Category Archives: Louis Sass

[The words] play, answer, echo one another. They reverberate. They reflect one another, they sparkle… And he is caught in the labyrinth of their mirrors, imprisoned in the interlacings of their reflections… He turns, mirrored from one to the other… This is the moment when we must become two persons. One half of me becomes detached from the other: a witness.

— Sarraute, Between Life and Death, quoted here


In fact, writing teaches, paradoxically, that someone else seems to write for us: that there is a ghostwriter in every hand […] The blankness of starting […] compels the one who writes to relive […] the queasy feeling that the definitive statement one is about to make is subject to interfering thoughts that seem to come from nowhere – and often subject to words rather than thoughts, words that turn you this way or that. The very instant of writing, Pascal’s fly buzzing, the book your eye chances to light on, a telephone call, the hangover of a dream, a literary echo – these are the stuff guiding the pen that claims authority. We notice, and are amused by, a slip of the tongue, and we have learned to study such parapraxes; but who can tell a slip of the pen that is always slipping on the pathless page?

— Geoffrey Hartman, quoted here