Sunday, May 01, 2005

"Leave-taking" by Giorgio Manganelli

Here's our gift to all you graduating seniors (whether it's from high school, college, or the school of hard knocks) out there this month: Before suffering the indignity of birth, a wistful soul addresses his comrades and bids farewell. Both a pastiche of the typical valedictory speech and a metaphysical exercise, this story has an unexpected bitter edge. Read by Scoot.

Though widely known throughout Europe, the Italian Giorgio Manganelli, who died fifteen years ago, is still little-known elsewhere. Noted art critic and translator Henry Martin has recently introduced English-speaking audiences to this author, whose philosophical fiction and critical philosophy and philosophical criticism includes Centuria, a collection of one-hundred "ouroboric novels." (Fortunately, each of these novels is only two pages long.) Long live the difficult avant-garde writer and long live Manganelli!

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