Archive for the ‘Literary Theory’ Category

Art for Art’s Sake   Leave a comment

Back in this October post I blogged about my new wallpaper.

So it is now a real delight to listen to Laurence Llewelyn Bowen’s Radio 4 programme (Thursday 24th March 2011)

House Beautiful

As my Granddad never tired of saying in his Lady Windermere – “A Handbag!” – voice:

“Be careful of being too Modern. You are likely to become old fashioned quite suddenly.”



Posted March 29, 2011 by R.H.H. Nisbet in aesthetics, Art

Voiceless in today’s globalised society   Leave a comment

Scottish Elevator Voice Recognition – ELEVEN!

Joyce would have LOVED this.

Posted February 1, 2011 by R.H.H. Nisbet in cultural studies

Tim Minchin, Tim Ingold, Lifeworld.   Leave a comment

Watching Tim Minchin after reading Deleuze was fun time-out… until his song “Not Perfect” turned my thoughts to Tim Ingold’s figure comparing Lévi-Strauss’s and Bateson’s views on mind and ecology. Sounds like Tim Minchin stands with Levi-Straus here.

But Minchin is also singing through spheres. Like centrifugal man!

“When you feel like you’re the smallest doll in a babushka doll”.

As Ingold observes, “the perception of the spheres was imagined in terms of listening rather than looking” (210; see Ingold’s figure 12.2 The Fourteen Spheres of the World). Ingold observes that visual perception involves light reflecting off the surface of things. Sound perception on the other hand place us at the experiential centre of a lifeworld, listening out. Tim Minchin starts “this is my earth, and I live in it”. He sings inwards Geosphere -> Bio-sphere -> Noosphere (213). And is bloody funny!!!

Thanks Tim and Tim!

Posted February 1, 2011 by R.H.H. Nisbet in cultural studies, Deleuze

The geo-logical supersedes the ana-logical.   Leave a comment

Seventeen years after I started my first year studies at Glasgow University (geology, psychology, chemistry) I’ve found Schelling!

I’m so happy! On Friday I was explaining why I gradually become a storyteller after completing a geology PhD (Geophysiology/Gaia theory). Daniel Whistler’s early draft of Language After Philosophy of Nature: Schelling’s Geology of Divine Names confirms the underlying logic of this trajectory.

“Das Eine weise Wesen will nicht das alleinige genannt seyn, den Namen Zeus will es!

The One wise nature does not wish to be called that exclusively; it wishes the name ‘Zeus’. ”

Schelling, surely a friend in reading Finnegans Wake.

Posted January 30, 2011 by R.H.H. Nisbet in Literary Theory, process-relational

Dante Sculpted   1 comment

Check this out:

Robert Taplin’s Everything Imagined is Real (After Dante) “consists of nine sculptures, each referencing scenes from Dante’s Inferno as modern allegories of political strife. Taplin’s story begins as Dante’s does with the uncertain sense of whether or not we are in a dream or reality. Thus My Soul Which Was Still In Flight (The Dark Wood) depicts Dante, as a modern-day everyman, rising from bed to start his journey. As Talpin’s story unfolds, things become more complicated. The third canto of Dante’s Inferno brings Dante and Virgil to the River Acheron in order to cross into the First Circle of Hell.

Above: Across the Dark Waters (The River Acheron), 2007, wood, resin, plaster and lights, 84 by 94 by 50 inches; at Winston Wächter.

In Across The Dark Waters (The River Acheron), Taplin takes this iconic scene and turns it into a metaphor for the refuge crisis, representing people trying to cross waters, unknowing, just like Dante, of what awaits them upon their arrival. Taplin’s cycle ends with Dante mourning the fall of civilization — in We Went In Without a Fight (Through The Gates of Dis), Dante stands witness to a city destroyed, mourning both life on earth and what may await down below.”

Also see Art in America‘s Robert Taplin review

Sandhyas! Sandhyas! Sandhyas!   Leave a comment


Ricorso – Dawn of the new era – The celbration of Kevin – HCE’s indiscretion published, scene of crime revisited – Mutt and Juva, the dispute between St Patrick and the Archdruid – ALP’s letter – Anna Livia’s soliloquy.

I spent the day warming up for this reading: straight through part IV of Finnegans Wake, and back round to the start.

The program was breakfast; a gym session; a trip to the market; yoga, and then some time with Deleuze and Guattari’s What is Philosophy? I read the conclusion, “from Chaos to the brain” and afterwards “The Plane of Immanence” chapter.

This got me in the right place. A cup of coffee after sun set, and I began to read.

It’s the first time I’ve had visual imagery (like a flickering mental film) whilst reading FW, tracing “The miracles, death and life” (605.3).  “Loonley in me loneness” (627.34).

Theory: process-relational etc   Leave a comment

Yesterday, I was reading Adrian Ivakhiv’s excellent post, process-relational theory primer, as I began to structure my post-Wake reading.

I also looked at Levi R. Bryant’s post on a-signifying semiotics. He writes:

“If I understand Guattari correctly (and I always find him challenging) when he evokes a-signifying semiotics he is referring to forms of operation that manipulate elements in ways that do not involve signification or meaning. The way in which DNA and RNA interact would be an example of, for Guattari, an a-signifying semiotic.

…Meaning and signification, of course, gets imbricated in these a-signifying semiotics when we encounter their results, but these operations do not in and of themselves function according to meaning or signification.”

This seems to be a fruitful lense through which I can continue to engage with the Finnegans Wake text.

Another quote that helps me articulate my thinking on FW comes from Deleuze and is quoted  Bruno Bosteels’ essay in Deleuze and Guattari: new mappings in politics, philosophy, and culture. It reads:

“The unconscious no longer deals with persons and objects, but with trajectories and becomings; it is no longer an unconscious of commemoration, but one of mobilization, an unconscious whose objects take flight rather than remaining buried in the ground”.

Bruno Bosteels‘ essay “From Text to Territory” continues, “Guattari’s institutional analysis departs from Lacanianism: first, of course, by considering the larger semiotic or even machinic experimentation of collective agencies rather than the linguistic expression of individual persons; second, by heralding a possible overcoming of the idea of a successful Oedipus complex; and finally, by breaking the axiomatic universality of the signifier and the name of the father” (160).

At the moment, I can (only) feel that this concept-bundle is central to my reading of FW. Continuing down Bosteels essay, “Hjelmslev’s model of stratification” (161); and its connection to Sassure’s view that language is “a form combining thoughts and sounds, the famous recto and verso of language as a single sheet of paper” also seem critical to my thinking (ibid.). And there is loads more to mine from the subsequent paragraphs of this essay in terms of how these thinkers can help a reader to relate to the “autopoeisis” of the “collective assemblages” operating at a “chaosmotic level” in FW.

My geologist’s head knows that assemblages font-émerger underlying relational process, “without presupposing any static image of the earth to begin with” (ibid.). As Deleuze says, “the object itself is movement”.

Posted January 28, 2011 by R.H.H. Nisbet in Literary Theory, process-relational