“Il n’y a pas de hors-texte” – Jacques Derrida.
There is nothing outside the text.
I must have used that quote a good half-dozen times in various essays, back in my halcyon days as an English literature undergrad. Put simply, the context matters not, only the text matters.
Personally, I tend to disagree. Whilst it can be far to easy to attach meanings to a piece of writing based on some conceived notion of what one thinks the author will have meant, there can be some value in attempting to understand the where’s and why’s surrounding writing.
The reason I bring this up, is that as I go through my disturbingly bare folders, or even dare to flip back through countless scraps of faded notepaper, cherry-picking the best examples of my writing to post up here, I will often include a note on context at the end.
Generally just a few line on the date it was initially written, and what few details I can still recall on the events inspiring and surrounding it.
Whether or not anyone has any interest in that, I honestly don’t know. It is entirely possible that some people will think this is a bad thing, that poetry should be delivered alone, and the reader left alone to come to their own conclusions. A perfectly valid opinion, though not my own. If that is the case, feel free to ignore the contextual notes.
But for any of you few (though much appreciated) readers of mine who are at all interested in the snippets of biography that will go along with some of my posts, I hope they add something to the experience.
That’s all for now, go about your business.