Sunday 1 September 2019

Deborah Levy at the LRB

I had the great pleasure to listen to Deborah Levy talk about her new book The Man Who Saw Everything at the London Review Bookshop this week. Upon discovering her writing within the last year, I've read 5 of her books and have now started her latest. I cannot get enough of her writing.

Notes from the discussion:

- extreme beauty is quite freakish wherein we want to gaze but find ourselves repulsed by that which is beautiful
- narrative consequences whereby the author is in contract with her reader and must address the stakes in her created world
- Is it possible or desirable to see everything? If we did, we would never fall in love - we have to be blind to fall enough or we'd run away
- "erotically fierce moment"
- Marx as the spectre than haunted a whole continent
- how we see ourselves and each other vs. how the state sees us
- political and personal surveillance
- being a muse is very undesirable and is completely lacking in agency. DL said: it is better to plant tomatoes and hope that someone finds the dirt under under your fingernails adorable
- there is a seductive quality to people who are so caught up in their own lives (narcissists)
- to be both narcissistic and loving is confusing for the one you love
- Stalin punishing people for thought crimes
- return of the father as return of the repressed
- risks associated with knowing things you don't want to know
- how the present is haunted by the past and moments of psychoanalytic repetition
- attention as a subject matter; hyper-attention as mania - an author is only as interesting as what she pays attention to
- how one might be saved by the attention of others

The socialist fraternal kiss or socialist fraternal embrace between Erich Honecker and Leonid Brezhnev, 1979

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