Thursday, July 5, 2007


The city rat invites the country rat onto the Persian rug. They gnaw and chew leftover bits of ortolan. Scraps, bits and pieces, leftovers: their royal feast is only a meal after a meal among the dirty dishes of a table that has not been cleared . . . . The rats, the country- and the city-dweller, have shown us that the system of parasites in stepladder formation is not very different from an ordinary system. Who will ever know if parasitism is an obstacle to its proper functioning or if it is its very dynamics? (Michel Serres, The Parasite, trans. Lawrence Schehr [Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1982], 3, 27)

In 1846-47 Marx and Engels made repeated attempts to find a publisher in Germany for their work [The German Ideology]; their efforts were, however, unsuccessful. This was due partly to difficulties made by the police and partly to the reluctance of the publishers to print the work since their sympathies were on the side of the representatives of the trends attacked by Marx and Engels.

Marx remarked later that they then abandoned the MS. to "the gnawing criticism of the mice." This turned out to be literally true, and affected passages have been reconstructed by the editors of the
Complete Edition, by inserting words, which are enclosed in square brackets. (C.J. Arthur, "Editor's Preface" to Marx and Engels, The German Ideology [New York: International Publishers, 1970], 1)

Words eaten by mice in Part I of The German Ideology:

quite naturally derived
the oppressive landed nobility
the merchants
Its first premise
its development
with others has each
a larger part of "Feuerbach: Philosophic, and Real, Liberation"
and possibly up to four pages of "Division of Labour: Town and Country"

Marx isn't even mentioned in Serres.

Image: manuscript page of The German Ideology


Anonymous said...

--Based on poem by RT

I had long lost the eyes to see,
Yet, I can read this painter's touch--
And the strokes--bold but woeful--returns
Me to my home--the land of the Dutch.

Man or woman, I don't know,
But by you my fingertips
Have done something coldlike
To my eyes--beyond the weeps.

There! Grass-green grass! I had forgotten.
And there! The throngs and things they bring!
Thousands in their homes and work--
Their colors held as offering.
(variant: Their colors re-awakening?)

All returning--but faces!
Everyone who once was lost--
Now re-invited--greet as horrors--
With their lack of faces--stressed.

And though I now retrieve my fingers
From the cursing strokes, a light
Now burns inside the eye--as lampshade
Is seen from the underside.

What strange Promethean curse is this
To return to me my loving dead
By fire that show apparitions
Without faces on the head!

Anonymous said...

Poem by RT:

It doesn't matter whether you read
this with your eyes open.

It was the house of the world's most
famous Danish painter.

Man or woman, I don't know.

The pine vapor did something
coldlike to their eyes.

Grass-green grass.

They'd bring the thousands of people
they'd need with them.

Most of the lost objects had been
invited, but only the things.

The underside of the lampshade,
inside the eye.

Filled with furniture from the
suicidal islands.

The inventory of consolations.

Everything, except everything else.

RT said...

Hey, I'm trying to get some work done here...