from Nouvelles en trois lignes/Three Line News Items/ Short Stories
with perhaps "more in mind" than his own punning use of the Faits Divers' Nouvelles en trois lignes--
he may have been thinking also of the example of Gusrave Flaubert
who several decades earlier had created out of a provincial journal’s Faits Divers the novel Madame Bovary:
“Delphine Delamare, 27, wife of a medical officer in Ry, displayed insufficient austerity. Worse, she ran up debts. To avoid paying them, she took poison.”
Nurse Elise Bachmann, whose day off was yesterday, put
on a public display of insanity.
A complaint was sworn by the Persian physician Djai Khan
against a compatriot who had stolen from him a tiara.
A dozen hawkers who had been announcing news of a
nonexistent anarchist bombing at the Madeleine have
A certain madwoman arrested downtown falsely claimed
to be nurse Elise Bachmann. The latter is perfectly sane.
On Place du Pantheon, a heated group of voters attempted
to roast an effigy of M. Auffray, the losing candidate. They
Arrested in Saint-Germain for petty theft, Joël Guilbert
drank sublimate. He was detoxified, but died yesterday of
The photographer Joachim Berthoud could not get over the
death of his wife. He killed himself in Fontanay-sous-Bois.
Reverend Andrieux, of Roannes, near Aurillac, whom a
pitiless husband perforated Wednesday with two rifle
shots, died last night.
In political disagreements, M. Begouen, journalist, and
M. Bepmale, MP, had called one another "thief" and
"liar." They have reconciled.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Science Fiction Films Set in the Past--Feneon's Faits Divers on Twitter and Japanese Cell Phone NOvels
he told reporters that it was "A science fiction film set in the past."
This quote is echoed by that found below from Buckminster Fuller--and I think that they are both very true, as the further into the future one travels as it were, the more things from the past are suddenly found, already inhabiting the spaces which they have realized are already their own, and so, leapfrogging through time, they are traveling from the Past into the Future at greater speeds than is thought to be possible.
After all, ifone takes alook at things thought to be "Futuristic" just a few years ago, or even last year--they have already become seemingly Out of Date, used up, dull, of little interest--while overlooked junk fro much futher iin the past --say about two decdes in the world today--suddenly seems to have been "Way Ahead of it Time."
This wild movement of objects, images, texts through time and human recognition means that one at every moment is living among as man times as one has immediately within the reach of one's arms.
For example--there sits you last year's computer, about to be junked in the back alley--and next to it your first Etch-a-Sketch or a bunch of old rubbishy crayons with which you prefer to draw but cannot admit it to your photoshop addicted friends.
For example, working with lumber crayon and paper and found letterings and forms in the environement, I seem to be using a very ancient childlike method that opens up not simply The Past, but al those Futures embodied nthe decay through time of the letterings, s that their time travel is itself is the image before one.
How many "Futures have become out of date? And how many Nostalgias for times not one's own are created via these things from the past which journey continually into the future to remind one of a nostalgia for things one never felt or knew?
My son Rex told me when he 6 years old, that he had discovered that he had a Nostalgia for the 1950's, decades before his birth, simpl due to the continual reinventions of the Past through images, musical recordings, endless "documentaries" and "remakes." For him, the 1950's already seemed to be a living part of his own life, for which at six he had a nostalgia, perhaps later something to be rebelled against and trashed in preference for some other nostalgia, hopefully of his own, but then when it is on sae everywhere, one can go about buying borrowing or renting other periods in time and changing them like so many clothes that go in and out of fashion in an endless recycling return to the "Little Black Dress" or "the Blue Jeans."
So here are Feneon's Fait Divers discovered to be the "perfect texts for Twitter"--and, one imagines, soon to be perfect for text messaging fads as well, being well adapted to the furious movements of the thumb, itself an echo of the old Kerouac-speed typewriting of journalists in Feneon's day.
One can imagine Fiats Divers made by Twitter style streams and by cell phone text messages begining to take the world by storm!!
Yet how long would this fad last?
Until it became a nosatlgia to be revisited every twenty years or less--
You see, the recycling of the Past promise a Future endlessly recycled of nostalgia as well as remembrance.
Medai images begin to replace actual memories, and person begin as it were--"complete blanks" to the past, including their own lived experience, caught up in the giddy whirl and parade of the non stop streaming of pre fabricated images and texts--
One will no longer be in fear of losing one's memory, as one does not have any other than what exists at the monet as memory dream nostalgia celebration sadness rage via the streams feeding one's attention and consciousness--
And in this Future the Past will be continually reopening via the doors of the stream--into Virtual Pasts and Lives--
and meanwhile the Present will become perhaps like a ghost town!!
Now one can tune in every day to the Faits Divers--which have been transformed int his piece here to "fueilleton" status as though each one is cliffhanger leading to the next so fervently anticipated-
when instead or perhaps not
one finds not continuations of a narrative but the hops skips and jumps of the "Telling Details and Events" in an inimitable style of a six month period in 1906 France.
A mosaic of the actualities rather than a Feuilleton--
a mosaic in its own way predicting perhaps McLuhan's TV screen, a Medium as "Cool" as Feneon himself!
from if:book The Institute for the Future of the Book
twittering from the past 08.11.2008, 12:18 PM
A couple of weeks ago, Sebastian Mary posted about experiments with sending out literature via Twitter. She found herself disappointed that DailyLit was neither "abridging the text savagely for hyper-truncated delivery, or else delivering the unabridged text 140 characters at a time"; instead, texts not built for Twitter were being shoehorned into the Twitter form. Twitter might be the electronic form du jour, but this is a problem as old as electronic writing: the presumption that texts are form-agnostic.
An interesting approach to the problem comes from an unexpected source: the New York Review of Books has begun serializing Félix Fénéon's Novels in Three Lines via Twitter in Luc Sante's translation. Fénéon was a fin-de-siècle French writer who's best known as the art critic who coined the term "pointillism". (Paul Signac's portrait of him, Against the Enamel of a Background Rhythmic with Beats and Angles, Tones and Tints, Portrait of Felix Feneon in 1890, is below.) Fénéon was a man of many talents; while publicly known as an anarchist and the first French publisher of James Joyce, he was secretly a master of miniaturized text. His anonymous feuilletonage in Le Matin in 1906 condensed the news of the day to masterpieces of phrasing:
In a café on Rue Fontaine, Vautour, Lenoir, and Atanis exchanged a few bullets regarding their wives, who were not present.
Fénéon's hypercompression lends itself to Twitter. In a book, these pieces don't quite have space to breathe; they're crowded by each other, and it's more difficult for the reader to savor them individually. As Twitter posts, they're perfectly self-contained, as they would have been when they appeared as feuilleton.
A quotation from Buckminster Fuller (from Synergetics 529.10) seems apropos for thinking about why Fénéon seems so suited to Twitter:
It is one of the strange facts of experience that when we try to think about the future, our thoughts jump backwards. It may well be that nature has some fundamental metaphysical law by which opening up what we call the future also opens up the past in equal degree.
Posted by dan visel at 12:18 PM | Comments (1)
tags: Microlit , feuilleton , fénéon , nyrb , twitter
TOKYO — Until recently, cellphone novels — composed on phone keypads by young women wielding dexterous thumbs and read by fans on their tiny screens — had been dismissed in Japan as a subgenre unworthy of the country that gave the world its first novel, “The Tale of Genji,” a millennium ago. Then last month, the year-end best-seller tally showed that cellphone novels, republished in book form, have not only infiltrated the mainstream but have come to dominate it.
Links to Japanese Sites:
Book Uploading Site of Starts Publishing
Orion, a Cell Phone Novel Site for Goma Books
The Novel, "If You"
Enlarge This Image
Ko Sasaki for The New York Times
Rin, 21, tapped out a novel on her cellphone that sold 400,000 copies in hardcover.
Of last year’s 10 best-selling novels, five were originally cellphone novels, mostly love stories written in the short sentences characteristic of text messaging but containing little of the plotting or character development found in traditional novels. What is more, the top three spots were occupied by first-time cellphone novelists, touching off debates in the news media and blogosphere.
“Will cellphone novels kill ‘the author’?” a famous literary journal, Bungaku-kai, asked on the cover of its January issue. Fans praised the novels as a new literary genre created and consumed by a generation whose reading habits had consisted mostly of manga, or comic books. Critics said the dominance of cellphone novels, with their poor literary quality, would hasten the decline of Japanese literature.
Whatever their literary talents, cellphone novelists are racking up the kind of sales that most more experienced, traditional novelists can only dream of.
One such star, a 21-year-old woman named Rin, wrote “If You” over a six-month stretch during her senior year in high school. While commuting to her part-time job or whenever she found a free moment, she tapped out passages on her cellphone and uploaded them on a popular Web site for would-be authors.
After cellphone readers voted her novel No. 1 in one ranking, her story of the tragic love between two childhood friends was turned into a 142-page hardcover book last year. It sold 400,000 copies and became the No. 5 best-selling novel of 2007, according to a closely watched list by Tohan, a major book distributor.
“My mother didn’t even know that I was writing a novel,” said Rin, who, like many cellphone novelists, goes by only one name. “So at first when I told her, well, I’m coming out with a novel, she was like, what? She didn’t believe it until it came out and appeared in bookstores.”
The cellphone novel was born in 2000 after a home-page-making Web site, Maho no i-rando, realized that many users were writing novels on their blogs; it tinkered with its software to allow users to upload works in progress and readers to comment, creating the serialized cellphone novel. But the number of users uploading novels began booming only two to three years ago, and the number of novels listed on the site reached one million last month, according to Maho no i-rando.
The boom appeared to have been fueled by a development having nothing to do with culture or novels but by cellphone companies’ decision to offer unlimited transmission of packet data, like text-messaging, as part of flat monthly rates. The largest provider, Docomo, began offering this service in mid-2004.
“Their cellphone bills were easily reaching $1,000, so many people experienced what they called ‘packet death,’ and you wouldn’t hear from them for a while,” said Shigeru Matsushima, an editor who oversees the book uploading site at Starts Publishing, a leader in republishing cellphone novels.
The affordability of cellphones coincided with the coming of age of a generation of Japanese for whom cellphones, more than personal computers, had been an integral part of their lives since junior high school. So they read the novels on their cellphones, even though the same Web sites were also accessible by computer. They punched out text messages with their thumbs with blinding speed, and used expressions and emoticons, like smilies and musical notes, whose nuances were lost on anyone over the age of 25.
“It’s not that they had a desire to write and that the cellphone happened to be there,” said Chiaki Ishihara, an expert in Japanese literature at Waseda University who has studied cellphone novels. “Instead, in the course of exchanging e-mail, this tool called the cellphone instilled in them a desire to write.”
Indeed, many cellphone novelists had never written fiction before, and many of their readers had never read novels before, according to publishers.
The writers are not paid for their work online, no many how many millions of times it is viewed. The payoff, if any, comes when the novels are reproduced and sold as traditional books. Readers have free access to the Web sites that carry the novels, or pay at most $1 to $2 a month, but the sites make most of their money from advertising.
Ko Sasaki for The New York Times
Rin wrote her novel while commuting to her part-time job.
Critics say the novels owe a lot to a genre devoured by the young: comic books. In cellphone novels, characters tend to be undeveloped and descriptions thin, while paragraphs are often fragments and consist of dialogue.
“Traditionally, Japanese would depict a scene emotionally, like ‘The train came out of the long tunnel into the snow country,’ ” Mika Naito, a novelist, said, referring to the famous opening sentence of Yasunari Kawabata’s “Snow Country.”
“In cellphone novels, you don’t need that,” said Ms. Naito, 36, who recently began writing cellphone novels at the urging of her publisher. “If you limit it to a certain place, readers won’t be able to feel a sense of familiarity.”
Written in the first person, many cellphone novels read like diaries. Almost all the authors are young women delving into affairs of the heart, spiritual descendants, perhaps, of Shikibu Murasaki, the 11th-century royal lady-in-waiting who wrote “The Tale of Genji.”
“Love Sky,” a debut novel by a young woman named Mika, was read by 20 million people on cellphones or on computers, according to Maho no i-rando, where it was first uploaded. A tear-jerker featuring adolescent sex, rape, pregnancy and a fatal disease — the genre’s sine qua non — the novel nevertheless captured the young generation’s attitude, its verbal tics and the cellphone’s omnipresence. Republished in book form, it became the No. 1 selling novel last year and was made into a movie.
Given the cellphone novels’ domination of the mainstream, critics no longer dismiss them, though some say they should be classified with comic books or popular music.
Rin said ordinary novels left members of her generation cold.
“They don’t read works by professional writers because their sentences are too difficult to understand, their expressions are intentionally wordy, and the stories are not familiar to them,” she said. “On other hand, I understand how older Japanese don’t want to recognize these as novels. The paragraphs and the sentences are too simple, the stories are too predictable. But I’d like cellphone novels to be recognized as a genre.”
As the genre’s popularity leads more people to write cellphone novels, though, an existential question has arisen: can a work be called a cellphone novel if it is not composed on a cellphone, but on a computer or, inconceivably, in longhand?
“When a work is written on a computer, the nuance of the number of lines is different, and the rhythm is different from writing on a cellphone,” said Keiko Kanematsu, an editor at Goma Books, a publisher of cellphone novels. “Some hard-core fans wouldn’t consider that a cellphone novel.”
Still, others say the genre is not defined by the writing tool.
Ms. Naito, the novelist, says she writes on a computer and sends the text to her phone, with which she rearranges her work. Unlike the first-time cellphone novelists in their teens or early 20s, she says she is more comfortable writing on a computer.
But at least one member of the cellphone generation has made the switch to computers. A year ago, one of Starts Publishing’s young stars, Chaco, gave up her phone even though she could compose much faster with it by tapping with her thumb.
“Because of writing on the cellphone, her nail had cut into the flesh and became bloodied,” said Mr. Matsushima of Starts.
“Since she’s switched to a computer,” he added, “her vocabulary’s gotten richer and her sentences have also grown longer.”