Taste for Chaos: The Art of Literary Improvisation (quotes)

Fertel, R. (2015). Taste for Chaos: The Art of Literary Improvisation. Spring Journal Books.

Note: Speech to text dictation see book for accuracy

Part I Methodological Groundwork

  • Both gestures – thoughtful and thoughtless – authorized and validate: value my idea because I work part in creating it; or, tell you my idea precisely because I haven’t worked hard at it at all. p6
  • And continuance is a primary value, I just feel no pressure to begin a new or to create out of the void. They know they will leave their mark on the piece in renewing it; instead they place primacy on the validity and grace in the traditional melodies they improvise upon and the traditional charts they improvise with. p9
  • Odysseus uses the craft of craftlessness to underscore the craft of a spontaneous but crafted eloquence – hall of mirrors. p12
  • Helping us to see more of the world – the improviser’s ultimate goal, as we shall see. Page 13

  • Often presented as a solution, in fact, claims of spontaneous composition often signal problems artists are trying to solve. p 13
  • Spontaneous texts assert they are effortless, the product of no study and no rhetoric. p13
  • Rhetoric is the art and study of devices of persuasion, and self – style improvisations claim to be free not only of devices but even a desire to be to persuade. p14
  • Why do belong to lead effortless lives even though so much of what makes life worth living is the fruit of effort?
  • Often celebrations of the texture of the world around us, improvisations, the literature of apparent chaos, at their heart explore questions about the nature of reason, order, and freedom. p16

  • Spontaneity is a powerful figure or topos or conceptual feel that permits human discourse. p17
  • Improvisation is a way to work through the twists and turns as mankind develops new tools of rationality and irrationality. p18
  • Spontaneity’s immediacy in the act of composition is agent and proof of these transformations, turning the lead of experience into the gold of imagination.

  • The spontaneous imagination to create a kind of Divinity, or an experience of something that is like the divine, but for Stevens the divine is ever man-made. p20
  • Improvisation explores the nature and value of creativity, of artifice and it’s opponent artlessness, of reason and it’s opponents, which is very through the centuries: grace, instinct, imagination, or the unconscious, to mention but a few. p21

Chapter 2 “Great disorder” versus “violent disorder”: the rhetoric of spontaneity versus the rhetoric of craft

  • Gesture of spontaneity is almost always transgressive, seeking to break or extend the boundaries of craft and rationality.
  • Recommending drunkenness is an odd way to begin a journey that ends in the goal of refinement and discipline, but that is some times how the topos of spontaneity works, as an extreme metaphor. p33
  • The topos of spontaneity, it’s embrace of freedom, and improvisation itself are each in their own way almost always part of a binary what improvisers in the end propose that we embrace almost always lies somewhere in the middle. p34
  • U-topia means “no place” and I’m claiming that spontaneity is a topos, a place in mind. p34

  • Is often explain away the adjuster of spontaneity as the “topos of affected modesty,” where is the convention of anticipatory self – defense: I am not worth attacking because either I am not worth your trouble or, if I am worthy, and this is not my best effort. p36
  • We are here to engage experience, not to wall ourselves off from my. Page 37
  • This is my central point: while usually argued away, or subjected to pointless scrutiny, in fact the figure of spontaneous is composition – the rhetoric of spontaneity – subtly channels that “spontaneous” texts’ central issue, whether we noticed it or not: the nature and value of rationality.
  • If the tension between spontaneity and craft is so central to human experience, and if so called spontaneous texts explore a tension with their binary opposite, craft, then a logical expectation would be that the obverse would also be true, that overtly and self-styled “crafted” texts would be shown to explore the tension between spontaneity and irrationality on the one hand a craftsmanship and rationality on the other. p40
  • My goal is to investigate the timeless human issue that often lies embedded in gestures of spontaneity and to show how those gestures effect improvise texts and their readers. p44

  • Share a distrust of art: of the authority conventions and artifice that complacent rationality creates. p45
  • The Puritan seeks and openness to Grace; the modern seeks and openness to subconsciously urges. Between the two lies a world of difference to be sure, but not necessarily a difference in kind. p46
  • Improvisations are polytropic, many turning, like Odysseus, who as we shall see embodies the form. p46