14 May 2004


Alienating by force a fragment of the past from its historical context, the quotation at once makes it lose its character of authentic testimony and invest it with an alienating power that constitutes its unmistakable aggressive force.

- Chapter 10, "The Melancholy Angel," from The Man Without Content (1994) by Giorgio Agamben

(review to come)

I picked this book up when we went to San Fran (vernacular OKed by a local) a couple of months ago and stopped by City Lights. Yes! The City Lights!!

No beat poetry for me though (I picked up Agamben's book on a whim along with Adorno's The Jargon of Authenticity and a collection called German Essays on Music).

- Me (in the center) gettin' hooked up with German Essays on Music

I know this entry sounds flippant, but re-read the Agamben quote. He drifts a lot, but this seems pretty solid to me. It basically says that quotations (cutting and pasting) removes the authorial impact from a work, detaches both it and the reader from shared cultural context, yet generates a new type of power because of its alienation. Somewhat relevant in our information age.

And somewhat ironic as I extract a quote.

[ posted by sstrader on 14 May 2004 at 1:07:24 AM in Language & Literature ]