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Notes & Counter Notes

It's only been 9 years since I set out to find myself a copy of Eugene Ionesco's collected essays and lectures after running across a snippet in a class on avant garde theatre. The effort hasn't been sustained, but I've never really forgotten. Out of print in English since its initial release in 1964, I have never seen it at any used book store in Seattle--and I've checked around. When I was able to find it online, it was either way too expensive ($40 to $75 plus fees), or I was broke.

But! I finally found a copy for less than $10 after shipping, and it arrived today. Formerly of Euclid Public Library in Euclid Ohio, it still has its checkout card attached, and there's a sticker on the back reminding whoever last borrowed it to return the volume by March 21, 1994.

This is it. Theory from the master absurdist on art, drama, what it means to be in the vanguard, and how to stay there. Explanations and thoughts from the man who wrought Rhinoceros, Macbett, and Amedee. A giant. I am stoked.


  1. Turns out the semi-post-modernist, semi-philosophical aesthetics of Ionesco are thicker than his plays, and, while interesting, elicit fatigue, more than anything else. Part of this has to do with mind numbing references to the 'truer than true' in drama. I cannot express how dull I find such pretensions. There's also the not altogether attractive mixture of three prose traditions: unstructured continental European philosophy, lightly (if at all) argued opinion essays, and ideological memoirs.

    It doesn't help that most of his cultural references are, unsurprisingly, French. I wouldn't mind were I more familiar with them. But, alas, early and mid 20th century dramatists are not ready acquaintances of mine, and are not all that accessible in the United States. It's hard enough just finding a good translation of L'Estranger.

    That said, I intend to read through this thing, damn it.


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Pointless Ruminations on the Absurd

The world around us is in no way required to conform to our expectations, beliefs, or desires. Rather, it is all but guaranteed to disappoint us, at least once or twice a lifetime. The loftier (or more deeply felt) our ideals, the more this may be true.

When we accept this incongruity and are keenly aware of it, but cannot change our thinking, absurdity steps in. The world no longer quite makes sense. It is untethered from rational or moral concerns, adrift in a bizarre joke told by no one.
Desire for normative order is often irrational and misplaced. Placing ethical constraints on amoral matters makes no sense. Yet these appear (sometimes, seemingly) inescapable conclusions. Hence the sensation of absurdity.

We can apply these incongruous demands to anything and anyone. But this is not a universal philosophy. It is a philosophy of the self, a diagnosis.

Well now.

I think I'm going to try to revive my online writing habits, outside of Facebook.

And what have I been thinking or feeling in the interim, across the last couple years or so? Well, I'm glad you asked.

In part, this.