A Palpable Void: The Remediation of Bruno Schulzs The Street of Crocodiles as a Visual Work of Art in Jonathan Safran Foers Tree of Codes

John Mark Wilson

Abstract


This paper, entitled A Palpable Void, explores the method and reasoning behind Jonathan Safran Foers techniques in creating an original work Tree of Codes (2010) out of another text, The Street of Crocodiles, by an obscure author named Bruno Schulz. This experiment involves creating physical gaps in Schulzs text, meticulously excising parts of the text to create a wholly original piece of visual literary art.

The gaps introduced by Foer produce many layers of signification, ranging from cultural amnesia to the deconstruction of voice and authorship. I argue that Foer did in effect write Tree of Codes despite not actually contributing any of his own text or altering Schulzs syntax or punctuation; everything in the original text remains intact save the gaps that transform the work and imbue it with more layers of meaning. This transformation raises questions about the ontological and aesthetic status of the contemporary novel.


Keywords


Experimental Fiction; Metafiction; Postmodernism; Deconstructionism; Authorship; Visuality

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References


Adorno, Theodore W. Trying to Understand Endgame. New German Critique. No. 26. Critical Theory and Modernity (Spring-Summer). Duke University Press. 1982. Print.

Barthes, Roland. The Rustle of Language. From Work to Text. Translated by Richard Howard. Oxford, England: Basil Blackwell Ltd. 1986. Print.

Blanchot, Maurice. The Writing of Disaster. Translated by Ann Smock. London: University of Nebraska Press, 1995. Print.

Derrida, Jacques. Of Grammatology. Translated by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Corrected Edition. London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997. Print.

Foer, Jonathan Safran. Tree of Codes. London: Visual Editions, 2011. Print.

Hayles, Katherine N. How We Think: Digital Media and Contemporary Technogenesis. London: The University of Chicago Press, 2012. Print.

Schulz, Bruno. The Street of Crocodiles and Other Stories. Translated by Celina Wieniewska. London: Penguin Books, 2008. Print.


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