25 Matching Annotations
  1. Nov 2016
    1. When Stein answers the question “how does one write?” by example, her work serves both as a singularity (that is, an instance whose authority is drawn from Stein’s exceptionality) and as an instance of a broader concept (the question or injunction bears upon a general dilemma, of which Stein is an instance among many—exemplary precisely in not being singular)

      We can look to Clement Greenberg, who writes in parallel about art to clue us in to a tactic of Stein's project:

      The limitations that constitute the medium of painting—the flat surface, the shape of the support, the properties of the pigment—were treated by the old masters as negative factors that could be acknowledged only by implicitly or indirectly. Under Modernism these same limitations came to be regarded as positive factors, and were acknowledged openly.

      Much as modernist painting draws attention to its insistent curiosity with a certain formal property (like color, or the flatness of canvas) to which it is bound, and that fact taken as its subject matter. In Stein's, that formal property is the functioning of grammar. Stein's writing privileges, in some sense, form over content - syntax itself is taken to be the subject matter over which Stein madly pores and iterates through; the contents of the sentences themselves suspiciously arbitrary or given to chance. The more senseless, absurd, or infantile, the greater the tension against the rationalizing power of syntax and the more heightened the poetic affect yielded.

      In creating her work, Lezra claims, Stein is both offering herself as one-of-a-kind writer whilst also acknowledging that she is offering one of potentially many solutions to the task of meaning-making through writing.

    2. The excitement of and capitalization upon names and naming is for Stein no longer a matter of grammar, sentences, paragraphs, or prose, but of poetry.

      Introduction of poetry to argument about sentences, paragraphs, and grammar comes out of left field here!

    3. “Diagraming sentences” turns out not to be a case of what “I” do, but itself the subject and object of a “doing” of which “I” am the incidental product.

      See my above comment: nice summary of the aporetic nature of grammar.

    4. This “edge” of grammar, this “forgetting” of grammar, and this “difference” of “repeat and duplicate” form the beginning of a thought about the ways in which grammar may not quite “meet” or “arrive at” itself, and about the “why” of “making,” about the “thinking” that attends this nonidentity to itself of grammar. What does grammar—the reserve of a writing understood to “make” things like “emotion,” “paragraphs,” and incidentally “me”—itself hold in “reserve”?

      Fascinating and rich. The simplest implication here is that HTW poses the problem of where "the subject" is located: in the I that speaks grammar, or in the grammar that makes it possible to construct a speaking I?

    5. paradoxical nature of this “reserve” of exemplary value in Stein?

      This, too, is really opaque (speaking of opacity). I take it that Lezra's point is that a) economics and psychoanalysis co-evolve in Stein's era around analogous structures; b) that Stein tries to ground her move from singularity to example in a similar structure.

    6. The concurrent aesthetico-political debate over the legacies of early modernism cannot be separated from these broader crises in the conceptualization of the value-form

      Cool move. Stein's (and many others') engagement of the value of words, the way signifiers are exchanged for signifieds, is implicated with economic decoupling of value from the "mystical constant" of gold etc. in the interwar period.

    7. four aspects of the imbrication

      Tough sledding here. Roughly:

      1. HOW TO WRITE implicated in "self-legitimation" to broader audience
      2. passage from sentences to paragraphs tied to passage from singularity to exemplarity, to Stein being an example of a way to [write, speak, be, be read] rather than sui generis.
      3. HOW TO WRITE part of temporality in which earlier works are retroactively made precursors to later works (ex: making of MAKING OF AMERICANS)
      4. Stein's reading of Stein helps the "perfective" become "the infinitive"
    8. paragraphs and sentences—roughly aligned, as she describes it, with the affective difference between the emotional and the nonemotional, between the natural and the nonnatural.

      Useful analysis of the initially confusing distinction Stein makes: grammar aligned with "affective and organic states."

    9. self-commodification

      Useful biographical context: HOW TO WRITE appears amid shift towards Stein's celebrity and outreach to lay readers. Hesitancy between "unruled reception" (lovely phrase) and construction of onramps to broaden access.

    10. The apposition permits a desperately interrogative tone to emerge—“How to read? How to write?”—quite at odds with the forthright sense of Stein’s title and of my own today, if rather more faithful to most readers’ experience of Stein’s work of the period.

      Somewhat Steinian exploitation of ambiguity in syntax here. How to read how to write can be read two ways, depending on syntax.

  2. Oct 2016
    1. makesitgodead

      What makes it go dead? Recognition? As "beauty"?

    2. became

      everyone became consciously aware WWI as singular event for distributing the agreement in "composition," of recognizing the work of the "outlaw."

    3. andromanticism

      One of the most puzzling moments: romanticism is linked with 1914 and with a widespread linkage of sameness and difference. Is the idea that romanticism, as the first "modernism" in language, normalizes the idea of a break, of discontinuity in search of continuity?

    4. usingeverything.

      Three principles of "composition": continuous present, beginning again and again, using everything. Unpack this for students.

    5. writingasitismade

      Introduction of Stein's "continuous present," the idea of creating a rich, contingent space for the writer in the act of writing and the reader in the act of reading, a temporality that abolishes the neat past/present/future triad of traditional narrative.

    6. goingtobethereandwearehere

      Another motif that recurs throughout: composition creates a distance in space and time. We are here and its is "going to be there," appearing to us from a distance.

    7. eginningagainandagain

      First occurrence of this motif: central principle of composition is repetition, is "beginning again," a phrase which Stein evidently loves for its poetic qualities as much as its investment in creating loops of time.

    8. athingacceptedbecomesaclassic

      Side note: Stein's argument here is extremely close to that of Eliot's in his 1919 "Tradition and the Individual Talent," though Eliot is advocating for the "classic" rather than the newness of the new.

    9. isanoutlawuntilheisaclassic

      Temporality of "composition": the experimental artist disrupts and then is integrated into history as a "classic." Stein jokes (seriously) that "there is almost not an interval" between these two moments, that we forget that (for example) Picasso was an "outlaw" once he has become "classic" and "beautiful." It's certainly the case that a tour through MoMA is rich in examples!

    10. time-sense.

      New term. The discussion of war leads to the discussion of "composition" with "time-sense," temporality, the idea of the new art as making a break in time.

    11. thewar

      Beginning of a set of riffs on WWI narrowly and war more broadly: war as that which makes a break, produces difference. To this extent, modernism is deeply implicated with WWI and (perhaps) with war in general.

    12. makesacomposition,itconfuses,itshows,itis,itlooks,itlikesitasitis,andthismakeswhatisseenasitisseen

      Stein emphasizes that "ways of looking" change, and the list of verbs emphasize the power of the "composition" to derange looking and make us see "the same thing" anew in ways that "make a difference."

    13. BythisImeansosimplythatanybodyknowsitthatcompositionisthedifferencewhichmakeseachandallofthemthendifferentfromothergenerationsandthisiswhatmakeseverythingdifferentotherwisetheyareallalikeandeverybodyknowsitbecauseeverybodysaysit

      This word "composition" will be THE keyword in the piece. Note how much S freights "composition" with here: a) it inserts a wedge between generations (i.e., each generation has its own "composition" that is authentically "new"); b) it's something that only those who "know it" perceive, thus internally splitting a generation between those who are down with its "composition" and those who lag.

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    1. This word "composition" will be THE keyword in the piece. Note how much S freights "composition" with here: a) it inserts a wedge between generations (i.e., each generation has its own "composition" that is authentically "new"); b) it's something that only those who "know it" perceive, thus internally splitting a generation between those who are down with its "composition" and those who lag.

  3. Mar 2016
    1. neurotoxic chemicalscontribute to developmental delays,hyperactivity, memory loss, attentiondeficit, learning disabilities, and aggres-sive behavior.

      These are preventable. That seems to be the message. Jill Stein is well suited to a year when Flint is still a boiling cauldron.