Discourse; Rhetoric; Emptiness (#1)


From: <>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, December 06, 2006 10:58 AM
Subject: don't forget

I'm interested in what changes you think I should make to Discourse; Rhetoric; Emptiness.

hit me up dog


From: "Lee Klein" <>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, December 06, 2006 1:09 PM
Subject: Re: don't forget

So. Yeah. You don't mean "morale," you mean "moral" . . . I sort of admire your semi-winking (;) tone throughout (for example, the semi-colons in the space breaks), and I followed the ideas through the first few pages, but after page 5 or so, you mostly lose me. You're making assertions that sort of float on the page, not making enough sense to me (at least), not seeming to necessarily follow previous statements clearly enough, and, certainly, these assertions rarely seem based on or supported by the texts we've read. You conclude that each book is "without size, wrought with significance, and boundlessly insignificant" and I'd say the same is true with this essay. It's 7 pages, loaded with meaningful-seeming sentences (which often give off a B.S. whiff), that in the end seems pretty bounded by insignificance. Why? Mostly because these statements aren't supported by specific textual evidence. If you could cut the last few pages down to 3/4s of a page, then fill the rest out with a demonstration of how these ideas specifically relate to specific passages in the text, I think the essay would be more persuasive. I don't mind the semi-sarcastic, supply-side arguments about literary ambition and reward etc, but I do mind the vagueness and the lack of supporting/establishing quotations toward the end, particularly. Things aren't grounded enough, as they are now. You mention confusion, but not how that is expressed in the books. This could be a tremendous essay, I think, if you were to say what you mean more clearly and show how the ideas directly relate to the novels we're talking about. As it is now, it reads more like vague philosophy, perhaps translated from the original Russian. I feel like I'm missing quite a lot, actually. And when I slowly reread sections and specific sentences, I feel like these statements are for the most part highly debatable, largely because they're vague and therefore wide open to misinterpretation and potential confusion. If you wanted to create a text that seems loaded with meaning and also insignificant, you've achieved that, I think, but I'd prefer to read something that makes more sense and seems to arise from (and is supported by) the novels. Finally, for this class's purposes -- for this essay's purposes -- I need to see that you've read the books, and this essay doesn't demonstrate that yet. There's real opportunity to integrate specific textual evidence, though - and doing so will probably vastly improve it, up the clarity and significance levels. On that old arc between reader and writer, I don't think you're currently projecting your ideas into the ideal zone between us just yet. And when I do extra work to try to extend over to your side some more, again, the effort yields something vague and therefore very questionable. 

Prove it to me, dawg. Testify. Quote chapter and verse! Make it clear to the sleeping sinner in the back pew!

Good luck - Lee


A book of blurbs to books that don't exist.

Roberto Bolaño on the Beach

Stolen flash drive alert!