I have been thinking about this for a bit and wondering after the relationship between the magical renaissance of the 90s and the comics renaissance of the 90s. You have big ol’ honkin’ magician powerhouse in the form of Alan Moore, followed by the chaos magic darling in the form of Grant Morrison. It’s hard, too, to separate out the neopagan renaissance from the work of people like Neil Gaiman. I wouldn’t go so far as to suggest one caused the other, but they formed something of a trashy archive in the Foucauldian sense, a set of practices and disciplines united by a common armature, a common set of intuitions and forms that made it easy for one to inspire the other.
This is how we’re going to live from now on – surrounded by the swirl of strange and terrible weather, never quite knowing when the great black wall of it will shift and slam into us. AGAINST THE DAY will remain relevant, because it’s the picture of every minute of every day from now on. Amazing things, every single different kind of story we can imagine, and the altitude thrill of constantly being on the edge of bubbling fatal chaos.—Warren Ellis
I have read this review three or four times now and I can tell I am trying to get at something in it. It may come down to this quote. Let me walk through my responses to it.
I don’t read as much as I used to, but over this holiday season I have been taking pleasure in the translation of Walter Benjamin’s work on Baudelaire, The Writer of Modern Life, and acquainting myself with Les Fleurs du Mal (I know, embarrassing that I haven’t done so before this, right?). I’m glad to have a bilingual edition of the latter–while Robert Howard’s English translation is poetically appealing, it elides Baudelaire’s singular and discomfiting French.
Thanks to Warren Ellis, I found myself on the Paris Review website wandering through their Art of Fiction interviews archive. I was drawn to the 1960s archives, stumbling over interviews to some folks who have played key, if not necessarily prominent, roles in my spiritual development: Jorge Luis Borges, Allen Ginsberg, Robert Frost, and William S. Burroughs (whose influence is the most indirect). There are more there, but sheesh, I have to eat, sleep, and work sometime. Beside that these are all men (which is interesting in a way I’d like to address another time), these guys don’t have tons in common outside of their common participation in the writerly world. How is it that they all find their way into my spiritual life?