In response to ‘ Critical Response #2: William S. Burroughs, “The Cut-Up Method of Brion Gysin” ‘

While I understand the claim that “every reader’s experience is unique in some way to that individual; no one has the exact same experience,” I know that it is not entirely untrue. We see in classrooms and literary criticism that texts, while available for any interpretation, are defined by some similar traits and similarities in thinking. We find that discussions of literature follow a trend that leave us with an overarching idea of literature. What the point I think is being made here by  is that the composition of the random text and literature had already intrinsic meanings and then their collaboration brings about a new meaning.

The cut and paste method is  an interesting method of bringing about a new meaning. Although random in composition, I can’t help but feel the author makes some decision in order, amount of words, types of sentences, and many other choices. There are so many options and choices an author can make and even the sources from which they come can frame and influence the author’s decisions. I can’t help but critique the method; while it helps diversify the language and bring multiple random literature together, I feel that it takes out a large part of the writing process. Finding the right words to say help make the piece an author’s original work. Unlike sampling, which would modify the words, the cut and paste is many different voices collaborated as one. No editing or modification. It just doesn’t seem genuine as an original work.

What makes this interesting is that even though the concept is not too young, it still brings a different type of literature to table. There’s a lot of new digital literature that we’re studying and being introduced to that messes with our perceptions and tastes as both English majors and literature enthusiasts. Then we see the cut and paste literature that changes how we view original literature even more. I find it refreshing to see a new appreciation for paper but also find the copy and pasting not genuine as a craft of original authorship.

Alexander Brahmstedt

2 thoughts on “In response to ‘ Critical Response #2: William S. Burroughs, “The Cut-Up Method of Brion Gysin” ‘

  1. I too find it refreshing to see the appreciation for the literature and paper relationship. Perhaps I’m closed off to all this new digital literature, (by not having a kindle, nook, or even an iPhone) but I find myself challenging all these authors views on how the digital process is, daresay better (?) than the original “format.” In fact, I may be getting a little defensive in that the originality should belong alone to the author of that literature. No matter, I agree with you in that the copying and pasting method is not genuine as a craft of original authorship.

  2. Okay, now I feel different. At first I thought that intention was king. Now I’m not so sure. Because of today’s class, I’m not sure if authorship should belong to the computer, the reader, or the programmer. So perhaps, it could be collaborative? All of them seem blurred together, so why not look at it as an interactive wholesome pie, even with all the slices. As much as I don’t want to give authorship to a computer, where would digital literature be without it? Copying and pasting just may have more to it than I originally thought.

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