Category Archives: literature

On reading (literature) deconstructively

The gestation of this post revolves around the realization that in a few weeks I am going to have to turn in a respectably well thought out, cogent paper applying Jacques Derrida’s not-method of deconstruction to a literary text of my choosing. Until recently I have been consumed by something approaching intellectual panic regarding both the choice of text, and something more fundamental: the purpose of deconstructing a literary text, given Derrida’s own thinking surrounding différance and deconstruction, namely the concurrent lack of origin and endpoint. If deconstruction can never arrive at a conclusion, why begin?

On verisimilitude and the religious right

The bits hit the virtual fan yesterday when the omgwtf-machine was whipped into a frenzy over the announcement, straight (no pun intended) from the mouth of our dear and glorious leader J.K. Rowling, that Dumbledore, beloved imaginary wizard of the Harry Potter-verse, was, to the author's mind, gay. What followed was truly unbelievable.

Julio Cort├ízar’s Rayuela

The first time I attempted to read Julio Cort├ízar’s Rayuela, some years ago and for pleasure, I gave up a little over halfway through. My difficulty was not predicated on that fact that it was a difficult text–it is–, but rather on the fact that I was convinced that it had no literary value whatsoever. The book was a disaster, a bricolage of tenuously related scenes involving a set of bohemian characters living in France but rejecting outright everything traditionally characterized as French, living off the fumes of defunct or stillborn philosophies, alcohol, jazz records, and false erudition. While the premise is tantalizing, the novel itself was plotless, disconnected, stagnant. A year ago, feeling reticent about dismissing so emphatically one of the premier modernist novels to be come out of Latin America, I reluctantly took it with me on an extended trip to Mexico, where I read it twice in a week and a half. It has since become one of my favorite novels.