Corey on Necropastoral

by on Jan.27, 2011

Josh Corey has an interesting post up on his blog about the Necropastoral. Here’s an excerpt:

“But I need to think more about the larger, rather seductive claims Joyelle seems to be making about pastoral in general. Necropastoral seems rather more specific than “postmodern pastoral” or even “avant-pastoral,” the terms I’ve grown accustomed to playing with; it would seem to go beyond a pastoral that merely foregrounds its own artifice, the better to play with the tradition of turning nature into a standing reserve for sovereign authority and cultural norms. Is it a zombie pastoral, the pleasure of the walking dead in devouring brains, the hypersublime viral pleasure of mindless multiplication, unlife, earth without world?”

I would say that this observation seems to be getting at Joyelle’s ideas: “”This “mediumicity” seems very similar to Timothy Morton’s notion of ambience as the tendency of environmental writing in general to “re-mark” the boundary between subject and object, transgressing that boundary even, without ever erasing it.” Especially since we’ve been discussing “ambient violence” on this blog.

I would say that I’m a bit perplexed by Josh’s distinction of Apollonian and “cerebral” Lisa Robertson and the supposedly Dionysian Plath. I think this raw-vs-cooked binary doesn’t work at all for me. I have a hard time imagining either Plath or Joyelle as non-cerebral (and Joyelle invokes Cocteau as a model all the time, very Apollo). Perhaps this is another case of distance vs absorption. I’m trying to think this over, think if the Morton paradigm (tho I haven’t read him, I’m taking this from Josh’s post) can be used to move away from the raw-vs-cooked type of dichotomies.

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