Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

24 March 2011

The Inadequacy of Language

I have been reading books. Books other than books that I should be reading, if you know what I mean. I no longer need to study and so I am no longer forced to read the 140 pages I was reading every night. Instead I am allowed to take my time with my reading and choose texts that are not strictly necessary so much as I know they will give me pleasure.

I just finished Howard Barker: Plays Two. I am ordering this book for a class I will be teaching next Fall semester. His writing is so exquisite, so filled with agony, and also so very violent. I love him, of course.  At any rate, some passages from the four plays in this volume:

From Gertrude - The Cry:

I hate the word sex I really do I hate the word
I tried to shut it out of my vocabulary but frankly it's impossible charm allure sensuality what little words what poor and little words

And from later in the play:

ISOLA: You're a fool
CLAUDIUS: So you say
ISOLA: I do say it
CLAUDIUS: You say it with such frequency it has entirely forfeited its effect

And from still later:

What a fine departure the stupidest individuals I have observed design perfect departures for themselves whereas the sensitive are invariably embarrassing (Pause). Pain ruins their vocabulary

From 13 Objects:

We must struggle with the language that we possess
we must employ the inadequate knowing full well its inadequacy


And wishing people dead
I do it all the time
We all do
I defy a single man or woman to state they never wished another dead
I defy
I do defy