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Issue Details: First known date: 2017... 2017 Blindness and Rage : A Phantasmagoria : A Novel in Thirty-four Cantos
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Suffering from a fatal disease, Lucien Gracq travels to Paris to complete the epic poem he is writing and live out his last days. There he joins a secret writers’ society, Le club des fugitifs, that guarantees to publish the work of its members anonymously, thus relieving them of the burdens of life, and more importantly, the disappointments of authorship. In Paris, Gracq finds himself crossing paths with a parade of phantasms, illustrious writers from the previous century – masters of identity, connoisseurs of eroticism, theorists of game and rule, émigrés and Oulipeans. He flees from the deathly allure of the Fugitives, and towards the arms of his beloved – but it may be too late.

'Written in thirty-four cantos, Blindness & Rage recalls Virgil and Dante in its descent into the underworld of writing, and Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin with its mixture of wonder and melancholy. The short lines bring out the rhythmic qualities of Castro’s prose, enhance his playfulness and love of puns, his use of allusion and metaphor. Always an innovator, in Blindness & Rage he again throws down a challenge to the limits of the novel form.' (Publication summary)

Exhibitions

17252200
17024129
17484547
17457169
18007666
18005697

Notes

  • A novel in verse

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Artarmon, North Sydney - Lane Cove area, Sydney Northern Suburbs, Sydney, New South Wales,: Giramondo Publishing , 2017 .
      image of person or book cover 1790611693837436668.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 224p.
      Note/s:
      • Published April 2017
      ISBN: 9781925336221

Other Formats

  • Also large print.

Works about this Work

No Crossword or Chiasmus : The Self-Vexing of Literariness in Brian Castro's Blindness and Rage Nicholas Birns , 2020 single work criticism
— Appears in: Antipodes , June vol. 34 no. 1 2020; (p. 57-70)

'Brian Castro's Blindness and Rage: A Phantasmagoria is a verse novel published in 2017 and the unlikely winner of a Prime Minister's Award in 2018. This article concentrates on the role of France and French referents in the text, showing that they embody a literary, transnational cosmopolitanism that the text at once hails and critiques. Beneath the gaudy and flashy serve of the novel's erudite sheen, a self-questioning or even self-vexation occurs, where the text gets in the way of itself. By ironizing its protagonist, Lucien Gracq, and presenting the alternate personas of Catherine Bourgeois and the Dogman, and examining the realization that Gracq's writerly quest is also a propulsion toward his own demise, we see that the text's literariness is a kind of disguise. Yet the text's self-vexation does not involute it further; rather, it provides a way for readerly access into the poem, helping explain why, unexpectedly, this has proven to be Castro's most popular work with the Australian reading public.'  (Publication abstract)

Detours and Divagations Brian Castro , 2019 single work essay
— Appears in: Meanjin Online 2019;
Phantasmagorically Noh : The Blindness and Rage of Brian Castro Deconstructed Javant Biarujia , 2019 single work criticism
— Appears in: Cordite Poetry Review , 1 November no. 93 2019;

'The blindness presented here is metaphorical, if not phantasmagorical, for Castro calls his verse novel a ‘Phantasmagoria […] in thirty-four cantos’. For me, actual blindness in Paris is a curse. That said, the beauty of Paris belies the misery and grief of war, colonialism and slavery.' (Introduction)

Ludus Et Paidia : Blindness and Rage by Brian Castro Mark Byron , 2018 single work essay
— Appears in: Sydney Review of Books , April 2018;

'Brian Castro’s book-length narrative poem, Blindness and Rage, announces its agenda and its titular phrase in the first of its thirty-four cantos. Lucien Gracq, a retired town planner from Adelaide, is given a terminal cancer diagnosis. He decides to up sticks and head to Paris to complete his magnum opus, the epic poem Paidia, incognito and donate its authorship to a deserving poet according to the rules of the Fugitives, a secretive society of ‘terminal poets.’ Driven by the demons of the poem’s title, Gracq digresses into personal memory and literary memory. When the potential for love intervenes, the blurring of these lines of self and literature takes him to a different geography altogether and finally leads him home. When presented in a nutshell this seems a satisfying narrative arc. But this is poetry, where a multitude of complications and stimulations await the reader: is this an epic poem or an inflected meditation on the epic? Why does Lucien Gracq choose Paris, and what might his name have to do with this choice? What might we make of his habits of literary reference and his favourite writers? Finally, how do we discern the relationships between personal history, literary history, and the construction of a literary persona?' (Introduction)

Joseph Cummins Reviews Blindness and Rage : A Phantasmagoria by Brian Castro Joseph Cummins , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: Mascara Literary Review , December no. 21 2017;

'Brian Castro’s eleventh work of fiction is a profoundly playful novel about life, death and authorship. Faced with a terminal diagnosis, Lucien Gracq contemplates the meaning and meaninglessness of life as a town planner. Given fifty-three days to live – this is an allusion to Georges Perec’s novel 53 Days, which he left incomplete at his death – Gracq decides to focus on finishing his epic poem, Paidia. He moves to Paris and there joins an absurdly shadowy society of misfit intellectuals. Who wouldn’t be intrigued by this?' (Introduction)

A Long Goodbye in Playful Verse Ed Wright , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 8 July 2017; (p. 22)

'Brian Castro has been a great innovator in Australian fiction for decades. After winning the 1982 The Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award for his first novel, Birds of Passage, his originality took him down a path of semi-obscurity and penury studded with complex but brilliant novels such as his reimagining of Sigmund Freud’s wolf man in Double Wolf, or his intriguing take on the spy novel in Stepper.' (Introduction)

Fugitives : Brian Castro's Verse Novel Patrick Holland , 2017 single work review essay
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , September no. 394 2017; (p. 40-41)

'Lucien Gracq, the hero of Brian Castro’s verse novel Blindness and Rage, wishes to be a writer, though he has written only love letters to women, which achieved tragicomic results, or none at all. When Gracq retires from his job as a town planner in Adelaide, it seems he will have the time and freedom to write the epic he has dreamed of, but he is diagnosed with terminal cancer and given fifty-three days to live, enough time, perhaps, to compose something worthwhile. But Gracq must overcome a more fundamental problem: he is terrified of leaving his mark upon the blank page, and on the world.' (Introduction)

Review Short: Brian Castro’s Blindness and Rage James Jiang , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: Cordite Poetry Review , 1 August vol. 82 no. 2017;

'Blindness and Rage is the latest addition to an oeuvre that has established Brian Castro as a prodigy of hybridity. Castro’s heritage (Portuguese, Chinese, and English) is as uniquely mixed as the generic categories of his work, such as the blend of fiction and autobiography that won him such acclaim in Shanghai Dancing (2003). Blindness and Rage, at once ‘a phantasmagoria’ and ‘a novel in thirty-four cantos’, reprises some familiar themes in Castro’s signature style: a cosmopolitanism that shuttles restlessly between Adelaide, Paris, and Chongqing; the ludic propensities of an inveterate paronomasiac who wears his learning on his sleeve; a fascination with the vocational archetypes of the writer and the architect.' (Introduction)

Joseph Cummins Reviews Blindness and Rage : A Phantasmagoria by Brian Castro Joseph Cummins , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: Mascara Literary Review , December no. 21 2017;

'Brian Castro’s eleventh work of fiction is a profoundly playful novel about life, death and authorship. Faced with a terminal diagnosis, Lucien Gracq contemplates the meaning and meaninglessness of life as a town planner. Given fifty-three days to live – this is an allusion to Georges Perec’s novel 53 Days, which he left incomplete at his death – Gracq decides to focus on finishing his epic poem, Paidia. He moves to Paris and there joins an absurdly shadowy society of misfit intellectuals. Who wouldn’t be intrigued by this?' (Introduction)

Ludus Et Paidia : Blindness and Rage by Brian Castro Mark Byron , 2018 single work essay
— Appears in: Sydney Review of Books , April 2018;

'Brian Castro’s book-length narrative poem, Blindness and Rage, announces its agenda and its titular phrase in the first of its thirty-four cantos. Lucien Gracq, a retired town planner from Adelaide, is given a terminal cancer diagnosis. He decides to up sticks and head to Paris to complete his magnum opus, the epic poem Paidia, incognito and donate its authorship to a deserving poet according to the rules of the Fugitives, a secretive society of ‘terminal poets.’ Driven by the demons of the poem’s title, Gracq digresses into personal memory and literary memory. When the potential for love intervenes, the blurring of these lines of self and literature takes him to a different geography altogether and finally leads him home. When presented in a nutshell this seems a satisfying narrative arc. But this is poetry, where a multitude of complications and stimulations await the reader: is this an epic poem or an inflected meditation on the epic? Why does Lucien Gracq choose Paris, and what might his name have to do with this choice? What might we make of his habits of literary reference and his favourite writers? Finally, how do we discern the relationships between personal history, literary history, and the construction of a literary persona?' (Introduction)

Last amended 5 Dec 2018 11:01:27
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