de se dire, sans pouvoir par conséquent jamais s’accomplir. « Si le propre du langage est de rendre nulle la présence qu’il signifie », mais si le silence parfait est inaccessible, que peut faire l’écrivain ? Se tenir dans cet entre-deux, aussi près que possible du silence, et c’est pourquoi Blanchot donne la préférence, en particulier dans son oeuvre de fiction, à toutes les formes de langage qui font penser au silence. Lisons dans Au moment voulu ce que le narrateur dit de Claudia « cantatrice sublime » : « Des voix liées harmonieusement à la désolation, à la misère anonyme, j’en avais entendu, je leur avais prêté attention, mais celle-ci était indifférente et neutre, repliée en une région vocale où elle se dépouillait si complètement de toutes perfections superflues qu’elle semblait, privée d’elle-même. Cette voix, que fait-elle entendre ? Contrairement au « pathétique des registres graves », la voix de Claudia laisse très peu entendre. Son amie lui disait : « Tu as fait ta voix de pauvre » on bien « tu as chanté en blanc “.

« Lorsqu’on a commencé à faire sa part au silence, il l’exige toujours plus grande »…

Excerpt (in English from Ian Maclachlan’s Roger Laporte: The Orphic Text



 

Roger Laporte @ Wikipedia
Roger Laporte @ Editions P.O.L.
Roger Laporte @ Éditions Fata Morgana
Roger Laporte @ Gallimard

 

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ÉCRAN DE NUIT #031 | ROGER LAPORTE


FRÉDÉRIC-YVES JEANNET – UCHRONIQUE 50: ROGER LAPORTE


Roger Laporte Heidegger

 

 

*

p.s. Hey. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Thank you very much for the Nico personal backgrounding. I was at that Whisky show too, and  the indifferent reaction to Hardin was painful, yeah. As I’ve said before, I met Nico once. I was at the Pyramid Club in the early 80s. Jim Fouratt brought Nico and Ari into the club. He introduced her to me. She was visibly jonesing for dope and a sweaty, unwell looking mess. She immediately started pumping me as to whether I knew where she could score heroin. I said I didn’t know, and she lost interest in me and moved on to someone else. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi. Thanks for thanking Jane! Glad you liked the post a lot. Oh, your Maggie Broon video is beautiful! Everyone, Go watch a short psychedelic video that Ben ‘_Black_Acrylic’ Robinson made about Maggie Broon, The Broons’ glamorous daughter in the DC Thomson comic strip, back in 2008, here. It’s surely not a surprise to you that I really like your flash fiction’s inspiration and title. ** Misanthrope, Thanks for thanking Jane. Well, we need govt. permission to leave our homes here too, and a serious reason to, and only for an hour, and only with 1 km of our abodes. The vast majority of businesses and eateries and all museums and galleries, etc., etc. are closed, so it’s not that it’s all that less stringent. The main difference is that it feels less post-apocalyptic because this time Parisians are determined to get out and have some kind of life rather than staying in hiding like last time. We had our version of Veterans Day yesterday too — Armistice Day. Same occasion, same deal, a day off, wreath laying, some pomp, no big. ** Sypha, Hey. I’ve always heard vague stories about Nico’s racism, but I’ve never heard a specific example laid out, which doesn’t mean there aren’t any. I would say ‘The Marble Index’ is my favorite of hers too, but I also have a big fondness for ‘The End’. ** Ferdinand, Hi, F. I’ve only seen ‘Nico Icon’, which I didn’t think was all that great, but lots of people seem to. ** Steve Erickson, ‘Nico 1988’ does not seem like a must-see. I agree about ‘The Inner Scar’. I understand he’s bit difficult about his earliest and best work, or can be. But the restoration, etc. is inevitable. I don’t know that Julianna Barwick, but the Enya comparison is not exactly an impetus to rush towards it for me. ** Gus, Hi, Gus! Oh, have I not responded did to an email from you. I’ll go find it. I am slow, and my laptop broke, and I had no email for several days, so I am behind more than even usual. Things are okay. I’m feeling a little under the weather today, which is eerie under the circumstances, but otherwise working and hanging in there. You? Still totally down to have that chat. I’ll go find the mail from you that I seem to have missed, and let’s sort out when and how to do that. ** Armando, Good morning to you. Mm, I think I maybe did one total Nico post on my dead blog, but this is the first extant one. Of course she features in posts about related filmmakers and stuff. The zoom chat with my old friend was very nice. He’s a composer, musician and sound engineer. We’re the two members of our high school gang who succeeded at what we dreamed we would do artistically. The Rennes trip was good, good to get away, gave Gisele feedback on the current incarnation of her new theater piece and then straight back to Paris. A quickie. ‘Victoria’ sounds awfully good. I’m on it. Today my plan is reverse course on having woken up feel just slightly sickly. And buying cigarettes and food. Pretty much it. You, yours? ** Okay. Today’s restored post is quite old, and, sadly, Roger Laporte remains as overlooked now as he was all those years ago. So here’s my second attempt to do what little I can to try to reverse that neglect. See you tomorrow.

5 Comments

  1. A shame you didn’t meet Nico when she wasn’t so heroin-needy. Never knew Fouratt knew her but it’s not surprising.

    Here’s Tim Hardn

    And here’s Nico’s version of the same song

    Laporte is marvelous

  2. Dennis, Wow, I didn’t know that they’d gone that far in Paris re: re-locking down. Hmm. I hope it doesn’t last too long.

    Yeah, I pretty much did what I said I was gonna do yesterday. Well, no further queries, but I’m eyeballing that/those today.

    Good to have the day off, tho, and sleep in a little and all that.

  3. Good to be back in these parts. Laporte looks like yet another compelling reason to learn French. I’m starting to believe that metacognition is never a waste, even or perhaps especially when it feels uncomfortable.

    Happy you got your computer back up and running and that Paris is prudent but stopping short of terrified. I hope you feel better and get creative with your excuses to wander around.

    I’m still visiting my parents in Western Massachusetts. My dad’s terminally ill and very weak with lots of medical issues. At least he’s still pretty with it mentally and isn’t in excruciating pain. The doctors can’t given any specific prognosis. He could live two weeks or two years. But I guess that’s true of anyone. My sister and her boyfriend are also here. It’s good to all be together.

    I feel like I’m somehow getting wiser from all this “putting thing things in perspective” but it’s hard to admit anything good could come from such an awful situation.

    My Tel Aviv technical writing job search is picking up speed. Getting more full-time job interviews (all online) and got a small freelance gig that could lead to bigger ones. If I get a job that requires me to be in Tel Aviv I’d go back on short notice. If I could work from here I’d have a tough decision to make.

    I’ve been enjoying a dirgey new ambient album called “places of interest” by a music producer called “minitrue porno section”.

    https://minitruepornosection.bandcamp.com/releases

  4. I’ve noticed you haven’t done a new music day in several months. I’ve found it hard to stay on the treadmill of new releases, and I’m starting to feel that way about new films, as I get a pile of press releases about films coming to VOD in December. I’ve already made tentative film and music top 10 lists, but I just feel numb in the face of so much new stuff right now, when I barely have the energy to write about it coherently. (I’m currently working on a review of the reissue of Coil’s MUSICK TO PLAY IN THE DARK.)

    OTOH, I will be interviewing Julien Temple about his Shane McGowan documentary for Trouser Press if his publicist gives me final approval. If all goes well, we will be talking on the 19th.

    The situation in Paris sounds grim indeed, but I’m expecting a similar crackdown in NYC any day now.

  5. Hey,

    Good morning.

    Oh, are you feeling better? I sure hope so. What was wrong, if you don’t mind me asking?

    That’s awesome about your friend. All of your high school gang had artistic aspirations/inclinations? That’d be awesome. I had none of that. I always look at ‘Dazed And Confused’ and think/say: “Why couldn’t my adolescence be like that???!!!”, you know, lol?

    I could swear there’d been more posts of *HER*… Besides this one, wasn’t there once one done by you and another time another one made by David Ehrenstein?…

    “He liked spare poems sited minutely in white space, ranks of alphabetic strokes burnt into paper. Poems made him conscious of his breathing. A poem bared the moment to things he was not normally prepared to notice. This was the nuance of every poem, at least for him, at night these long weeks, one breath after another […]”

    ^ That’s from DeLillo’s ‘Cosmopolis’ first page. Isn’t it beautiful/true/great? I identify a lot with that quote. That’s what my relationship with ‘The Weaklings’ has been lately and I’ve been rereading and rereading and rereading various poems and parts and excerpts from it. ‘Trade’ has been especially, particularly, hugely important. That’s one Fucking Masterpiece of a poem, good sir.

    I haven’t been doing much. Besides rereading and rereading and rereading parts of ‘The Weaklings’ late late at night I can’t focus nor concentrate on much lately. Its been truly maddening at times, lol.

    Plans for today, this friday?

    Best.

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