Former People Speak: Trauma August 18, 2014 / skepoet2 Steven and I talk about Trauma and Art. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading... Related
10 thoughts on “Former People Speak: Trauma”
I listened to the discussion.
I read a lot, but many of the authors you mentioned aren’t among those I’ve read. I’ve never gotten to Nabokov. I have read a little bit of Ballard, such as The Atrocity Exhibit and some other work by him that I forget the title. Of course, I’m very familiar with Kafka, as familiar with is non-fiction as his fiction.
My reading is wide-ranging, although largely haphazard. I’ve read some classic English authors such as Hardy and Hesse, neither of which do I recall you having discussed in the video. Most of the genre writers and more obscure small press writers I’ve read also weren’t part of the discussion. For example, I don’t think any of the philosophical horror writers were mentioned.
Was there a reason you two discussed the particular books you did? Or was it simply the authors you both shared familiarity with?
The one author I’ve wondered about quite a bit is David Foster Wallace. For years, I meant to read him because of his reputation. I finally bought a bunch of his books and sampled from them, especially his essays. I must admit for the most part I couldn’t get into his style. It often seemed like a lot of work for little reward. But obviously other people love his writing. I’ve wondered if there is something I’m missing that truly does make him one of the greatest writers, as some claim.
Anyway, I enjoyed the discussion. I particularly appreciated the part on Kafka.
I’ve heard a lot about the difficulty of translating him. Even those who know the language struggle because of the odd linguistic niche of when and where he lived. I have been fascinated by the other side of Kafka that most people miss. I’ve come across that Kafka would laugh during his readings of his own work. I think Ursula K. Le Guin mentions that her aunt went to a public reading by Kafka where he laughed.
I came to understand Kafka better by reading his non-fiction. My favorite writings of his are his Blue Octavo Notebooks. It offers a glimpse into his thoughts on life, in his more philosophical mode.
It was mostly the authors I have studied intensely. I have read Hesse and Hardy, and probably should have mentioned Hardy in this discussion.
You are familiar with Ligotti, as I recall. He would have made a good topic of discussion. With his philosophical horror fiction and philosophical pessimist non-fiction, he offers a unique perspective on trauma, tragedy, and suffering. He also has quite a few interviews where he shares some insight into his life and art.
I quote conspiracy against the human race a lot
I knew you had quoted Ligotti before. But I couldn’t remember exactly what you quoted. I also wasn’t sure how familiar you were with his work overall. Are you more of a fan of his non-fiction than his fiction?
I like both, and there is not a massive distinction between the two in style.
“I’ve wondered if there is something I’m missing that truly does make him one of the greatest writers, as some claim.”
I think his moments when he is sincere, he is actually really great, but that is more in essays than fiction. He keeps layering and hiding his sincerity.
I’ve come across quotes of his writings. I was impressed. That is what first intrigued me. But when I read him, I found few of those moments of brilliant insight that seem to come from a place of, as you say, sincerity.
Then again, maybe I wasn’t reading his best pieces. I was randomly sampling from his work and so may have missed some choice writing. Which essays would you specifically recommend?
A supposedly fun thing I will never do again is good
Thanks. I’ll check it out.