The comparative literature conference back in March introduced me to Thomas Lehr, who hasn’t been translated; I’ve been reading his Frühling and need a capacious dictionary. The conceitlast thirty-odd seconds of a man’s lifea stream of prose that I suppose you’d call para-consciousness. Something like Beckett syntax, but it comes out differently in German. Worth doing. Such rhetorical splendor for any old dude keeling over on the sidewalk; modernism at its most generous.
Still there’s the question of what content to give that form, and as always the answer is memory. I think we’ve had too much of it. The moderns drew that map, Beckett burned the fat off and now it’s lost its power as an organizing principle. Rereading Kafka, I’ve been struck by how his people never remember anything: it’s not a permitted move.
The almost-genre of coma-as-framing-story -- an escape hatch? The Third Policeman probably best known, but I should make a list.
I’d like to see that listbut is The Third Policeman about a coma? I thought it was about hell.
do you think there might be a connection to broch's 'death of vergil'?
Lehr must have thought about it. But I thought Virgil’s consciousness was a major justification for the rhetoric in that book, on account of he’s Virgil? (I have to confess, J. disliked The Death of Vergil enough that I haven’t tried it.)