What can be said about the silence that precedes a poem or story? What myths have been invented to explain the transition from “nothing” to work of art? And when did the “account of composition” turn into a literary genre of its own?
These questions are at the heart of Pablo M. Ruiz’s excursion into the center(s) of literary creativity. Filled with paradoxes and parables, Four Cold Chapters on the Possibility of Literatures considers Jorge Luis Borges, Georges Perec, and Felisberto Hernandez, as well as several doctoral dissertations, on its journey through the universe of writing (and writing about writing).
“Contributing to a mythology of their own writing is something many writers do. Cases of overt myth-making are enough to justify to some scholars the designation of a ‘genre’ wherein the producers of literature are the producers of myths about how literature is produced.
Pablo Ruiz is one of these scholars and his Four Cold Chapters on the Possibility of Literature, recently released as part of Dalkey Archive’s Scholarly Series, is at first glance an attempt to test myth-making texts by their own logic. But a secondary and incipient text is also at work here, staging a game of contingency between the critic and the reader so that it becomes hard to determine just who is responsible for this myth production.” – Justin Raden, Don’t Do It Magazine