Elevate Difference

Reading the Remove of Literature

This book throws readers for a loop. It is a book about the absence of literature, whose introduction one shouldn’t skip for fear of losing the point of the book completely. Originally, it started out as an edition of Maurice Blanchot’s L’Espace litteraire. However, not a line of the original text remains; in its place stands random empty underlines and otherwise blank gaps where the text should be. The margins are full of notes and questions relating to the original work. In Thurston’s own words: “In a way the work shadows the words… in the presence of the absence means a sense of someone is always constructing the present.”

This book is about the process of reading and how an author makes a person think. We are always trying to know what the authors of any books we read felt, experienced, dreamed of and if what we understood and took away from the text is what the author truly intended for us to grasp. Reading the Remove of Literature proves this with notes like “The poem is literature but is literature always a poem?” and “Writing is the process of dying constantly” or even “Present designates the terms past + future.”

After reading this book, I feel the urge to grab a notebook and construct the flow of thoughts, images and ideas in my head left over after every book I have ever read. The process of reading it, however, was mildly frustrating because I wanted to know what the original text was that the author constantly referred to. Then I read another line of notation in the book: “Impatience will only lead you to the image of the goal, not the goal.” I wondered if my anticipation and frustration is what Thurston intended.

Written by: Susan Wilson, July 16th 2007