Properties of Several Geometric and Non-Geometric Figures (1971)
Originally published in 1971 as Les Corps Conducteurs, Claude has repeatedly noted that the real title ("abandoned for absurd commercial considerations") of this work has always been Properties of Several Geometric or Non-Geometric Figures (see 'interview' in Diacritics, 1977). An unseemly title for Simon's combine-novel, perhaps, but vastly more interesting considering its architectural arrangement: crisscrossing citations occurring and reoccurring, encoding and recoding each image in a Euclidean field of semantic reproduction. A sign for the particular sort of systematicity ruling the prose might be read from its partial publication in Tel Quel as The Properties of Rectangles. These changes in title mark the work more as a decentered network of passages inscribing a kaleidoscopic welter of images than as a polymorphic circumvolution of words as 'conducting bodies'—the difference erected by the change in title is exactly that between Simon's geometric composition and Silliman's spiraling Tjanting. Instead, Simon weaves wandering sets of hesitations, fragmented documents, and unfinished conversations through rectilinear woofs. Here, the reader is obliged to consider (in a geometric sense) a grid of verbal events charted by a Lawrence Sterne-like constellation of 'associations, contrasts, sideslips and oppositions.'