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Issue Details: First known date: 2018... 2018 Ludus Et Paidia : Blindness and Rage by Brian Castro
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'Brian Castro’s book-length narrative poem, Blindness and Rage, announces its agenda and its titular phrase in the first of its thirty-four cantos. Lucien Gracq, a retired town planner from Adelaide, is given a terminal cancer diagnosis. He decides to up sticks and head to Paris to complete his magnum opus, the epic poem Paidia, incognito and donate its authorship to a deserving poet according to the rules of the Fugitives, a secretive society of ‘terminal poets.’ Driven by the demons of the poem’s title, Gracq digresses into personal memory and literary memory. When the potential for love intervenes, the blurring of these lines of self and literature takes him to a different geography altogether and finally leads him home. When presented in a nutshell this seems a satisfying narrative arc. But this is poetry, where a multitude of complications and stimulations await the reader: is this an epic poem or an inflected meditation on the epic? Why does Lucien Gracq choose Paris, and what might his name have to do with this choice? What might we make of his habits of literary reference and his favourite writers? Finally, how do we discern the relationships between personal history, literary history, and the construction of a literary persona?' (Introduction)


  • Epigraph:

    Apostate from the storms of passion,

    He locked himself within his den

    And, with a yawn, took up his pen

    And tried to write. But art’s exaction

    Of steady labour made him ill,

    And nothing issued from his quill;

    So thus he failed to join the faction

    Of writers––whom I won’t condemn

    Since, after all, I’m one of them.

    – Stanza 43, Eugene Onegin

    He lived in a painful secret

    and in other people’s secrets,

    tuning imagination to a sightless gauge,

    for dying into writing was… well…

    both blindness and rage.

    – Blindness and Rage

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Last amended 10 Apr 2018 13:01:34 Ludus Et Paidia : Blindness and Rage by Brian Castrosmall AustLit logo Sydney Review of Books
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