And I've also been meaning to write about how much I love Eric, or Little by Little, and how much it reminds me of my own fiction, and how I feel like I should only love it in some sort of kitsch or ironic way, but actually I just really love it for the same reasons I love books that I know are actually much better, as books (as crafted artefacts and as pieces of what Benjamin calls 'counsel', 'wisdom woven into the fabric of everyday life', in his essay 'The Storyteller'). Everyone has so many feelings about everything, and there are so many wonderful words, descriptions, moral asides, narratorial interjections... So overwrought and highly-coloured and excessive. Actually, it reminds me of a quote from Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick which I used last week in a brief 'position paper' for a debate about interdisciplinarity (and which I used in my essay on fanfiction, I can't let it go):
I think that for many of us in childhood the ability to attach intently to a few cultural objects, objects of high or popular culture or both, objects whose meaning seemed mysterious, excessive, or oblique in relation to the codes most readily available to us, became a prime resource for survival. We needed there to be sites where the meanings didn’t line up tidily with each other… The need I brought to books and poems was hardly to be circumscribed, and I felt I knew I would have to struggle to wrest from them sustaining news of the world, ideas, myself and (in various senses) my kind. The reading practices founded on such basic demands and intuitions had necessarily to run against the grain of the most patent available formulae for young people’s reading and life… Becoming a perverse reader was never a matter of my condescension to texts, rather of the surplus charge of my trust in them to remain powerful, refractory, and exemplary.
So let this be my 'in memoriam' post for Sedgwick, who died a few weeks ago and who saved my life and many others. Not good enough as a memorial for her, not nearly good enough, but at least perhaps she would like the context: genderfucked Victorian boys' fiction (remind me to post the quote about Eric in his pink dress with the silver clasp that shows off his figure*) and Proust, high culture and popular culture, mysterious, oblique and excessive.
*in which he is playing cricket, naturally