Unreal Nature

July 19, 2015

The Impossibility of Sleeping that Sleep Becomes in the Dream

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:37 am

… speaking, not speaking, indefinite, seeming to say everything to us before saying anything …

This is from the essay ‘Dreaming, Writing’ found in the collection, Friendship by Maurice Blanchot (1997):

… Let us remember the bewitching power with which any passerby seems to us endowed if, for an instant, he becomes the bearer of some resemblance; how his face attracts us, haunts us, familiar and remote, yet also frightens us a little; we are in a hurry to identify it, that is, to erase it by redirecting it to the circle of things in which living men are so bound up with themselves that they are without resemblance. A being who suddenly begins to “resemble” moves away from real life, passes into another world, enters into the inaccessible proximity of the image, is present nonetheless, with a presence that is not his own or that of another, an apparition that transforms all other presents into appearances.

… Such is the case in the dream: the dream is the place of similitude, an environment saturated with resemblances …

[ … ]

… in borrowing from night the neutrality and uncertainty that belong to it, in imitating this power to imitate and resemble that is without origin, writing not only refuses all the ways of sleep, the opportunities of unconsciousness, and the joys of drowsiness, but it also turns to the dream because the dream, in its refusal to sleep at the heart of sleep, is a further vigilance at the heart of the gathered night, a lucidity that is always present, moving, captive no doubt, and for this reason captivating. It is tempting to think that the impossibility of sleeping that sleep becomes in the dream brings us closer, through allusion and illusion, to the wakeful night that the Ancients called sacred, a night laden with and deprived of night, the long night of insomnia to which the unmastered movement of inspiration, in its undying appeal, corresponds every time that anteriority speaks to us: speaking, not speaking, indefinite, seeming to say everything to us before saying anything and perhaps saying everything to us, but only in a semblance of speech.

-Julie

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