Betwixt-and-Between: Essays on the Writing Life

Essays on writing, moving among digression, reflection, imagination, and experience as a lover might, bringing art into the world. Boully’s essays are ripe with romance and sensual pleasures, drawing connections between the digression, reflection, imagination, and experience that characterize falling in love as well as the art of arranging words on a page. Literary theory, philosophy, and linguistics rub up against memory, dreamscapes, and fancy, making the practice of writing a metaphor for the illusory nature of experience. More information here.

Not Merely Because of the Unknown That Was Stalking
Toward Them

In not merely because of the unknown that was stalking toward them, Jenny Boully presents us with a “deliciously creepy” swan song from Wendy Darling to Peter Pan. As in her previous book [one love affair]*, Boully reads between the lines of a text—in this case J. M. Barrie’s Peter and Wendy—and emerges with the darker underside, with those sinister or subversive places merely echoed or hinted at. Funny, sinister, and heartbreaking by turns, not merely because of the unknown that was stalking toward them explores, in dreamy and dark prose, how we love, how we pine away, and how we never stop loving and pining away. Her Neverland is bawdy, bursting, and beautiful.
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The Book of Beginnings and Endings

How does the story begin? How does it end? This is what The Book of Beginnings and Endings will tell you, but nothing more. The middle-with its arguments, segues, denouement-isn't there. These are beginnings that wave goodbye with the door flung wide open, endings that open in medias res. Throwing her voice in a feat of lyrical ventriloquism, Jenny Boully tunes into every station to open or close more than fifty books ranging in subject matter from physics and astronomy to literary theory and love.
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[one love affair]*

As with Jenny Boully’s debut book The Body (2002), [one love affair]* is full of gaps and fissures and “seduces its reader by drawing unexpected but felicitous linkages between disparate citations from the history of literature,” a work that is “filled with the exegetical projection of our own imagination” (Christian Bok, Maisonneuve). Told through fragments that accrete through uncertain meanings, romanticized memories, and fleeting moments rather than clear narrative or linear time, [one love affair]* explores the spaces between too much and barely enough, fecundity and decay, the sublime and the disgusting, wholeness and emptiness, love and loneliness in a world where life can be interpreted as a series of love affairs that are “unwilling to complete.”
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The Body: an Essay

Comprised of footnotes to a non-existent text, The Body: An Essay is a meditation on absence, loss, and disappearance that offers a guarded “narrative” of what may or may not be a love letter, a dream, a spiritual autobiography, a memoir, or a scholarly digression, a treatise on the relation of life to book. Christian Bök describes Boully’s groundbreaking text as one that “may simply annotate a fantastic biography from another reality, referring only to itself as a kind of dream within a dream...The reader can only fantacize about the original contexts that might have made such information significant to its author, and ultimately, implies that the body of any text consists of nothing but a void—filled with the exegetical projection of our own imagination.” First published in 2002 and excerpted in such anthologies as The Next American Essay and The Best American Poetry 2002, The Body: An Essay continues to challenge conventional notions of plot and narrative, genre and form, theory and practice, unremittingly questioning the presumptive boundaries between reflection, imagination, and experience.
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