Since the appearance of his novel, Spurious, in 2011, Lars Iyer has made a challenging and vigorous contribution to our sense of the importance of literature and thought in our vexed cultural moment. The intellectual anguish and inventive bickering of his two UK philosophy professors sees him steer a middle course between Mercier and Camier and Withnail and I. His combination of almost-total bleakness and bracing humour enables him to dip perilously close to despair, only to escape at the last minute.
With the sequel to Spurious, Dogma, Iyer confirmed his importance as part of an “enclave outside literature,” whose work extends the territory outside the contemporary canon to new and challenging distances. This novel extended W.’s and Lars’s itinerary across America, with little more than Plymouth Gin and the word omoi for company. As the humour deepens, so too does the despair, recalling both the Thomas Bernhard of Frost and Mark and Jeremy from Peep Show.
The final instalment of Iyer’s trilogy, Exodus, is the funniest, most hopeful, most despairing, and most gin-soaked episode of the three. Despite the impossibility of true endings, it is a final instalment—and a satisfying one at that. I talked to Lars, via email, over the course of nearly two months, during which we talked about hot tubs, the Bible, endings, and the collapsing borders of literature.
Tim Smyth: I think the first question I’d like to ask concerns naiveté. I remember you writing about this in your essay on Aharon Appelfeld. Is Lars’ (comparative) taciturnity a version of this naïveté, or does he constitute a “poor idiot professor” version of naïveté? He’s quiet, but he’s not quiet enough, even if his pronouncements (the “insight” fits, and his poems and pictures) are usually quite accurate. Also, W.’s antagonism is no doubt a distraction from “true” naïveté, which rises above the kind of thing W. baits him with. I wonder if the two characters, taken together, aren’t closer to avatars of Flaubert’s bêtise than the naiveté of someone like Aharon Appelfeld, even as the trilogy seems to declare allegiances with the likes of Appelfeld. Could you describe the difference?
Lars Iyer: Naïve art, that is, art characterized by an apparently childlike simplicity in technique, is a longstanding interest of mine. It is part of my more general concern with outsider art, that is, art produced outside the institutions of art, and which is often characterized by extreme mental states. I am also interested more generally in the notion of the “outside” as it appears in various guises in twentieth century thought (see Leonard Lawlor’s work for an account of this). These converging interests of mine strongly inform my trilogy, particularly its last volume, Exodus.
With his novel Tzili, Appelfeld attempted to write a “naïve modern art.” “It seemed to me that without the naivety still found among children and old people, and, to some extent, in ourselves, the work of art would be flawed,” Appelfeld says in an interview. Appelfeld’s character, Tzili, has some of the simple goodness of the Holy Fool in the Russian Orthodox tradition. She shows a lack of self-reflection; she is not wise in the ways of the world. Sometimes, she seems to neglect herself, but at other times, she shows a steely tenacity—the force of life itself.
As W. presents him, Lars does have some features of the naïf: he seems barely capable of taking care of himself, living in squalor and neglecting his person; he blindly follows his desires (for food and alcohol, for escape from conferences); he shows a kind of manic graphomania, with little regard for scholarly standards of writing; he seems to have unwitting powers of prophecy; he is possessed by a wild apocalypticism, believing that the world is going to end . . .
W. endlessly complains about these and other features of Lars, but is clearly drawn to his friend because of these supposed traits. W. wants a protégé—someone he can shape into a companion in thought. At the same time, he wants a friend who licenses his own discontent with academic life, who will give him an excuse to behave badly. But we should be on our guard about believing W.’s account of Lars. Is Lars really as wild as W. claims? Can an academic, even one who exhibits certain ‘outsider’ traits, ever be a real naif—a version of Tzili? A holy fool? If Lars is so naive, then how was he able to narrate the trilogy? How was he able to make his friend W., appear in an often preposterous light?
It may seem that it is the significance of Lars for W. that is important for the trilogy. But equally important, as some reviewers have pointed out, is the significance of W. for Lars. That is what the unusual narrative structure of my novels makes clear. From this perspective, Lars is certainly no naïf. He is no holy innocent, like Chance in Being There. If Jane Austen pioneered the indirect free style in fiction, then my novels, as an interlocutor of mine recently remarked, are written in a direct constrained style: it is not simply our view of Lars that is constrained, filtered as it is through W.’s reported speech; for our view of W. is likewise constrained by the third person pronoun with which he is mostly referred to even when talking directly about himself. It is Lars, the narrator, who speaks more directly after all. But having said this, perhaps it is the force and vivacity of what W. says that remains with the reader after the novel is put aside. Perhaps W. is able to burst through the narrative filtering to which Lars subjects him . . .
Are the characters stupid in the Flaubertian sense? There is a self-awareness to W. and Lars which Flaubert’s characters lack. Bouvard and Pécuchet really believe themselves to be undiscovered geniuses, and they go about their enquiries with total earnestness. In the end, of course, they are mere copyists, regurgitating the work of others. W. and Lars are aware of their inadequacy; they know they fall short, not only in terms of their knowledge, their capacity to reason, but also in terms of their ability to respond to the political crises of today. As such, they cannot take refuge in a self-deluded happiness, as Flaubert’s Bouvard and Pécuchet do. The joy W. and Lars sometimes claim to feel is much more difficult to achieve, and much more precarious.
TS: You’ve described Gillian Rose’s Paradiso as “contemporary wisdom literature.” But that definition has a bit of a bite: Paradiso shows us “how our lives repeat old heresies . . . even as they are redeemed by certain relationships with others.” Lars & W.’s discussions sustain a particular kind of relationship, but do not seem to redeem any ideas. Does it matter if the activity begins as “redeeming an idea” and ends by creating a bond? There is something exemplary intended by W.’s & Lars’ relationship, but to endorse it on the basis simply that they’re mates seems to stop short of the intended mark, and makes both activities seem like bad faith. Could you describe the “certain relationship” which seems to redeem even these “old heresies”? And how much of a redemption can it be if the relationship and the idea are antagonistic and banal respectively? While Lars and W. are accomplished in their careers, the horizon of their ignorance seems to cancel out any real intellectual distance run. In this context, what do you mean by the “redemption” of ideas?
LI: Wisdom literature is a way of classifying some of the books in the Bible that are supposed to give us lessons in practical wisdom, in negotiating life—Job, the Psalms, Proverbs, and so on. These resonate with certain popular works of Greek and Roman philosophers—Epictetus’s Enchiridion, for example—which are supposed to give us rules of conduct for day-to-day life. More generally, wisdom literature is distinguished from properly philosophical writings, which are dedicated to broader concerns. Gillian Rose’s autobiographical writings are unusual in the way that they join her abstract philosophical work with her own everyday concerns. It is in that sense that they might be called wisdom literature.
Of course, my trilogy cannot be considered wisdom literature in a straightforward sense! Neither Lars nor W. is wise, in any ordinary understanding of the word! Unlike Gillian Rose—or, for that matter, the philosophers Žižek, Mladen Dolar and Badiou, who all crop up in Exodus—they have yet to arrive at a philosophical system that they can call their own. They are not persuaded, as Rose or Žižek are, of the fundamental truth of a particular philosopher, whose ideas they can then explore and apply in various contexts. W. and Lars go from thinker to thinker—from Rosenzweig to Hermann Cohen, to Mazzari and Virno, to Marx and Kierkegaard—without electing any of them as their particular sage. Yes, W. and Lars have a sense of the crises of our time, and of the necessity of giving a philosophical response to these crises, but they are not invested in a particular philosophical position. It is for this reason that they might be said to remain as what Žižek calls “poor idiot philosophers,” dabbling in the work of this thinker and that.
What separates W. and Lars are the stakes of their respective philosophical inquiries. Philosophy seems a very serious endeavor for W., whereas Lars, according to W., is content to act the buffoon. W., as I’ve said, is drawn to Lars for this very reason. But, for W., there is also something fascinatingly serious about Lars’s buffoonery! Over and over again, W. grants Lars the power of a kind of insight, a capacity to witness the truth, that he himself lacks. Lars is presented as a savant, as a “non-thinker,” where the “non-” is not to be understood privately. Only a poor idiot can think at the end of times: that’s what W. seems to believe. The last thinker—the thinker whose thought corresponds to the apocalypse—will be indistinguishable from an idiot: that’s the possibility W. entertains. It is in this sense that Lars might be said to embody, relative to W. a kind of negative wisdom—a non-wisdom deeper than conventional standards of wisdom. A kind of “outsider” wisdom, which knows (if only unwittingly, half-consciously, requiring an act of interpretation by others) what those “inside” do not . . .
You imply that there is a distinction Lars and W.’s relationship—their friendship—and the ideas that interest them. But one of the ideas that most fascinate the characters is that of messianism, which some thinkers, whose names recur in the novels, argue is embodied in a certain relationship to the other person, even to a certain kind of friendship (see, e.g. Scholem’s book The Idea of the Messiah). From this perspective, the distinction you make is not operative in the novel. The work of friendship, for Lars and W., is at one with the work of thought.
TS: W. and Lars have a kind of holy terror before ideas of apocalypse and messianism. Yet their experience, their image of these ideas is entirely abstract. Are they sublimating a petty fear of their own exposure as frauds through recourse to such grand images? Or is there a political element to this fear? They are part of a system which allows them the luxury of feeling irrelevance at the expense of a whole (obliquely mentioned) underclass? They’re both living in pretty tough cities, but there’s little sense of social decay: it’s more a mood of sterility. I’m reminded of the echatological imagery of Matthew 13 (the wheat and the tares), or the lines “because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth” (Rev. 3:16), which fit as much with Benjamin’s writings on revolution as they do with theological ideas. If they were to enter into their ideas of apocalypse a bit more, what political or metaphysical fears would Lars and W. find?
LI: We ordinarily use the word, apocalypse, to mean a kind of catastrophe, perhaps an epoch-ending event. But etymologically, the word suggests a kind of unveiling, a revelation. The Book of Revelations, which plays a central role in Exodus, shows how the wicked will be punished, and the good rewarded. The apocalypse makes sense of things.
It seem as if W. believes that a certain judgement is coming—that the real apocalypse is about to occur. And indeed it is, if we understand the word apocalypse in its ordinary sense, in terms of a catastrophe! We are in the throes of financial catastrophe, and climatic catastrophe will only intensify. But if we understand the word apocalypse in its older sense, as a kind of revelation, in which God’s plan is revealed once and for all, and the wicked are punished and the good rewarded, then, for W. and Lars, there can be no apocalypse. There will be no final revelation; nothing will ever become clear. The good will suffer along with everyone else, and the wicked will never be punished for their wickedness. My novels imply that there won’t even be an end, just as there was never a simple and stable beginning—and that, as such, the end times will last forever. Nothing will be revealed except the absence of revelation, the absence of God’s plan, and the omnipresence of chaos and contingency. For W., Lars’s character is strongly linked to this chaos and contingency.
Having said this, W. is still capable of a kind of hope. Granted, he does not believe in the Messiah of the Bible—that restorative figure who, with the apocalypse, is the agent of revelation of God’s plan. But W. does seem persuaded by those twentieth-century Jewish thinkers who proffer a different conception of messianism, claiming that each of us might be understood to constitute a kind of Messiah, in the moment when we address ourselves to other human beings. In this tradition, I become the Messiah in that act of speech in which I implicitly pledge myself in service to my human neighbor—an echo of the “Here I am” we find on the lips of Moses in the Bible. For thinkers like Rosenzweig and Levinas, this speech-act is understood as the origin of goodness, of meaning, of the order of the world. They argue that a momentary utopia opens in the act of speech.
This utopia can be found elsewhere in the novels. W. claims the messianic era is opening, during the occupation of his university campus. By this, W. means that the occupiers speak to one another in such a way that they interrupt the ordinary course of things. If, as W. seems to believe, following Benjamin and Scholem, there could be such a thing as a messianic politics, it is to be found here, however ineffective the occupation may seem.
You’re right to note that Plymouth (W.’s hometown) and Newcastle (Lars’s hometown) are, in many respects ‘tough’ cities, with a large population of the impoverished. Both cities have suffered because of right-wing policies—in particular Newcastle. But, for W., the very marginality and deprivation of these cities is a source of hope. W. finds himself moved to speak to the local populations of both cities, in the exalted sense in which he uses this word. When W. dreams of his post-capitalist utopia, it is in terms of an exodus to Dartmoor, to that hilly expanse that surrounds Plymouth.
So you see I disagree with you: I don’t think W.’s and Lars’s ideas of the apocalypse and the Messiah are “entirely abstract.” And I don’t think the fear that they fear that they are frauds, or that they are repressing a sense of their usurpation of an “unmentioned underclass.” Having said that, it was my intention to foreground, for largely humorous purposes (though there are also serious points to be made here), the disconnection between the ideas of the apocalypse and the Messiah, and the situations in which W. and Lars find themselves. There really is something ridiculous about W.’s address to his fellow pub-goers in The Dolphin in Plymouth, and about the messianic significance he attributes to his football-conversations with his fellow pub-goers in The Crown Pasada in Newcastle. There is something derisory about the occupation itself, which seems to have no wider effect; something laughable about the world-historical significance that W. seems to accord to the occupation. To his credit, W. seems to know this—a kind of sarcasm or self-irony marks some of the great claims he seems to make.
TS: At one level, this seems like an attack on the “trending” mentality that “poor idiot professors” seem to go on with. At another, it makes them seem like symptoms of a wider “cultural hysteria,” like Don DeLillo finds in the making of lists. Lars & W. are essentially fanboys. But your novels don’t limit themselves to academic satire. How would you summarize the target of your attack?
LI: To be sure, the trilogy contains some elements of academic satire. But academia is an easy target—too easy. I also wanted to write directly, non-satirically, about the horrors of capitalism—that’s why there are ‘history lessons’ concerning the aftermath of the Emancipation in the southern United States in Dogma, or with respect to working class life in nineteenth century Manchester in Exodus. It’s why the characters speak of unemployment and employment precarity, about the regeneration of urban areas, about the poverty of the homeless, of slum-dwellers, of refugees. I intend the trilogy to register real suffering, real horrors, not least the effects of financial and climatic catastrophe.
TS: To go back to the discussion of naïveté: I’m glad you mentioned the “holy fool,” it made me think of that opening scene of Andrei Roublev where the guy gets hauled up by the balloon. It seems like W. and Lars are both victims in this way. What is holding back Lars, in particular, from being a proper, exemplary holy fool?
LI: Like Yefim, the guy in the balloon, in the prologue of Tarkovsky’s film, W. and Lars are looking to escape a situation—in their case, neoliberal Britain. Alas, like Yefim once again, they cannot help but crash-land—they confront what they take to be failure after failure. But are they really failures? Aren’t they, after all, ordinary academics, ordinary “poor idiot professors”? Shakespeare is unlike other men in that he is like all other men: Borges said that. What makes W. and Lars unlike other academics is that they know their shortcomings. They’re aware of them, and they laugh at them (W., perhaps, less than Lars). This gives them, in my view, a refreshing honesty.
What holds Lars back from being a holy fool? Lars represents a terrible and seductive instability for W. W. often presents Lars as a kind of seer—he is closer to the essence of religion than W. is, closer to the essence of unemployment, closer to the essence of the suburbs and of the everyday. W. sometimes presents Lars a kind of saint, as a kind of prophet. But more often, W. casts Lars as a kind of anti-Messiah, as a Son of Perdition, as the Anti-Christ. He associates Lars with the Biblical Flood, with the monsters of Near-Eastern religions, with fanaticism and the apocalypse, with chaos and contingency . . .
This is what, for W., holds Lars back from being a holy fool. As to what I think holds Lars back from being a holy fool: look at the narrative itself, the three books Lars writes—are they the work of someone holy? And a fool? It’s quite clear that if the trilogy is, as is suggested in the narrative, collections of blog posts that the fictional Lars wrote about W., then it is also clear that W. is wildly hyperbolic in claiming that Lars is an outsider writer, or is subject to an involuntary logorrhoea.
TS: In Vila-Matas’ response to your manifesto, he gets quite programmatic about Beckett, Bolaño, and Thomas Bernhard. Your focus on “outsider art” is interesting: it allows you to sidestep the trap of “trending” authors. I know that you construct something of a canon in “Nude in Your Hot Tub. . .,” but it’s an anti-canon. Even so, it doesn’t feel like a rip-it-up-and-start-again attitude. Nor is it in thrall to the “quick, find someone new to write about” attitude of the university-based aspect of the critical industry. It’s impossible to compress a manifesto, I realize, but how would you clarify its argument? It would be easy to summarize the discussion and say that you and Vila-Matas are singing from the same hymn-sheet, but your position strikes me as being more developed than his.
LI: I have no disagreements with Vila-Matas’s article, which should be read in the context of his novels—in particular, as regards the topic that interests us here, Dublinesque. His “anti-canon” and mine are very similar!
What about the relationship between outsider art and my “anti-canon”? In an award-winning review of Dogma, the critic David Winters suggests that we should think of a “non-literature” as modelled on what W. calls “non-thinking”. For W., the “non-” of “non-thinking” is not privative; it is more than a simple negation. Likewise, a “non-literature” would be more than a simple negation of literature. The prefix “non-” in my trilogy is used to suggest an outside that, in a peculiar way, encompasses the term to which it is attached. It is in this sense that W. judges Jandek to produce non-music:
Non-melody, non-competence . . . in each case, the “non-” is not privative, W. explains. Non-melody is larger than melody, he says. Non-competence comprehends competence. The universe of non-music is much, much greater than the universe of music. (Dogma)
By attaching the prefix “non-” to these terms, W. suggests that melody, competence and music should be understood as part of a larger circulation of forces.
In my trilogy, I play on the idea of this “non-” for laughs. There’s supposed to be something ridiculous about this idea. But I think Winters is right to point to the notion of non-literature in this way, and to suggest that the claims in my manifesto should be recast in these terms. But that would take a lot of work—at the very least, an engagement with those authors who already link literature and the “outside”: Blanchot, Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze, and others.
TS: I’ve read you talk about the “difficult joy” of reading. What is the difference between “difficult joy” and happiness? Is W. and Lars’ friendship a version of this “difficult joy,” or are they sufficiently aware of the meaning of their antagonisms to practice it?
LI: Like Flaubert’s Bouvard and Pécuchet, W. and Lars take a certain joy in their friendship. But unlike Bouvard and Pécuchet, their exchanges center upon their inadequacies. W., of course, is constantly berating his poor friend Lars. But Lars, in his constrained direct style, constantly, if affectionately, takes the piss out of W. The characters know they fall short, particularly with respect to political questions. They feel themselves to be usurpers. They know themselves to be caught in complex networks of exploitation. As such, the joy they feel comes at the price of a strong sense of their inadequacies.
TS: According to Blanchot, literature can always be read as pointing to its own disappearance, but writers like the ones Vila-Matas mentions (and indeed Vila-Matas himself) seem to feel as though our cultural moment exposes and historicizes this disappearance. Do you think we’ll learn anything from this? Or will there just be more hot tubs, more lists, more distraction? What would an ideal literature be if the difficult lesson of disappearance were to be learned? Are literatures of naïveté or new forms of wisdom literature appropriate, or have we enough of both?
LI: In Vila-Matas, we find a humorous recapitulation Blanchot’s sense that a certain way of literary writing is at an end, and that a new kind of writing, one which registers this end in some way, is beginning. Andrew Gallix has much of interest to say on the topic of the various “ends” of literature that have occurred. In one sense, I want to say that literature is always ending! The end is eternal. It will go on forever. There can be no “apocalypse” of literature. And for that reason, there will always be more hot tubs, more lists, more distractions! But I also want to insist on the specificity, on the singularity of this end . . . I believe in it . . .
Let me risk pretension by putting as follows. Historically, any simple avant-gardist idea of a new literary practice necessarily reconsolidates the traditional institution of literature that it claims to critique. A literary practice that is ostensibly “outside” literature posits an “inside” of literature. By disobeying the police who maintain the borders of literature, they simultaneously confirm the role of those police; avant-garde practices depend on them. But what happens when the police leave their posts? What happens when no-one mans the border—when the sanctity of literature becomes a matter of indifference? There can no longer be an “outlaw” avant-gardism, because there is no law to transgress. But nor is there a literature self-certain enough, secure enough, to arrest, domesticate or tame its “outside.” The authority of literature has vanished. The house of literature is deserted. Granted, that house is haunted. There are such things as literary ghosts, even a literary “hauntology,” as Gallix calls it.
Our time, for me, is marked by the vanishing of the last traces of authority. Josipovici has it that Modernism has always been a response to the absence of a sense of authority. You lack a model. You can imitate no one. Modern writing is bereft. But for me, the Modern writer is still not bereft of literature. Literature maintains its authority for the Modern writer, its prestige. In our time, that authority is disappearing. Literature is vanishing, but no one is there to notice it. The end of literature is not an apocalyptic explosion. As Milan Kundera says, “There may be nothing so quiet as the end”:
. . . when the agony draws to a close, we are already looking elsewhere. The death becomes invisible. It’s some time now since the river, the nightingale, the paths through the field have disappeared from man’s mind. No one needs them now. When nature disappears from the planet tomorrow, who will notice? Where are the successors to Octavio Paz, to René Char? Where are the great poets now? Have they vanished, or have their voices only grown inaudible? In any case, an immense change in our Europe, which was hitherto unthinkable without its poets.
For poets, read literature.
You ask me about the “ideal literature” in which this “disappearance” might be registered. For me, it a mode of writing haunted by the literary past, for the lost futures of literary modernism. It is a writing marked by melancholy, even if it is a laughing melancholy . . . And it is a writing marked by a sense of its own anachronism, its own marginality and imposture.
TS: I wonder about the effectiveness of “negative wisdom” and “non-thinking.” It suggests, first, that the conditions which demand non-thinking can be either escaped or obliterated. This simultaneously affirms the existence of such conditions. Second, it suggests that the individual is the point at which a way out can be opened. Yet almost everything in the trilogy seems to militate against the possibility of either. Is it your intention, by reproducing an ineffective gesture, to show how all critical knowledge is ineffective? Or are the other, smaller alternatives that the trilogy posits sufficient?
LI: Although my trilogy is certainly linked to the writers and philosophers of the “outside,” it also very insistently marks the difference between the “Old European” traditions that produced those thinkers, and contemporary Britain. I intend there to be a humorous effect when I allow my characters to use terms like “non-thinking,” which seem, in a British context, hopelessly obscure and pretentious. There is a real incongruity, between the situation of my characters as lecturers in provincial Britain, and their intellectual interests—W. And Lars are would-be thinkers interested in the thought of “Old Europe,” in a place and a period in which there is virtually no interest in such thought.
In truth, anyone working in continental philosophy (and perhaps in critical/cultural theory, though this is much more “canonical” by comparison) must be aware of this incongruity. How much more difficult it is to believe in what you are doing, in the face of the indifference and even hostility of the world around you! In the face of the indifference and hostility of other academics!
For me, there is something of great value in “Old European” thought, however incongruous and untimely it may be. As such, W.’s and Lars’s project of bringing together Kierkegaards –the philosopher of subjectivity—with Marx (and the Italian Marxist thinkers)—for whom capitalism has begun to operate directly on our subjectivity—is perfectly cogent, however parodically I present it. It’s a small step, but a potentially valuable one.
TS: “There will always be more hot-tubs”: it seems to me that the more our culture focuses on dissemination over production, that the more the general conversation centers around reviews, interviews, and nominations, the more that triviality will continue to thrive. Your decision to work with a reputable independent press and your extensive use of the Internet in your project might seem like you, too, are putting dissemination over the virtues of obscurity. However, this follows the same course as “non-thinking” in starting off down the track of thinking before veering into totally different territory. There is a kind of gratuity about your means of dissemination which at once parodies and improves upon the tendency you wish to correct. Would you agree with this description of these aspects of your project?
LI: Our media environment is certainly more concerned with appearing than doing. Getting attention, increasing circulation, is all. This also applies to an author published by an independent publisher. You have to hustle to be heard. There is a continual “arms race” between sellers and consumers, which means searching for inventive new methods by which my novels can be publicized. There’s a joy in this. You’re battling for the “little trilogy that could,” the literary underdog. Your fight seems righteous. You’re on the side of the angels. You have an alibi, a defense: I have to promote my work, I have to do interviews . . . I have to blog, to tweet, to Facebook . . .
Once upon a time, you could have said that this kind of self-promotion obliterates your work: that to explain or “curate” your writing, to link it to an author photograph, to discuss it in terms of your biography, is to dishonor it in some way. We might think of Blanchot’s reluctance to speak to the media. At the same time, this attitude seems too precious, almost anachronistic—as if honoring your own work, giving space to it, actually mattered. I am tempted to say that publicity subjects your work to a kind of parody that it—as so-called “literary” writing—deserves! It is a way of laughing at what you’ve written; a wholly appropriate response . . . But this, I think, is too easy a view. It gets me off the hook of being a tireless self-promoter. It gives me too ready an excuse for my endless hustling. I think I lost my soul the minute I retweeted some enthusiastic comment about my writing . . . !
Tim Smyth lives in Brasília. He graduated from Trinity College, Dublin, in 2011. His novel, Getting It Wrong, will be given away for free in April 2013, on t-smyth.tumblr.com. Twitter: @TimSmyth1. Lars Iyer is a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. He is the author of two books on Blanchot (Blanchot’s Communism: Art, Philosophy, Politics and Blanchot’s Vigilance: Phenomenology, Literature, Ethics) as well as Dogma, Spurious, and Exodus.
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