J.G. Ballard’s self-declared ‘Immodest Proposal’ for a global war-alliance to exact the destruction of America demonstrates the provocatory zeal of his last fiction plans, as well as their enduring prescience.
“So many egoists call themselves artists,” Rimbaud wrote to Paul Demeny on May 15, 1871. Even though that is not always obvious, ‘I’, the first person, is the most unknown person, a mystery that is constantly moving towards the other two, the second and third persons, a series of unfoldings and smatterings that eventually gelled as ‘Je est un autre’. That is why ‘apocryphal’ is a literarily irrelevant concept and ‘pseudo’ a symptom, the very proof that life, writing, is made up of echoes, which means that intrusions and thefts (Borges also discusses them) will always be the daily bread of those who write.
Words from others, words taken out of place and mutilated: here are the alms of time, that squanderer’s sole kindness. And so many others, mostly others who wrote, and many other pages, all of them apocryphal, all of them echoes, reflections. All this flows together into—two centuries...
Reportagen, Fiktionen, Wirklichkeiten der Hauptstadt des 20. Jahrhunderts
Ξένος extraneus του έξω όχι του μέσα (intraneus) όχι της οικίας unheimlich όχι του heim όχι της εστίας της άλλης πλευράς της πόρτας – fores, foreigner όχι υπερβολικά στον ρυθμό, odd όχι κανονικός όχι συνήθης σπάνιος ιδιάζων seltsam παράξενος besherat γενναίος κομψός απρόβλεπτος στραβός verschroben
λοξός αναπάντεχος εξαιρετικός εκπληκτικός
Είναι εκπληκτικό πόσες λέξεις εκφράσεις τρόπους διαφορετικούς έχουμε για να μιλήσουμε για τον παράξενο ξένο τον ausländer τον έξω από τη χώρα και όχι «pays avec nous» όπως λέγαμε κάποτε στη Γαλλία «c’est un pays à moi» για να πούμε κάποιος από το χωριό μου τη γειτονιά μου την περιοχή μου την πατρίδα μου
The ironic self-awareness of the poet can only be that of his own inauthenticity, repeated or fed back into itself at increasingly conscious levels, and ‘to know inauthenticity is not the same as to be authentic’.
The question of authenticity and I go back some way; we’re old sparring partners – frenemies. It’s been a fraught relationship, shot through with paradox and misconstruing. My first novel, Remainder, does turn around its protagonist’s obsession with becoming ‘real’, inhabiting his era or his city, building, skin, movements and gestures in a ‘first-hand’ or ‘authentic’ way, an obsession which he carries to the point of murder. Yet the pleasure of seeing this book receiving glowing press reviews that praised it for its ‘originality’ and ‘true’-ness was tinged with an awareness of something being odd or ‘off’, since Remainder is in fact the most un-original of novels, a novel about non-originality and simulacra that’s quite blatantly composed of set tropes and constructed situations reprised and, only slightly modified, replayed from sources ranging from Ballard’s Crash and Beckett’s Godot back to Sterne’s Tristram Shandy (Uncle Toby’s domestic re-stagings of battle terrains)...