Ghostlier demarcations
A book that furnishes no quotations is no book—it is a plaything. Next to the originator of a good sentence is the first quoter of it. How frequently the mere purchase of a book is mistaken for the appropriation of its contents.
Quotation out of context (1): Epiphanic Stand-Alones
I've been thinking about quotations out of context for a long time: probably since Ray Bradbury made me fall in love with Yeats without my reading a word of him except Bradbury's quotations in title and epigraph. When such quotations are great -- and really that's the most fundamental reason for wanting to quote, or at least for remembering quotations, getting them by heart -- there are two ways they can be great:
Reported speech in the heroic couplet
While Beckett once advised another writer to stop "blazing away at the microcosmic moon," it's sometimes an irresisitible temptation to try to "flush the coverts of the microglot," as J.L. Austin put it (in "A Plea for Excuses"). And why resist it?
Undead Novel, Two
Previously, I wrote about a class on Media Archeology co-taught at NYU by Alexander Galloway, a media theorist and Ben Kafka, a historian.