This is the paradox at the heart of Deleuzian philosophy- life, at its highest intensity, is precisely that which is unlivable, impossible in the Bataillean sense. This body, this fleshly vessel which I inhabit, was made to be shattered- the senses are so many points of contact, cathodes plugged directly into the circuits of the earth; the skin is studded with slits and orifices, invaginations and points of entry; the cogito is besieged by a hostile menagerie of monstrosities. Thought, at its limit, is indiscernible from madness. Joy, at its vertiginous height, is saturated with an unspeakable pain. As Francis Bacon has shown us, it is a marvel that the human body, the locus of innumerable divergent forces, is able to remain upright. Bacon’s paintings astonish us because they reveal, in one moment, the precariousness as well as the fortitude of the human figure. A form at the point of disintegration, vaingloriously resisting its own (invariable) implosion. An ephemeral flash in the midst of chaos, “a face drawn in the sand between two tides”.
Is this not the subject of all horror fiction? Horror is an experience of the limit, poised at the precarious threshold between sense and insanity. Can we say that horror is an endlessly renewed discourse about the fragility of this frontier? In Poe, meaning collapses beneath the inexorable pressure of fear, words are splattered against an impermeable wall (a set of teeth, a lock of hair). In Lovecraft, language exhausts itself in communicating the incommunicable- the fabric of sense frays at the seams, and between the stitches we glimpse the vortical warp of delirium. Great literature is exactly this- the unraveling of language, the involution of speech. The book as compactor, the page as a vice pressing words into an oleaginous pulp. It is wrong to assume that a poet writes to communicate- he is in search of the boiling point of language, the critical temperature of a word, the moment when expression bursts through the membrane of meaning and streaks into the open air.