*’the fold of the artist’ – by way of context…


the fold of the artist.
—artistic inspiration and the artist in Nietzsche and Modernism
Dr. M.D. Bolsover

Has anyone at the end of the nineteenth century a clear idea of what poets of strong ages have called inspiration? […T]he idea that one is merely incarnation, merely mouthpiece, merely a medium of overpowering forces. The concept of revelation—in the sense that suddenly, with indescribable certainty and subtlety, something becomes visible, audible, something that shakes one to the last depths and throws one down—that merely describes the facts. One hears, one does not seek; one accepts, one does not ask who gives; like lightning, a thought flashes up, with necessity, without hesitation regarding its form—I never had any choice.
*(Friedrich Nietzsche, ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’ in Ecce Homo, 295-307; §3, 300-301.—300).

*indeed. …

PART FIRST – in which (by way of introduction)
the author apologises, falters, begins…


all this will appear fragmentary—disjointed, structureless, abrupt, and arbitrary—for which, I suppose, I owe an apology…

*(—I need to crave the indulgence, and the patience, of any and all of my would-be readers…

—I need to crave your indulgence…).

*—I want to use this as a sort of an experiment. …

about which I am genuinely anxious.
—to present a single work (of sorts) as (in. through.) a series (—ongoing.—indefinite) of posts. …

—to play on the ‘blog’ form…
*—what I want to do is to try to set down a complete account—a complete theory—of artistic inspiration: of what I’ll define as an intensely undergone aesthetic experience, in which a change in the disposition of an observer (—of the eventual artist), coincides with a change in the disposition of the thing observed, revealing (—rendering sensible/knowable/apparent) a *quality—in the thing,—in the observer, which had always been (implicitly) present, and yet which had remained hidden, veiled, or somehow repressed, up until the moment of its revelation.

…in essence,—the experience of an *ironic inversion, in which a shape of consciousness—the thing as-had-taken it to be (—the ‘self’ as-had-taken it to be)—is undone and is revealed to be the very opposite of that which it had been taken to be; this revelation then going on to form the foundation for a new shape of consciousness, liberated from the former self-misapprehension.

—and this revelation, undoing, inversion and reformation are what inspires, and what are captured in, the work of art. …

and it is this process—in its entirety—that I’ll seek to define in what follows as—
*the fold in the self-creation of the artist. …

*before I begin with all of that, though, I want to (try to) explain myself, at least a little…

*(and this means, at times, I’m aware, that I’ll be obliged to take myself too seriously, and that my writing will remain, despite any of what might be my best intentions, I fear, far too self-indulgent.—precious and purple…).

this will have been, in part, an autobiography (—of sorts). …

and I want to lay out the context of all of this:… —all of the (pertinent) details, as it seems to me,—as coldly, cleanly and precisely as I can.—and why it constitutes, for me, precisely an experiment…

*—I will focus on a comparison of the accounts of artistic inspiration in the works of Friedrich Nietzsche and some of the most famous and influential, self-styled, neo-classical Modernist writers and critics,—in particular, James Joyce, T.E. Hulme and Ezra Pound.



—in essence, because (in the more distilled form of a comparison of Nietzsche and Joyce) this formed the focus of my doctoral thesis, which I completed at the University of Edinburgh,—a couple of years ago now…

—in part, I’m simply too lazy and far too anxious to start, from scratch (as is said.—for want), with an entirely new work. but, mostly, I feel, I’m just not really finished with all of this quite yet…

and so, (and hell,—why not?)… —I‘m going to use the mass of that thesis material here, in what will be a substantially re-arranged and (heavily) edited form, with some restored excised material, some further explicatory and exploratory notes and asides, and what I hope will represent a further and deeper development of my thesis, couched in language that actual human beings and readers (it is fervently hoped) might actually stand a chance of being able to follow…

*to begin,—by way of some sort of an introduction—it seems important (—vital?) to me to try to offer an explanation as to why. … —as to what I was originally attempting in my thesis (both personally and intellectually) and of all that led up to it.

and why it failed. …

and why it is that now I want, or feel drawn, to take advantage of the… (what?)—the space and/or the opportunity that this forum provides to conduct this experiment…

most of all, I want to write, I think, to the person who was always at the centre of all this,—of everything to(-for) me, and for whom it was intended. (—for you…).

*(I remember reading Kurt Vonnegut’s advice to writer’s, in his author’s ‘Introduction’ to the collection of his early fiction, Bagombo Snuffbox, to always write for one person.

Vonnegutt always wrote to his sister…

—my ‘ideal reader’ (?), I suppose, is always partly me, but mostly you, I think…

—I write to be recognised and to be understood (and pardoned)—by you…).

…—to redeem (—to retrieve) all of my failed (disappointed,—frustrated) ambition.—to turn all of this… material (? for want) to account, and to make it, now, here, accomplish (in some as yet undefined, unqualified, measure) all that I still seem to feel I need to accomplish. (still feel that dull, persistent aching in the chest for…).

The Roughly Chronological Re-read Week 10: Romeo & Juliet

*Week 10 of the (roughly) chronological read-through of the complete #Shakespeare plays: Romeo & Juliet. …

The Scenic Route

Before I begin, a quick apology – I just discovered that there have been comments on these posts that I haven’t replied to. I hadn’t realised that WordPress was no longer sending me notifications for each individual comment, and without notifications I didn’t realise that comments were being posted! I’ll go back and get caught up. Apologies if I appear to have ignored any of you! It was unintentional.


Date:  Circa 1595.

First read:  In a shortened version, around 1993, then the full text in 1996.


Productions seen: Hunners. The Animated Tales in the early 90s, then a production at the Brunton Theatre on a school trip, then over a dozen others over the years.


Productions worked on: Bits and pieces during training, one adaptation, one production (in Kent’s Cavern in Torquay, which remains one of my favourite shows to have worked on).


Edition I’m using: 

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Mapping as Prompt and Documentation

*Flavia Domingues D’Avila (PhD candidate at the Royal Conservatoire, Glasgow) on #cartography, #maps, & #mapping at the National Library of Scotland, in the context of her own research into syncretic #theatre. …

syncretic theatre research blog

Although I am not entirely sure about the practical application of this yet, cartography has become an inherent part of my research, both as a means of documenting the material generated in the Performance Research Tests, and as a prompt to help create said material. I am increasingly convinced that you can’t separate culture from geography (which means I am currently on Team Nature as far as the old debate is concerned), so it makes sense that I should use maps and mapping as tools in a theatrical project involving  languages, cultures, and borders.

I was a bit stuck about how to integrate these notions into the design of my performance research lab, however, but it turns out that the National Library of Scotland has perfect timing with its events and today I visited the You Are Here exhibition, just after attending a workshop called ‘Mapping in Words’, led by…

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The Roughly Chronological Re-Read Week 9: Love’s Labours Lost

*week #9 of the (roughly) chronological read-through of the complete #Shakespeare plays: Love’s Labours Lost. …

The Scenic Route

Date:  Mid-1590s.

First read: Circa 1998, before I felt equipped to take issue with Shakespeare’s work.


Productions seen: One student production some time in the late 90s and the rather odd film adaptation with Alicia Silverstone.


Productions worked on:  None. Long may that continue.


Edition I’m using:  An elderly Arden.




  • What the fuck did I just read?
  • I think everyone reading this has already figured out that these observations are personal and immediate, and I’m not making any claims to any kind of dispassionate or academic response. That said, brace yourselves. My feelings towards this play are strong.
  • Love’s Labours Lost is the kind of play that makes people hate Shakespeare. It’s overblown, overlong, long on wordplay and short on wit.
  • In terms of structure, this is a mess. Three very short acts followed by two incredibly long ones. A fifth act that contains

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The Roughly Chronological Re-Read Week 8: Henry VI, Part I

*Wk. 8 of the (roughly) chronological read-through of the complete #Shakespeare plays: Henry VI, Part I. …

The Scenic Route

Date:  Probably 1592.

First read: Circa 2005.


Productions seen: None, other than the bits and pieces I worked on. I’ll get round to seeing the 2016 Hollow Crowns at some point.


Productions worked on:  A couple of scenes at drama school.


Edition I’m using:   Same as for the other parts of Henry VI! Signet Classics.

Cheating by having one book for all three plays. Don't tell anyone. 



  • Part of the way through this readthrough my husband flippantly referred to this as the “Star Wars prequels” of the War of the Roses plays. I think he hit the nail on the head. Calmer than the sequel/originals, more focused on the politics and less on the dismembering each other’s relatives and avenging dismembered relatives. But also less fun, a couple of decent action sequences notwithstanding.
  • Remember when I was writing about Richard III and I commented on Shakespeare’s passion for dramatic irony? Well, here we go again……

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The Roughly Chronological Reread, Week 7: The Taming of the Shrew

*week 7 of the (roughly) chronological read-through of the complete #Shakespeare plays: The Taming of the Shrew. …

The Scenic Route

Date:  1592 – 4.

First read: Leon Garfield’s abridged version around 1992. I tried the full version about a year later and got horribly bored with the Lucentio plotline. Read the whole thing without skipping bits when I was in third or fourth year at secondary school, so 1997/8?


Productions seen: Shakespeare: The Animated Tales in the 90s, more student and Fringe productions than I care to remember, plus a handful of adaptations ranging from very loose ones like Kiss Me Kate to faithful updates like Sally Wainright’s very clever version for the BBC’s Shakespeare Retold.


Productions worked on:  None, which surprises no-one more than me. Plans are being made for an adaptation, though, so that might change in a year or two if the programming and funding gods smile on me.


Edition I’m using:   A very old Signet Classic with someone else’s cuts marked…

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The Roughly Chronologoical Reread Week 6: Richard III

*week 6 of the (roughly) chronological read-through of the complete #Shakespeare: Richard III. …

The Scenic Route

Date:  1592 – 1594. I’ve seen suggestions that it pre-dates Titus Andronicus and The Comedy of Errors, but I find it hard to believe that a writer could experience such a pronounced backslide.

First read: Leon Garfield’s abridged version around 1992, then the full version in the early 2000s.


Productions seen: Shakespeare: The Animated Tales in the 90s, two or three student productions at the Fringe, Brite Theatre’s excellent Richard III: A One-Woman Show (which is coming back to the Scottish Storytelling Centre next month and you should absolutely go and see it), and most recently the Almeida’s production starring Ralph Fiennes.


Productions worked on: None. Which sucks. I’d love to get my teeth into this one.


Edition I’m using:  The Oxford Shakespeare.

(Image to follow)




  • It should go without saying that this is a cracker of an opening speech, but…

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The Roughly Chronological Re-Read Week 5: Titus Andronicus

*the (Roughly) chronological #Shakespeare read-through, wk. 5—the disturbing oddity that is Titus Andronicus. …

The Scenic Route

Date:  Some time between 1588 and 1593.

First read: 2007? Though I wonder whether I skipped this one, because it was mostly unfamiliar.


Productions seen: None at all. But I know the RSC are broadcasting this season’s production in August, so that will probably change shortly.


Productions worked on: As above.


Edition I’m using: Dover Thrift. Loving this cover.

Who would have thought the old man had so much blood in him?




  • Reading this while working on a script in which Franck’s Panis Angelicus is mentioned leads to some odd mental mashups.
  • Well, I can see why this play was so popular in the craziness that was the 17th century. Blood and guts flying everywhere, more revenge than you can shake a stick at. The level of violence feels like it ought to be cathartic, a purgative theatrical experience… but actually it felt kind of pornographic instead. I can see why it provoked a considerable amount…

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