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Showing posts from October 6, 2013

anger and reading 2

So yesterday I tried to approach an experience I have – an experience I have on both ends, actually. One is the experience of reading something that made me angry, and that I felt was designed to make me – as a certain type of person – angry. The other is the experience of writing to anger. If we take Aristotle as giving us a social definition of anger, and Marcus Aurelius as giving us a description of the cosmic damage anger does, what are we to make of the modern character of provocation? Why would an author want to provoke his readers? In a sense, I’d argue that modernity is tied to provocation – or I should say the aesthetics of modernity. If one way of writing is to lure the reader to an act of identification, another way is to lure the reader by the rather strange via negativa of alienating him – but attaching him nevertheless to what reading has to be, an act of following. William Gass talks about the sort of visual ‘wind” that blows through the written page – the inv

anger and reading

Researching the novel I am writing, I have been going over magazines and newspapers in the 2002 and 2003 period, and – just as I remembered – they are frighteningly insane. This leads me to a question: in what ways does anger distort one’s reading” Anger, of course, is sometimes purposely provoked by a text. Sometimes that provocation is meant to align the reader and the writer in a shared indignation. Aristotle, in the rhetoric, defines anger in social and pragmatic terms: Anger may be defined as an impulse, accompanied by pain, to a conspicuous revenge for a conspicuous slight directed without justification towards what concerns oneself or towards what concerns one's friends.     According to Aristotle’s definition, then, anger is the felt correspondent of the law of talion – the law of eye for an eye. Its intentional structure is not: I feel hot, I can’t breath, I have to scream, but – I have to strike out to even up the slight I have received. This way of construin