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DATE 12/14/2016

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EX LIBRIS

Ex Libris: Mark Polizzotti

DATE 2/8/2010

Mark Polizzotti is Director of Intellectual Property and Publisher at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the author of, among others, the collaborative novel S. (1991), Lautréamont Nomad (1994), Revolution of the Mind: The Life of André Breton (1995), The New Life: Poems (1998), a study of Luis Buñuel’s Los Olvidados (2006), and Bob Dylan: Highway 61 Revisited (2006). His articles, reviews, and poetry have appeared in The New Republic, ARTnews, The Nation, Parnassus, Partisan Review, and elsewhere. He is also the translator of over 30 books from the French, including works by Gustave Flaubert, Marguerite Duras, André Breton, Raymond Roussel, Patrick Chamoiseau, Linda Lê and Jean Echenoz.

1. Mille Plateaux by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. Make rhizomes not roots. The world looks very different after this book; to be read alongside Nietzsche’s The Genealogy of Morals and Virilio’s Speed and Politics.

2. Maldoror and the Complete Works by the Comte de Lautréamont. The Cantos of Maldoror take literature about as far into white-hot frenzy as it can go, then the Poésies bring it stinging back with a cold slap.

3. Bouvard and Pécuchet by Gustave Flaubert. No one lampooned society as acerbically as Flaubert, and none of his works surpasses his last, unfinished novel for sheer comic absurdity and dry-eyed disgust. Think Barthes’s Mythologies, but 100 years earlier and even more so.

4. CodeX by Maurice Roche. The first book to make me understand that some texts just can’t be tamed, or translated.

5. Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen. Still today one of the most clear-sighted economic treatises ever written—and if economics can be made as interesting (and funny) as this, then, in the right author’s hands, anything can.

6. A Movable Feast by Ernst Hemingway. Before ever setting foot in Paris, this book made me want to be there, sit in those cafés, know those people. Clichés become clichés for a reason.

7. The Innocent Eye: On Modern Literature and the Arts by Roger Shattuck. And The Banquet Years, of course, but this one in particular showcases Shattuck’s astounding ability to make heavy-duty history and criticism seem feather-light.

8. Second Manifesto of Surrealism by André Breton. Even more than Nadja, Mad Love, or other works of Breton’s, this one opened a world to me, even as its darkly embattled prose jabbed way deep. One comes away with the conviction that, linguistically speaking, all is permitted.

9. Le Schizo et les langues by Louis Wolfson. This book will blow your head off. The author, an American who couldn’t abide his mother tongue, devised a system for immediately transposing any English phrase into fragments of other languages to produce an equivalent phrase with the same sound and meaning as the original. Along with Raymond Roussel’s How I Wrote Certain of My Books, it tests the limits of language, translation, and the possibilities of communication.

10. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig. A book I keep coming back to. His revelation of Phaedrus never loses its chill.

.. The Sailor from Gibraltar by Marguerite Duras. Perhaps the most achingly elusive quest in literature, and an object lesson in how to declare love while dodging traffic. Flowers of Evil by Charles Baudelaire, A Season in Hell by Arthur Rimbaud, Houseboat Days by John Ashbery, Alcools by Guillaume Apollinaire, The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens. In no particular order; all equally essential.

EX LIBRIS: Mark Polizzotti
EX LIBRIS: Mark Polizzotti
EX LIBRIS: Mark Polizzotti
EX LIBRIS: Mark Polizzotti
EX LIBRIS: Mark Polizzotti
EX LIBRIS: Mark Polizzotti
EX LIBRIS: Mark Polizzotti
EX LIBRIS: Mark Polizzotti
EX LIBRIS: Mark Polizzotti

Mark Polizzotti is Director of Intellectual Property and Publisher at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the author of, among others, the collaborative novel S. (1991), Lautréamont Nomad (1994), Revolution of the Mind: The Life of André Breton (1995), The New Life: Poems (1998), a study of Luis Buñuel’s Los Olvidados (2006), and Bob Dylan: Highway 61 Revisited (2006). His articles, reviews, and poetry have appeared in The New Republic, ARTnews, The Nation, Parnassus, Partisan Review, and elsewhere. He is also the translator of over 30 books from the French, including works by Gustave Flaubert, Marguerite Duras, André Breton, Raymond Roussel, Patrick Chamoiseau, Linda Lê and Jean Echenoz.



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