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The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Spotlight on … Alain Robbe-Grillet The Voyeur (1955)

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‘Each novelist, each novel must invent its own form.’ — AR-G

‘A new form will always seem more or less an absence of any form at all, since it is unconsciously judged by reference to the consecrated forms.’ — AR-G

‘All my work is precisely engaged in the attempt to bring its own structures to light.’ — AR-G

 

Him

‘Alain Robbe-Grillet argued that the writer should content himself with the impersonal description of physical objects. Psychological or ideological analysis should be excluded – the reader must guess what hides under details and events. Despite its focus on objective reality cleansed of human feeling, Robbe-Grillet insisted, the nouveau roman is entirely subjective; its world is always perceived through the eyes of a character, not an omniscient narrator. “The true writer has nothing to say. What counts is the way he says it,” he once stated. In his essays For a New Novel (1963) Robbe-Grilled condemned the use of metaphors, because they anthropomorphize objects. This led to his attack on Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus, who, according to Robbe-Grillet, maintained ‘a dubious relationship’ with the world. “All my work is precisely engaged in the attempt to bring its own structures to light.”

‘Several of Robbe-Grillet’s works, such as The Voyeur, are mysteries in which the reader is left to solve the puzzle without “authorized” explanation. The title of the work refers to Mathias, a traveling watch salesman, who watches his wife obsessively. He is perhaps is a rapist and a murderer, or his crimes are merely the products of his imagination . The book was awarded the Critics’ Prize in 1955 but part of the jury thought that it was not a “novel” at all. Among is other novels are La Jalousie (1957, Jealousy), which Nabokov called one of the greatest novels of the century, the Kafkaesque Dans le labyrinth (1959, In the Labyrinth), the subversive spy novel Djinn (1981), La maison de rendez-vous (1965), a parody of James Bond adventures, and the apocalyptic Projet pour une revolution a New York (1970, Project for a Revolution in New York ), which is written as if it were a film or the journal of a director.

‘Robbe-Grillet’s emphasis on the visual world led him in the 1960s to writing scenarios and directing films. Some of his novels have also been called ciné-romans (film-novels). These works have challenged the limits of expected narrative structures and conventional realism. Robbe-Grillet’s thesis is that the physical world is the only true reality, and the only way to approach memory is through physical objects. The most famous dramatization of his literary theories is Alan Resnais’s film Last Year at Marienbad, for which he wrote the screenplay. Robbe-Grillet was elected member of the prestigious Academie Francaise in 2004. He died on 18 February, 2008, at the age of 85.’ — kirjasto.com

 

 

Two things

‘Robbe-Grillet’s purpose . . . is to establish the novel on the surface: once you can set its inner nature, its “interiority,” between parentheses, then objects in space, and the circulations of men among them, are promoted to the rank of subjects. The novel becomes man’s direct experience of what surrounds him without being able to shield himself with a psychology, a metaphysic, or a psychoanalytic method in his combat with the objective world he discovers. The novel is no longer a chthonian revelation, the book of hell, but of earth–requiring that we no longer look at the world with the eyes of a confessor, of a doctor, or of God himself (all significant hypostases of the classical novelist), but with the eyes of a man walking in his city with no other horizon than the scene before him, no other power than that of his own eyes.’ — Roland Barthes

‘The “new novel” or “nouveau roman,” as Robbe-Grillet defined and explained it in his famous 1963 essay, was high art at its unpalatably highest. It applied rules and regulations, opposed subjectivity and tried to dissolve plot and character into description. The approach was perceived, he admitted, as “difficult to read.” The “art novel” became the preserve of high priests. Many novelists you’ve probably never heard of were deeply influenced by Robbe-Grillet. Even more damaging, though, was the effect his radicalization and elitism had on readers in the English-speaking world: They took a look at the future of the novel according to Robbe-Grillet and walked in the opposite direction. Robbe-Grillet and the radicalization of novelistic technique scared writers and readers alike. The new novel was too hard to read. The relief I felt when I heard about Robbe-Grillet’s death was also partly hope. Now we can go on, I was thinking.’ — Stephen Marche, Salon

 

Stills (from Robbe-Grillet’s films)










 

Manuscript

 

Interview
from The Paris Review

 

Robbe-Grillet: When I think of myself, I feel that I am made up of fragments in which there are childhood memories, fictional characters I particularly care about—such as Henri de Corinth—and even characters who belong to literature and with whom I feel I have family ties. Stavrogin of The Possessed and Madame Bovary are related to me exactly as my grandfather is, or my aunt. So it is the way all these figures move and refuse to be fixed that excites me. Well, at least that is what I say today. Another day I might say something different!

The Paris Review: Do you mean that memory is imagination, that we invent our own life in retrospect or indeed as we go along?

R-G: Exactly. Memory belongs to the imagination. Human memory is not like a computer that records things; it is part of the imaginative process, on the same terms as invention. In other words, inventing a character or recalling a memory is part of the same process. This is very clear in Proust: For him there is no difference between lived experience—his relationship with his mother, and so forth—and his characters. Exactly the same type of truth is involved.

TPR: If you have something in mind that you wish to describe, it means that you have something to say. Yet you have argued vigorously against the idea that a writer ever has, or should have, anything to say.

R-G: When a novelist has “something to say,” they mean a message. It has political connotations, or a religious message, or a moral prescription. It means “commitment,” as used by Sartre and other fellow-travelers. They are saying that the writer has a world view, a sort of truth that he wishes to communicate, and that his writing has an ulterior significance. I am against this. Flaubert described a whole world, but he had nothing to say, in the sense that he had no message to transmit, no remedy to offer for the human condition.

TPR: When you published For A New Novel, a collection of articles published in the L’Express over a decade, it became a kind of manifesto of the New Novel. And you became the spokesman of the movement. Have you changed any of your positions?

R-G: No, I haven’t, but I feel that the book has been read in a bizarre way. The other day a journalist told me that I was vindicating subjectivity by publishing an autobiography, and that this meant a radical change from my previous position. So I fetched For a New Novel and opened it at a passage I knew well, and there, in the middle of the page, was written, “The New Novel aims only at total subjectivity.” Now why had he not read it? On the contrary, the book was read as a manifesto of objectivity, while in every page I denounce the idea of its possibility.

TPR: Do you have an idea of what is going to happen when you start a novel?

R-G: It is hard to describe. I have an idea of the beginning. I write the first line and continue to the last. I correct a great deal, work hard and write several drafts, but I never question the finished work. So I start with the first words that will be the first words of the book, but I never know how it will develop or end. The first idea is vague, but I know that it is the generating force—later everything can change. I can well imagine Proust writing: “For a long time I used to go to bed early . . .” and not knowing what story he was going to tell.

(read the entirety)

 

Views


Apostrophes : Alain Robbe-Grillet “La définition du roman”


Alain Robbe-Grillet’s lecture at San Francisco University, April 1989, Part 1


Vous connaissez Les gommes, d’après Alain Robbe-Grillet ?


Alain Robbe-Grillet / L’Homme qui ment. Rencontre avec Michel Fano

 

Further

Robbe-Grillet Fan & Information Page
Robbe-Grillet interview @ Bookforum
The Scriptorium’s Robbe-Grillet Bookstore
‘Robbe-Grillet’s discordant modernism’
‘Robbe-Grillet: Reprise for a blooming cactus’
‘Mondo Robbe-Grillet: re; the films of AR-G’
‘Collapsing the Structure: Against Robbe-Grillet’s “Realism”‘

 

Book

Alain Robbe-Grillet The Voyeur
Grove Press

‘Alain Robbe-Grillet’s most acclaimed novel is The Voyeur (Le Voyeur), first published in French in 1955 and translated into English in 1958 by Richard Howard. The Voyeur relates the story of Mathias, a travelling watch salesman who returns to the island of his youth with a desperate objective. As with many of his novels, The Voyeur revolves around an apparent murder: throughout the novel, Mathias unfolds a newspaper clipping about the details of a young girl’s murder and the discovery of her body among the seaside rocks. Mathias’ relationship with a dead girl, possibly that hinted at in the story, is obliquely revealed in the course of the novel so that we are never actually sure if Mathias is a killer or simply a person who fantasizes about killing. Importantly, the ‘actual murder’, if such a thing exists, is absent from the text. The narration contains little dialogue, and an ambiguous timeline of events. Indeed, the novel’s opening line is indicative of the novel’s tone: “It was as if no one had heard.” The Voyeur was awarded the Prix des Critiques.’ — NWE

 

Excerpt

It was as if no one had heard.
The whistle blew again – a shrill, prolonged noise followed by three short blasts of ear-splitting violence: a violence without purpose that remained without effect. There was no more reaction – no further exclamation – than there had been at first; not one feature of one face had even trembled.
A motionless and parallel series of strained, almost anxious stares crossed – tried to cross – struggled against the narrowing space that still separated them from their goal. Every head was raised, one next to the other, in an identical attitude. A last puff of heavy, noiseless steam formed a great plume in the air above them, and vanished as soon as it
had appeared.
Slightly to one side, behind the area in which the steam had just appeared, one passenger stood apart from the expectant group. The whistle had had no more effect on his withdrawal than on the rapt attention of his neighbours. Standing like them, his body and limbs rigid, he kept his eyes on the deck.
He had often heard the story before. When he was still a child – perhaps twenty-five or thirty years ago – he had had a big cardboard box, an old shoebox, in which he collected pieces of string. Not any string, not scraps of inferior quality, worn, frayed bits that had been spoilt by overuse, not pieces too short to be good for anything.
This one would have been just right. It was a thin hemp cord in perfect condition, carefully rolled into a figure of eight, with a few extra turns wound around the middle. It must have been pretty long – a metre at least, perhaps two. Someone had probably dropped it by mistake after having rolled it up for future use – or else for a collection.
Mathias bent down to retrieve it. As he straightened up again he noticed, a few feet to the right, a little girl of seven or eight gravely staring at him, her eyes enormous and calm. He smiled hesitantly, but she didnot bother to smile back, and it was only after several seconds that he saw her eyes shift towards the wad of string he was holding at the level of his chest. He was not disappointed by a closer look: it was a real find – not too shiny, firmly and regularly twisted, and evidently very strong.
For a moment he thought he recognized it, as if it were something he had lost long ago. A similar cord once must have occupied an important place in his thoughts. Would it be with the others in the shoebox? His memory immediately edged away towards the indefinite light of a rainy landscape, in which a piece of string played no perceptible part.
He had only to put it in his pocket. But no sooner had he begun the gesture than he stopped, his arm half-bent, undecided, gazing at his hand. He saw that his nails were too long, which he already knew. He also noticed that in growing their shape had become exaggeratedly pointed; naturally he did not file them to look like that.
The child was still staring in his direction, but it was difficult to be sure she was looking at him and not at something behind him, or even at nothing at all; her eyes seemed almost too wide to be able to focus on a single object, unless it was one of enormous size. She must have been looking at the sea.
Mathias let his arm fall to his side. Suddenly the engines stopped. The vibration ceased at once, as well as the continuous rumbling sound that had accompanied the ship since its departure. All the passengers remained silent, motionless, pressed close together at the entrance to the already crowded corridor through which they would eventually leave the ship. Most of them, ready for the disembarkation for some time, held their luggage in their hands, and all were facing left, their eyes fixed on the top of the pier, where about twenty people were standing in a compact group, equally silent and rigid, looking for a familiar face in the crowd on the little steamer. In each group the expressions were identical: strained, almost anxious, strangely petrified and uniform.
The ship moved ahead under its own momentum, and the only sound that could be heard was the rustling of water as it slid past the hull. A grey gull, flying from astern at a speed only slightly greater than that of the ship, passed slowly on the port side in front of the pier, gliding at the level of the bridge without the slightest movement of its wings, its head cocked, one eye fixed on the water below – one round, indifferent, inexpressive eye.
There was the sound of an electric bell. The engines started up again. The ship began to make a turn that brought it gradually closer to the pier. The coast rapidly extended along the other side: the squat lighthouse striped black and white, the half-ruined fort, the sluice gates of the tidal basin, the row of houses on the quay.
“She’s on time today,” said a voice. “Almost,” someone corrected – perhaps it was the same voice.
Mathias looked at his watch. The crossing had lasted exactly three hours. The electric bell rang again; then once more, a few seconds later. A grey gull resembling the first one passed by in the same direction, following the same horizontal trajectory in the same deliberate way – wings motionless, head cocked, beak pointing downwards, one eye fixed.
The ship didn’t seem to be moving in any direction at all. But the noise of violently churning water could be heard astern. The pier, now quite close, towered several metres above the deck. The tide must have been out. The landing slip from which the ship would be boarded revealed the smoother surface of its lower section, darkened by the water and half-covered with greenish moss. On closer inspection, the stone rim drew almost imperceptibly closer.
The stone rim – an oblique, sharp edge formed by two intersecting perpendicular planes: the vertical embankment perpendicular to the quay and the ramp leading to the top of the pier – was continued along its upper side at the top of the pier by a horizontal line extending straight towards the quay.
The pier, which seemed longer than it actually was as an effect of perspective, extended from both sides of this base line in a cluster of parallels describing, with a precision accentuated even more sharply by the morning light, a series of elongated planes alternately horizontal and vertical: the crest of the massive parapet that protected the tidal basin from the open sea, the inner wall of the parapet, the jetty along the top of the pier and the vertical embankment that plunged straight into the water of the harbour. The two vertical surfaces were in shadow, the other two brilliantly lit by the sun – the whole breadth of the parapet and all of the jetty save for one dark narrow strip: the shadow cast by the parapet. Theoretically, the reversed image of the entire group could be seen reflected in the harbour water and, on the surface, still within the same play of parallels, the shadow cast by the vertical embankment extending straight towards the quay.
At the end of the jetty the structure grew more elaborate; the pier divided into two parts: on the parapet side, a narrow passageway leading to a beacon light, and on the left the landing slip sloping down into the water. It was this latter inclined rectangle, seen obliquely, that the voyeur attracted notice; slashed diagonally by the shadow of the embankment it skirted, it showed up as one dark triangle and one bright. All other surfaces were blurred. The water in the harbour was not calm enough for the reflection of the pier to be distinguished. Similarly the shadow of the pier appeared only as a vague strip constantly broken by surface undulations. The shadow of the parapet on the jetty tended to blend into the vertical surface which cast it. Jetty and parapet alike were still encumbered with drying fish, empty crates, large wicker baskets – crayfish and lobster traps, oyster hampers, crab snares. The crowd gathered for the ship’s arrival circulated with some difficulty among the various piles of objects.
The ship itself floated so low on the ebb tide that it became impossible to see anything from its deck save the vertical embankment extending straight towards the quay and interrupted at its other end, just in front of the beacon, by the oblique landing slip – its lower section smoother, darkened by the water, and half-covered with greenish moss – still the same distance from the deck, as if all movement were at an end. Nevertheless, on closer inspection the stone rim drew almost imperceptibly nearer.
The morning sun, slightly overcast as usual, indicated shadows faintly, yet sufficiently to divide the slope into two symmetrical parts – one darker, one brighter – slanting a sharp point of light towards the bottom where the water rose along the slope, lapping between the strands of seaweed.
The movement bringing the little steamer nearer the triangle of stone that thus emerged from the darkness was itself an oblique one, and so deliberate as to be constantly approaching absolute immobility.
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*

p.s. Hey. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Dewaere was in some films that were unusually successful for foreign films in the US like ‘Get Out Your Handkerchiefs’, ‘Coup de tête’, ‘Beau-père’, but it’s rare to see anyone in the US write or talk about those films anymore. Strange how things happen. ** Nick Toti, So annoying, that comments visibility issue, and so mysterious, and so mysteriously and annoyingly unsolvable. Steve didn’t pop in here yesterday, but I’ll try this. Attention Steve Erickson, If you didn’t see the comments yesterday, Nick Toti responded to your comment, and here it is: ‘Steve Erickson: The way you worded the question could imply that I had a more conscious design than is actually true, but you’re otherwise essentially right. The little pop up videos were just something I landed on that seemed interesting, but then I realized that they also worked thematically, so I started pushing them more in that direction. Kobek interrupts himself all the time when he talks, and his book is full of intentional interruptions (which was his technique to mirror something of the internet’s stupidity, and life in an internet-saturated world, in his prose), so reflecting that in the movie’s form was a nice bonus. Mostly, though, I just like how it looks. Thanks for watching! If you have other questions, feel free to email me: nicktotiis@gmail.com’ Thanks, Nick. ** Scunnard, Hi. I never really enjoyed writing non-fiction, and I don’t personally think I was very good at it, and I still get asked all the time to write things, and having that blanket policy gives me an easy way to say no, and if I break my rule, I won’t have that blanket excuse, basically. Anyway, a blurb, sure, if you would like. Just tell me when once the time is right. ** Dominik, Hi to you!! That was an easy win, if so, but, yes, such is excitement right now. I just mentioned the film thing in an email to the Twisted guys today, and I’m waiting to hear back. It’s a 9 hour time difference from here to there (LA), so there’s almost always a serious lag time. Dude, writing something semi-okay is pretty good under the circumstances, so congrats! I’m still aiming for semi-okay, ha ha. That reminds me, I badly need a haircut, and, luckily, my roommate used to cut hair as his job, so I’ll try to sequester him and his scissors today. No buzzcut though. As you may know, I was accidentally hit on the head with an axe when I was 11 years old, and the top of my head has a little gulley in it that my hair happily conceals, so buzzcuts have always only been a pipe dream for me. Um, hm, yesterday wasn’t much. Checked in with fiends via phone. None of them are ill or going overly crazy, although I did learn from one of them that a good mutual friend of ours has the virus but not too seriously so far. I took a spooky walk outside. I made a couple of blog posts. I blasted my ears with some 90s indie rock stuff I used to (and still do) love. Pretty blah. But now today is upon us. Any luck finding fun on your end? Boxed in love, me. ** Misanthrope, Well, actually, what you probably saw was that the blog was down and inexplicably offline/unavailable for several hours last night (Paris time) with a message (on my end) saying the blog had suffered ‘a critical failure’. And I was freaked the fuck out, as you can surely imagine. But, after frantic phone calls to my host, it seems that WordPress had a system-wide problem, which, obviously, is now solved, but, oh boy, that was a little too much ‘excitement’ for me. Last I saw of Nicolas on FB be was publishing some short fiction pieces in places, which I was obviously very happy to see. I hope he’s fine. Finished! And before the end of the weekend. And now comes the hard part. What’s your plan? ** Right. Today I’m turning this place’s spotlight on a bonafide classic aka arguably the most well-known novel by the great Alain Robbe-Grillet. I hope you’ll find it cause for celebration, but, if you don’t, that’s okay too. See you tomorrow.

13 Comments

  1. Hi Dennis! I hope you’re well and healthy. How are things in Paris? Are the cops still waiting outside everyone’s doors? I wonder how fiction writers and filmmakers will react to this pandemic. I actually started a new piece of fiction for the first time in a really long time, and it’s time-specific. I feel very inspired and enthusiastic but I’m not sure how the piece itself will translate. I’m not so convinced that an artistic renaissance is imminent, per se, but I think the cultural gatekeepers are so startled and afraid of the virus that they will be responsive to confident works of art, and maybe they’ll finally let some interesting artists poke their heads through the gates. What do you think?
    Other things I’m keeping busy with: I linked up with Diarmuid Hester recently and we’re working on a fun project for a magazine called The New Inquiry, which I’m looking forward to seeing the final product of. Hope you’ll keep your eyes out for it 😉 I can’t start my new job until the quarantine is suspended, so I’ve decided to hold off on cancelling my Paris ticket. I’m just gonna trust my intuition on this one. I also started reading Madame Bovary and am loving it, although I’m not far enough yet to speak on it with much authority. I think Flaubert is portraying his characters with brutal honesty, which some might say is “unflattering.” Who is to judge what is flattering or unflattering. Do you know what Robbe-Grillet’s opinion of Flaubert was? I don’t; my understanding is that French writers are always in pursuit of some literary Oedipal complex, where they need to kill the previous generation of writers. I also must admit that I’m not the biggest reader of theory, although I’m certainly a big Francophile, and so these topics are compelling to me for that reason.
    Also, have you been following the new English edition of the Marquis de Sade? There was a really amazing piece in the LA Review of Books about it. Don’t have the link on hand but it was published only a few days ago. Anyway what have you been up to? What are you reading/watching/thinking? Looking forward to hearing back. Best, Quinn R

  2. “Le Voyeur” is where Robbe-Grillet begins. “Last Year at Marienbad” brought him world fame but this little novel is the root of his art. Like all Robbe-Grillet it must be read carefully, not casually. And his rejection of metaphor is key.

    Regarding Dewaere this culture is cursed by it perpetual demand for the “new.” Dwaere is therefore seen as being “an old story.”

    Here’s that piece on Sade

  3. Just realised I’ve never read a single thing by Robbe-Grillet, so will be adding The Voyeur to my lockdown library pronto.

  4. I think I have every Robbe-Grillet except “The Voyeur.” Over the years, I had a habit of picking up his books in used bookstores, but alas, for some odd reason, not this title. Thanks for the reminder! It’s kind of awesome and bizarre that in the 21st-century one thinks of toilet paper. The lack of it, as well as being very aware of its existence.

  5. I thought I posted here yesterday, but it didn’t show up for some reason.

    Here’s my review of the Yves Tumor album: https://www.gaycitynews.com/yves-tumors-latest-outstrips-past-successes/

    I watched several Sematary videos. He mumbles enough to make Thaiboy Digital sound totally crisp and coherent! There’s a teenage corniness to his efforts to sound like an evil satanist – I liked the fact that he sings about desecrating churches and doing the devil’s work in a video where he does nothing more sinister than stand on a church’s steps and in a graveyard.

    Have you had much personal interaction with the teens running that haunted house in LA?

    Have you ever watched “scambaiting” videos on YouTube? Instead of hanging up or falling for scammers, they deliberately seek them out and record the results, stringing them along till the results get absurd and the scammers start to drop the act. LeftTuber Big Joel recently made a 20-minute video on the subject, which delved into the implications of mocking the poor people in India who are placing these calls, and while I think that making fun of someone selling fake coronavirus cures is doing the lord’s work, there’s a “going fishing in the aquarium” quality to them. But I am bored enough to keep watching them (along with videos about keeping wild animals as pets.)

  6. Hi!!

    Oh, yeah, the time difference, I didn’t think about that. Well, whenever they get back to you about it, I hope they’ll have something really excited and YES-like to say! I imagine so.
    Thank you! I’m writing every day now or at least I’m trying to. Most of it is shit but sometimes I get to translate this mindmess I have inside me quite raw and I love that.
    Shit, I didn’t know about the axe! Holy shit. Losing the chance to have a buzzcut seems like a very minor price to pay…!
    Today, nothing as exciting (hah) as a haircut happened to me but I did write again and I started reading this Burroughs anthology, Word Virus which seems like a very intelligent book from the beginning and I listened to a Muse album half of which I liked and… that’s about it, I guess. How was everything on your end?
    Sending all this love your way!!

    Oh and I really hope your friend will heal up quickly and without difficulties!! I wish them all the best!

  7. Awesome. I adore Robbe-Grillet. So grateful that you introduced his work to me, Dennis. Whenever that was! His writing rearranges the innards of my skull in a humbling but electric way. You know I’ve never watched any of his films? I just ordered the boxset of them to remedy that seeing as I have time to watch films at the moment.

  8. Corey Heiferman

    April 4, 2020 at 12:28 am

    I guess I’m a Robbe-Grillet philistine since I’ve read none of the books yet seen most of the movies. From the excerpt it looks like his writing isn’t on my wavelength at the moment but that could change on a dime.

    Time keeps passing, faster than I expected. I’ve been writing and job searching. Writing what I consider etudes, little exercises I make up for myself. The structure helps me spend more time writing. That and the total absence of FOMO. My current gigs are all up in the air and it would make sense to get a full-time job anyhow, so I’ve been searching around. There are still new jobs being posted so I’m hopeful. In any case I’m financially better off out of film school than it.

    Officially I’m not allowed to wander aimlessly but sometimes I do it anyway and yeah it’s spooky. Wandered into a grapefruit orchard the other day. It’s unfenced and surrounded by office buildings and a highway.

    My dad got diagnosed with cancer and is starting chemo next week. Particularly terrible timing but at least he’s otherwise in good health. He and my mom are being super-vigilant. It’s unfortunate that there’s no feasible way for my sister and me to visit them. My sister and her boyfriend had a corona scare two weeks ago but now they’re healthy and enjoying their quarantine immediately after moving in together (they’d already been dating a while).

    Cool that you’re doing those Artforum GIFs and you have a US publisher.

    P.P.S. Forgive me, I’m curious. Is toilet paper hoarding a thing in France? Or do people just have bidets so it isn’t crucial?

  9. Dennis, Okay, so that explains why it was happening on my phone and Edge too. I just figured they both had the same kind of security features. What’s funny is that once I disabled that thing on Firefox, the blog popped right up. Total coincidence but enough to make me believe I’d “fixed” something. 😛

    I can imagine your concern. Don’t know if you researched it at the time or anything, but I looked up the error and there were a lot of forums about it. Seems it’s happened a bit since last November. Lots of complaints about it. The WordPress people in the forums were essentially blaming the users for using bad codes.

    I hit the “Debugging” link they provide, too, and it was a bunch of computer-speak I didn’t know at all. Fuck if I was about to open a DOS window and type a bunch of shit into it. 😀

    Yes, good old Nicholas. Last piece I saw by him was a really accomplished piece of flash fiction that I loved. I hope he’s well. I’ll have to get up the nerve to contact him and bug him some day.

    Ah, okay, hmm, my plan. Or…my plan? Hahaha. I think I’m just going to research the hell out of agents and see who’s accepting and what they want and then go from there. Make a list and all. (Man, I’m hokey.) The little bit of research I’ve done so far -like an hour’s worth a month or so ago on my phone- shows that most of them accept online/email submissions nowadays. A lot of the ones I looked at also don’t require a DNA sample or anything like that.

    Beyond that is writing the query letter/email and making sure my shit’s up to snuff before I send it.

    Probably should ask advice from others who’ve done it too.

    But yeah, research, make a list, write the query, go over those first chapters again. We’ll see.

    You know, I wrote a novel in my early 20s that I tried to get published. I went through the whole snail mail process. Also a collection of short stories. Only ever got one nice handwritten reply. Can’t remember who it was from, though.

  10. Btw, you psychic, I finished The Voyeur last week. I’m reading The Erasers now.

    You did a day about him years ago and I bought them then. Just got to them now.

    I like The Erasers better. Much more readable. I understand what he was doing in The Voyeur and appreciate it, but it was a slog to read. All the repetition and minute detail…a two-page description of a door? Yikes.

    What did Vidal say, something like there are books to be enjoyed and books to be studied? Just didn’t enjoy The Voyeur, but I am enjoying The Erasers.

  11. Hey Dennis – Really nice R-G post for the great Voyeur. I liked how you set up the gallery of (moving) stills. Are those from ‘The Man Who Lies’? That Paris Review interview he did is one of my favorites. So smart and funny. You knew him, am I remembering that right? Did you ever check out his first novel which was finally translated a couple years back? I’ve got it on the shelf but haven’t read it yet.

    Enjoyed seeing your GIF post in Artforum this morning. Really cool they’re doing that and looking forward to the others.

    Weather here has been lovely, but it’s brought so much pollen that our porch and car are now bright yellow from it. My allergies have been murder and I keep worrying that I’ve caught the virus, but so far I’m fine if very congested. My poor cousin has it though, not too serious and hopefully stays that way.

    Watched the doc ‘Honeyland’ having heard it was lulling and pastorale and looking for that — turns out to be fairly bleak and brutal, a timely look at how we keep fucking up the land and each other. Well done, but not what expected. Hope your day went well.

  12. Hi Dennis! *I originally intended to post this yesterday but there was some kinda problem on my end so I’m not sure if you’ve already seen it.* Anyway,,,I Hope your doing well in the midst of this crazy pandemic. Staying in “quarantine” has given me the chance to finally relax and catch up. I watched Permanent Green Light a few nights ago and loved it. I feel horrible its taken me this long. But it was worth the wait and arrived at just the right time. Everything about it was so great. Especially the characters and the writing. All the details I’ve come to savor from your books were all there too. I hope you keep making films:)

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