Thursday, 15 December 2016

Jeffrey Eugenides, "Middlesex"

 – e-book


Read from September 7th to December 7th 2016

My rating:



It took me quite a lot to finish Jeffrey Eugenides’s Middlesex (jeez, three months as I see from my Goodreads counter!), although it was not because it bored me, far from it, but because I chose to read it during my breaks at work and lately I didn’t have many L.

There were so many interesting things in this novel, covering some important aspects of any narrative, such as themes, structure, characters, styles and so on, and in each of them it could be found at least one such fresh approach that I honestly don’t know where to begin. Therefore I’ll begin with the beginning, with the title, that is.

Let’s see: Middlesex is the name of the street where the narrator grew up and metonymically of the house of her/ his parents in this street; it is the name of the book and metaphorically of the main theme in this book – intersexuality; significantly, for the author does not acknowledge autobiographical references, it is also the name of the street in Grosse Pointe where the latter grew up.

It seems to me that just from the beginning there is this swinging between notions, the first one, between reality and fiction (the real street and the physical book with its title versus the narrator’s street and the theme in the book), inviting others, this time within fiction: immigration/ American dream, nature/ nurture, male/ female, family/ incest, tragedy/ comedy and so on) with the key-word that reunites them: “middle”. The structure of the novel, looking like a DNA double spiral, follows a subtle dialectic that keeps deploying the plot and intertwining its two layers: Stephanides’ family saga on one hand and Callie’s arrested bildungsroman on the other hand. The pattern is carefully weaved on an obvious canvas of Greek mythology by a narrator who warns the reader in an exaggerated  rhapsodic voice always tempered by soft postmodern irony (“Sorry if I get a little Homeric at times. That’s genetic, too.”) that the journey that follows is beyond the usual regressus ad uterum, for the discovery of the self truly begins with the genetic ancestry:

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Stefan Zweig, "Marie-Antoinette"

- traduction d’Alzir Hella, Le livre de poche, Éditions Grasset & Fasquelle 1993 ; 506 p. ISBN 978-2-253-14669-8



Lu du 18 octobre au 2 décembre 2016

Mon vote :


Je ne savais pas grand-chose sur Marie-Antoinette avant de lire l’extraordinaire biographie que lui a faite Stefan Zweig. Un petit peu du côte historique – dernière reine de la France avant la Révolution française, décapitée (je pensais) en même temps que son mari, le Roi Louis XVI, un petit peu du côté culturel – une des dernières représentantes du rococo, et un petit peu du côté anecdotique (j’ai n’ai jamais traité de vraie cette histoire) – son supposé conseil au peuple affamé de manger de la brioche. Je n’étais aucunement curieuse de savoir plus d’elle (de cette époque c’est la figure de Robespierre qui m’a vraiment fasciné). Par conséquent, quand une amie, à son retour de France, m’a fait cadeau ce livre, acheté, « directement de Versailles », c’est le nom de l’auteur qui m’a poussé le lire, car je n’étais que modérément curieuse à apprendre de plus sur la vie de cette reine, dont je considérais la célébrité causée plutôt par son destin tragique que par ses exploits.

Néanmoins, la biographie de Stefan Zweig, sans contredire cette opinion, touche plutôt à son humanité qu’à sa personnalité, disons, officielle, la rendant vive, complexe et belle justement dans sa médiocrité, bref, la sortant des pages froides de l’Histoire pour faire d’elle un personnage presque littéraire. D’ailleurs, dès l’introduction, l’auteur nous avoue qu’il a voulu d’une part changer l’image controversée qu’elle a laissée à la postérité (soit de sainte, soit de pécheresse) et d’autre part montrer comment l’Histoire se charge de créer des héros malgré eux, rendant tragique même un être ordinaire, car:

…le tragique existe aussi quand une nature moyenne, sinon faible, est liée à un destin formidable, à des responsabilités personnelles qui l’écrasent et la broient, et cette forme ici me paraît même plus poignante du point de vue humain.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Pascal Quinard, "Sexul și spaima"

 - ebook



Perioada lecturii: 5 octombrie  – 29 noiembrie 2016

Votul meu:



În excelentul său articol Le texte littéraire, la lettre et l’image selon Pascal Quignard, Olivier Sigrist atrage atenția asupra faptului că este important să ne amintim, atunci cînd îl citim pe Quignard, că acesta se consideră un reprezentant al retoricii speculative, cea care opune relației filosofice cunoaștere/ rațiune dihotomia metaforă/ logos. Scriitorul, crede el, se situează cel mai aproape de nașterea logosului, opunînd cuvintelor, simple veșminte disimulatoare, nuditatea înspăimântătoare a limbajului: „Ce que son écriture tente de dessiner est cet écart entre la chose à jamais perdue et le langage, écart entre la chose du sexe et la sexualité organisée par le discours. Il nous en fait saisir la réalité en débusquant le transport constant des mots, des lettres.”

Precizare care adaugă o a doua interpretare temei enunțate succint de titlu, ce părea să se refere doar la efectele pe care le are sexul asupra psihicului începînd cu civilizația romană, unde el se definește în special în raport cu moartea, a cărei fascinație meduzantă (și să nu uităm că fascinatio provine din fascinus, traducerea latinească a grecescului phallos) încearcă s-o eludeze privind-o numai cu coada ochiului. Potrivit acestei a doua interpretări, eseul Sexul si spaima propune de asemenea o privire metaforică spre originea limbajului, după cum o anunță, dealtminteri, o metaforă (deocamdată) criptică din Avertisment:

Fascinația este percepția unghiului mort al limbajului. Iată de ce această privire este întotdeauna laterală.