Spontaneous Particulars (Paperback)
Telepathy of Archives
New Directions, 9780811229777, 80pp.
Publication Date: May 26, 2020
Other Editions of This Title:
Originally a cloth coedition with the Christine Burgin Gallery, this rapturous hymn to discoveries and archives is now a paperback
Great American writers—William Carlos Williams, Jonathan Edwards, Emily Dickinson, Noah Webster, Hart Crane, Wallace Stevens, Henry James—all in the physicality of their archival manuscripts (reproduced in beautiful facsimiles here)—are the presiding spirits of Spontaneous Particulars: Telepathy of Archives. Also woven into Susan Howe’s long essay are beautiful photographs of embroideries and textiles from anonymous craftspeople. All the archived materials are links, discoveries, chance encounters, the visual and acoustic shocks of rooting around amid physical archives. These are the telepathies the bibliomaniacal poet relishes. Rummaging in the archives she finds “a deposit of a future yet to come, gathered and guarded...a literal and mythical sense of life hereafter—you permit yourself liberties—in the first place—happiness.” Digital scholarship may offer much for scholars, but Susan Howe loves the materiality of research in real archives and Spontaneous Particulars “is a collaged swan song to the old ways.”
About the Author
Praise For Spontaneous Particulars: Telepathy of Archives…
— Langdon Hammer
Susan Howe has often referred to herself as a ‘library cormorant’ but her extraordinary telepathy of archives is the very opposite of passive absorption: each page constructs its own ghostly skein to be woven into what becomes an increasingly mysterious figure in the carpet What begins as an archival study becomes nothing less than mesmerism.
— Marjorie Perloff