This time Malouf's title, notwithstanding the studied offhandedness
of its second word on the one hand, its Shakespearean allusion on the other, directs us to mental rather than physical space.
By the time the piece was published in London, late in October 1701, Swift had been back in Dublin for a month and Dingley for nearly two.(8) It is typical of his offhandedness
with his own productions -- witness the many difficulties encountered by his Irish publisher and friends when they began assembling his collected Works in 1732 -- that he acquired his copy of Contests and Dissensions (at least the copy which he corrected and preserved) not directly from London but from a friend in Dublin.
Its deceptive offhandedness
bears a relation to Vincent Fecteau's sculptures, which also channel the power of low-grade materials and hint at incompleteness.
Pie conveys the sense of what it is like to go to school with the eerie precision of a documentary--students and staff alike behave with an offhandedness
that careful reconstruction could never achieve.
In the course of defending one of O'Hara's least successful novels, The Big Laugh, Wolff describes it with telling offhandedness
as "a fiction like all others in that it communicates interior turmoil by means of surface representation," and elsewhere dismisses "psychologically determined characterization" as "a fictional fashion of the day." Leaving aside, for the moment, the fantastically reductive quality of these remarks (the notion that man's interior life isn't necessarily exposed by speech or action is as old as the novel itself, and has driven most literary fiction since Flaubert), the technique of "surface representation" with which O'Hara is most closely associated is dialogue.
Neither of these assertions is very illuminating and their offhandedness
invites further speculation.
(8) It is typical of his offhandedness
with his own productions--witness the many difficulties encountered by his Irish publisher and friends when they began assembling his collected Works in 1732--that he acquired his copy of Contests and Dissensions (at least the copy which he corrected and preserved) not directly from London but from a friend in Dublin.
Previous late-Picasso projects have not focused directly on the dominance of the musketeer subject, whose ascendancy was reciprocal with an attitude about the making of paintings that synthesized many of his (and others') earlier discoveries but pushed even further toward an offhandedness
verging on the contemptuous--whether contempt for painting, for himself, his subjects, his audience, for the history he was so energetically attempting to both extend and overthrow, or for all of the above.
I like the offhandedness
of many of these--which you can buy for $5 or $100--and get these soulful, amazing sounds that you can really harness.
So this sketchy and selective bibliography--this list of some of the books I have around the house now--is really an autobiography." Autobiographical as it might be, the list of titles is also characteristic of a sensibility, a literary aesthetic, that has moved to the forefront of contemporary fiction: intellectually well fed but not epicurean; religious in idiosyncratic ways (in that sense, reminiscent of Blake); fond of the swollen, the purple, the bruised side of life; emotionally rent between disdain and longing; and formally balanced between offhandedness
and careful innovation.
The slight offhandedness
of getting the new shape by cutting the two shortest books in half could actually confirm the determination to get twelve and recall Virgil.
The stakes are dramatized by the fact that Smith's recent abstractions and his name paintings display a level of ambition and skill belying the apparent offhandedness
of his technique.