Jul 312013
Guest Kiosk 7, Karakoy

It is the M25, anticlockwise, and you and I are on our way back from the zone. Time is on our hands:

A. ‘Fog‘ is a new essay by Franco Moretti (NLR 81, May/June 2013, P 59-92).
- drawn from The Bourgeois: Between History and Literature, in parallel with his companion work Distant Reading(Verso 2013).

“For exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation”. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto (London and New York 2012 P 37).

The bourgeois modernising world when the nature of social relations… previously concealed by a variety of deceptions: ‘idylls’, ‘veils’, ‘ecstacies’, ‘enthusiasms’, ‘holies’, ‘fervours’, ‘sentimentalisms’, and ‘prejudices’… are stripped away. You and I are bending over backwards to uncover the naked, shameless and direct through:

1. Negotiation
She is actually working, Moretti emphasises looking at the ‘not unless you pay’ nakedness of Olympia by Edouard Manet’s (1863). Her left hand is placed across her genitalia… Previously she hid nothing because there was nothing to hide or that required hiding.

2. Me and My Woman (or My Man)
Another nineteenth century English artist wants to paint a naked woman, but he recoils from doing so. Instead he narratives her nudity: if the woman is without clothes, it is because she has been caught in a story of aggression, resistance, captivity – with rape and death to follow if it were not for the moral economy of her rescuer, a perfect gentleman.

3. Turning a Blind Eye to ‘unspeakable rites’
‘Glencreepie Castle’, where I was taken in the summer months as a child, and where I sometime return to in my dreams: it is a fantasyland of sprouting of turrets and tabernacles which is hard to describe, and Moretti points out a similar new and slippery way that authority found to claim and exercise power through a combination of ‘weaker bourgeois identity – and stronger social control’.

4. Vague Absurdities
Monocled, monologic, and monotonous but earnest men – men also beyond redemption – it is tantalising: the veil is half raised but then drops again suddenly, putting off the discovery of any possibility of a truth being uncovered (… say… the truth of the shrunken skulls of imperialism – “The inner truth is hidden – luckily, luckily,” concludes Marlow in Heart of Darkness).

B. ‘Implements in Their Place‘ is a collection of poems by WS Graham, first published in 1977. It is also the name of a long 74 section poem in the collection (New Collected Poems P. 240-257).

Some critics, not recognising the self-organising process involved, have condemned the poem as being too much like “talking out loud” – equally not recognising the continuing long conversation between you and I:

Somewhere our belonging particles
Believe in us. If we could only find them.

Who calls? Don’t fool me. Is it you
Or me or us in a faulty duet
Singing out of a glade in a wood
Which we would never really enter?

Do not think you have to say
Anything back. But you do
Say something back which I
Hear by the way I speak to you.

Somewhere our belonging particles
Believe in us. If we could only find them.