Veering: A Theory of Literature (The Frontiers of Theory) by Nicholas Royle

By Nicholas Royle

Reflections at the determine of veering shape the foundation for a brand new conception of literature.

Exploring pictures of swerving, lack of keep an eye on, digressing and deviating, Veering presents new serious views on all significant literary genres: the radical, poetry, drama, the fast tale and the essay, in addition to ‘creative writing’. Royle works with insights from Lewis Carroll, Freud, Adorno, Raymond Williams, Edward acknowledged, Deleuze, Cixous and Derrida. With wit and irony he investigates ‘veering’ within the writings of Jonson, Milton, Dryden, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Melville, Hardy, Proust, Lawrence, Bowen, J.H. Prynne and so forth. opposite to a frequent experience that literature has develop into more and more inappropriate to our tradition and daily life, Royle brilliantly lines an odd yet compelling ‘literary turn’.

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Appearing ‘at once to contain and to conceal’, the ‘mobility’ and ‘luminosity’ (216) of the steeples are connected with what the narrator calls ‘the illusion of a sort of fecundity’, an illusion which, he says, ‘distracted me . . from the sense of my own impotence whenever I had sought a philosophical theme for some great literary work’ (214). It is as if the veering of the steeples were a metaphor or substitute for literary greatness. The steeples ‘veered in the evening light like three golden pivots’ (ils virèrent dans la lumière comme trois pivots d’or: 175): they are like pivots and, at the same time, they are pivots.

He works his way’), is entwined with temporal inversion: what is ‘At first’ enfolds both past (‘sought’ and ‘feared’) and present (‘works’). ‘Tract’ here is ‘manner of proceeding’, ‘way’, ‘path’, but the convolvement of syntax also carries a suggestion of ‘The drawing out, duration, continuance, process, passing, or lapse of time’ (OED, ‘tract’, n. 3, I, 1a), and even, in a figurative sense, ‘The action of drawing or pulling’ (OED, II, 4). Satan as serpent has not yet spoken, not yet begun his ‘fraudulent temptation’ (IX, 531) of Eve, but (in its singularly oblique way) ‘tract’ also implies an awareness of words and writing, the tract as ‘treatment’ (OED, ‘tract’, n.

11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. indd 30 Veering Smock (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1982), pp. 191–7: here, p. 194. Blanchot, ‘Reading’, p. 195. See Maurice Blanchot, The Writing of the Disaster, trans. Ann Smock (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1986), p. 95. Michael Naas writes: ‘Blanchot is talking about the passage in the myth of the cave where the prisoners, chained to a wall in the underground cave, must actually be turned toward the light (the fire, the sun), not simply presented with the truth of their condition but physically turned toward the light at each stage in their ascent toward the Good.

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