6th October, 2012 – 3pm – O’Rahilly Building 1.56, UCC
Vallejo’s Violence: de golpe el golpe”
This paper begins to explore the relationship of the production and dissolution of meaning in lyric and the analogous production and dissolution of law in the moment of violence, typically the coup [el golpe] or as Yeats put it “the sudden blow” that inaugurates history’s regimes. It focuses on the Peruvian poet César Vallejo’s poem “Vusco volvvver de golpe el golpe”, the ninth lyric in Vallejo’s highly experimental volume Trilce of 1922. The poem is profoundly enigmatic in every regard, but seems to operate as a meditation on the intersection of sexual and political violence and to engage in a continuous proliferation and dissolution of meaning through strategies of multiplication of meaning and of neologism, distortion and pun. The poem seems to challenge any limit on reading (the sort of “tact” of knowing where to stop that Empson famously counseled) and to constitute a kind of counter-violence to the violence of the law that seeks to put a limit or determination on interpretation. Potentially, the paper opens onto what Frantz Fanon once referred to as “social psychosis” and opens a further potential discussion of psychosis as a model for generative poetic meaning.
David Lloyd, Professor of English at UC Davis was Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California from 2003 until 2012. David Lloyd has published primarily in the field of Irish literature and culture and on colonialism and nationalism. He is the author of Nationalism and Minor Literature (1987); Anomalous States (1993); Ireland After History (1999) and Irish Times: Temporalities of Irish Modernity (2008). He has recently completed Irish Culture and Colonial Modernity (forthcoming, Cambridge University Press) and is currently at work on two further books, a study of Samuel Beckett’s visual aesthetics and a work on aesthetics, race and representation. He has co-published several other books, including The Nature and Context of Minority Discourse (1991), with Abdul JanMohamed; Culture and the State, co-authored with Paul Thomas (1997; The Politics of Culture in the Shadow of Capital (1997), with Lisa Lowe; and The Black and Green Atlantic: Cross-Currents of the African and Irish Diasporas, edited with Peter D. O’Neill. He has also taught at Scripps College, Claremont, and the University of California, Berkeley.