Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading. Currently can only be used by a single user (myself), but I plan to extend it to support multiple users eventually.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

8

Poetry arises from the desire to get beyond the finite and the historical - the human world of violence and difference - and to reach the transcendent or divine. You're moved to write a poem, you feel called upon to sing, because of that transcendent impulse. But as soon as you move from that impulse to the actual poem, the song of the infinite is compromised by the finitude of its terms. In a dream your verses can defeat time, your words can shake off the history of their usage, you can represent what can't be represented [....] but when you wake [...] you're back in the human world with its inflexible laws and logic. Thus the poet is a tragic figure. The poem is always a record of failure.

from The Hatred of Poetry

—p.8 Caedmon's Dream: On the Politics of Style (7) by Ben Lerner 1 month ago

Poetry arises from the desire to get beyond the finite and the historical - the human world of violence and difference - and to reach the transcendent or divine. You're moved to write a poem, you feel called upon to sing, because of that transcendent impulse. But as soon as you move from that impulse to the actual poem, the song of the infinite is compromised by the finitude of its terms. In a dream your verses can defeat time, your words can shake off the history of their usage, you can represent what can't be represented [....] but when you wake [...] you're back in the human world with its inflexible laws and logic. Thus the poet is a tragic figure. The poem is always a record of failure.

from The Hatred of Poetry

—p.8 Caedmon's Dream: On the Politics of Style (7) by Ben Lerner 1 month ago
14

[...] If we could separate meaning from sound, he adds, 'we'd read plot summaries rather than novels.' Or, in the domain of politics, listicles rather than the Communist Manifesto. But the fact that the common sense is what it is, indicates how much of the history of writing has been repressed: the idea of peering through a series of coloured knots onto reality would seem to be a profound misunderstanding of what the knots were for. Knots might illuminate, but they can't get out of the way of their own meaning. Yet we think we can use language as though it could be, and should aspire to be, as transparent as a windowpane. We expect language to get out of the way. We demand clarity.

The demand for clarity in its modern sense is ideologically suspect, rooted in an idealistic metaphysic of meaning, but it is seductive because it appears to be inclusive and democratic in its approach to communication. Its apparent obverse, say, 'obscurity', is regarded as an elitist practice, akin to obfuscation. [...]

—p.14 Caedmon's Dream: On the Politics of Style (7) by Richard Seymour 1 month ago

[...] If we could separate meaning from sound, he adds, 'we'd read plot summaries rather than novels.' Or, in the domain of politics, listicles rather than the Communist Manifesto. But the fact that the common sense is what it is, indicates how much of the history of writing has been repressed: the idea of peering through a series of coloured knots onto reality would seem to be a profound misunderstanding of what the knots were for. Knots might illuminate, but they can't get out of the way of their own meaning. Yet we think we can use language as though it could be, and should aspire to be, as transparent as a windowpane. We expect language to get out of the way. We demand clarity.

The demand for clarity in its modern sense is ideologically suspect, rooted in an idealistic metaphysic of meaning, but it is seductive because it appears to be inclusive and democratic in its approach to communication. Its apparent obverse, say, 'obscurity', is regarded as an elitist practice, akin to obfuscation. [...]

—p.14 Caedmon's Dream: On the Politics of Style (7) by Richard Seymour 1 month ago
15

[...] poetry, as Terry Eagleton argues, 'is something which is done to us, not just said to us. The meaning of its words is closely bound up with the experience of them.' The separation of truth from the materiality of language is a product of modernity, linguistic specialisation, and a specifically capitalist division of labour. But as a result of this division, a prejudice has emerged which regards any accentuation of the aesthetic, sensuous properties of language, outside the relatively harmless sphere of entertainment, as a frivolous obstacle to understanding. At best an indulgence, at worst manipulative. In its left-moralist iteration, this prejudice can take the form of the claim that 'fancy' prose is 'elitist', 'exclusive', evading comprehension by 'real people'.

[...] These days, such covert snobbery often comes from graduate students, guiltily devouring Baudrillard on the down-low while earnestly masticating gruel-thin versions of Marxism for the gratuitously patronised and underestimated readers of the revolutionary press: the negative ideographs of the TheoryBro.

There is, deposited in this ideology of 'clarity', a crude theory of pedagogy. According to this view, difficulty and obstacles to the most 'straightforward' comprehension are inevitably blocks which any normal human will simply find discouraging - rather than, perhaps, tantalising invitations to learn and grow. As thought the ideal learner has no desire to be challenged, beyond the reading of an alphabetti-spaghetti version of any given issue. In many ways, obstacles are what pedagogy thrives on: the fact that something suggests a mystery but doesn't immediately yield to understand is what creates a desire to know more.

hahaha i love his writing. there's obviously gotta be some balance (some people will be stymied by intellectual roadblocks earlier than others), but this perspective here is refreshing & important

—p.15 Caedmon's Dream: On the Politics of Style (7) by Richard Seymour 1 month ago

[...] poetry, as Terry Eagleton argues, 'is something which is done to us, not just said to us. The meaning of its words is closely bound up with the experience of them.' The separation of truth from the materiality of language is a product of modernity, linguistic specialisation, and a specifically capitalist division of labour. But as a result of this division, a prejudice has emerged which regards any accentuation of the aesthetic, sensuous properties of language, outside the relatively harmless sphere of entertainment, as a frivolous obstacle to understanding. At best an indulgence, at worst manipulative. In its left-moralist iteration, this prejudice can take the form of the claim that 'fancy' prose is 'elitist', 'exclusive', evading comprehension by 'real people'.

[...] These days, such covert snobbery often comes from graduate students, guiltily devouring Baudrillard on the down-low while earnestly masticating gruel-thin versions of Marxism for the gratuitously patronised and underestimated readers of the revolutionary press: the negative ideographs of the TheoryBro.

There is, deposited in this ideology of 'clarity', a crude theory of pedagogy. According to this view, difficulty and obstacles to the most 'straightforward' comprehension are inevitably blocks which any normal human will simply find discouraging - rather than, perhaps, tantalising invitations to learn and grow. As thought the ideal learner has no desire to be challenged, beyond the reading of an alphabetti-spaghetti version of any given issue. In many ways, obstacles are what pedagogy thrives on: the fact that something suggests a mystery but doesn't immediately yield to understand is what creates a desire to know more.

hahaha i love his writing. there's obviously gotta be some balance (some people will be stymied by intellectual roadblocks earlier than others), but this perspective here is refreshing & important

—p.15 Caedmon's Dream: On the Politics of Style (7) by Richard Seymour 1 month ago
17

The demand for clarity, in this sense, depends on repression. First, to make such a demand one has to deny the inherent excess in writing. It always goes beyond meaning, because it is matter: which is to say, it is sensuous, aesthetic. [...] Writing does not simply store information but, through the hands, gives it an embodiment: it is the word made flesh. [...]

—p.17 Caedmon's Dream: On the Politics of Style (7) by Richard Seymour 1 month ago

The demand for clarity, in this sense, depends on repression. First, to make such a demand one has to deny the inherent excess in writing. It always goes beyond meaning, because it is matter: which is to say, it is sensuous, aesthetic. [...] Writing does not simply store information but, through the hands, gives it an embodiment: it is the word made flesh. [...]

—p.17 Caedmon's Dream: On the Politics of Style (7) by Richard Seymour 1 month ago
18

[...] The 'organ of receiving' any work of art, wrote Adorno in Minima Moralia, is 'fantasy'. If writing, even at its most didactic, is an art, this would suggest something quite unsettling. It would imply that writers are, in part, at the mercy of the reader's fantasy life, and the importance that certain words and ideas have in their fantasies. That once we have put our words out there, we lose control over their effects, because of the multitude of possible significances that they can have for readers. This does not mean every possible interpretation of a text is 'equally valid'; since language is collective, and meaning is social, interpretation is primarily a public and social act. But even if the author is not 'dead', she is no longer authoritative.

—p.18 Caedmon's Dream: On the Politics of Style (7) by Richard Seymour 1 month ago

[...] The 'organ of receiving' any work of art, wrote Adorno in Minima Moralia, is 'fantasy'. If writing, even at its most didactic, is an art, this would suggest something quite unsettling. It would imply that writers are, in part, at the mercy of the reader's fantasy life, and the importance that certain words and ideas have in their fantasies. That once we have put our words out there, we lose control over their effects, because of the multitude of possible significances that they can have for readers. This does not mean every possible interpretation of a text is 'equally valid'; since language is collective, and meaning is social, interpretation is primarily a public and social act. But even if the author is not 'dead', she is no longer authoritative.

—p.18 Caedmon's Dream: On the Politics of Style (7) by Richard Seymour 1 month ago
26

Writing, whatever else it is doing, is always getting at something that it never quite obtains. There is always something unsaid, something that clings to writing like a shadow.

—p.26 Caedmon's Dream: On the Politics of Style (7) by Richard Seymour 1 month ago

Writing, whatever else it is doing, is always getting at something that it never quite obtains. There is always something unsaid, something that clings to writing like a shadow.

—p.26 Caedmon's Dream: On the Politics of Style (7) by Richard Seymour 1 month ago
27

Thus, from the perspective of many educated political people, writing is something that one despises: an onerous task, a sacrifice one makes for the greater good. It results in left-wing writers becomingly aggressively boring, in an unconscious attempt to punish the reader: I've suffered for my writing, now it's your turn. Any writer who seems to be having a good time, revelling in the jouissance of writing, enjoying with rococo swagger the ornate sensuousness of language, is self-indulgent, a source of resentment. [...]

I'm not sure exactly who he's talking about (??) but the idea that writing should be something we enjoy is good

—p.27 Caedmon's Dream: On the Politics of Style (7) by Richard Seymour 1 month ago

Thus, from the perspective of many educated political people, writing is something that one despises: an onerous task, a sacrifice one makes for the greater good. It results in left-wing writers becomingly aggressively boring, in an unconscious attempt to punish the reader: I've suffered for my writing, now it's your turn. Any writer who seems to be having a good time, revelling in the jouissance of writing, enjoying with rococo swagger the ornate sensuousness of language, is self-indulgent, a source of resentment. [...]

I'm not sure exactly who he's talking about (??) but the idea that writing should be something we enjoy is good

—p.27 Caedmon's Dream: On the Politics of Style (7) by Richard Seymour 1 month ago
27

The literature of the left, is literary. Marx, Aimé Césaire, Suzane Césaire, Louis Althusser, Audre Lorde, Simone Yoyotte, Pierre Yoyotte, J H Prynne, Jules Monnerot, Simone de Beauvoir, Christopher Caudwell, Claudia Jones, Theodore Adorno, Walter Benjamin, CLR James, Leon Trotsky, John Berger, the prelapsarian Christopher Hitchens and Rusa Luxemburg are all notable for being, not just theorists, journalists, historians, philosophers, poets and intellectuals who opened up new worlds to their readers but, precisely on that account, great stylists. Historical materialism, at its inception, stressed the artifice - the art - in living, and goes on doing so. We make history, even if not in circumstances or with materials of our own choosing. Nothing has to be taken as it is given, not even our written language.

—p.27 Caedmon's Dream: On the Politics of Style (7) by Richard Seymour 1 month ago

The literature of the left, is literary. Marx, Aimé Césaire, Suzane Césaire, Louis Althusser, Audre Lorde, Simone Yoyotte, Pierre Yoyotte, J H Prynne, Jules Monnerot, Simone de Beauvoir, Christopher Caudwell, Claudia Jones, Theodore Adorno, Walter Benjamin, CLR James, Leon Trotsky, John Berger, the prelapsarian Christopher Hitchens and Rusa Luxemburg are all notable for being, not just theorists, journalists, historians, philosophers, poets and intellectuals who opened up new worlds to their readers but, precisely on that account, great stylists. Historical materialism, at its inception, stressed the artifice - the art - in living, and goes on doing so. We make history, even if not in circumstances or with materials of our own choosing. Nothing has to be taken as it is given, not even our written language.

—p.27 Caedmon's Dream: On the Politics of Style (7) by Richard Seymour 1 month ago
28

These literary jouissances are, far from being incidental trappings often essential to the persuasive power of the 'ruthless criticism' of all that exists, and to the new concepts to which it gives birth. They are part of the meaning of the work, which is something that is done to you, not just said to you. One way of putting this is that radical writing is an attempt at, among other things, conversion. We don't write just to pass on information, as honest brokers, but to change people: to shake them up, to make them laugh, pray, blush, worry, cry and yearn. We aim to help make revolutionary subjects, people who are capable of waging the kinds of difficult, and often unrewarding struggles that are the lot of any radical. [...]

on Marx's writing

—p.28 Caedmon's Dream: On the Politics of Style (7) by Richard Seymour 1 month ago

These literary jouissances are, far from being incidental trappings often essential to the persuasive power of the 'ruthless criticism' of all that exists, and to the new concepts to which it gives birth. They are part of the meaning of the work, which is something that is done to you, not just said to you. One way of putting this is that radical writing is an attempt at, among other things, conversion. We don't write just to pass on information, as honest brokers, but to change people: to shake them up, to make them laugh, pray, blush, worry, cry and yearn. We aim to help make revolutionary subjects, people who are capable of waging the kinds of difficult, and often unrewarding struggles that are the lot of any radical. [...]

on Marx's writing

—p.28 Caedmon's Dream: On the Politics of Style (7) by Richard Seymour 1 month ago
49

[...] the rhetoric of austerity, with its advocates arguing that it is not a political choice, but an economic necessity. This rhetoric has a doubly depoliticising effect. On an ideological level, it casts austerity as a neutral or technocratic matter, transcending political alignment or class conflict. On a substantive level, the effect of this is to further isolate economic decisions from political control.

—p.49 Against Law-sterity (49) by Robert Knox 1 month ago

[...] the rhetoric of austerity, with its advocates arguing that it is not a political choice, but an economic necessity. This rhetoric has a doubly depoliticising effect. On an ideological level, it casts austerity as a neutral or technocratic matter, transcending political alignment or class conflict. On a substantive level, the effect of this is to further isolate economic decisions from political control.

—p.49 Against Law-sterity (49) by Robert Knox 1 month ago