thoughts on junk (not the bill burroughs kind)


A couple of passages in my recent reading (or, in west’s case, rereading) seemed to complement one another:

This was the final dumping ground. He thought of Janvier’s Sargasso Sea. Just as that imaginary body was a history of civilization in the form of a marine junkyard. The studio lot was one in the form of a dream dump. A Sargasso of the imagination.

 

—Nathanael West, The Day of the Locust (1939)

 


A man himself is junk, and all his life he clutters the earth with it. He carries junk around with him wherever he goes, and wherever he stops he accumulates it. He lives in it. He loves it. He worships it. He collects it and stands guard over it. All his life everything a man does he seems to have done before.

 

—William Saroyan, Rock Wagram (1952)

 

One could develop a whole history of american literature by examining the use of the trope "junk:" hubert selby, jr., don delillo, thomas pynchon, etc. . . . especially if one had too much time on one’s hands! e.g., whitman in leaves of grass:

This face is a dog’s snout sniffing for garbage, snakes nest in that mouth,

I hear the sibilant threat.

 

 

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