Richard Kostelanetz
Notes on Spacial Form
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The tendency of literature has been to escape itself, to subvert or transcend its form, to re-imagine imagination, and, as it were, to create a state of unmediated literary awareness. -Ihab Hassan, Paracriticisms (1975)

When a critic deals with a work of literature, the most natural thing for him to do is to freeze it, to ignore its movement in time and look at it as a completed pattern of words, with all its parts existing simultaneously. - Northrop Frye, »Myth, Fiction, and Displacement« (1961)

The musical conception of form, that is to say the understanding that you can use form as a musician uses sound, that you can select motives of form from the forms before you, that you can recombine and recolour them and 'organise' them into a new form - that conception, this state of mental activity, brings with it a great joy and refreshment. I do not wish to convert anyone. I simply say that a certain sort of pleasure is available to anyone who wants it. - Ezra Pound, »Vorticism« (1915)

I begin, then, with the assumption that Ives wrote pictorial music - music based largely on relationships that are simultaneous, reciprocal, and reflective in nature rather than successive, sequential, and unidirectional. It is in this sense that I say that there relationships are primarily spatial in nature rather than temporal. If this music is approached in these terms, I think that much that may otherwise seem puzzling in it becomes more readily comprehensible. - Robert P. Morgan, in An Ives Celebration (1977)

You might if you chose develop any part of the picture, for the idea of sequence does not really exist as far as the author is concerned. Sequence arises only because words have to be written one after the other on consecutive pages, just as the reader's mind must have time to go through the book, at least the first time he reads it. Time and sequence cannot exist in the author's mind because no time element and no space element had ruled the initial vision. If the mind were constructed on optional lines and if a book could be read in the same way as a painting is taken in by the eye, that is without the bother of working form left to right and without the absurdity of beginnings and ends--this would be the ideal way of appreciating a novel, for thus the author saw it at the moment of its conception. - Vladimir Nabokov, »The Art of Literature and Commonsense«, Lectures on Literature (1980).

By reducing the text to a minimum (syllables, letters, line), Kruchonykh indeed achieved one goal, that of simultaneity. Such a page of "text" need not be read sequentially in linear time, but can be taken in at a glance and absorbed by the same process of free visual exploration used in studying a painting. - Gerald Janecek, The Look of Russian Literature (1984)


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