In the Deep
408 pp., 6 x 9 in, 1 b&w illus.
- Published: October 24, 2014
- Publisher: Semiotext(e)
An autobiographical incantation of adolescent shame, religious masturbation, and the salvation embodied in the creative act.
I believe that destiny is the hesitation between whorehouse writing and poetry, Evil and Good. In my body almost deadened to stupidity by its growing length, I am carrying that destiny.
—from In the Deep
A hypnotic account of three days and nights plucked from the summer of 1955, In the Deep maps the origins, development, and meaning of Pierre Guyotat's creative vocation. To read it is to inhabit the life of an adolescent boy who is just discovering his calling to write, while also tormented by the questions left unanswered by his Catholic upbringing. Faced with his faith's failure, he feels the need to invent another one—one much darker and conflicted—which he believes will be his destiny. In the Deep leads us through the foundations of Guyotat's infamous “beat-sheet”: the masturbatory writing practice that caused a scandal in the 1970s when he first disclosed it, and which—although he has since disowned it—remains fundamental to any understanding of Guyotat's oeuvre.
Unlike Guyotat's other works, which deploy the sustained and taxing invention of an altogether other language—and another reality beyond any notion of morality-—In the Deep is written in an almost classical language, borrowing its timeless rhythmic prose from Latin syntax, and riddled with interrogatives that are part of a French tradition harking back to Rabelais. Nonetheless, as a contemporary De Rerum Natura, at once comic and profound, this narrative explores the same issues that run through all of Guyotat's writing: the always precarious grounding to sex, humanity, ethics, and God.