Dutch Review of Books: Jonas Mekas, Shiver of Memory “The Beginning of a Conversation”

Linde Luijnenburg of the Dutch Review of Books recently reviewed the original Dutch publication of Peter Delpeut’s Jonas Mekas, Shiver of Memory, noting Delpeut’s nuanced take on first person accounts and historiography. Here is a translated excerpt:

“Like Mekas, who knew how to give the small and personal a universal charge, Delpeut also applies the stylistic device of alternating between individual and abstract reflections and defining problems in a streamlined manner. The fact that he answers some questions and leaves others open or even only implicitly poses them, enriches the essay and makes it simultaneously a finished piece and the beginning (or continuation) of a conversation.

What Delpeut, who is himself a filmmaker and writer, brings to the fore as a practised storyteller, is that both the artist and the historian as well as himself have subjective experiences of facts. By juxtaposing historical facts and the subjective reader of them (Casper) with memories (Mekas) and experiences of art and authorship (Delpeut himself), Delpeut indicates that it is pointless to look for objective descriptions, but that, as long as the narrator’s colouring and perspective are made explicit, it is indeed possible to arrive at a better intersubjective understanding.

With his essay, Delpeut provides an indirect answer to the question of how we, those who experience works of art, can deal with ‘fallen heroes’. Instead of giving in to the tendency to either condemn or acquit the hero, Delpeut postpones a judgment in favour or against Mekas. Instead, he seeks nuance and recognition of the subjectivity of the historian, the artist and himself.”

For more information on Peter Delpeut’s upcoming title, click here!