Hourglass

            Background: It is often unclear where precisely a story originates, or why it ends. The writer, Jorge Luis Borges, in the story “Borges and I,” writes: “It’s Borges, the other one, that things happen to… I shall endure in Borges, not in myself (if, indeed, I am anybody at all), but I recognize myself less in his books than in many others’… So my life is a point-counterpoint, a kind of fugue, and a falling away – and everything winds up being lost to me, and everything falls into oblivion, or into the hands of the other man. I am not sure which of us it is that’s writing this page.” He says his own taste runs to hourglasses and maps. This is a story that is about hourglasses, but not about maps.

Continue reading

The Non-existence in Silence: Marilynne Robinson’s jack

            Background: the novel jack by Marilynne Robinson is the fourth installment alongside her novels, Gilead, Home, and Lila, and accounts for the existential listlessness of the titular character, Jack. The emphasis here will be on how the experience of sound, and the further differentiation between quietness and silence, can account for one aspect of Jack’s relentless unease in the world. Jack’s attuned awareness to his own situation is what makes him preternaturally alert to his own suffering, and rather than providing a potential salvation, his knowledge is a precondition to his misery. Although it will not be discussed in length, a Heideggerian understanding of “dwelling” and its relationship to “being” is recommended, but not necessary (the concepts are discussed in his work Poetry, Language, Thought). For further reading on the philosophy of sound and ethos, the following books are recommended: Jennifer Lynn Stoever’s The Sonic Color Line; Lawrence Kramer’s The Hum of the World; and Nancie Erhard’s Moral Habitat.

Continue reading

Luminex

            Background: while conducting research into rhetorical figuration, mainly based on the work by Jeanne Fahnestock, the idea was formed to apply the epitomized argumentation of figures to fictional world-building. While Fahnestock demonstrates figuration underlining scientific argumentation, it has a comparable power to create fictional worlds. Instead of searching for evidence in existent fiction, it was more curious to exercise research in the opposite direction: to invent fiction based on the known uses of figuration. Recommended reading for an introduction into this research: Rhetorical Figures in Science by Jeanne Fahnestock, and Rhetorical Style: The Uses of Language in Persuasion by Jeanne Fahnestock.  

Continue reading