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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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Writing-through: Don Quixote: Which Was a Dream

Writing-through: Don Quixote: Which Was a Dream

(p.110) Chapter 3 Writing-through: Don Quixote: Which Was a Dream
Kathy Acker

Georgina Colby

Edinburgh University Press

Chapter 3 reads Acker’s Don Quixote: Which Was a Dream as a form of non-procedural ‘writing-through’, a term that has its roots in the procedural practices of John Cage and Jackson Mac Low, discussed in chapter one. Acker’s literary experiment in Don Quixote is related to abortion as a literary trope, and is positioned in contrast to models of male-to-male literary insemination and canon formation. The chapter draws on the contemporary scholarship surrounding conceptual practice, such as the work of Caroline Bergvall, and addresses the tendency of critical studies on Acker’s work to use the term ‘appropriation’ as a blanket term. Acker’s experimental practices in Don Quixote are readdressed, paying attention to the complexity of those strategies. Reading the work with attention to Acker’s practice of abstraction, experimentation with translation, paragrammatic play, and the protosemantic, a method of writing through emerges whereby voice is imbricated with the negation of language. In Don Quixote experimental practice displaces centralized narrative and offers a new feminist temporality.

Keywords:   writing-through, literary abstraction, translation, feminisms, Russian Constructivism, Catullus, Andrei Bely, paragrammatics, Julia Kristeva, Louis Zukofsky

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