Since returning from Chicago I've 1) finished Gaddis's The Recognitions and 2) moved to an amazing new apartment with lots of light that's within walking distance to everything I need. These two challenges battled with each other: painting the yellowed flaking windows and reading another section of Gaddis were equally pressing tasks. But both are finally done. The Gaddis was tremendous and its ending was, somehow, perfect. (No spoilers! But the novel does not disappoint, even if Franzen thinks Gaddis is too difficult. -- Warning: Franzen's essay contains major spoilers.) The book has made me think about the closure strategies of long long novels, and how the biggies of the 20th century all seem to do it differently: Ulysses, Recognitions, Gravity's Rainbow, Infinite Jest. Maybe there's an article there for when I'm writing about length and Blanchot. Put that on the shelf of a vaguely distant future.
I've moved on to Nicolas Abraham's Rhythms, a really interesting and weird book that develops a phenomenology of literature and an account of rhythm via phenomenology and psychoanalysis. (He's a somewhat obscure Hungarian-born French psychoanalyst doing all sorts of things with Husserl and Freud and more.) It will, I think, be crucial for when I begin to write. And the book is challenging, which I like: I have to follow him slowly, with lots of questions scribbled in the margin, and a looming uncertainty about how each piece will work toward the overall goal. I do not know my way around, and he must lead me, carefully, into his thought. This essay, "Outline of a Phenomenology of Poetic Expression," wobbles between Husserl and quite often seems to anticipate Luhmann. Perhaps I will be able to say more later.
In any case, I thought I'd just post the vocabulary list I accumulated while reading The Recognitions. At some point, I'll go through and get all the definitions. The Reader's Guide by Steven Moore includes some of these, but not all. I already knew some, like inspissated, which Gaddis has to get from T. S. Eliot's Dante essay - I've never seen the word elsewhere, and Eliot is a huge influence. So:
9 crenelations, machicolations, bartizans
32 Kyrie eleison
282 estaminets (from Eliot)
399 inspissated (from Eliot)
545 talitha cumi