Fiction Day, reading The Melancholy of Resistance

christs_entry_into_brussels_in_1889

Fiction Day, reading The Melancholy of Resistance by László Krasznahorkai. Here he describes a group of travelers sitting in a train station waiting for a train that may or may not arrive:

“To tell the truth, none of this really surprised anyone any more since rail travel, like everything else, was subject to the prevailing conditions: all normal expectations went by the board and one’s daily habits were disrupted by a sense of ever-spreading all-consuming chaos which rendered the future unpredictable, the past unrecallable and ordinary life so haphazard that people simply assumed that whatever could be imagined might come to pass, that if there were only one door in a building it would no longer open, that wheat would grow head downwards into the earth not out of it, and that, since one could only note the symptoms of disintegration, the reasons for it remaining unfathomable and inconceivable, there was nothing anyone could do except to get a tenacious grip on anything that was still tangible; which is precisely what people at the village station continued to do when, in hope of taking possession of the essentially limited seating to which they were entitled, they stormed the carriage doors, which being frozen up proved very difficult to open.”

This sense of fatalism and indifference in the face of a world that no longer fits the fictions and habitual notions most of us live by seems to be par for the course as we enter this last age of the human. What do they call it now? Anthropocene? A sort of hyperbole for the cesspool of time…. the drip of toxic soup upon the alter of a bad joke. It’s as if all the ways we’ve represented life to ourselves in philosophical or religious literature were suddenly null and void, as if we might as well chunk it all into a large barrel and burn it to keep warm, because our expectations and reality no longer coalesce. Frank Ruda puts it this way,

“This desire, however, is not caused by the soul itself. It may appear as if it were a product of free self-determination, but it lacks freedom. Thus in order to avoid following a desire that obeys an external form of causality that one does not recognize as what it is (i.e., to not simply follow the solicitations of the body but to act as an embodied free being), the soul has to struggle “with these representations, aiming at instituting other associations than those formed by nature or habit.””1

László Krasznahorkai’s world is one where everything has already happened; where everything has been foretold; where the multiplicity of signs spell utter doom; and, where the scraps of news received day by day offers merely the “omens of what was referred to by a growing number of people as ‘the coming catastrophe’”. As if the event were a thing of the past, seen from the future, a retroactive movement of rupture unfolding from some undefinable and unfathomable collapse of Time.


  1.  Ruda, Frank. Abolishing Freedom: A Plea for a Contemporary Use of Fatalism (Provocations) (Kindle Locations 736-740). UNP – Nebraska. Kindle Edition.

Short note on Sylvie: Lacan/Bataille

forfaiture_1937_diaporama

Sylvie

Short note on Lacan/Bataille:

Andrew Ryder a scholar of Lacan reports,

“despite his personal proximity to Georges Bataille, Jacques Lacan makes very few direct references to his work. Indeed, the only mention of Bataille’s name in the 878 pages of the Écrits is in a footnote to “on a Question prior to any possible treatment of psychosis.” This article declares that Daniel Schreiber, the prototypical psychotic, was exposed to inner experience by his insight that “God is a whore.” Lacan affirms that his mention of inner experience is an allusion to Bataille, and refers the reader to Inner Experience, which he calls Bataille’s central work; and to Madame Edwarda, in which “he describes the odd extremity of this experience.” Lacan here identifies the experience of Madame Edwarda with Bataille’s “inner experience,” and stipulates that both are identical to Schreiber’s psychotic break.”1

This association of Bataille’s Inner Experience and Madame Edwarda with the notion of Schreber and psychosis is telling. Bataille pushed the limits of the impossible as if almost daring a collapse into that abyss from which the mind may never recover. Of course that was the first of many works he’d planned in his project of non-knowledge that he was not to live and complete.

Lacan would marry Sylvia, Bataille’s second wife; and, would remain on amicable terms even to the point that Bataille would “spend summer vacations with Sylvia and her second husband, Bataille’s friend Jacques Lacan, at his country home”.2

One would have liked to have had the private conversations between these three, a one-act play with the three of them done in the Beckettian mode, somewhere between despair and psychopathy; even, a Pirandello farce, a triangle of Eros, Death, and the French Freud; or, maybe a full blown comic roman noir, after – let’s say, Blaise Cendrar’s last embellishment on Therisse, To the End of the World. Oh, yes, the power of the word to spawn laughter and tears…


Note:

Sylvia Bataille (1 November 1908 – 23 December 1993) was a French actress, born Sylvia Maklès in Paris (where she also died), of Romanian-Jewish descent. When she was twenty, she married the writer Georges Bataille with whom she had a daughter, the psychoanalyst Laurence Bataille (1930–1986). Georges Bataille and Sylvia separated in 1934 but did not divorce until 1946. Starting in 1938, she was a companion of the psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan with whom, in 1941, she had a daughter, Judith, today Judith Miller. Sylvia Bataille married Jacques Lacan in 1953.

A pupil of Charles Dullin, Sylvia Bataille’s theatrical debut was with the agit-prop troupe Groupe Octobre, directed by Jacques Prévert. Her film debut came in 1933, and in 1936 she played her most memorable role in Partie de campagne (A Day in the Country) directed by Jean Renoir. Her final appearance was in 1950.


1. Andrew Ryder, Inner ExperIence Is not PsychosIs: BataIlle’s
EthIcs and LacanIan SubjectIvIty
2. Kendall, Stuart. Georges Bataille (Kindle Locations 1713-1714). Reaktion Books. Kindle Edition.