Unreal Nature

December 27, 2015

Only from this Point

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:42 am

… in that sea which is what the work will be, having become an ocean on its own scale.

This is from the essay ‘Song of the Sirens’ in The Gaze of Orpheus and other essays by Maurice Blanchot, translated by Lydia Davis (1981):

… It is no small thing to make a game of human time and out of that game to create a free occupation, one stripped of all immediate interest and usefulness, essentially superficial and yet in its surface movement capable of absorbing all being.

… The tale is not the narration of an event, but that event itself, the approach to that event, the place where that event is made to happen — an event which is yet to come and through whose power of attraction the tale can hope to come into being, too.

This is s very delicate relationship, undoubtedly a kind of extravagance, but it is the secret law of the tale. The tale is a movement towards a point, a point which is not only unknown, obscure, foreign, but such that apart from this movement it does not seem to have any sort of real prior existence, and yet it is so imperious that the tale derives its power of attraction only from this point, so that it cannot even “begin” before reaching it — and yet only the tale and the unpredictable movement of the tale create the space where the point becomes real, powerful, and alluring.

… Of course it is true that only in Melville’s book does Ahab meet Moby Dick; yet it is also true that only this encounter allows Melville to write the book, it is such an imposing encounter, so enormous, so special that it goes beyond all the levels on which it takes place, all the moments in time where we attempt to situate it, and seems to be happening long before the book begins, but it is of such a nature that it also could not happen more than once, in the future of the work and in that sea which is what the work will be, having become an ocean on its own scale.

… This event upsets relations in time, and yet affirms time, the particular way time happens, the tale’s own time which enters the narrator’s duration in such a way as to transform it, and the time of the metamorphoses where the different temporal ecstasies coincide in an imaginary simultaneity and in the form of the space which art is trying to create.




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