Sunday, July 15, 2007
Lists of things to do, lists of names of people lost in battle, lists of books to read or that I have read, lists of books to buy, lists of things to follow up and investigate, lists of companies on the stock exchange, phone lists, lists of phonecalls to make, Christmas card lists, inventories and itineraries, Book of 101 Lists, the Homeric and Biblical catalogues.
While intertextuality within novels works on the horizontal axis, lists are the vertical axis taken to an extreme. The list represents not a way of ordering, or an attempt to understand the world by imposing pattern on it, but rather an attempt to assimilate as much as possible of it. My lists show me what I have done, what remains to be done, what I own, what I still desire to acquire, what I have ingested, what still needs to be devoured. They are rapacious, a form of vice, a symbol of unappeased appetite: shopping lists, Leporello’s list, the little black book of conquests.
De Sade writing in prison is forced on strips of paper four inches wide and forty feet long to record his masturbatory fantasies of every conceivable sexual position, combination, permutation and perversion- is forced by the medium to list them vertically.