[Reading] Ian Penman on using theory as an autodidactic

From an interview with Ian Penman done for Interview Magazine by Sarah Nicole Prickett.

PRICKETT: Your pieces for NME are infamously full of references to French theory. Do you feel that you read more, or more widely, because you were reading as a writer or a fan and not as a student?
PENMAN: I think there was a time when the autodidactic was dignified, when it was something to be. Especially in working-class culture, I think, where there was a slight distrust of the academy—with good reason, because it can take the best out of people, it can produce very desiccated texts. I do think it takes some of the fun out of it, to have to read Foucault in order to write about Foucault in the language of Foucault or in the language of other people who write about Foucault. When I was reading all this stuff, a lot of it was just newly translated into English and it was at the bookstores in Soho, and I was reading whatever it was, Bataille, Lacan, Foucault, with the radio or the record player or the television on, drinking a beer. I was having fun with these texts, is the point. My theory days were never about yearning for anything academic, it was about how you could pick up a text and turn it around and see how the light reflects off of it, if you write not just about a Beckett book but how does it look if you apply it to this, or put this color over here, against a piece of pop music or something. That hadn’t been done so much back then. Now it’s become more popular, and sort of a terrible problem.

Penman is new to me, but I've started reading his book Fassbinder Thousands of Mirrors. I want to know more about him, and I found this interview via a Duck Duck Go search.

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