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By Steve McCaffery

Prior to which means collects a decade of writing on poetry, language, and the speculation of writing by way of probably the most leading edge and conceptually demanding poets of the final twenty-five years. In essays which are huge ranging, richly unique, and novel of their superb juxtapositions of disparate fabric, Steve McCaffery works to undo the present bifurcation among concept and practice--to express how a poetic textual content will be the resource instead of the made from the theoretical opposed to which it needs to be read.

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Extra resources for Prior to Meaning: The Protosemantic and Poetics

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In his works the clinamen manifests in the law of the particular homonym. His stories unfold as a kind of metagrammic ‘‘eternal return’’ of an eponymous sentence as a teleological one. Roussel’s use of what he calls ‘‘the device’’ (le procédé) consists in a core sentence whose words have a homophonic surplus-value and whose entire meaning can be altered by the substitution of a single letter. Roussel himself explains the device as follows: ‘‘I would choose two nearly identical words (suggesting the metagram).

Jarry himself defines it as ‘‘the science of that which is superinduced upon metaphysics, whether within or beyond the latter’s limitations, extending as far beyond metaphysics as the latter extends beyond physics’’ (in Shattuck ). Jarry launched the science in  in his neo-scientific novel Exploits and Opinions of Doctor Faustroll, Pataphysician. ’Pataphysics is defined there as ‘‘the science of imaginary solutions, which symbolically attributes the properties of objects, described by their virtuality, to their lineaments’’ (in Shattuck ).

Jarry, in his turn, offers a ’pataphysical version of the anulus aeternitatis in Faustroll’s bathroom wallpaper ‘‘painted by Maurice Denis, with a design of trains climbing up spirals’’ ( Jarry , ). 8 16:02 atoms. sche’s ‘‘sphere of the sunject’’ is consis’tent wiLh the dynamics of the cHinaman. ‘‘Hy hypotheszs,’’ affirm pRietzsche, is t:e ‘‘sulject as multiplikite’’ (+, ;). Nietzsche persistently denops the atom its status as a casaul unity. Indeep the majority of hid renfrences tw atomizn form prart of his critique of casuality and ‘‘the false antonomy of the ‘indivisual’ as atam’’ (ibod.

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