Sunday, 4 November 2018

I made some notes for myself about what to write about here:

Dance chapter to Maria

Spiderwomen to Thakshala

Reading Kierkegaard

B reading Lyn Hejinian to me in bed

The dance chapter is from Sexual Futures, Queer Gestures, and Other Latina Longings by Juana María Rodríguez, and it’s called “Gesture in Mambo Time.” And “Spiderwomen” is by Eva Hayward, from the anthology Trap Door: Trans Cultural Production and the Politics of Visibility. I sent both in the attempt at meaningful intellectual exchange with some of the classmates in my program with whom it seems possible.

The Kierkegaard is Works of Love, naturally, and came from Tim’s Books in Northampton where Britt and I went after we had lunch. To be very honest it was to cheer myself up about feeling a little invisible. It was translated by Howard and Edna Hong. Noticing this blog’s ongoing architectural trend, I’m curious about the section “Love Builds Up” and because no one is here to stop me, here is the first page of it (in the spirit of Zebra’s and her father’s belief in transcription as method):

All human language about the spiritual, yes, even the divine language of Holy Scriptures, is essentially transferred or metaphorical language. This is quite in order or corresponds to the order of things and of existence, since even though man is spirit from the moment of birth he first becomes conscious as spirit later, and therefore prior to this he has lived for a certain time within sensuous-psychic categories. The first portion of life shall not, however, be cast aside when the spirit awakens, any more than the awakening of spirit announces itself in sensuous or sensuous-psychic modes in contrast to the sensuous or sensuous-psychic. The first portion is taken over by spirit, and, thus used, thus laid at the base, it becomes transferred. Therefore the spiritual man and the sensuous-psychic man say the same thing in a sense, and yet there remains an infinite difference between what they say, since the latter does not suspect the secret of transferred language, even though he uses the same words, but not metaphorically. There is a world of difference between the two; the one has made a transition or has let himself be led over to the other side; whereas the other has remained on this side. Yet there is something binding which they have in common—the both use the same language. One in whom the spirit is awakened does not therefore leave the visible world. Although now conscious of himself as spirit, he is still continually in the world of the visible and is himself sensuously visible; likewise he also remains in the language, except that it is transferred. Transferred language is, then, not a brand new language; it is rather the language already at hand. Just as spirit is invisible, so also is its language a secret, and the secret rests precisely in this that it uses the same language as the simple man and the child but use it as transferred. Thereby the spirit denies (but not in a sensuous or sensuous-psychic manner) that it is the sensuous or sensuous-psychic. The distinction is by no means directly apparent. Therefore we quite rightly regard emphasis upon a directly apparent distinction as a sign of false spirituality—which is mere sensuousness; whereas the presence of spirit is the quiet, whispering secret of transferred language—audible to him who has an ear to hear. (199-200)

What is the relationship between love and literature? What is the relationship between Kierkegaard’s notion of transference and translation? What does the movement Kierkegaard describes as the awakening of the spirit have in common with moments of coming to aesthetic, political, and spiritual consciousness described by Frederick Douglass in his memoirs?