By Peter Schwenger

At the Borders of Sleep is a distinct exploration of the connections among literature and the liminal states among waking and sleeping—from falling asleep and waking up, to drowsiness and insomnia, to states during which snoozing and waking combine. Delving into philosophy in addition to literature, Peter Schwenger investigates the brink among waking and snoozing as a tremendous and effective country among the pressured march of rational idea and the oblivion of unconsciousness.

While analyzing literary representations of a few of the states among waking and dozing, At the Borders of Sleep additionally analyzes how writers and readers alike draw on and input into those states. to take action Schwenger reads quite a lot of authors for whom the borders of sleep are an important, together with Marcel Proust, Stephen King, Paul Valéry, Fernando Pessoa, Franz Kafka, Giorgio de Chirico, Virginia Woolf, Philippe Sollers, and Robert Irwin. contemplating drowsiness, insomnia, and waking up, he appears at such topics because the hypnagogic nation, the event of studying and why it really is diverse from complete cognizance, the relationships among insomnia and writing and why insomnia is usually a resource of inventive perception, and the patience of liminal components in waking idea. a last bankruptcy makes a speciality of literature that blurs dream and waking lifestyles, giving precise awareness to experimental writing.

Ultimately arguing that, happening at the edges of awareness, either the analyzing and writing of literature are liminal stories, At the Borders of Sleep indicates new how one can take into consideration the character of literature and consciousness.

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Sample text

Most authors are well beyond any possibility of retrieving this nebulous process, even for themselves, and certainly for anyone else. If, then, we want to find out something about the associations that flicker behind a text, it is not to authors we should turn but to ourselves. We must reexamine our own experiences of reading. Blanchot, who has written extensively and rigorously on writing, has much less to say about reading. In contrast to the agonies of writing, he says, reading is “a light, innocent Yes” (Space 196).

In reading,” Philippe Sollers has said, “we must become aware of what we write unconsciously by our reading” (Logiques 220). Only through such a writing is reading possible at all. Yet it is the most elusive of realms, for it takes place at the very borders of consciousness, the place where consciousness is taken over by something else that thinks otherwise than do our daylight minds. We catch a glimpse of it, sometimes, just as we edge over into sleep—though, as Danilo KiŠ’s narrator finds, it Toward Sleep .

They are the last words of the book, and they partake of both realms, the dream world and the waking one: inside what order kept evening under protection against new dust it tries warning all seasons and lights lanterns around devils reaches echoes are made. (200) While this is not Joycean prose, it does suggest something about Joyce’s language, or any language: that it has its origins in an unconscious that it both evokes and covers over. So something dies, according to Carl, at the moment of waking: “When you wake, you lose a narrative, and you never get it back” (200).

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