Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Notes For an Onomastics of Hugo Vernier

I haven't gotten through but 3 of the tales in Winter Journeys, but tonight Kara came home and promptly downloaded Schubert's Winterreise (Winter Journey) having heard one of the songs on NPR on her commute home.. I guess the thing that is interesting to me in one sense is that for instance, Perec was friendly with someone like Jean Ferry, who is someone who had ties to Surrealism, but who also represents a sort of aesthetic of a small but potent ouevre.. So I guess for awhile today I was just thinking about aesthetics and coterie dynamics, How Ferry had written a book about Roussel, and as well how Perec had a deep interest in Roussel.. But also how, say Perec eschewed the writers of the Nouveau Roman..

At some point I starting poking around and came up with the idea of working on an onomastics of Hugo Vernier, but I didn't want to immediately begin with the etymology stuff, or fake etymology, however you want to style it, so I thought I would take a look at Vimy in the Pas-de-Calais the supposed birthplace of Hugo Vernier.. It was then that I noticed that Vimy is like a particle on a nearly straight line between the cities of Arras and Lens.. Arras is a tapestry, or a wall hanging, sort of like an echo of a 'veneer', but that's just an initialisation of the circuit.. If we imagine that we are looking in a Rousselian sort of way at the map of Arras-Vimy-Lens we might decide that Vimy is a sort of smudge hindering the view, and so that got me to thinking about mistakes or defects as revelations, "Erras" or as coding principles..

 In Paul Schwartz's eponymous 1988 monograph Georges Perec, L'Voyage d'hiver is covered in a section called The Last Works.. If you rotate the V in Vernier counter clock-wise you will see the term Dernier (Last).. From a contraction of earlier derrenier, a derivation of Old French derrain (through analogy with premier), itself derived from a Vulgar Latin *deretranus, from deretro < Latin de retro. So, in Finnish, there is a term viime, which also means last.. That's sort of funny, because this 'last' or First really Winter Journey of Perec's was the same kind of last, like the one right before the next one.. The town was first mentioned in 1183 as Viniarcum (final arc? drunken arc?) and was the scene of much fighting during the fourteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries among the French, English, Dutch and Spanish forces. Anyway.. if you go down into Vimy on Google maps, right into the central point of the town, and strangely enough, there is an exact center of Vimy and it is a crossroads, but it is an odd special sort of crossroads, an odd Terrain (Derrain)

Where Rue Victor Hugo crosses Rue Lamartine it becomes Rue Rouget de lisle, and where Rue Lamartine crosses Rue Victor Hugo it becomes Rue Jules Ferry.. Now, Jules Ferry was a laicist, or a proponent of the separation of Church and State.. In David Bellos bio of Perec it mentions a family connection of Perec's being involved in one of the fundamentally tragic aspects about how the Nazis in France were able to find the Jews.. Since Laicism had been in effect in France for quite some time, there were no parish roles per se, of who were jews and who were not jews.. Even the jews kept no lists of all the jewish people, and so people signed up letting the Nazis know who they were out of civic obedience.. But then there is also the name Jules as in Jules Verne.. Rouget de Lisle was responsible for writing the song which became the Marseillaise, or France's national anthem..

 So here is this birthplace of Hugo Vernier, which sort of lays at this crossroads of poetical (lamartine), fictional (Verne, Hugo), ironic national identity? (Ferry) and patriotic fervor? republicanism? politics? (Lisle).. It's sketchy I guess, but it is looking a little interesting perhaps.. Then I looked up the etymology for veneer: From German Furnier, from furnieren (“to inlay, cover with a veneer”), from French fournir (“to furnish, accomplish”), from Middle French fornir, from Old French fornir, furnir (“to furnish”), from Old Frankish *frumjan (“to provide”), from Proto-Germanic *frumjaną (“to further, promote”). Cognate with Old High German frumjan, frummen (“to accomplish, execute, provide”), Old English fremian (“to promote, perform”). More at furnish. from the German Furnier, or Fernier.. And so.. Perec's short story becomes a coded Imperative sentence, almost like a Fluxus piece.. You go perform (promote), or accomplish.. and the Oulipo did just that, so now we have a whole book of Winter journeys I don't think they'll let me in the Oulipo for this paltry squeak, but I'll keep reading and having fun with it anyway!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Mallarme' and Burns in Roussel's Ejur of Talu and Rul (some moods)

It doesn't quite suffice to say a certain symbolism exists in a certain section of any of Roussel's work, but sometimes, by curious circumstances one finds hints, or narrow yet facile meta-doors into the possibility of a given symbolism. Reading beginning at Section XI in the old Foord and Heppenstall translation of Roussel's Impressions of Africa. I started out casually enough, making note of certain possible homophonic phrases gleaned while pondering a possible onomastics of the first two names mentioned, namely, Talu and Rul. Talu is the old Poet King of Ejur who is the father, though unknown to Seil Kor, the main and current King, but not his biological father. Rul is his mother. First, I played with the phrase: "Tall you rule." And then "To all you rule." Now being so inclined to think of Roussel as being part of the lineage of Oulipo, I was immediately put onto this idea of the ironic structurality of including the concept of a rule as a character, a generative rule. But I also was reminded of the use of false rules, or faux rules, or 'tall tales'.. The story has that feeling of a tall tale, or of a kind of adventure story or romance. Not delving any deeper into the Talu / Rul complex. I then began to contemplate this second, but narratologically earlier, shipwreck, and possibly also the first, as a strange homage to Mallarme's Coup de Des, but how would I connect this novel in its entirety by one or more simple changes, to the title of Mallarme's famous poem?

Curiously, I could find no path through French, but justifying an altered path through English which I will endeavor to show. I came up with the following:

"Un Coup de Dés Jamais N'Abolira Le Hasard" would become

"No coup for the Jamaican despot who never abolished chance."

The odd thing I guess, is that I've used the French word for 'never' to become Jamaica, but Ejur is patently supposed to be in Africa. For some reason, I came up with a possible thought from Roussel. "What if I were to found a never-never land of Africa for my novel(ty), in which some citizens were never to be made slaves of the white men, were never conquered by anyone except perhaps by their own vicissitudes, or perhaps in a more humorous vein it is this thought:

A throw of the dice is a nether god (never to nether, and Jamaica to Ja Maker) which gives abolition to chants.

This then would be at least a description of the Rul(e).

"Chance as demiurge gives rise to chants," or "Its one divine rule is song."

Or from Le Hasard to Le Haha surd, or logically derived absurdities, or "laughing logics"
or really species of ludicity, which in a playful way is very close to lucidity, lucid ludics.

Now, there is another odd echo, which is a sort of echo of roots, or the possibilities for feeling in narrative that I feel sure must have inspired the mind of Roussel. The only specific thing I will say is that there are a few very Rousselian details about this story. The story of Robert Burn and Jenny Clow. The name of Roussel's ship is the Sylvander. Sylvander is the name Burns used in a series of  loveletters to Jenny Clow's employer Agnes Maclehose, but upon the delivering of a letter one time, Burns seduced and impregnated Jenny clow:

Following an affair whilst with the poet while he was in Edinburgh, the twenty year old Jenny Clow gave birth in November 1788[7] to Robert Burns's child, Robert Burns Clow. She is said to have had a port wine birthmark that caused her embarrassment in public situations. Jenny died three years later from TB.

Robert Burns (clue):

In Roussel, the girl child of Talu and Rul is named Sirdah and is 'burned' with the same star marking her forehead which echoes the golden hair pin star which Rul desired from the dead Swiss woman. The only possible connection I could find between "Swiss Woman" and Jenny Clow
was the phrase Charwoman, the operative connective being 'Swiss Chard" or Swiss Charred (Burnt). There is also a sense of the "holy" from Swiss cheese. The Swiss woman is trying to save her own child, whose sex is left ambiguous by Roussel. Let's visit Roussel's mention of the red birth mark of Sirdah, or perhaps her name is really (Life)-iS-(c)hard:

Here is the text produced by Joseph Conrad for the volume of Love Letters which Burns produced called Sylvander and Clarinda.

"The sight of human affairs deserves admiration 
and pity. They are worthy of respect, too. And 
he is not insensible who pays them the undemon- 
strative tribute of a sigh which is not a sob, and 
of a smile which is not a grin." 


Strangely, there is also this small text from Burns about Jenny Clow:

"Oh Jenny’s a weet, poor body,
Jenny’s seldom dry,
She draigl’t a’ her petticoats,
Comin thro’ the rye"!

And then there is the life of Robert Burns Clow itself which seems somehow pertinent:

Born in Edinburgh in 1788, Robert Burns was willing to take (him) into his home, but his mother would not part with him. He later became a wealthy merchant in London. Robert (Burns Clow) married and had a son, also Robert Burns Clow, who went to Borneo, married a chief's daughter and was killed by pirates. He had been given his father's names, as this was the custom at the time. He was to name his own son Robert, however he never capitalized on the link with his famous poet father.

At any rate, however Raymond Roussel may have come up with this particular part of his tale in Impressions of Africa, I don't think we will ever know definitively. That ship no longer bobs above the waves. Its clues are burned away, leaving us to clown about in the wreckage, and sigh, but not sob.

In Ejur, in the land of old Suan,
Talu and Rul happen to view
The shipwreck of the Mallarme'..

It tosses up a lady's corpse
limp as chard in a Swiss
costume of white and billowing
sleeves as creamy as cheese.

Rul sees her red velvet corset,
and a star of golden hair pins
which Rul madly covets, and sends
a slave to fetch in the awful
waves, discovering also
a dead child clinging clos
by the neck of the corpse, and later
a name, Sylvander, embroidered
upon a sailor's cap, last cap
left floating in the foam.

Tal and Rul give birth to Sirdah
who has a star-shaped birthmark
strangely - on her forehead
which leaves Rul cold
and so takes Mossem,
the tall councillor of Talu.

Mossem and Rul give birth to a boy
and abandon Sirdah to the dark Vorrh
and Talu all unawares begins the Jeruka
in war and bellicose sadness.
Mossem takes Jizme (to hide his sin from Talu)
to hide his relations with Rul
Jizme finds Naïr (As Mossem never touches her)

And then there is the letter.

Every seduction, isduction,
begins with the letter.

Or is symbolism a finely woven
mosquito trap.

Is Naïr reversed close enough to Reign to echo Rul?

Naïr uses a 'chanted formula' in order to remember the
complex steps needed to create the mosquito trap.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Ally of the Fireflies

One further prospect I just thought of is to use the phrase

l'allié aux d'lucioles

which changes 'alley' to ally
and captures something of Aude via "aux d'-"

Perhaps at 2 Allée des Lucioles, Beaulieu-sur-Mer, France
at some point

fireflies somehow become quantum entangled with the mind of Voltaire
by happening to just constellate in precisely the right way. A sort of geometric figure
that represents the neural capacitance of Voltaire..

Like a neural net, like a loose topology of nodal points, of fireflies

maybe in that yard, various personages speak as in a seance through the fireflies..

Maybe Susanne Dyby is a mystical entomologist (an ally of these fireflies)

and she is able night after night to converse with the dead through this odd (Aude)

(later on)

after taking a nap, I woke up realizing the echo between

Ally of the Fireflies

and Knud Dyby

Knud Dyby, an ally of the fireflies (jews).

But then an opposite arose in my mind

"Nazis" as Gnatsies..

Susanne Dyby as an entomologist is an

Ally of the Gnatsies..

And on a side note, Raymond Roussel maintained his mother's home in Neuilly-Sur-Seine
and Neuilly is a common placename in France but in the particular case of Neuilly-Sur-Seine
this is not the case..

Often in various periods it was known as Lulliacum, or Luigni, or Luny!


and then there's this note from an on-line Australian Hebrew Newspaper:

For example, my research analyses the hitherto-overlooked camouflaged semantic networking being transferred from one language to another. Whereas mechanisms as calques (loan translations such assuperman, from German Übermensch), phono-semantic matches (e.g. crayfish, from Old French crevice, a cognate of crab that has little to do with fish) and portmanteau blends (e.g. motel, frommotor+hotel) have been studied, there is a need to uncover concealed semantic links between words in the Target Language which reflect – often subconsciously – semantic networking in the Source Language. Consider the Israeli word gakhlilít ‘firefly, glow-worm’ – coined by poet laureate H. N. Bialik (1873-1934). This word is semantically and etymologically linked to the Biblical Hebrew word gaHelet‘burning coal, glowing ember’. Morphologically, Israeli gakhlilít derives from Hebrew gaHelet plus the reduplication of its third radical [l]. However, no Israeli dictionary reveals the crucial semantic networking aspect, namely that the Israeli concoction, gakhlilít, in fact replicates a European mindset, apparent, for example in Yiddish גליווארעם glivórem ‘firefly’, lit. ‘glow’ (cf. gaHelet) + ‘worm’, or in German Glühwürmchen.

A Revelation in #2

Strangely enough, I think I now have a "solid element" of the story. A few moments ago, needing to defecate rather urgently, and normally I wouldn't mention this, except that under the Aegis of "A Boscage in progress" I must, as before I mentioned that 1 Allée des Lucioles 06310 Beaulieu-sur-Mer, France does not exist, but that 2 does. So, I had to go #2, and to preface what happened, much earlier this morning I remembered I had an overdue library book, Heinrich Dumoulin's Zen Buddhism: A History. Now instead of taking the book back, I just went to my on-line library account and rechecked the book, thus halting the fines I had already accrued. But I did move the book into the other room where I put it atop a bookshelf near a bathroom. Now then, just a fe moments ago I went to go use #2, and as I sat down I opened the book at random and found exactly this (It is a quote from Hung-jen):

Look to where the horizon disappears beyond the sky and behold the figure one. This is a great help. It is good for those beginning to sit in meditation, when they find their mind distracted, to focus their mind on the figure one.

The Chinese character for one consists of a single horizontal line and, like the contemplation of the form of the sun mentioned in the sutra, it represents the line beyond the horizon where sky and earth touch. This high regard for the number one, which is characteristic of all spirituality in the far east, inspired the Mahayana exaltation of the single Buddha nature and the "one vehicle". In Zen, the One that is experienced in Enlightenment is the nature of the mind itself in its identity with the Buddha nature.

So, By Susanne Dyby giving her address as 1 in the story she will be leaving a sort of coded message. Now I've still got to sort out exactly what that might be.. Something to do with Entomology I suppose, a revelation of Zen Entomology, or Zen Etymology.. The "3 stroke"
shape of the alley is very like a Z..

We'll see..

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Building a Story Inside Out

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Poking around looking for material related to Roussel's L’allée aux Lucioles
recently published by Les presses du réel, or really anything, maybe something on Frederick the Great, I ran across an Entomologist named Susanne Dyby who lists her address in The Encyclopedia of Entomology as, well (see 'carte' below):

If you put that address into Google Maps, there is no #1 as all the houses that face the street on Allee des Lucioles are on the 'even' side. 

For now I will leave this, but I am interested in writing a story based on contemporary research techniques reminiscent of Roussel's approach. I am thinking about writing about the writing of a story, to make the story, the story of a story's construction..

Susanne Dyby's father was the Danish Schindler. He saved something like 9000 Jews from death in Denmark, and in a speech that Susanne gave recently in remembrance of her Father, she recounted that her father was inspired by the story of the Scarlet Pimpernel:

Sir Percy is a wealthy English baronet who rescues individuals sentenced to death in the guillotine. His acts of daring show him to be a master of disguise, an imaginative planner, a formidable swordsman and a quick-thinking escape artist. With each rescue he taunts his enemies by leaving behind a card showing a small flower--a scarlet pimpernel.

In the tale of her father's deeds she also mentions that he had recourse to using chemists to construct a powder made from human blood and cocaine which was used to disrupt the noses of the Nazi dogs used to search for fugitives among the boats.

In terms of places to begin looking for entrances for a story.
What is this house at #2? Why does it say Jeanne Marie on either side of the gate?
How did the alley come to get that name? The alley itself almost looks like an R without a
leg, but conversely the most promising 'leg' is that combined, the difference in the phrases;
aux - des can be combined as "Aude" (odd, ode), and: Aude is also a frequent feminine French given name in Francophone countries, deriving initially from Aude or Oda, a wife of Bertrand, Duke of Aquitaine, and mother of Saint Hubertus's brother Eudo. Aude was the name of Roland's fiancée in the chansons de gestes. This is a great echo of Roussel's medievality in his tale!

I also did a search for 'real estate' nearby the address, and came up with several inexplicable entries like Gia Sci, RAF, and others attached to buildings in the area. I thought I might put Gia Carangi in the story somehow, an RAF pilot, a raffle ticket, entomology, some kind of sinister plot involving the house at number 2, or perhaps not sinister, maybe something to do with Eric Satie, as yesterday I met a man and he played the 3rd Gnossienne for me on his piano.. Also in terms of the Boscage theme, I live very near Aud-elia street.. Maybe I could recast have Gia running for her life from disgruntled drug dealers to find something beautiful in Number 2..

Another thing I thought of was to Drop the Leg from the R's in Raymond Roussel 
and try D's or P's 

Diamond Deuce Sell
Payment Puce Zell

The alley stretches between two Montée streets, the Montée des Orangers, and 
the Montée Fleurie.. These also seem to be likely elements to add into the story..

And Perhaps a good element might be to have a meeting between Roussel and
Baroness_Emma_Orczy.. hmm