Colloques & Conferences de l'Universite Lyon 2, Modernism and Unreadability / Modernisme et Illisibilite

Entropy and the Unreadable in Ron Sillimann's Ketjak and Toner

Pénélope Sacks Galey

Temps: 2008-10-23  12:35  – 12:05
Dernière modification: 2008-07-07


My title invites the question : where does unreadability begin, readability end ? Are we dealing with a definable concept, or one whose seeming aporia stems from the absence of any distinctive frontier between the readable and its opposite ? Indeed, etymology will significantly forefront the verb, then classify and fragment its diverse meanings, in other words, read its meanings, leading us from the most basic to the abstract and from the abstract to the antonym unreadable, since to unread has not yet been invented. We can then construct a basic lexicology of readability. To define the term, we need to establish its relevant categories and levels. We must needs forefront questions pertaining to reference, to interpretation, to closure, to hyper- and hypotextuality.
We can also read the unreadable as a challenge, or further, as defiance, whether expressed by the form of the text itself, or as part of its poetic intentionality. We can also read it as intrinsic to affective or aesthetic poetic necessity, or from a purely ludic perspecive. Should we consider the unreadable as the substratum of the readable, or vice-versa ? I shall use the example of Humpty Dumpty's fall as a metaphor to develop the vitalistic question of positive entropy as intrinsic to the poiesis of those specific types of poetry or prose poetry exemplifying our common interest in the Unreadable. Ron Sillimann's Ketjak and Toner will be considered within this context of creative entropy. Indeed, contrary to common belief, this paper will consider the disorder commonly attributed to the concept as the creation of a new order where potentiality exists at a higher level.