Long live experimental everything: an interview with Julie Murray
Mike Hoolboom
She should have been a writer, or at least: and a writer. She lenses it all up with precision, and makes of her meager picture harvests a maximum yield. But the way she writes about these interior musings are bedtime stories for the Avant Garde. Her work is not literary, of course, though the word is never far from her frames, whether via the long shadow of literary inspirations or in after dinner talk with friends. What a pleasure it has been to receive her idiosyncratic para-science ruminations, these inquiries into knowing and seeing, often culled from found footage which has been run so often through her fingers that she might as well have made them herself. The author, the authority. In this world of small marvels, where so much has been put into doubt (into play), this much is sure: it is difficult work. The viewer is active or not at all (what was that?), the collisions of picture moments might appear accidental to the casual onlooker, and how to bring a sustained and nuanced understanding to these shorts when they are most usually displayed with seven or eight others, each pulling one’s visual understanding in different directions. This resistance to an easy read, the rewards of sustained and repeated viewings (nearly impossible for material reasons), the compacted impressionism of her work, all these are (I don’t want to write the word, and yet there it is, dangling at the end of my fingers, ready to stain the page) traditional, or at least, not unexpected. She is part of the traditions of the untraditional. But these avant gestures are more usual at twenty, and Julie has entered the second and third decades of her making with no signs of slowing. Not that she’s in a hurry, the point of these small fabulations is at least to be able to stop and stare and wonder and digress and imagine some new pleasure born. She bigs up insect life in her camera microscope; she looks at the golden Manhattan light, a movie theatre turned into a parking lot; she runs a boy and his grandfather backwards in the hot house until they make far too much sense. The punctum, the point, the sharp edge of the picture. Yes, these pictures hurt to watch. Read them if you dare.

MH: When asked why she wrote, Marguerite Duras famously replied that she lacked the strength to do nothing. Am wondering if you can spill about how you became a filmmaker, and why you've persisted while so many have stopped?

JM: I have been thinking more deeply recently about this art of doing nothing after I heard an interview with a man who has just completed a book in defense of sloth. As well as causing me to wonder how he reconciled the issue of having to actually hunt and peck his way through the task, which many might be inclined to call "work," or "busy" at the very least; it also stirred in me a new resolve to find a nice mossy oak under which I will sit for hours, gazing, first with one eye, then the other, reading—or not—as the mood might strike. And even more so since with every passing year this particular marble's inhabitants seems increasingly committed to deeper and more riven torrents of bureaucratic flotsam than ever before, reducing time, that element so malleable to the art of filmmaking—to a grubby currency, concerned only with loss, expenditure, management and waste.

I hereby rebel.

In answer to the first part of your question, which, I have a feeling, will do more to preserve my dignity than the second half, I studied painting and mixed media in Ireland in the early 1980's and, gravitating more to the mixed media part of the resulting degree, was naturally open to the idea of film but at the time of graduating college, knew very little about it. This had not stopped me from making a super-8 montage film in my last year there, however. This film incorporated both found and camera original footage (appropriation was art issue du jour at that time) and did not survive graduation, if I remember correctly, as the response to it was so tepid I judged I was not much good at it and, besides, did not know how to proceed with the medium, anyhow.

Arriving in the US as a student I signed up for a class that promised to lay bare the mysterious and mercurial history of recent American avant-garde film and happened also to provide access to a very good Super-8 camera for those who wished to try their hand at it, of which I was a most enthusiastic one. In that time I made a ten-minute accelerated montage piece that I showed around a bit: bars, impromptu theaters and such. Through these screenings I met many of the San Francisco avant-garde film-making community — so many souls of such prodigious talents, from everywhere but San Francisco, who made it endlessly interesting. Encouraged by the lack of art snobbery and the generally positive responses to my efforts, I made another one. This one a montage on Ireland, sex, and Irishness. More positive responses. So I made a third, fourth and fifth, all Super-8, before changing to 16mm format.

I found I didn't get bored spending hours and hours poring over images and sequences of images, constructing and deconstructing fleeting narratives — some taking place between a couple of frames; at times gazing at rows of images — one hardly different from the next in a sequence — and meditating on such metaphysical questions (as only the under-employed can usefully indulge in) as to just how much time one could say, while holding the strip of film between their fingers, had passed between them right there in their plastic present tense. I imagine knitters, weavers and other practitioners of the tactile arts think these things too.

In short, filmmaking stimulated many of the same kind thoughts I dwelt on in my activity as a painter, but with the added dimension of time, as well as a connection to a social group that was open, culturally unprejudiced and an awful lot of fun. Filmmaking of this kind was also so wide open in terms of form and possibilities, and screenings were always very busy and socially spontaneous, unlike gallery shows. Everything was inventive and, it seemed, experimental all the time. Who wouldn't get along with that?

Which leads me to the second part of your question, about which I have not yet decided as to whether it is one of a truly useless variety. Why does anyone do anything, anyway — or whether I simply do not wish to examine too closely this long path of economic hardship, if not outright fiscal disaster; so, can we just say, because it seemed like a good idea at the time?

MH: In Anathema (7 min, 1995) a suite of circling industrial pictures gathers round the figure of a surgeon (pre and post-op) who notices, by the film’s end, that a spot has appeared on his own hand. He is not immune, impartial, removed, after all. The repeating figure of a man “shot” in some kind of science experiment (though reviewed in slow motion he appears to be falling “the wrong way,” as if his fall is play acting), a frog eating, a man who looks like a camp victim (could he still be alive?). I feel these pictures are telling a precise and exact story, only I don’t know what the story is. There is a grammar, underscored by your material assertions (showers of red dots and film flares) and deliberate repetitions, which draw the disparate materials into a private alphabet. Pedro Costa said that seeing in cinema occurs only when the door is closed, when the viewer is refused. But here I am left wondering: what is happening?

JM: I think the doctor is a priest and is, with proprietary interest, searching through the carnal mess of tissue to discover for himself the essence of life. Probing, however, violates the sacrosanct darkness of the body, staining it with light, and the body dies. Life flees, and the soul goes on the lam. The idea for the film came when I found two films, one an instructional film intended to show medical staff the proper way to scrub up for the operating room while avoiding getting any germs on their hands or clothing and the other fragments of what looks to be a clinical trial of an early version of a taser gun.

In the first, figures fitting themselves, or variously being fitted, into these vestments with such measured deliberation and uninflected perfunctoriness readily reminded me of the duties of priests and altar boys normally undertaken in preparation for a mass. This idea is clinched in the shot of the male doctor patiently holding aloft his arms in a pose of 'Letuspraythelordhavemercyonoursouls" while the nurse ties the robe at his back. He ceremoniously washes his hands, and I thought of that anguished nightmare Macbeth lives where he cannot rid himself of the imaginary blood from his hands following his murdering of the King of Scotland. A toning powder that I had applied to the film to reduce its pink hue failed to dissolve and left spots all over the surface, like a cartoon skin rash. I thought it funny that the film material itself might get in on the action in this way. Had I planned it, I think I would have found it unacceptably hokey.

There are so many variations on the dressing for the operating room sequences that the litany of moves and combinations, once dis-arranged, are emptied of original meaning and became a compact catalog of gestural phrases available to pluck at random and associate freely with all the other bits and pieces I had collected.

The footage of the tattooed character who is shot with a taser gun had a curious aspect to it which you have spotted correctly. There is something fake about his reactions. His long hair, tattoo, glasses.

Was he a 'walk-in', a fake 'walk-in'? A just-released casualty from rehab? A struggling joe making money in some trial experiment?

Something about the predicament he is photographed in sets these questions in motion. The nurse is also a curiosity. She presses the button but seems wholly unprepared for what follows. Our friend grimaces wildly and contracts in pain but, in doing so, catches a foot on the flimsy mat he is standing on and, in that split second, refocuses all his attention (more than should properly be available to him, if we are to believe the grimace) to recover from the trip-up. A little doubt sets in. And what is more native to the business of faith, belief and the comprehension of God than doubt? Think of Caravaggio's The Incredulity of Saint Thomas; his finger is sunk in the wound. He is not even looking at the event but is focused elsewhere, as though reading the contents and information through the tip of his finger darkly buried in the flesh.

With these things in mind I chose music for a mass composed by Olivier Messiaen with an insert of a phrase sung by John Taverner. The slow and incredibly beautiful way this very formally structured hymn is sung, each note measured as is each phrase so that the whole piece holds the listener aloft on the intricately distributed rhythm of sound and not sound, the body borne entirely on this magic wind of measured breathing, held and then so carefully released. In contrast to Conscious, I cut the shots longer (where possible) to match these measures.

The very thin man revealed near the end is dead.

The spot the doctor discovers on his hand is a hole in his glove.

Enter germs.

Enter the world.

MH: If You Stand With Your Back To the Slowing of the Speed of Light in Water (18 min, 1997) is filled with “your” pictures: there are city lights in puddles, the geometry of a bridge, telephone wires, passing trees, hand processed emulsion scrapes: what does it mean to convert the world into these abstract patterns?

JM: These are insignificant 'image' patterns in a gelatin bind glued to a ribbon of polyester. The world and its conversion is a different matter altogether. Right now it looks like a toss-up between a baptism by fire and one by water, as lately its lovely body seems to be either in flames or drowning. It is very, very serious.

MH: The movie is framed by images of a train trip, and so appears as a ride through a city of picture events that collage insect worlds (glimpsed via found footage) and human constructions. Can you talk about the ordering of the movie, and its long title (which implies looking away, and a dangerous light)?

JM: The footage that became If You Stand… was amassed over time and in fragmentary form was the working material for a series of film loops generated for performances I carried out with filmmaker Caspar Stracke in the mid-1990s in New York City. These performances were a lot of fun. They involved six to eight projectors in and out of which we threaded our film loops as quickly as our sweaty hands could manage. The resulting mayhem generated novel results and occasionally reached moments of hypnotic rhythmic harmony between image and sound, which made it all seem worth it.

The music in of one of the performances we did at a big loft gallery in Soho, NYC was made by DJ Olive and in another by Ikue Mori, both great artists. We were lucky. After we had finished these performances, I found myself with quite a number of film loops composed of fragments of shots that rhymed in a certain tight way and were closed unto themselves needing no justifications of before's-and-after's. I had other longer clusters half formed on the bench with developing ideas as to how I might use them and eventually began to assemble all these elements into a single strand. It was going to be one long poem in the form of a single run-on sentence with no breaks, with one image or idea leading into another by rhythm and rhyming metaphor. I made a soundtrack for it using some found sound, music and recorded noises on quarter inch tape and cut it with a splicing block and a blade roughly timing it to a video copy of the work print.

The footage of the trelliswork of the Queensboro bridge was hand-processed and put to the sound of radio static, as if things were coming in and out of sonic focus. It seemed well suited to accompany the picture’s occasional intermittency of the picture due to the hand processing. It provided a good “bracket,” if you will, for the whole film, setting the viewer up for journey and uncertainty and making a doorway into the run-on montage to follow.

I strung the sounds together searching each shot and picture trying to imagine what sound that shot or image might make. It was creative speculation to say the least. I followed the same principal as with the picture editing: searching for the images’ metaphoric doppelganger in the sound.

On a personal level the film was a document of the city lived. Much later I turned my attention to T.S. Eliot’s poem The Waste Land after my curiosity was aroused by an ex-communist party lesbian acquaintance who I heard one day extolling the virtues of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by the same author. I re-read The Love Song…, determined she was right, and then read The Wasteland, which impressed me deeply. It had both the depth of the truth of things as well as being utterly liberated in terms of the how these were put together. I liked feeling the “hinges” in all this, how elegant and gross and risky the articulations. Dream, document, narrative and images torn from the day’s fragments all making these enormous, unburdened leaps between each other. (I used a small part of Elliot’s reading of The Waste Land in my later film, Orchard, because of his antique way of reading).

MH: Otherrehto (3 min, 2000) announces its palindromic status via the title, which can be read backwards and forwards. The first image appears like a parenthesis or frame, or calipers. The image is mirror printed, what appears on the left hand side of the film’s centre or fold is mirrored on the right. What are we looking at here? A text by Coleridge runs between the frames, followed by superimpositions of a figure skater turning, a sea animal, and after your name, a moment of sea tide. The Coleridge text suggests that a woman’s “physical deliquium” (pleasure?) will invariably be understood as “ a momentary union with God.” I am reminded of Owen Land’s frequent use of palindromes as an impetus to the Christian conversion experience. What is the relation between pleasure, palindromes and God?

JM: I don't know the specific historical source of symmetry's association with Christian conversion but it comes up a lot, it seems. I have read G. M. Hopkins’ essay, set in the form of a Platonic dialogue, on the symmetry of a leaf as to the question of beauty and what that might be. My use of the mirrored smoke tendrils had that in mind but at the same time was intentionally profane. The effect looked like something interchangeably vaginal and phallic and ultimately, to my mind at least, something so fundamentally attractive a shape as to be almost "cuddly" or "cute.” Normally in the starched corridors of the culturati academy, visitors as well as the committed are quietly discouraged from wandering too close to the subject of pure sentimentality, usually by unspecified signs of paternal disapproval such as wall-eyed expressions or the patronizing nods of feigned interest, a necessary defence, perhaps, lest the dentata of the whole business succumb to premature gum disease. How then to keep the art beast alive?

In an off-hand way the image here is my wondering about this question of beauty/attraction and ideas of perfection inherent in the consideration of symmetry. The smoke makes the shapes seem ghostly as well as made of silk.

I was reading a biography of Coleridge around the same time and came across the text of his speculations on the “bodily deliquiums” of Teresa of Avila, Spain. He had read an account of her young life and penchant for psychic transports and visions. The account placed them firmly in the Catholic tradition of visitations from God, and in his extravagant yet succinct way with the language, he expressed his skepticism about the claims. (Two hundred years later an article in the New York Times magazine wondered the same thing, though not with the same wit). I kept the grammar quirks and errancies of the text, as they were so much a part of the way Coleridge played with the shape of language in his poetry. He made up the word “deliquium,” it seems, Latin-izing the word “deliquesce.” With his legendary appetite for laudanum (opium preserved in brandy), he knew a thing or two about “imperfect fainting fits” and “momentary union(s) with god,” but for all his (also legendary) hubris didn't sink to the pretentious claim that it was a visitation with god.

I liked that there was politic, a legible subtext, to everything about the short note, and that it was more than the sum of its parts. The ice skater stands for a whirling dervish, a Sufi-originating dance where a deliberately repetitive physical action over time allows the body to become spirit. The fish is, well, a fish. This fish issues one single very physical thrust, an act of pure will against its circumstances, the elements, so is a good balance or counterpoint to the skater. A harmonious unsymmetry, maybe.

On top of that this piece was made in conversant reply to Keith Sanborn's Mirror, also a digital video piece which takes as its subject the elusive image of Dreyer’s Joan of Arc on a smoking pyre and dissolves it with the ripple portrait of Dorothy, from The Wizard of Oz mouthing, "There's no place like home…" while singers intone words authored by the 11th century Abbess Hildegard von Bingen which appear in text form at the close of this six minute piece informing an unspecified "you" as to some of the particulars of bestowed Divine Intelligence. I'm more on the Coleridge side of things, I think. Following a screening in NYC of short films in which Otherehto showed, Ken Jacobs, shaking his head and looking perplexed said to me, "Jesus is not my thing". I was baffled. Jesus? Who said anything about Jesus? Coleridge’s ‘god’ (in lower-case) was as close as it got.

MH: In Micromoth (6 min, 2000) a winding sound accompanies the rolling of an insect body across the field of vision. Moments of a close-up world come into view through an ever-changing field of focus. Yellow fields and blue. A blue ringed circle admits some further molecular insights, strands of insect leg and plant life appear and disappear. How did you make these pictures, and how then are they structured?

JM: I purchased an old Bausch & Lomb microscope from a tipsy palm reader on Clinton Street late one night on my way home from a stultifying event purporting to be art. Setting it up on the kitchen table and inserting all the usual things into the view path — sugar granules, rice, salt, a dead fly — I felt inspired all over again, and the desultory waste of time that I had just come from evaporated on the spot. For the next few days I attended to the business of peering through the eyepiece at whatever had died on the windowsill the night before. Everything was beautiful. These sessions, probably lasting no longer than twenty minutes at a time, were more akin to the secret door in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe than anything definitive or scientific. It seemed obvious to commit these explorations to film in this unadulterated form — spontaneously, according to chance — each time I looked through the lens and began wandering about the visual plane it was utterly new, even if the unfortunate corpse under scrutiny was the same one from days previous.

It took a bit of time to figure out how to arrange the camera over the microscope to secure a picture, and when I was finally ready to shoot, a toe operated the cable release, one hand operated the X-Y axis panning knobs while the other took care of the focus knob. Most of the interest for me was the way these objects, so enlarged, undeniable and firmly ascertained in such a close-up detail, fell so easily apart at the slightest movement of the focus knob. How light bends. This, along with the generally dizzying effects of staring through the eyepiece for long periods of time, caused some new and deep fundamental doubts about the simple proof of things. All is not as it seems.

When it came time to commit these findings to film, the approach was pretty straight-forward; wind the camera, all limbs to their stations, bate breath and release the shutter. All new discoveries and exploratory views unfolded which were as new to my eyes as they were to the film frame in those instants. I used the rolls largely as they were, not making so many cuts as I normally would.

What I like the most is how the eye is taken on unexpected journeys around the image plane in such a fluid way. What might read as a legible picture of an insect is transformed into abstract motion by the slightest change of focus.

When it came to putting sound to the images, I indulged in imagining what microscopic spaces would sound like. I put together a collage of different atmospheric “compressions,” (much of the sense of “compression” being in the cuts from one atmosphere to another — that feeling you get sometimes when you walk from one room to another and the door closes behind you — how that changes the sound reverberation.)

I had a paying job around that time which took me out to Long Island, and I recorded some cicadas there. I commuted from the densely populated Lower East Side, where young trees planted by the Parks Department often lasted only a week or two before some loud-mouthed, carbon-belching SUV backed into them in a pathetic attempt to park, knocking the thing flat.

There was no quiet.


It was a constant cacophony of boom cars, garbage trucks, people yelling, squabbling ladies-night at the local smelly nightclub, helicopters buzzing the neighborhood and car alarms being set off by more garbage trucks, and police yelling, “Put the weapon down” on TV through a hundred open windows.

To be eating lunch while sitting on a lime green lawn thickened with fertilizers and sprinkled with genetically purified flowers while listening to a sonic wall of cicada sound felt like something truly novel. Not nature, exactly, but appreciably different from what I’d come from.

Thinking about atmosphere and room tones I set up the big four-track reel-to-reel recorder in the kitchen and plugged in a tiny lavalier microphone, which I then attached to a long chop stick. Employing all the concave-shaped things I could find in the kitchen, I set about dipping the microphone into each one to see how the sound changed. A coffee cup, a vase, a bowl. You could still hear the surrounding environment, like pigeons cooing outside the window, or the fridge, but changes in tone were dramatic, as if they were the result of the changing shape of an ear.

This went well with the images since it set up the same frame of uncertainty as to the definitive representation of a thing. One of the sounds, played back on a good system, (which can be heard even though the sound on the film is an optical track and therefore not very hi-fi), came from a spherical chemistry flask. All the sound reverberated equally back to the mic and somehow this made an extraordinarily deep throbbing tone that vibrates a speaker in a most physical way. I learned later that the composer Alvin Lucier made a music piece using this method, too.

I have this attraction to the sound of passing planes; the slow glissando of the drone from one note to the next lower down, and have used it a few times in soundtracks, (in Detroit River and Detroit Block, two of a trilogy of video portraits I made of that city). Often this sound turns up in field recordings since nowadays there is so much air traffic it is hard to avoid it. I use it in Micromoth, attached to the footage that appears in a small circle and rack focuses in such a way that the sound might be that of traveling down this imaginary tube, like the eye’s gaze down the barrel of the microscope.

MH: I Began To Wish (5 min, 2003) is a mysterious reworking of a grandfather-grandson relation. What movie have they been orphaned from, why is everything run backwards, and why is there no sound? They appear in a greenhouse where the natural world can be potted and controlled, too late as it turns out, there is an implication that the boy’s parents have already died, and he has been left in the care of his grandfather. Three sets of titles appear before flowers begin to close, blooming in reverse. “Soon I wished that my dad had killed me. He said nobody knew why flowers were so beautiful. It seemed like the flower was talking to me.” A strawberry unripens, pollens blow, plants sink back into the ground, winter arrives. But deep in the ground a white tendril grows, even in the midst of this darkness and withholding, new feelings, new life, is busy being born.

JM: The title of the film is a variation on a sub-title that appears within the film, which reads: "Soon I wished my Dad had killed me."

The film is composed of two sources; the first is a moral lesson on the business of being a good boy which plays up sympathy for the apparent misery of an elderly man in an effort to promote virtue. In order to be available as an educational tool to the deaf community, the audible content of the film was synopsized into statements that appear as subtitles at the bottom of the frame. That these juxtapositions of text and image were expeditious in nature only lends greater richness to their value as an auto-poetic form. The man in the original is not the father. He is the next-door neighbor whom the boy has harassed in the past, mainly by tossing rocks through the greenhouse glass. The man is a lonely orchid grower. The boy’s punishment, administered by a father we never meet, is to help the orchid grower in his potting duties. The boy is resentful. An unseen gang of assailants come by one night and break all the glass in the greenhouse, and it is not until then that the boy sees the routine difficulties the man faces in trying to nurture these flowers. They come to an understanding.

The second source is a short encyclopedic account of flowers blooming. The sequence of flowers ungrowing is deliberately left as a list, one following the next, with only small intrusions of other shots. I excised much of the material from the first source, keeping only the shots that could be strung together in a way that detourned the narrative document into something darkly anxious and a little ambiguous at the same time. Editing the two sources together on the flatbed I noticed the portend of the gestures as they ran backwards seemed much more intriguing and strange than when it all ran correctly. So with the exception of the shots where the subtitles occur and one or two others, all the footage is optically printed backwards. Attempting to sort out the world, so angled, becomes a mystery. The manner, for instance, in which the man withdraws the proffered rose while his face falls out of an expression of something resembling joy or happiness, is a puzzle, and the strawberry growing backwards, red and so strongly evocative of its ripe taste at the start, draws the taste buds archly backwards on a journey from sweet to tart to increasing bitterness and hardness. The hands, originally picking up the broken shards of glass, piece by piece, now appear to be carefully laying them out, one by one, as if parts of a jigsaw-puzzle and the potted plants are just as carefully laid down on their sides in what looks like a ritualized repose. I cut in the subtitled shots to suggest the man and boy were related and to juxtapose this anxious relationship with the boy's new awareness of his own sentience.

MH: How strange. I read your answer and think yes, of course, that's exactly what you did. But part of me doesn't believe you, not a whit. Part of me wants to accuse you of hijacking the Julie Murray that made this movie, and that in her place you are mouthing words you learned by careful observation, watching her through a thick glass. I say this in part because this work stung me to watch it, it is filled with a fathomless mystery, as if you had trained a special camera on the inner life and somehow wrung a documentary record of some sharp fragment, which could be presented, in the light of the movie theatre, appropriately enough in the dark, only as a riddle, as this backwards moving story semblance. If your explanations are impostered it's only because they refuse any real explication of its effect, which you are doubtless wise to do, why expect authors to plunge into the morass of reception theory? Call it predilection or habit, but I read this movie as personal documentary, unthinkable to arrive at this backwards lean without enduring first some personal catastrophe (or lesson?), which makes it inevitable, or at least necessary.

JM: I think you get to the mystery of it, which really did appear all by itself when the two sources began to weave themselves together. There is indeed a strategy maintained in simply describing the parts as usable discoveries. It helps fill the silence. There is a passage Jack Palance reads to Joan Crawford in Sudden Fear that this reminds me of. I saw it a few years after making I Began to Wish... Crawford knows Palance is going to kill her, and she is scared shitless. He is playing the good husband and asks her would she like him to read to her. She nods with giant fearful saucer eyes. He reads her the following:

"Let mystery have its place in you; do not be always turning up your whole soil with the plowshare of self-examination, but leave a little fallow corner in your heart ready for any seed the winds may bring, and reserve a nook of shadow for the passing bird; keep a place in your heart for the unexpected guests, an altar for the unknown God. Then if a bird sings among your branches, do not be too eager to tame it. If you are conscious of something new — thought or feeling, wakening in the depths of your being — do not be in a hurry to let light upon it, to look at it. Let the springing germ have the protection of being forgotten, hedge it round with quiet, and do not break in upon its darkness; let it take shape and grow, and not a word of your happiness to anyone! Sacred work of nature as it is, all conception should be enwrapped by the triple veil of modesty, silence and night."

It is from Chapter XII The Journal Intime of Henri Frédéric Amiel, translated by Mrs. Humphrey Ward December 2, 1851.

Imagine this read by a man with cold-blooded murder in his heart, and so chiseled of feature, so hot of eye. No wonder she trembled. What is 'reception theory?’ Is it a real... thing?