French Lessons #38

Le mouvement se fait toujours dans le dos du penseur, ou au moment où il cligne des paupières." (Deleuze)


French Lessons #37

"Ainsi en va-t-il du perpétuel échec de l'œuvre d'Artaud. Tout a échoué : le Théatre de la Cruauté, le cinéma, la poésie, le voyage au pays des Tarahumaras, etc. L'existence, en somme, fut un échec. Mais en même temps, tout en témoigne, et particulièrement sa poétique dernière du raté et 'du traviole', l'échec, l'inachevé, le ratage sont chez les grands artistes, des signes du puissance." (Camille Dumoulie)

Quotes 2017 #120

"The real stronghold of culture is neither tradition nor community, but a transpersonal ethnonoetic plenum of which each partakes, a vital medium of sensations of presence, feeling, intention, sexuality, intelligence, and a hundred other human forces extending outward from the self to the verge of our conscious relations."

Robert Cantwell, Ethnomimesis.

French Lessons #36

"C'est comme pour la vie. Il y a dans la vie une sorte de gaucherie, de fragilité de santé, de constitution faible, be bégaiment vital qui est le charme de quelqu'un. Le charme, source de vie, comme le style, source d'écrire."(Deleuze)

Quotes 2017 (extra)

"Stendhal might be taken in for questioning, but he could always be released on Beyle." (Andrew Brown)

Hey, I love this!

Quotes 2017 #119

"Bayle brought to the darkening complexities of early nineteenth century European life (Napoleon; imperialism; industrialisation; the apparent consolidation of European society into the warring camps of bourgeoisie and proletariat) the clarity and powers of analysis that he had learned from largely seventeenth- and eighteenth-century models."

Andrew Brown, Stendhal.

Andrew Brown is undoubtedly one of the best literary critics of my generation and le plus barthesien of any. His two small books, Stendhal and Flaubert, are gems.





French Lessons #35

"Le tanin était encore utilisé pour clarifier le vin et la bière, et constituait l'un des ingredients essentiels à la fabrication de l'encre noire, dite 'métalo-gallique'." (Ryoko Sekiguchi)

Quotes 2017 #118

"Space engineers use something called the slingshot effect to improve the fuel economy of their rockets. The Cassini space probe, which was designed to visit the distant planet Saturn, traveled there by what seems like a round-about route, but was actually cunningly planned to exploit the slingshot effect. Using far less rocket fuel than would have been needed to fly directly to Saturn, Cassini borrowed from the gravity and orbital movement of three planets on the way: Venus (twice), then a return swing around Earth, then a final mighty heave from Jupiter. In each case it fell around the planet like a comet, gaining speed by hanging onto its gravitational coat tails as the planet whizzed around the sun. These four slingshot boosts hurled Cassini out towards the Saturn system of rings and 62 moons, from where it has been sending back stunning pictures ever since."

Richard Dawkins, The Magic of Reality.


French Lessons #34

"La bourgeoisie a soumis la campagne à la domination de la ville." (Marx et Engels, Manifeste du parti communiste)

Quotes 2017 #117

"More than any other, the figure of Socrates is highly indicative of the autodidactic and individualist tendency of philosophical thought, and that is why this figure is taken for an authentic beginning. Socrates is typically portrayed as the philosopher who received no teaching, the one who found truth in himself and by himself. A legend about Socrates' father offers an almost transparent indication that the attitude might be connected with a withdrawal of paternal authority."

Jean-Joseph Goux, Oedipus, Philosopher (Catherine Porter trans.)

Quotes 2017 (extra)

"How closely do national anthems resemble the territorial songs of birds? And in what sense do market behaviors resemble those of flocks of birds or schools of fish? ... Are we a herd animal or a pack animal?" (Eugene W. Holland)


Quotes 2017 (extra)

"Leibniz is political because he is utopian. His theories of curvature, movement, and point of view cannot be localized." (Tom Conly, Translator's Foreword for The Fold.)

French Lessons #33

"Une voyelle muette! Quand on ne connaît que l'espagnol, on ne peut pas imaginer que de telles choses existent--une voyelle qui est là mais qui se tait, ça alors! J'étais plus que surprise--littéralement abasourdie. Et comme exaltée, soudain : je voulais tout savoir à propos de la langue qui était capable de faire des choses pareilles. " (Laura Alcoba)

Quotes 2017 #116

"My 'healing knowledge' derived from three years' experience, while in college, working for tuition money as an attendant at the University of Virginia hospital, and three more years, during graduate school, on an ambulance crew in Madison, Wisconsin. I carried with me, in Mueda, an Emergency Medical Technician's jump kit and a copy of WHERE THERE IS NO DOCTOR (Werner, Thuman, and Maxwell 1992), and I treated those who came to me so long as I was competent to do so."

Harry G. West, Ethnographic Sorcery.

French Lessons #32

"Il est toujours un moment où il s'en va, coupe court, fait peau neuve. De cet ensemble de détachements naît une scansion particulière qui nous apprend sa façon de vivre le temps, de vivre dans le temps, attaches et séparations, et toujours espérance d'une fuite, moyen de 's'en sortir'." (Jean-Luc Steinmetz sur Rimbaud)

Quotes 2017 #115

"He is someone who knows, from the very beginning, what a good explanation is. Nobody taught him this. He simply knows. He loves it when an explanation fits firmly into place, leaving no space at all. When he understands why something is the way it is, why it has to be that way, the knowing feels like pleasure to him, like a laughing in his mind. And when explanations are bad, he feels it almost like a physical pain, like some small animal gnawing at his chest."

Rebecca Goldstein, Betraying Spinoza.


Quotes 2017 (extra)

"What we always forget is that the overwhelming bulk of the British proletariat does not live in Britain, but in Asia and Africa." (George Orwell in 1939, quoted by Iain Chambers in Border Dialogues, 1990)





French Lessons #31

"Penser, c'est créer, il n'y a pas d'autre création, mais créer, c'est d'abord engendrer 'penser' dans la pensée." (Gilles Deleuze)

Quotes 2017 #114

"He imagined stepping into the road without looking and being hit by a car and not feeling any pain, any surprise, not feeling anything really, just a kind of detached interest at what was happening to this person who wasn't really him anymore."

Mark Haddon, A Spot of Bother.


French Lessons #30

"Mais le capitalisme n'est pas qu'une affaire politique et économique, le capitalisme est une thèse sur l'être, sur le vivant, sur le rapport de la nature à la culture, sur le rapport du corps à l'ésprit." (Frédéric Neyrat)

Quotes 2017 #113

"The Chinese say, of the contrast between such strength and fluidity, 'movement like silk that hits like iron'; his was a spring-steel movement that arrived like a rose and braced like iron."

Barry Lopez, "Remembering Orchards."


French Lessons #29

"Peter Morgan s'arrête d'écrire. / Il est une heure du matin. Peter Morgan sort de sa chambre. L'odeur de Calcutta la nuit est celle de la vase et du safran." (Marguerite Duras)

Quotes 2017 #112

"He was a very great novelist. He had enormous gifts. He thought DAVID COPPERFIELD the best of all his books. An author is not always a good judge of his own work, but in this case Dickens's judgement seems to me correct. DAVID COPPERFIELD, as I suppose everyone knows, is in great part autobiographical; but Dickens was writing a novel, not an autobiography, and though he drew much of his material from his own life, he made only such use of it as suited his purpose. For the rest, he fell back on his vivid imagination."

W. Somerset Maugham, Ten Novels and Their Authors.

French Lessons #28

"Dans le devenir, il s'agit plutôt d'involuer : ce n'est ni régresser, ni progresser. Devenir, c'est devenir de plus en plus sobre, de plus en plus simple, devenir de plus en plus désert, et par là même peuplé." (Claire Parnet)

Quotes 2017 #111

"His desire, in his letters to friends, was to give happiness---compare this with D.H.Lawrence, who seemed when he felt the desire to communicate with his friends to want, at best, to instruct, and at the worst, to chastise."

Elizabeth Hardwick, 'Introduction' to The Selected Letters of William James.


French Lessons #27

"Les Sirènes sont les Méduses du coït érotique. Les Gorgones sont les Sirènes du cri thanatique." (Pascal Quignard)

Quotes 2017 #110

"Tiresias goes blind for having seen what must not be seen, the coupling of two snakes, or perhaps the nakedness of Athena, or perhaps even the Gorgon in the eyes of the goddess with the penetrating gaze (oxyderkes). He then predicts to Narcissus that he will go on living as long as he does not see himself, and to Pentheus that he will lose his life for having SEEN the sacred rites of Dionysus, or for having LET himself BE SEEN as a boar by the Bacchants."

Jacques Derrida, Memoirs of the Blind. (Brault and Naas trans.)


French Lessons #26

"Il faut dire que l'enfer est le nom du monde pour tous les habitants du monde." (Pascal Quignard)

Quotes 2017 #109

"And there are my cats, engaged in a ritual that goes back thousands of years, tranquilly licking themselves after the meal. Practical animals, they prefer to have other provide the food... some of them do. There must have been a split between the cats who accepted domestication and who did not."

William S. Burroughs, The Cat Inside.

Quotes 2017 (extra)

"I am wherever I am touched, wherever I am."

Kyoo Lee, Reading Descartes Otherwise: Blind, Mad, Dreamy, and Bad.

French Lessons #25

"Il se composait : d'une soupe aux pois verts garnie de laitues et bien mitonnée, avec un quartier de volaille au-dessus, une tranche de bœuf, un godiveau et une langue de mouton... Pour le dessert, un biscuit et des pommes de reinette... Vin de Bourgogne." (Nerval)

Quotes 2017 #108

"...but Ahab never thinks; he only feels, feels, feels..."

Melville, Moby-Dick.


French Lessons #24

"On naît moderne, on ne le devient pas. Et nous ne le sommes jamais devenus. Ce qui saute aux yeux à Paris, c'est le XIXe siècle." (Jean Baudrillard)

Quotes 2017 #107

"The breeze of morning lifted in the bush and the smell of leaves and wet black earth mingled with the sharp smell of the sea. Myriads of birds were singing. A goldfinch flew over the shepherd's head and, perching on the tiptop of a spray, it turned to the sun, ruffling its small breast feathers. And now they had passed the fisherman's hut, passed the charred-looking little whare where Leila the milk-girl lived with her old Gran."

Katherine Mansfield, "At the Bay."

Note the use of the word WHARE. Katherine Mansfield and Janet Frame are the two novelists whose landscapes I can inhabit forever...


French Lessons #23

"Mais il s'agit de DEVENIR AUTRE, donc d'établir un autre rapport entre un corps et une histoire, un nouveau RAPPORT D'ÉCRITURE entre les corps multiples qui s'enchevêtrent les uns dans les autres et tout à la fois s'excèdent les uns les autres, en vue de tracer la généalogie d'un corps hybride, 'que je deverais avoir.'" (Serge Margel, à propos d'Artaud.)

Quotes 2017 #106

"This is the closest I will ever come to writing an autobiography. I have called it 'Slapstick' because it is grotesque, situational poetry--like the slapstick film comedies, especially those of Laurel and Hardy, of long time ago. / It is about how life FEELS like to me."

Kurt Vonnegut, Slapstick or Lonesome No More.

I especially like the phrase "situational poetry."

Quotes 2017 (extra)

"Deleuze and Guattari differ from von Uexküll, Ruyer, and Maturana and Varela on key points. To counter the mechanistic tendency in much biologic thought, von Uexküll stresses subjects and meaning in biology, Ruyer equates living form with consciousness, and Maturana and Varela living systems as cognitive ones. Deleuze and Guattari likewise reject mechanistic models, but they also avoid any terminology that might reintroduce the problematics of subjectivity." (Ronald Bogue).

One of the luckiest things that happened in my life was that I began my translator's career with a translation of Maturana and Varela's El arbol del conocimiento (The Tree of Knowledge). My Japanese translation was published in 1987, exactly 30 years ago... And even now, their teachings occasionally give me aha! moments when I encounter some puzzling problems about life in general!




French Lessons #22

"Claude Nephtali Lévi-Strauss, comme je vous aime! Vous m'avez tout appris de la pensée. Sa difficulté, sa rigueur, ses défaillances, ses joies. Grâce à vous, je connais les pouvoirs de l'esprit, comment ils tiennent la vie en haleine, comment ils peuvent agir de loin sur le réel. Et j'aime qui vous étiez, la flamme sous la glace, courtois et emotif, généreux et violent, l'Esprit en personne." (Catherine Clément)

Quotes 2017 #105

"Intelligence I would define simply as the ability to adapt oneself to new situations and environments and solve problems, obviously a useful instrument that will probably be laid aside eventually. The whole human brain is actually an artifact and when you don't need an artifact, you throw it away."

William S. Burroughs, The Job.


French Lessons #21

"Pour s'amuser à me faire peur et savoir si j'aurais du chagrin de sa mort, Nadia, qui sait très bien nager, veut faire semblant de se noyer. Mais elle se noie pour de bon et l'on me rapporte son corps inanimé. Je commence par pleurer beaucoup, jusqu'à ce que le jeu de mots 'Nadia, naïade noyée'--fait au seuil du réveil--m'apparaisse à la fois comme une explication et comme une consolation." (Michel Leiris)

Quotes 2017 #104


It was a steep hill that you went down, calling back to me,
saying that you would be only a little while.
I waited longer than that.
The thin-blooded grass of the hill continued to stir in the wind
and the wind grew colder.

I looked across the deep valley.
I saw that the sun was yellow as lemon upon the dark pines,
but elsewhere pools of cool shadow like stains of dark water
crept gradually onto the hill as the sunlight dimmed.

I waited longer. But finally I rose from the grass
and went back down the path by which we had come
and noted, here and there, your footprints pointing upward,
      narrow and light.

--Tennessee Williams
The last line could be different.


French Lessons #20

"Je confesse qu'il y a une espèce de claustrophobie dans ce motif, et je soupçonne qu'elle est encore ce qui me pousse aujourd'hui à relire l'analyse kantienne du goût pour retrouver, dans ce qui s'y nomme l' 'l'imagination productive', la révélation d'une libre acessibilité aux nuages---à l'être." (Jean-François Lyotard)

Quotes 2017 #103

"In Giono's world we have the sombreness of Hardy's moors, the eloquence of Lawrence's flowers and lowly creatures, the enchantment and sorcery of Arthur Machen's Welsh settings, the freedom and violence of Faulkner's world, the buffoonery and licence of the medieval mystery plays. And with all this a pagan charm and sensuality which stems from the ancient Greek world."

Henry Miller, The Books in My Life. 

I love Henry Miller all the more for his admiration for Giono!

French Lessons #19

"Nos yeux, qui ne sont pas au bout d'antennes mais dans des orbites, peuvent se fermer, nous devons les fermer pour dormir. A chaque instant, nous pouvons interrompre le spectacle si nous le voulons." (Jean-Christophe Bailly)


Quotes 2017 #102

"One of Wallace Stevens's achievements was to bring back into poetry a rebellious and loving dialogue with nature, a chant of men who perish on summer mornings when quails spontaneously cry."

Wylie Sypher, Literature and Technology.


French Lessons #18

"J'ai fini par comprendre que ce qui sortait de ma plume n'avait rien à voir avec le théâtre. Mais si ce n'était pas du théâtre, alors qu'était-ce?" (Edmond Jabès)

Quotes 2017 #101

"I am woman, and beautiful; my daughter, the law, is mad about me. I speculate on my daughter. My daughter is mad about me; this is law. / The law is mad, she is mad about 'me.' And across the madness of this day, I keep this in sight. There, this will have been my self-portrait of the genre. / The law is mad. The law is mad, is madness; but madness is not the predicate of law. There is no madness without the law; madness cannot be conceived before its relation to law. This is the law, the law is a madness."

Jacques Derrida, "The Law of Genre" Avital Ronell trans.

This somehow reminds me of Jamaica Kincaid...


Quotes 2017 #100

"William James without his gaiety, his spooks, his nuts and frauds, his credulity and his incongruous longings for something more than life, even through he was committed to testify every belief BY life, would not be the captivating and splendid spirit he is."

Elizabeth Hardwick, 'Introduction' to The Selected Letters of William James.

French Lessons #17

"Avant Descartes, et longtemps après que son influence de philosophe et de physiologiste se fut effacée, la passion n'a pas cessé d'être la surface de contact entre le corps et l'âme." (Michel Foucault)


French Lessons #16

"Mais l'homme qui est épris de bonté ne saurait mener une vie solitaire ; pourtant, sa vie avec autrui et pour autrui doit essentiellement demeurer sans témoin : il lui manque avant tout la compagnie du moi." (Hannah Arendt)

Quotes 2017 #99

If LOGOS is first and foremost a faithful image of the EIDOS (the figure of intelligible visibility) of what is, then it arises as a sort of primary painting, profound and invisible. In that case painting in its usual sense, a painter's painting, is really only the painting of a painting."

Jacques Derrida, Acts of Literature.

French Lessons #15

"C'est donc le rapport à ma mort (à ma disparition en général) qui se cache dans cette détermination de l'être comme présence, idéalité, possibilité absolue de répétition." (Derrida)

Quotes 2017 #98

"Can you think of a better camera platform for oceanic observation? Squids are sleek, speedy, and ubiquitous. There are billions of them, by day or night, on every level, at every temperature, in every part of the world ocean. Seeing without being seen."

Lyall Watson, Gift of Unknown Things.

This will be the last post from this book. I just had to note down this bit on squids' eyes!




まずイントロ代わりにぼくの短い文章"Poetry, Philosophy"を読む。ついでキューが自分の著書Reading Descartes Otherwise: Blind, Dreamy, Mad and Bad の一節を引きつつ書いたごく短い文章"What is Thinking in the Age of Computational Thinking? A Philopoetic Cogitography"を読みつつ、注釈。これが前半。

後半は高山明さんによるヘテロトピア・プロジェクトの解説。というのも東京、北投とつづいてきたヘテロトピアは現在アテネ近郊のピレウスを舞台に「ピレウス・ヘテロトピア」を制作中で、この作品のためのテクストを執筆する7名の作家のひとりとして、キューに参加してもらっているからです。高山さんの話のあと、ふたたびぼくの短い文章"Heterotopia as I See It"を読み、あとは参加者のみなさんとのディスカッション。

キューとぼくが出会ったのは2001年9月12日のロンドン。SOASでの学会ですが、アメリカからの参加者の大半が前日の事件のために渡航できなくなるという事態になり、アルフォンソ・リンギスのキーノート・スピーチもキャンセル。さびしくなった各セッションは、なぜかその分、異様な熱気が立ちこめていましたが、中でもキューの話しっぷりのおもしろさ、その内容の濃密さには強い印象を受けました。そのとき以来、文学についても哲学についてもどんな話でも 受けとめてくれる親友です。



French Lessons #14

"Je ne pense pourtant pas qu'on puisse penser les deux régions, esthétique et historico-politique, de façon identique." (J.-F. Lyotard)

Quotes 2017 #97

"The development of this strange molluscan eye has gone even further in the highly mobile squid. All the oceanic squids have a complex eye with an iris, a variable-focus lens, and a retina with enough sensitive cells to make their color and pattern discrimination every bit as good as our own. Squid see as well as, if not better than, any other animals alive--or at least, their eyes have the capacity for doing so. This is uncanny, but what really worries me is what they do with so much information."

Lyall Watson, Gift of Unknown Things.



French Lessons #13

"Steinbeck est de la famille du saint François ami des bêtes. Je ne saurais lui faire de plus grand compliment." (Maurice-Edgar Coindreau)

Quotes 2017 #96

"The effect of this climate on the soul is not to be underestimated. But it suffers certainly less than the skin whose entire defensive system from sweat to goose bump is under constant stress."

Samuel Beckett, The Lost Ones.


French Lessons #12

"Je ne réponds jamais aux lettres. Ça a fini par se savoir. J'en reçois de moins en moins. C'est pas un genre que j'ai pris." (Céline)

Quotes 2017 #95

"Glissant understands Relation to be a synthesising space in which opposites can live comfortably together and where, as in the works of Alejo Carpentier, there is little difference between the animate and the inanimate. Glissant detects a similar synthesis in the Guyanese landscapes of Wilson Harris, in which the notions of extinction and interior co-exist as one unity."

Caryl Phillips, A New World Order.

The Textual Earless Hoichi Project

The Textual Earless Hoichi Project. You pick up a book and write your commentaries to it (on the pages' margins) on all but two pages. This is your way of protecting the book from evil spirit-readers. Those two pages left blank (sort of) are the book's ears. The ears will be torn away and collected. And the ears from a hundred or so books will be displayed on the wall. People will hear the echos of the books' souls through these pages. They are required to read aloud these page-ears, taking turns. If they don't fulfill this reading obligation, of a book per person, their own ears are torn away at the exit.

という展示を思いついた。Books with handwritten commentaries will also be on display. すべての本を「耳なし芳一」として逆説的に守り抜くために。

Quotes 2017 (extra)

"The most important factor in the appreciation of any art is the practice of it." (Henry Miller)

French Lessons #11

"Car un aliéné est aussi un homme que la société n'a pas voulu entendre et qu'elle a voulu empêcher d'émettre d'insupportables vérités. (Antonin Artaud)

Quotes 2017 #94

"In another dream, the dreamer, again a doctor, he, the doctor, was 'performing' an autopsy on a cadaver that was himself, aged by at least thirty years. What he did in the dream was to disembowel the cadaver bit by bit and dissect carefully each organ and then gather all the dissected bits together in his hands and deposit them back into the empty intra-abdomined space and then coarsely sew up the wide autopsy incision that ran from throat to pubis. And then a beautiful young nurse came in and touched the reconstructed dead man in a caring way that got the cadaver to sit up in an enlivened manner ready to move into of further after-death scene with a simple gratitude and a fleeting but retrospective glance at his whole life."

David Cooper, The Death of the Family.



「明治大学文学部紀要・文学研究」132号に、エッセー「そこに寝そべっていなかった猫たち」を寄稿しました。別に猫の話ではないよ。それなりにまじめな、文学の根源をめぐる話。この号、ジャック・レヴィさん、陣野俊史さん、旦敬介さんらも書いてます。声をかけてくださった根本美作子さん、ありがとうございま した!



French Lessons #10

"Écrivant j'existais, j'échappais aux grandes personnes ; mais je n'existais que pour écrire et si je disais : moi, cela signifiait : moi qui écris." (Sartre)

Quotes 2017 #93

"Abode where lost bodies roam each searching for its lost one. Vast enough for search to be in vain. Narrow enough for flight to be in vain."

Samuel Beckett, The Lost One.


French Lessons #9

"L'astringent, on le sent dans son corps, pas seulement lorsqu'il s'agit de fabriquer des objets mais quand on l'assimile en soi. Si ce mot évoque tant de sensations différentes, d'une couleur à l'apparence d'une personne, et d'une texture à une tessiture de voix, il doit y avoir un lien, même lointain, avec cette expérience corporelle du goût. Il désigne une perception esthétique sensible dans tout le corps." (Ryoko Sekiguchi)

French Lessons #8

"C'est alors que me vint cette pensée : l'astringent, c'est le goût de la liberté." (Ryoko Sekiguchi)

French Lessons #7

"Rien n'approche du style de Lao-tseu. Lao-tseu vous lance un gros caillou. Puis il s'en va. Après il vous jette encore un caillou, puis il repart ; tous ces cailloux, quoique très durs, sont des fruits, mais naturellement le vieux sage bourru ne va pas les peler pour vous." (Henri Michaux)

Quotes 2017 #92

"There was nothing outside my window then but the charcoal silhouette of black trees against black sky. We were speeding toward Seattle, toward the ocean, toward people I'd never seen, land I'd never touched, water I'd never tasted. I meant to do that, taste the bay's water and see if the salt were a true thing."

Kim Barnes, Hungry for the World.





French Lessons #6

"La plupart du temps, quand on me pose une question, même qui me touche, je m'aperçois que je n'ai strictement rien à dire." (Deleuze)

French Lessons #5

"Après chaque nuit nous sommes plus vides : nos mystères comme nos chagrins se sont écoulés dans nos songes." (Cioran)

Quotes 2017 #91

"By saying Simone Weil's life was both comic and terrible, I am not trying to reduce it, but mean to be paying her the highest tribute I can, short of calling her a saint, which I don't believe she was. Possibly I have a higher opinion of the comic and terrible than you do. To my way of thinking it includes her great courage and to call her anything less would be to see her as merely ordinary. She was certainly not ordinary."

Flannery O'Connor, from a letter on 30 September 1955.