HAVEwith I made a wish, Dennis Cooper finds the figure of the one who was “centered” or the attraction in a cycle of five novels and perhaps in his other books. George Miles is this young boy, then a teenager, met in his youth by the author, and who will one day commit suicide. It is around him that Dennis Cooper between the 90s and 2000s will write “The George Miles Cycle”. However, I made a wish is not an extra volume of this cycle or some kind of explanation. The book is first and foremost a story where desire and writing are formulated, a book that would question the engine of Dennis Cooper’s writing that gives it life.
If George Miles is ubiquitous in I made a wish, it is less reminiscent of a character than an attractor around which the book is structured and unfolds. One can not say that George Miles is present in the book as a person – the book is not a biography, more than an autobiography – nor as a character, as he appears there in the form of different and different avatars that follow each other through the chapters, avatars associated with the same first and last name, of recurring motifs (youth, beauty, a gun, lust, it inspires, etc.), and of the relationship that another character, Dennis, speaks to each of them. Dennis Cooper himself points out this fate for George Miles through his earlier work, whether it is directly evoked, or whether it is the cause of a spread, of a series, at the same time, of similarities and different: I always dreamed of reinventing George, but at that time only in the security that gave me writing, poems and bad news, and later novels, five, where I tried to sum it up, to make it more sexy or half-sensible […]sometimes retains his name, sometimes with a different and similar body, but more warm, other talents and different problems, and if you want, you can find out how he gets away with it every time: George, David, Kevin, Ziggy, Robin, Chris, Drew, Sniffled, Egore, Dagger, George “.
George Miles is a name, a set of qualities, a series of singularities that fit together and rearrange itself throughout the book without being fixed in a person or a character, a recognizable and fixed identity. The depersonalization of these qualities might refer to George Miles’ problematic mental state, but it first concerns the writing and the type of “character” that it implies.
If you I made a wishGeorge Miles is the object of a desire, even the object of desire of Dennis, this object remains distant, strange and mysterious, inaccessible (“ it was so hard to attach, such a blur “). One of the main themes of the book is love, but a love that involves distance, ignorance of this love, alienation, its impossibility. insist on such and such a possibility. Thus, the “characters” are physically distant from each other, geographically or mentally, even ontologically distant (Santa Claus and the children he talks to; a talking volcanic crater and a child he talks to…), and emotions seem to be reciprocal with difficulty – distance and non-reciprocity seem to be in any case the law of the relationship between beings.Despite the desire for love and reciprocity, the principle of reality seems to imply the distance at which the other never responds to this desire, always remains different, at a distance, irreducible elsewhere and different.
It is this strangeness of George Miles that prevents him from being reduced to an identity, from being reduced to an incarnation, to a person. It appears according to a set of fluid qualities, whose arrangement can only give rise to incessant reconfigurations, sometimes within one situation, sometimes another, sometimes in relation to one face, sometimes with another, etc. George Miles can not be a character – and I made a wish is written based on the impossibility of the character, who on the contrary engages in the creation of mobile characters, of non-identical doubles, of identities that are not, which circulate, emerge and disappear to be repeated elsewhere and in other ways .
The name of Georges Miles could be the anagram for smile (smile; and therefore charm, love, seduction?), it could express the idea of diversity (miles = miles) as it could cause the distance (miles = mile in the majority). IN I made a wish, George Miles is above all a hovering denominator that runs through a series of avatars, situations, configurations, none of which exhaust the meaning or possibilities of this denominator – George Miles remains alien, unknown, always different and different from where he would be . Should be. In the story, George Miles, because of his bipolarity, his psychosis, is already a stranger to himself, at least twice: a scattered and diverse being made up of juxtaposed pieces, sometimes dumb and frozen, sometimes over-excited and logorically . Dennis Cooper reinforces this spread of the person and makes it the principle of composition of the book, which in a way becomes George Miles. The book can then only exist according to a generalized principle of scattering, gaps, differences, according to the movement of a constantly undone recomposition, transformed elsewhere.
George Miles is the law of a disjunctive series, the empty box by which a series multiplies, evolves, grows in law in an infinite way. Since it denotes that running through the series is in itself ‘absent’, always elsewhere and elsewhere than itself, there is no reason for the spread to cease, that is, for Dennis Copper’s case, that the writing ends d. the opposite. IN I made a wish, this serial logic is the very principle of composition and writing. Dennis Cooper’s story is made up of shifts, echoes, movement forward through resumes, repetitions through which the signifiers move, rearrange, being less carriers of meanings than of possibilities that are actualized differently by plural series.
Such is the case with George Miles. This is also the case with “Dennis”, who in the book is sometimes the author who writes in his name, sometimes a figure the author talks about, sometimes another avatar again: an artist, Santa Claus, etc. Likewise, situations are taken up, moved , sometimes reversed, slips into something else depending on major or minor differences. Running through the book in the plural, there is the revolver, the suicide, the crater (either that from the volcano that speaks, or that which is caused in the skull by the bullet that passes through it, a crater that also speaks, or that which follows from an ax to the head), the meeting, etc. I made a wish is the book in these series, a double book in which equality (not identity) reigns, in which the mobility of signifiers is confirmed, the suspension of meaning, the spread of a writing that is constantly renewed due to the absence of a fixed, identifiable, tangible, conceivable basis.
It is because what is to be called has no name that one can only strive to name it again and again – the name George Miles, the name of love here is less names than an absence of name. And it is these absent names that resonate throughout the book, as Dennis Cooper’s work no doubt intended to ” hoping to approach the resemblance to a character “.
We could also (perhaps in a very paradoxical way, if we relate to the prevailing picture of Dennis Cooper’s work) read this book as an update of e.g. The new Heloise of Rousseau and the romantic tradition that arose from it. Some of the main elements of this novel can be found in I made a wish : distance, desire, love – and first and foremost the central role of the imagination, the relationship between imagination and desire. In Rousseau (as, for example, later in Proust) desire is inseparable from the imagination: it awakens the imagination, it is awakened by the imagination, it is “realized” by and in the imagination, a fantasy separated from reality, which willingly wild. . The desires talked about in Dennis Cooper’s story are the actions of the imagination, whereby the unsatisfactory, overly prescriptive, unattainable “real” Reality is so directional, and so far I have never tried to stick to it when I write. “) taken up, reconstructed, reworked according to different possibilities more in accordance with the desired or better, which allows the desire to exist, continue, spread, the desire is inseparable from these arrangements driven by the imaginary (one would certainly find something from Sade). I made a wish is built on this precise work of fantasy, pushed in a more radical way than with Rousseau, who would evoke a bizarre lineage that combines Proust, Sade, Stendhal, Duras …: a literature on love, desire, delirium, by imagination that could be classified under the overtly convenient term “romance.”
The fact is that with Dennis Cooper, this “romantic” logic is also a logic of writing, closer to the Durassian infinity than to the Proustian cycle. The object of desire remains in itself foreign, other, “absent”, exists as object = X, it can not be reunited, its existence can not end in any encounter, in any narrative: it continues as a signifier. floating, which like a hole in language makes language wrong, “nomadizes” it (” I am still a writer who is visibly in love and lost in the language “), produces from it a scattering of language, like a black hole that instead of absorbing light would generate infinity.
Book on love and writing, book on lust, “structuralist” or “romantic” book, I made a wish radically develops the formal consequences (in relation to history, “character”, time, statement, etc.) that are implied by that which crosses it and makes it alive – with, in the “center”, this soul, which is George Miles . In an equally “central” way, I made a wish relates to death due to George Miles’ suicide, but also to the strange love affair between “Dennis” and death, which in itself is the object of his desire and by which he wishes to be loved. Like George Miles, death crosses history as an object = X, incarnating and reincarnating, reproducing after repetitions, an eternal return. Like George Miles, Death is such an unknown that it can not be reduced to something that exists remains outside the reach of experience, but also for conceptual thinking, remains the driving force of the imagination, the middle word that circulates in discourse without being able to be said, thus spreading language. Thus exchanges, crosses, pods, discerns, embraces: George Miles, love, death are here arranged after strange embraces, strange duplications and encounters. This movement, which is both in language and in being, generates the kiasm that is constitutive of history and makes it as much a meditation on love, writing, creation, as frontal death.
Dennis Cooper, I made a wishtranslated from American by Elsa Boyer, POL editions, 2022, 128 p., € 17 – Read an excerpt – Here is an interview by Denis Cooper with Olivier Steiner