Thursday, November 10, 2011

Lars Iyer Essay

"...For the pragmatic among us, the end of Literature is merely the end of a melodramatic model, a false hope that has gone the way of psychoanalysis, Marxism, punk rock and philosophy. But for the less pragmatic among us, we realise— we experience—what has been lost. Without Literature we lose Tragedy and Revolution both, and these are the two last best modalities of Hope. And when Tragedy disappears, we sink down into a gloom, a life whose vast sadness is that it is less than tragic. We crave tragedy, but where can we get it when tragedy has given way to farce? Shame and scorn are the only response now at literary readings to literary manifestos. All effort are belated now, all attempts are impostures. We know what we want to say and to hear, but our new instruments cannot hold the tune. We cannot do it again nor make it new since both of those actions have telescoped to equivalence—we are like circus clowns who cannot squeeze into their car. The words of Pessoa ring in our ears: ‘Since we are unable to extract beauty from life, we attempt at least to extract it from our incapacity to extract beauty from life.’ This is the task given us, our last, best chance."