Can’t think of a title, just read it!



From an interview with Will Self:

I did an English S level – this is back in the seventies obviously – and [Jacques Derrida’s concept of] deconstruction was just coming in and I started getting acquainted with things like that when I was in my teens, and thought ‘woo, no’ for all sorts of reasons. Partly because critical theory is just a sort of refuge for philosophy rather than being anything in its own right, and particularly with deconstruction. But also because it’s deadly for your perception of literature I think, if you’re a creative writer. Every field now has its spurious professionalism, and in the last ten years we’ve got double the number of university students in this country than there were previously, and double the amount of graduate unemployment [laughs]. But there’s always been this sort of attitude. I remember when I first started publishing, and it occasionally resurfaces, there’s this idea that you can’t be a proper writer if you haven’t got a degree in English Literature. Its like you’re a plumber or something and you haven’t got your Corgi Gas Installation Qualification [laughs].

Will Self talks about deconstruction as an opposite of creativity in literature. I like to see it more as a parallel. It’s the mimetic language that survives in a time of objectivity’s common flow. Maybe this is clear when I quote these paragraphs from The Society of the Spectacle:


Critical theory must be communicated in its own language. It is the language of contradiction, which must be dialectical in form as it is in content. It is critique of the totality and historical critique. It is not “the nadir of writing” but its inversion. It is not a negation of style, but the style of negation.


In its very style. the exposition of dialectical theory is a scandal and an abomination in terms of the rules and the corresponding tastes of the dominant language, because when it uses existing concrete concepts it is simultaneously aware of their rediscovered fluidity, their necessary destruction.

But I could also have mentioned a much earlier paragraph, number 2:

The images detached from every aspect of life fuse in a common stream in which the unity of this life can no longer be reestablished.


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