Mirror Gazing: A Talk with Warren Motte, September 18, 2014

On Thursday, September 18, at 7 p.m. Counterpath hosted Warren Motte for a talk about his new book, Mirror Gazing, just out from Dalkey Archive Press. The talk was preceded by brief readings by Tim Roberts, Jeffrey Pethybridge, J. Michael Martinez, Brian Foley, and Angela Buck.

Prefatory readings.

An extensive Q & A, including prepared comments by Jeff Cox and Elise Arnould-Bloomfield.

“Motte has collected around ten thousand mirror scenes from roughly 1,500 books. This, in and of itself, is noteworthy, but the book is not simply a reprinting of quotes from various books. It is a deeply considered analysis of what it actually means to look into a mirror. For the serious reader, this book will serve as a trip through your reading past. . . From Nabokov to Salinger to Rilke to Calvino, the book makes its way into just about every corner of American and European literature.” – Nancy Smith, YourImpossibleVoice

Mirror Gazing is a book about reading and looking, about what people seek when they read, and about what stares back at them from the printed page. It is an archival project, based on a wealth of material collected daily by celebrated critic Warren F. Motte over thirty-five years and squirreled away for some eventual winter. It is also a love letter, a confession, a tale of deep obsession, and a cry for help addressed to anyone who takes literature seriously.

“I believe (and I’m choosing my words carefully) that this is the most extraordinary book about reading I have ever read” – Jacques Jouet

“Wonderfully luminous, entertaining, thought-provoking, and wide-ranging . . . an essential book” – Gerald Prince

As part of the event, Counterpath inviting anyone who was interested to present mirror scenes, from any media, that may have affected them or that they thought were particularly significant. 

Warren Motte is Professor of French and Comparative Literature at the University of Colorado. He specializes in contemporary writing, with particular focus upon experimentalist works that put accepted notions of literary form into question. His most recent books include Fables of the Novel: French Fiction since 1990 (2003) Fiction Now: The French Novel in the Twenty-First Century (2008), and Mirror Gazing.