Saturday, March 30, 2013

Questions/Comments on Marcuse & Danielewski, Week 2

Your responses, as always, should be comments to this post.

6 comments:

Karen Knutson said...

Well I think we have finally gotten to the creepy point of house of leaves. I decided to go back and read the mother's letters, and I have come to the almost no data for conclusion that Daisy is Johnny Truant's mom. Why? This may be not enough evidence, but they both interact with spanish dolls, and Johnny puts a checkmark on one of the chapters. I feel like the spanish doll thing may be too much of a coincidence.

Chapter nine is driving me up a wall, but for format reasons. (I may just end up scratching what I have and writing about the format of chapter nine and trying to explain what is going on.) It looks like a bit of a mess, everything is all over the place, and it is HARD to track down the footnotes. The footnote for 144 (the one in the blue box) is exceeding interesting because it is the same blue as the house, and there household things inside the box, in layers that have an right side and a mirror reflected side, which can be related to a house almost. It could be a message of how the maze is put up, maybe when they go into one door, the maze reflects and stretches itself into a terrible abyss. Its weird because after the last blue box, there is an entirely black box, then nothing. Just nothing. Is it trying to warn everyone about the abyss of the house? Monsters? The unknown? Also there isn't a roof. BUT there seems to be two triangles on 464 and 465 (quick flip) which could be a roof, but they don't really talk about roof things. Also the roof is way bigger than that little box. Maybe there is a smaller set of triagnles that I'm missing. Maybe it doesn't exist.

Then there are just names everywhere. Mark has done this in a couple of different places too, but there are names lining the pages. Doing nothing, not using the mother's code (I tried). I have no clue why they are there.

Roger Sepich said...

I now understand why you had us read "Jimmy Corrigan" before "House of Leaves." The visual appearance of the former in a way prepared us for the latter, although I still don't feel anywhere near comfortable with "House of Leaves" when it comes to the formatting.

Chapter 9 is where the book begins to really lose me. There's writing sideways, backwards, a combination of the two -- and that's to go on top of the different fonts and footnotes that continue throughout the early parts of the book. The one page that really stood out to me and I think it is where I will write my essay is on 144 (probably because it deals with something I'm familiar with.) A quote from Andy Grundberg in the New York Times is cited, and he says that photograph manipulations will make people in the future to view newspaper and magazine photos as illustrations instead of news. I hope this doesn't become true, but I agree that it is a distinct possibility. And there are also some other visualize elements that interest me, such as the red writing with a line through it that says "Picture that. In your dreams," which in someway seems related to Grundberg's quote.

Taylor Hochuli said...

For “House of Leaves”, this section of reading introduced more stylized writing with the random lists on the sides of the page, weird see through blue box of text, and stretched out sentences across pages. It made for a more enthralling reading experience and really sets apart “House of Leaves” from more traditional texts like Jimmy Corrigan. But much like Jimmy Corrigan, these little additions mean things like the text at the very bottom of the page representing the events at the bottom of the stairs while the text high up on the page recalls the events going on at the top of the stairs and in the (above) outside world. My favorite twist of words is not actually in style, but in a single footnote that acts in a brilliant way. On page 151, Jed and Wax (who is shot) are fleeing from the mad Holloway and decide to hole up in a room with a door. The paragraph with the footnote reads:

“In the final shot, Jed focuses the camera on the door. Something is on the other side, hammering against it over and over again. Whatever comes for those who are never seen again has come from(198) him, and Jed can do nothing but focus the camera on the hinges as the door slowly begins to give way.”

Footnote 198 simply reads, “Typo. Should read *for*.” In a book where most things are inserted for a purpose, I knew that this was important, but it didn’t come back around until Chapter X (Ten). It turns out that the “monster” on the other side of the door was actually Navidson and Reston coming to save both Jed and Wax. Although immediately after their rescue, Jed is shot by Holloway in the head. This made me immediately go back to the nearly forgotten footnote and read it for what it meant. Jed saw the thing on the other side of the door as a monster that was coming after him, but in reality he just thought the worst of the situation considering that their rescue actually was behind the door. The “from” in the paragraph was meant to be there since it was Jed who put the idea into both his and the viewers’ heads that the monster was there. However, this might elude to a characteristic of the monster that we have had yet to encounter in the reading considering how all the character (except for perhaps Navidson) are alluded to as dying in the end. Perhaps the monster works by scaring the person into harming themselves since this growling sound seems to be driving Holloway mad and seems to tear into the lives of both Zampanó and Johnny. All these hypothesis and questions come from just one footnote which really commands respect for this book considering how deep it really is. It might be interesting to see the classes ideas too if we have time to discuss it.

Marcuse this week was easier to understand, but gave me a little trouble considering its discussion on “transcendental” elements. Marcuse talks about the subjectivity of concepts to us considering our history and brings it around to show that we now define these ideas as either communist or capitalist instead of having ideas be transcendent to both systems. As I read it, the idea of alternative universes is brought up and the fact that transcendental ideals might change in historical alternatives. However, if the ideals are transcendental, shouldn’t they apply to all things given the fact that their…well…transcendental? The concepts may have different forms and names as well as different uses, but the ideas themselves should be all encompassing. I understand that trying to have these ideas “already fixed and ‘closed’” does not do them justice but the “concrete qualities as part-realizations” should be applicable and similar in alternative histories. I might be reading wrong or participating in the kind of philosophical discussion Marcuse intended for these concepts. Either way, I’m quite confused on the idea of these concepts and discussion in class may help to clear up how “transcendental” these concepts are.

Janine Talis said...

Instead of thoughtfully trying to formulate a response to this weeks readings, I think it would be best to just type out my notes:

- pp. 74-5 -> why mention the animals at all if you're not going to talk about it? What does talking about how no one talks about it achieve?
-p.97 -> checkmark bottom right corner, also random spacing on page
-weird spacing continues into chapter
-p.103, passage missing
-Starting p.109, is the font size for the "Navidson Record" suddenly bigger?
-Starting p. 112 (footnote 137), footnotes are starting to cross pages, connecting them together
-footnote 142 completely missing (which is strange because it is Johnny's footnote NOT Zampano's)
-p.119, footnote 144 transplanted into page
-p.120, footnote 146 now column on side of page
-footnote 144 shown backwards, like it bled through the page. this pattern continues until p. 142 with a blank spot on p. 143 (bleed through black spot p. 144)
-footnotes in the side column are doing something similar except alternating pages of right side up and upside down.
-p.130, random upside down footnote fragment but I don't know what it is connected to
-I'm starting to lose track of what belongs to what
-I think it might belong to footnote 166 (p.134) which forces us to read backward the way we came
-The footnotes are losing their connections for me, and now more and more blank spaces are appearing on pages.
-Is this supposed to simulate Holloway's breakdown?
-It's funny -> the placement of the discussions on the manipulation of recorded images are set onto pages where the space is manipulated, where the very reader is manipulated
-I feel a sort of anxiety being brought on by not knowing where anything belongs or where the footnotes connect
-He was so close to living! Dammit. This book just takes away hope.
-The pages with few words hit. In class it was described as a sort of action sequence, the turning of the page making a soundtrack (I agree). But I think back to earlier in the book. One of the explorers describes how his clothes and pack are crumbling, like if he forgets he has pockets then they aren't there anymore. Are we getting so caught up in the story that we forget there are words, and so they are no longer there?

In my notes I mention that the reader is being manipulated. Instead of the book conforming to us, we are being forced to conform to the book. Trying to keep up with the book just gets you panicked like the explorers in Exploration #4.

Brian DeWillie said...

I got pretty frustrated with Marcuse this week. There was a lot of talk about "universals" and "stuff" and "qualities" and I didn't quite get it. Is he saying that a universal is something like beauty whereas the quality is being beautiful? If this is the case, I still don't really get the point of this within the chapter. I did like the quote, "Neither the most refined aesthetic sense nor the most exact philosophic concept is immune against history." There is obviously a lot of truth in this statement. On a worldwide or even personal level, societal or past experiences and knowledge will cause some bias to how a situation is approached.

Jackson Crowder said...

No matter how far I get in this book, I still fins myself thinking back to the dedication page. "This is not for you." That one sentence is making more sense now as the book gets far more dense and complicated, admittedly past much of my own limited literary understanding. This book is not for me. It is not for any of us. I wonder then if Danielewski simply wrote it for his own pleasure. The unlimited artistic license is plain to see. He makes no attempt to relate to the reader (other than, perhaps, through the flaws of his characters) and I think he does not mean to. This is a book that some people will get and love while others will fail to understand it and hate it as a consequence. I'm one of those people, too simple or not imaginative enough to fall in love with such a work. Like Roger, I find myself lost in chapter 9. The non-traditional formatting is throwing me off far more than I anticipated it would. I am mildly dyslexic though so I'm really not too surprised about that.

But, my failure to like the book does not prohibit me from respecting it. I admire the artistry, even the arrogance behind it. Danielewski clearly does not care one iota about what we the readers think. I like that.