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A Brief History of Yes by Micheline Aharonian Marcom

By Micheline Aharonian Marcom

Micheline Marcom describes her most up-to-date novel, A short background of Yes—her first because 2008's scathing and erotic The replicate within the Well—as a "literary fado," concerning a mode of Portuguese song that, such as the yank blues, is frequently melancholic and soulful, and encapsulates the sensation of what the Portuguese name saudade—meaning, loosely, craving and nostalgia for anything or an individual irrepreably misplaced. A short historical past of Yes tells the tale of the break-up among a Portuguese girl named Maria and an unnamed American guy: it's a collage-like, fragmentary novel whose shape captures the workings of allure and grief, proving once more that American letters has no greater poet of affection and loss than Micheline Aharonian Marcom.

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The brain was fished out through the nose, and the internal organs were removed through an incision in the side. Only the heart was wrapped up and set back in place; the other organs were placed in canopic jars, vases with lids in the form of an animal or human head. The remaining soft tissue and fluids were dissolved by a solution of natron and resin and pumped out of the body through the anus. This first phase was carried out in the name of purification. Everything “foul,” that is, everything perishable that could represent a danger to the goal of achieving an eternal form, was removed from the body.

18 Death and Culture As our first thesis stresses, Egyptian culture was one of those societies that do not accept death but rather rebel against death as an empirical fact with all the power at their disposal. This rebellion assumed the form of religion, that is, the creation of a counterworld. That was our second thesis. I do not mean, however, that these counterimages sketched by religion cover up the empirical world and make it disappear; on the contrary, rather, they generate an excitement for the always remembered, and in this excitement all the more brightly illuminated, factual world.

This erudite concept, which is the opposite of “perspective,” designates a purely additive stringing together or aggregating of elements without organizing, structuring principles that would make them appear to be parts of a superordinate whole. These peculiarities are particularly clear in Egyptian art; Brunner-Traut, though, would like to see in them a trait that reaches far beyond art and into Egyptian thought, perception, and conceptualization in general. According to her theory, Egyptians cast a dissecting glance at the world, one that perceived only individual details and was incapable of seeing larger unities.

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