When one contemplates the matter only as far as the shallows, as they do who have only meagre worldly knowledge and prefer to keep themselves safe for theory and theory alone, one may well hold that to create a completely self-effaced text cannot really be very hard to do at all. Granted, some well-worn phrases, those that the creator has made a mark of her hand (or, as the case may be, her pen), become verboten, and one becomes forced to resort as replacements for them to new means—and when they are not so compact as the old, nevertheless they are more than capable of the work set before them, an only one's cleverness meets the task. However, one reasons, one can take care of these obstacles, and perhaps even make the task performable by some standard method or other, so that the process that makes texts of the sort we here speak of can be encompassed by two steps: 1. the creator sets pen to paper (or, as the case may be, hands to keyboard) and lets words flow as she normally does, not concerned to keep an eye on her end goal or to harness, and not express, her self. 2. The standard method gets fed the typed or penned text and operates, well, standardly, and at the end we see the new text, that has had the self of the creator completely effaced. One does not deny that there's a tendency to shove the self forward, and perhaps holds that that tendency makes necessary the development of a standard method. One refers, perhaps, to the most well-known of those named for the one who embraced God and the monastery after he was saved from stormy death by the holy Anna, who held that man's breast encompasses a tendency to want to be the one who marches at the head, who proceeds before all others and leads them, and beats on leather stretched over wood, and makes a racket to serve her own ego: "The small ask the world to set them at the head rank. They have, after they are born, that tendency to be the leather-beater. … And when we are grown, we have yet not grown past that tendency." So there are obstacles. They can, these shallowpates assert, nevertheless be overcome. Easy-peasy.
However, when one approaches the depths of the matter, one learns posthaste that the above-sketched method can never work. For who can say that the new text, that pretends to be self-effaced, does not show the creator's self all the more? Granted, there has been a long tendency among Westerners to hold the contrary, to hold that one who's held close and has small external freedom to move has a freedom of her self whose smallness corresponds. Often we see the flesh made the agent that cramps man; some noncorporeal element, that gets called the essence of man, stands as opponent thereto. We can see that tendency already when we look at Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans, whose credo expressed the hope that we may be chastened, for we were placed here to be chastened! And the same comes long years later once more to Gerard Manley H., whose poem "The Skylark" compared man's essence to "a dare-gale skylark scanted by a grey cage", and man's flesh to a "bone-home, mean home". And yet, and yet! May the case not be, rather, that exactly when there appears to be nearly no freedom to express the self, the power to express the self becomes stronger than ever before? Frost's well-known apothegm that concerns nets and ball games seems meet here, as does Charles Taylor's remark (alas the words themselves escape attempts to be located) to the effect that agents of the modern age sew from whole cloth models that they then follow, merely to have a sense of the allowable and the not.
And who's to say that the dare-gale skylark doesn't catch one's eye for one reason alone, namely, that the fowl scants and the cage checks freedom, as the water flows fastest when the area's the smallest, as one sets a gem to be shown to advantage? Mettle tested, the real self emerges; the clash and clangor of battle forges one and makes one what one really all along was; or perhaps the self emerges when one creates art—smacks of folderol not worthy of one's earnest regard, maybe. That doesn't mean chatter of that sort's completely bad. There may well be a jot of correctness there.
Take once more the credo that says one can efface the self to the last drop. One can represent to oneself how that can be done, perhaps, by a devoted creator of texts—Mallarmé, say. Can a creator of that type really get to her goal? No. For can one not always say, "There's no trace of the creator to be located here, and only of the works of Madame Bovary (say) can one say that, all the more so when one attends to the manner of the creator's absence!". That's to say that self-effacement can take many forms, and maybe to each creator there's one form for her alone!
Now let's contemplate what, were self-effacement gotten, were to follow. To do that we look at Canada, whose sons are renowned the world over for self-effacement, modesty, and the tendency to downplay talents. Can one deny that, were the second person to be removed from Canada—were there no one to address, or by whom to be addressed—then were one's days beneath that sky wholly bland and colorless, wholly grey and flavorless? As a general credo, then, we have what follows: when the self gets effaced, there corresponds for the one who's effaced a greater need for the second person, to, when to express the accord as follows makes sense, replace and render whole the lost self. (Shades of Plato: the beast that had two backs, that made the gods fear.)
The treatment of the second person here has not been very good. Look, then, for more on that aspect at a later date.