WOUND OF WOUNDS: An Ovation To Emil Cioran

Edited by Damian Murphy & N.

MOUNT ABRAXAS 2017

Stories by Eugene Thacker, Douglas Thompson, Justin Isis, Alcebiades Diniz, Rhys Hughes, Thomas Strømsholt, Damian Murphy, Karim Ghahwagi, Jonathan Wood, Adam Golaski, Stephan Friedman, Andrew Condous, Jon Padgett, Colin Insole, D.P. Watt, Adam S. Cantwell, Charles Schneider.

When I real-time review this book during 2018, my comments will appear in the thought stream below…

29 thoughts on “WOUND OF WOUNDS: An Ovation To Emil Cioran

  1. No photographs can possibly do justice to this staggeringly luxurious, emotionally handleable, instinctively and fulsomely illustrated book of stories or what I assume so far to be stories. Stiff dust jacket, plus the sturdiest, most mysterious box-to-house-the-book ever in the history of publication. I have included a standard Bic biro in one photograph to give you some idea of size.
    Over 210 lissom pages that might cause tantamount to paper-cuts, with what at least feels to me like thousands of constructively strident interleaving illustrations. No words can do it justice, let alone photographs.
    My copy numbered 6/107.

  2. MISANTHROPOS by Eugene Thacker

    “Wouldn’t it make more sense to mourn birth and celebrate death?”

    And does it make even more sense to start reading this book, as I am, in the immediate lead up to Christmas? This essay has much provocative food for thought and paradox in comparing misanthropy with antinatalism. Although the Ligottian brand of such philosophy in the last few years has had me more often laughing at its optimistic absurdism than nodding meaningfully at its literary pessimism, I am now starting to assume a “bad mood” so as to appreciate this book properly.

  3. BACH’S MARIONETTES by Douglas Thompson

    “The light of god, falling towards me, probing out the contorted bowels of the earth in search or me, his huge eye burning above me like an accursed sun,…”

    A Parisian genius loci to die for.
    The above quote and a flea market above the bowels of the earth and the beats from under the pavement, a mention of Proust, and this makes me feel at home in some Nemonymous night of my own… but, beyond this, I think I can safely say the Douglas Thompson story is a literary classic that you will remember, where Emil meets God in His deux or deus chevaux car, God who is also Bach, in charge, He claims, of all we marionettes of humanity. It is wondrously acceptable as some intrinsic poetic truth that only inspired works can own. I also happened to be listening, coincidentally, to Bach (Orchestral Suite No. 2, the famous flute solo in which is significant to my earlier life), listening to it from before I picked up this book today and started reading this its next story.

  4. “In a part of the city, there was a zoo.  And it was known by the Authorities that any dream sickness affecting the rest of the city did not affect the zoo.” — Nemonymous Night (2011)

    THE ARISTOCRACY OF WEAK NERVES by Justin Isis (and here)

    “…giving the impression that the mind or perhaps temperament of each exhibit was a single gear, and when taken together they formed a kind of mechanism,…”

    A gear as gestalt, and dare I say that this seems to be a significant work that will be remembered and studied. Seriously. A zoo philosophy that sticks in my mind already as if I have read it since time immemorial, including the exhibits known as the Argumentatives, the Depressives, The Impresario, The Romanian Reflective, The Special Case, The Unperson, the Euthanasia Booth (Chambers’ Lethal Chamber?), and a final exhibit hidden away in the zoo’s piss-offertory. Not crass pissimism, not post- or offpiste-modernism, but more a boyish pre-anciency.
    “It is not only too late for death, but too late to lament it.”

    (Read while listening to the Viola Concerto by Sofia Gubaidulina.)

  5. THIS DISQUIET DEMIURGE by Alcebiades Diniz Miguel

    “the destructive virus that had been unleashed by its creator.”

    Mingled with a history we can readily check in history books, the central character — amid many other characters that once peopled this world and are now forgotten, or perhaps tantamount to never existed at all — has the instability of anarchy and fascism, gratuitousness and determinism….much like a generation of gestalt real-time reviews. A gestalt of particles
    Read this story, and allow the essential glitch into yourself. Otherwise, dear reader, sink back into history, never having been born at all. The desolate valley of non-existence.
    Another prototype gear of gestalt, with “net output”, now transcended.

    “The God Particle was born instable.” – My Tweet yesterday (Christmas Eve), as shown below, now seeming to be the perfect emblem for the imperfect God in the above Miguel work just read, a story or fable that is amazingly yet another genuine literary coup for this ‘Wound of Wounds’ anthology:

  6. 8B65B5F3-BBDB-42D9-B3CD-D9A91C05DD29HE IS HEADING YOUR WAY ALREADY by Rhys Hughes

    “…arms that can reach out from the receding past and grasp the present moment with cunning fingers.”

    Escape route for life as its seeming opposite. These fingers can grasp from the future, too, in a pattern of revolving absurdities (see my own definition of ‘deathrealm’). Ironically with Time’s scythe or guillotine cut-off still in place, this story is also the whole book’s eponym, wound and wound back on itself, suicide as a process of moto perpetuo, a comic strip or cartoon with a Heath Robinson contraption from shaft to slice, with sharks and shootings between. It also has the dark heft of Cioran’s spirit. No mean feat.

    “, not a bacillus but a gift, one as savage as a wound even deeper.”

  7. THE TRANSLATOR OF GOD’S SILENCE by Thomas Stromshølt

    “ — an idea or aural vision wherein the part and the whole reflected each other:”

    Gold or sound-alike coal, even a diamond flash, this alchemy of words depicts an indeterminate town in Europe, where it delightfully seemed to me (a delight that took my mind off the unbearable onset of death for a nonce) that we had here a female version of the modern composer from Ishiguro’s THE UNCONSOLED squeezed not into a toilet cubicle to play his music but, for this woman, into the workings of the church organ itself, with all its cluttered glitches ready to be solved, even it was only one of the loose timbres that could be heard outside the organ. An indeterminate town, an eventual indeterminate composition of music and an eschatologically indeterminate indetermination…beyond the cage.

  8. ST. SEVERINA’S FIRE by Damian Murphy

    “I felt certain at that moment that I understood everything: […] yet the central motif forever eludes my comprehension.”

    And only a gestalt real-time review (especially if one attempted by a better reviewer than myself) can possibly unlock this important novelette. Important because it feels important in itself and it is written by one of this anthology’s editors who is also someone with a canon of work that, since I started reading it a few years ago, has grown more and more important in my eyes, an importance as a gathering cumulative gestalt as well as an ever upward graph of his works as separate entities (when each is compared to the next one). And here the singular instable glitch I mentioned above on Christmas Day is expounded upon at the culmination of this novelette, threatening the nature of importance itself, after the trials and tribulations of the narrator’s claustrophobic employment in an establishment run by someone called Kasper, and that narrator’s vision of a Saint’s distaff star in connection with pictures of sacred religious icons in erotic settings, and a servant girl who routinely needs a bodily servicing by the narrator, that servant’s young son and that son’s stick puppet’s eggs, and the whole reading experience is beautifully self-defeating as well as inspirational, as if I have reached the top of importance’s graph or about to to step from the top of that graph to the bottom of a new graph pointing in a new direction, a direction not up nor down but inward. And perhaps the narrator has done so, too. His story graph entering an open wound of self-epiphany.

    “History is little more than an open wound.”

  9. HORRILL HILL by Karim Ghahwagi

    A tale of the ‘vagaries of the void’, an extremely powerful one at that, with capital letters for such things as the Ancient Mound, and a nursery ‘lighty-light’ following in its wake, and three gratuitous gangster type characters in a car, one an idiot boy, another a man called Minion, and Ed – all subject to that instable glitch naturally infecting this Core Cioran book so far, or at least an important particle of it. This story-story has a gory rictus at its hyphen. And clairvoyant viscera. Its method of stylistic power only imaginable if you read it. I am extremely impressed and inflated with a power it gives me over all those who have not yet read it. So perhaps I should have given it a gratuitously bad review to deter future readers? Too late. Real-time is an equally powerful tyrant once it is posted up and taken as read. Nighty-night, says the blind idiot god.

    My previous reviews of this author shown under the book cover here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2017/08/21/europa-karim-ghahwagi/

  10. DEAD ENGRAINED SKIN by Jonathan Wood

    “My brain collides with its twin-self and its elder brother shadow and sends me into the perfection of reverie and the need to write,…”

    One day you might realise why I was big-headed enough to choose that particular quote from this relentlessly eschatological, paradoxically inspiring or uplifting (as Cioran and Ligotti often are), densely-texturedly packed, clause-synaesthetic and fundamentally UNCONSOLED monologue-on-the-stiff-paper-pages, containing other potential quotes and variously driven leitmotifs, such as folk violinists (models of the wooden model Wood with violin as part of its structure), the cafe and its coffee or cigarettes, the writer’s sitting within a wardrobe, the angular occupant in turn within him, the despairing or cancerous rictus at the hyphen of ‘LIFE-DEATH’ (just as Ghahwagi had a rictus at the hyphen of his ‘story-story’), the silence of a mother, the ‘chronology of breath’, the Triptych Self with its Martello Tower defences, words that are coined (‘cordited’, ‘cotentment’, ‘affordation’, ‘perpetuality’) which are then eschewed and thus do no longer exist (except possibly still existing in this review only.)
    I, too, must think, I, too, must write or trace over these leitmotifs and then take the dusty grey road out of town. Twin-selves or shadow brothers. Towards Hell-Heaven’s weather front. Or simply nothing at all, most likely.

    “I write about death as if I were writing about the weather…”

    My previous reviews of this author are linked from https://nullimmortalis.wordpress.com/2013/03/06/the-new-fate-by-jonathan-wood/ and https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/jonathan-wood/

  11. OBSOLETE SYSTEMS by Adam Golaski

    “, ‘I aim to disappoint.’”

    This is a Zeroist happening or art-installation perhaps stemming from within the UNCONSOLED organ and its composer inside it, as created by Strømsholt’s dimmer-switched silence. A Jarry play from CONFLAGRATION by Watt. An existential Ligottian hoax. A Colour Symphony printed on black and white plates and with echoes of bliss. The Triptych Self now a Tripswitch. Characters and speakers, all party to it, without knowing. Too low-cut for some? The cleavage like a real wound.

    “; I am my acts and hence they carry in themselves their whole justification.”

    My previous reviews of this author: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/adam-golaski/

  12. THE FUNERAL CRY by Stephan Friedman

    “I heard it there, the funeral cry, the ulican, just like you described, even more astonishing.”

    Even more astonishing that I mentioned the ‘theatre of cruelties’ during yesterday’s 2017 in a concurrent review – and its Dorian Gray template seems an exact match for the actual appearance of Cioran in this Friedman work, one that also features today in 2018 Artaud and his Theatre of Cruelty… Meanwhile, the Friedman itself ultra-powerfully stares you in the eye with this whole book’s essence (featuring Cioran, Artaud, a woman called Mary like the Mary Magdalen who for me nurtured the instable God particle, utter absinthe studenthood, ineluctable despair, vivid sex, a facing of death and all its barbed accoutrements so that death, by becoming even harder to face, becomes somehow easier), and you will either come away immaculately reinvigorated for the New Year by this work or tantamount to destroyed by it, depending whether you are Dorian Gray or his picture.
    As an aside, is it ‘ulican’ or ‘ullagone’ that is the funeral cry?

    My previous reviews of this author: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/stephan-friedman/

  13. My longest shadow ever! (Photo taken yesterday at sunset.)
    shadow
    This photo, now, in hindsight, as part of the next ‘story’ (just read), attenuation of shadow and soul, seems retrocaused by the retrocausality described therein…

    GENEALOGY OF NIGHT by Andrew Condous

    It is often a huge compliment when I do not quote from a work for my review, since I am utterly dumbfounded by its spoiling me for choice, a highly rich concoction of death and despair in a relentlessly obsessive uncapitulation of a life, in a language that actually exceeds any possibility of describing it. Which brings me to realise that I have more or less given up writing my own works for some years now, as I simply cannot compete with essences such as this prose Condous, its core of Cioran, its overt apotheosis of the book’s ‘wound of wounds’ title as it plumbs the avenues of a village called Rasinari, its people, its black angels and white demons, and so much STUFF I could literally cry for it, in pity as well as envy. The stuff of a prose Condous.

    My previous reviews of this author: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/andrew-condous/

  14. Having just read the next story below, I thought, as a writer of stories published in the early 1990s within what I called the Toilet Mythos, I thought I would first deploy where I am coming from – with regard to some of my views, including Ligotti, Lovecraft and, now, today, what I have just learned about the wonderful Cioran…

    http://www.ligotti.net/showthread.php?p=119386#post119386 (links to my marathon gestalt real-time review of most of Ligotti’s stories)

    https://nemonymous.livejournal.com/2005/01/29/ (my story ALUM CHINE published in 1993)

    https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1436907101?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1 (my one and only Goodreads review so far)

    https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2017/08/16/lovecrafts-last-lav/ (my views on Lovecraft and the Lavatory)

    THE INFINITE ERROR by Jon Padgett

    “And then there are the particles that they often leave behind in the toilet’s bowl.”

    Note ‘particles’, that instable glitch heretofore, and this is the most wonderful story written within (probably unintentionally) the cosmic-terrifying Toilet Mythos, as well as within Ligotti’s diseased-bellyache Office lavatories. Better than anything I ever did. It is absolutely hilarious but always philosophically thoughtful in the backdrop. Eschatology and Scatology uniquely fused. I won’t give it away, but its ventriloquo-infusorium theme is also possibly transgender with the virgin birth of the God Particle (I first identified above on Christmas Day) stopping up the toilet itself like shit? The ‘Nonsense’ of social media etc., notwithstanding.
    A fine ovation to what Cioran, Ligotti and Lovecraft represent to me: disturbing, serious, cosmic-terrifying, yet with hilarity coaxed from hoax.

    My previous reviews of this author: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/jon-padgett/

  15. THE TREASONS OF THE RUE DE L’ODÉON by Colin Insole

    “He was made to memorize a map of the area — a trackway that blurred past and present — merging all events and people to its common pattern.”

    A perfect Colin Insole story, that might even enhance the already assured reputation of his past canon of fiction, if that were possible! An evocation of the perceived pattern of Paris in 1941, under occupation. It actually seethes and seeps an atmosphere of streets and characters in ‘urban folk magic’, embodying much of the prose magic of the literature that many of us – those who read this book – relish soaking in with the requisite oxymorons of emotion. Spies on spies, the treachery of treachery, baubles, blue beads and rosaries to obviate, say, our bronchitis today. This work may also shed some black- or back-mirrored light on Emil Cioran himself in his real life, although, by dint of the mighty Intentional Fallacy, I eschew a writer’s biography, philosophy and interviews when considering their fiction, and, perhaps absurdistly, I sense I should also eschew even their actual written fragments of philosophy when considering their preternatural Aesthetic and (A)moral influence on us, through, say, a phenomenon such as this very book. Hearsay of hearsay is paramount. Fake news as our new religion and hope. Even when cramped in a solitary reading-cubicle absorbing and excreting simultaneously.

    My previous reviews of this author: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/colin-insole/

  16. PAY NO WORSHIP TO THE GARISH SUN by D.P. Watt

    “Suicide binds you to the world more forcefully than any other death, he explained.”

    An effectively attritional drag you down to the bottom with me monologue of a woman who admits to a chequered history, as if in a projected Clarice Lispector mode, or Silvina Ocampo, or Melanie Tem, a monologue addressed to me that I found paradoxically uplifting, as I experienced with her an encroaching blindsiding, and a fundamental undifferentiation of, say, generally well-considered gallery works of art and items of found art, and of the stink of the countryside and the stink of the city. I sensed that even Emil Cioran himself visited me while I read it. It did not seem to matter whether he found my breast or not. Undifferentiated reader and narrator, too?

    My previous reviews of this author: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/d-p-watt/

  17. THE EUROPEAN MONSTER PART II by Adam S. Cantwell

    “The urban contempt for merriment, laid low like a fog over everything.”

    That Wattish undifferentiation? I think I am the clown with his slapstick that arrived in this story midway through it. To be sifted by security guards and the steward to see if I can thread its beige or red dog, rubbed bare corridors, stay in its UNCONSOLED hotel or is it a sort of sanatorium or hospital (oh this seems to be the endgame of this book’s inscrutable Ishiguro world (waiting for my parents) and now possibly Thomas Mann elements) and is the Monster – who seems to control things in this hotel in a more untalkative, dazed manner as a less twitterish creature – representative of the endgame of a European version of that man who once lived in gold-plated Trump Tower?

    “I thought him a hoax…”

    My previous reviews of this author: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/adam-s-cantwell/

  18. WRITING INSTRUCTIONS by Charles Schneider

    “Could you be a hollowed-out ape with metal rods as a framework?”

    Could you be a book left on a toilet seat? No, far too big a lump. Heavy, solid, specific gravity enormous, set in a snug-fitting box. Closed box when the book’s in residence, the book its unopened door. Open-ended when its book is lovingly slid out – for then being inserted into your mind, especially with these last two puckish and in-writerly pages by Schneider as a sort of lubricant cream. Not a box for chocolates, but with too deep a slot to see into it to check.

    My previous reviews of this author: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/charles-schneider/ and https://nullimmortalis.wordpress.com/2011/06/22/the-mauve-embellishments-by-charles-schneider/

    What a monumental, literally overpowering book! It is physically and spiritually unique, one that has pleasured me over the Christmas period, complete with its instable gestalt.

  19. Pingback: If Winter Goes | Douglas Thompson's Blog

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