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Recognizing the Thing Itself in Harry Mathews’s Cigarettes

Recognizing the Thing Itself in Harry Mathews’s Cigarettes ROY SCRANTON Something I've said again and again, which I try to make sure is evident in all my books, is that the experience of reading is the experience of reading. In America there's a tradition that says that what literature should do is give you the real thing. But for me, the only real thing is the writing. Harry Mathews, in an interview conducted by Susannah Hunnewell n 1956, having escaped Princeton, Harvard, the U.S. Navy, and the Upper East Side of Manhattan for an artists' colony on Mallorca, Harry Mathews and his wife, the sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle, were introduced one night to a young poet named John Ashbery.1 The two men hit it off, and soon Ashbery was recommending to Mathews the writing of an obscure latenineteenth-century French aristocrat named Raymond Roussel, which he himself had recently been introduced to by Kenneth Koch and which he was soon to come to France to study. Within a few years, Mathews would be using part of his inheritance to fund Locus Solus (named after one of Roussel's novels), the fleeting transatlantic literary journal that helped crystallize what has come to be known as the New York http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Contemporary Literature University of Wisconsin Press

Recognizing the Thing Itself in Harry Mathews’s Cigarettes

Contemporary Literature , Volume 54 (3) – Nov 25, 2013

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Publisher
University of Wisconsin Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin.
ISSN
1548-9949
Publisher site
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Abstract

ROY SCRANTON Something I've said again and again, which I try to make sure is evident in all my books, is that the experience of reading is the experience of reading. In America there's a tradition that says that what literature should do is give you the real thing. But for me, the only real thing is the writing. Harry Mathews, in an interview conducted by Susannah Hunnewell n 1956, having escaped Princeton, Harvard, the U.S. Navy, and the Upper East Side of Manhattan for an artists' colony on Mallorca, Harry Mathews and his wife, the sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle, were introduced one night to a young poet named John Ashbery.1 The two men hit it off, and soon Ashbery was recommending to Mathews the writing of an obscure latenineteenth-century French aristocrat named Raymond Roussel, which he himself had recently been introduced to by Kenneth Koch and which he was soon to come to France to study. Within a few years, Mathews would be using part of his inheritance to fund Locus Solus (named after one of Roussel's novels), the fleeting transatlantic literary journal that helped crystallize what has come to be known as the New York

Journal

Contemporary LiteratureUniversity of Wisconsin Press

Published: Nov 25, 2013

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