Thursday, July 16, 2009

Literarture, Space and Time: Musical Reading

For future thought... why does literary criticism treat texts as though they were spatial.. fixed in Euclidan geometric configurations? Atemporal?

As though how we experience them in memory, for critical thought, must replace altogether how we experience them in reading... or should I say... as we read. As though, reading as a spacial, fixed whole, must be privilaged over a beginning to end reading?

That's not how we listen to music... or how we understand its structure.

There are psalms, at least in Hebrew... where a temporal understanding is essential...that is, a word is used and then repeated in a parallel line in such a way that its given a new definition. Begin the reading (or hearing) of the psalm from the beginning, and you have a revised definition of the key terms... which in turn are revised by the subsequent reading. What we learn along the way changes what we experience.

Is literature... or rather, literary criticism, always neo-Platonic in this sense? A criticism structurally in denial of time? Of the Arrow of Time? Must it be?

What would it look like... a criticsm that read with the discipline of music--reading in time?

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