Jubilate Exsultate

Morgan Meis in Slant Books:

I want to write about a certain kind of prose. It is the kind of prose that gets lost in itself. The kind of writing that tumbles head over heels and threatens to drown in its own wake. But not quite. The kind of prose that drowns completely is not so interesting. And the prose that never gets lost is not so interesting either. In my opinion. You’ve got to teeter around and stumble just at the edge there. In my opinion.

I’m thinking right now of Ingeborg Bachmann. She was a poet but she gave up poetry. She was a philosopher but she gave up philosophy. She was a person but she gave up being a person. Or tried to. I don’t know. She died in Rome in 1972 from the results of smoking a cigarette in bed. She was hooked, at that point, on pills and drink. So it was a kind of lazy, slow moving suicide. She couldn’t teeter on the edge anymore and so she just went over. Maybe.

She wrote a novel before she died. I guess you can call it a novel. Better, let’s say she wrote a piece of prose just a couple of years before that cigarette and the pills got her. It is called Malina. It is impossible to say what Malina is about and so I will not try. It isn’t about anything. It is about everything. It is the story of a love affair, but not really.

More here.