Monday, July 04, 2005

Joyelle McSweeney reviews Fourier Series over at The Constant Critic.

UPDATE: I can't resist remarking in the book's defense that its treatment of the West is meant to be highly mediated, as West-ern; thus the significance of John Wayne, and of what we might call Breton's Reno (his interest in Native Americans was both sincere and sentimental). I suppose if you don't register the presence of The Searchers, by far the most ambiguous and interesting of Wayne's performances, then you might mistake my approach to Wayne as a valorizing one. Perhaps in the wake of Bush's cowboy diplomacy (the bulk of Fourier Series was completed in 2000), tolerance for that sort of play is at an ebb. I certainly didn't intend the book to read as recuperative of manifest destiny! I do stubbornly insist on the Arcadian and the utopic—as Joyelle writes, "What is utopic thinking, after all, but desire writ very, very large?" But I fully acknowledge the dangers of such thinking. The book endorses neither Fourierism nor Western expansion; it seeks instead after the energies and consequences of desire writ large.

The prospect of hanging certainly does concentrate the mind wonderfully—perhaps posthumously in this case.

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