Book: This Little Art by Kate Briggs

This book/ monograph/ essay (it’s a very ‘genre-bending’ novel) is on the subject of literary translation, and her experience of translating Roland Barthes. This was not meant to be related to my art practice, but I took one thing away from the book that I think is very applicable to my practice, and that is Briggs’ writing style.
Her writing style to me in this novel was ‘windy’ – she would write and re-write the same ideas as if she were processing them as writing them. Here’s an example:

“How, in fact, the font does matter, or it can – likewise the timing and circumstances of my reading, the books I am reading the book with, the people I am talking to about it, who might make me think differently; the difference between reading a book for the first time and for the third.”

I found it a little hard to follow at times, or at least I had to really concentrate, but there was something playful, exploratory, lyrical about the way she broke sentences up, included multiple words between commas that meant similar things. She writes with excess as a form of processing.

This style of writing is really interesting as a form of writing about art, because to me writing on art can be a form of processing a work. And so having a text that winds, and includes all possibilities, means the sentence is yours to unpick, to take in a direction you like. It could also lead to the work becoming less accessible?
But writing in my sketchbook and on this blog I am going to keep Briggs’ writing style in mind.

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