Unreal Nature

December 7, 2014

In the Middle of a Cold Blue Light

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:58 am

… and in conclusion, an angel appears, and remains, and cannot be erased, an angel in the middle of a cold blue light.

This is from the essay ‘From Lautréamont to Miller’ found in The Work of Fire by Maurice Blanchot (1949):

… [Henry] Miller claims to write a book [Tropic of Cancer] apart, not more original than the others, or more true, or more beautiful, but a book, as Mallarmé had said, “a single immense book,” “a Bible,” that is described to us as a geological ensemble, as a story drowned and lost in the very reality it brings to life. “It will be enormous, this book! there will be vast spaces in it like oceans to move in, to wander in, to sing in, dance in, climb in, swim in, do somersaults in, to moan in, to break the law in, to kill in … ”

… When Miller writes, “I am a man of the old world, a seed carried by the wind, a seed that hasn’t managed to flower in the moldy oasis of America. I belong to the heavy tree of the past. Body and soul, I am liegeman of the inhabitants of Europe, those who were once Franks, Gauls, Vikings, Huns, Tartars, what else! … I am proud of not belonging to this century,” we see clearly that his sedition here is mystified by a dream, fixed by who knows what obsession of a lost good that must be found and that the time shows him.

… he comes to cast his universe “above human boundaries … because to be only human seems to me so poor, so mediocre, such a wretched business, limited by meaning, restrained by moral systems and codes, defined by platitudes and isms.” Language seeks thus to separate itself from man and even from language; it penetrates underground, it becomes water, air, night. It enters into the way of metamorphoses.

… Certainly, the words are there and the details are there, too. We know what is happening, and all that one does not say does get said; all that one fears showing is seen in the clearest manner. But the extreme verbal quickness, the writer’s time that is a relentless spontaneity, always in advance of the acts it causes to appear, does not allow the metamorphosis there is in eroticism, the slow changing of a mind into a body and from a body into a thing. Everything happens in it as in that story where he describes himself in the act of drawing a horse: the horse does not have time to remain a horse, it becomes a sausage, a kangaroo, a house, a cemetery, it jumps from one form to another, he cannot find the substance that would immobilize it, and in conclusion, an angel appears, and remains, and cannot be erased, an angel in the middle of a cold blue light.

-Julie

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