2 Matching Annotations
  1. Dec 2016
    1. A performative publication wants to explore how we can bring together and align more closely the material form of a publication with its content.

      Liberature is a term, concept and genre coined in 1999 by the Polish avant-garde poet Zenon Fajfer, and further developed by his collaborator: literary scholar and theorist Katarzyna Bazarnik. Liberature is literature in the form of the book. Bazarnik and Fajfer define liberature as ‘a literary genre that integrates text and its material foundation into a meaningful whole' (Bazarnik and Fajfer 2010, 1). In the introduction to Fajfer’s collected essays, Bazarnik describes liberature as literary works in which the artistic message is transmitted not only through the verbal medium, but also through the author ‘speaking’ via the book as a whole (Bazarnik 2010, 7). Liberature is therefore a total approach that reaches beyond the linguistic medium, where the material form of the work is essential to its understanding and forms an organic element of the (inseparable) whole. Both Fajfer and Bazarnik emphasise that in liberature, the material book is no longer a neutral container for a text, but becomes an integral component of the literary work.

      Katarzyna Bazarnik, Zenon Fajfer, Oka-leczenie [Eyes-ore] (2000), Liberatura vol. 8, Kraków: Korporacja Ha!art, 2009.

    2. A performative publication wants to explore how we can bring together and align more closely the material form of a publication with its content.

      Fajfer and Bazarnik make some interesting observations on how in liberature the book does not contain the work, it is the work. In this sense they don’t see the material book as a representation of the work but as something that actively shapes and determines the work.

      Their focus on liberatic works is both a reaction to a previous literary context and a plea to authors to take responsibility for the future becoming of literature. First of all, as a specific response in a Polish context (but more wider too), it rallies against literary traditions that see the materiality of the book as non-significant, that classify literature as ‘disembodied’. As Bazarnik and Fajfer state:

      If I emphasise this bodily, material aspect so much, it is because Polish literary studies seem still dominated by scholars indebted to Roman Ingarden, a Polish philosopher who ventured into literary studies to produce a highly influential theory of the literary work of art in which he denied its “material foundation” (as he called it) any significance. It was to be passed over and not interfere with reading (Fajfer and Bazarnik 2010).

      Secondly, they present liberature as a way out of the ‘crisis of contemporary literature’, which they say has its roots in the continued focus on the text and its meaning, while neglecting the physical shape and structure of the book. This is delimiting the creative possibilities for the author, they claim. As Fajfer writes:

      I believe that it is his responsibility to consider the physical shape of the book and all the matters entailed, just as he considers the text (if not to the same extent, he should at least bear them in mind). The shape of the book should not be determined by generally accepted conventions but result from the author’s autonomous decision just as actions of his characters and the choice of words originate from him (Fajfer 2010, 25).