Sunday, February 26, 2006

Of Chemistry and Consciousness

From the desk of Lizette:

Note the preoccupation with consciousness--mentioned four times in Aphorisms on Modernism, and again in Gertrude Stein--while “the past” is oft noted in both this and Aphorisms on Futurism. There Is No Life or Death seems to summarize, in a swift space, both aphorism sets. The concepts of the absolute, time vs. intensity and lack of love all echo there.

Returning to Aphorisms on Modernism, I thought that the “Life is only limited by our prejudices” paragraph reinforced the “The mind is a magician bound by assimilations” paragraph. Or perhaps it’s the reverse. Anybody else think so?

In The Last Lunar Baedeker, Loy writes “the woman who is a poor mistress will be an incompetent mother...” Mistress in which sense? And why is unselfconsciousness in sex an indicator of inchoate evolution?

The Lunar Baedeker poem makes glorious use of alliteration (my faves include posthumous parvenues, oxidized Orient, crystal concubine--but there are numerous others), homophonic syllables (from Pharaoh, furrowed phosphorous) and word play (lead to mercurial doomsdays). Maybe I’m overanalyzing this last bit? Mercurial does have other meanings, of course, but it also has the bedrock meaning of having to do mercury. Lead has several incarnations, too, but I’m thinking here is where she plays off the element known as lead. Both mercury and lead are metallic elements.

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