Emanations of the Yellow Sign

ghosts and scattered limbs of reading, excisions and marginalia.

Jun 16
“how do we persist week to week
shifting the order of syllables on the page
expecting a different outcome each time
and by the next month to discover
that red has always been underneath
and that the king of Hades imminent
with his upturned scepter and echo
making both trees and waves to quake
how do we come out of this margin
into the full display of language?”
Ivan Argüelles, Orphic Cantos (2014)

Jun 8
“Certainly the divorce of history from literature is a process that involves very old events and is too long to be recounted here. Already apparent in the seventeenth century, legalized in the eighteenth century as a result of the split between the ‘humanities’ and the ‘sciences,’ the break was institutionalized in the nineteenth century by the academic establishment. At the foundations of this split is the boundary which the positive sciences established between the ‘objective’ and the imaginary, that is to say between that which they controlled and the ‘remainder’.” Michel de Certeau, Heterologies: Discourse on the Other (1986)

"Silly girl, what do you do there,
As if there were someone to view there,
A face to gaze on and greet there,
A live form warmly to meet there,
When there is no one, none, do you hear!”
But she doesn’t hear.
[ … ]
“The girl is out of her senses!”
Shouts a man with a learned air,
“My eye and my lenses
Know there is nothing there.

Ghosts are a myth
Of ale-wife and blacksmith.
Clodhoppers! This treason
Against King Reason!”

"Yet the girl loves," I reply diffidently.

Adam Mickiewicz, The Romantic (c. 1835?)


Roland Barthes’ method of composition was a bit unique: he’d compose brief missives on standard note cards, amassing hundreds before they cohered into a full text. These original manuscript notes are from his posthumous work Mourning Diary, with translations by Richard Howard. (Here’s an interview with Howard on Barthes.)

(via deweypetalchaperone)

Jun 3


Carlo Farneti’s illustrations for Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal (Librairie d’Amateurs, Gibert Jeune / Paris), published in 1935.

(via studiocornix)

“We must look beyond activism to the millions and millions of refusals and other-doings, the millions and millions of cracks that constitute the material base of possible radical change.” John Holloway, Crack Capitalism, 2010 (via discursivelacerations)

“At times [[Mallarmé’s]] work solidifies into an immobile white virtuality, at times—and this is what matters most—it becomes animated by an extreme temporal discontinuity, given over to changes in time and to accelerations and decelerations, to fragmentary stoppages, the sign of a wholly new essence of mobility in which another [sense of] time seems to be announcing itself, as foriegn to eternal presence as to quotidian duration: [in Mallarmé’s words] ‘here moving ahead, there remembering, in the future, in the past, under a false appearance of the present’.” Maurice Blanchot on Stéphane Mallarmé, quoted by Jerome Rothenberg in Poems for the Millenium, Vol. 3. (2009)

Jun 2
“Confronted with the divergence between the hermeneutic view that language speaks—speaks in the ontico-ontological difference, in the place of presentation, play, and the non-differentiation of aesthetic differentiation—and the semiological view that I am spoken—spoken in the fabric and texture of language, the system of differences comprising the signifying chain—there is a sense of regret that both paths cannot be chosen at once. One is even led to wonder whether some third position which is not an alternative—a hermeneutic semiology, for instance—might be possible.” Hugh J. Silverman, Textualities: Between Hermeneutics and Deconstruction (via heteroglossia)

(via alanreedwrite)

…in the course of quarrying out the lines to this extent, I’ve come across two abysses, which fill me with despair. One is the Void, which I’ve reached without any knowledge of Buddhism, and I’m still too distraught to be able to believe even in my poetry and get back to work, which this crushing awareness has made me abandon.

Yes, I know, we are merely empty forms of matter, but we are indeed sublime in having invented God and our soul. So sublime, my friend, that I want to gaze upon matter, fully conscious that it exists, and yet launching itself madly into Dream, despite its knowledge that Dream has no existence, extolling the Soul and all the divine impressions of that kind which have collected within us from the beginning of time and proclaiming, in the face of the Void which is truth, these glorious lies!

That’s the plan of my lyrical volume and that might also be its title: The Glory of the Lie or The Glorious Lie. I shall sing it as one in despair.

Stéphane Mallarmé, Letter to Henri Cazalis, April 1866.

Jun 1
“Then, in terms of how your life is organized around a book, it’s a question of what kind of person you have to be in order to write that book. Do you need to be married, single, traveling, asking questions of other people, alone in your room? What kind of person does the book demand it be written by? You have to become that person.” Sheila Heti (via tristealven)

(via alanreedwrite)

May 31
“Nothing is more depressing than to imagine the Text as an intellectual object (for reflection, analysis, comparison, mirroring, etc.). The text is an object of pleasure. The bliss of the text is often only stylistic: there are expressive felicities, and neither Sade nor Fourier lacks them. However, at times the pleasure of the Text is achieved more deeply (and then is when we can truly say that there is a Text): whenever the ‘literary’ Text (the Book) transmigrates into our life, whenever another writing (the Other’s writing) succeeds in writing fragments of our own daily lives, in short, whenever a co-existence occurs.” Roland Barthes, Sade / Fourier / Loyola (1971)

“When I write there is nothing other than what I write. Whatever else I felt I have not been able to say, and whatever else has escaped me are ideas or a stolen verb which I will destroy, to replace with something else."
[ … ]
“…whatever way you turn you have not even started thinking.”
Antonin Artaud, quoted in Jacques Derrida, La Parole souflée (1965)

“he has devoured the wind and it is bloated with the wolf, fire will the first stage of the paragram above the oven may be humorously applicable but this wonders two simultaneous inferences, fleece not fierce but understanding udder to saturnine bladder, Saturnalia and utterance, time coerced in the mountainous itinerary a supple existence of thought their minds so ultimately otic as to contain the singing taint of one, the ludic dendrite’s vital scree, also a paragraph on the opulence of the secret fire, fervid carrion kindred of the bellows, below the montane minerals a filial sap substance, some sapient vegetable heresy should not gargoyle the body as an array of wolves, mind the viaduct of the King, driven by archival theomachy, sieve this scion of the structure.” Jim Leftwich, Doubt (2000)

"You know this stuff anyway. I don’t know why you asked me to read the Tarot. I think it’s bullshit.”

"Yes, Miss. That’s exactly why I asked you to read it.”

Grant Morrison, The Invisibles (1996)

May 30
“I think that to be truly a man, to be nature capable of thought, one must think with one’s entire body, which creates a full, harmonious thought, like those violin strings vibrating directly with their hollow wooden box. As thoughts are produced by the brain alone (which I so abused last summer and part of this winter), they now appear to me like tunes played on the high part of the E-string without being strengthened by the box—which pass and disappear without creating themselves, without leaving a trace of themselves. On Easter day, when I was suffering from an extreme headache, asa a result of working with my brain alone (stimulated by coffee, for it can’t begin on its own and as for my nerves, they were probably too weary to receive any impression from outside), I tried not to think with my head anymore, and, with a despairing effort, I stiffened all my nerves (as a pectus) to produce a vibration, while holding the thought I was working on at that time, which became the subject of that vibration, or an impression—and, in that way, I sketched out a poem long dreamed of. Since then, I’ve said to myself, in the hours of essential synthesis, “I’m going to work with the heart,” and I feel my heart (doubtless my entire life flows to it), and, with the rest of my body forgotten, save for the hand that writes and that heart that lives, my sketch appears—appears—.” Stephane Mallarmé, letter to Eugène Lefébure, May 27, 1867.

Page 1 of 58