The Infernal Desire Machines of Dr. Hoffman by Angela Carter, pt. 1

In “The Realm Where Moral Judgement is Suspended” Milan Kundera writes that “If I were asked the most common cause of misunderstanding between my readers and me, I would not hesitate: humor.” There are books that make us laugh and books that make us laugh at ourselves, and I prefer the ones that do both. In The Infernal Desire Machines of Dr. Hoffman Angela Carter carries a dark laughter as the current flowing beneath the wild seas of her imagination and machinations. To actually read we must suspend moral judgement, we must suspend our notion of reality, and open ourselves to the possible. read more

Buffo the Clown by Angela Carter

Angela Carter is incredible and the only reason you’ve never heard if her is cuz I hadn’t introduced Rydra to her yet. YOU’RE WELCOME. She’ll be back.

Carter was a prolific writer up until hear death in the 90s from smoking too many cigarettes. She left behind radio dramas, plays, short stories, non-fiction (if anyone has a copy of The Saedian Woman and the Ideology of Pornography, get at me) and some profound novels, tackling themes of civilization, truth/morality, and reality itself. read more

On Desire and Consciousness: FRR Books Podcast the Stirner Series Episode IX

Here we are again, back on the boat discussing Stirner’s ideas. On my best days I view this project as an attempt to break from the ideological & eschatological thinking that hangs like a pall over anarchists and humans alike. It is difficult to discuss Stirner because most people haven’t read him and also because many believe that they know what is contained in this book from whatever they have read or heard other people say. We are not attempting to do the work for you, but rather to provide a companion with which to interact while reading Wolfi’s rewriting of Stirner’s book. As someone who reads all the time, it is frustrating to have few people to discuss the books with. It is frustrating because I believe reading to both an anti-social(while doing it) and social(it changes me and then I interact differently when socializing) activity. When I read a book that makes me question myself, my idea, my ideals, and what I hold closest, I am compelled to share this new version of my self with friends, fuck it, with strangers too. So here sits our version of sharing, our hope that in talking with each other we can better understand ours elves and how to relate to each other and further complicate our selves and relations to revel in pretending we can see and understand the chaos for just a little bit. read more

The Infernal Desire Machines of Dr. Hoffman, pt. 2

“In these regions, you may observe Man in his constitutionally vicious, instinctively evil and studiously ferocious form – in a word, in the closest possible harmony with the natural world.” — The King

Angela Carter’s Count is back, but not for long. In this chapter, his tempestuous will faces difficult challenges – slavery imposed by the law, chaotic nature, and finally, his mirrored self (and only one of those even has a chance of bringing about his demise).

The morality of this novel suggests that a will of pure negation only has one possible end. Negation leads its beholder to a sort of numbness, a distancing, cutting oneself off from the world surrounding you, seeing it only as a trick to be manipulated. How could you find pleasure engaging with anything weaker than yourself, after all? And if all of reality bends to your will – what could possibly bring you pain?

The Count manifests his own end in the form of himself. He creates and meets the King, a being of unlimited power, who lived his life similarly to the Count, another expert in cruelty. The women of his army devour their first-born children in order to pass “far beyond all human feeling”; their clitorises are “brutally excised” so they “are entirely cold and respond only to cruelty and abuse”. All, of course, in accordance with nature and harmony, which cares nothing for those without strong will.

What happens next is inevitable. Negation, ultimately, must turn in upon oneself in order to feel.

Words, audio, editing and production by September