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Author Topic: sotos  (Read 327352 times)
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Balor/SS1535
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« Reply #435 on: February 17, 2022, 02:58:42 AM »

Lionel Maunz Peter Sotos (I assume that is how they would like the book to be titled?) was the first Sotos that I read, and I liked it quite a bit.  It felt like something that would become more meaningful/interesting with multiple readings.  While there were a few sections where the discussion of the art was rather explicit, much of the book seemed like it was just dwelling on/circling around a collection of themes, ideas, and images related to Maunz's artwork (from Sotos' perspective at least).

The art, of course, was fantastic on its own.

The one thing that I personally think would have added a lot to the book, now that I think of it, would have been an interview with Maunz conducted by Sotos - but maybe that would have been a bit too direct for what they were aiming for.

So how indicative is this book of Sotos' general style as a writer?
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Grimpin
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« Reply #436 on: May 08, 2022, 06:43:29 PM »

Quote from:  Balor
So how indicative is this book of Sotos' general style as a writer?

I'd read all of Sotos' previous books before reading it - with the sole exception of Show Adult, I've never been able to get a copy of - and from the 2010s on Sotos' work is getting more cryptic/abstruse and dense, and far less extreme; an elegiac, depressing quality seeping in to boot. Not a criticism, just an observation. I see parallels with Samuel Beckett, with books of his like The Unnamable and How It is, more than any other writer, with this later era Sotos. And Lionel Maunz Peter Sotos certainly carries on in that direction. To me the late-1990s to mid-2000s work like Lazy, Tick, Comfort & Critique and the underrated Predicate are the height of his powers: in terms of experimentation (bizarre structuring), his prowess as a writer, the nightmarish and nauseating quality. But I'm glad he's mellowed out somewhat since, and gone in a relatively different direction, rather than repeating himself..

The problem I did have with Lionel Maunz Peter Sotos though (to contradict myself that I'm glad Sotos isn't repeating himself) is quite a portion of it is constituted of copied-and-pasted passages from his previous books - something I don't think he's ever done before, with perhaps the exception of Lordotics if I remember correctly? Such as the anecdote about his father's queer bashing - taken from Predicate - and his taking up smoking in gay bars - taken from Comfort & Critique. And various sex scenes, lifted wholesale too. I suppose there's an argument to be made he's "revisiting haunted themes from his previous work, placed in a new context", or whatever, but to me it seemed more like a lazy attempt to pad out the word count. Which is a bit out of order considering the price of the book, if you're not a Lionel Maunz fanatic at least. That said, I do think Sotos has it in him to do a William Burroughs Dead Fingers Talk-esque unalloyed collaging together and revisiting of his previous work in a book.. If this was it, it wasn't too great an attempt.. Though some of the newly-written text was quite brilliant, particularly the opening pages.. And I imagine a reread will be more rewarding..
« Last Edit: May 13, 2022, 11:23:41 PM by Grimpin » Logged
Balor/SS1535
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« Reply #437 on: May 09, 2022, 02:49:21 AM »

Quote from:  Balor
So how indicative is this book of Sotos' general style as a writer?

I'd read of all of Sotos' books before reading it - with the sole exception of Show Adult, I've never been able to get a copy of - and from the 2010s on Sotos' work is getting more cryptic and abstruse, far less extreme; a elegiac, depressing quality seeping in to boot. Not a criticism, just an observation. I see parallels with Samuel Beckett, with books of his like The Unnamable and How It is, more than any other writer, with this later era Sotos. And Lionel Maunz Peter Sotos certainly carries on in that direction. To me the late-1990s to mid-2000s work like Lazy, Tick, Comfort & Critique and the underrated Predicate are the height of his powers: in terms of experimentation (bizarre structuring), his prowess as a writer, the nightmare quality. But I'm glad he's mellowed out somewhat since, and gone in a relatively different direction, rather than repeating himself..

The problem I did have with Lionel Maunz Peter Sotos though (to contradict myself that I'm glad Sotos isn't repeating himself) was quite a portion of it constituted of copied-and-pasted passages from his previous books - something I don't think he's ever done before, with perhaps the exception of Lordotics if I remember correctly? Such as the anecdote about his father's queer bashing - taken from Predicate - and his taking up smoking in gay bars - taken from Comfort & Critique. And various sex scenes, lifted wholesale too. I suppose there's an argument to be made he's "revisiting haunting themes from his previous work, placed in a new context", or whatever, but to me it seemed more like a lazy attempt to pad out the word count. Which is a bit out of order considering the price of the book, if you're not a Lionel Maunz fanatic at least. That said, I do think Sotos has it in him to do a William Burroughs Dead Fingers Talk-esque unalloyed collaging together and revisiting of his previous work in a book.. If this was it, it wasn't too great an attempt.. Though some of the newly-written text was quite brilliant, particularly the opening pages.. And I imagine a reread will be more rewarding..

Thanks for this.  I recently gained access to some of Sotos' earlier books, so I will have to read those soon for a better sense of comparison.

It is interestion that you mention the repetition.  I assumed when I was reading Lionel Maunz Peter Sotos that the only quotations were the sections written in italics, but maybe that was only sources by other authors.

It has been a while now since I last opened the book, but I agree that going through it again will prove more interesting that the first time around.

I feel like I am missing something really obvious, but was this Sotos' book "about" an artist?  I know that he did a book with the Kiddiepunk guy a while ago, but my understanding was that that was more like a text/art pairing rather than a commentary.
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Grimpin
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« Reply #438 on: May 09, 2022, 04:53:53 AM »

Quote from: Balor/SS1535
It is interestion that you mention the repetition.  I assumed when I was reading Lionel Maunz Peter Sotos that the only quotations were the sections written in italics, but maybe that was only sources by other authors.

I think that's what made the passages of brute self-plagiarisation quite interesting in Maunz Sotos. He wasn't "quoting" these passages or putting them in italics. He was outright copying and pasting chunks of his previous writing, from books written around fifteen years ago, with no obvious reference or declaration he was. Like I said, the most cynical way of looking at it is he was dry of inspiration and was trying to fill up the word count, to hoodwink the people who hadn't read these previous books (within his loyal 500-person-strong fanbase or whatever). Though I suspect (hope) more was going on..

Quote
I feel like I am missing something really obvious, but was this Sotos' book "about" an artist?  I know that he did a book with the Kiddiepunk guy a while ago, but my understanding was that that was more like a text/art pairing rather than a commentary.

Desistance (2015) can be considered a companion piece to Maunz Sotos, more than Home, in that that book is ostensibly all about the work of the photographer Antoine D'Agata - but in fact just a springboard for Sotos to go on a wild goose chase inside his own obsessions (albeit the most sexless book he's penned so far), occasionally returning to the fulcrum.

I think that "missing something really obvious" feeling is an essence of Sotos' work. There's always that aura of mystery you'll never really pin down, or his motives, if he even has any.. Though like I said in my first message this cryptic feeling is getting more pronounced in his later work. Probably that missing-something-obvious factor is a few screws inside Sotos' head!
« Last Edit: May 09, 2022, 05:39:48 AM by Grimpin » Logged
Grimpin
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« Reply #439 on: May 09, 2022, 05:18:35 AM »

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Balor/SS1535
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« Reply #440 on: May 09, 2022, 07:50:11 PM »

Quote from: Balor/SS1535
It is interestion that you mention the repetition.  I assumed when I was reading Lionel Maunz Peter Sotos that the only quotations were the sections written in italics, but maybe that was only sources by other authors.

I think that's what made the passages of brute self-plagiarisation quite interesting in Maunz Sotos. He wasn't "quoting" these passages or putting them in italics. He was outright copying and pasting chunks of his previous writing, from books written around fifteen years ago, with no obvious reference or declaration he was. Like I said, the most cynical way of looking at it is he was dry of inspiration and was trying to fill up the word count, to hoodwink the people who hadn't read these previous books (within his loyal 500-person-strong fanbase or whatever). Though I suspect (hope) more was going on..

Quote
I feel like I am missing something really obvious, but was this Sotos' book "about" an artist?  I know that he did a book with the Kiddiepunk guy a while ago, but my understanding was that that was more like a text/art pairing rather than a commentary.

Desistance (2015) can be considered a companion piece to Maunz Sotos, more than Home, in that that book is ostensibly all about the work of the photographer Antoine D'Agata - but in fact just a springboard for Sotos to go on a wild goose chase inside his own obsessions (albeit the most sexless book he's penned so far), occasionally returning to the fulcrum.

I think that "missing something really obvious" feeling is an essence of Sotos' work. There's always that aura of mystery you'll never really pin down, or his motives, if he even has any.. Though like I said in my first message this cryptic feeling is getting more pronounced in his later work. Probably that missing-something-obvious factor is a few screws inside Sotos' head!

On of the things that struck me about Lionel Maunz Peter Sotos is that the "title" of the book does not make a clear distinction between title and author.  To me, that means that it can be read as either (or simultaneously) Lionel Maunz by Peter Sotos or Peter Sotos by (or illustrated by) Lionel Maunz.  If you take the latter of the two options, then it makes sense that Sotos would include direct quotations of his own work.  Maunz was inspired by Sotos' previous books, not this one clearly, so it makes sense that to understand Sotos' connection to Maunz we have to look back at his older writings.

The "missing something obvious" was less an interpretation of his writing on my part, than an "I feel like he wrote another book about an artist, but am forgetting the title."  But I nevertheless find your analysis interesting.  I didn't get any sense of mystery from reading the most recent book, but that might just be due to my lack of experience with his writing.  If anything, my first impression was a lack of mystery, a certain sense of carnal familiarity with his subject matter that does not warrent explicit description.

I will have to seek out more information about his book on D'Agata now!
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