Wednesday, May 31, 2017

My Strange Quest

Favorite Library Notice Ever!

The other day, in search of summer reading, I pulled My Strange Quest for Mensonge by Malcolm Bradbury down from the shelf. If you're unfamiliar with this brief, hilarious novel, here's a funny review to give you an idea of what's in store for the reader. This title came to mind recently, along with other examples of academic satire, and I have also included it on my Eclectic Course of Must Reads.

Adding to the sardonic humor was the post card that fell from the pages, where it has been lingering for the past twenty - eight years. I must have felt back then that it would be an appropriate bookmark -- or perhaps a footnote or an additional very short chapter -- for a book about a quest for a missing author and mislaid manuscripts.
" . . . the death of the Author leads of the rise of the auteur, showing that even in an ungoverned universe there is usually someone in charge. By having the scenery fall down a great deal and keeping other cameras in shot they proved that the films were fictions simply about themselves, and indeed this was a time when all art became about itself, books being about the writing of books and buildings about the building of buildings. Thus architecture became postmodern too and form stopped being a slave to function . . . . All art became a fund of eclectic quotations from all other art and it was clear . . . that we now lived in the age of the imaginary museum, when all styles were simultaneously available" (46).
If Powers of Horror by Julia Kristeva was truly "on a list of books that are so far overdue that it is doubtful they will be returned," where oh where could it have been? Did it ever make its way back home again?

I'm further mystified by own notation, faintly in pencil: "The Death of the Book." Another lost text? A chapter or an article by Kristeva? A confirmation that Powers of Horror was dead to the Purdue Humanities Library? Or was I telling the future?

When I check google / amazon, the most likely possibility that pops up is a book that was published only last summer: The Death of the Book: Modernist Novels and the Time of Readingby John Lurz. Sounds like a good one for the perpetual reading list.