Monday, June 11, 2007
Deux Vérités de Marguerite
In France they still Love Literature with two capital L's. The ultimate proof are the Quarto editions on Gallimard. With those you get a load of essential texts of one writer in one book. The paper is ultra-thin but you get more than 1000 pages for a reasonable price.
So I was thumbing through the Quarto of Marguerite Duras and in the introduction she was being quite honest about being a writer. She said - and I am quoting from memory here - that "the essential thing about being a writer is daring to write. I have written incomprehensible things and they were read."
Two truths if there ever were truths. I mean, Gilles Deleuze and Jacques Derrida, while still among the living, all they did was write, write, write. They were frequently accused of being opaque and rightout incomprehensible, and - this is what it is all about - they probably were, if you observe the thousand-plus interpretations that are to this day (and probably for many years to come) plaguing the blogosphere alone. I mean, I was reading Badiou's take on Deleuze (La Clameur de l'Être) and thanks to Badiou I now feel that I understand even less of Deleuze than before.
But I guess that it is what writing is about: Write now, think later.
Second truth, then. I remember reading Duras' Le Ravissement de Lol. V. Stein - a long time ago that was, tempus fugit - and to this day I still could not possibly fathom what that book is about (I even suspect that, with all the additional knowledge I have acquired since then about France's cultural climate at the time the book was written, I now will understand even less if I decide to re-read it). Bearing in mind Duras' quotation I am bound to believe that even the writer herself did not know what it was about.
A few years ago for me there would not have been any point whatsoever to reading an incomprehensible book. Now it has become a challenge. When incomprehensible (or seeming to be), literature becomes pure language again, the ground zero of writing, mere signs, signifiers and symptoms waiting to be deciphered, like hieroglyphs by an Egyptologue. Meaning leading to other meanings, "a Thousand Plateaus" of Meaning.
Why settle for one meaning if you can have all the truths in the world? Or how nihilism and holism are just two sides of the same coin.