Read again?

Klan of Crude Cry vs the Brotherhood of Refined Prose

Two schools, which I like to call: the Klan of Crude Cry and the Brotherhood of Refined Prose. The Klan venerates Dostoevsky and Henri Miller, who praises “the tacit pact with myself not to change a line of what I write. I’m not interested in perfecting my thoughts or actions.” The Brotherhood, on the other hand, refines its prose to the purity of the diamond, like Turgenev. Perfectionist, the Brother is to the point of obsession.

Miller portrays the Klan model as self-fidelity. Fidelity to one’s own instantiations, without going back. While the Brotherhood is looking for an ideal of the self. The interest of intermediate steps? Negligible. What to think of this justification to retouch or not his work, at Miller?

‘Re-reading’ is not mechanically ‘reconsidering’. Before judging whether the task reveals idealism, it is pragmatic. Is my thought correctly translated? Dostoevsky’s writing closely marries it. No need to check. While a Turgenev places his ideation beyond words. He is forced to refine his language mask excessively to recognize it, is satisfied only when he himself is impressed. Both of these authors work in the present. None of them feel that they are revising the work in the middle of its realization. It sticks to their identity, which Dostoevsky places in his own language, and Turgenev at a distance. Unsurprisingly, the idealist shows a more frank continuity in his work than the language professional. The first revolves around a recognizable but inaccessible pole. The second unfolds its path by mountains and valleys of encounter.

Re-read for others

Miller identifies a third school, apart, symbolized by Van Gogh in his letters: one that writes only for himself, without artifice. “The triumph of the individual over art,” Miller says. Really? What is art, if not the collective of the excesses of thought? How then to speak of triumph over the collective when the individual is only in dialogue with himself? Miller summoned a collective to which Van Gogh paid no attention.

I read again, not to sanction my own speech, but to check that it corresponds to what I wanted to say… to others. It doesn’t matter what identity space I took it out of. My inner dialogue, on the other hand, supports all syntax errors. Transmitter and receiver do the same.


Leave a Comment