Marco Roth at n+1:
Sylvère’s way of creating accidents or chance was like this: He’d come in to the classroom of about five to ten students, depending on the day, and begin thinking aloud about literature, art, and philosophy—in French or occasionally heavily accented English—in a way that I only understood, at some point during my second or third Sylvère semester, was intended to “disorganize” us, his students, regardless of our level. If we asked him to explain “structuralism,” he might lecture on Saussure and Barthes for a while, but then go off into Nietzsche, the schizophrenic writings of Judge Daniel Paul Schreber, and onto Deleuze, thus making clear the limitations of any rage for ordering things. Sylvère encouraged or provoked everyone to excess. Even the French graduate student who gave a seemingly flawless presentation on the idea of “la grève” in Mallarmé and Rimbaud, and who once accused me of working for the police when I asked him how long he was staying at Columbia—a true disciple if ever there was one—Sylvère blew up his presentation, too.