Radio Dada

I’m on riley­dog today!

I’m almost done read­ing Louis Aragon’s The Adven­tures of Telemachus. Appar­ent­ly, this is also a par­o­dy of a sto­ry writ­ten by Fenelon in 1699. I’ve had pre­vi­ous expe­ri­ence with Dadaist films and visu­al art, but not lit­er­a­ture. This expe­ri­ence has been appro­pri­ate­ly strange. Aragon warps every­thing for his own plea­sure. Gre­co-Roman is wres­tled into some­thing resem­bling farce after a night of hal­lu­cino­genic drug use. [not that i know any­thing about that, mind]. Min­er­va is Men­tor, the guide or some­thing or Telemachus. A foul ball, Mentor/Minerva’s inces­sant pros­e­ly­tiz­ing is an end­less source of amuse­ment — while at the same time con­tain­ing the meat of the book. sweet­meat i sup­pose. i would think her a les­bian if she didn’t bang Calyp­so in quite such a mas­cu­line way. Telemachus and nymph Eucharis do the nasty a few times as well, as for Telemachus, that saucy Greek, i’m not sure his heart is in it. When they see an oner­ous play called “The Adven­tures of Telemachus” it takes noth­ing more to con­vince me that Aragon is mock­ing Fenelon.

He [he being Aragon], in true Dada fash­ion, fas­tid­i­ous­ly seeks to become He Who Destroys Lit­er­a­ture. yet also in true Dada fash­ion, he seeks to cre­ate some­thing out of the destruc­tion. i think this is what i like most about those cra­zies. they kept the knowl­edge that destruc­tion and cre­ation are inex­tri­ca­bly bound with their mit­tens and cook­books.

Some favorites thus­far:

One word is just as good as the next: all of them are ciphers.” p. 21

I believe the blue sky, the green trees, the tri­col­or flag, the red flag, the earth as round as a ball, young youth, old, old age. I believe. I believe in doubt, I doubt my faith. I doubt that I believe in my doubt. What I believe is that I believe it.” [spo­ken to an audi­ence of pen­guins and seag­ulls by that rap­scal­lion Men­tor] p. 35

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