Sunday, October 24, 2010

Plot and character


There is an important parodic strain that runs through most of my favorite English writers: Swift, Sterne, even Lewis Carroll. In fact, the three could be said to have written a single book, with chapters called A Tale of a Tub, Sentimental Journey, and Sylvie and Bruno. Their remote ancestor is the Satyricon, with which they share a will to fragmentation and black humour.


None seems terribly concerned with plot, or, for that matter, character.


I don’t know what plot and character are. Dickens created all possible (and impossible) characters, so that takes care of character. And plot, for me, belongs in mystery stories and movies. I am concerned with literary space, which is language, and not literary time. When we talk about character, we inevitably drift toward psychology: Choderlos Laclos was the first and the last to use it properly.

Guillermo Cabrera Infante, interviewed by Alfred MacAdam in Paris Review, Spring 1983.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Repent it, acrobat.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I do not know why yet I live to say, “This thing’s to do”