Monument to Pelafina: What Was Left Out of Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves

Creative Response

Monument to Pelafina Heather Lièvre or Livre [sic]

This tombstone-esque painting is the missing appendix sub-item that somehow never made it into Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves. It should be located between page 644 and page 645 of the book as “Appendix II: Johnny Truant, E & 1/2”. It was created as commentary on Danielewski’s portrayal of Johnny Truant, influenced by Zampanò, of Pelafina Heather Lièvre or Livre [sic]. The text consists of content gathered or inferred by way of the book; and because people are so much more than what can be expressed on a tombstone, monument, or epitaph, (or book for that matter)–perhaps Pelafina is not a person (and if she wasn’t one while she was alive, she most certainly is not one now).

Because it is in purple, the text of the illustrated overlay is hard to read:

PELAFINA HEATHER

LIÈVRE or LIVRE [SIC]

1930 – 1989

WIFE • MOTHER

NOW IN THE

GREAT HOUSE

ON THE

OTHER SIDE.

screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-11-23-49-am

My assistant with the painting before illustrations were applied.

The words obscure a painting by Georges Rouault titled Pierrot. It depicts the archetypal “sad clown” that was familiar to Rouault by way of the commedia dell’arte which permeated his body of work∞1.

Monument to Pelafina was created to provide yet another point of view, or lens, with which to see a text where men are continually represented as trying to set up their own houses. Danielewski presents this concept in the fictional footnote #329: “Melissa Schemell . . . discusses sexual modes of recognition: the house as vagina” (358). Men are architects, explorers, and heads of households. Lièvre or Livre [sic] resists the patriarchal script and is therefore institutionalized. Her vagina-house is closed, and tragically, she suffers for it.

The project underway.

The text is in purple acrylic (Lièvre or Livre’s favorite color), with the exception of HOUSE, which is blue.

In House of Leaves, Danielewski recreates a book as a house and a house as a book. The conceit results in a polyphony of observations, perceptions, voices, and other media-bound representations that each come at the object in a different way. Even Danielewski’s character Zampanò uses the word “see” at the beginning of almost every footnote (awkwardly, but for a purpose∞2) which he calls our attention to.

Pelafina Heather Lièvre or Livre [sic]’s perspective, among other things, tells us more about Johnny Truant, the character central in presenting Zampanò, intentionally a few times removed from Danielewski, and the book/house contains more layers of observation because of this. In the appendix exhibits on pages 639, 643, and 644 we are given some light on the circumstances of Lièvre or Livre [sic]’s death, but this reader applauds the work of the anonymous person who went further to honor her with Monument to Pelafina, a work which should have been placed at her burial plot at Wain Cemetery in May of 1989.

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