Lucifer's Valet


Posted in Poeticks by lucifersvalet on 18 August 2011

Reading around in The Cambridge Companion to German Idealism:

Fichte’s solution to this dilemma is his concept of striving….This concept is the very heart of the early Wissenschaftslehre, which Fichte even called “a philosophy of striving.” According to this concept, the absolute ego, which creates all nature, is not a reality but only an idea, the goal for striving of the finite ego. All that is left for the finite ego is constant striving, the ceaseless struggle to make nature conform to the demands of its rational activity.

Frederick Beiser

I always thought that when Allen Grossman said “per impossible,” he meant something like this. It’s a trope found all over the twentieth-century, such as in, according to Bruce Fink, Lacan.  It’s a hallmark feature of humanist thought, perhaps a distinguishing feature of Romantic Modernism, so you could call it Humanist Modernism, and the stuff that refuses all this striving “applesauce” could be called Anti-Humanist Modernism. But that kind of naming is no fun. (“Anti-humanism” is a term I first ran across on T.P. Uschanov’s old web site, the Icy Frigid Aire. The term is one of those things I read once then spent years trying to guess what it meant.)



Posted in Made Things, My Back Pages by lucifersvalet on 17 August 2011

I am at a party at Steve Marriott’s, though he might also be some friend from high school. The Rolling Stones are there. I end up in a room alone w/Marianne Faithfull, & we kiss for a long time. Later I end up in a room w/Bianca Jagger, kissing, though she looks more like Jerry Hall. She might also be Mick. He, by the way, wins some party game & makes everyone sing a chorus from some song over & over. I comment to Marriott about how competitive he is. Marriott then explains how on a 45 the groove that leads into the song has to have its treble suppressed, whereas on  an LP the tracks between the songs have to have the bass suppressed. Or is it the other way around?



Posted in Culture Vulturing by lucifersvalet on 16 August 2011

World as in world of practices, ways of life. Who tap dances for a living anymore? Who can do that trick w/the drum, the one where Buddy Rich bounce passes a stick to Eleanor Powell?

One appeal of vaudeville, or rather, one appealing thing about the idea of vaudeville, is that it is so obviously work. (Which can appeal to those who like stories about work.) It’s right there in the theatricality of it. There’s no sprezzatura: these folks are obviously working their asses off. & have been for years. (What did Gladwell say? You don’t get good at something till you do it 10,00o times?) W/every turn, twist, and tumble, the dancer says, “I’m working hard for you, hard-working people of the USA!” (& this work-as-show reaches its apotheosis, does it not? in Jack Benny’s radio show, whose story was all & only about putting on Jack Benny’s radio show.)

& why shouldn’t these things be lost? Tap dancing: how arbitrary! how absurd! These people are so good at something that was so context-specific, an intricate flower that grew only in one small valley in the great range of history.  (Rich’s virtuoso technique operated in a more durable genre, but still there’s something unnervingly contingent about a drum kit.)

On the other hand, the appeal of women in bathing suits has no end in sight. & who doesn’t like a sleazy Bert Lahr? Also if I’m not mistaken Tommy Dorsey has the screen presence of an inert ape.


Posted in Poeticks by lucifersvalet on 15 August 2011

Reading around in The Cambridge Companion to German Idealism:

The negative meaning of “idealism” implies that most things that are commonly taken to be real are not so in fact, that is, they do not exist at all, or at least not in the manner that has been assumed. The positive interpretation of “idealism,” in contrast, involves seeing the term as adding rather than subtracting significance, as emphasizing that, whatever we say about the status of many things that are thought to exist at a common-sense level, we also need to recognize a set of features or entities that have a higher a more “ideal” nature.

Karl Ameriks

In other words, the re-enchantment of the world. Adding to it meaningfulness. W/the Modernist turn, this project can no longer be announced directly. It must be done by other means, one of which was to announce the impossibility of the project. This negative version would be similar to what Eliot said of Baudelaire, that his atheism was actually a kind of faith, for someone with a real lack of faith wouldn’t be talking about God at all.


Posted in Poeticks by lucifersvalet on 14 August 2011

Reginald called himself a “Romantic Modernist.” What did that mean? It may seem an oxymoron, but  there’s something to it.

What I’m weaker on is the Romantic part. So I’m going to work on that part. From a particular angle: what part of Romanticism carries over into Modernism?

Of course I’m only concerned with poetry.


Posted in Hermeneutic Friendship, Narcissistic Self-Loathing, Poeticks by lucifersvalet on 13 August 2011

(1) I will do something. I promised Reginald I would do something, & I want to start doing that.

(2) I will do nothing interesting. Ray and Peli are interesting. But if I keep worrying that nothing I can say is interesting, I won’t be able to do something.

(3) Some of the things I will do will be very basic. The kind of things a clever undergraduate should know. However, I want to put down some foundation, stuff to build up from. This stuff could be kept in journals & off the internet, but in the interests of (1), that is, to help me establish the habit of doing something, I will put it here. & it’s not as if more people will read this than might read my journals, esp. if I keep leaving them lying about.

Not that I’m entirely embarrassed by simplicity. Once I wanted to write literary criticism the way Wittgenstein wrote philosophy. Of course, this was just a notion. I lacked all of the requirements for such a project, most importantly, the drive to do it. Still, Wittgenstein seems to show that basic considerations can be important. These days I’d call it a means for the re-enchantment of the world.