An Archeology of Fragments
A new kind of arrangement not entailing harmony, concordance, or reconciliation, but that accepts disjunction or divergence as the infinite center from out of which, through speech, relation is to be created: an arrangement that does not compose but juxtaposes, that is to say, leaves each of the terms that come into relation outside one another, respecting and preserving this exteriority and this distance as the principle—always already undercut [toujours déjä destitué]—of all signification. Juxtaposition and interruption here assume [de chargent ici] an extraordinary force of justice.—Maurice Blanchot “The Fragment Word (1964) 
1. Introduction: Romantic Poetics
Fr. 24. Many of the works of ancients have become fragments. Many modern works [der Neuern] are fragments as soon as they are written.Fr. 40. Notes to a poem are like anatomical lectures on a piece of roast beef.Fr. 46. According to the way many philosophers think, a regiment of soldiers on parade is a system.Fr. 75. Formal logic and empirical psychology have become philosophical grotesques.
A fragment, like a miniature work of art, has to be entirely isolated [abgesondert] from the surrounding world and be complete in itself like a porcupine [Igel].
Or, like pensées, they sometimes extend for several periods, as does his famous fragment on Socratic irony, with its cheerful defiance of the law of noncontradiction:In this sort of irony, everything should be playful and serious, guilelessly open and deeply hidden. It originates in the union of savoir vivre and scientific spirit, in the conjunction of a perfectly instinctive and perfectly conscious philosophy. It contains and arouses a feeling of indissoluble antagonism between the absolute and the relative, between the impossibility and the necessity of complete communication….
2. Hölderlin’s Typography: The Invention of White Space
The new life, which had to dissolve [das sich auflösen solltes] and did dissolve, is now truly possible (of ideal age); dissolution is necessary [die Auflösung notwendig] and holds its peculiar character between being and non-being. In the state between being and non-being, however, the possible becomes real everywhere, and the real becomes ideal, and in the free imitation of art [der freien Kunstnachahmung] this is a frightful yet divine dream. In the perspective of ideal recollection, then, dissolution as a necessity becomes as such the ideal object of the newly developed life, a glance back on the path that had to be taken, from the beginning of dissolution up to that moment when, in the new life, there can occur a recollection of the dissolved and thus, as explanation and union of the gap and the contrast occurring between past and present, there can occur the recollection of dissolution. This idealistic dissolution is fearless. The beginning- and endpoint is already posited, found, secured; and hence this dissolution is also more secure, more relentless, more bold [gesetzt, gefunden, gesichert], and as such it therefore presents itself as a reproductive act by means of which life runs through all its moments and, in order to achieve the total sum, stays at none but dissolves in everyone so as to constitute itself in the next; except that the dissolution becomes more ideal to the extent that it moves away from the beginning point, whereas the production becomes more real to the extent that finally, out of the sum of these sentiments of decline and becoming which are infinitely experienced in one moment, there emerges by way of recollection (due to the necessity of the object in the most finite state) a complete sentiment of existence, the initially dissolved [das anfànglich aufgelöste]; and after this recollection of the dissolved, individual matter has been united with the infinite sentiment of existence through the recollecting of the dissolution, and after the gap between the aforesaid has been closed, there emerges from this union and adequation of the particular of the past and the infinite of the present the actual new state, the next step that shall follow the past one. [Bold type is mine].
3. Typography Replaces Syntax
et en berce le vierge indice 
—which takes up Mallarmé’s influence upon Pierre Boulez, Marcel Duchamp, and especially John Cage, whose “Empty Words” is a text in which, as in Un coup de dés, typography replaces syntax (and, further, upends the subordination of letters to words):Much of the “musicality” of Mallarmé’s verse arises from its refusal of the linear and narrative, just as its most radical implications—the coexistence of chance and art—depend on its adoption of open, recursive, and even potentially chaotic structures.
Syntax: arrangement of the army (Norman Brown). Language free of syntax: demilitarization of language. James Joyce = new words: old syntax. Ancient Chinese: Full words: words free of specific function. Noun is verbs is adjective, adverb. What can be done with the English language? Use it as material. Material of five kinds: letters,syllables, words, phrases, sentences. A text for a song can be a vocalise: just letters.(, p. 11)
4. The Paratactics of Gertrude Stein
IN BETWEENIn between a place and candy is a narrow foot-path that shows more mounting than anything, so much really that a calling meaning a bolster measured a whole thing with that. A virgin a whole virgin is judged made and so between curves and outlines and real seasons and more out glasses and a perfectly unprecedented arrangement between old ladies and mild colds there is no satin wood shining.
Raise which does demean apply in disposition fanned in entirely that a pre-appointment makes nack arouse preventable security of in approach call penalty by ingrain fasten copy for the considerable within usual declaration with vicissitude plainly coupled of announcement they can pry with a coupled for the attachment in a peculiar disturb in a checking of a particular remained that they fairly come with a calling around for land shatter just a point with all might in fairly distaste just with a bettering of likely as well in effect to be doubtfully remark what is a tomato to the capture do be blindly in ignominy pertain fasten finally in cohesion comply their gross of a tendency polite in recourse of the clambering deny for like in the complying of a jeopardy so soon does interrelate the way meant comply in this not a day called restively complaisant definite just whether it is melodious for the shut of practice that is made with apply clear have it is a couple of their having it make leave about so much better after a minute. It is not of any importance that they like to be very well. A grammar means positively no prayer for a decline of pressure .
What is a sentence. One in one. One an one. A sentence is a disappointment.(“Sentences”, , p. 158)
Made at random.Is random a noun. It is not. It is a pleasure because with because which is an allowance with their and on account.(“Sentences”, , p. 188)
5. Philosophy Interrupted: A Comic Interlude
Imagine a text made of adverbs. Or—Elias Canetti: “A thinker of prepositions” .(Agony of the Flies, , p. 193)
A LITTLE CALLED PAULINEA little called anything shows shudders.Come and say what prints all day. A whole few watermelon.There is no pope.No cut in pennies and little dressing and choosewide soles and little spats really little spices.(Tender Buttons, , p. 25)
I think well of meaning.(p. 36)
More than they wish it is often that it is a disappointment
To find white turkeys…(p. 52)
A stanza nine is often mine.(p. 145)
I have lost the thread of my discourse.(p. 155)
I am trying to say something but I have not said it.
Because I add my I.(p. 183)
Thank you for hurrying through.(p. 217)
A ham is proud of cocoanut.(p. 49)
Startling a starving husband is certainly not disagreeable.(p. 66)
The best game is that which is shiny and scratching.(p. 77)
What when words gone? None for what then. But say by way of somehow on somehow with sight to do. With less of sight. Still dim and yet—. No. Nohow so on. Say better worse words gone when nohow on. Still dim and nohow on. All seen and nohow on. What words for what then? None for what then. No words for what when words gone. For what when nohow on. Somehow nohow on .
. gravel sounds path. eix-. 4 imported. in ver ted yel lowsyn tax. use yellow sponge. thought movie. free taboovariant. I don’t think we’ve. leip- . blue caught between.angp arek-. el Popo. look in mirror Elaine looking at.pronominal stem. meaning of “quickness”. changeyour body?. developing and abandoning vocabularies .
6. Typewriter Poetry
iz wurry ra aZoOt de puund in reducey ap crrRisLe ehknugkinj sJuxYY senshl. ig si heh hahpae uvd r fahbeh aht sigidrid. impOg qwbk tug. jr’ghtpihqw. ray aGh nunCe ipgvvn EapdEh a’ gum riff a’ eppehone. ig ew oplep lucd nvnatik o. im. ellek Emb ith ott enghip ag ossp heh ooz. ig…
FRACTAL GEOMETRYFractals are haphazard mapsthat entrap entropy in tropes.Fractals tell their raconteursto counteract at every pointthe contours of what thoughtrecounts (a line, a plot): recantthe chronicle that cannot coilinto itself—let the story strayoff course, its countless details,pointless detours, all en routetoward a tour de force, wherethe here & now of nowhere is….
7. Visual Poetry
“noise”“Unity/and a sense/of the WhoLe/is LOST.”
STEin Vau, pf, in der ThatSchlägt, mpsEin Sieben-Rad:ooooooO (GW, III, 136)
Conflicts of Interest
References and Notes
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Bruns, G.L. An Archeology of Fragments. Humanities 2014, 3, 585-605. https://doi.org/10.3390/h3040585
Bruns GL. An Archeology of Fragments. Humanities. 2014; 3(4):585-605. https://doi.org/10.3390/h3040585Chicago/Turabian Style
Bruns, Gerald L. 2014. "An Archeology of Fragments" Humanities 3, no. 4: 585-605. https://doi.org/10.3390/h3040585