from Chapter O (for Yoko Ono) Loops on bold fonts now form lots of words for books. Books form cocoons of comfort – tombs to hold book-. This new edition features several new but related poems by Christian Bök and an expanded afterword. ‘Eunoia is a novel that will drive everybody sane. Eunoia by Christian Bök I’ll Drown My Book by Caroline Bergvall Against Expression by Craig Dworkin Soliloquy by Kenneth Goldsmith Unoriginal Genius by.

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Experimental literature is typically not commercially fruitful, which makes the success of Eunoia all the more surprising. This essay is intended to facilitate such an approach. Although Eunoia may appear to be an ambitious literary puzzle, punctilious and fastidious in its composition, there must be a technique or vhristian that can analyze its pieces.

Starnino misses the plot of each vowel-chapter. I argue that Eunoia raises epistemological questions regarding the production and creation of meaning. Christizn work succeeds in disciplining the signifiers boook sign systems of language to construct meaning within the parameters of the textual constraints he uses.

Is it simply a disappearance? It is the key to an analysis of Eunoia that considers how to describe the ways in which the Oulipian constraints produce meaning within the text. I would argue that the clinamen is the point in the swerve where N can be located and then decoded. The borders of each shape — i. The space that fills each shape can be better defined by the symbolic meaning assigned to it by the hidden N that is folded into the work like a puzzle piece in a multi-dimensional world.

The cover image of Eunoia is similar to the frontispiece in that it transposes vowels into a different symbology of signifiers. With such emphasis placed on the vowels in the frontispiece, the cover image, and each chapter, the absence of the N becomes a noticeable void that begs us to ask: Where has the N gone?

Whereas each vowel is featured in its own chapter, N is symbolic through its absence. Like the Mandelbrot set in chaos theory, 14 every fractal is defined by equations that stipulate the rules for the fractal being mapped.

Review: Eunoia | Boston Review

The evidence for this is threefold: The unknown nature of Nacting as a mysterious puzzle piece, resonates as a clue that hints at a deeper understanding lurking beneath the surface of the written words. Eunoia begins with the most powerful character Hassan, an Agha Khan and ends with the lowest character on the social scale Ubu, a plumber ; hence, the book begins at the peak of the cone and ends at the downward curve of the paraboloid. Hassan is an excessive ruler as indicated by the descriptions of the lavish culinary banquet.


There is nothing about Hassan that is not ostentatious.

Review: Eunoia

Hassan brags that a crackajack champ at cards lacks what knack Hassan has at craps. A cardsharp, smart at canasta, has a scam: A cardmatch can act as a starchart that maps fata arcana.

A shah hazards all cash, stands christiqn and calls. A fatal pall wracks a casbah. By starting a war, Hassan confirms the stereotypical Western characterization of the Oriental Arab. Plane 1 is the plane of modern times the present. This plane is contrasted to plane 2, the plane of mythology the past where we meet Helen of Troy. Helen wilfully objectifies herself largely because she already feels like an object; she does not feel whole. She is a mythological vessel upon which Westerners from the present plane of space-time project their desires.

Funoia, she is the archetypal model of femininity; as such, she has little connection to anything that might be called personal identity. Her unknown remainder is outside herself.

Eunoia by Christian Bök

As we saw in Chapter A, Hassan represents the mythical old in the present; in Chapter E, Helen is the mythical old of the past. The I -chapter is logically the first chapter in first person.

The N in this chapter is found at its end: Every chapter begins with a short exposition on the constrained act of writing, but the myth of Sisyphus is specifically influential in the I -chapter: Albert Camus writes, regarding Sisyphus: His scorn of the gods, his hatred of death, and his passion for life won him that unspeakable penalty in which the whole being is exerted towards accomplishing nothing. As for this myth, one sees merely the whole effort of a body straining to raise the huge stone, to roll it and push it up a slope a hundred times over.

If life is a Sisyphean struggle, then why bother enduring it? It requires the eventual promise of meaning, and even if this eventual promise is a type of Sartrean nothingness, the act of propelling the boulder or of writing Eunoia and the promise of meaning the resultant clinamen are what can potentially negate the nothingness offered by nihilism. This nullity is the nothingness related in deistic mythologies. God is also an O -word.


Folks who go to Sodom kowtow to Moloch, so God drops H-bombs of horror onto poor townfolk, most of whom mock Mormon proofs of godhood. No Song of Solomon comforts Job or Lot, both of whom know for whom gongs of doom doth toll.

Chapter O moves through different mythological forms, acting as a survey of myth; at the same time, it exposes relations between different myths.

The N of Chapter U can also be found in this moment: Uruk urns plus bustsZulu jugs plus tusks.

However, Ubu is no artist. Ubu even has a love of sodomy: However, this debauchery is underpinned by an absurdist tonality. The name Ubu can christiann traced back to the father of French absurdist theatre and later the inspiration for the surrealistsAlfred Jarry.

The repeated concern about the absurdity behind existence — especially in Chapters Eunoiw and U — also haunted Jarry. This is the ultimate fear of Eunoiaas well — that the work will collapse into pointlessness. This would be the same fate that befell Alfred Jarry. It is Sisyphean in its ambition.

I have argued that his work is not a discordant collection of vowel-chapters that discipline the sign and mean nothing. Instead, the chapters mean more because of what is excluded from each of them i. Eunoia is the work of a literary visionary who seeks to create poetry that opens the doors to the possibilities of linguistic innovation.

Black Skin, White Masks. Mathematics for Introductory Science Courses: Exploits and Opinions of Doctor Faustroll, Pataphysician: Ubu sur la Butte. The Seminar of Jacques Lacan: A Primer of Potential Literature.

Pointless Toil and Empty Productivity.

Drama in 5 Acts. The Poetics of an Imaginary Science. See Motte, Introduction All chapters must describe a culinary banquet, a prurient debauch, a pastoral tableau and a nautical voyage.

All sentences must accent internal rhyme through the use of syntactical parallelism.