Wednesday, January 18, 2012

“The question of repetition is very important. It is important because there is no such thing as repetition. There is always a slight variation. Somebody comes in and you tell the story over again. Every time you tell the story it is told slightly differently.”

-Gertrude Stein

Lately I've been thinking about repetition and its disproportionate power to amplify and modify the thing it's talking about, simply through its own insistence on itself. It's lovely that Stein was the one who said this, because her work reveals that, while linguistic content may be reduplicated, a reader's understanding of, interest in and emotional connection to that content exists in perpetual flux. The thing is, it's not just that the reader changes, but that the repetition changes them.

See also: blues music. See also: the Loops episode of Radiolab.

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