Moment of truth today: I read what I had left lying a year ago, dreading to have to start all over again.
The last five pages are, indeed, crap. But I was suprised – and happily – at how well the first two subparts of what is supposed to be the first big part had hold on steady along time. What I have to do is now clear: read some more to expand those two first subparts so that they actually look like one part in a month or so. I have to read: Ricoeur, critique génétique stuff, historical approaches to ancient archives, and more on materiality of the text in general. The pile of books waiting to be read is already impressive, and bound to grow.
I began today by reading two smaller texts by Benjamin – more out of curiosity than for wanting to do something precise with them. Both texts (“Der Autor als Produzent”, “Literaturgeschichte und Literaturwissenschaft”) confronted me with the evidence of what I do not want to write about, about what one (anyone really, including myself) would have expected me to write about. So, this will not be about political writing, about intellectual networks, about how intellectual networks make writing become political, and it will not be about letters either.
For a long time, I figured that the one thing I knew about and could write about were letters. But I turned out to be unable to renew myself there. I have written so much about letters already – it is as I were unable to write something new, as if I were damned to repeat myself, which I seem not to be able to stand. And really: if the deal is to write, then the point is to write something new. And to hurry up, as was told me today again. They said that the wave of the post -68s generational change is about to end soon and no reasonable opportunity should be disregarded since there won’t be so many of them any more. But I won’t tell you today about my hesitations regarding my application strategy. Because what I write will, also, is not be about science policy, although that might be the second best topic I might have wanted to write about. I think there will still be time for me to do so, and to it better than I would now, in ten to fifteen years.
What this will not be about is, too: new corpora to explore and present. I have not even two years to wrap up at least a coherent part of this titanic project of mine, after all.
What this will be about: make wishful thinking become reality, and get to what texts are. There will be a digital part to it, I promise. But you will have to be patient, because I need another six months to reach it.