Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Witch's Line

From Gilles Deleuze's essay "He Stuttered" in the collection Essays Critical & Clinical:

"What [great authors] do, rather, is invent a minor use of the major language within which they express themselves entirely; they minorize this language, much as in music, where the minor mode refers to dynamic combinations in perpetual disequilibrium. They are great writers by virtue of this minorization: they make language take flight, they send it racing along a witch's line, ceaselessly placing it in a state of disequilibrium, making it bifurcate and vary in each of its terms, following an incessant modulation. This exceeds the possibilities of speech and attains the power of the language, or even language in its entirety. This means that a great writer is always like a foreigner in the language in which he expresses himself, even if this is his native tongue. At the limit, he draws his strength from a mute and unknown minority that belongs only to him. He is a foreigner in his own language: he does not mix another language with his own, he carves out a nonpreexistent foreign language within his own language. He makes the language itself scream, stutter, stammer, or murmur" (Deleuze 109-10)

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