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Kathy AckerWriting the Impossible$
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Georgina Colby

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780748683505

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748683505.001.0001

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Collage and the Anxiety of Self-description: Blood and Guts in High School

Collage and the Anxiety of Self-description: Blood and Guts in High School

(p.65) Chapter 2 Collage and the Anxiety of Self-description: Blood and Guts in High School
Kathy Acker

Georgina Colby

Edinburgh University Press

Chapter 2 addresses Acker’s practice of collage, and the anxiety of self-description. Blood and Guts in High School is positioned in relation to both the Dadaist collage and montage practices of artists such as Hannah Höch at the beginning of the twentieth century, and the subversive publications of the 1960s and 1970s: mimeographed magazines, and the punk and post-punk medium of Xeroxed publications. The original manuscript of Blood and Guts in High School housed in the archive possesses a different materiality to the published version of the novel. The materiality of the text in its collage and typographic experimentation is situated in a counter position to the language and hegemonic discourses within which Janey, the voice of the text, is imprisoned. Drawing on Acker’s practices of illegibility, and Denise Riley’s work on language and affect, the chapter argues that Blood and Guts in High School, through its experimental form, reveals the anxiety of self-description that Janey experiences within conventional language structures. Illustration, experimental typography, non-referential language, and the use of the poetic, function in Blood and Guts in High School as sites of an alternate language that emerges through compositional form and experimental forms of iteration.

Keywords:   César Vallejo, Stephane Mallarmé, Denise Riley, literary experiment, self-description, original manuscript, language philosophy, collage, rewriting

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