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CONTINENTAL PHILOSOPHY

Pierre Klossowski
Translated and with an Afterword by Russell Ford

A VOLUME IN THE, SUNY SERIES IN CONTEMPORARY

Such a

Deathly Desire

SU NY SERIES IN CONTEMPORARY CONTINENTAL PHILOSOPHY

Dennis J . Schm idt, editor

SUCH A DEATHLY DESIRE


Un si funeste dsir

PIERRE KLOSSOWSKI

Translated, Edited, and with an Afterword by

RUSSELL FORD

Stat e U n i v e r s i t y of New York Pr e s s


/

Un si funeste dsir Editions Gallimard, Paris, 1963. Published by N ew Yo r k P r e s s , A

S tate U

n iv e r s it y o f

lba n y

2007 State University of New York A ll rights reserved Printed in the U nited States of Am erica N o part o f this book may he used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission. N o part o f this book may be stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means including electronic, electrostatic, magnetic tape, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior permission in writing o f the publisher.

For information, contact State University of New York Press www.sunypress.edu Production and bcxik design, Laurie Searl Marketing, M ichael Campochiaro

Library o f Congress Cataloging-in-Publication D ata


Klossowski, Pierre. (Un si funeste dsir. English] Such a deathly desire / Pierre Klossowski ; translation and afterword hy Russell Ford. p. cm. (SU N Y series in contemporary continental philosophy) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-7914-7195-1 (hardcover : alk. paper) ISBN 978-0-7914-7196-8 (pbk. : alk. paper) 1. French literature 20th century History and criticism. 2. French literature 19th century History and criticism. 3. Philosophy in literature. 4. Philosophy, M odem . I. Title. PQ307.P47K56 2007 190dc22 2006036600 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Contents

Editors Preface to the French Edition Translators Note Translators Acknowledgments C hapter One
O n Som e F u n d a m e n t a l Them es o f N ie tz s c h e 's G aya S c ie n z a

C hapter Two
G id e, D u Bos, a n d t h e D em o n

C hapter Three
In
the

Ma r g in

o f the

C o rrespo ndence

Be tw een G

id e a n d

laudel

C hapter Four
P r e f a c e t o a M a r r i e d P r i e s t by B a r b e y d ' A u r e v i l l y

C hapter Five
The M ass o f G e o r g e s B a t a il l e

C hapter Six
La n g u a g e , S il e n c e ,
and

C o m m u n ism

vi

CONTENTS

C hapter Seven
O n M a u r ic e r l a n c h o t

Chaner Eight
N
ie t z sc h e , p o ly th e ism , a n d

Pa r o d y

Transfotor's Afterword
KLOSSOV'SKI'S SALTO MORTALE

Editors Preface to the French Edition

Pierre K lossow ski w as born in Paris in 1905 to a fam ily o f P olish ancestry. H is older broth er was the p ain ter B alth u s; their father, Eric K lossow ski, w as a p ain te r and art h istorian ; their m oth er was a stu d en t o f Pierre B onn ard. T h e ch ild h o o d and ado lescen ce o f the two broth ers was sp en t am idst artists an d writers. In th eir im m ediate circle, they h ad close relation s w ith R ilk e as w ell as G id e an d these b ecam e d eterm in an ts for the resp ective in ter ests o f the tw o boys: th e frien dship o f G id e , w ho w ould take Pierre under his tu telage after the latte r co m p leted his secon dary stu dies at Jan son -d e-Sailly , w as especially im p o rtan t for him . D aily c o n ta c t w ith th e au th or o f The Immoralist cau sed a num ber o f m oral d ilem m as for Pierre K lossow ski th at absorbed him for m any years before they were resolved through th e crea tio n o f an oeuvre. In 1928, he co llab o ra te d w ith Pierre je a n Jo u v e in a tran slation o f H ld e rlin s Pomes de la Folie. In 1935, after h a v in g frequ en ted the circles o f the P arisian S o c ie ty o f P sych oan alysis, w hose Review p ublished his first text on S a d e , he m et G e o rg e s B ataille w ith w hom he form ed a deep frien dship th a t would last beyond the ev en ts o f th e w ar and u ntil B a ta ille s death . It was at B a ta ille s p rom p tin g th a t K lossow ski m ad e c o n ta ct w ith B reton an d M au rice H ein e, in the group Contre-A ttaque, an d , later, th at he would p articip ate in the R eview Acphale and m eet A n d r M asson . D uring the O cc u p atio n , he began sch o lastic an d th eo lo gical stu dies w ith th e D o m in ican faculty o f S a in t-M a x im in , co n tin u ed th em in the Fourvire sem inary at Lyon, an d , finally, at th e C a th o lic In stitute in Paris. In Paris he w as in c o n ta ct w ith the R esista n ce netw orks. O n th e day after th e Lib eration , h e co llab o ra te d in the ecu m en ical review Dieu vivante. H ow ever, he returned

vli

E D I T O R S P R E F A C E T O T H E F R E N C H E D I T I O N

to lay life, m arried in 1947, an d pub lish ed a work th at cau scd a sen satio n : Sade mon Jm chain. H is first n o v el, L a vocation suspendue, p ublished in 1950, is o n e o f the tran sp o sition s o f the vicissitu des o f his religious crisis. B ut the m ost im po rtan t part o f his n o v elistic work is co n ta in ed , o n the on e h an d , in the trilogy o f Lois de lhospitalit [com prisin g L a revocation de lEdit de N antes ( 1 9 59 ), Roberte ce soir (1 9 5 4 ), and Le Souffleur (I 9 6 0 )] an d , on the oth er h an d , in Le Baphomet ( 1965) w hich was aw arded the [nix des Critiques. Pierre K lossow ski further exp ressed h im self in the essays Le bain de Diane (1 9 5 7 ), U n si funeste dsir (1 9 6 3 ), a n d m ost im portantly in an ex e ge tical work: Nietzsche et le cercle vicieux (1 9 6 9 ). In cin em a, he co llab orated w ith Pierre Zucca in a film , Roberte, ce soir, as well as w ith R aul Ruiz in L'Hypothse du tableau vol and L a vocation suspendue. For app roxim ately the last tw enty years, how ever, he h as d e v o te d h im se lf alm ost exclusively to p ain tin g. E x p o sitio n s o f h is work in France and abroad show th at his repu tation in this d o m ain will only grow.

Translator s Note

K lossow skis style is infam ously id iom atic. In 1965, th e p rom in en t critic and au th o r R o ger C a illo is resigned from the jury o f the literary Prix des Critiques o v er the aw ardin g o f th at y ears prize to K lossow skis n ovel The Baphomet. In his d e n u n c iatio n o f K lossow skis n ovel, C a illo is cited the p ervasiv e stylistic an d gram m atical irregularities o f th e work as his reason for his abrupt and p u b lic disavow al. T h e se irregularities are, how ever, n ot w ithout reason , and o n e can observ e in K lossow skis w ork, in clu din g the essays th at co m p o se the presen t vo lu m e, the use o f m u ltiple sy n tactic form s draw n from L a tin , G e r m an, an d a rch aic French. T h is, o f co urse, p resen ts a p rob lem n o t on ly for th e reader but also for th e tran slato r. T o try to m irror th ese diverse sty listic form s through so m e so rt o f system o f e q u iv a le n t E n glish sty listic in n o v a tio n s seem s to be a task a lte rn ate ly H ercu le an or S isy p h ea n . T o sim ply pass them o n to the E n glish reader seem s eq ually u n ju stifiab le insofar as it w ould in v o lv e a w illful blindn ess tow ard the situ a tio n o f th e w orks origin al ex p ression . T h erefo re the p resen t tran slatio n h as b een p rodu ced w ith the prim ary aim o f m ak in g the c o n te n t o f K lo sso w sk is work a v a ila b le to an E n glish au d ien c e w hile, at the sam e tim e, n o t en tirely rem o v in g th e sty listic stran ge n ess o f K lossow ski's prose. T h is o f co u rse e n ta ils a ce rta in in terpretive p reju d ice regardin g the th em es o f this w ork and th e T ra n sla to rs A fterw ord atte m p ts to m ake this p reju d ice clear. B ecau se m an y o f th e p e o p le , p la c e s, an d e v e n ts c ite d by K lossow ski m ay be u n fam iliar to E n glish readers, b rie f n otes h a v e b een ad d ed w here c la rifi c a tio n seem ed n ecessary or h elpful. R e fere n ces to e x istin g English tra n sla tio n s o f w orks cite d by K lossow ski h av e been cited w h erever p ossib le w ith

ix

T R A N S L A T O R S N O T E

o c c a sio n a l a d ju stm en ts b ein g m ade to fit K lo sso w sk is ow n em ph asis. R e fer en ces in K lo sso w sk is te x t arc form atted erratically so m etim e s as fo o tn o tes, so m etim e s as in -text c ita tio n s, so m etim e s ab se n t entirely. A ll o f th ese refer en ces h a v e been rendered uniform ly as fo o tn o tes.

Translator s Acknowledgments

T h is tran slatio n h as accu m u lated a rem arkable num ber o f deb ts during its lon g indeed overly lon g g e statio n . T h a n k s is ow ed first o f all to the fortu itous co n ju n c tio n o f Toxicodendron rydbergii and p red n iso n e th at gen erated the in som n ia resp on sible for a draft tran slatio n o f the final essay. Its in itial an th ro p o lo gical d eb t is to R ich D oyle, w ho h as b een an en th u siastic su p p orter o f th is p ro ject from th e very begin n in g. A lo n g the way, num erous peop le h av e co n trib u ted th eir exp ertise, ad v ice, an d in sigh t in to variou s asp ects o f tran slation as well as K lossow skis th ou gh t in gen eral: D aw -N ay E van s, Ian Jam es, Leon ard Law lor, A1 Lingis, Bryan Lueck, M ich ael N a a s, Je ff N e a lo n , Elizabeth R o tten b erg, A la n Sch rift, C h a rle s S c o tt, D an S m ith , A lla n S to e k l, an d surely m an y oth ers. S p e cia l th an ks to D an S m ith , w ho read through a co m p lete draft o f the fin al essay, and to Bryan Lu eck, w h o did the sam e for th e rem ain in g essays; b oth offered several helpful su ggestion s and th e relative sm ooth n ess o f the tran slation ow es a great deal to their efforts. A n y in felicities and errors th at rem ain are the tran slato rs alon e. Jen n ifer P aliatk a o f the A . C . B u eh ler Library at Elm hurst C o lle g e , S ally A n d erso n o f N o rth Park U n iv e rsity Library, and the assistan ts at the N e w berry Library in C h ic a g o p rovided tech n ical assistan ce an d h elped in track ing dow n variou s references, b oth fam iliar an d obscure. D en n is S ch m id t recognized the value o f this work early on , and I am deligh ted th a t he found a p lace for it in his rem ark ab le series. A t S U N Y Press, Ja n e B unker h a s show n a great d eal o f k in dn ess a n d dem on strated a truly su p erh um an degree o f p atien ce . I h o p e that this w ork does credit to them both .

xii

T R A N S L A T O R 'S A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S

Finally, alth ou gh this is n ot my book and so a d e d ica tio n seem s im perti n en t, I w ould be rem iss if I did n o t ack n ow led ge th e u n can n y yet w onderful debt th at 1 ow e to H olly M oore, my G ra c e , w ho h as endured qu ite a bit, but greeted it all w ith good ch eer an d en co u ragem en t.

Chapter One

On Some Fundamental Themes of Nietzsches Gaya Scienza

T h e n am e N ietz sc h e seem s to be irredeem ably asso ciated w ith the n o tio n o f w ill to power, an d n ot even so m uch w ith the n o tio n o f will as w ith the n o tio n o f pow er pure and sim ple. T h e m ost recen t in terpretation sees this as a sort o f m etap h y sical co m m en tary o n the fait accompli, as a m orality o f c o n q u est an d then ev ery th in g else follow s: the lab oratories an d th eir u n sp eak ab le exp erim en ts, th e su p pression o f degen erates, foreigners, an d the elderly, the crem atory ov en s, th e crim in als and the n uclear w eapon s; everyth in g and everyo n e can now lay claim to the spirit o f the fath er o f m odern im m oralism : the typical superm an' is a ca p tain o f industry, an explorer, a great card iologist, c h em ist, engineer, a b en efacto r o f hum anity, p assin g as the produ ct o f tjje p rofessor o f vital pow er. W h o then is N ietzsch e? ask the in n ocen t, and the Larousse respond s: H is aphorisms have had a great influence on the theoreti cians o f G erm an racism . In v ain , it seem s, in vain the 3 7 7 th aph orism o f the G a y a Scienza clam o rs w ith a d istan t, all-to o -d istan t vo ice: We who are home less are too manifold and mixed racially in our descent, being m odem m en," and consequently do not feel tempted to participate in the mendacious racial self-admiration and racial indecency that parades in Germ any today as a sign o f a Germ an way o f thinking and that is doubly false and obscene am ong the people o f the "his torical se n se ."1 A s th is new ed itio n o f the G a y a Scienza is presen ted to the public the third sin ce th ose w ords first appeared in the Fren ch lan gu age we ask ou r selves w hether, in ligh t o f recen t even ts, it is app rop riate to verify the en du r ing valu e o f such a th o u g h t.3 C ertain ly a spirit w ho sin gle-h an d ed ly co n sti tutes th e silen t d em an d s o f an age acq uires m ore or less im p o rtan ce insofar as co n v e n tio n al w isdom attrib u tes to h im th e in spiratio n for ab erran t te n den cies: the erron eou s in terp retation o f the o v erm an , delib erately isolated

S U C H A DEATHI . Y DF-SIRF.

from its corollary, the d o ctrin e o f etern al return; th e death o f G od, the nothing is true, everything is permitted w hich h as been a stale slo g an in th e eth ical and so cial d o m ain for the last h alf-cen tury this in th e co n te x t o f p o litica l m ac h in atio n s w hich, if o n e argued for the cu lp ab ility o f every w ord, sp ok en or w ritten, w ould on ly ev er be the in evitab le ran som for a sp iritu al m om en t lived in the exclu siv e felicity o f a soul carried to the p o in t o f in can d escen ce; the retreat, the isolatio n , but also th e co m p ro m isin g o f a v isio n s unity, this is w hat w ould allow the app rop riate ex tricatio n o f the exp erien ce th at bears the n am e o f N ietzsch e, both from its ow n h istorical co n te x t as well as the m isap p rop riation s to w hich it w as fatally su b jected by posterity. T h e first words o f the ab ove-cited p assage seem to defin e clearly the intelligible asp ect o f the first lesson to be draw n from th is ex p erien ce: W e w ho are h o m eless as modem m en are too m an ifold and m ix ed ." In its m ost everyday sense, as far as we are co n cern ed , we w ho are readin g it now. T oo m an ifold and m ixed, th at is to say, to o align ed with ev ery th in g th at h a s ever lived, fixed firm ly in several p laces; in a word, too rich an d h en ce to o free to be forced to alie n a te this rich n ess and freedom for a b elo n gin g co n cretely determ in ed by sp ace and tim e, and therefore h av in g such a p o ly v alen ce o f feelin g that n o u n d ertak in g lim ited to a co n crete interest co u ld ex h au st our pow er o f exp en ditu re; th is, acco rd in g to N ietzsch e, is w hat co n stitu te s m odernity. But lest o n e m isu nd erstand him : this is n ot a qu estio n o f som e v agu e co sm o p o litan ism ; modem m ean s a previously u n attain ed ap titu d e for sympathy by virtue o f w hich the m ind en ters into im m ediate co n ta c t n o t only w ith w h at seem s to be the m ost foreign, but a lso w ith w hat w as form erly the m ost bygone world, the m ost rem ote p ast. C o n q u e st o f a new p ossibility for liv in g! We homeless ones; tow ard w h at place d o they asp ire, where th en d o they in fact live.7 O n the mountains, isolated, untimely, in past or future centuries;4 an d for N ietzsch e this is th e sam e thing: at th e a p ex o f k now ledge, the m in d dem an ds for itself every lived moment o f history, identifying th e ego w ith h istorys d if ferent types as w ith so m any version s o f itself. H ere th e vis contemplativa will h ave been absorbed by will to power, for this w ill h as n o o th e r go al than its in n erm ost n ecessity: to rein tegrate this u niverse w h ich, in its m ultiplicity, w ants to be and rem ain iden tical to itself. In term s o f its m o dern ity the m in d is in the sam e situ a tio n , the sam e e x ile o f its w ill, th at c u lm in a tes in th e ad v en tu re o f know led ge liv ed by the "re b o rn h u m an ists, particu larly th e G e rm a n h u m an ists o f th e R e fo rm atio n th at F austus, th e Fortunate d o cto r w h ose fortu n e is to re-live h is life fam ously in carn ates. For th ese h u m an ists n ou rish ed by th e P lato n ic n o tio n o f re co llec tio n , know led ge [con n aissan ce] o f th e p ast co-nascence [co-naissance] in the past w hich ou gh t to d eliv er th e secret o f the future [Pa-venir], is d o u bled by the th e o lo g ica l c o n flic t o f freedom an d serfdom [serf-arbitre], o f h u m an freedom a n d d iv in e grace, o f d a m n a tio n an d ele ctio n . I f I a m

N I E T Z S C H E ' S GAYA SC1EN ZA

EI.ECTED, EVERYTHING IS FORGIVEN IN ADVANCE. I f I AM DAMNED, EVERY TH IN G us


s t i l l p e r m i t t e d t o m e h e r e BELOW. W h a ts the d ifferen ce? E te r nity. M utatis m utandis, for N ietz sc h e the ath eist, in h eritor o f th e sim u lta n e

ously P ro testan t an d P lato n ic h u m an ist sp ec u la tio n (w ith its co m p o n e n ts: n o stalg ia for A n tiq u ity , a ttra ctio n to th e R o m a n world, co n trad icto ry resp ect for th e N e ro n ia n Papacy, C a e sa r-C h rist, e tc .), knowing whether the knowledge o f the past assures me eternity rem ain s th e obscure th em e o f his th o u gh t, verifiab le on th e differen t p lan es o f b oth th e ph ilo sop h y o f history an d th e d o ctrin e o f th e etern al return o f an id e n tical w orld. For N ietzsch e th e m o d ern w orld, w ith its so cial c o n flic ts an d its n ih ilistic m orality o f p rogress, is on ly an in terlu de o f sh adow s ju st as th e S c h o la stic world w as for th e h u m an ists: it is on th e o th e r sid e o f th is in terlu de th at th e sun to come [ venir] w ill rise from the deciphered past. T h e dilem m a freedom or serf d o m ? is tran sp aren t in th e ex p re ssio n s: will to pow er, d e a th o f G o d , n o th in g is true, ev ery th in g is p erm itted , as is its resolu tion in the sen se o f p red estin atio n . S u c h is the n ecessity o f the etern al return (all is forgiven : the u ltim a te m e an in g o f Z arath u stras b lessin g ). For h u m an ism (F a u st), k n o w l ed ge, gn osis, fin ds itse lf under the sign o f the S e rp e n t w h ich prom ises w ith its p oly th eistic p red ictio n : eritis sicut dii, the etern alization o f m an th rough k n o w led ge.5 T h e day will co m e w hen the will o f th e m urderer o f G o d will receive its p ard on th at is to say w hen th e S e rp e n t will sym bolize b o th the forgetting o f know ledge an d the co n su m m atio n o f the etern al return o f all th in gs. D am n atio n will co m e from th is h isto rical se n se th at overw h elm s m odern m an b ecau sc h e w ithdraw s from the p ast, an d thus from his origin al p o ssib ilities, from h is futu re; in o th e r w ords d a m n a tio n w ill co m e from the n ih ilism o f the one who cannot pardon the crime o f crimes. A n d we will se e th at to be m odem , for N ietz sc h e, a m o u n ts to b ein g set free, by th e very k n o w l ed ge o f history, from the re ctilin e a r p rogressio n o f h u m an ity the irre v ersible d ia le c tic a l m arch o f h isto ric a l m aterialism in order to a tte m p t to liv e acc o rd in g to a re p re se n tatio n o f th e circle w here n ot on ly is everything forgiven, bu t w h ats m ore where everything is paid back w here th e n o tio n o f grace is rein tegrated w ith m yth, ev en as the p ossib ility o f myth is con fu sed w ith grace. I will now turn b ack to on e o f N ie tz sc h e s texts th a t precedes the p u b li ca tio n o f The G ay Science by tw enty years, the fam ous Untimely Meditation o f 1876 en titled : O n the Advantages and Disadvantages o f History for Life, in order to retrieve three key n o tio n s: the instant, forgetting, an d the will, this triad out o f w hich it is precisely know ledge th at w ill be b orn , and th en we w ill perh aps b etter u n derstan d how from the scie n ce o f the p ast o n e co m es, in the feelin g o f the future, n ot m erely to a k now ledge, but to a joyful knowledge [gai savoir], a gaya 5cienza th at co in cid e s w ith a recu peration o f the p ast, but w hose jo y is the rediscovery n ot o f a properly h isto rical p ast, but o f th e n on h isto rical p a s sage o f th e future in th e p ast, o f the p resen t in the eternal.

S U C H A DE A THL Y D E S I R E

T h e p retex t for th is Untimely Meditation o f 1876 is the dan ger o f the hypertrophy o f the historical sense, an d thus o f the ob sessive fear o f the p ast, a sp ecifically G e rm an p roblem , q u ite relative to the tim e; n everth eless w hat in terests us here is the very p arad o x ica l way in w h ich N ietzsch e is led from now on to develo p his co n ce p tio n o f ex iste n ce p articu larly to d iscred it the h istorical se n se o f the p ast under the p retex t o f lib eratin g the present from it, w hile it is app aren tly by a p o sitiv e n o tio n o f forgetting actu ally by an unconscious rem em berin g th at he seeks to reestab lish , on the p lan e o f culture, an ev en m ore im m ediate c o n ta c t w ith the m ost d istan t p ast . A s a p o in t o f departu re for this Untimely [Meditation] N ietzsch e ch o o ses th e way th at th e in stan t is lived differently by the an im al, th e ch ild , an d the adult hu m an b ein g. If the an im al, who at once forgets and for whom every moment really dies, sinks back into night and fog and is extinguished fo r ever,6 suggests the first im age o f an unhistorical life, the ch ild offers the ad u lt th e m o vin g sp e c ta cle o f a life th at still h as nothing to repudiate, because it plays in blissful blindness between the hedges o f past and future.1 For the ad u lt, on the oth er h an d , a moment, now here and then gone, nothing before it cam e, again nothing after it has gone, nonetheless returns as a ghost and disturbs the peace o f a later moment. A leaf flutters from the scroll o f time, floats aw ay and suddenly floats back again and falls into the man's lap. Then the man says: I remember. 8 T o m aw ay from the seren e blin dn ess o f ch ild h o o d th at co n ce a ls forgettin g, he co m es to u n d er stan d the phrase: this w as, su itab le for c a llin g him b ack to w h at in fact c o n stitu tes his ex iste n c e an imperfectum th at can n ever be perfected . . . and d eath at last brings th e desired forgettin g, by th a t a ct it at the sam e tim e extin gu ish es the p resen t and all b ein g and therew ith sets the seal on the know ledge th at bein g is on ly an u n in terru pted has-been, a th in g th at lives by n egatin g, co n su m in g and co n tra d ictin g itself.9 T h is is a p h rase th at already c o n tain s and prepares N ietz sc h es future an d final d o ctrin e in germ in al form , as it is p resen ted in the follow ing p rop ositio n : In the case o f the sm alle st or o f the greatest h ap pin ess, how ever, it is alw ays the sam e th in g th at m akes h ap p in ess hap pin ess: the ability to forget or, expressed in m ore sch olarly fash ion, the cap acity to feel unhistorically du rin g its du ration . H e who cannot sink down on the threshold o f the moment and forget all the past, who cannot stand bal anced like a goddess o f victory on the threshold o f the instant, on a single point, without growing dizzy and afraid, will never know what happiness is worse, he will n ever do an y th in g to m ake oth ers happy. . . . F orgettin g is essen tial to a ctio n o f any k in d, ju st as n ot on ly ligh t but darkn ess to o is essen tial for the life o f everyth in g organ ic. . . . T h u s: it is p ossib le to live alm ost w ithout m em ory, and to live h appily m oreover, as th e an im al dem on strates; but it is a lto geth er im possible to live a t all w ith ou t forgettin g. 1 0 A n d , in effect, w hen the will is liberated from the "h isto rica l se n se, it will be iden tified w ith th is very th in g th at lives only through its ow n co n tra d ictio n ; thus in the lived in stan t it is no longer identified as the gh ost o f a later in stan t, but as serenity, no

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longer blin d, but ludic; the universe itse lf will n o longer app ear as an imperfectum , but rather will assum e the ch aracteristics o f a child chat plays. In sum : "There is a degree o f sleeplessness, o f rumination, o f the historical sense, which is harmful and ultimately fatal to the living thing, whether this living thing be a man or a people or a culture. . . . To determine this degree . . . at which the past has to be forgotten . . . one would have to know exactly . . . what the p l a s t i c p o w e r of a m a n , a people, a culture is: I mean by plastic power the capacity to develop out of oneself in ones own way, to transform and incorporate into oneself what is past and foreign." T h ere would thus be a way o f ex istin g both w ithin an d ou tside o f history. A s for a historical sen se determ in ed at on e m om en t in history, it estab lish es a fallaciou s relation o f the lived instan t w ith both the historically reflected p ast and the tim e left to live; if it exalts the past, it em pties the p re sen t; if it establish es the tasks for the present as follow ing from those a cc o m p lish ed in the past, it dishon ors the p ast as it reduces the fortunes o f th e p re sent: for a state o f con sciousn ess does n ot allow on e to ju d ge w hat was previously accom p lish ed in the u nconscious, nor can so m eo n e ever act [pas plus que lhomme ne saurait jam ais agir] in the present if he did n ot suspend the co n sciou sn ess o f his own past; and, in effect, what co n stitu tes history are essentially acts or works o f individuals w ho proceeded sp on tan eously by blindness or injustice, at the very m om en t that they created or acted , thus by forgetting; history is therefore com posed exclusively o f acts and creatio n s th at arise from forgettin g, from w hence follow s a close relation betw eeo/orgetting and the creative will. H istory actually teach es the contrary o f w hat th e h istorical m ind p rojects into it: n ot a m ore and m ore con scious p rojectio n o f m an, but the u ninterrupted return o f the sam e in exh austible disposition s through the course o f su ccessive gen eration s; to u nderstand history in this sense, coun ter to the scien ce th at proclaim s its fiat veritas pereat vita,'! is precisely to a ttain to a life outside o f history, than ks to the im petus o f the n o tio n o f return; what was possible once ought to be possible once again and far from fin din g in this a m otive for idleness or sterility, m an ou gh t to begin for the sake o f begin n in g; w hat he will h av e w illed will h av e always been the accom p lish m en t o f w hat he th ou gh t he did n ot will, for sin ce h e did n ot escape from this existen ce by consciously w an tin g to escape, this ex isten ce w ants to m ake him forget the moment to come in order to unerringly rediscover the integrity th at characterizes every work or sign ifican t actio n [action d envergure]. H ere the suprahistorical forces par ex cellen ce are displayed, art and religion which, diverting the glance from becom ing, carries it to everything that gives existence an eternal character and an identical meaning. Science, which tuants nothing to do with the eternal nor the existent, noth ing except becoming, the historical, ca n only detest art and religion these eter nalizing forces, these forces o f forgetting the very n egatio n o f scie n ce in w h ich past, presen t, and future are blen ded together. T h is c o n ce p tio n , at the an tip o d es o f every ph ilosop h y o f h istory th at stem s from H egel, interests us here on ly to the ex te n t th at we c a n later see

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N ietzsch e, in his ow n case, cap italizin g on th is n o tio n o f a life o u tsid e o f h is tory, and co n firm in g w ith his ow n life th is th ou gh t co u n ter to the h istorical cu rrent, u ltim ately fin din g there h is ow n fatality. If th e p ossib ilities o f departed h u m an ity are alw ays valid in every in d iv id ual, at every in stan t o f history, then for N ietzsch e it is a m atter o f w agin g a m erciless w ar again st everyth in g th at w ants to sm oth er the continually possible in m an : b oth in m oral u tilitarian ism (w h ich im plies a m ercan tilism ) an d in th at scien tific o rgan ization o f so cial life th at the H eg elian h eritage draw s as a co n seq u en ce o f the agony o f C h ristian ity . O n the oth er h an d, b ecau se in our w orld C h ris tian ity itself is a beautiful piece o f the ancient world for w h ich it w as th e ex it, liftin g his gaze beyond tw o th ou san d years o f C h ristian m orality N ietzsch e regards it as an access-w ay or p ath o f return to A n tiqu ity . D oes he n ot say in a n o th er p assage from th at Untimely Meditation o f 1876: I f we were really no more than the heirs o f Antiquity . . . even if we ourselves decide to take it decidedly seriously in all its grandeur only in order to see in it our unique and characteristic [nivilege, yet we would nonetheless be obliged to ask whether it really w as our eter nal destiny to be pupils o f f a d i n g a n t i q u i t y : at some time or other we might be permitted gradually to set our goal higher and more distant, some time or other we ought to be allowed to claim credit for having developed the spirit of the A lexan drian-Roman culture so nobly and fruitfully among other m eans through our universai history that we might now as a reward be permitted to set ourselves the even mightier task o f striving to get behind and beyond this Alexandrian world, o f aspiring to something more temporally remote in order to seek our models in the original ancient Greek world o f greatness, naturalness and humanity. But there we also dis cover the reality o f an essentially unhistorical culture and one which is nonetheless, or rather on that account, an inexpressibly richer and more vital culture.'1 O n e fin ds in this p assage N ietzsch es p ersisten t n o stalg ia w h ich , follow in g H lderlin, alw ays op po sed him to his age and th at in fact inspires this an ti-H e g elian an d sulrrahistorical c o n ce p tio n a cco rd in g to w h ich th e w orld, instead o f m arch in g toward so m e sort o f fin al sa lv a tio n , rediscovers itself a t each moment o f its history fulfilled an d at its end. T h u s the past and the present are one, with all their diversity identical in all that is typical and, as the omnipresence o f imper ishable types, the universe is a motionless structure o f a value that cannot alter and a significance that is always the sam e.1 4 First en u n ciated on th e p h ilo lo gical and h istorical p lan e o f culture, this p arad o x ica l a tte m p t to live in th e coun tercu rren t o f history by recu peratin g the m ost d ista n t p ast through forgettin g p recip itates N ietzsch e into his d ecisiv e ex p erien ce. The stronger the innermost roots o f a m ans nature, the more readily will he be able to assimilate and appro/rriate the things o f the past, and the most powerful and tremendous nature would be characterized by the fact that it would know no boundary at all at which the histor ical sense began to overwhelm it; it would draw to itself and incorporate into itself all the past, its own and that most foreign to it, and as it were transform it into b lood." Tw enty years later the problem o f th e h isto rical se n se and o f th e life

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o u tsid e o f h istory is so bound up w ith his ow n ex isten ce th at he w rites in The G ay Science: A nyone who manages to experience the history of humanity as a whole as his own history will feel in an enormously generalized way all the grief of an invalid who thinks o f health, o f an old man who thinks o f the dreams o f his youth, o f a lover deprived o f his beloved, o f the martyr whose ideal is perishing, o f the hero on the evening after a battle that has decided nothing but brought him wounds and the loss o f his friend. But if one endured, if one could endure this immense sum of grief o f all kinds while yet being the hero who, as the second day o f battle breaks, welcomes the dawn as his fortune, being a person whose horizon encompasses thousands o f years past and future, being the heir o f all the nobility o f all past spirit an heir with a sense o f obligation, the most aristocratic o f old nobles and at the same time the first o f a new nobility the like o f which no age has yet seen or dreamed of; if one could burden one's soul with all o f this the oldest, the newest, the losses, hopes, conquests, and the victories o f humanity; if one could finally contain all this in O n e S o u l and condense it into a S i n g l e F e e l i n g this would surely have to result in a h a p p i n e s s that humanity has not yet known: the happiness of a god full o f power and love, full o f tears and laughter, a happiness that, like the sun in the evening, continually bestows its inexhaustible riches, pouring them into the sea, feel ing richest, as the sun does, only when even the poorest fishermanfs-still rowing with golden o a rs! This godlike feeling would then be called humaneness.' But th is co n d e n sa tio n o f h u m an ity th at is bound up in a sin gle soul can on ly be realized in the forgettin g o f a h istorically d eterm in ed p resen t, in a forgettin g for th e ben efit o f w hich the resources o f the soul are liberated, resou rces th at co n stitu te its p lastic force o f assim ilatio n ; thus, in the p roject o f a return tow ard th e origin al world o f a n c ie n t G re e c e , N ietzsch e m ak es an ap p eal to n o n h isto rica l im ages, su b jace n t to th eir ration al elab o ratio n s, and thus to m yth; this sch olar, he for w hom scie n ce h as a ttain ed a degree o f insom nia, attrib u tes to forgetting th e p o sitiv e fu n ction o f a sub-coming [sous-venir]1 6 all th e m ore fruitful sin ce it is n ecessarily u ntim ely [inactue!], all th e m ore actu alizin g [actwa/isant] sin ce it acts in th e u n con scious. O n e could sp eak here o f lived cu ltu re, bu t th is term is only a m ediocre tran slation o f the troubling fate o f th e sp irit th a t says to itself: I am many. T h e ab u n d an ce o f know ledge co n v e rted in to b lo o d in creases a lo n g w ith th e sp iritu al faculty o f being other, w h ich does n o t require an exclu siv e, n orm ative truth : It w asn t I! N o t 1! But a g o d through m e. The wonderful art and gift o f creating gods jneviously coin cided with a plurality o f norms : one god w as not considered a negation o f some other god, nor blasphemy against him!;" p erh ap s the S erp e n t w ith its sicut dii in sin u ated this greatest advantage o f polytheism. A n d to the ex te n t that know ledge thereby d ev elo p s th e pow er o f m etam orp h osis, a life lived o n ce and for all

i. The C a y Science, Book 4, 337, pp. 268 -2 6 9 . ii. The G ay Science, B ook 3, 143 (Klossow ski cites 1 4 1 ), p. 191.

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sudden ly app ears m ore im poverished th an a sin gle in stan t rich w ith m any ways o f existin g; this is why a sin gle in stan t thus ch arged , thus su b -com cd to [sous-fenu] in the su sp en sion o f the co n scio u sn e ss o f the p resen t, suffices to reverse the course o f a life. H en ce th e illu m in ative ch aracter o f the G a y a Scienza w hose m an y aph orism s testify to the m o m en ts o f an ecstatic serenity: because from then on h e h ad the feelin g (form u lated seven years later at the h eigh t o f his m ad n ess) chat at bottom I am every name in history,1 7 o f losin g his ow n identity in the very certitu de o f fin din g it again , m u ltiplied, in the id en tical p erm an en ce o f the u niverse; it m ay be th at sim ilar in stan ts are reserved to h im precisely by virtu e o f their fam iliarity, in ten se to the p o in t o f stran ge ness, as the m an ifest p ro o f o f the cy clic natu re o f e x iste n c e; thus he sub-comed to [sous'vint] w h at is-to-com e for h im , sub-coming [sous-venu] precisely in the forgetting o f the co m in g m om en t. S im ila r m o m en ts are expressed in the fo l low ing aph orism : W hat would you say if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: This life as you new live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and every sigh and everything unutterably small or great will have to return to you, all in the sam e succession and sequence even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and 1 myself. The eternal hourglass is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck o f du st! Would you not throw your self down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? O r have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine. " If this thought gained pos session o f you, it would change you as you are or perhaps crush you. The question in each and every thing, D o you desire this once more and innumerable times m ore? would lie upon your actions as the greatest weight. O r how well disposed would you have to become to yourself and to life to crave nothing more fervently than this ultimate eternal confirmation and seal?'" A p assage w hich, in its p arab o lic form , is hardly cap a b le o f ratio n al elu cid a tio n , because this is n ot its o b je ct: th e etern al life th a t recovers forgetting. T h e ego grasps so m eth in g here th at it c a n n o t be rem inded of: th at life th at it h as already lived inn um erable tim es. If it h as forgotten this life, th at is b ecause it h as lived it in all o f its d etails, w h ich are ex actly like th ose here and now. But, because the ego h as lived it in an identical way, w hen it relives it again , there will be n o th in g new in it. A n d because o f this, the eg o will no lon ger be able to rem em ber n ot on ly h a v in g already lived, but also h av in g already w illed even though it sub-comes [sows-venir] to th e very eternity o f this w illed life. A n d n everth eless the eternity o f the will rises up here in the tem porality o f the in stan t like a new ev en t to answ er the q u estio n : Would

iii. The G ay Science, Book 4, 341, pp. 273 -2 7 4 .

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you will all o f this once again.7 an d then the affirm ative resp on se b ears th is etern al co n firm atio n . But here again the d e m o n s words raise th e least in ter v al up to th e once and for all": in such a way th a t this q u estio n w ould also h av e been p osed co u n tless tim es. A n d b ecau se th e eternity o f the will is s it u ated on ly beyond Lethe," an d b ecause o n e c a n n o t both will a gain an d be

iv. Because the eternal d ecision and the choice of destiny are m ade only on the other side o f the Lethe, one does not know how to rem em ber immediately, P lato would say here. A n d it seem s that th e parable o f the heaviest weight here inverts and reflects, like a mirror, the essential scene o f the choice o f destiny by the souls o f the deceased at th e threshold of their reincarnation , as it is depicted in the myth o f Er in the Tenth B ook o f P latos Repub lic: at the end o f a cycle o f a thousand years, passed cither in celestial beatitudes or in infer nal exp iation s, accordin g to th eir m erits, the souls o f the deceased are instructed to choose a new destiny and in order to do that are reassem bled before the three Fates, Lachesis, C lo th o , and A trop os, daughters o f N ecessity and weavers o f the destinies o f which each o n e sings: Lach esis the past, C lo th o the present, A trop os the future-, but, fqr the deceased there is first an im m ediate ob ligation to go before Lachesis thus toward the Fate that figures the past, for it is in the past on the knees o f L ach esis that the lots are drawn th at correspond to the types o f existen ces th at may be chosen: This is the speech o f Necessity's maiden daughter, Lachesis. So u ls that live a day, this is the beginning o f another d eath -b rin gin g cycle for the m ortal race. A dem on will not select you, but you will choose a dem on. Let him who gets the first lot m ake the first choice o f a life to w hich he will be bound by necessity. . . . T h e blam e belongs to him who chooses; god is blam eless. H e said th at this surely was a sight worth seeing: how each o f the several souls ch ose a life. For it was pitiable, laughable, and wonderful to see. For the m ost part the ch oice was m ade accordin g to the h abituation o f their former life." ('This is precisely the: Would you will all o f this once again? o f the N ietzsch ean parable!). . . . W hen all the souls had chosen lives, in the sam e order as the lots they had drawn, they went forward to Lachesis. A n d she sent with each the dem on he had chosen as a guardian o f the life and a fulfiller of what was ch o sen. T h e dem on first led the soul to C lo th o under her hand as it turned the whirling spin dle- thereby ratifying the fate it had drawn and chosen. A fter touchin g her, he n ext led it to the spinn ing o f A trop os, thus m aking the threads irreversible. A n d from there, w ithout turning around, they w ent under N ecessity s throne. A n d , having com e out through it, when the oth ers h ad also com e through, all m ade their way through terrible stifling heat to the plain o f Leth e ( Forgetting ). For it was barren o f trees and all th at naturally grows on earth. T h e n they m ade their cam p, for evening was com in g on, by the river o f A m els (carelessness ) whose water no vessel can contain. N ow it was a necessity for all to drink a certain m easure o f the water, but those w ho were not saved by prudence drank more than the m easure. A s he drank, each forgot everything. W hen they had gone to sleep and it was m idnight, there cam e thunder and an earthquake; and they were suddenly carried from there, each in a different way, up to their birth, shooting like stars. Plato, Republic, 2nd E dition, trans. A llan Bloom (N ew York: Basic Books, 1991), pp. 300, 3 0 2 -3 0 3 . [Klossowski cites from the French translation by Lon Robin.] T h is m yth quite fam iliar to N ietzsche would in this sense clarify his notion o f for getting, more specifically the parable o f the heaviest weight that, in th e necessity o f freely w illing the eternal return, we m ust find again hic et nunc like recrossing the Lethe the m om ent o f the ch oice o f our destiny, m ade outside o f present tim e ( outside o f history ),

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already living, the parab le o f the heaviest weight is p resen ted to the u n d er stan d in g as an aporia: if on e sees here on ly the co in cid en ce o f extrem e despair and extrem e h ope, the u ltim ate curse and blessing, the vertigo o f existen ce ov ercom in g the m in d, as th e m ind recovers the extrem e p o in t o f vertigo, follow ing the exam ple o f a goddess of victory on the threshold of the instant, on a single point, growing neither dizzy nor afraid w hose im age it p rojects; as p rin ci ple o f every ev en t, it [the eternity o f the will] creates ou t o f this very vertigo to w hich it attain s and th at it in so m e way con quers; and ultim ately, w hen it speaks a sen ten ce exclu sive o f every creatio n : there will be nothing new in this relived life, it form s, in order to con form to it, the im age o f this dem on th at reveals to it its law, the im age o f the hourglass in w hich it is reversed . . . for the m in d identifying itself in its eternity w ith the law o f the tem poral circle where the p ast and the presen t n ecessarily co in cid e, turns b ack u pon itself in the instan t, but as the im perative qu estion that its own eternity addresses to it: by virtue o f w hich the ego, as a w illing and responsible being, finds itself instructed to fulfill its destiny as if it were not already fulfilled by the sole fact o f existin g; if 1 do n ot freely ch oose the reiteration (seem ingly in com p reh en sible and absurd) o f my actio n s th at are already accom p lish ed m any tim es over, I will h ave ceased to be m yself as m aster o f my ow n secret, as an in car n ation o f this sovereign law, w ithout how ever ceasin g to act necessarily as its suprem e con firm ation : 1 ca n only be m yself by freely w illing my n ecessarily relived life. But the law o f the eternal return ab olish es the dilem m a a t the very m om en t th at it p oses it again: n o t responsible for b ein g reiterated, lost, and im m ediately found again , the ego at each m om en t again b ecom es responsible for w illing itself again as it has necessarily always been an d necessarily always will be its free decision will never h av e exh austed the eternity o f its being w hose circular m ovem en t will alw ays bring b ack the im perative: Will yourself! in order to abolish th e m om en t to com e. A n d n everth eless the qu estio n th at everythin g poses to the su bject: Would you still will all o f this innumerable times? m ust be answ ered by m e, insofar as I am an oth er; for by virtue o f this o v er w h elm ing law, 1 no longer resent gravity, I attac h less im portan ce to the p re ten ce for my action s, 1 no longer take my ow n casu aln css seriously. . . . In this way the eternalization o f the ego, in w h ich the asp iration to eternity w ants itself to be exp lain ed by a cy clical co n ce p tio n o f bein g, am ou n ts to rationaliz ing an ecstatic in stan t in explicab le by n ature w h ich, in itself, elim in ates through the iden tification o f lived tim e w ith eternity every oth er co m m u n i cable expression excep t the im age o f the circle: a late fragm ent com posed dur-

guided by our D em on . For in order to have dnink only m oderately from the water of the river A m e ls, both the faculty o f recollection " that grounds re-cognition and also the anxiousness for w illing the accom plishm ent o f this new destiny for N ietzsch e, the same are required o f us.

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i n g t h e t i m e o f th e Revaluation o f All Values ( 1885) s a y s it a g a i n : in e f f e c t w ill in g t h e u n iv e r s e such as it was and such as it is, re-willing it, for ever, fo r eternity,

shouting insatiably d a c a p o n o t only to himself but to the whole play and specta cle, and not only to a spectacle but at bottom to him who needs precisely this specta cle and who makes it necessary because again and again he needs himself and makes himself necessary What? Wouldnt this be c i r c u i .u s v i t i o s u s d e u s ? v W h en the sp ectacle o f the su rf at the edge o f the sea show s him in the eager m ovem en t o f the waves filled w ith the lust for buried treasures the very n ature o f the will as his ow n secret: Thus live waves thus live we who will! was this very secret n ot in the as if it were a question o f attaining something! whereas here is n oth in g but this eager m ovem en t, n oth in g but this lust for buried trea sures; in effect n oth ing but this will to collect oneself in the co m in g and goin g o f the w aves: the soul regains sovereignty over itself precisely through the procla m ation o f a law o f the identical return o f all things; it is seen h e r^ liv in g o u t side o f history in the fabulous society o f w aves: Dance as you like, roaring with overweening pleasure and malice or dive again, pouring your emeralds down into the deepest depths, and throw your infinite white mane of foam and spray over them: Everything suits me, for everything suits you so well, and I am so well disposed toward you fa r everything; how could I think o f betraying you? For mark my word! I know you and your secret, I know your kind! You and I are we not o f one kind? You and I do we not have one secret?'" A n d th is secret the very lesson o f the G a y a Scienza is th at this glorification o f m otion for m o tion s sake destroys the n o tio n o f any sort o f en d o f existen ce an d exalts the useless presence o f being in the absence o f every end: an error o f pretexts by virtue o f w hich life wills the misery o f lived bein g, the hum an species declines, but the in stin ct for co n servation always creates so m eth in g out o f it appropriate to the preserva tion o f the vertigo o f being, to the anguish o f an existen ce w ithout purpose; but if pretexts h av e always functioned to hide the uselessness o f existen ce (as though it were a question of achieving something), only religious sym bols as well as artis tic sim ulacra could exp lain m an s adh erence to the uselessness o f being. The greatest recent event, he says a t the b eg in n in g o f the F ifth B o ok o f the G ay Science th a t G o d is d e ad ," that the belief in the Christian G o d has become unbelievable is already beginning to cast its first shadows over Europe. For the few at least, whose eyes the suspicion in whose eyes is strong and subtle enough for this spectacle, some sun seems to have set and some ancient and profound trust has been turned into doubt; to them our old world must appear daily more like evening, more mistrustful, stranger, older. But in essence one can say: The event itself is fa r too great, too distant, too remote from the multitudes capacity for comprehen sion even for the tidings o f it to be thought o f as having arrived as yet. M uch less

v. C f. Beyond Good and Evil, III, 56. vi. The G ay Science, Book 4, 310, pp. 2 4 7 -2 4 8 , tran slatio n modified.

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may one suppose that many people know as yet what this event really m eans and how much must collapse now that this faith has been undermined because it was built upon this faith, propped up by it, grown into it; for example, the whole o f our European m orality.1 * A n d further on : A s we thus reject the Christian interprta tion and condemn its meaning" as counterfeit, S c h o p e n h a u e r s question imme diately comes to us in a terrifying w ay: d o e s e x i s t e n c e h a v e a n y m e a n i n g a t a l l ? It willrequire a few centuries before this question can even be heard completely and in its full depth.'" N e v erth eless it is in the death o f G od, the ev en t o f ev en ts, p roven in the p arab le o f the M adm an to be the crime o f crimes, th at the d e c i sive m om en t o f the will co m es to be situ ated in the circular n ecessity o f bein g; there on the contrary the ev en t in so m e way em erges from forgettin g as a rew illed actio n : for m en this deed is still more distant from them than the most distant stars a n d y e t t h e y h a v e d o n e i t t h e m s e l v e s !'"' A n d so for N ie t zsche, n ih ilism , follow in g u pon th e h istorical situ atio n o f the agon y o f C h ris tianity, can on ly be ov ercom e by tak in g a cco u n t o f the will as a sacrilegiou s act: G o d is dead . . . and we have killed him! . . . W hat was holiest and mightiest o f all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wash this blood from our hands What water is therefor us to clean ourselves? W hat fes tivals o f atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent?1 '1 T h e n o tio n o f overhumanity m ean s n o th in g if o n e isolates it from th e c o n te x t in w hich n ih ilism m ust be taken as sacrilege: the ov erm an a n n o u n ces itself as a new m aturity o f the spirit returned to the without possible end w here th e fall o u t sid e o f the h u m an and the fligh t beyond seem to co in cid e , they are indiscern ibles; it is ev en u n clear w hat the fact o f the will sh ou ld resolve an d su r pass. T h e freedom w here th e m urderer o f G o d fin ds h im self again (m oral n ih ilism ), because it follow s from th e su p pression o f th e D ecalo gu e (o f the you ought), is im m ediately reversed in to a n ecessary b lin d n ess w here th e ego su rvives only if so m eth in g is imposed u pon it again : you ought, the you ought to will. W ill w hat? W ill n oth in gn ess? T h e sim p le situ a tio n o f the W est's fate: u n con sciously w illing, b ecause h u m an ity does n ot know how to will n o th in g for the sak e o f n o th in g, w hile it ab a n d o n s itself to n oth in gn ess in its pow er lessn ess to will. (A n d N ietzsch e, w ho elsew here d e n o u n ce s the m ystique o f n oth in gn ess, sp eak s here o f the wretched nooks and crannies w here our most intelligent contemporaries en ergetically lose th em selves, in the petty aesthetic creeds, such as Parisian naturalism . . . or in nihilism, follow in g th e St. Peters burg model, m e an in g the belief in unbelief even to the point o f martyrdom.' O n th e oth er h an d he sees the co n seq u en ce s o f nih ilism in the gen eral feelin g o f em ptin ess and its co m p e n satio n , th e n eed for ex c ite m en t, th at ch aracterize

vii. Ibid., 357, p. 308, translation m odified. viii. The G ay Science, Book 3, 125, p. 182, translation m odified. ix. The G ay Science, Book 5, 347, pp. 2 8 8 -2 8 9 , translation m odified.

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the m odern w orld.) T h e reactio n th at N ietzsch e is trying to form ulate again st n ih ilism , after h a v in g raised it to the co n scio u s form ulation o f a h isto rical sit u ation , fin ds its m o tiv a tin g force n o t on ly in the n o tio n o f death, but in the putting to death o f G o d , as a sacrificial act o f a sacrilegious w ill, from the m o m en t th at the w ill rediscovers the integrity o f being as a rein tegration o f its sovereign ty ; it is by acq u iescin g to the very m ovem en t th a t carries the ego to the d eep est p it (w here the d e a th o f G o d and deicid e m erge) an d th at brings it b ack to th e h igh est su m m it th at the will is affirm ed in an u ltim ate act, in the m o m en t w hen the you m ust will, p assin g into a willing itself as itself, atta in s to: I a m a s I always was and always will be. But th is rein tegratio n o f the so vereign ty o f b ein g in the statem en t 1 am is n ot co n ceived here in the sense o f an a cc id en tal eg o w ho utters it to the exclu sion o f ev ery th in g else, like th a t o f M ax S tim e r, the p o st-H egelian w h o proclaim ed th e pure an d sim p le assu m ption o f n oth in gn ess by the ego proper: 1 have based my cause upon noth ing.20 T h u s if N ietzsch e w ants to give to the n ih ilism o f fate, to vu lgar a th e ism, th e p ath etic to n e o f th e deicid e p roclaim ed by the M adm an, h e is n ot trying to p rom o te n o th in g for the sak e o f n oth in g, n or n egatio n for the sake o f n eg a tio n , but rather the acq u iescen ce to b ein g th a t the m oral G o d o f C h ristian ity , acco rd in g to him , gran ted on ly to a u tilitarian a lie n a tio n , an a lie n a tio n o f th e rich ness o f ex iste n c e by m orality (for N ietzsch e synonym ous w ith greed ); and the d estru ction o f th e C h ristian m orality h as as its go al n o t licen se in the sen se given it by vu lgar ath eism , the re jec tio n o f C h ristian ity d o es n o t aim to ov ercom e a religion o f suffering w ith a p assion for ex isten ce, but through a n ego tiatio n w here passion , reduced to p ain , reclaim s salv atio n as the on ly misery. We are, in a word and let this be our word o f honor! g o o d E u r o p e a n s , the heirs o f Europe, the rich, overjoyed, but also overly obligated heirs o f thousands o f years o f European spirit. A s such, we have also outgrown C hris tianity and are averse to it precisely because we have grown out o f it, because our ancestors were Christians who in their Christianity were uncompromisingly upright: for their faith they willingly sacrificed possessions and position, blood and father land. We- do the sam e. For what? For our unbelief? For every kind o f unbelief? N o , you know better than that, friends! The hidden y e s in you is stronger than all n o s and m a y b e s that afflict you and your age like a disease; and when you have to embark on the sea, you emigrants, you, too, are compelled to this by a f a i t h !21 If, for N ietzsch e, the n o tio n o f G o d co n so lid ate s all the h atreds th at h ave ev er been directed again st life, the o v erm an , in the parab les o f Z arathustra, rein tegrates th e sovereignty o f b ein g w ith the d ivin e only in the m ythic sen se, thus renew ing the m yth o f an a n c ie n t divin ity as well as a divinity to co m e: D ionysus, suprem e figure o f u n ce asin g possibility, w ho, through D io n y sian pessimism, will free m an from h is p resen t n ih ilism .1 '

x. Ibid., 370, pp. 3 2 7 -3 3 1 .

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T o w hat exten t can this doctrine be taught? Is it ev en co m m u n icable? To w hom could it be? T o w hom is it addressed today ? T o w hom ? O r are these qu es tions already out-of-date? T h is doctrine is n ot at all separate from his life, w hich, in our m odern world, attem p ts to renew the an cien t m ean in g o f fatum : I am a destiny.2 2 It rem ains to be seen w hether the am or fati, a "w iled" fatum , is n ot precisely the parad ox o f the m o d em consciousness that h as rein tegrated it by interiorizing it, the Edict o f Lachesis." T h is willed fatum is incom m u n i cable, inalienable precisely in its alien atio n in the path ological sense o f the term. Ever since N ietzschc, for w hom this was the only possible m odern ver sion o f the Empedoclean descen t into Etna, m ental alien atio n has b ecom e part o f the career o f som e m en o f letters and w illed indiscretion is thereby subordi n ated to com m ercial vulgarization. Today a poet already know s that, if he becom es m ad, his san ctification is assured. H e know s in adv an ce that: a few thousand years more on the path o f the last century! and the highest intelligence will be manifest in everything that man will do: but precisely the kind o f intelligence that is completely stripped o f its dignity. It will certainly be necessary to be intelligent, but it will also be so ordinary that a more noble taste will experience this necessity as a v u l g a r i t y . A nd just as a tyranny of truth and science is capable o f highly esteeming a lie, so a tyranny o f the intelligence is capable o f producing a new type o f noble sense. To be noble, perhaps that means: to be m ad.2 Because it is situated at th e decisive turning p oin t o f N ietzsch es life, it is fitting th at the G a y a Scienza co n tain s se v eral considerations regarding the com m u nicability o f his experiences. N ie t zsche had a n ostalgia for disciples and perh aps also for an active, but closed, com m unity. H e always dream ed o f a grand action , o f social u pheavals or d is ruptions o f p olitical institutions (did he n ot at Turin, sw ept alon g in the first fevers o f m adness, th at is to say at the height o f lucidity, h av in g becom e at o n ce Dionysus and the Crucified, w ant to co n ven e the sovereigns o f Europe in R om e in order to sh oot the young K aiser and the a n ti-S e m ites?).2 4 A n d , to the exten t that he estim ated the possibility o f an u nderstanding, o f an affinity with others, he also set forth the infallible law o f the depreciation o f a rare and auth en tic experience as soon as it enters into the habitude o f a num ber o f m inds to the poin t th at it becom es the slogan o f the fool, o f a m ass th at appropriates it w ith out passing through the torm ents, through the pain s and the rightly inalienable fortunes o f a solitary m an. G id e s statem en t, because he had to becom e m ad, we can no longer b ecom e so,2' is true only if on e draws a practical lesson from his teach in g an d particularly from his im m oralism . B u t regarding this rela tion, depreciation h as done its work by way o f industrial standardization. If there is a lesson th at the reading o f N ietzsch e provides to every atten tive reader, it is the horror o f futility, and today im m orality and futility are syn onym s. T h e old women, the white geese that have received nothing but innocence

xi. C f. note iv.

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from nature, w ith w hich N ietzsche identifies the right-thinkers o f his age, have dropped out o f sight. O n e w ould alm ost love for them to return! T h e tempting w om an is a rare bird. T h is sign o f the tim es would ch an ge N ietzsch es optics. 1 n ote this in p assing in order to recall the confusion, around 1900, betw een N ietzsch ean ism an d the em an cip ation o f w om en, the suffragette m ovem ent, th e fem inism in w hich he saw a sym ptom o f decad en ce. W ith in the perspective o f ascen dan t nih ilism (in particular, the socialization, the m assive p roletarian ization brought abou t by the industrial world w ith its excessive production , its cult o f productivity for the sake o f productivity all co n d ition s o f a generalized dem oralization ), N ietzsch e foresaw two m ovem en ts th at he placed in his own personal co n text, the clim ate o f the "d e ath o f G o d . Two movements are then possible ; one is absolute: a leveling o f humanity, great anthills, etc.; the other movement, my own: which, on the contrary, will accentuate all the antagonisms, all the intervals a suppression o f equality, which will constitute t?ie task o f superpowerful men. The first movement engenders the type o f the i.a s t m a n , my ow n m o vem en t that o f the overman. Its goal is absolutely not to conceive or to institute this category like the teachers of the preceding, but rather to make the two categories coexist: s e p a r a t e d as much as possible one hardly caring about the other like the Epicurean gods."' I am em phasizing the last phrase here in order to indicate clearly that every idea o f an ideological organization exercising power is opposed to his aspiration s w hich are here o f a utopian order. T h u s it is still interesting to sk etch w hat he thou ght o f the ch an ces for a closed com m unity. Whenever the reformation of a whole people fails and it is only sects that elevate their leader, we may conclude that the people has become relatively heterogeneous and has begun to move away from rude herd instincts and the morality o f mores: they are hovering in an inter esting intermediate position that is usually dismissed as a mere decay o f morals and corruption, although in fact it Irroclaims that the egg is approaching maturity and that the eggshell is about to be broken. . . . The more general and unconditional the influence o f an individual or the idea o f an individual can be, the more homogeneous and the lower must the mass be that is influenced, while countermovements give evidence o f countemeeds that also want to be satisfied and recognized. Conversely, we may ahvays infer that a civilization is really superior when powerful and domineering natures have little influence and create only sects. This applies also to the various arts and the field o f knowledge. Where someone rules, there are m asses; and where we find masses we also find a need to be enslaved. Where men are enslaved, there are few in d iv id u als, a n d these are opposed by herd instincts and c o n s c ie n c e . T h e G ay a

xii. cf. The Will to Power [This passage com es from the Nachlass m aterial, but is not included in the English edition of Will to Power. Friedrich N ietzsche, Smtliche Werke: Kririsc/ic Studienausgabe, ed. G io rgio C o lli and Mazzino M ontinari, Vol. 10 (Berlin: W alter de Gruyter, 1980), pp. 2 4 4 -2 4 5 , 7[21], Sp rin g-Su m m er, 1883.- trans.J xiii. T/ie G ay Science, Book 3, 149, pp. 195-196.

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Scienza, fruit o f the greatest im aginable solitude, speaks essentially to those spir its who, them selves, have found this solitude again, thus to those natures th at a depth o f n obility disposes to refuse distraction and work at any price, thus to bear lennui: here wc touch upon the resources o f solitude, w hich, despite his extrem e isolation, gave him the feeling o f always being am on g us [entre nous]. Whatever in nature and in history is o f my own kind, speaks to me, spurs me on, and comforts me; the rest I do not hear or forget right away. We are always in our own com pany.'" R egardin g states o f elevation, it seem s to him , he says, th at m ost p e o p le hardly believe in the reality o f such states o f the soul, excep t those who know firsthand an extended state o f elevation [un tat d'lvation de longue dure]. H e adds that the fate o f the individual bein g w ho incarnates a unique state o f elevation has until then hardly been an elevating possibility, but th at on e day it could happen th at history will bring forth such m en, once a great many favorable preconditions have been created and determined that even the dice throws o f the luckiest chance could not bring together today. What has so fa r entered our souls only now and then as an exception that made us shudder might perhaps be the usual state for these future souls: a perpetual movement between high and low, the feeling o f high and low, a continual ascent as on stairs and at the same time a sense o f resting on clouds.26 Is it n ot striking th at he aw aits from history, that is to say from hum an evolution , the creation o f these p recon d ition s by virtue o f w hich the exceptional state o f the soul would b ecom e an ordinary state? Is he n ot saying here th at these so-endow ed future souls would be every soul? But even w hen he im agined here an elect few indeed a quasi-priestly class he w ho so strongly appreciates the laws o f M an u know ing th at these prerequisite co n d i tions are created in the ascetic field proper to religious com m unities, he n onetheless seem s to h ave foreseen, again, th at his own privileged instants the feeling o f an incessant movement between the high and the low lead to his ow n livin g con d ition s, his solitude, th at never escapes the inexorable law o f d e preciation [d'prciation]. T h a t is to say: the expropriation o f a personal case, w hich necessarily accom p an ies the creation o f prerequisite co n d ition s w hich are accessible to many, and so on to everyone; unless a superior new spiritu al ity is attain ed by the entire hu m an species. Either case confirm s the eternal return that im plies the ab olition o f every personal life returned to being, for the greater glory o f being.

xiv. Ibid., 166, p. 200.

Chapter Two

Gide, Du Bos, and the Demon

A n y o n e w ho dares to study G id e in term s o f the dem on ic m u st begin by a sk ing h im self w h at th e term s d e m o n and d em o n ic m ean. T h e m akeshift [improvise] exo rcist, circum scrib in g the dem on under the p retex t o f clarifyin g a case as co m p le x as G id e s, kills tw o birds w ith on e sto n e: if by ch a n ce G id e m an ages to escap e from th is procedu re, it is b ecause the D ev il h as carried him away. Pereat G ide, fiat D iabolus .' A m an can honestly b eliev e in G o d w ithout b eliev in g in th e D ev il, ca n b eliev e in the D evil w ithout b eliev in g in G o d , an d can ad m it the d e m o n ic w ith ou t b eliev in g in either on e. C a th o lic dogm a affirm s th at only G o d is ex iste n c e an d th at the D evil, as D ev il, is n o th in g and th at he exists as pure sp irit only by h av in g received b ein g like every oth er creatu re; a created sp irit, he reveals his d em o n ic ten den cy by his c o n tra d ic tory asp iratio n to be in order to cease to be, to be in order n o t to be at all, to be by n ot bein g. From th e S c h o la stic s' p o in t o f view, S a ta n co m m itted an o n to lo g ica l error: h e believed b ein g co u ld be co n ce iv ed as evil, as n on b ein g, an d h a v in g thus revolted again st the p rin cip le o f co n tra d ictio n he w aited for H eg el to destroy it. A n d we see th at D u Bos will b ring a sim ilar griev an ce ag ain st G id e for evading the frrinciple o f contradiction and for involving himself with these combined fragments that constitute the fact o f believing in the demon and believing in nothing at all. A bizarre reproach. In effect, by virtue o f this o n to logical d efin itio n th at is n o t ex actly th at o f the G o sp e l (You cannot serve two m asters), th e dem on co u ld n o t be o n e o f the two sim u ltan eo u s p ostu lates th at B au d elaire sp eak s of, b ecau se it ca n n o t b e the p ole opposed to G o d u nless it is also his e x iste n c e .2 S in c e it den ies bein g, the d e m o n ic spirit m ust borrow a b ein g o th e r th an its ow n; b ein g itself on ly pure n e g a tio n , it n eeds an o th er e x iste n c e in order to ex ercise its n egatio n . It ca n only do so through c re a tures, w h o lack bein g th ro ugh th em selves but h a v e instead received it. T h e spirit seeks to asso ciate itself w ith creatures in o rd er to know its ow n c o n tra d ictio n , its ow n e x iste n c e in th e n o n e x isten t. In th is regard, if on e goes b ack

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to the C h u rc h Fath ers, an d thus to a tradition n ot yet em barrassed by A ris to telian qu ibbles, on e finds in the dem on ology o f T ertu llian , for ex am p le, a m uch m ore so ber and p recise d efin itio n an d , regardin g our su b ject, so m e p ar ticularly clarifyin g im ages. For T ertu llian , the dem on is essen tially th e sim u lator; certain ly it gives form to desires in dream s an d in sp ectacle s, bu t m ore than an y th in g else it sim u lates th e d ead in order to su b stan tiate the p ree x is ten ce o f the soul and its w an derin g on the su rface o f the earth and thereby to discredit the d o gm a o f the resurrection o f the flesh .3 S u ch , in broad strokes, is the trad itio n al idea o f the dem on ; lack in g its ow n personality, it is prior to every in clin atio n , every in fluen ce, ow in g to its borrow ed ex iste n ce. It is im m ediately ap p aren t how the resu ltin g o n to lo g ica l argu m en tatio n c a n be applied to both the im m an en t an d the tran scen d en t p lan e, w in ding up w ith a value ju d gm en t th at favors tran scen d en ce. If, re jec tin g all m etaphysics, bein g is n o lon ger d istin gu ish ed from co n crete reality, an d w hat b elon gs to it from w hat falls purely an d sim ply under sen se, then ev ery th in g th at is sp iri tual, acco rd in g to the trad itio n al d istin c tio n betw een b ein g an d th e ex iste n t, co u ld be ju dged d iab o lical a cco rd in g to the sort o f reason th at only learns th e lesson s o f co n crete reality insofar as the sp iritu al w ould w ant to turn m an away from the exp erien ce o f th e co n crete. O n the oth er h an d, th e sort o f reason that can deliver the spirit o f m an from the h ab its o f the spirit would truly be the savior. Fear o f the co n crete w ould th en be inspired only by the D evil and the tem p tation w ould be to try to flee from exp erien ce. T h e id en tificatio n o f G o d w ith bein g, an d o f the d em o n w ith n on b ein g, is a rough tran slation o f co m m on sense o n to th e p lan e o f reality, an d im m ediately p ro vides an a cco u n t o f the m orality o f go o d sen se": tran scen d en ce in its to ta l ity, everyth in g th at is giv en as tran scen d en t or su p ern atu ral, is to be blam ed on the w icked power. Is it a qu estio n here o f an in version as claim ed by Du Bos, w ho, a cco rd in g to G id e , w ants to see a su b stitu tion o f S a ta n for G o d ? A b solu tely n ot; for on this basis o f co n crete exp erie n ce, w h ich is also Tcrtullian s, the tem p tatio n o f the sp irit is alw ays the sam e: eith er to deny w h at is there, or to affirm w h at is n o t there. T o su ccum b to the D ev il is to su ccum b to d ecep tio n . A n d this is indeed G id e 's p o sitio n ; w h atever reveals [dcouvrir] is o f G od, w h atever prevents discovery [dcouverte] is o f the Devil; h ere again the term s G od and Devil h ave a ch aracter th at is on ly natural. H is effort c o n sists n ot only in dem o n stratin g th at there is n o p o in t w h atever in denyin g th eir content, bu t also, as far as he is co n ce rn ed , in pronouncing th em . If it is still som etim es expressed in trad itio n al term s, this is because b o th believers an d u n believers know qu ite well w h at th e term s G o d o r Devil m ean ; m ore so th an the term s G ood and Evil, th ese nam es, because they are nam es, describe the aim o f an o rie n ta tio n th at d o es n ot b elo n g so m u ch to co n crete e x p e ri en ce as to the co n sciou sn ess o f w hat a fulfilled exp erien ce leaves su b sistin g in the spirit. P erhaps it is b ecau se G id e , feign in g n o n e x isten ce, h as seen the h eigh t o f the sim ulacrum o f the d em o n (You know quite well that I dont

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exist)4 w hich is in fact a way o f sim u latin g sch o lasticism th a t D u Bos repro ach es G id e for ev ad in g the prin ciple o f co n trad ictio n and for gettin g lost o n th e o n to lo g ic a l p lan e w hen the problem is a m o ral o n e; b u t, because G id e n ever forgets that art is a sim u lacru m , the artist a sim ulator, specifically th e o n e w ho exh au sts lan gu age; by ch o o sin g the name o f th e D ev il, G id e is poured ou t [Gide s est plu]* in tran slatin g the am biguity o f the p roblem o f freedom by the am bigu ou s m ean s o f art. T h e need to dcr-eom ething is felt as an instigation as so o n as the p relim inary deliberation is su p p lan ted by the act itself; in order to p revail ov er my ju d gm en t, perhaps my will h as given way to so m eth in g m ore pow erful th an m yself so th at 1 agree to w ill; th e result, then, is th at my freedom returns as servitude. B ecau se it w as a qu estio n o f d o in g go o d or evil to be decid ed acco rd in g to the judgm en t o f valu e w hen the e x p e rien ce began , if I sto p m yself, I will co llid e w ith so m eth in g m ore powerful th an m yself, w ith the feelin g o f h a v in g squan dered an opportunity. If 1 do n ot sto p m yself, I will be su b m itted to an array o f previously unsuspected rules. A m 1 resp on sible for my failure? H as no one p revented m e in advan ce.7 But who h as p rev en ted m e, who has urged m e to disregard a co m m an d ? If I am su c cessful, w hat d o es th at p rove? W as th e w arning false? H ow th en can o n e fail to listen to the v o ice: Begin again and you will know if I w as wrong. But if I was right , it is useless for you to say that you will obey me from now on, since you have already begun again . S u c h are, roughly, th e tw o sides o f th e Devil and G o d in th e G id e a n co n sciou sn ess. L et us sta te it su ccin ctly : it is the problem o f arb i trary freedom , or arbitrary slavery, deliberately restored to the level o f a worldly lesson [leon du choses]. By h av in g co m pletely failed to discern this level th at determ in es the term demon for G id e , th e perspectiv e o f his research is d is torted an d the figurative exp ression th at G id e in ten tio n ally borrow s from the G o sp e l is co n fu sed w ith the su p ern atu ral world th at the G o sp e l proclaim s. B u t th e G o sp e l su p poses a n atu re p relim inary to the supernatural, a worldly lesson p relim inary to the sp iritu al lesson . If from the o rth o d o x p o in t o f view G id e was w rong for n o t lim itin g h im se lf on ly to th e worldly lesson , he is n on e th e less ev an ge lical. If there is n o th in g d em o n ic ab ou t G id e s a ttitu d e (b ecau se the dem on was on ly m ade in th e arid places w here G id e w an ted it to be [se voudrait]), then on th e con trary it b ecom es the ob je ct o f p reo c cu p atio n for an o th er spirit, for the stro n ger reason o f a sp irit w ho, w an tin g to turn h im tow ard itself, w an ts him to turn b ack again st him self; the d e m o n ic in terven es im m ediately, the m aliciou s fluidity (in G id e s sen se as in the o th e rs) estab lish es itself, m o ti v a tin g forces o f self-love co m e into play; it is ve ile d to him , and the other w ho w an ted him to co n form to h is ow n p rocedu re, far from re v ealin g it, ob scu res it. W h a ts m ore, everyth in g th at the o th e r zealously, carefully, c o n tributes w ill only h ard en h im and m ak e h im m ore op aqu e; the app roach o f a sp irit w ho m o ves w ith th e cu rren t th at G id e h a s d e v o te d all o f his forces to

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m ovin g against, m obilizes in G id e a defense m ech an ism that will en d up throw ing the other off, while he him self leaves him grappling w ith a sort o f duplicate o f his person; w hat still lives in him , confused w ith his su bstan ce, detach es from him like a piecc o f a false G id e th at the oth er will con tem plate, horrified; he thinks that he is h old in g a living G id e , but betw een his h an ds there is only a m an nequin w hose inan im ate features bear an expression o f mockery. T h is m an nequin is the demonic Gide o f the pow erless converters, w hile the au th en tic G id e , co n tin u in g to live, con tin u es to rem ain ungraspable because he is alive. T h ere is certainly som eth in g sin ister about this affair; at least this is how it appears in the relation s betw een Du B os and G id e , but it only appears so p er haps it was sinister for Du Bos. T o ju dge by the disagreeable rem arks m ade by G id e in petto, this affair was only a com edy for G id e , or (if on e takes accou n t o f the illness that, during this period, befell both G id e and Du Bos in the course o f the elaboration o f the Dialogue) som e labored im broglio th at he turned into com edy. T h is com edy could only be sin ister for Du Bos. But he had to live his part as infinitely serious, b oth for his ow n sake and apparently, in his eyes, for G id e s. N o w this gravity is precisely w hat is lack in g in Du B o ss Journals; on e c an n o t help but say to each phrase: T h is will to seriousness and profundity reveals a pow erlessness to experience the serious an d the profound. It is Du B oss very expression th at is at issue here; such syn tax betrays a m ania for the o b jects o f his reflection, and especially for religious problem s. T h e form that his reflection affected for years, a form that co u ld n t be m ore path ological, that extraordinary prolixity th at creates so m any subjects to indefinitely retain and m an ipulate as m any subjects as words a profusion o f entia rationis, can only veil the true crisis th at he underw ent w hile in co n ta ct w ith G id e ; certainly he evokes this crisis in places, but he does n ot establish its co n n ectio n w ith his concern for co n vertin g G id e. M ad am e V an R ysselberghes statem en t to G ide, reported by him in his ow n Journal: H e is gaining his salvation upon your back/' gives only on e side o f the inextricable situation w ithin w hich Du Bos had en closed him self. It was n ot a question o f his gain in g salvation , bu t rather o f p uttin g his own faith to the test on G id e s b ack . O n the day after his co n version , C h a rle s Du B os knew the necessity, felt by m ore than on e n eop h y te, o f encountering the demon. W h at m akes m e still co m pletely lack in g is the interior sta te th at w ould p rovide the ton e th at 1 w an t in order to a tta in the th em e o f th e dem on . . . I am a t a tu rn in g p o in t where I w ant to deprive m yself, o n ce an d for all, o f th is en tirely in tellectu al ton e o f argu m en tatio n , w hich is too m u ch the to n e o f re ason in g [lavoir rai son], a n d rejoin an em o tio n al level th at w ould bear m e up to the fin al shore. It is surely im possible to truly sp eak o f th e dem on at th e level o f pure argu m en tatio n .1T h is sam e n eed seem s to sh arpen th e taste for G o d ; it testifies in

i. C h arles Du Bos, Journal intime, v. 4 (Paris: C orrea, 1950), p. 72.

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certain tem peram en ts to th e d issatisfactio n w ith w hich th eir co m m erce w ith d iv in e realities leaves th e rr^ M o re th an o n e page o f the Jou rnal reco u n ts th at, for C h a rle s Du Bos, th ese realities b elon ged to th e dom ain o f sen sib le e x p e rien ce, an d th at religiou s life rather th an the em an cip ation o f the a e sth e te s jouissance is the suprem e o b je ct o f th is jouissance. Value, depth, an d quality in Du Bos these term s design ate elem en ts o f an affective atm osph ere, an d the pursuit o f this atm osph ere, from h is youth up to the tim e [lpoque] o f h is D ia logue with Andre G ide , th rough all sorts o f m aterial and ph y sical an n oy an ces, co n stitu te s the true p reoccu p atio n , the v ital ground o f his interior life or, b e t ter, o f his interior time, his lived time. Du B o s evokes Proust in a num ber o f ways ex c ep t th a t o f a creativ e gen ius an d calls h im self a Christian Proust. Bu t n o th in g is so jarrin g as th e co u p lin g o f th is nam e and th is qualifier. W h en h e observ es, in I f the Seed Should Die, the ab sen ce o f influx [afflux], o f the resur facing o f memory, in G id e as o p po sed to Proust, he defin es a ch aracteristic o f h is ow n app reh en sion o f th in gs and beings: the resurfacing o f m em ory is c o n stitu tiv e o f the atm osp h ere in w hich Du Bos co u ld n ot breath e. T h u s his ow n religiou s ex p erie n c es, su ch as th ose he describ es in the Journal o f 1928, are, under th e guise o f sp iritu al p roblem s, o b je cts o f a m orose deligh t; ultim ately, if o n e co m p ares th em to the e v o ca tio n s from the tim e o f his en gagem en t and m arriage (aro un d 1 9 0 7 -1 9 0 8 ) w ith w h ich the Journal o f 1928 b egin s, p artic u larly to th e spicy d escrip tio n s o f the tea salon s, o f the rack s o f p arasols and u m brellas, or o f th e s an ces o f th e m an icurist de Z, the d escrip tio n s th at he gives during 1928 o f his m asses, reflection s, an d ele v atio n s on e c a n t help b ein g em barrassed th at, for ex am p le, the descriptio n o f the u m brellas or o f any oth er p ast o b je c t ev o k ed is situ ate d on the sam e p lan e as the d escrip tion o f the m asses, o f the co m m u n io n s th a t h e began to p articip ate in and th a t he set h im self to reliving alm ost im m ediately in h is Jou rnal under the p re tex t o f d e ep en in g them . But w here the resurfacing o f memory su p p lan ts the g reatest religiou s a ct, the n o stalgia o f the Christian Proust betrays its absurdity; for if it is alw ays legitim ate to recall w hat m ust m elt away in everyday life, it is co m p letely co n trad icto ry to recall w hat, by d e fin itio n , d o es n ot b elon g to the everyday. O n ly so m eo n e w h o h as lived in the san ctu ary n eed s to recreate the san ctu ary s am b ia n c e n ot th e rupture betw een th e here-below and the beyond so m uch as the accessories, the rites, and th e attitu d es th at should p rodu ce th is rupture. U ltim a te ly th ese are the rites a n d attitu d es th at, w hen they beco m e the o b je c ts o f a retrosp ective ev o ca tio n , co m e to th e foreground and m ain tain the p lace o f rupture, ev en w hen their e v o ca tio n h as prevented it. If, o n the o th e r h an d , th e everyday c a n serve to e x p la in etern al life, tre at ing the figures o f etern al life as so m any o b je cts in th em selves, by co n stan tly go in g b ack to th is in a Jou rnal w here u ltim ately on e p ractices co n tem p latin g o n e se lf under the p retex t o f c o n tem p la tin g the Lo rd, th is am ou n ts to so m e th in g m u ch less in n o ce n t th a n b ein g quain tly distu rbed at rem em berin g som e p arasols th a t on e gave to o n e s fian ce, o f a sh ad e ch o sen to m atch her

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dresses. If co n scio u sn ess works to hollow ou t an interior life from em o tio n s m ore or less strongly exp erien ced in th e course o f a low m ass, it alw ays ends up co n fu sin g the diverse Stimmungen w ith h earin g the sp eech o f a G o d w ho h as never cared m uch for incen se literally as well as figuratively. C h a rle s Du B o ss spiritu al atm osp h ere is so incensed a t this p o in t th at if the sm ell o f su l fur did n o t interven e, it w ould n o t be religiou s at all, an d faith w ould h av e n o o b je c t oth er th an w h at Du B os h im se lf calls the aesthetic miracle. Fortunately, so m eo n e p rovid en tially disperses this sm ell o f sulfur, p rovid en tially and also involun tarily: G id e a gain assum es th e role o f the d iab o lic thurifer. A ll th in gs co n sid ered , w hat is th e demonic for D u B o s, an d how c a n he turn it in to a p o sitiv e n o tio n to co u n ter G id e a n n egativ ism ? T h e co n v e rsa tio n s w ith P eter W ust, the G e rm a n th eo lo gian a n d p h ilosoph er, th a t took p lace around th is tim e, were o f so m e u se,7 but so were his ow n sta tes o f dry ness th at he co m p lain s ab ou t, his ow n illn esses su ch as th ose th at arise in him from an in com p atibility betw een sp iritu al resp on sib ility an d a so rt o f flight in to work, or the ov errid in g n ecessity o f re co n cilin g th e act o f faith (w h ich h as n o th in g in it o f the creator) w ith a esth etic creatio n , im peded by d e v o tio n al o b ed ien ce; all this will lead h im to ad o p t a G o e th e a n n o tio n o f the daimon, an d to d istin gu ish it from w h at he b eliev es G id e s demonic to be: the abandon to the pure demonic th at he will identify as a d efect due to the insuffi ciency of being. If he says th at, ev en at th e tim e o f his u nbelief, h e never stop p ed b eliev in g in origin al sin , th is was in term s o f a feelin g o f deficiency. B ecau se o f th is deficiency, tem p ta tio n d o e sn t in terven e under the guise o f obscu re in stin ctiv e im pulses, but rath er through the a c tio n o f the w icked sp irit u pon a m a n s spirit; an d b ecau se it thus a tta c k s our co n sciou sn ess, n ot our in stin ctiv e n atu re, it acts through ideas, n o t our im pulses: a cco rd in g to G id e s ow n d efin itio n , the dem on is ab o v e all an au to n o m o u s power. But, Du B os adds, it is b o th interior an d ex terior to us. T h e C h ristian n o tio n o f the homo duplex represen ts n o th in g oth er th an th e m o m en t o f c o e x iste n ce o f the d em on and th e in d ivid ual b ein g. A n d if G id e says th at the d em o n requires a reciprocal activity from us, Du B os claim s th at strictly sp eak in g there is n o longer a double m an , but a m an ip u lated m an. In his eyes, G id e is already a m an ip u lated m an , but he does n ot grasp th e idea th at he h im self is a m a n ip u lated m an in G id e s eyes. A cco rd in g to Du Bos, the best way to exo rcise G id e w ould be to instruct h im to exp ose h im self o n ce an d for all: W e know th at you excel in elu din g the prin ciple o f co n trad ictio n , but truly we cannot let you continue to qu estio n the co m bin ed fragm ents th at co n stitu te th e fact o f b eliev in g in th e dem on an d b eliev in g in n o th in g at a ll. It thus seem s as th ou gh th is is w h at the d e ep est G id e b eliev es and th at his ratio n alism is on ly th e fruit o f hu m an p o liten ess. B ecau se it h a s taken years for D u B o s to free h im self from this app aren t ration alism , h e does n ot d esp air o f freeing G id e in turn. U n d er the relation o f th e dem on , G id e h a s effectively given so m e reassuring proofs o f

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h is co n crete and an tip h ilo so p h ic al sp irit, because h e has affirm ed the D e v ils reality as th at o f a bein g, n o t th at o f a sim p le prin ciple. T h u s he acq uires h is fu n d am en tal an tiratio n alism . D u Bos seem s to base h is h o p es and h is im age o f G id e o n the im age th at the latter h as o f the D evil. T h u s from th is im age, o n e th a t n everth eless carries n o p ro o f at all o f G id e s antiratio n alism , Du B os repro ach es G id e u sin g B au delaire, sin ce G id e n ever tires o f citin g the B au d e laire an tex t on th e two simultaneous postulates; D u B o s supp oses th at B au d elaire and G id e infer an aesth etic valu e from th e existen ce o f S a ta n , a valu e th at co u n terb alan c es G o d , alm ost eq ual to H im ; if, in B au delaire, the case is m ore c o m p le x , th en accord in g to G id e there is an a ggrav atin g circu m stan ce in every case th at d ecid es in S a t a n s favor. T h e G o d o f G id e s p ious ad o le sc en ce b ecom es a pure ab stractio n , an d S a ta n thereby b ecom es m ore co n crete. G id e h as k now ingly or unknow ingly co n fu sed the Christian demon w ith the G re e k daimon (c o m p lic atin g the latter w ith the G o e th e a n damonische), a co n fu sion th at cau ses him to m ak e the aesth etic o p era tio n co n sist o f an abandon to the pure demonic. T h is soph ism is expressed in If the Seed Should Die: A n d I th en cam e to doub t if G o d ev en required such co n strain ts, if it w as n ot im pious to ceaselessly rebel, and if th is w as n ot co u n ter to h im ; if, in th is b attle in w h ich I divided m yself, I reason ably ou gh t to p lace b lam e on the oth er. Iden tifying G o d w ith e m an c ip atio n an d S a ta n w ith servitu d e to the law an in terpretation th at p lace s G id e in the com pan y o f very o ld ex am p les G id e , acco rd in g to D u Bos, by an in com parable sleigh t-o f-h an d , h a s groun ded th e tw o p ostu lates in o n e , lead in g to a pure a n d sim p le d e ifica tio n o f S a ta n him self. It thus seem s th at the d ivin e p o ssi b ilitie s in h im are stron ger in th e sa ta n ic d ire ctio n . B ecau se, in his D osto evsky ," he in sisted o n the fact th at for th e R u ssian n ovelist all the dem on ic ch aracters are in tellectu als, th is sa ta n ic in clin atio n w ould be m an ifest in the tem p tatio n to sin again st th e S p irit: G id e is a treason ous sp iritu al p erson . D oes th is n o t giv e the im pression th at, in order to study G id e s case from the an gle o f th e dem on , an d thus o f n o n e x isten ce, Du Bos lets G id e escape ju st w hen he th in k s he seizes h o ld o f the dem on , an d th at th e dem on v a n ishes w hen he is on the verge o f seizing G id e ? Is it n ot a q u estio n o f defin in g the nonexistence o f th e D ev il th rough G id e s co n crete e x iste n c e, in order to p rove th e existence o f nonbeing; or, o n the contrary, o f d efin in g G ides reality th rough the existence o f nonbeing in order to p rove th e n o n b e in g o f ex isten ce, thereby strik in g a blow again st G id e s reality? In b oth cases, D u Bos, for his p art, ev ad es the p rin cip le o f co n trad ictio n , and therefore attrib u tes a co n ten t to G id e s term s th at they do n o t h ave. Du Bos th in k s th at h e h as clarified them by disco v erin g the co n fu sion betw een the G o e th e a n an d the C h ristian m e an in g o f the G id e a n term demonic; in d o in g so he forgets th at he h im self in trod u ced an a n ti-C h ristia n value by reco n cilin g faith an d th e creativ e act, an d th at G id e , on the contrary, follow s th e m ost a n c ie n t C h ristian tradition w h en h e em ph asizes the co llab o ratio n o f the dem on in every w ork o f art. If

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G id e is deliberately eq u iv o cal in this regard, then G o e th e is equally so. It is true th at G o e th e said to E ck erm an n th at his ow n M e p h isto p h eles w as n o t en dow ed with the damonische, b ecause it is to o n egativ e; but a M eph istoph elean elem en t Schadenfreude, th e p leasu re o f injuring n o n e th ele ss rem ains in G o e th e s p o sitiv e form ulation o f the d em o n ic in D ichtung and Wahrheit [Poetry and Truth]. W h en Du B os im m ediately tak es th e G id e a n d e fin itio n o f the dem on in a tran scen d en t, su p ern atu ral sen se, he th in k s th a t by d elib er ately usin g the trad itio n al term , G id e is d ep artin g from psychology, from the im m an en t, in order thereby to provide a gu aran tee o f his C h ristian faith , an op po rtun ity for th ose w ho m ight w an t to restore him to orth odoxy. But, if this were the case, G id e would be p u ttin g the p rin cip le o f his ow n procedu re b ack in to qu estio n , in clu din g his d efin ition o f th e dem on . H is d elib erate use o f this co n secrated term only further em ph asizes his ow n ex p erien ce, w h ether as the c o h a b itatio n o f co n trad icto ry or an ta g o n istic p erson alities w ithin a sin gle in d ivid ual, or as the exteriorization o f o n e o f th ese p erson alities du e to an in fluen ce th at affects on e or th at on e exercises. To a d m it th at c o n te sta tion takes the form o f a ch aracter w ho in h ab its us alm o st to the p o in t o f m a k ing us co m p licit w ith our adversary d o es n ot thereby im ply b e lie f in a su per n atu ral reality. W h en Du Bos, after h a v in g finally un d erstood G id e s identification o f the demon in his ow n way, co m es to see in the absence o f a spon taneous sentiment for life in G id e the favorab le terrain for the in flu en ce o f the dem on on G id e s m in d an u n ex p ected co m p e n satio n , sin ce Du B o s u n d er stan d s this lack of sp o n tan eity to be n o th in g oth er th an pederasty it is app aren t th a t D u B os is trapped in a vicio u s circle. H e began by ad m ittin g th at G id e knew perfectly well how to identify the D ev il and then w ound up refusing G id e any pow er o f d iscern m en t b ecau se he is a p ederast. T h u s from tw o th in gs, on e results: eith er the D ev il can em ploy G id e s pederasty in such a way th at the auth or o f Corydon, b ecau se he w on t give up h is o p in io n , rem ain s in cap ab le o f recogn izin g and identifying h im , an d in th is case, it isn t n ecessary to depart from the su p p osition th at the deepest Gide believes; or, on the contrary, if G id e s id en tification o f th e d em o n is legitim ate, th en this is because he w as n o t hin dered by pederasty, and in th at case p ederasty 1 ' is nei-

ii.

T h u s, again, the cause is the pdrastie reflexes in the W estern world, by virtue o f

the clan destine con d ition s that h ave constituted it, the subterfuges, the evasions that ch ar acterize every wrongly or rationally oppressed social group; not an insufficiency o f being but the inferiority com plex with its co m pensation s that affect a class psychologically, co n sti tuted through a m illenary m oral an d social oppression, and which, nevertheless, is only a rem nant of an ach ronistic sensibility from the point o f view o f th e life o f societies. O n the on e hand, G id e aspires to an order o f disparate structures, to the heart o f the post-C h ristian world, w hich, built by this order upon contrary laws, is in its turn at the point o f being ruined by its own contradiction s contradiction s o f a world that G id e, on the oth er hand, is, by his form ation, so allied to th at h e works w ith the post-C h ristian criteria to reestab-

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ther an insufficiency o f b ein g, n or a lack o f sp on tan eity th a t lends itself to d iab o lic in fluen ce; and if he is ev en ab le to p resen t the asp ec t o f an abandon to the pure demonic, how b rillian t is th e confusion or rath er the equivocation th a t G id e deliberately puts in th ese term s! For if it seem s to him to h av e the p o sitiv e virtu e o f th e damonische defin ed by G o eth e , w h ich , as D u Bos rep eats, is n o t sa ta n ic in th e C h ristian sen se, G id e is to o well versed w ith the m etam orp h oses o f th e D ev il to p lace any trust in such a flatterin g because also u n ilateral d efin itio n o f the demonic. It is true th a t o n two o c casio n s G id e w rote that o n ce h e h ad adm itted the ex iste n c e o f the dem on , th e w hole m ean in g of his life w as clarifie d .1 0 But e x a m in in g th ese tex ts closely, on e n o tic es th at only o n e th in g is in q u es tion: w h ether he is fooled by h is ow n ration alization s in the course o f d ia logues im provised w ithin his heart o f hearts. T h e p act w ith th e D ev il is n ever en v isaged there, an d if it rem ained a m yth for G id e , th at is because o n e does n o t m ak e a p ac t w ith a p art o f on eself, w ith o n e s double. O n the o th e r h an d, acc o rd in g to G id e th e D ev il is an agen t o f redoubling. T h is is well know n to G id e th an k s to the O th e r h a v in g borrow ed, in its n o n e x isten ce, th e ex iste n c e o f a C la u d e l, o f a C h a rle s Du Bos; the m ore ruptures there are w ith th em , the m ore ruptures there are w ith ev ery th in g th at, in h im , p reven ted him from fin d in g him self.

lish the vanish ed structures of pedagogical pederasty in the relation s o f the m aster and the disciple. In those relations it was an aspect o f the search for truth. A vanished or hidden order, the Eros paidikos becom es in the soul o f a G id e, at the heart o f all the moral and cu l tural circum stan ces that th is nam e represents, both the nostalgia for an order and the prin cip le o f reflective d issociation ; the dissolvent reflection o f a h ostile m ilieu, and the im pe tus for a personal destiny co n dition ed by the effects o f this m ilieu. A n inadquation of m eans and ends thus arises for G id e; w hile the m eans tend to recon stitu te a relational order for w hich the co n d ition s were previously lacking since the Socratic pederasty is dead and properly utop ian these m eans belong to a world th at repudiates this pederasty, and the result is the p rovocation o f situ ation s only ever lived as m om ents o f a personal destiny a destiny th at has n o reference at all oth er than its own authority. T h u s arises the inevitable m isunderstanding o f th ose who judge G id e in th e nam e o f the m eans that he em ploys, and their insistcncc on the perverted ch aracter o f these means.

Chapter Three

In the Margin of the Correspondence Between Gide and Claudel

O n th e ev e o f a m eetin g w ith C la u d e l from w hich he will co m e aw ay w ith n o th in g m ore th an an o th er m o tive to be silen t, G id e w rote to th e poet: Every day I m ean to w rite to you, an d th en 1 draw b ack before the en orm ity o f all th at I co u ld tell you."' O bviously, says th e reader, w h o h o p ed to grasp th e e n ig m a s key. C o n sid e rin g th e presen t sta te o f this co rrespo n d en ce, disfigured as it is by u n fortu n ate lacu n ae, G id e s retreat w here o n e would ex p ect th e deferm en t o f a co n fessio n p erh ap s gives a very p recise m ean in g to en o r m ity. E veryth in g in the su rvivin g letters up u ntil w hat we find in th e on e d ated M arch 7, 1914, app ears to revolve around th is en orm ity o f everythin g th at G id e w an ted to say, and thus they seem m erely to express p o stp o n e m en ts, w hile C la u d e ls letters show the C a th o lic p o et b ecom in g lost on the false trails th at G id e , for his p art, h as suggested to him as a p lan [dessein]. H ow is it n ot ob viou s th a t th is inequ ality o f e x c h a n g e s, d esp ite the gravity o f the q u estio n s posed, d esp ite th e sin cere ton e, is actu ally a gam e o f dupes every tim e th at we read th e reflection s th at G id e n o ted in th e interval in h is Jo u r nal, th a t M allet in vites us to read an d th at he h as, p erh ap s to o ingeniously, ju dged necessary in order to fill in th e lacu n ae left by G id e s van ish ed letters? T h e reader w ill n o t on ly read the p assages o f the Jou rnal p ick ed out by M a l let, h e will refer to oth ers, co n tem p o ran e o u s w ith the n ag gin g qu estio n s o f th is co rrespo n d en ce, an d , in the resu ltin g co n te x t, w ill G id e n ot co m e to ap p ear m ore eq u iv o cal th an he really w as? C ertain ly th e m an w ho w rites to h im self alw ays do es so in a m an n er different from th at w ith w h ich he addresses h im self to oth ers, ev en w hen he says the sam e th in gs and w hen he

i.

The Correspondence Between Paul Claudel and Andr Gide, Letter of D ecem ber 17,

1905 (5 0 /1 3 ).

27

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is co m pletely sin ccre in b oth cases. But a new an d m uch m ore gen eral q u es tio n em erges from th is doubt. T o w h at e x te n t w as G id e ab le to put in to a c tio n a p lan th a t was held in ab ey an ce sin ce the b eg in n in g o f his career? W as there p rem ed itatio n ? D oes th is p rem ed itatio n su p pose so m e w h isperin g d em o n [dmon souffleur] th at he em ployed an d th at, conversely, uses his inn er d estin y in order to ex e rt an in flu en ce, p erh ap s ev en a sim ilar p rem ed ita tio n , th at it alo n e know s? For if w e m ust tak e G id e a t h is w ord w h en , o n v ario u s o c ca sio n s, h e affirm s in his Jou rn al th a t he carried his differen t w orks in sid e o f h im se lf at th e sam e tim e nam ely, The lm m oralis t, Strait Is the G ate, The C av es o f the Vatican an d th a t on ly the m aterial im po ssib ility o f w ritin g them sim u ltan eo u sly o bliged him to p u blish them su ccessively, ev en if th a t m ean t g iv in g the im pression o f a sp irit su b je ct to o scillato ry m o v em en ts then o n e m ust re c ogn ize th at, insofar as any p ro je ct alw ays su p p oses so m e u n p rev en tab le a c c i d en ts, his m eetin g w ith C la u d e l put th e e x e c u tio n o f his program to sin g u lar test an d th at he o v ercam e th is m e etin g on ly th ro u gh a n o less sin gu lar attitu d e. E ith er the affirm ation o f th e co e x iste n c e o f th e w orks is on ly a re t ro sp e ctiv e in terp re tatio n an d th en the letters to C la u d e l, w h ich m ore or less co n ce rn co n v e rsio n , w ould testify to a true in n er p erp lexity or the c o e x iste n c e o f th e w ritten w orks a lso co rresp o n d s to so m e alread y in tim ately resolved problem s, an d th en the to n e o f p erp lex ity in th ese letters w h ich h ave q u ite u n fortu n ately been destroy ed by so m e o n e on ly esta b lish es a screen b eh in d w h ich G id e in ten d s to p reserve his freedom o f a ctio n . L et us say th a t if we are in clin ed to b eliev e th is, we n ev e rth e le ss do n o t th in k th at th in gs are so sim p le. B ut th e m ore o n e co m p ares th e tex ts o f th ese letters w ith the p assage s o f G id e s Jo u rn al cited by M a lle t, an d ab o v e all w ith th ose th at he d o es n ot cite at all, the less on e can p rev e n t th e im pression th at, in th is b attle ag ain st a frien dsh ip th a t co n sta n tly th re aten e d p rem atu rely to d isco v er the secret go al tow ard w h ich he w as h eaded, G id e c a n be seen d e v e lo p in g a su b tle gam e an d p u sh in g ju st far en ou gh to av o id a c c e n tu a tin g ce rta in traits o f his physiognom y. T h e re are tw o p rob lem s th a t alread y seem reso lv ed for G id e a t th e m o m en t w h en , co rre sp o n d in g w ith C la u d e l, th e latter u n d ertak es to c o n v ert h im to C a th o lic ism . T h e d igressio n e n title d C hristian Ethics, from aro u n d 1900, offers an alm o st d e fin itiv e re p re se n ta tio n o f C h rist the "e m a n c ip a to r, w h ich h e will m a in ta in th ro u gh o u t his en tire career. W e sh a ll so on co m e, 1 b eliev e, to iso la te th e w ords o f C h rist in ord er to let th em ap p ear m ore em a n c ip a to ry th a n they h ad h ith e rto se em ed . L ess b u ried, they w ill ap p ea r m ore d ram atically , finally negating the institution o f the family (a n d that will serve as authority for suppressing it), ta k in g m an h im s e lf o u t o f h is e n v iro n m e n t for a p erso n al career an d te a c h in g h im by his e x a m p le an d h is v o ic e n o t to h a v e any p o sse ssio n s on th e earth or any p la ce to lay o n e s h e ad . A h , my w h ole soul lon gs for th a t n o m a d ic sta te in

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29

w h ich m an , w ith ou t h e a rth o r h o m e, w ill n o more localize h is duty or his a ffe c tio n th a n his h a p p in e ss on su ch c re a tu re s. ' H e th en c ite s th e w ords o f C h rist th a t, a c c o rd in g to h im , ab o lish th e fam ily, m arriage, an d e v e n fa m il ial m o u rn in g ( L e t th e d e ad bury th e ir d e a d ) and h e co n c lu d e s by re p e a t ing C h r ists w arn in g: I am c o m e to p la c e d iv isio n b etw een a m an a n d his father, betw een d au gh te r a n d m oth er, e tc ., w ith th is cry o f e x a lta tio n : E n d less b ro a d e n in g o f th e o b je c t o f love as so o n as th e fam ily is n e g a te d . 2 T h is im age o f C h r ist, iso la ted from its tra d itio n a l a n d Ju d a ic c o n te x t, e x trac te d from th e sac red history th a t co n stitu te s th e ec o n o m y o f re v e la tio n , as q u e stio n a b le as it is from a h isto ric a l p o in t o f view , n e v e rth e le ss h as an a u th e n tic asp e c t e v e n from th e o rth o d o x p o in t o f view , sin c e it is p re cise ly u p o n th e se w ords th a t th e stru ctu re o f th e C h u rc h an d th e m o n a stic orders is raised . O n e c a n n e v e r u n d ere stim a te th e im p o rta n c e o f th is in te r p re ta tio n o f th e G o sp e l for G id e s th o u gh t; it h as n o th in g to d o w ith lib eral P ro testa n tism , n o r ev en w ith th e se e m in g Q u ie tism th a t C la u d e l a t first th o u g h t h e fou nd in it. G id e s im age o f C h rist, w hich c o n n e c ts m o re clo sely w ith th a t o f B la k e , will ex e m p t h im from c re a tin g a Z arath u stra. A n d forty y ears after th e afo re m e n tio n e d te x t, G id e inserts th ese p ag es in to h is Jo u r nal, w h ere he d e cla re s th a t th e te a c h in g o f C h rist c o n ta in s m o re e m a n c i p atory force, m ore a b n e g a tio n an d joy, th a n th at o f N ie tz sc h e : W h a t am I say in g: as m u ch ? I d isc o v e r still m ore, an d a m ore p rofou n d a n d m ore secret o p p o sitio n ; m ore assured an d , h e n c e, ca lm e r.1 1 R egard in g the seco n d p roblem , th at o f h om osexu ality, G id e ju dges th at it is p osed to him sim ply as a dilem m a: to be or n ot to be, and, d e cid in g to live, G id e h as thus resolved it practically. But m orally? N o t by a lon g sh ot. S o w ith ou t m a in ta in in g th at his h o m o sex u al ten d en cies co n trib u ted to th e for m atio n o f his in terp retation o f C h rists an tifam ilial w ords, let us say th at his way o f u n d erstan d in g the G o sp e l rem ain s a fu n ction o f his self-given m ission: to give a m oral an d so c ia l so lu tio n to th e problem o f hom osexuality. W h en he m eets C lau d e l, he h ad on ly giv en it a pathetic exp ression in Saul and The Immcrralist, because h e w as p reservin g th e norm s o f trad itio n al con sciousn ess. But h e had already d evoted a d id ac tic work (C orydon) to it, w hich C la u d e l co m p letely ignores, alo n g w ith th e p resen ce and p reo ccu p atio n s th at hold sw ay th ere in G id e s already co n so lid ate d spirit, ev en w hen they h av e b oth co m e to th e th resh old o f intim acy. C la u d e l certain ly seem s the m ore eager o f th e two to su rm oun t th e problem . B u t at this p o in t o f m utual esteem , on e has the im pression th at G id e s sym pathy co m es to a h a lt w hile C la u d e l explores th e p roblem [tandis que C laudel le tte]. H e cares a b o u t G id e s soul. A lth o u g h it h as n o t p leased G o d to m ak e m e o n e o f H is p riests, I h ave a profound love

ii. Andr Gide, Journals, Volume 3, 19 2 8 -1939, trans. Ju stin O Brien (C h icago: U n iversity o f Illinois Press, 1949), p. 370, detached page from 1937.

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o f souls. Yours is very dear to m e. W hy c a n I n ot h elp you a little?'" A n d G id e says to him , m oved: N o , 1 did n o t u n d erstan d how co u ld I un d erstan d? th at you had a profound love o f so u ls ? T h a t w as w hat 1 n eed ed you to tell m e and th at my ow n soul was dear to you. You m u stn t see it as a m atter o f p rid e but a h ideou s n eed o f affection , o f love, so great a thirst for sym pathy th at 1 feared I w as d e ce iv in g m yself, an d w as only trying to draw n ear to G o d in order to draw n ear to you n ear en ou gh , at any rate, to h ear you b etter.3 A n d tak in g C la u d e l at his word, he ex p ec ts th at he in turn will u n derstan d his ow n distaste for a p ractical and tem perate religion , and th at after h avin g draw n daily n ou rish m en t from read in g th e B ible in his youth, he h as p re ferred to break abruptly w ith my first b eliefs rath er th an to arrive a t som e lukew arm co m prom ise betw een art an d religion . P erhaps C ath o lic ism w ould h ave offered a less strenu ou s op p o sitio n w ithin m e n o t so m uch to two beliefs as to two system s o f eth ics. . . . For the first time the day before y ester day (bu t I could glim pse it already in your b ook s) I could see by th e light o f your m in d, n o t so m u ch a so lu tio n it w ould be absurd to h o pe for th at as a new, and acc ep ta b le b attlegrou n d . A n d do you know w hat w as torm en tin g m e at this tim e the difficulty, the im possibility p erh ap s, o f reach in g san ctity by the road o f p ag an ism ; and w hen you sp ok e to m e, C la u d e l, o f o n e s abso lu te duty to be a sa in t, did you guess th at you co u ld n o t h a v e said an y th in g to w h ich I sh ou ld react m ore v iolen tly ? A h ! H ow righ t 1 was to be ap p reh en sive o f m eetin g you! A n d how frigh ten ed 1 am o f your v io len ce at th is m o m e n t!4 W h at was th is a cc ep tab le b attlegrou n d ? T h a t o f C h rist again st the C h u rch e s? A n d is it n o t a qu estio n o f a san ctity th at w ould p ro voke C la u d e ls v io len ce ev en m ore, o f a san ctity th at G id e is aim in g at here m ore rigorously? O n e day C la u d e l w rites to G id e th at h e h as several ex c e lle n t friends a m o n g the Jew s, P rotestan ts, an d ath eists, su ch as S ch w o b , S u ars, and B erth elo t, but they are purely p assiv e u n b elievers an d n o t p erson al en em ies o f C h rist.I V W h a t C la u d e l is actu ally trying to u n co ver ab ou t G id e s case is w h ether he to o is on e o f these p assive un b elievers w ho is w aitin g for so m e o n e to take him under his w in g, and G id e , w h eth er w illingly or unw illingly, seem s to fall u n d er th is illusion for a lon g tim e, sin ce in D ecem b er o f 1911, he co n fesses to C la u d e l th at th e reason s th at k eep h im from re n ou n cin g P rotestan tism are affective (a frequen t argu m en t a m o n g P ro testan ts): imag-

iii. The Correspondence Between Paul Claudel and Andre Gide, letter dated 12/05/05 (4 5 -4 6 /1 0 ). iv. Ibid., letter dated 02/06/08 (7 0 /3 2 ). [M arcel Sch w ob ( 1 8 6 7 -1 9 0 5 ) was a sym bolist prose poet. A n dr Su ars (1 8 6 8 -1 9 4 8 ) was a French poet and essayist fam ous for his ath e ism. Philippe Berth elot (1 8 6 6 -1 9 3 4 ) was th e son o f a well-known diplom at, M arcellin Berthelot, who, like his father, entered into politics and served in the M inistry o f Foreign A ffairs for m any years.]

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ine w h at it is like to h av e been surrounded in ch ild h o o d w ith ad m irab le and sain tly p eo p le w hom I love, in d e a th as in life, w h om I revere, an d w ho watch over me, as you were saying. Ja m m e s talk s o f my h eredity; I let h im h a v e his say; but I can very w ell tell you th at th e secret o f my in cap acity to b eliev e do es n ot lie there (m y b rain is m ad e up o f alm ost as m an y C a th o lic as P rotes tan t cells, after a ll); it lies rather in th e fidelity w h ich I ow e to th ose p eop le, my re latio n s an d m y sen iors, w ho lived in such c o n sta n t, n ob le, an d rad ian t co m m u n io n w ith G o d , and gav e m e m y n oblest im ages o f a b n e g a tio n . In o th e r ex c h an ges C la u d e l w an ts to have a ratio n al d iscu ssion w ith G id e ab ou t the articles o f the C h ristian faith. First h e su b m itted to h im a n o teb o o k o f c ita tio n s taken from S crip tu re and th e C h u rc h F ath ers." O n an o th er o cca sio n , h e sen t h im a sy n opsis o f the C h ristia n d o ctrin e th a t he co m p o sed for the ben efit o f a frien d;'" later he sen t h im an e x trac t from C h e ste rto n s Orthodoxy."" A n d we know th at in 1912 C la u d e l again suggested to G id e th at he giv e a form al a cco u n t o f his o b je ctio n s.' W h y d o e sn t C la u d e l ever o b ta in any overt re actio n w h atsoev er from G id e w h en he puts h im on th e sam e p lan e as th e d o gm atist? B ecau se G id e is, by his n atu re, im perm eab le to th is form o f th o u g h t o n e w onders w hether, d e sp ite h is p rodigiou s eru d itio n and h is p erp etu al read in g o f B o ssu ets Variations,' h e ev er u n d ersto o d th e d o ctrin al p rob lem s at th e very h eart o f P ro testan tism th a t p la ce d C a lv in an d L u th er a g a in st eac h o th e r an d sim u ltan eo u sly escap es b o th th e d o ctrin al argu m en ts an d , ev en m ore, th e S c h o la stic co n c e p ts th a t form C la u d e ls in tellec tu a l fram ew ork. T h u s, ev en later, he w ill c laim n o t to u n d erstan d at all th e p o e ts sta tem en t th at evil does not com pose. ' T o th e e x te n t th a t C la u d e ls tem p eram en t fin ds its arch ite ctu re in m e d iev al on tology , ev en to th e p o in t o f de scrib in g th e m o d ern w orld as w ould a m an o f the M id d le A g e s, G id e s tem p eram en t show s itse lf to be ju st as re sista n t in th e face o f any co n stru c tio n o f th ou gh t ex cep t th ose th a t arise from art. T h u s h e resists any sort o f m etap h y sics, w h ich he clearly co n fu ses w ith m ysticism , sin ce b o th are, for h im , on ly pure m y stifi c a tio n , w h ereas th e o n to lo g ic a l term s, em p tied ot m e an in g for h im , ou gh t to w ork to e x p lain d o gm a. T h is is less a q u e stio n o f a n atu ral p h o b ia th an o f a

v. Ibid., letter dated 12/10/11 (1 7 0 /1 2 4 ). [Francis Jam m es (1 8 6 8 -1 9 3 8 ) was a French poet who converted to C ath o licism in 1905.] vi. Ibid., letter d ated 12/05/05 (4 5 -4 6 /1 0 ). vii. Ibid., letter d ated 03/03/08 (7 1 -7 3 /3 3 ). viii. Ibid., letter dated 07/08/09 (9 4 - 9 7 /5 0 -5 1 ). [G. K. C hesterton (1 8 7 4 -1 9 3 6 ) was a well-known and prolific English writer who co n verted to C ath olicism in 1922. Orthodoxy: The Romance o f Faith was published in 1908 as a com pan ion to Heretics (1 905). In Heretics, C h esterton critiqued a num ber o f h eretical thinkers and writers o f the time, such as Kipling, Shaw , and W ells. In Orthodoxy, C h e sterto n set out to explain w hat m ade orth od ox C uth o llclsm persuasive to him.)

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kin d o f circu m cisio n o f the h eart a m istru st in th e face o f h is ow n affectivity th at reason d icta te s to his w ill. If then he d elib erately en clo ses himse lf w ith in the lim its o f co m m o n sen se, this is b ecau se he h as d eterm in ed th at the econ om y o f sa n e reason is as in e x h a u stib le as th e eco n o m y o f e x iste n c e. B o un d to th is m ost m u n d an e n o tio n o f re aso n , G id e n eg lec ts the c o n tra d ictio n s th at reason im plies. H e seem s n ever to h a v e ob serv ed th a t a d h ere n ce to faith as th e ren o u n cem en t o f reason to its ow n ex e rcise is itself o n e ratio n al a ct am o n g oth ers. O n the o th e r h an d , he n ever seem s to ask h im se lf if reason u ltim ately w o u ld n t be ju st o n e form o f p ath o s a m o n g o t h ers. T h e se are so m e co n sid era tio n s th a t w ould be re le v a n t to a study o f G id e s n o tio n o f reason . W h ile a th o u gh t, o rien ted a cc o rd in g to d o gm a, will seek in life the sign s th a t th is th ou gh t refers to im ages giv en to it by do gm a, G id e form s a sp ecifically ico n o cla stic p sych ology by p reten d in g to do so m e th in g else, only to th en d escrib e an d co m p reh e n d the m ost d isco n ccrtin g m o tiv e s o f th e soul acc o rd in g to th e m ost so b er g o o d sen se. A n d if for him the rep resen tatio n o f a world tra n sce n d in g reason n o n e th ele ss re acts u pon life and o p en s a field o f ex p erie n c es [ouvre un champ d'expriences ] an u n su spected re actio n for th ose w ho seek to u n d erstan d e x iste n c e on ly through life itself G id e describ es an d analyzes on ly in order to live m ore, an d lives on ly to u n d erstan d ev en better, by th e very fa ct o f h a v in g sim ply lived life. For G id e , tu rn in g th e m in d aga in st life a m o u n ts to lo sin g " o n e s m in d, w h ile to lose o n e s life, is to b eco m e truly a liv e . T h e fu n ctio n o f life su p poses, on the contrary, su ch a c o n sta n t ap p eal to th o u gh t th at G id e can say to its sp iritu alist critics: there is n o d an ger o f sin n in g ag a in st th e sp irit here a t all, bu t th e m ore o n e risks o n e se lf in all o f life s tests the suprem e test c o n sistin g p erh ap s in c h o o sin g life w hen the h e a rt requ ires d e a th the m ore o n e also requ ires o f life, b ecau se th ere is n ever as m u ch life w h ich fears the p ossib ility o f d a m n a tio n as reason , alw ays u n satisfied , requires. A lo n g tim e after his d e b a te w ith C la u d e l, G id e co m m e n d ed su bterfu ge as a suprem e virtu e in his Theseus; at th e a n tip o d e s o f th e propter vitam, vivendi perdere cau sas,8 life h as n o o th e r reason to be e x c e p t life. R e je c tin g the do gm a and figures o f religiou s lan gu age, secu larizin g the G o sp e l, G id e easily assu m es the h a b its o f a n atu ra list and he on ly aw aits th e sin gle ex p erie n ce o f life as his reason for b ein g, n ot as th e re v elatio n o f a truth . H e p le ad s for h is sen sib ility as th ou gh for a co m p le te ly u n p erv erted a sp ec t, au th en tically p art o f the n atu ral econ om y, and th is p re o c cu p a tio n later co m es to be m ore and m ore co n fu sed w ith retain in g a respectfu l exp ressio n before co m m o n sen se. For if co m m o n sen se re jects w h at h as seem ed co n trary to h im for a lon g tim e, it is by his ow n m ean s th a t he allow s th is an n o y an ce to be less en ed. G id e sh ow s th a t th is co m m o n se n se is o fte n on ly an a lle v ia tio n o f reason by len gthy h a b itu a tio n to th e reason s o f th e h e a rt. T h is is d o u b tless w hat e x p la in s G id e s return to a ratio n alism th a t o ften sh ow s n o fear o f ap p earin g as a p erfect, but alw ays d elib erate, p latitu d e . A t th e tim e o f his

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d ialo gu es w ith C la u d e l, G id e s a rtistic fecun dity w as still n ourish ed by his am bigu ity; betw een th e n ecessity o f say in g ce rtain th in gs and th e im plicit p ro h ib itio n in the lan gu age th at he n ev e rth e le ss h ad to exp ress th em in, they co u ld still on ly be p rodu ced as m asked. W h e n ce th e m isu n d erstan d in g [malentendu] in th e e x c h a n g e s w ith C la u d e l, w here it is u ltim ately a m atter o f a w icked in sin u atio n [ma/ sous-entendu]. B e cau se o f h is d o gm atic in differen ce, G id e m et C la u d e ls ad v an ce s and in terven tio n s w ith a beautiful m ask [beau jeu face]; his secret d isp osition s alw ays allow ed h im to shy away from C la u d e l, as well as from his ow n c o n sc ie n c e w h en ever it seem ed ready to give in to the b atterin gs o f the C ath o lic p o et. If G id e was a p o o r C a lv in ist, co m fortab le w ith his ow n o rth o doxy, w ith a few regrets ab ou t h is forbidd en sensibility, p erh ap s he w ould jo in the co n v e rters gam e. B ut G id e is on ly vaguely a P rotestan t; he ow ed to it no m ore th an a few ata v ism s an d reflexes. T h e se gave h im a susp icious m in d in term s o f h im se lf and oth ers; extern ally, he distrusted in fluential o r p ersua sive b eh avio rs (in th is case the C a th o lic apology and casuistry ), internally, he distrusted his ow n sensibility, his im pulses. G id e had the sort o f m ind th at by defyin g his n atu re w ith h is m arriage, he co n stitu ted a censure w ithin his ow n th ou gh t. T h is is a m ost serious censure, b ecause this responsibility for affection before so m eo n e ch erish ed will rem ain irrecon cilab le w ith G id e s responsibility tow ard his ow n th ou gh t. T h is gives rise to a b attle again st P ro testan t m orality and its ow n discrim in atory instrum en ts: th e n ecessity to ap p ear to be w hat he is n o t is im periously d ictated by affection , as is the n ecessity to be au th en tic th at follow s from his devou rin g n eed for truth. H ow ever, o n e m ust th en estab lish , o n th e side o f art, a com plicity betw een the m ean s o f in fluen ce (in th is case th e C a th o lic m eans th a t G id e s P ro testan t c o n scien c e is su sp iciou s o f) an d his ow n sh am efu l sen sibility; w hat is the a ttractio n th a t here p lies the pow er o f the C a th o lic an d voluptuous gen ius o f C la u d e l? S h o c k e d by G id e s ad m iration for N ietzsch e, C la u d e l w rote to him th at n o m an is great in him self, but rather by th e way in w hich h e harm onizes w ith h is en v iro n m en t an d th e degree to w h ich th is harm ony en rich es and instructs th e rest o f m an k in d .1 ' B ut it is precisely this accord th at is p roh ibited by G id e s n atu re, and w hen C la u d e l d eclares th at he is sav ed b ecau se he h as grasped th at art an d religion sh ould n o t be a n ta g o n isti cally p osited in us, but th at they sh ou ld also n ot be co n fu sed , G id e will already be too in clin ed tow ard co n ce iv in g art n o t as any k in d o f tran spo sition bu t rath er as a m ean s o f p rod u cin g h idd en th in gs.9 T h e m ore C la u d e l exerts h im self in argum ents, im ages, an d exh o rtatio n s w ith th e reticen t G id e , th e m ore h e d eep en s the gap betw een them ; from th eir first c o n ta c ts G id e h as ju dged C la u d e l: a steam h am m er, a fixed

ix. The Correspondence Between Paul Claudel and Andr Gide, letter dated 08/07/03 (38/4).

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cy clo n e ," a bein g in w hom the v io len ce o f p ath o s carries an d d irects the in telligen ce, w hile in G id e p recisely th e o p p o site is the case, o r so he believes. T o su ch an e x te n t th at w hen C la u d e l claim s to distin guish art and evan gelism , G id e will grasp n o th in g less than the m agn ificen t su cccss o f an u n co n sciou s d e ce p tio n . T h e greatest ad v an ta g e o f religiou s faith , for the artist, is th at it perm its him a lim itless p rid e.x R eligiou s certain ty gives this robust m in d a d ep lorab le in fatu atio n .1 ' N ev erth eless, o n e c a n n o t be c o n te n t w ith say in g th at G id e h as a ternp eram en t suited to dialogu e, an d th at, alth ou gh he h ad secretly taken a p o si tio n as soon as C la u d e l w an ted to b egin it, he also asked to be discovered . N o r can o n e sim ply n o te th at C la u d e l h as a perem ptory natu re an d p ossesses a co h eren ce th at does n o t perm it a n o th ers ex p erien ce to co n trad ict it. It is ju st as n ecessary to recognize th at if G id e s in clin atio n for dialogu e ultim ately sp lits in two, indeed d isasso ciates itself, th is is because there is a fu n dam en tal in coh eren ce at the origin o f this aptitud e. A n in coh eren ce betw een w hat at first glan ce seem ed to be only desire, p artiality [appetence ], and the hum an world organized acco rd in g to th e p rin cip le o f an alogy betw een n atu ral and hu m an en ds, a world w here G id e a n desire ca n n o t find its o b je ct, an in co h e r en ce o n the order o f a m uch m ore profou nd d em an d th at can be satisfied only by o b ta in in g from reason th e right to break w ith the an a lo g ica l p rin cip le o f the w orld. C la u d e l is in harm on y w ith th is p rin cip le from w h ich the trad i tio n al vision o f th e world follow s, an d reason serves th is sym biosis. B u t, if re a so n is alw ays reason acco rd in g to o n e side or an oth er, th en o n e m ust adm it th at for G id e this very reason p rotests again st the sym biosis th at it h a s c o n stru cted for peop le oth er than him . T h e re is hardly any n eed to em ph asize here th at a cco rd in g to C la u d e l this sym biosis alm ost m erges w ith th e ratio o f the S ch o la stic s th at assures the co rresp o n d en ce betw een C re a tio n , M an , and the C reato r; how ever, acco rd in g to G id e , th is d em an d does n o t h av e its source in the m eth o d ical doub t o f C a rte sia n reason , but rath er in the sp irits m istrust in the face o f its ow n co n stru ctio n s, o f the d e p e n d en cies th a t result from them and th at w ould deprive it o f the ab so lu te freedom o f perpetually re com m en cin g its activity. P erh aps it is co rrect to ex p ec t th at G id e would p ush h is aptitu d e for co n traries to the p o in t o f p u ttin g reason b ack in to q u es tio n to the m utual identity o f co n traries. But here p erh ap s the fact th at he resides at the h eart o f b oth d ialectic an d do gm a is ju st a ch aracteristic trait o f his physiogn om y; m oreover, this great w riters th ou gh t h as n ever assum ed an ev en sligh tly p ro fessio n al sh ap e it is the th ou gh t o f so m eo n e p rivileged , w ho co n d u cts his p riv ate life in co m p lete in d ep en den ce, an aristo cratic type o f th ou gh t th at h as now

Ibid. (4 7 /1 0 ). xi. Ibid., journal entry dated 05/16/07 (63/27).


X.

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alm o st van ish ed . In stead o f look in g for m etap h y sical argum ents in order to justify him self, G id e h as b een careful to co m m en t on his life in th e language o f h o n e st gen tlem en , acco rd in g to classic al reason , rem ain in g faithful to the p rin cip le o f co n trad ictio n . It is thus in the n am e o f the sam e good sen se w h ich su ggests to C la u d e ls reason ab d icatio n before faith that G id e will sm ell in h im the w orst so rt o f d esp otism th a t the sp irit can suffer. But betw een the d esp otism o f faith an d th at n o less irration al on e o f o n e s ow n affectivity, q u ite con trary to p u ttin g reason b ack in to qu estio n in favor o f w h at h e q u a l ifies as co u n tern atu re , G id e h as ch o sen and m ain tain ed reason as arbiter. H ad the irration al affectivity been less pressing, this arbiter w ould n ot h ave h ad so m any ch a n ce s to interven e: we m ust attrib u te its co n stan t in terv en tion in all o f th e fin al reflection s th at G id e h as given us exclusively to the in tran sigen t probity o f G id e s m ind. G id e in itially gave a sp iritu ally u n stab le im pression o f him self, p erh aps o u t o f fear o f w o un din g his in terlocu tor by leavin g h im self op en , but if then th is tim idity b ecom es guile o n ce he o p ts to co n ce a l or h ide him self, guile b ecom es h ab itu al for h im in his relation s w ith the p oet. A n d if C la u d e ls b lu n t ad v an ce s are follow ed by retreats so m etim es n o less blun t, G id e creates the app earan ce o f new h o p es an d to a certain ex te n t m ain tain s th em perh aps m ore th an he w an ts to, allow in g C la u d e l new op en in g m oves. T h is is why he gen erally responds to C la u d e l on ly w ith eq u iv o catio n s, often w ith p retexts th at leave a gap but a p ath etic o n e b ecause o n e feels strongly here the sick n ess an d p erh ap s also the p ain that p roves th at on e spirit c a n n o t show itself to an o th er th a t it adm ires and by w h ich it feels itself fully m easured, on e th at it do es n o t w ant to lose, but th at it already know s it will lose as so on as it is discovered . Perhaps this is the cau se o f the seem in gly dem on ic n u an ce o f G id e s relation to C la u d e l. It is stran ge how C la u d e ls excessiv e zeal p rojects an infernal glim m er u pon G id e s perplexity. W h eth er this is a m atter o f a p er p lexity before h im self or on e th at results from the n ecessity o f dissim ulatin g, it alw ays follow s from the fact th a t o ccasio n ally G id e is led by a certain style o f reaso n in g th at, at th e en d o f a p rop ositio n , co m es b ack to destroy the o rig in al affirm ation . L e t us h igh ligh t [re!w om ] th e e x c h a n g e o f letters in th is correspon d en ce o n the su b ject o f Strait Is the G a te .10 A fte r h av in g sp ok en o f the em o tio n that h is read in g p rovo ked in him , C la u d e l tw ice rushes right to the p recipice: the first tim e, he does n ot realize th at he is m erely sta tin g G id e s secret thought: If the love o f G o d n ecessarily robbed h im (th a t is, the sa in t) o f the co n tri tion an d h u m ility o f a p e n ite n t h eart, it would almost be better for him to remain in sin. 1 1 T h e se co n d tim e he gets to th e very heart o f the qu estio n , th ou gh it is still veiled u n d er the form o f the case o f A lissa : you are tak in g up again the o ld e st Q u ie tist blasphem y . . . accord in g to w hich piety has n o n eed o f rew ard, an d th at th e m ost n ob le love is the m ost disin terested . H ow co u ld the love o f G o d be perfect, sin ce it w ould be co m pletely u n reason ab le, h av in g no

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cau se a t all?*" G id e s response is stran ge: he pleads first for the virtue o f the dram a m ade p ossible by u n orth odo xy an d m akes use o f a griev an ce again st C ath o lic ism : I ca n 't im agine w hat the C a th o lic dram a could be. It seem s to m e that there isnt on e; th at there c a n n o t and m ust n ot be o n e or b etter on e co u ld say th at it is com prised in the M ass. C ath o lic ism c a n an d m ust bring p eace and certitu de, etc., to the soul; an admirable mechanism is employed here it is a palliative [quitif], n ot a motive for dram a. P rotestan tism , on th e contrary, leads the soul a lo n g certain fortuitous p ath s that m ay en d in the way I h ave described. . . . It is a sch oo l o f h e ro ism ."1 2 U p to this poin t, everythin g seem s to in d icate the ch o ice in favor o f a spiritual atm osph ere where dram a is p ossi ble, a p ositiv e value th at G id e vain ly seeks in C a th o lic spirituality. But the phrase th at begins w ith It is a sch oo l o f heroism is co n tin u ed by a relative clau se th at im m ediately ruins the ch o ice for dram a: It is a sch ool o f heroism , the error o f w h ich, I believe, my b ook brings out quite w ell; it lies precisely in that sort o f superior in fatuation, th at heady co n tem p t for any reward (w hich you took offense a t), th at gratuitous reversion to the spirit o f C o rn eille. B u t it c a n be accom p an ied by real n obility . . . , e tc . 1 1 W h a t does this m ean ? G id e claim s he w ants to live in u n orth odo xy only because he can express dram a in u north odoxy alon e this dram a th at is only au th en tic in unorth odoxy; he distrusts the admirable mechanism o f C ath o lic ism an d refuses to subm it to it because in his eyes it risks ev adin g th e m otive for dram a. But he recognizes th at this will to rem ain in dram a the u ncaused love o f G o d , in oth er words the love that h as n o oth er o b je ct th an love, w hich is n o th in g oth er th an a piety th at is in som e way idolatrous is a superior in fatuation. A ll o f this w ould be fallaciou s if it d id n t hide so m eth in g else. In 1912, C la u d e l asked G id e w here the N .R .F . sto o d in regard to the d o ctrin e regardin g the d e cad en ce o f A rt due to its se p aratio n from w h at p e o p le so stupidly call M orality, an d w h ich I call the Life, th e W ay an d the T ru th .*'" But, the day before, G id e n o ted in his ]o u m al (n o t cited by M allet) th at a co n v e rsatio n w ith P au l-A lb ert Lau ren s lead h im to glim pse the p o ssi bility o f w riting Corydon in an en tirely differen t m o d e .1 4 A tew days later, he fin ds h im self in Sw itzerlan d at N e u c h te l and he w rites in his Jou rn al (cited by M a lle t): H av e I reached the lim it o f exp erien ce? A n d will I be ab le to grasp m yself anew ? I n eed to m ak e wise use o f my rem ain in g energy. H ow easy it w ould be for m e now to throw m yself in to a co n fessio n al! H ow d ifficu lt it is to be at on e and the sam e tim e, for on eself, he w h o co m m an d s an d h e who obeys! B ut w hat sp iritu al director w ould un d erstan d w ith su fficien t subtlety this v acillatio n , this p assio n ate in d ecision o f my w h ole bein g, this eq ual a p ti tude for contraries. A d eperson alization so v o lu n tarily and so difficultly

xii. Ibid. xiii. Ibid., letter dated 01/15/12 (1 7 7 /1 2 8 ).

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o b tain e d , th at could be ex p lain ed and excused only by th e p rodu ction o f the works th at it auth orizes and w ith an eye to w hich I h av e w orked to suppress my ow n p referen ces." A n d further on : B ut can o n e still m ake resolu tion s w hen on e is ov er forty? O n e lives a cco rd in g to tw enty-year-old h a b its." A few resolu tion s to ed u cate his will by th e m ost everyday m eans th en follow : N e v e r go out w ith ou t a d efin ite aim ; h o ld to th is. O n th e ev en in g o f the sam e day he n o ted th at all th is qu ick ly seem ed absurd to h im th at he again b ecam e co n scio u s o f his strength . T h is state is the very o n e 1 w anted; but as so o n as 1 w eaken, 1 ce a se to be an y on e b ecause I h ave w an ted to be all (p er fect state o f the n o v e list), for fear o f b ein g only som eone."" O th e r m en tion s o f this ten den cy tow ard div isio n , tow ard the d eperson alization th at seizes him an d th at, o n ce h e h as recovered, he is afraid to utilize as a faculty, m ay be found in his Journal. It is a p h en o m e n o n (th a t we m u st return to) w h ich will be repeated so o ften th at on the d ecisiv e day [grand jour] he will n ot produ ce the grav e qu estio n th at absorbs him . S o m any co n v o lu tio n s, o scillatio n s, qu alificatio n s: w h at rem ain s unsaid does not exist, because he h as n ot yet beco m e th e o b je c t o f a u n iversal ju d gm en t th at will fall upon him . W h en G id e h as fin ally m ade his profession o f faith largely p u b lic, h e will h ave sim u ltan eo usly broken w ith the trad itio n al m oral world and defin itively c o n so lid ated the feelin g o f his ow n authority. It is then th at, brough t o n to the very terrain o f th e adversary, the b attle th at unfurled w ithin the lim its o f a p articu lar case will find its u n iversal ju stificatio n in the destru ction o f the p reem in en t site o f the so cial values: th e family, h om e o f all egoism s." But, on the day after the n otes cited ab o v e, his m alaise acquires th e phys iogn om y o f the very p erson u pon w hom his claim for n o t sp eak in g his ran cor falls: I wish I had never known C laudel. H is frien dship w eighs on my th ou gh t, an d ob ligate s an d em barrasses it. I still cannot bring myself to hurt him, but as my thought affirm s itself it is opposed to his. H ow can I ex p lain m yself to him ? I would willingly leave the whole field to him, 1 would abandon everything. But 1 cannot say something different from what I have to say, which cannot be said by anyone else (c ite d by M a lle t )/ " T h is m alaise m ust h av e been expressed; we do n ot know under w h at form , n or in w h at ten u s, in a letter (a lso d isap peared ) to C lau d e l, sin ce the latter ju dges it en igm atic. A n d on e c a n scarcely im ag ine in w hat state o f m in d G id e must h av e received these lin es from the poet in response: P erh aps I will sh o ck you by tellin g you the fo u n d ation o f my th ou gh t, w h ich is th at you h ave for a lon g tim e b een , like all m en in the labor o f co n version , under the influence o f th e devil w h o is furious at seein g you escap in g from him . L ik e all extrem ely sen sitiv e an d n ervous p eo p le, you are perh ap s m ore exp o sed th an oth ers to this sin ister influence. I h ad this idea

xiv. The Correspondence Between Paul Claudel and Andr Gide, letter dated 01/??/12 (1 7 8 /1 2 9 ), translation m odified.

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like a flash u pon read in g Saul and The Immoralist, and it cam e b ack to m e last n ig h t.xv C lau d e l ev ok es the issue o f tem p tatio n and the pow er o f resistin g it. T h e in v ita tio n is clear, C la u d e l w ants to lead G id e to speak: you are u n d on e by this idea th at by so m eth in g you co u ld say, do, or w rite, you co u ld d iscou r age, d iscon cert, or scand alize m e. T h e m ost reckless fan tasies d o n o t b oth er m e a t all: my ow n h eart h as often served as a p arad e groun d for th e m ! 1 6He w ants G id e to escap e from the dialogu e w ith h im self an d co m e to find h im so th a t we can talk for a good w hile togeth er tran quilly an d calm ly, for there is n o th in g th at horrifies our Enem y as m u ch as good se n se. 1 7 G id e s response also am o n g the lost letters tells C la u d e l o f V alery L arb au d s co n v e rsio n to C ath o lic ism , w h ich p erh aps was an ex c e lle n t o c ca sio n to elude h is ow n case bu t results in reassu ring C la u d e l n o t on ly o f G id e s su sceptibility, bu t also o f the rum ors th at claim th at the b o o k th at you are p rep arin g will be terri b le (? ). 1 8 T h e n se ttin g ou t from w hat h e b eliev es is an estab lish ed fact, n am ely th at G id e know s an d recognizes C h rist, he ex p lain s to G id e the sa c ra m en tal c o n ce p tio n o f the S a v io r in the C h u rch , the m e an in g o f th e real presence w hich p o stu lates th at the love o f G o d can also be satisfied by possession , forgettin g th at w hat is a t the very h eart o f his c o n ce p tio n o f the universe w ould in G id e 's m in d be again reflected only as th e admirable contrivance th at ev ad es the dram a a n d finally co m es to the m y stical Body: You yourself know th at on e c a n n o t be part o f a body o f p eop le an d still p reserve all o f your freedom to act an d b eliev e as you w an t. 1 9 B ecau se, a cco rd in g to C la u d e ls p o stu late, G id e b eliev es in C h rist but does n o t b elo n g to th e C h u rch , h e is like a d efau ltin g debtor, and b ecau se G id e h as still giv en n o th in g , ju stice h as n o t been satisfied . 20 C la u d e l th in k s it is his duty to cite as an ex am p le for him the return o f diverse dissiden t th eo lo gian s to an o rth o d o x c o n ce p tio n o f the C h u rch , an d h e en co urages G id e to p resen t his objections to h im formally [prsenter ses objections en forme], w h ich w ould fa cilita te th e discussion . In order to en co u rage h im in th is way, C la u d e l m ust n ot be w illin g to veer from his idea o f G id e at all: a P rotestan t fallen in to p assive d isb e lie f th an ks to the d o gm atic an arch y o f his C h u rch bu t o n e w ho can be brough t b ack by ratio n al m eans; it m ust also be the case th at G id e by his attitu d e left C la u d e l to struggle w ith th is p h an to m o f him self, allow in g n o th in g to leak ou t co n ce rn in g his C h rist n egator o f the family, C h rist ag a in st the C h u rch e s, n or m ost im po rtan t th at he had found in C h rist the m aster [maitre] o f his ow n unbelief. H ow co u ld G id e put his o b je ctio n s form ally . 7 Every o n e o f G id e s o b je ctio n s was precisely lack in g all "fo rm . W e com e to the crucial m o m en t o f th is co rrespo n d en ce, w h en, in the m iddle o f M arch 1914, C la u d e l reads w ith a sto n ish m en t in the N .R .F ., w here The C aves o f the Vatican w as first pub lish ed, a p d rastie p assage w h ich , he

xv. Ibid., letter dated 02/29/12 (1 7 9 /1 3 1 ), translation m odified.

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w rites to R ivire, throw s a sin ister ligh t upon certain o f our frien ds p reviou s w orks.2 1 A n d the sam e day h e w rites a v io len t adm on ition to G id e . D oes G id e n o t know th at after Saul an d The Immoralist there is n o further im pru d en ce to co m m it? W ill h e answ er yes or n o as to w hether h e is h im self a p ar tic ip an t in these horrible p ractices? If he is silen t or is evasive in his response, C la u d e l will know w hat restrain s him . If he is n ot, why this stran ge p red ile c tio n for this k in d o f su b ject? A n d if you are, you unhappy m an , cure y ou rself an d do n ot spread th ese ab o m in atio n s. C o n su lt M ad am e G id e ; co n su lt the better h a lf o f your h e a rt."2 2 G id e s resp on se is certain ly the only m o vin g on e o f this c o lle ctio n , and d o u btless o n e o f th e m ost trou b lin g d o cu m en ts th at we h ave o f his in tim ate life. T h e m ost revelatory p ages o f his Journal, w ritten w ithout w itness, d o n o t b ear th is copy [dcalque] o f h im self b en eath the gaze o f an oth er w ho judges. A n d if, in h is Journal, G id e often refutes th e ju d gm en t brought again st him by so m eo n e w ho is ab sen t, it is n ever like in th is letter w here, under the se arch in g gaze o f a frien d, he undergoes a m etam orp h osis; this m e tam o rp h o sis is truly, as far as h e is co n ce rn ed , co m pletely unreal at m ost he will n o longer ap p ear as the o n e h e w as in th e eyes o f so m eo n e else, but in the eyes o f th is latter, he will sudden ly assum e a m onstrous p hysiogn om y an d he c a n n ot but terrify him . W h a t G id e exp erien ces here as a su m m ation is th e brute n ecessity o f ap p earin g in his true ligh t and o f fin ally sh ow in g his face, a u n iqu e face th at, as C la u d e l surm ises, will allow h im to identify G id e on ce an d for all, w hile th is face will n ecessarily still be o n e th at is, to his detrim en t, co m p o sed for him . In his response, G id e m ore th an an y th in g sh ow s h im self to be p reo ccu p ied w ith p reservin g an d h a n d lin g carefully his w ifes affection . T h is is the essen tial reason for his m en tal reservatio n s tow ard o p in io n in general and p articu larly tow ard C lau d e l. Indirectly, he m ak es C la u d e l u n derstan d this. T h e n co m es the co n fession ; I h av e n ever exp erien ced desire before a w om an a co n fessio n , giv en under its n egativ e form , th at con sequ en tly im plies the p o sitiv e co n fessio n th at G id e still refuses to form ulate explicitly. But G id e , if he is trying to lessen th e sh ock th at th is n e g a tiv e co n fession will p rodu ce, aggrav ates it by tak in g a re p e n tan t attitu d e: h e m ak es recourse to the sacram en tal secret o f co n fession an d by th at en ters anew in to th e gam e w ith C la u d e l. A p ro testatio n o f h o n o r a n d can d or follow s, bu t th is p ro testa tion is still tin ged w ith am biguity: on th e on e h an d, he p le a d s in favor o f lit erary fran kn ess [parrhesie litteraire] an d again st so cial a n d m oral untruthfuln ess; o n the o th e r h an d, he begs C la u d e l n ot to see in this phrase an a p p re ciatio n for o th e r m orals, or ev en oth er desires. T h e n he stop s him self, a n d th is in the very n am e o f th e C h ristian idea o f v o c a tio n : By w hat cow ardice, sin ce G o d ca lls m e to speak , sh ou ld I h ave ev aded th is qu estio n in my b ook s? I have not chosen to be this w ay .2' S in c e G id e h as com e forth in this way from th e h an d s o f th e C reato r, G o d h as ch o se n h im to bear before the

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co n scio u sn ess o f m en the en igm a th a t he represents. It is a so u n d in g o f C la u d e ls C ath o lic spirit. B ut G id e , w ho is an guish ed by th e p ossib le co n seq u en ce s o f th is first co n fession , an d also worried th at so m e sn are m ay h av e been set for h im , w ith ou t w aitin g for C la u d e ls reactio n , reaffirm s to h im th e n e x t day th at h e has co n fided in him as in a priest, and th at G o d is certain ly using C la u d e l in order to speak to h im , a reaffirm ation m e an t to put th e frien dsh ip w ith C la u d e l to the test and to lim it the co n seq u en ces th at his zeal m igh t bring. N o w G id e claim s th at perh aps it w ould be preferable for C la u d e l to betray h im ; by h is re ck on in g h e w ould thereby be freed from ev ery th in g th at C la u d e l represents in his eyes w hich so often arrests an d hin ders him . G id e here w an ts to h a s ten the decision : C la u d e l finally sn ap s, and G id e co n tin u es o n his way w ith o u t this aw kw ard co m p an io n . A n d n everth eless a c h a n ce rem ain s: every th in g could be ch an ged in an in stan t. O n e h as the im pression th at G id e is w aitin g for the d e cisiv e turn o f his ow n destiny to co m e from C la u d e l, for he co n clu d e s thus: In truth I do not see how to resolve this problem that G od has inscribed in my flesh. 24 T h is phrase ou gh t to ring in C la u d e ls soul as a cry o f distress an d co n seq u en tly en courage h im to respond to h im as he did, b ecause G id e claim s his ab n o rm al co n stitu tio n is attrib u tab le to G o d . B ut eith er G id e still b eliev es in a tran scen d en t p arad o x, in an ele ctio n th at he co n sen ts to ju d ge from the p o in t o f view o f th eology ; or, already u n b eliev in g, this is n o lon ger a problem to resolve but is best liq u id ated w ithin his ow n co n sc io u s n ess, sin ce he already w rote Corydon; an d h a v in g w ritten this book , he h as surpassed the p ath etic p h ase o f th e p roblem , as he put it to M arcel D rou in in 1911 a b ook w ritten n o t at all in order to m o ve to pity, bu t in order to d is co m fort [gner].2 5 A n d as h e ca n n o t b ring h im self to d iscom fo rt C la u d e l, he m o ves h im to pity. For C la u d e l, th ese tw o letters (b o th sen t from F lo ren ce) co n stitu te an unhoped-for o c ca sio n so u n h o ped for th a t he im m ediately jeopardizes the h u m an m ean s for a co n v e rsio n o f G id e to C ath o lic ism . (G id e h im se lf said th at his letter [of confession ] and C la u d e ls resp on se were an ev en t in his life. Later, m an y years later it is im possib le to know to w h at ex te n t this was m ean t to express som e regrets G id e w ill m ak e an allu sio n to so m e circu m stan ces w hen co n version seem ed im m an en t to h im , an d h e will alm ost say th at th e C a th o lic faith open ed up [panoui] his ow n q u alities. C a n on e push the coquetry further?) C la u d e l is ju st as exp osed as G id e . H e b egin s by sta tin g th at he d o es n ot know w h at w ould give him the right to ju d ge so m eo n e, ev en th ou gh he ju dges the ten den cy an d th at, th e ten den cy n o t b ein g separab le from the su b je ct, h e ca n n o t av o id co n d em n in g th e su b ject. C la u d e l im m ediately attack s h o m o sexu al m orals and a p ossib le system o f defen se th at he p erceives in G id e . If sexu al a ttractio n does n o t h av e as an ou tco m e its n atu ral en d w hich is repro du ctio n , it is d e v ia n t an d w icked. C la u d e l th en refers to the c o n d e m

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n atio n o f th is v ice by R e v e la tio n an d S crip tu re, in p articu lar by S a in t Paul. But G id e d o esn t n eed C la u d e l to know this. A n d if G id e p oses th e qu estio n o f a h o m o sexu al nature, in d ep en den tly o f all h ab it, now C la u d e l does n ot p er m it G id e to be ju dged a v ictim o f a P rotestan t heredity th at h ab itu ated him to seek the rules for h is actio n s on ly in him self. T h u s he in sists essen tially on th e acts an d claim s th at the fear o f G o d is sufficient for a m an to resist his ab n o rm al in stin cts. If G id e tells h im o f h is horror o f hypocrisy, C la u d e l retorts th at cy n icism is worse. G id e m ust b ecom e aware o f th e grave re sp o n sibility th at he is tak in g o n , giv en the p restige conferred by his in telligen ce, by m ak in g h im se lf the a p o lo gist for a vice th at is sp read in g m ore an d m ore. Finally, sh iftin g to an ex p licitly p ragm atic p lan e, C la u d e l puts him on guard again st u n iversal repro b ation , an d h e p o in ts to a flagran t co n trad ictio n in G id e s attitu d e: I will keep an ab so lu te silen ce, but it is you w ho talk and m ak e a show o f yourself. H e add s th is assuran ce, w h ich leaves on e w onder ing: A n d h av e n o d o u b t o f this: th at o n the day th at ev eryone h as a b a n d o n ed you, you will still h ave me. 1 know th e in com p arab le w orth o f a so u l.2 6 A postscriptum follow s in order to d issip ate G id e s fears: W h at an absurd id e a ! H e assures h im th at h e h as on ly w ritten o f this m atter to three trust w orthy persons, to Ja m m e s (a simple exclamation ); to R iv ire2 7 w hose soul he h a s taken under h is tu telage; an d fin ally to the ab b ot F o n tain e, under th e seal o f co n fession . N o o n e dares to say an y th in g to you. Im the on ly o n e w ho dares to sp eak bluntly to you and Im brave en ou gh b ecause o f the interest th at I take in your soul . . . an d d o n t th in k th at I am in any way resp on sib le if th e sc a n d al th a t you h av e u n leash ed bu rsts. A s a gu aran tee o f discretion , he returns th e tw o letters to G id e an d con clu des: For my part, your two beau tifu l an d n ob le letters h e ig h ten m y sen se o f relief. You h av e co n fessed to m e .2 8 N e v erth eless, in th e sam e letter, C la u d e l h as asked G id e to m ake two gestures: first to suppress the p d rastie p assage o f The C av es w hen it is p u b lished as a book ; th en to go see a priest, the ab b o t F o n tain e , w hom C la u d e l seem s to h av e w ritten to on ly in order to prepare him for th is co n su ltation . In readin g G id e s response, he seem s stronger, an d w ith good reason . H e p arries, sin ce it is in evitab le th a t he will app ear as d efen sive, an d is audaciou s en ou gh to protest: w here can you see in my two letters an y th in g th at resem bles an apology or even an ex cu se? I am sim ply tellin g you how things stand." H e asks him for the address o f the ab b o t F but robs C la u d e l in ad v an ce o f any h o pe th at th e latte r puts in th is co n su ltatio n : if the m ost ferven t an d fa ith ful love h as n o t been ab le to ob tain any a cq u iescen ce from my flesh, I leave it to you to im agin e th e effect o f his ex h o rtatio n s, reprim an ds, a n d coun sels. (A n d , I ask you, w h at meaning does your phrase h a v e for me: In spite o f all th e d o ctors, I ob stin ate ly refuse to b eliev e in a p h y siological d eterm in ism ?) G id e c a n n o t agree to th e su ppression o f the in crim in atin g p assage. N o , do n o t ask m e eith er to d o cto r or to com prom ise; or it w ill be I w ho th in k less o f you. A n d ta k in g a reprim an d in g ton e in turn, he veh em en tly reproaches

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C la u d e l for h av in g told [alert] R iv ire for w hom G id e h a s th e stro n gest re v eren ce. You h av e given in to a th ou gh tless fit o f anger. T h e absurdities, the m o n strosities th at R ivire will im agin e will force G id e to burden him w ith co n fid en ces that he h ad w an ted to spare h im . G o o d b y e . B e lie v e th at my frien dship for you h as n ever b een stronger. 2 VT h u s th e m ost fran k letter th at G id e w rote to C la u d e l at least in this c o lle ctio n (w e are leavin g aside w hat m igh t be co n ta in ed in those th a t were lost in the Tokyo earth q u ak e ) is also co n clu d ed by on e o f the m ost sin cere statem en ts. W h en ever h e is on the verge o f b ein g sep arated from so m eo n e to w hom h e fin ds h im self in so m e way a tta c h ed , G id e , ap art from any d ep en d en ce, c a n truly love them for th eir ow n sak e and exp erien ce th eir valu e freely. If, a t this tim e, G id e h ad still b een ab le to be sh ak en , n o th in g co u ld h ave d o n e it m ore poorly th an C la u d e ls way o f in terven in g in his trib ulation s, insofar as they were th en real. For C la u d e l sodom y is n ot th in k ab le ex c ep t as a v ice develo ped by h ab it, a delib erately exercised p erversion . C la u d e ls c o n ce p tio n , based on th e S c h o la stic n o tio n o f habitus an d in d ep en d en t o f all m oral d iscrim in ation , w ould p erh ap s be closer to th e m odern psy ch iatric c o n ce p ts th an to any paltry scien tism o f G id e s. It is a co m pletely different q u es tion in th at register. H om osexu ality is a n atu ral p h ase th at is m ore or less p ro n ou n ced in an in d iv id u als sexu al d e v e lo p m e n t and w hich is organized in to a p sych ic co m plex only w hen the in d ivid ual is stu ck in th is phase. B u t C lau d e l does n ot h e sitate to put sodom y o n th e sam e p lan e as o n an ism or p h en om en a as differen t from eac h o th e r as vam p irism , p ed o p h ilia, an d can n ib alism , an d he p o stu lates th at th e ju stifica tio n o f the first w ould en tail the ju stificatio n o f all the rest (w h ich he had, o n th e c o n trary, p erfect reason to claim if, instead o f G id e , he w as sp eak in g o f a certain libertin e p h ilo sop h er o f the eigh te en th century, w ho w as cap ab le o f ra tio n a l izing any such d isp o sitio n ).,c It was a q u estio n here o f k n o w in g to w h at ex te n t G id e , in terpretin g h is ow n case acco rd in g to p h y siological determ in ism , did n o t offer C la u d e l a m eans o f b reakin g the dilem m a th at G id e im agined: G od or homosexuality. But C la u d e l brusquely re jected as b lasp h em ous the lon e idea o f an irreducible, n orm al co n stitu tio n th at, at least subjectiv.ely, co n stitu te d the groun d o f G id e s exp erien ce, regardless o f w h at p rodu ced G id e s in terpre tiv e e n o r in this m atter; acco rd in g to him this idea can on ly exp ress the d is tress o f a m an w ho is the v ictim o f his P rotestan t heredity. S a y in g this a long tim e before p in n in g G id e in the pillory, he forces him from now on , as th ou gh he still ev en n eed ed to force him , to lean on the p illory and thus to give his ow n face to this v ice . In a w ord, instead o f freeing h im he d e fin i tively im prisons him in h is dilem m a, by h av in g w orsened the term s: G o d or S o d o m w hich am ou n ts to assig n in g G id e to a forced residen ce in the h o m o sexu al gh etto. A t the sam e tim e, by go in g before th e p riest, C la u d e l also ruin ed the im age o f the co n fesso r in G id e s th ou gh t. M o reo ver the auricular co n fession

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is here found to be in agreem en t n o t w ith the n eed for a public co n fession , bu t rather w ith the n eed for a p rofession o f faith . N o th in g , in effect, co u ld be as repu gnan t to G id e as seein g his ten d en cies in volu n tarily c la n d estin e b en efitin g the co n fessio n al, w hen on th e con trary he is w aitin g for th e hour to proclaim them . T o secretly avow as faults to the tribun al o f th e C h u rch desires or acts h e exp erien ced or co n sen ted to as a n atu ral n ecessity, and w h ose re ite ratio n w rongly or rightly app ears to him in escap ab le, in his eyes th is was ch e a tin g in order to be redeem ed. From the p o in t o f view o f his d iscu ssion w ith C la u d e l th at b egan so poorly, for G id e to en ter in to a confessio n a l am ou n ts to bein g throw n in to sacrilege. But if there is so m eth in g that G id e is horrified by, it is b ein g portrayed in the ligh t o f S a ta n ism th at c o n stitu tes the literary p restige o f so m e auth ors. R e v o ltin g again st M o n tfo rts in terpretation ( M . G id e w ants to be a sinner, he desires laws in order to taste the p leasu re o f tran sgressin g th em , e tc .),3 1 h e w rites in h is Journal: T h is c o n c e p tio n o f sin as a sorbet, o f sacrilege an d S a tan ism (w hich was B arbey d A urevilly s, for ex am p le . . .) is n o t P rotestan t at all. N o r is it any m ore m in e for th at reason . 2 S h a ll we claim th at if a pederast is already a P rotestan t it is b et ter for him to rem ain so th an to en ter in to the C h u rch ? W e are far from su ch an absurdity. But here is a bit o f the response th at G id e h im self gave in response to th e p roblem so poorly posed first by C la u d e l an d th en by the latters o th e r C a th o lic friends: B etter n o t to en ter in to it, this is still the best way o f getting out o f it.""'1 If, how ever, sen sib ility is a ctin g here as a d eform in g m ir ror and reflects the co n fessio n al as a b lack m ark et insofar as th e P rotes tan ts are alw ays sligh tly in clin ed tow ard se ein g clan d estin e m ac h in atio n s in th e C a th o lic rites stop fo olin g around or it will en d in tears this is b ecau se in G id e s p articu lar case, C la u d e ls reactio n h as rein forced this p e n ch a n t for su sp icion ; from now on G id e will be p urified by his licen se and will justify h o m osexu ality by m ak ing it public, w hile he will su spect the C h u rch , on the oth er h an d, o f b ein g an impure enterprise. M oreover, if it is on ly a m atter o f heredity, rather th an the elab oration o f affective reflexes by an cestral h ab its, C la u d e l sees in G id e s P rotestan t h ered ity only a few h ab its o f th ou gh t. H e h as n o t discovered the v estiges o f the C a lv in ist feelin g o f th e fallen and co n d em n ed n atu re, a feelin g th at do cs n ot aw ait san ctifica tio n by G o d (as in the C a th o lic fa ith ), but pardon . For to un d erstan d G id e , o n e m ust u n d erstan d th at this feelin g o f a co n d em n ed n atu re is n o longer verified as a th e o lo gical co n ce p t, but rather as the p er so n al feelin g o f his irreducible co n stitu tio n thus as th e problem th at G o d inscribes in his flesh. From th is also arises, for G id e , the ten den cy tow ard

xvi. G id e is n ot speaking about him self, but on the su bject o f the thought o f Miguel de U n am un o, w hom C laudel charged with heresy. (Journal, February 1916) [the entry is actually dated M arch 14, 1916 (p. 136) trans.].

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sp littin g, the interest th at h e takes in the p roblem o f the double, w h ich has also especially h au n ted P rotestan t literature: A m I ch o sen ? A m I dam n ed? But ch o sen , 1 n o n eth eless rem ain a pardoned d am n ed , b ecau sc G o d , w ho c o n sen ts to n o t se ein g my sin in order to ad m it m e, rem ain s exterior to me. W h a t ever my works are, they are agreeab le to G o d only if I co n sid er th em as works o f sin. 1 c a n th u s h o pe to be G o d ly only if first 1 recogn ize b ein g D evilish . From th is religion , G id e h as retain ed on ly the n eed to retract and disav ow an ap titu d e for th e other, under th e form o f sp littin g, because in th e fu n d a m en tal im possibility o f ch an gin g the other will assum e th is im possib ility th at co n sciou sn ess, relieved , but also a sp ectator, will be c o n te n t to describ e under th e p retex t o f d o in g psychology. S u c h is the m e an in g o f th e p seu d o co n v ersa tio n s o f G id e w ith the D ev il, his recen t a ttractio n to Ja m e s H o ggs C o n fe r sions o f a Justified Sinner, and w hat giv es him o n e m ore o c ca sio n to interpret th e D evil as a sim p le exteriorization o f our ow n d esires, by w h ich h e en joys p u ttin g words in h is m outh: Why do you fear me? You know quite well that I dont exist. U ltim ate ly th is is w h at ch allen ged G id e w ith the m ost force, indeed co m p en sated for the n eed or th e ab sen ce o f n eed for th e auricular co n fession , insofar as the qu estio n co u ld even be really posed. O n e can therefore distin guish tw o periods in the arc o f G id e s life: the first, p laced entirely under the sign o f the secret, w hich determ in es the apti tude for contraries, an d disposes him to sp littin g, an d w hich runs up to the eve o f the p u b lication o f If the Seed Should D ie ; Corydon and The Counterfeiters app ear alm ost sim u ltan eously w ith this work, and th en th e period o f licen se begins: it is m arked by the disclosure o f personal w ritings in the su ccessive p u b lication s o f his Journal, the m ost recen t o f w hich ev in ce the m ost virulent co nfession s. T h erefore G id e h as lived in order to ruin, w ith his co n cern s, the traditio n al n o tio n o f personal life. By publishing, w hile livin g, w hat oth er w rit ers o f his stature h av e reserved for posterity, if n ot for destru ction , h e has w an ted to show th at n o th in g o f ourselves ju stifies th e secret (as lon g as o n e is careful n ot to dam age the lives o f oth ers) an d th at every p erson al exp erien ce is only ever lived as a fun ction o f everyone. W ith this h e exten d s his battle again st fam ilial com partm en talization in to the dom ain o f p ersonal life; the secret is eq u ivalen t to a p sych ological an d spiritual cap italism , its disclosure to a fungibility o f the life o f souls. It is a m atter o f return in g to the individual everythin g th at he ow es to the h u m an com m u n ity th at alw ays surpasses him , and th at he was able to surpass for a m om en t only in favor o f a co n ju n c tio n o f different currents in his ow n co n sciou sn ess a co n sciou sn ess w hich m ust be acquired, alon g w ith his exp erien ces, through the existen ce o f everyone. H av in g said this, d o es it m ean th at ev ery th in g d isclo sab le truly c o n sti tutes the au th en tic p ersonal life? Is there n o t so m eth in g irreducible rem ain ing beyond all im agin ab le disclosu re th at we know n o th in g o f and th at, p re cisely by h a v in g required this disclosu re, w ould n o n e th ele ss rem ain th e most au th en tic this life th at, freed from ev ery th in g th at m ust be said, w ould also

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rem ain the m ost in tan gib le, th e on ly privacy th at is truly im p o rtan t, th e only valu ab le one. O n e day, G id e was happy to offer a sort o f co m m en tary on the d efects o f an old G e rm a n film , N osferatu the Vampire: If I were to rew rite the film , I w ould portray N o sferatu w ho we know is the v am p ire from th e b eg in n in g n ot as a m em ber o f a terrible and fan ta stic species, bu t on th e con trary as h a v ing th e ch aracteristics o f an in offen sive young m an , ch arm in g an d full o f kin dn esses. First, I w ould w ant th e dread to arise on ly th ro ugh so m e very w eak in d icatio n s, an d in th e m in d o f the sp ec tato r before th a t o f th e hero. W ou ld n t it be m u ch m ore frigh ten in g if he were p resen ted to th e w om an from th e very b eg in n in g in su ch a ch arm ing asp ect? It is a kiss th at m u st be transform ed in to a bite. If he sh ow s his teeth im m ediately, it b ecom es n o th ing bu t a ch ild ish n igh tm are.J4 L et us here give in to the tem p ta tio n to seek in this fortu itou s, e x c ellen t digression a sort o f reflection o f G id e s ow n im age, or a t least his ow n dem on , in th e m ind o f righ t-th in k in g p eop le. It is in spite o f them th at G id e h as b eco m e a sort o f spiritu al vam p ire for them . B u t h as he n o t co n trib u ted to n o sm all e x te n t in elab o ratin g th is im age? Is h e n ot in vo lv ed in the gam e? D oes he n o t also m ake a feint in order to reassure the sp ectato r: But no, there is nothing terrible, nothing but the quite natural: at most a little too charming as h e m igh t be im agined d o in g in th is scen ario . D oes he n o t also d eterm in e th a t to sh ow his tee th first w ould be to estab lish in their m in ds a defin itely n o n ch ild ish n igh tm are th at w ould co m prom ise his true th ou gh t? B u t later he m odifies slightly the scen ario th at he design s here: I w ould w an t h im (th e v am p ire) to w illingly ap p ear to everyone as a h ideou s m on ster; ch arm in g on ly in the eyes o f the you n g w om an, a volu n tary and sedu ced v ictim ; but, sedu ced in h is turn, h e sh ou ld be m ad e less an d less h or rible to the p o in t o f becoming the deligh tfu l b ein g w hose m ere app earan ce he a t first on ly borrow ed. A n d it is th is deligh tfu l b ein g th at the c o c k s crow m ust kill, th at the sp ec tato r m ust see sudden ly d isap pear w ith re lie f and regret. " G id e in stin ctiv ely g iv es h ere a p arab le o f his ow n adven tu re: h e is h im se lf sim u ltan eo usly the young w o m an , a volu n tary an d sedu ced victim (th is is his ow n im a g in a tio n ), an d the m o n ster h ideou s to a ll th is is w hat h e is afraid to ap p ear as, ch arm in g on ly to th e eyes o f the youth, a voluntary and sedu ced v ic tim as h is co n tem p o raries w ould say; for if the young w om an form s here a b it o f his ow n curiosity ab ou t th e youth, this curiosity itself draws from G id e s you th in order to co m p o se this exq u isite b ein g w hose m ere ap p earan ce h e first assum ed. A n d if th e c o c k s cry is leth al even w hen this p h ysiogn om y is a u th en tic, th is is b ecau se it sign als the lucidity th at puts an en d to th is gam e o f sp littin g, o f ex c h a n g e a n d o f in fluen ces for on e d o es n ot exercise in fluen ce w ith im punity and w h ich finally an n ou n ces the m an resigned to h im self but, for all th at, ce rtain ly n o t satisfied.

Chapter Four

Preface to A Married Priest by Barbey dAurevilly

If n o t th e least know n o f the works by the author o f th e Diaboliques [The She Devi/s], A M arried Priest is today certain ly the m ost forgotten . D urin g his life tim e it was also th e least ap p reciated o f his books. O w in g precisely to th is d ista n ce, it app ears as an im portant b ook th at for b etter or w orse provides an a cco u n t o f the facticity a n d au th en ticity th at indissolu bly form ed th e p erson ality o f Barbey d A u rev illy . If Barbey d A u r e v illy m ade up a ch aracter [personnage] o f h im se lf d e s tin ed for th e ex te rn al w orld, h e h as also, w ith this d o u b le, p resen ted several p ortraits th at are only relatively self-portraits: su ch as Rollon Langrune, the story s n arrator w ho app ears in the Prologue. B etw een th e a u th o r an d th e p o rtra it o f th e a u th o r a cry stalliz atio n o f d iv e rse im p u lsio n s th a t m u st b e su b o rd in a te d to eac h o th e r is effe cted in o rd er to o b ta in a p h y sio g n o m y an d th e a m b ia n c e th at th e tab le au requ ires. W h at im pulses are at work here.7 Barbey len ds ce rtain o f his hum ors and q u alities to his do u ble, a bit o f his dazzling verve, o f his dain tin ess w ith a tou ch o f lasciviou s slyness; and in all o f this there is a deep sen se o f the n o b il ity o f m elan ch oly, a p red ilectio n for th a t gen erosity o f the heart th at is a cc ep tin g ev en to th e p o in t o f sh am e an d ignom iny. H is stro n gest im pulses aggressiven ess an d vo lu ptu ou sn ess first appear u nder the m ask o f the C a th o lic p olem icist, th e n under th at o f the so p h isti cate. But a v io len ce, a cruelty, a sen sual d e lig h t in horror such as w hat e x p lo d e s several years later in Les Diaboliques, are seek in g here, in R o llo n L an gru n es lan gu age, to be app eased in a way o th e r th an by the ev o ca tio n o f e xcessiv e [effrns] scen es an d gestures. T h e a p p ea l o f the sea, o f forests, the fallin g ligh t o f an cestral p laces, th e sp ectral retu rn o f bygon e ages bring, m ore

47

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th an a satiety, a m ore certain d eliv eran ce in a pure atm osph ere o f th e flesh s san ie s an d tears [dchirements]. In R o llo n L an gru n es rem arks th e fervor o f th e defen der o f orth od o x y altern ates w ith the n o stalgia for a world o f cu sto m s th at h as d isap peared b en eath so cial u ph eavals. T h e loss o f so cial p rivileges h as n ev erth eless found a m ore subtle sort o f co m p e n satio n : the p rivilege o f exclusive experiences w hich h en ceforth will be affirm ed as an authority. In the world o f a society com m ercialized by n o tio n s o f progress and utility a world th at w as th e tortu rin g co n te x t o f B au delaire, N e rv a l, an d o f B a r bey exclu sive exp erien ces, in th e sam e way as p o etic creatio n , are m arked w ith the stigm a o f the useless. For B au delaire, for N e rv a l in oth er ways for N ietzsch e the useless ch aracter o f exclu siv e ex p erie n ces resides in this statem en t o f T h o m a s de Q u in cey : th e Burden o f the incommunicable.' B etw een the incommunicable an d the h o stile so cial w orld th ere are attitu d es o f declared or larval refusal, or ev en p rovision al co m prom ise. D andyism , m ore im portant for Barbey th an for B au delaire, is borne as the m ask o f this auth ority an d p riv ilege th at conferred the exclu sive ex p erien ces, an d also as the app rop riate m ask to hide the stigm a o f the useless. O n the social p lan e, dandyism , in order to escape from its ow n vulgariza tion, has recourse to paradox; it is this aspect o f dandyism th at Barbey intro duced into the genre o f p olem ical w riting, in the n am e o f the legitim ist and C ath o lic reaction against the bourgeois, positivist, and secularizing spirit. H ere, his aggressiveness developed all o f its verve. L am artin e claim s th at I am a vil lain all the m ore atrocious because I am great (sic), th at I am a Catholic M arat (is this why I am g r e a t? . . . ) and that I paint the guilbtine white (sic)."2 Barbey reports this statem en t by Lam artin e w ith an indign ant satisfaction. T o appear as a vil lain all the m ore atrocious because on e is great, Barbey w illingly subm its to the nihil obstat. H ere, in effect, ow ing to a stubborn fin de non-reevoir* in opposition to so cial con vu lsion s despite a perfectly lucid vision o f the even t, there is a great danger that the p aradox will turn into deliberate bad faith in the eyes o f the faithless. D andyism is com bined in a bizarre way w ith an intellectual Chouannerie that others, with a status m uch inferior to his ow n, will exp loit with less genius and m ore dishonesty.5 A cco rd in g to the axiom th at there is no truth for the enem ies o f truth n o m orality is spared in the eyes o f th ose c o n tem ptuous o f the dogm a that alone grounds m orality every m ystification is perm itted both in their ow n eyes as well as in the eyes o f a world th at has lost the sense o f mystery and from now on only w ants to depend on m an. H ow ever, under the p retex t o f d efen d in g o rth o d o xy an d m onarchy, B ar bey is n everth eless n ot actu ally tak in g up again the p o sitio n o f a Jo se p h de M aistre.6 W h at he knows how to defen d intim ately, w h at properly b elon gs to him , is the incommunicable o f his ex c lu siv e exp erien ces, an d this is why the A u re v illia n p arad ox, especially in p o etic creatio n , steep s its reason s in a n eg ativ e theology an d is exp lain ed in th e figures o f th at theology.

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T h u s aggressive v io len ce is insufficient for th e p o lem ic, w h ich w astes it instead; th is is on ly an exterior and social m an n er o f refuting, by m ean s o f p arad o x , h u m an resp ect w ith its adherents an d su ccesses; n ev erth eless it seeks on th e con trary a terrain w here it c a n confess b en eath a su ggestive an d c o m m u n icab le form but disguised and always co m p a tib le w ith an eq u iv o cal in terp retation its co m p licity w ith the nam eless forces th a t are on ly sh a d ow s in the eyes o f h u m an resp ect. T h e n o v elistic fab rication th at here fully realizes th is fu n ctio n h as the a d v an ta g e o f en rich in g th e e x e g e tica l range o f ev ery th in g th a t it im agines w ith ou t losin g any o f the co m b a tiv e efficacy o f th is p arad ox : again st the c e n turys h u m an itarian ism , this infam y that m ust be crush ed in its turn, d e v e l o p in g in h um an p leasu re in th e n am e o f a h id d en G o d . A M arried Priest is m ore illu strative o f th is th an Les Diaboliques [De q u illustre U n prtre mari autant que Les Diaboliques ]. It is a d an gerou s gam e. For it provides w eapon s again st religion and, w h ats m ore, it ab ou n d s w ith a sen se o f v o lu n tarism in order to v in d icate again all th e old [retenus] g riev an ces again st religion as so m any p o sitiv e v a l ues, w hich are decried as im m oral and injurious by h u m an itarian s o f all te n d en cies. B u t S a d e , by his ow n co n fession , in an op p o sed bu t an alo go u s sense, p reviously th ou gh t th a t he h ad furnished the d evou t so il" [ tourbe devotieuse ] w ith all the w eapon s n eed ed again st ath eism in order to push it to its extrem e co n seq u en ces: to the know ledge o f an ab so lu te am oralism .'

i.

C f. M arquis de S ad e, Cahiers personnels (1 8 0 3 -1 8 0 4 ), unedited texts, collected,

prefaced, and an n o tated by G ilb ert Lly (Paris, C orra, 1953). W e can never thank G ilb ert Lly enough for h aving restored to us, am ong oth er texts, the quite singular N ote Regarding My Detention, which d ates from S a d e s internm ent at Bictre in 1803. C om m en tin g on this note, in w hich the author o f Justine, after always being defended for h av in g w ritten it, still supports his disavow al, since it is as the author o f such a work th at he was sequestered at B ictre, M . G ilbert Lly observes that at the begin ning o f the nin eteen th century when th e revenge o f the priests is announced, the m arquis vituperates against h im self for h avin g inadvertently served the cause o f the defenders o f G o d by w riting for the public the novel Justine in w hich all the cornipt heroes are ath eist ph ilosoph ers." In the Note Regarding M y Detention Sad e argues in his defense as follows: W hen one reads it (th e novel Justine) attentively, then one will see that, by an unfor givable blunder, by a deliberate (as he understands it) procedure to blend the author with the sages and fools, with th e good and the w ickcd, all the philosoph ical personages o f this novel (th at is to say the atheists) are gangren ous and villainous. H ow ever I am a ph iloso pher; all those w ho know me do not doubt that it is my pride and my profession. . . . A nd can on e adm it for a m om ent, even supposing m e to be a fool, can one, I say, suppose for a m inute th at I would pollute with horrors and ex ecratio n s the character with w hich I m ost honor m y self?. . . D o you see such horrors in m y other works? [Sade is m aking an allusion to Aline and Valcour.] O n the contrary, all the villain s that 1 have painted are o f the faith ful, because all o f the faithful are wicked and all ph ilosoph ers are honest m e n .. . . Therefore

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In an age w here socially an d p ractically acquired ath eism is b eg in n in g to co n stru ct its m orality in the n am e o f the freedom o f co n scien c e, Barbey d A urevilly th ink s on ly o f ru in in g th is m orality in the n am e o f d o gm a by p u sh in g religious strictn ess to the ab so lu te o f the p assion s. M orally, S a d e the a th eist and Barbey the C a th o lic are n ih ilists. W h at exactly h as h ap pen ed ? N o th in g less th an th e d iv o rce o f religion an d m orality follow ed im m ediately, on th e o n e h an d , by th a t o f bou rgeois m orality and (scien tific) reason an d , o n the other, by th a t o f reason an d m ys tery. O n the eve o f th is total d isin tegratio n o f the m en tal stru ctu res o f so c i ety, w hat ex actly is the p ositio n o f a C a th o lic p o lem icist su ch as Barbey? It is likely th at th e auth or o f A M arried Priest and o f the Diaboliques has, if n o t actu ally th ou gh t, at least perfectly sensed th a t th e laicizing prin ciples, in p articu lar the freedom o f co n scien c e, were o f a directly C h ristia n in sp ira tio n , and th at through these p rin ciples he co u ld atta c k n o th in g less th an C h ristian m orality pure and sim p le. Even if th is m ean s th at he n o longer retain s C a th o lic orth od o xy an d , as an ap o lo gist, on ly further e x a lts structures th at are the m ost foreign to the ev an gelic spirit bu t also the m ost C a e sa r ian, the m ost M a c h iav e llia n , the m ost inq uisitorial; for to h im it is a m a je s tic edifice, w ell-fashion ed from p ro h ib itio n s and am b igu ous sign s revolvin g arou n d the H o st as a sym bol o f a P assion ate m agic, w here the P recious B loo d an d S in , the celestial and the w icked flesh, are sim u ltan eo u sly polarized. H ere, in effect, n ot on ly hatred for th e laicizing, m ercan tile, and d isb eliev in g century, n o stalgia for a sp iritu al hierarchy th at is resp on siv e to th e privilege o f exclu siv e exp erien ces, often draw ing the allure from a defen se o f its m e n aced in stitu tion s, bu t equally and ab o v e all a m o st secret asp iratio n is ab le to find here its ap p easem e n t in the p ractice o f an in tim ate m agic. For in m agic, th at m irror o f th e am bigu ity o f th e p assion s, som e o f th e forces th a t are m ost obscu re but also m ost ap t to m asqu erade are aggressiv en ess and vo lu p tu o u s ness, alo n g w ith th eir corollary: m orose d e le cta tio n , eac h stru gglin g an d c o l lud in g in turn w ith th eir ow n fatality. It is w ithin su ch an edifice th at Barbey d A u revilly is found in stalled , en tren ch ed , w hen he sets o u t to w rite sim u ltan eo usly A M arried Priest an d Les

it is not true th at Justine is by me. Even m ore I say: it is im possible for it to be . . . I would here add som ething even stronger: th at it is very singular that all o f the devoted dirt, Geoffroy, G en lis, Legouve, C hateau brian d, La H arpe, Luce de Lan cival, V illeterques, th at all o f these brave agents o f the tonsure would rage against Justine, since this book has actu ally aided their cause. H ad they tried, they could not h ave paid for such a w ell-m ade work as this one in order to denigrate philosophy. A n d I swear on everything sacred that I have in the world that I will never forgive m yself for havin g served these individuals w ho are so incredibly m istaken about m e. ( Cahiers personnek, pp. 6 3 -6 5 .) Barbey d A urevilly goes on, in his own novels, to work out this deliberate procedure to blend the author with the sages and fools.

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Diaboliques, so m e o f w h ich are prior, oth ers later th an A Married Priest. Les Diaboliques illustrate the ten sion betw een ce lestial an d w icked flesh. A M ar ried Priest offers an acco u n t o f th e sam e d iv o rce betw een religion and m o ral ity, betw een reason an d mystery, w ith all o f the co n seq u en ce s th at follow in the destiny o f the m an w ho takes the sid e o f mystery, and who, d esp ite h a v ing reason for an o p tio n , rem ains d ep en d en t o n mystery. R ecou n ted in the lan gu age o f orth odoxy, the stag in g o f th is destiny provides an a cc o u n t o f a m agic valorization o f both p ro h ib itio n s an d sign s, in th is case th ose o f the sac ram en tal order th a t links the p riest to the H ost. O n M arch 14, 1855, Barbey d A u rev illy w rites to T rbutien: I am m yself ertsorcelled [encapric] by a stran ge su b je ct and my verve h as suffered pow er fully! as it alw ays suffers the hussy! w hen it aw aken s n aturally in m e. T h is stran ge su b je ct th at will bear th e very dign ified title o f its stran gen ess: le C hateau des soufflets [T he C astle o f the Bellows] is a n o v el o f a certain darin g an d freshness n o t long! A dozen or so serials (a v o lu m e ) but hooking [cro chetant | th e a tte n tio n and interest, ju st as th ieves, arm ed w ith claw s, h ook a do or an d throw it dow n. You will see, my friend, you will see, but on ly w hen it is fin ished. A s for th at oth er o n e, 1 h ave n ot crystallized. I am p ossessed by th e sam e su b ject. I sin g in my register and in my ch o rd s.7 In the autu m n o f th e sam e year, h e sen d s the (first) m an uscript to T rbu tien: I am q u ite sure th at you will read it as o n e m ust . . . reading and not running through, and en du rin g the d elib erate and carefully th ou gh t-ou t grad ation s o f th e au th o rs peram b u latio n s an d cu rtain -raisin g. . . . T h e first th in g th at I will do after the Soufflets an d Des Touches 8 will be so m eth in g vast an d full o f intrigue. B ut like a se n sitiv e an d carin g group, in so m e co rn er o f the coun tryside, this castle of bellows, which 1 want you to be interested in as in a person, is n o t to be rudely rejected . T h e re is in it the to n e o f a brusque story, hardy, fam iliar, w h ich is n ot the ton e o f everyth in g, and for the poets, for w hom a m o tif plays before a p oem , there is also a basis for a b eau tifu l dream . W ill you like it C a lix te , will you? S u lta n o f asceticism , will you throw the h an d k erch ief to this C h ristian m artyr w h o, I h o pe, is m ore true, m ore h u m an and less th eatrical th an C ym odoce,'' an d w ho d ies from the b ites o f her father a terrible lion in his ow n right! You w ill s e e !" A fte r m any revision s ov er an in terval o f alm ost ten years, th e n o v el will ap p ear in serials in Pays in 1864, under its d efin itive title: A M arried Priest, before b ein g p u blish ed in a vo lu m e by A . Faure in 1865. T h e m ere ch an ge o f th e origin al title itself reveals the d isp lacem en t o f th e interest th at th e auth or uses to treat th e ch o se n them e. T h e first title, m ore p ictu resq u e an d m ys terious, m ak es allu sion to the to p ograp h ical asp ect o f th e story an d at the sam e tim e to th e p articu lar activ ity o f the hero: the bellows o f a laboratory.

ii. Lettres Trbutien, v. 3, pp. 3 3 8 -3 3 9 , letter dated Septem ber 2 1 -2 2 , 1855.

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T h e p referen ce giv en to th e se co n d title, w h ich in d icates the situ a tio n o f th e hero, a title w ith a p o lem ical an d a p o lo g e tic b earin g, is d irected a t the sam e tim e tow ard the au d ien ce o f C a th o lic s an d to lay o p in io n . It is a m a t ter o f strik in g at the latter for its re p ro b atio n o f th e ce lib a cy o f p riests. T h e b o o k s lack o f su ccess, if o n e e x c c p ts the in terest th at it arou sed in the a u th o rs n ativ e p ro v in ce, th e n e g a tiv e re actio n s from b oth sid es in d ic ate an u n ease an d a m isu n d erstan d in g p rovo k ed first ot all by th e title. For married m ean s atheist. N o on e, at th at tim e, p erh ap s n ot ev en T rb u tien , seem s to h av e been able to read en du rin g the delib erate an d carefully th ou gh t-ou t grad atio n s o f th e au th o rs p eram b u lation s and th e cu rtain -raisin g. T h e cu rtain n eith er reveals n or m erely hides the actio n , but its p eram b u lation an d its raising th em selves allow for a readin g o f the inverse sid e o f the tapestry. T h e weft here is crossed by th at thread th at form s the ap o lo gist an d his argu m ent: a m arried priest. But the threads th at cross it an d co n verge on the in telligib il ity o f the figures form an en sem b le o f m o tifs on th e reverse th at are the on es th at we retain an d th at still affect us today. A n d we in the future u n derstan d better, we u n derstan d in a different way th an h is co n tem poraries, w h at T rbu tien could n ot u n derstan d in the co m m en tary th at B arbey addressed to him : a n ovel o f a certain darin g an d n ew n ess but hooking [crochetant] the a tte n tion an d the in terest, ju st as th ieves, arm ed w ith claw s, h o ok a door and throw it dow n . T h e dram a o f the ab b ot S o m b rev al"1 unfolds th rough the p ersisten ce o f the s a c r e d in the soul o f an u n b e liev in g priest. By virtue o f the o b je c tiv e

iii. H ere is the real adventure th at provides Barbcy w ith the elem en ts o f h is intrigue: it follows alm ost word for word the story o f a certain abbot, Je an Lcbon o f Saint-Saveur-leV icom te, an ordained priest during the R evolu tion , charged with a secret m ission by his m igr bishop to Jersey, who returned to Paris in order to negotiate the co n dition s for the return o f the prelate w ith the governm ent, but, in the interval, studied with the chem ist Fourcroy, becam e his disciple, adopted som e scientific ideas, was defrocked, and th en m ar ried the daughter o f his teacher. M m e. Lebon, held in ignoran ce o f her husban ds priestly past, learned o f it while she was pregnant by him and died in childbirth, giving prem ature birth to a partially paralyzed boy. T h e widowed farher raised this ch ild: and, despite his infirmity, he becam e a beautiful adolescent w ho showed a rem arkable intellectual p recoc ity, then died at the age o f eighteen. (C f. Je an C an u , Barbcy dAurevilly, Paris, Laffont, 1945.) Su ch are the initial facts th at inspired Barbey for his novel. But it carries an im por tant m odification: he h as m ade a young girl, the beautiful and ch aste C a lix te w ho is suf fering from a mysterious illness, out o f the son o f the defrocked abbot. A s for the defrocked abbot him self, he gives him a Titanesque physiognomy, and he places the two characters in an am bian ce th at plainly h as no relation to the real circum stances. M. Jean C an u tells us directly that w hen th e ex-abbot Lebon returned to his country', w hich was also Barbey's, and to the environs o f Saint-Saveu r-le-V icom te, he acquired the ch ateau o f Q uesnay just as Som breval does in the novel and then lived there in perfect security w ithout being

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o p eratio n o f th e sacram en t, o n e is ordained a p riest by re ceiv in g the in d eli ble seal: ev en if h e sh ou ld ab an d on him self to debauchery, b rigan d age, or murder, the m ass th at he says will always be valid . N e ith e r d eb au ch ed , nor in itially a crim in al, but h a v in g lost his faith, S o m b re v a l d eterm in es th at the sacram en t h e received, em ptied , however, o f all c o n te n t by his ow n ju d gm en t an d reduced to a pure p lay actin g, n o longer h as any effect on his action s. T h u s he m arries, and th en b ecom es a widower and the fath er o f a sick girl, w ho th in k s o f n o th in g but d e v o tin g all the resources o f sc ie n c e to fight the illn ess. Lay o p in io n asks: T h is m an has a clear c o n scie n c e , why are you try ing to pick a figh t w ith h im ? A n d how can o n e attrib u te the h orrib le m isfor tun es th at overw helm th is widower, a d evoted fath er to his daughter, to div in e anger? B u t, his case is in fin itely m ore serious th an if h e h ad given h im self over to debauchery. A n d Barbey, stag in g the ch aracter an d h is refusal in order to p erp etu ate a sin iste r com edy, wisely sees here the preju dice o f th e reader, w ho, spon tan eously, app lau d s on ly the probity o f the h e ro s co n scien ce. T h e ab b o t S o m b rev a l is m arried only b ecau se h e h as ceased to believe: for h im , as lon g as it is a m atter o f a b an al d em an d th at p riests be allow ed to marry, the rupture o f sacerd o tal celib acy h as the valu e o f a p ro testatio n o f ath eism . If he h as left in acco rd an ce w ith the co u n sel o f his ath eist c o n sc ie n c e , responds the C h u rch , then he h as in fact n ot left acco rd in g to the sacerd o tal ch aracter w ith w h ich his soul is im prin ted forever, and it is by this that d o gm a, th ro ugh ou t Barbeys book , p reven ts the lay o b je ctio n . In the eyes o f th e C h u rch , it is im possible to see how an ath eist co u ld co n ce iv e or feel the material an d form al sacrilege if h e did n o t h im self h a v e precisely the sam e

otherw ise bothered by the populace. Som breval, on the contrary, installed in this resi dence, lives there w ith his daughter as a pariah, and rem ains there only by defying, with all the force of his co n tem pt, the unbridled hostility o f a superstitious popu lation th at resents his return as a curse upon th e country and his installation at Q uesnay as a provocation. It is not at all surprising that in his fictionalization, Barbey w anted his Married Priest to have a daughter because o f the novelistic advan tage to be exploited from the fem inine ch arac ter o f C a lix te (th e expiatory' virgin) who is destin ed to inspire a violen t passion in the young N el o f N h o u . T h is latter character (w ho incarnates som e youthful m em ories d eci sive for Barbey) is always presented in the novel as C a lix te s double (th e inflation o f the vein on the brow o f the young m an, in m om en ts o f anger, is a copy o f the cross-shaped birthm ark on the brow o f the young girl) and seem s like a vestige in Barbeys m ind o f the son o f the abbot Lebon, dead at the age o f eigh teen . O ne sees quite clearly the whole course \fort bien tout Ic parti] th at a D ostoevsky would draw from the relationship betw een an ath e ist father an d his believing son. Ju st so [tel quel\, the character o f N el rem ains, n on eth e less, latent, the son that Som breval could have; and the paternal sentim ents that S om b reval proves to h ave for the young m an w h o will never be his son-in-law despite their co m m on desire, as well as the influence th at th e atheist priest exercises over N el, are not am ong the least them es o f this novel.

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rep resen tatio n th at the C h u rch h as o f it, but p ositiv ely [en a positivement]. T h is represen tatio n th at, in order to h av e been a m an o f the C h u rch , he sh ared n o t lon g ago, h e n everth eless carries w ith in h im self as a n e g a tiv e rep resen tatio n , as the ju d gm en t th a t the C h u rch form s o f [porte sur] h im : a sa c rilegious priest. U ltim ately , he rem ain s so deeply m arked in his b ein g by this in d elible seal o f the sacerd otal w hich he th ou gh t he had effaced from his c o n scie n ce on ly because the sign o f ele ctio n is, from now o n , o n e o f infam y to h im , an d it alm ost propels him into his h o m e country, seek in g p u b lic outcry as a co n fro n tatio n in w hich he w ill co n v in ce h im se lf th at h e h as ceased to be an u n tou ch ab le, set apart, sacred , m an . H ow ever, it is precisely th en th at h e becom es so. B u t is Barbey p ain tin g a m orally torm en ted soul for us in the ch aracter o f S o m b rev al? N o t in the sligh test. W e do n ot h av e an affair for a h ero of, for exam p le, B e rn an o s1 0 or G rah a m G re e n e , auth ors w ho h a v e elab orated their to m and co n trad icto ry ch aracters under the generalized influence o f D o sto evsky's psychology. T h e se latter au th ors describe sp iritu al dram as from the interior o f a ch aracter. T h u s th eir p u b lics recep tiv ity is equally under th at sam e influence, an d so very different from the p u b lic th at Barbey is a im in g at. N o t th at Barbey d o es n ot p ossess a t b o tto m th e su b co n scio u s o f a rene gade priest ; n o tw ith stan d in g his ro m a n ticism , he p roceed s in th e m an n e r o f an em in en tly cla ssic a l artist, still en tirely ra tio n a l in term s o f stagin g , an d he portrays a ch a ra cter w hose in terio r life he d elib erately h id es from us this is why S o m b rev a l is a ch a ra cter co m p o sed en tirely o f o n e p iece, a n d a ste a d fast a th eist alm ost to th e end. A cco rd in g ly , how c a n the th em e o f A M arried Priest be an y th in g less th an the repercu ssio n , w ith in a soul, o f a gesture th at it h as h ad th e tem erity to co m m it? w ith in th e soul o f a p riest w h o h as had the au d acity to efface th e seal, in d elib le acc o rd in g to th e C h u rc h , th at m ade o f h im a m an "se t a p a rt forever? B u t th is on ly reverses th e q u estio n : H ow d o es it h ap p en th at S o m b re v a l rem ain s ste a d fa st in h is n e g a tio n o f G o d u n til the en d? W h ere d o es he draw th is en ergy from ?: acc o rd in g to Barbey, from th e in d elib le seal itself, an d from th e divine power that is no less active in its enemies, as B arbey sh ow s us th ro u gh ou t th e book . T h e gesture o f effacin g the sacred sign thus b eco m es in d elib le; the erasure th at bars th e sign is ind elib le, in d exed to th e very in d elib ility o f th e sa c ra m en ta l seal. W h e n ce th e im p e rious n ecessity to rep eat the least n atu ral a c t as a bar traced ov er th e super natural w orld, o f re p e a tin g the ou trage to infinity, b ecau se b ein g reorganized acc o rd in g to a su bversion th at is w illed as a b so lu te , h e m u st pursue th is su bversion acc o rd in g to the m easu re o f th e p rim itiv e su b m issio n th at is also w illed an d co n ce iv e d as ab so lu te. Tu es sacerdos in aeternum [you are e te r n ally holy]. . . . A n d th is is p recisely w h at co n stitu te s th e in terest o f o n e asp ec t o f this sin gu lar book : th e stru ctu re o f the h u m an soul is m ad e su ch th at it w ould n o t know how to a ct w ith ou t p ro h ib itio n , n or co u ld it be c o n stitu ted w ithout it: in order to su stain itself, th e ad h ere n c e to ath eism resus-

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c it te s all th e p ro h ib itio n s th a t b e lie f is based o n from th e n on it m ust fo r tify itse lf aga in st its return. S te a d fa st in h is ath eism , S o m b rev al not on ly betrays n o h in t o f b ein g a torm en ted soul, bu t seem s to be endow ed w ith a ll o f th e forces o f nature, h en ceforth the only reality th a t he adm its. H e is an ex c essiv e w ell o f learn ing, w ith an u n failin g h e a lth and a H erculean build: th e so vereign m an , p ro m eth ean , called to m ak e h im self m aster o f all th e secrets o f m atter, k n o w ing n o duty oth er th an th at o f procu rin g worldly b en efit for oth ers, the only th in g to w h ich m an c a n aspire. T h is so n of the coun try side, den igrator o f re li gion , thus h as n o th in g in co m m on w ith a Z arath u stra o th e r th an his sc ie n tific fervor th at ev ok es Faust an d his sacerdotal p ast th at gives th e ch aracter a h in t o f M ep h istop h elism , but a q u ite d o w n -to-earth M eph istoph ilism . M oreover, the fath er o f a girl, h e displays a p atern al p assion w hose inten sity is eq ualed only by the v io len ce o f his hatred for the su p erstitio n th at su r rounds h im , and h is sen se o f ju stice in the face o f the m isfortun es o f fate. In sum , beh old the so vereign m an , ideal o f the p o sitiv ist century, th a t it is now a m atter o f strik in g dow n: his en tire physiognom y is su p posed to express only the revolt again st G o d o f an en tire presum ptuous gen eratio n , and h is power, m orality, and equity are only the faad e o f an ab o m in ab le b lin dn ess. S u c h is the a p o lo g etic sign ifican ce o f the ch aracters allure, deliberately endow ed w ith every h u m an qu ality an d , notably, th e virtu es m ost ap p reciated in our lay society. S o m b rev a l is described to us accord in g to his ow n co n scien c e, n ot a cco rd in g to w h at c a n occu r in his ren egade p riests soul, th a t soul th at h e has m ad e on ly to alie n a te. A n d B arbey rightly m akes th is a lie n a tio n th e su b ject o f his book : h e d o es n o t plu m b the su b co n scio u s o f th e ch aracter, b ecause w hat we thereby n am e is tran slated in n o oth er way th an by the exterior facts th at are, n everth eless, only signs. B u t th e ab b ot S o m b rev al, by h avin g th ou gh t to efface th e in d elib le seal o f the sacerd otal, sign o f the holy sa c ri fice, w ould by th is very fact be in cap ab le o f co n ce iv in g o f th e value o f the signs and figures th at co m e to be p rodu ced around him , let alo n e be cap ab le o f decip h erin g them . T h erefo re ev ery th in g th at h ap p en s to h im as ev en ts the relation s w ith the o th e r ch aracters w ho arise in th e co u rse o f his story arise through his ow n d au gh ter C a lix te , an d h e will in terpret them ; he will react acco rd in g to h is sc ie n tific v isio n o f ex iste n c e, in an erroneous fash ion . T h e ab b o t S o m b re v a l b eliev es th a t h e h as ab o lish e d the illusory order o f a n o n e x iste n t p ro v id e n c e w ith h is apostasy. H ow ever, for the on e w ho h as su b stitu ted for th e m ysteries o f faith th e re p re se n tatio n o f n atu res secrets, w h ich it is the b u sin ess o f sc ie n c e to u n v e il, for the sch o lar w ho relies upon his ch e m ica l ex p erim en ts in order to d e term in e the m o vem en t o f m atter, as so o n as he trusts in th e n atu ral laws w ith in him self, w h ich he h a s given o v er to th e m o st legitim ate h u m an te n d e n c ie s, he app ears frustrated by the

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co m p e n sa tio n s th at o u gh t to assure h im o f the n atu ral a cc o m p lish m e n t o f the natural a ct o f repro d u ctio n . H e n ever d en ies her p atern ity [La paternit ne lui est point refuse]. G o d d o es n o t destroy n atu re; o n the co n trary he m ak es it efficacio u s, in the sam e way th a t h e n ev e r im pedes the sin n e r in o rder n ever to im pede the sin n e rs freedom [pas plus q u il n empeche de pecher pour ne point empecher la liberte de pecher], C a lix te , born o f th e p rie sts w o m an , from th e sem en o f a p riest, en ters th e world w ith a birth m ark , a cross m arked on h er brow, th at in carn ates th e m ystery re jected by th e re n e g ad e p riest. It is as th ou gh th e sa c ra m e n ta l seal o f th e v io la te d p riesth o o d was ex te n d ed to th e w ork o f th e flesh. C a lix te b eco m es a young girl w ith a su blim e beauty, afflicted w ith b o th so m n am b u lism an d cata lep sy ; th e p ro g eny o f th e ab b o t S o m b re v a l is n o t n o rm al a t all an d falls en tirely w ith in the d e m o n ic or an g elic order. B u t how d o es S o m b re v a l b eh av e? In th e m ost nat ural, m o st h u m an e, but a lso th e m o st p assio n a te m an n e r p o ssib le: th at is to say w ith all th e an x ie ty o f a fath er w ho w orries ab o u t his ch ild . A m ark o f the gen iu s o f th e au th o r o f the Diaboliques is th at h e ev en draw s a m y steri ous lesson from h is ch a ra c te rs n atu ral a ttitu d e. S o m b re v a l, for a ll o f his in trepid ath eism , h as n o th in g less th a n a god : C a lix te . For all o f his resou rces, he h as n o th in g less th a n a ritual o c cu p a tio n : to look after his daughter. A n d w ith all o f his sc ie n c e , h e d o es n o t o fficiate o v er [officie] h is laboratory e x c e p t to su stain th e presence o f h is m ysteriously absent ch ild the o p p o site o f real presence tirelessly se ek in g the form ula th a t o u gh t to cu re C a lix te o f th e stran ge sick n ess th at su sp en ds h er b etw een life an d d e a th w h ich, for h im , am ou n ts to freein g h er from h is idea o f v o c a tio n an d red em p tion th at he q u ite clearly b lam es for th e a p p aren t n eu rosis by w h ich h e sees her h eld. Is th is to say th at, b e in g m o ved by his ow n fate, h e ou gh t to re coil before su ch a p rodigiou s v e x a tio n , p u ttin g his in itial re so lu tio n his freedom , h is c h o ic e b ack in to do u b t? B ut the q u estio n c a n n o t ev en be posed for h im , b ecau se, betw een C a lix te , w ho is a sign , an d h im self, there is th e prohibited paternity th a t m ak es h er th is in d ecip h erab le sign . T h is is why C a lix te , th is fragile ch ild , th is secret C a rm e lite w h o prays day an d n ig h t for th e e x p iatio n o f her accursed father, is also th e rock , erected by P ro v id en ce, aga in st w h ich S o m b re v a l will b reak h im self. I will n o t lin ger here, follow in g the d e tails o f the sh o ck in g turns th at p re p are his fall and th a t are cau sed by tw o circu m stan ces: first th e refusal o f C a l ixte, bou nd by her secretly p ron ou n ced vow s, to m arry th e y ou n g N e l o f N h o u w hose p assio n sh e ex ac erb ates to the p o in t o f deliriu m ,lv w hile Som -

iv. T h is h opeless love o f young N el for C alix te, the propitiatory virgin, forms w ith out a doubt on e o f Barbeys m ost personal them es. T h e desirable but unpossessable C alix te, whose beautiful body seem s to h ave been created only to transu bstantiate through suffering the too hum an em otion s th at it

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b reval stop s at n o th in g in order to p ro m o te this love a n d the m arriage th at h e h o p es will be th e surest m ean s o f cu rin g C a lix te s neurosis. T h e n co m es the stran ge rum or o f in cest th at begins to spread and w h ich in cites S o m b rev a l to m ove aw ay an d then to resort to the sin ister stratagem th at p recip itates the en d o f th e story, w ith th e d olorou s an d resigned co m plicity o f you n g N el.

inspires in the young m an, an absent presen ce" and th en a real presen ce after w hich his carnal desire is purified and consum ed the fascination that she exercises over him alm ost m akes him feel repugnance for his own fian ce but above all the infinitely cruel scene where C a lix te already dying reconciles him with his fian cee and obliges N el to solem nly engage h im self in the m arriage even though N el has lost all taste for life; this entire ensem ble o f circum stan ccs arises from w hat is for Barbey a M an ichean represen ta tion, but that we h ave studied in Sad e as a fundam ental com ponent o f th e sadist myth and courtly love. T h e idea o f degeneration , o f degradation, o f impurity is linked, accordin g to Sad e, to the representation o f a G o d who is the creator o f necessarily impure creatures, leading to the degeneration o f w hatever it is attach ed to. From his atheism a notion o f puri ty is developed purity o f the uncreated, purity o f nothingness a notion that is asso ciat ed with the destruction o f the sensible world, with the very jouissance o f destroying, and th at form s with destruction a singular absolute exigency: the sadist soul (as a creature itself) is attach ed to the loved ob ject and preserves it only in order to destroy it, and thus d ev el ops its kind o f self-cruelty. T h e im age o f the virgin, o f the ch aste w om an, symbol o f th e unpossessable celestial purity insofar as this sym bol strikes virile covetousness with a curse, by its character becom es in itself cruelly provocative, the ob ject o f predilection upon w hich sadistic cruel ty exercises itself in its representation up to the point o f suspecting that the unviolated ob ject is violable. T h is is accursed virilitys only assuagem ent for having w ished to enjoy the unpossessable purify. But here this is only the replica o f courtly love: here the im age o f the inviolate w om an m ortally wounds virility but excites it to the poin t o f an adoration o f celestial purity in the form o f a creature. A n d nevertheless th e adoration itself sustains the im age o f inviolate purity only by always reestablishing the contrary representation: u npos sessable, purity is non eth eless violable in the creature th at represents it. T h ere still the lover, by a m orose d electation counter to sadism , ceaselessly destroys the carnal form o f purity, but im m ediately reconstitutes it by his very aspiration to possess unpossessable puri ty in the creature. In courtly love as in sadistic representation, this im age o f unpossessable purity excites virile energy to th e point o f jouissance by its accursedness. In order to thus portray the passion o f young N e l for C alix te, w hich illustrates the them e o f love for the unpossessable w om an, Barbey described an d then actualized w hat he had h im self experi enced in his ad olescence. W ithout a doubt his passion, w hen he was thirty years old, for the young daughter o f his cousin E delstand du M ril, the beautiful Ernestine o f whom he says th at h avin g helped her into the saddle, he em braced the knees o f the young A m azon w ith all the ardor th at, m uch later, he rem em bered as the m ost intense kiss that he h ad ever given. But one o f th e greatest reverberations in his adolescent soul was the experience that he recounts to Trbutien as follows: 1 am actually born o n the day o f deaths, at two in the m orning, a w retched tim e [par un temps du Diable], I h ave com e as Rom ulus h as gone in a tem pest. Like Fontenelle, I failed to d ie an hour or two after my birth, but there are good reasons why 1 may d ie before I am on e hundred years old . A pparen tly the um bilical cord was badly knotted an d as my blood carried my life aw ay into the blankets o f my crib, n

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W ith w hat in ten tio n h as the au th or in sin uated this rum or th at im putes in cest to the co u p le o f the accursed father an d his daughter, the ch a ste C a l ixte? T h is is certain ly n ot a sim p le turning p o in t in th e actio n , and 1 w ould ven tu re to say th at Barbey, th rough ou t the d e v e lo p m e n t o f th e p lo t, h ad already th ou gh t o f it, even ch o o sin g a p rop itious m o m en t to m ak e th is sim ple ep isod e in terven e as on e o f the u n foreseeable p ath s o f P roviden ce th at is, in fact, n o th in g o th e r th an a |novocation for S o m b re v a ls b en efit. If it seem s ep iso d ic and its value only b ecom es clear w ith th e sc en a rio o f the den o u em en t th e in co n ceiv ab le rum or h as ab o v e all th e value o f th ose sign s th at S o m b rev al does n ot n o tice at all; h e takes it as a pure and sim p le sla n der w hose absurdity an d od iousn ess scan d alize him , less for his ow n sak e th an for C a lix te . By w an tin g to justify the h u m an again st G o d , n atu re again st the su p ern atu ral, the norm s o f reason again st m ystery this is the ap o lo g etic sig n ifican ce o f this ep isod e S o m b rev al h as lost th e m ean s o f ju stifyin g h im self before m en, even though he is co m pletely n atu ral, reaso n ab le, n orm al, an d h u m an . N ow th is G o d , contrary to n atu re and reason , reclaim s him on ce again , him , th e m an "se t a p a rt. But, through the d ev ice o f the slan derou s rumor, he now sp eak s o f him in an eq u iv o cal lan gu age o f a su ch a kind th at, by the defam atory accu satio n o f in cest, on e sees S o m b rev a l, th is m an o f integrity, suffering doubly in his h o n o r an d his p ate rn al love: th e ch astity o f h is dau gh ter C a lix te , the servan t o f th at G o d co n trary to n atu re, is p laced in doubt. T h ere w here S o m b rev al is surrendered n o t only to the m ost hu m an but to the m ost legitim ate in clin atio n , he su dden ly ap p ears as a fath er d e n a tured by a corrupt young girl. It is o f little co n ccrn to S o m b rev al to find h im se lf ch arged w ith all th ese crim es by a su p erstitio u s p op u lace; but it is because he h as an in n ate sen se o f ju stice, b ecause he fears th at this slan d er will be m ortal for C a lix te , th at he d ecid es to tear h im self from C a lix te an d to m ake C a lix te tear h erself from h im and all in order to h av e reacted n ot as a d e n a tured, but sim ply as a hu m an father. T h e co u p le o f So m b rev al and his d au gh ter C a lix te , liv in g in th e h eart o f a general outcry, like p ariah s folded o v er upon each other, in th eir b attle for and again st o n e an o th er se ein g th em now accu sed o f incest, how c a n we

wom an (m y first secret love as an ad o lescen t), a friend o f my m other, noticed th at I was pale and saved me not from the W aters, like M oses, but from Blood another flow in w hich I would h ave perished. D estiny is rem arkable ! A w om an saved me so th at 1 m ight love her thirty years later with that inflam ed tim idity th at is the m ost terrible m alady that 1 know. . . . Is this a charm redoubled by the distan t days o f infancy? But this w om an, now old, and who h as never know n anything o f the ardors that she h as caused me, and by w hich, physically, 1 failed to die, I h ave n ot seen her again since my departure for college, and 1 h ave never sin ce found, under a beloved brow, the som ber blue look o f the wrathful falcon that m ight reward me with th at im perious and fiery lo o k ! Lettres Trbutien, v. 2, pp. 1 8 4 -1 8 5 , letter dated O ctober 1, 1851.

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n o t th in k here o f the sam e form ation o f the fath er a n d the d au gh ter in S a d e s Eugnie de F ran val ?" T h e re we h av e th e p ortrait o f an in cest co n su m m ated , but, from the b eg in n in g , by a deliberately m o n strou s co u p le co m pared to S o m b rev a l and C a lix te : E ugnie, n o t only her ath eist fath ers lover, but also h is d o cile d iscip le, and F ran val w ho pushes his d a u g h te rs corru ption to the p o in t o f her m o th ers murder. A n d n evertheless, F ran v al displays th e sam e je a lo u s fervor for p reservin g h is daughter from debauchery, he possesses the sam e an xiety to sh ield E u gn ie from family an d m arriage p lan s, as S o m b rev a l d o es to co n serve C a lix te s life in th e hopes o f m arrying her to young N el. B ut ea c h o f the ath eists avow s in alm o st the sam e term s th at they h av e only o n e religion , o n e god: th eir dau gh ters. Is this pure c o in cid e n ce ? In Eugnie de Franval the in cestu ou s fath er is precip itated in to th e in extricab le follow in g a d iscu ssion w ith a priest, w hile in A M arried Priest it is after th e parish p riest ap p ro ach es S o m b rev a l in order to try to sep arate h im from h is daughter, in order to put an en d to th e o d io u s rum or, th at S o m b re v a l d ecid es to resort to th e final stratagem . It is n o t w ithout interest to follow for a m o m en t the stran ge sim ilarities th at, in th eir very dissim ilarity, fram e Barbeys n o v el and S a d e s story. T h is ap p ro x im atio n allow s on e u ltim ately to ex tric ate a stru c tural affinity betw een th e two ch aracters, th eir interior d isp o sitio n s regarding ath eism , an d th eir resp ectively d ivergen t re actio n s in the face o f incest, in h eren t to fath erh ood . F ran val invokes ath eism like all o f S a d e s heroes, w h o do so under the p retex t o f legitim atin g th eir a cts in order to freely a b an d o n h im se lf to incest. O n the oth er h an d, th e ab b ot S o m b rev al only know s m arriage, w idow erhood, an d fath erh ood by h a v in g b eco m e an ath eist. E ach ch aracter tram p les th e d iv in e law underfoot, but w hile F ran v al knowingly destroys the fam ilial in stitu tion s by cla im in g in cest as a p rivilege o f fath erh ood , S o m b re v a l in stead ca lls on th ose in stitu tion s as a h u m an p riv i lege th at he w an ts to estab lish on th e ru in s o f religion . F ranval is only a p er vert, je alo u s to th e p o in t o f destroyin g h is ow n fam ily; S o m b rev al is so totally lack in g in perversity th at the m ere idea th at o n e could su sp ect C a lix t e s purity inspires in h im su ch a p rofound horror th a t it is precisely this horror o f v ice th at lead s (a s we learn ) to m urder, to th e real co n su m m atio n o f his sa c rilege an d , finally, to su icide, follow ing th e ex am p le o f Franval. T h u s two works o f o p p o sed in spiratio n co n clu d e w ith an id en tical d en o uem en t. W h at d o es this p rove? th a t th e two auth ors, like th eir ch aracters, support each oth er b a ck to back w ith th eir differently expressed affin ities [du fait de leurs affinities, diffremment exprimes]; k n o w in g the n oth in gn ess o f m orality. T h e m easure o f th e full reversal o f p rin cip les effectu ated sin ce S a d e c a n be taken from th is p arallel betw een Eugnie de Franval and A M arried Priest: accordin g to h im , F ran v al rebels an d figh ts w ith th e vio len ce o f his incestu ou s passion again st a d ivin ity th at is still co m p letely ration al, im prin ted on so cial insti tu tion s as well as in th e norm s o f hu m an n atu re. G o d is certain ly o n th e side o f reason , an d th e godless m an is o n th e side o f obscure forces. In Barbey

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d A u revilly o n e fin ds a total u p h eaval o f the relation s o f m an w ith G o d ; this is because, in the in terval, there w as Jo se p h de M aistre; th e argu m en t o f auth ority su b ord in ates reason: it is n o th in g o th e r th an a p ersuasive way o f argu in g th at all o f ex iste n c e arises from a h idd en an d in com p reh en sib le G o d ; h is langu age is th at o f catastro p h e and crim es, n o t virtu e and prosperity. A n d from now on the actio n o f the div in e pow er th at app ears in the M arried Priest seem s, to the eyes o f reason , m ore and m ore co m p licit w ith m ad n ess and the transgression o f laws, insofar as it sets h u m an n atu re o u tsid e o f itself and holds co m m o n sen se in co n tem pt. A rem arkable thing, bu t on e th at co m p letes h is portrayal o f the c h a ra c ter o f the ren egade priest, S o m b rev al, is th at alth ou gh h e is in cap ab le o f d e c i p h erin g the signs regardin g him self, n o n e th ele ss he grasps the m ean in g o f the value o f th ese sign s for his ow n daughter. W h a ts m ore, h e resp ects C a lix te s piety but in the m an n er o f a san e m an before th e deliriu m o f a loved o n e; it is the fear o f losin g her th at inspires th is resp ect in him . H e thus sets ou t to win b ack again to life this ch ild th at a religion , d e testab le to his eyes, dispu tes w ith him , borrow ing from the world o f signs, w h ich is C a lix t e s, a last ch a n ce to cure her, in o th e r words using sympathetic magic in order to d ise n c h a n t h is dau gh ters soul. H e will perform all o f th e gestures o f piety, o f repen tan ce: h e will go to m ake h o n orab le am en d s before the bish o p an d , in his p e n ite n tial retreat, he will again celeb rate th e holy M ass. C a lix te can th en believe th a t her prayer is answ ered an d , seein g her father fin ally tou ch ed by grace, sh e will co n sid er h e rse lf freed from h er vow s an d sh e will m arry N e l. For the h ap p in ess o f his d au gh ter S o m b rev al will sacrifice his firm c o n v ictio n u pon w h ich all the probity o f his c o n scien c e rests: th e n o n e x isten ce o f G o d . . . . H ere th e properly in q uisitorial natu re o f Barbeys psychology appears: h ow ever little it m atters to S o m b rev al to m ock a n o n e x iste n t G o d , through p a te r n al love he co m es to m ock him self. U ltim ately , he ren o u n ces him self. But S o m b rev al does n ot even b eliev e in his ow n truth. A s th ou gh d iv in e ju stice h ad w aited for precisely this m o m en t in order to execu te the se n te n c e th at w as su spen ded up to now, the c e lestia l p u n ish m en t im m ediately cru sh es the im postor priest. A t the a n n o u n c em e n t o f her fath ers co n v ersio n , C a lix te s joy is so stro n g th a t sh e is plu n ged in to th e w orst o f crises. In her c a ta lep tic state, C a lix te h as a vision o f her fath ers a b o m in atio n . S h e dies from it. W arned too late, and return in g to h is dau gh ters grav e, n o th in g m ore rem ains for S o m b rev al, rack ed by the m o st furious m ad n ess, but to un earth C a lix te an d to throw h im self into the pond o f his m an or alo n g w ith her corpse. A d en o u em en t so rigorously logical in its sa v ag e gran deur but so p ara d o x ic al in the cruelty o f its ap o lo g etic in ten tio n th at it can only scandalize righ t-th in k in g liberal C a th o lic s. T h e app aren tly u seless sacrifice o f C a lix te , alo n g w ith the sufferings su stain ed by young N e l, th at hold the reader b reath less th rough ou t the en tire story [recit], the grace refused to th e accursed priest: in th is en tire story, w hat b ecam e o f the do gm a o f th e reversibility o f

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the in n o ce n ts m erits in favor o f the guilty? W hy d o es th is en d ap p ear so true to us? W hy do the motifs invoked seem so false? S u c h a qu estion would seem com pletely v ain if on e d id n t persist in tak ing this book literally an d trying to find its edifying value. In order to dispose o f this illusion w h ich was perhaps the au th o rs ow n it is app rop riate to co n sid er the difficulties th at on e is sure to h av e in trying to grasp any n o v e l ist w ho proposes a thesis, for the very good [forte] reason th at every n ovelist is an apologist. Barbcy, in effect, never stop s und erlin in g m any circum stan ces th at ultim ately support dogm a, b oth circum stan ces o f d ivin e prescien ce as well as those fun dam en tal o n es o f aton em en t. H ow ever, these tw o asp ects im m e diately aw aken the co n flict, insoluble for reason , o f the co in cid e n ce o f grace an d the freedom o f th e will, and we will see th at Barbey, led by the m o vem en t proper to h is creatio n , perh aps thereby surpasses h is ow n in ten tion . H ow ever, if h e w an ted to dem on strate som eth in g, he h as d em on strated the powerlessness o f free wills to act upon each other. W hy do cs C a lix te , desp ite her h o lo cau st, seem to be able to do n oth in g again st the m aled ictio n th at leads her fath er to su icide, any m ore th an S o m b rev al was able to b ring C a lix te to yield to young N el? There are many things that the saints want to see produced by the saintly will inspired by G o d , but that nevertheless will not be produced, even though they pray for certain things with piety and in a saintly m anner ; but G od never does what they pray him to do, rather by his Holy Spirit he himself makes in them this will to pray. A nd when the saints will and pray to G od that everyone should be saved, we can say: "G o d wills it and does not do it, in the sense that we say he himself wills who makes them will in such a way. Is this to say th at G o d does n ot answ er th e prayer for the salv atio n o f each an d every person th at he inspires in the sain ts? T h is co n cern s the p rescien ce by w hich G o d h as foreknow ledge th at a particu lar m an will w ant or will n ot w an t to sin . S a in t A ugu stin e do es n ot at all m ean th at th is divin e p rescien ce can shackle the free will o f man. Therefore it is not at all because G od has foreknowledge o f the future that nothing belongs to our will. For G od does not have foreknowledge o f a pure absence o f will. But if G od, who knows what will be in our will in the future, does not know a simple absence of will, but something real, this is because there is, by the fact o f divine foreknowledge, so m eth in g th at d epen d s on our w ill. . . . For this reason, equally, objurgations, vituperations, praises and exhortations are no more vain than laws, since G o d has foreseen that they would be, and they a c t strongly only because G o d foresees their efficacity. . . . M an never sins because G od has foreknowledge that he will sin; on the contrary we can hardly doubt that he sins because that one whose foreknowledge is never in error, knows, not by fate, chance, or by anything else but by this very m an that he will sin. This m an, if he does not will it, will never sin; but, in this case, G od foresees that he will never s in /

v. S a in t A ugustine, The City of C od, X X II, c. 2.

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T h is is certain ly n ot the p lace to d eb ate the ex te n t to w h ich S a in t A u g u stin e s p rop ositio n settles the co n flict and m igh t n o t allow a n u an ce o f p red estin ation to subsist even apart from d ivin e p rescien ce. A t the very least, if it h as been settled in th ese term s, it is in the sen se o f the freedom , and therefore also o f the ab so lu te resp on sib ility o f m an in the ab so lu te pow er he h as o f resistin g grace. H en ceforth , in S o m b re v a ls case, C alixte can do nothing against her fathers freedom w h ich lead s h im to d am n atio n . B ut S o m b rev al, the im p en iten t a th eist, n ever know s an y th in g o f his d a m n a tio n sin ce, if he c o m m its su icide, it is because he d am n s h im self in the ab sen ce o f a G o d w ho w ould dam n him . C orrectly understood, S a in t A u g u stin es argu m en t sh ould n o t serve here to ex p lic ate " the true m ean in g o f B arbeys n ovel. U p o n reflection it can clar ify for us how su ch a cap ital prop osition o f C h ristian dogm a is here found m ythologized in the actio n im agined by a great C a th o lic n ovelist w ho, out o f co n cern for his creatio n , isolates an asp ect o f the dogm a at the exp en se o f a co h eren t d ogm atic w h ole [ensemble]. O n e then discovers a m achin ery th at, thou gh it seem s com pletely con trad ictory from the p o in t o f view o f the d o c trine by w hich it claim s to be inspired, is n everth eless o b ed ien t to the p reo c cu p ation s o f an entirely different order in a m ore profound way than even the auth or suspects. T h e trap for an apo lo gist auth or resides in making P rovidence speak w hile doubling it, as he necessarily su b stitutes for it the entire len gth o f his story [recit]. A n y o n e o f B alzacs great n ovels ca n be m uch m ore c o n v in c ingly interpreted in an ap o lo getic sen se because he h ad n o p reten sion to this genre at all. T h e R u ssian s are the o n es w ho, in order to leave the field free for d ivin e grace, do n ot breath e a word on this su b ject but apply them selves to lam en tin g the degen eration o f their ch aracters w ith an infinite com passion . O bviou sly n oth in g o f this sort is found in Barbey. T h e re is only a m orose d electatio n for the inelu ctable th at responds sim u ltan eously to a polem ical ardor and to a taste for the spectacular. C ertain ly we ow e to this taste for the sp ectacu lar a ch aracter such as the great M algaign e . T h e figure o f this old w eaver perform s a con trad ictory fun ction in the book: a sorceress, but c o n v erted, she gives the actio n the ton e o f a folklore legend, at the sam e tim e th at she personifies divin e p rescien ce by her gift o f seeing. S h e seem s im m ediately to ch an ge the en tire religious perspectiv e o f th e b ook: it is o n e th in g to describe this freedom that G o d gives to m an out o f w hich a Balzac or a D o s toevsky co n stitu te th e vertigo o f their heroes, it is so m eth in g else to express through the organ o f a ch aracter th at G o d h as foreknow ledge o f the secret o f the ch aracters depicted [mis en scene]. W h at the C h u rch Fath er w ants to p re v e n t in the not-very-con fiden t m inds [consciences mal assures ] o f the p agan neophytes the con fu sion betw een d ivin e p rescien ce and fate [fatum] is here reestablished by the n ovelist. A n d it is certain ly in the nature o f things, all the m ore so sin ce, in a p oetic creatio n , we truthfully know n o th in g o f w hat G o d know s or w ants, n or even o f w hat the p o ets ow n fate [fatalit] w ants and

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know s. T h ro u gh this ch aracter o f the weaver, who co m es o n to the scen e at the begin n in g an d loom s up at every new turn to an n ou n ce the irrem ediable or the irrem issable, Barbey h as actu ally described the powerlessness, in th e very p rescien ce o f the future, o f intervening in the destiny o f beings, a pow erlessness proper to the god s o f an cie n t pagan ism , proper to p oets w h o take up ev en ts and ch aracters and w ho can otherw ise on ly celebrate or transfigure them . S o r ceress an d seer, the great M algaign e reflects the fascin atio n w ith Fate th a t the n o v elist sets h im self to u n ravelin g w ith his story: b ein gs and th in gs are w hat they are, and there is kin dn ess in representing them in th at way a polem ical k in dn ess before th e progressive su p erstition o f a detested centu ry an interior k in dn ess in the m ost profound, but also the m ost n o stalgic pessim ism . W h eth er the divin ity is essentially cruel (S o m b reval) or infinitely lovin g and sad (C a lix te an d N e l), it rem ain s the case that in A M arried Priest all the p o si tions are abso lu te and irreducible: th at o f C alix te, o f N e l, o f S om b reval, and o f G o d . They can do nothing for one another. S u c h is, view ed from w ithin, this C astle of the Belhw s, which Barbey w an ts you to be interested in as in a person. A n d u ltim ately the figure o f S o m b rev al, in his ren egad es isolatio n , b rav ing su p erstitio n , illu strates w ell th e p o ets isolation at th e h eart o f the world o f utility in w h ich he lives d am n ed upon the p rodu cts o f h is delirium , p ro d u cts w ith ou t eith er price or e x c h a n g e value, n o th in g but sin: the a th e ists sacrilege can h a v e n o valu e in th e econ om y o f sa lv a tio n th at rejects h im as the p o et rejects th e econ om y o f utility a p arad o x ica l h o m age ren dered to th e Precious Blood th at h as n o price at all. . . . 1 am possessed by the same subject. I sing in my register and in my chords. T h ere is a m ore m uted asp iration p erceptible here: a return to th e m ythic im ages th at recovers a story [recit] in w h ich language m ust sim ultan eously illustrate the cu stom s o f a m ilieu, o f a region, an d the obscure forces th at h au n t it an tago n istic or allied forces that the author rediscovers in his ow n reverie as th ou gh in an exp lo ratio n o f p laces from his ch ild h ood : here and there these forces are always figh tin g accordin g to a hidd en ju stice. For a m o m en t they h ave assum ed the physiognom y o f th e ch aracters ot an action and are d etach ed from th eir legendary ground, and th e ap ologist, accordin g to w hat flatters or repulses the a u th o rs im pulses, tran slates their co n flict into the term s o f sacrilege and exp iatio n . But b en eath the m ask o f ch aracters, w hat these forces by th em selves h av e o f the in expiab le or in exorab le upsets the apo lo getic argu m ent in th eir favor, and so on these forces are reabsorbed w ithin the proper m o vem en t o f the legend. T h e im po rtan ce o f passage and the dream y descriptio n o f p laces testifies to this attractio n o f the fatality properly inherent to the cad en ce o f n atu ral p h en om en a: the se a , the n igh t, the settin gs o f the sun, the shadow o f the forests, auroras, tw iligh ts: the spectral figure o f C a lix te is slow ly effaced by th e m orning, like th at o f S o m b rev al van ish in g in the w aters o f his pond. T h e physiogn om ies o f p la ce s and ch aracters are therefore

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in a perfect interdependen ce. B o th ultim ately p rovide an acco u n t o f a state o f the soul ov ercom e by the legend w hose fatality ou gh t to be recou nted, and o f the so u ls n eed to hear it as its ow n melody. It is fittin g th at the en tire story is narrated on a balcony overboking the Seine by this R o llo n Lan gru ne, w hose m ere n am e is revealin g in its origin. Barbey w rites to Trbutien: You h ave no p lace in your C a e n a sh ore o f Lan gru n e w hich does n o t lack ch aracter [phys ionomie], and on e year I m ade fly there a sh ip like th at w hich set P h aedra to dream in g! Phaedra w as n o t nearby. N o th in g show ed, n o th in g was sen t to m e by N e p tu n e, w ho was th at day a soft and ch arm in g ceru lean, blue-booted, Trbutien, and I returned to C a e n w ithout being crushed. . . . T h a t is all th at 1 saw o f your Lan grune, but I now n eed to know w hat th is word L an gru n e m eans in old N orm an d y patois in the old N orm an d y language. In G erm an , Langrune m eans green earth. T h e sh ore o f Lan gru ne h as a num ber o f plan ts, du n e plan ts bu t in saying Lan gru n e, our fathers th e pirates, th ose Earthless Johns [Jean sans Terre] w ho had n o oth er lord than the sea, did they n o t m ean the sea, w hich w as the earth for th em their green earth? 1 2

Chapter Five

The Mass of Georges Bataille

A P R O P O S O F LA B B C .'

T h is book is impious an d th at is why it h ad to be w ritten. N o th in g is m ore v a in th an to allow only exp ression s th a t reassure or sa t isfy co n scien ces. T h e p roverb th a t claim s silen ce is g o ld en h as du b ious c o n seq u en ces in th e realm o f acts. O n e m ust co un ter th is proverb by h o ld in g th at if acts m ust be pure, silen ce m ust be pure as well; th at silen ce is n ever pure if w ords break its co n tin u ity w ith a cts; th at, acts obeyin g silen ce, words are sp o k en on ly in order to h ide th is o b ed ien ce, eith er for good or for evil. H ow co u ld th e purity o f silen ce be ob tain e d if sp ee ch n ever uttered the th in gs th a t are co n sta n tly born in silen ce, because sp e e ch vo u ch es for this purity? A n d yet th is purity is n o th in g, n o m ore th an is a heart w h ich would b e called [saffirmerait] pure, ev en if it inspired words. Purity b elon gs to silen ce a lo n e a n d thereby to th e ab sen ce o f th e sp eak ab le. Purity h as never app eared ; an d w h en ever it h as been palp ab ly and visibly show n it h as suffered th e torture in ten ded for treason an d thus for w ords; th is torture proves th at n o m atter how v isible it is, it n o n e th ele ss retain s th e purity th at b elon gs only to silen ce. (Your sp eech is: no n o, yes yes, th e rest is th e D ev ils.) But for there to be a pure sile n ce sin ce it seem s th at purity an d silen ce are ab so lu tely iden tical th ere m ust also be a sp ee ch th at m ust be im pure for there to be a sp ee ch th at is pure. A n im pure silen ce yields a sp eech th at in order to be pure is n o t truly sp eech , bu t is laden w ith silen ce, and, w hat is w orse, w ith an im pure an d false silen ce. A R h en ish m ystic said th at a soul th a t c o n ta in s th is false silen ce is an guish ed b ecau se it is out o f place. It is n ot in th at through w h ich it is. It w ants to be a n d n o t to rest in th at through

i. G eorges B ataille, LAbb C . (Paris: ditions de M inuit, 1950). ii. The G ay Science, B ook 3, 143 (Klossow ski cites 141), p. 191.

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w hich it is. It im agines a num ber o f perish ab le th in gs all th e m ore zealously because it deligh ts in the m ere fact o f perish in g. It m ust certain ly perish in order to rest in th at through w h ich it is, but it d e ligh ts on ly in w astin g away, n ot in the a ttractio n o f th at through w h ich it is, w h ich is precisely the au th en tic silen ce w ithin it. S o says the m aster o f the R h en ish m y stics.1 T h is soul sp eak s in order n o t to be in its p la ce bu t exclu sively in its words. Its w ords m ust co n v in ce it o f a silen ce th at it d o es n ot h ave. It says very b e a u ti ful things; it sp eak s o f virtues, laws, o f ren o u n cin g itself o u t o f love for its silen ce an d its neighbor. But it sp eak s m ore, and the n eigh b or is less tou ch ed by w hat it says: sin ce he is the neighbor, he rightly know s on ly th e true silen ce and know s th at it ca n n o t be a ttain ed by th e so u ls good d eed s unless the w orks truly unfurl from this so u ls pure silen ce an d n o t from its words. T h e soul m ust therefore exp el ev ery th in g th a t it silen tly im agines: it is on ly for the price o f an impure speech th at the soul ca n h o pe to rest in silence, in th e silen ce through w h ich it is, b ein g itself n o th in g m ore th an th is silen ce. If the soul m ust perish in order to b eco m e this, it p erish es [parvient prir] only by sp eak in g. For insofar as it p erish es, it m ust ren ou n ce itself, and it will ren ou n ce itself on ly by renouncing the purity o f its words. If so m eo n e tells us th at a soul th at rests in th at through w h ich it is in its silen ce m u st n e c e s sarily co m m u n icate to an o th er the silen ce th at it en jo y s, th at it therefore h as recourse to sp eech , an d th at th is sp eech is n ecessarily pure, we w ill then ask how, if it rests in the silence through w h ich it is, the n eed to sp eak still arises in it if n ot from the fact th at it n ever rests in silen ce at all; if th e soul sp eak s, it m ust say the op p o site in order to a tta in th is silen ce and if it speaks o f it, then n o t only is it n o t in th e silen ce, but it is horrified by it. W h o ev er h as ever so slightly reflected on these th ings, u nless he h as rediscovered them th rough a n eed to sp eak , will u n derstan d th at he c a n n o t h av e a pure la n gu age, let alo n e [& plus forte raison] a piou s langu age, let a lo n e [d plus forte rai son] a langu age th at could p ron ou n ce the ultimate questions by m ean s o f co m m on sen se, w ithout im m ediately p rovo k in g b oth in th e o n e w ho sp eak s and in th e o n e w ho listen s eith er an impossibility o f silence, or an im pure an d false silen ce . T o say im pure th ings, under the p retex t o f fin d in g a pure silcn ce w ithin o n eself w ho w ould dare to en vy su ch a c o n d itio n ? W h o h as ever exp erien ced su ch torture? T h o se w ho b lasp h em e are only aim in g to offer the sp ec tac le o f in d ign atio n to oth ers, but they fool th em selves sin ce they prize this in d ign atio n for nothing. T h e first to be en raged by this, th e first to b e w oun ded by th e im ages born in his in tim ate silen ce, is G e o rg e s B ataille. T h is is why h e m ust write w oun ding books, but th at w ound on ly those w ho h av e co n fid e n ce in w hat they say and w ho are tak en at th eir w ord. Is th is n o t their business? If they are co n v in ced , so be it! B ut why th en are they u n co m fortab le? Is it because the very langu age th at each o n e o f them uses and is so sure o f c a n disturb those th at they h av e co n v in ced o n ce it is allow able to turn it b ack again st

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the truth th a t they p roclaim ? Is th is n o t rather the p ro o f th a t tru th offers ag a in st all lan gu age? A n im pure silen ce th at co rrects a pure language an im piou s silen ce th at is ch astised by p ious words an d on th e oth er hand a pure silen ce th a t c a n be discovered on ly by an im pious or ob scen e language th is fact is at the origin o f a b ook as w ounding, as sh o ck in g, as im pious as th e story o f L A bb C .; a t th e sam e tim e, it is th e very su b je c t m atter o f the b ook. G e o rg e s B ataille h as th is in co m m o n w ith S a d c : for h im porn ograph y is a form o f the sp irits b attle ag a in st the flesh, a form that is thereby d eterm in ed by ath eism , b ecau se if there is n o G o d w ho created the flesh, th en there are n o lon ger th ose excesses o f langu age residin g in the spirit th at aim to reduce th e excesses o f th e flesh to silen ce. T h u s, there is n oth in g m ore v e rb a l th an th e excesses o f th e flesh. In S a d e lan gu age does n ot wind up e x h a u stin g itself, in tolerab le to itself, after relentlessly se ttin g itself upon the sam e v ictim for days a t a tim e. L an gu age is co n d em n ed to an en dless reiteration . In B ataille, sep arated from the ap p aren t ratio n alism o f S a d e by m ore th an a century o f H eg elian reflection s, the id en tificatio n o f language an d transgression is in ten sified. T h e carn al a ct is attra ctiv e on ly an d precisely if it is a tran sgres sio n o f lan gu age by the flesh an d o f the flesh by language. T h is tran sgression is lived as ecstasy; if th e flesh truly know s [connat bien] ecstasy in orgasm , this ecstasy is n o th in g co m p ared to th e spiritual orgasm w hich, in fact, is on ly the co n scio u sn ess o f an ev en t, bu t o n e th at is past at the very m o m en t w hen the m in d b eliev es th a t it grasps it in sp eech . H ow ever, there c a n be n o transgres sio n in th e carn al a c t if it is n o t liv ed as a sp iritu al ev en t, bu t in order to grasp the o b je c t w ithin it, o n e m ust seek ou t and reproduce the ev en t in a reiterated d escrip tio n o f the carnal act. T h is reiterated descriptio n o f the carn al a ct n ot on ly provides an a cc o u n t o f tran sgression , it is itself a transgression o f la n guage by langu age. U n d ersto o d correctly, this is n ot m erely a qu estio n o f an eth ical tran s gression, bu t o f the vio len ce do n e to the integrity o f a b ein g by so m eth in g th at appears to the m in d [iesprit] only in the b ein gs disin tegration thus there is less o f a n eed to d o bad in spite o f th e im perative to do goo d, than o f a n eed to make what is beautiful, ugly by disfiguring a face, for exam ple, or corrupting w hat appears pure. T h is so m eth in g th at then appears to the m ind is by nature capable o f adoration [adorable]; it is eith er so m eth in g th a t overcom es the m ind, or it is the very state o f ado ration in w h ich the m in d then fin ds itself. But if everyth in g passes [tout passe] in language, adoration itself escapes from it. S a d e denied th e o b je ctiv e reality o f sacrilege and recognized it as h avin g only an erogenous value; but his im agin atio n could n ot go further th an this because in order to app reciate it as erogenous h e reestablished it in its o b jectivity through the sim ple fact o f sp eak in g or w riting. T h e exam ple o f B ataille proves it again: every process takes its p o in t o f departure from this irreducible exp erien ce; for h im sacrilege h as an o n to lo g ica l fun ction ; in the a c t o f profaning the most

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noble name o f existen ce, its presence is revealed. T h u s B ataille, desp ite his a th e ist attitu d e, rem ains in solidarity w ith the w hole C h ristian cu ltu ral structure. T h e priest, the m ass, the sacraments, all the accessories o f the cu lt, even the name of G od, are indispensable for B a ta ille s expression. O n e can certain ly say th at these are the proper elem en ts o f a language th at provides an accou n t a ccord in g to co n d itio n s o f co m preh en sio n determ in ed by C a th o lic h ab its o f an exp erien ce th at otherw ise c a n n o t be exp licated; but if B ataille h ad the m eans to tran slate his exp erien ce in an o th er way, I strongly doub t th at he w ould w ant to be deprived o f the m ean s th at precisely provide him w ith the m en tal structures o f the C h urch . T h e words o f consecration w ith w h ich th e p riest co n v e rts the su b stan ce o f th e bread an d w ine in to the su b stan ce o f th e flesh an d b lood o f th e S a v io r se p aratin g them co m pletely by th eir su ccessio n (h e co n secrate s first the body, then the blood ) the body and the b lood n everth eless estab lish th e d ivin e flesh and b lood in th e ab o litio n o f the su b stan ces o f the bread and the w ine. M an ife st in th e ab o litio n o f th e sp ecies [espces] o f th e bread an d th e w ine, the real presence o f the Savior itself app ears on ly in the separation o f his body and his blood; it is under the form [sous la figure] o f his death that the Savior is really present. T h e C a th o lic do gm a o f tran su b stan tiatio n th u s d em o n strates how the sacrifice on the cross, acco m p lish ed o n ce and for all, is n o n e th ele ss p resen t in tim e an d can be reiterated as an actual sacrifice. O n e sees im m ediately how the d o gm a o f the real p resen ce, w ith all o f th e m en tal o p eratio n s th at it su p poses, p rovides th e m aterial for w ild, sacrilegiou s im agin in gs: by allow in g G o d to be m ade p resen t, but veiled under the sp ecies o f a food, thus o f an o b je ct, co n secratio n exp oses the div in e p resen ce to every p ossib le injury in the sam e way th at o n e w ould strip a h u m an body. C erta in ly the real p resen ce in the H oly S a c ra m e n t is, in the th eo lo gical sense, realized by the b eliev er as an interior ev en t, an d the sp ace w here the e n co u n te r o f the b eliev er an d the d iv in e p resen ce is situ ated is a sp iritu al sp ace. N o n e th e le ss the co n secrated h o st acts in d ep en den tly o f the degree o f b e lie f or d isb e lie f o f the a ssistan ts or co m m u n ican ts. T h e real p resen ce is therefore n ot su b je ctiv e at all, b u t o b je c tiv e G o d is there, exp osed to th e eyes it is certain ly h im veiled under the sp ecies o f the bread and th e w ine bu t it is th is very veil, this v eil o f his d eath , th at form s th e se p aratio n o f his body an d his b lood th at m ak es it p re sen t and exp oses it, in th e sam e way th at th e nudity o f a body exp o ses it to outrages. T h e rapprochement betw een th e real p resen ce o f G o d and th e nudity o f a h u m an bein g im m ediately im poses itself; w h at is sh o ck in g is th at, w ith o u t sp eak in g here o f th e b la ck " trad itio n s o f m in ds like S a d e and B ataille, they are at w ork as th ou gh in an im possible m ed itatio n . T h e ex iste n c e o f the p riest, o f the m an w ho co n secrate s the b read and w ine to the body an d blood o f th e S o n o f G o d , bu t w ho, for th is actio n , h as tak en a vow o f ch astity and w ho co n sequ en tly represen ts w ithin h im se lf the sep aratio n o f the body an d soul th is e x iste n c e co n stitu te s for B a ta ille s m ind

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b o th a p erp etu al m e n ace and a p ro v o catio n . If such is the m ystery o f b ein g, if su ch is th e form o f th is m ystery then B a ta ille s attitu d e w ould be v ain insofar as it ten ds to ab olish th is form . But, on the contrary, it retain s all its v alu e for B ataille to the ex te n t th at, by his own c o n te statio n , h e strives to give an a cc o u n t o f the n on -ap p aren t co n te n t o f th is m ystery to w h ich , w ith the sam e gesture, h e adh eres co m pletely [il nen adhre pas moins pleinement]. U ltim ately , if the sacerd o tal and sac ram en tal form o f th e m ystery retain s w hat is ab olish ed by its visib le ritual op eratio n , B atailles attitu d e aspires to reestab lish by m ean s o f lan gu age w hat th e ritual o p eratio n destroys by a b an d o n in g it to silen ce. O n e th en w itnesses a reprise o f the m en tal operatio n s th at are a p relu de to the real presence in favor o f w hat th ese o p eration s abolish . W h a t co n secratio n ab olish es in the profound m e an in g o f th e transu b stan tia tio n are under the form o f th e bread an d w ine the transgressions o f the flesh, sin ce its desires are w h at were n ailed u pon th e cross. W h a t c o n se cratio n estab lish es is th e h e av en ly flesh w ithin the d ivin e presen ce. But th is is because, for B ataille, transgression in the carn al a ct h as the sam e value as a k in d o f inverse tran su b stan tiatio n : b ecause all in tact flesh is effectively ex p erie n ced by B ataille as already "h eav en ly , p ro fan atio n b ecom es a sp iri tual force. B ut from w here d o es th e p ro fan in g transgression (liv ed in the carn al a ct) draw its virtue o f tra n su b stan tiatio n if n o t from the em in en t fact th at, through the w ords o f co n secratio n , the m in d h as ab olish ed the carn al desires; through th e m in d s w ords o f d eath th e ab olish ed flesh atta in s the real pres en ce o f h eaven ly flesh. In B a ta ille s m ind so m eth in g o f th e h eaven ly flesh is co n fou n d ed w ith w h at he calls th e b ein gs integrity, particularly w ith the integrity o f all flesh an d all in ta ct flesh h as so m eth in g an alo go u s to h e a v en ly flesh. B u t th is very integrity carries in itself th e p ro fan atio n , the vio len ce th at can be d o n e to it, sin ce it is in th e m e n acin g relatio n to the d isin te grat ing a ct o f p ro fan atio n th at the m in d co n ce iv es o f integrity. W h a ts m ore, w ithout this m e n ace su sp en ded ov er "in ta c t flesh , integrity w ould n ot be exp erien ced by the m in d at all. Intact, the o th e rs flesh appears as a sym bol o f its ow n d e a th d e ath o f th e carn al life but also as presence beyond death , bu t if it bears the m en ace o f p ro fan atio n as c o n stitu tiv e o f its integrity, this m ean s th at th ere is p ro fan atio n itself in this presen ce. T h is presence im m edi ately ce ases to h a v e a tran scen d en tal reality; in relation to th at m en ace o f p ro fan atio n th a t now fixes the m in d, it is n o th in g m ore th an an im m an en t reality, like the sp ecies in relatio n to th e co n secratory w ords, an d this h a p p en s th rough the p ro fan in g act, through th e v io la tio n that w orks the inverted tran su b stan tiatio n . T h e difficulty o f d escrib in g th is ab erration arises b ecau se it can be on ly discursively, sin ce it is p rodu ced in an in stan tan eo u s sim ilitu d e betw een ritual tran su b stan tiatio n a n d op p o sitio n to the rite, and alw ays as its inversion . Similitude in the sen se th a t, in the so rt o f p ath o lo gical ecstasy th at w ould o b ta in , for exam p le, the p ro fa n a tio n o f the h o st, the real

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presen ce th at is th en revealed is exactly the sam e as w h at is revealed in ad o ration, bu t opposition in the sense th at w hat is then adored is the destru ctive op eration o f the m ind. A d o ratio n lim its the m ind by real p resen ce, by the p resen ce o f the oth er; the p rofan ation o f the h ost ab olish es the m in d s lim its w hich is why this kind o f ecstasy is identical to th e orgasm th at is exp erien ced as a suppression o f the bodys lim its; but the inverted tran su b stan tiatio n that the p rofaning spirit thus works upon h eaven ly flesh as if it were m ere m a te rial, only an im m an en t thing, is only a sim ulacrum o f langu age insofar as it is also the sam e tran scen d en ce th at the m in d seeks. It is a sim ulacrum that is also ev id en t in the transgression exp erienced in the carn al act: does the transgres s e spirit n o t ultim ately seek there to tran sub stan tiate w hat it desires, the abo lition o f the carn al lim its exp erien ced in orgasm ? D oes the v iolen t a ct by w hich a body is stripped n ot represent the abolition o f th e very person that on e strips? W h at is revealed by this destruction, w hether p hysical or m oral, is th en a real presen ce th at can n o t be know n or retain ed, an ecstasy w here the mind is some how contemplated outside o f itself, w here it attem p ts to grasp its sp oils [larcin] in the ab o litio n o f its suprem e state; but this a b o litio n can only op erate as a sim ulacrum . A n d this sim ulacrum is perh aps his worst plunder [pire larcin]. O n e could say th at B ataille ca n n o t do w ithout the name o f G od any m ore th an a priest can do w ithout the bread and w ine for co n secration . H ow ever, for the priest, as so on as the bread and w ine are the flesh and blood o f the Savior, bread an d wine are n o m ore than inappropriate words. T h e sam e is true, for B ataille, o f the name o f G od w hich is in som e way the m aterial o f a counter-sacrament, by w hich [sur laquelle] the m ind only acts u pon itself in order to destroy itself; a destruction w hose illusion is p rovided by the inten se sh ock that it suffers in the verbal insurrection again st the very th in g th at n on eth eless rem ains the sign o f its suprem e identity: the name o f God.

Chapter Six

Language, Silence, and Communism

P arain is a teacher. H is philosophy w hich is m uch too restrained in dealin g w ith colorful in sin uation s because it is to o well inform ed ab ou t th e evils th at it com bats is addressed to the m ost hu m an ly urgent p art o f each o f us in the situ atio n th at contem porary history m akes for us: our n eed for truth w hich, for him , rem ains inseparable from our w ill to live. H is thou gh t w ould certain ly be m ore direct, and m ore im m ediately accessib le, if it did n o t w illingly side with all o f our p arad oxes p arad oxes th at it m ust reproduce and recon struct in order to th en lead us to d isarticu late the false structures w ithin w hich we h ave en trapped ourselves. For this reason alo n e his in vestigation s o n langu age are n o th in g less th an free gifts; w h atever ob je ctio n s they arouse through the p rin cip le o f their o rie n tatio n , they are especially m eaningful in a so cial m ilieu w here the fact o f sp eak in g, th e love o f form ulas, h as b ecom e m ore than a m ere vice; indeed it is a v eritab le sickn ess, a m en ace to ev eryones body an d soul. U ltim a te ly P arain s co n cern , a t th e level o f th e in d ivid ual m an , goes righ t to th e flesh; less to the soul th an to the flesh th at sp eaks, to all o f the v icissitu d es th at arise from the asso cia tio n o f sp ee ch [la parole] an d the flesh, especially as the soul ten ds to d isso ciate lan gu age [le langage] from the flesh, fo rg ettin g th at it is in a n d through the flesh th a t it m ust render an accou n t to truth. In h is b a ttle s again st th e adversary, P arain often ev ok es old Tertullian from his b a ttle again st the D o ce te s.1 T h is is w h at leads Parain to refer co n sta n tly to the d o gm a o f the R esu rrection o f th e flesh th at is the alph a and o m ega o f his th ou gh t [qui demeure le commencement et la fin de toutes les dmarches de sa pense ]. T h is argu m ent, w h ich in the eyes o f u n b eliev in g th o u gh t h old s on ly as a p o stu late, disposes P arain to u n derstan d if n o t to sym pathize w ith th ose very p eop le w ho today ap p ear as the m ost zealous d etracto rs o f C h ristian ity . P arain h as lived in R u ssia, w ith its B o lsh evik exp erien ce grafted o n to the ca rn a l C h ristian ity o f the R u ssian p eop le, an d th is rem ain s for h im n o t only

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h is d eterm in an t person al exp erien ce but also th e cru cial ev en t in ligh t o f w h ich he sets abou t w eighing and m easu rin g ev ery th in g th at we in the W est are in clin ed to op p o se to the co m m u n ist exp erien ce. W e will see later why Parain calls it the p lace o f silen ce. P a ra in s a ttitu d e o f w a itin g in th e fa ce o f co m m u n ism is th e sa m e p a tie n c e th a t th e R u ssia n m an p o ssesses; w h eth e r by a g re e m e n t or force, w h o k n ow s w h eth er B o lsh e v ist m a te ria lism m igh t n o t b e in th e p ro ce ss co n trary to its ow n sta te m e n ts o f g iv in g C h ristia n ity th e body th a t will re p lace th e alread y w eak W estern o n e ? T h e sp irit is in th e w orld n o t on ly in ord er to affirm th e idea, bu t in o rd er to giv e it a body. T h is b od y c a n n o t be th a t o f so m e o n e to rtu red . It c a n o n ly be a g lo rio u s body. C h ristia n ity an d co m m u n ism are in a g re em e n t o n th is p o in t, e v e n as they d e fin e glory d ifferen tly . ' In 1903 . . . th e B o lsh e v ik p arty in R u ssia , by re q u irin g its m em b ers to c o m p le te ly re n o u n ce an y a c tiv ity o th e r th a n th a t o f fig h tin g for th e p ro le ta ria n re v o lu tio n , fo u n d ed th e first m o d ern m o n a stic order. T h is is how th e re ligio u s re v o lu tio n o f ou r era b eg an . It h as a lso restored th e ru le o f id e as by sta tin g a t th e sa m e tim e th at th ere is e ffe ctiv e a c tio n o n ly w h en it co n fo rm s to a firm ly a n d p rev io u sly e sta b lish e d th eory . '1 T h e first m o d ern C o u n c ils w ere th e R u ssia n S o v ie ts.'" C o m m u n ism te a c h e s us a g a in o n e o f th e fu n d a m e n ta l p rin c ip le s o f tra d itio n a l p h ilo so p hy: th a t th e in d iv id u a l is a b e in g th a t is su b o rd in a te to th e law o f la n gu age, th a t is to say to th e law o f id eas. B u t th e idea is prop erly th e first d e g re e o f m a n s a sc e n sio n tow ard G o d . z T h e intelligentzia o f ou r gen eration in F ran ce is currently sw ept up in an ever m ore fran tic q u estio n in g o f the reality o f th is w orld an d d evotes itself to an in can tatio n o f ab sen ce n o t th at o f a world ab sen t from this on e, bu t o f an absence o f the world from things and b ein gs by m ean s o f lan gu age. In France, h ow ever a p ortrait o f a society th reaten ed by co m p le te p roletarian ization the official teach in g can on ly favor th is req u estio n in g because, as P arain says, this teach in g, w hich co n sists in affirm in g th at there is n o truth , den ies the very prin ciple o f teach in g. To so cie ty s im plicit n ih ilism th is e x p lic it on e responds w ith a literature all th e m ore cle v er for identifying lan gu age w ith the d iscon tin u ity and inform ality w ith w hich it m asks its misery, w h ich is n o th in g oth er th an ev ery o n es misery, g iv in g an arbitrary word [parole] to a qu iet distress that has no name. T oday the n am es o f th in gs an d b ein gs n o lon ger really b elon g to them in a legitim ate way an d seem to co rrespo n d to them only m ore or less arbitrarily: by w eariness a cco rd in g to so m e, u su rpation

i. Brice Parain, LEmbarras du choix (Paris: G allim ard , 1946), p. 100. ii. Ibid., p. 115. iii. Ibid., p. 117.

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a cco rd in g to oth ers. A g a in it seem s th at anonym ity w ould b e the m ost a d v a n tageo u s th in g for the greatest good o f all: liberty. M oreover, this is w h at gu ides our contem porary m etap h ysics w hich teach es th in k in g (a b o u t) ex iste n c e by suppressing th e m o st n ob le n am e th at lan gu age h as giv en to it, thus su ggestin g that e x iste n c e and langu age h a v e n o o th e r origin th an co n scio u sn ess itself, w hich is h en ceforth free to lim it or to exte n d its actio n acco rd in g to self-created criteria. T h e th ou gh t o f B rice Parain is d isco n certin g first o f all b ecau se it is cen tered u pon so m e infinitely sim p le truth s an d b ecause, alm o st im m ediately, ev en before they are told to us, it offers an acc o u n t o f th e im possibility o f statin g th em in a d irect way: h e m ust follow th e p ath o f error to the end w here we co m p letely lost th ese truths. T h e first [of these sim ple truths] is th at m an does n ot exist without language because language h as created him ; the second is that in order to fulfill his pur pose or sim ply to m ain tain his current state, he m ust perform his acts in solidar ity w ith his speech; finally, the third is that as soon as he transgresses the speech o f his m outh , he destroys his existen ce and abandons his hum an specificity. H ow ever, this transgression can be produced in two different senses: either it is a m atter o f a devalorization o f sp eech by ex isten ce and by the sim u l tan eou s requ estion in g o f sp eech and existen ce in the search for an exp erien ce w ithout so lu tio n [sans issu], or it is a m atter o f a devalorization o f existen ce by a sp eech , separated from existen ce, th at takes the p lace o f exp erience. Parain s new reflections on language and existen ce can be read as o b jection s to the critique to w hich Sartre h as sub jected his analyses o f language.'' A cco rd in g to Sartre, for there to be a problem o f language, the O th e r m ust be given first. Lan guage is n oth in g but existen ce in the presence o f others. H ow ever, language is identified here w ith the ju dgm en t o f others by w hich we becom e an object; oth ers alien ate us by their ju dgm en ts, w h ich we feel set upon us. A n d he co n cludes, against Parain, th a t on e m ust m ain tain the priority o f the cogito, o f the universalizing syn theses, o f the im m ediate experience o f others.' A g a in , P arain m a in tain s th e priority o f lan gu age in the face o f an d again st every m yth o f th e transcendental ego. If individual con sciousn ess plays the role o f an absolute begin ning as it does for phen om enology th en it is hardly cap ab le o f anythin g but the passive

iv. J-P Sartre, Situations I, A ller et R etou r" (Paris: G allim ard, 1947), pp. 189-244. [Sartres essay is an exten d ed critical review o f Parains Recherches sur la nature et les func tions du langage. trans.] v. Ibid., p. 238.

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co n tem platio n o f an eternal peace: thus, says Parain, each tim e th at p eace is troubled it h as the feeling o f the absurd. U ltim ately, inertia being the law o f this consciousness, it does n ot know how to describe any o f the ev en ts th at grip us and suspend our reflection: births, deaths, acts o f violen ce, revolts, suicides, so cial crises, wars. B u t our an xieties [angoisses], our revolts, our doubt, w h ich are so m any suspensions o f judgm ent, reveal on the contrary m om en ts o f rupture and instability. If consciousness were an unbroken w hole [ensemble], it would persevere in its con stitutive syntheses o f o b jects.3 O n the contrary, the inter ven tion o f speech strips the ch aracter o f finitude from every even t o f our exis tence. W ith language we enter, for better or worse, the order o f the indefinite if n ot the infinite.MG iv e n the fact o f language, our existen ce is pow erless to dispose either o f its death or o f its life. Every act o f our existen ce, for P arain , ev en the sim p lest b reath , is a ju d g m ent th at in trod u ces a value in to th e w orld. U p o n reflection , every th ou gh t is exercised only through the su sp en sion o f ju d gm en t. If, for exam p le, I hold my breath and my sp eech , th en there is th e p ossib ility o f rupture; an d if I am then free to be q u iet or to speak , it is betw een silen ce an d sp eech , n o t on e sp eech or anoth er. H ow ever, I n o tic e further th at I do n o t th in k o f an y th in g th at I do n ot en d up n am in g. A sid e from tragic m o m en ts, ev ery th in g alw ays results in an e x p lic a tio n , and if I do n o t speak, oth ers w ill sp eak in my p lace: th is is the law o f our a cco m p lish m e n t an d o f th e cu ltu re o f every society. T h u s, for Parain , bein g is syn on ym ous w ith b ein g said. B ut precisely in the tragic m om en ts, or th ose sim ply m ade grievou s by our doubt, our co n tin gen cy is revealed an d w ith it co m es revolt. A s I im ag ine m yself freely en jo y in g my e x iste n c e as a p len itu d e before b ein g satisfied in the silen ce o f a created creature, sudden ly there is so m eth in g for m e no lon ger a m aster o f in terven in g b u t now su b je ct to th e op eratio n o f re sp o n d ing to exp lain . Better: if I say it, I will cease to be, b ecause I c a n n o t be hap py all alon e. Freedom m ust be tau gh t b ecause it is n o t free, says Parain. T h is m eans th at I lose my freedom b ecau se I am obliged to speak an d I can on ly h ope to find it again b eyond my sp eech . I affirm so m eth in g, and I reproach m yself im m ediately for say in g to o m u ch this is already n o th in g but a n egatio n , says Parain w ho again here rejoin s B la n ch o t: for what is does not have to be and I remove its being from it by attributing it to it. T h u s I am only a m ean s o f lan gu age for m ak in g co m e to be th at w h ich is n o t yet. P arain determ in es th at he h as h ere a ttain ed th e p la ce from w h ich o n e ca n p erceive the do u ble d efect co m m o n to tran scen d en tal idealism and C arte sia n idealism . T h e y h av e situ ated th e su sp en sion o f ju d gm en t at the m o m en t the first word is uttered. H ow ever, I su spen d my ju d gm en t after b reath in g an d w alking, at the precise m o m en t w hen, re ceivin g my first im pression o f the exterior w orld, I decid e to n am e it. 5 B ecau se every im pression a n d every em o tio n is my p art o f the w orld, this p art is to o h eavy for m e to be ca p a b le o f

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tak in g on all alo n e. T h is is b ecau se th is p art o f th e world assim ilates m e to u n iversal n ecessity ; it estab lish es m e in the carn al com m u n ity o f my fellow m en. B u t barely h av e I sp ok en , th a n I find m yself separated from n ecessity an d eq uality sim u ltan eo usly : 1 co m m an d or im plore, I estab lish inequality, p la cin g m yself ab o v e or below th e level o f the c o m m o n .6 H a v in g spok en because I ca n n o t n ever speak at all, I fall in to the co n tin gen cy o f language. P arain insists th a t in d ivid ual co n sciou sn ess is an im ated by its su b je ctio n to the m o vem en t o f lan gu age an d is thereby m ad e on ly to follow the u n iversal m o v em en t o f co n sciou sn esses. If, on the contrary, it were ab solu tely au ton om ou s, revolt w ould be p ushed to the extrem e an d would be im prisoned in silen ce , as is th e case w ith K ierk egaard s d em o n ism describ ed in The Concept o f Anxiety.7 W h a ts m ore, an au ton om ou s co n scio u sn ess w ould su p pose a world th at is itself im m obile, a w orld w here it w ould h ave n o efficacy [elle ne serait pour rien]. In fact, it form s w ith langu age a w hole o f w hich it is on ly the isolated p art, affectin g the oth er p arts o f actu ally p ossib le b ecom in g by re ceivin g a body. T h ro u gh its asso ciatio n w ith langu age, our c o n scio u s ness, in relation to th e m o v em en t o f o th e r individual co n sciou sn esses, finds itself in th e situ atio n o f a w riter w ho c a n n o lon ger recall the h istorical m e an ing o f his work. It does n o t b elo n g to h im b ecause he h im self belon gs to o th ers from th e m o m en t th at he w rites. Through language we are always outside ourselves. O u r outside is the domain o f language, which is exterior to us, but from which we cannot escape.s T h e so lu tio n su ggested by K a n tia n idealism is n o lon ger to ju dge but to describe. Life creates v alu es, resolves all co n trad ictio n s. It jo in s us to e x p eri en ce. Id en tical to G o d , we m ak e ev ery th in g h ap pen through our c o n scio u s n ess, w h ich grasps the w orld. W ith o u t it, it co llap ses. W e are a b egin n in g; we o u rselves are the groun d o f our abso lu te freedom . T h e n why does this c o n scio u sn ess still n eed ex p erie n ce in order to know itself an d need to be described in order to say at the end o f it all that it exists for nothing and that it suffers! Parain rem arks th at, in truth, co n scio u sn e ss is im m ortal b ecause it is already dead. It is im m ortal because it resides in th e im m ortality o f langu age, m ain tain ed by the in fin ite w h ole o f in d iv id u al co n scio u sn esses th a t su cceed on e an o th er under its law. A n d it is a play o n w ords [cest jouer sur les mots] to call this w h ole D asein (b ein g-th ere). H a v in g on ly a m o m en t o f im aginary ex iste n ce, in d iv id u al co n sciou sn ess is im m ediately lost in th e n am e th a t it is given . C o u p le d to language, its fun c tion is to lose itself in it since only language appears. In cap ab le o f bein g c o n te m p lated w ithout its interm ediary, eith er it is n ot b ein g but on ly feeling, or it is on ly th e n am e th a t it gives to th is feelin g, thereby tran sm ittin g itself to la n gu age; th e infinity th a t is th e n born is th at o f sp eech . T h e truth is th at co n scio u sn e ss is there n o t to q u estio n , but to respond, sin ce it is lan gu age th a t qu estio n s an d co n scio u sn ess is in th e p o sitio n o f the

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a ccu sed .9 In and for itself, co n scio u sn e ss w ould n ot speak . From the m om en t th at it sp eak s, it is for anoth er. But th is is n ot at all how th e o th e r is a p p re h ended. T h e oth er is know able on ly under the form o f langu age, because the ocher itself is language. Lan gu age is thus the stran ger inside us. W e are the stran ger," says P arain . T h ere is n o su b je ct ex c ep t an u n stab le su b je ct o f w h ich on ly the n am e o f the su b ject, w hich is already the o b je ct, appears. S u c h is our co n d itio n . T h is is why I call it a c o n d itio n o f revolt and g e n e ra l ized su icid e. 1 0 N e v erth eless, P arain does n o t w an t to reduce co n scio u sn e ss to m om en ts o f an xiety and revolt an d he sees its true reason for b ein g in its refusal o f any so lu tio n th at av o id s th e m etap h y sical problem o f its origin. If sp ee ch m akes us resp on sible for history, guilty for sp eak in g, we are ca p a b le o f truth only through langu age; it is n ot only a source o f our culpability, it is also our sa l v atio n . If it ruins the in d iv id ual co n scio u sn c sss dream o f autonom y, it p re serves the body for th e co m m on co n sciou sn ess: it sav es us from the su icide to w hich our revolt carries us by the prom ise o f a u niversal m e an in g th at recoups every cry o f distress. L u th er said: W h o e v er cries ou t, o b ta in s grace. A n d if this h as a universal m ean in g, then this m ean in g su p poses an eq uality th at groun ds a new freedom . H ow is this equality co n stitu ted ? W e m ust a cc ep t our du p licity as a necessary law; n ot th at it is a qu estio n here o f two states o f language w hich w ould be our im m ed iate exp ressio n judged by an im m o bile co n sciou sn ess, b oth au th or an d spectator. It is a qu estio n o f a dialogu e th at is pursued in e a c h o f us an d from o th ers to us, in an indirect exp ression o f ou rselves: I can never say what I lack and there is always a margin o f absence between my words and m yself that comes to fulfill my acts, my death, and that o f o t h e r s T h is is w h at P arain ca lls a nostalgic rapport w ith langu age th at m akes us a deceptive appearance for oth ers. B ecau se lan gu age is n ece ssar ily in carn ated in order to lose its irresolute freedom , it is not satisfied luith its body any more than its body is satisfied with it and sooner or later we will disappear in the adopted language, a lan gu age th at, p la cin g us outside o f ourselves as well as ou tside o f oth ers, thus prevents us from judging ourselves and from judging any one else.'1 T h ro u gh th is exp erien ce to w h ich it su bm its each o f us, language establish es an equality betw een us, an equality th at is n o th in g oth er th an th at before death . B ecau se we are n o t u n ited and c o m p le te b ein gs, but op en and in com p lete, death is introdu ced in to our body by lan gu age in order thereby to ob tain our unity and co m p letio n . T h e oth er asp ect o f our equality now appears: equality before the L o gos, thus before G o d . In effect, b ecau se the very m ean in g o f eq uality (w h ich o u gh t to assure us o f our p articip atio n in truth ) requires a single judge who cannot be one o f us, there is a p ossib le e q u a l ity on ly before h im .1 3 By this fact, we are tem porally free in relatio n to eac h o th er to obey the rule o f our carn al existen ce, w h ich is to utter the sp eech o f our ow n death . "It is n o t in dyin g at the h an ds o f m en , says P arain , th at on e

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recogn izcs there is n o th in g m ore to say. Every prem atu re d e a th is a new begin rung. 1 4 H ere ag ain , P arain p rovides a com m entary on B la n c h o ts th em e o f the impossibility of dying. Sa rtre , c itin g a p assage from Retour la France [Return to France]'1w here P arain claim s th at there is no better p ro o f for the ex iste n c e o f G o d th an the im possibility o f m an d o in g w ith ou t language or d irectin g it, goes o n to n ote th at P arain do es n o t form ulate this proof. But, in his L Em barras du Choix [The Trouble with Choice ], P arain states that, if it is n o t in ou r pow er (a c co rd ing to Leibn iz) to first p rove the possibility o f th is e x iste n c e, the tra n sce n d e n c e o f lan gu age (b ecau se lan gu age is our p o ssib le) reestab lish es the o n to logical a rgu m e n t.1 5 T h e p resen ce o f n am es th at lan gu age im poses on us m akes th e ideas th at they represent d ep en d en t upon h u m an thou gh t. A n d if m en can qu estio n th ese ideas, they still c a n n o t u nderm in e w hat th ese n am es d e s ign ate, n or ev en un d erm in e th ese n am es. M an can deny G o d only in words, thereby reaffirm in g h im , his capability, because it is giv en by langu age, rem ain s th at he c a n n o t destroy even by destroyin g h im self. 1 6 Parain observes th at it w ould thus be co n trad icto ry for the ex isten ce o f G o d (oth erw ise called ex iste n c e ) to depen d on hu m an th ou gh t as thou gh e x iste n c e could depend on th ose w hom it m ad e ex ist, because they d o or do n o t th in k o f it. If we know only p h en o m e n a , then we m ust ab olish the verb to be from our la n gu age. Every n am e o f e x iste n c e th e m ost ordinary as well as th e m ost n ob le ask s to b e .1 1 If Sa rtre then declares th at Parain w ould n ot dare to p ro pose th at G o d m ain tain s the identity o f the word [du mot] in us, b ecause then it is G o d w ho th in k s in us an d we fade away; G o d alo n e rem ain s, 1 8 Parain will n ecessarily resp on d affirm atively. Lan guage, w hose m ean in g m ust be found, is im posed on us unilaterally, an d th is is ev en m ore true o f th e m ost n oble n am e of e x iste n c e . H ow ever, it is precisely our death that allows names to be because lan gu age d o es n o t b elon g to us individually and will find an oth er body after ours disap pears. A cco rd in g to Parain , to form a n on con trad ictory idea o f G o d is our u ltim ate task, and for h im th is co in cid e s w ith the search for a ju st lan gu age. T h is search acq uires an esch ato lo g ic al m ean in g for Parain. B ecau se lan gu age n ever app ears in its totality, it d evelo p s only through the d e a th o f in d ivid uals, an d th is is why p ea ce on earth seem s im possible. In the face o f the im possibility o f this p eace, w h ich is only the im possibility o f ever a tta in in g to th is just language because it is im possible ever to exh au st the p ossib le P arain co n ce iv es con versely o f a just silence, m ore ju st th an any lan gu age co u ld h u m an ly be; the ju st lan gu age b ein g n o th in g oth er th an G o d h im self, the ju st sile n ce w ould o n th e co n trary co n sist an d be born from our a c c e p ta n c e o f resp o n d in g at each moment with every word.

vi. Brice Parain, Retour la France (Paris: G rasset, 1936), p. 16.

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It is clear from then on why th e p roblem o f lan gu age is ce n tral for Parain: because truth is revealed by language, only language allows us to find truth again; there is no truth to discover outside o f this revelation. P arain s th ou gh t thus c o m pletely co in cid e s w ith the do gm a o f w h ich it is u ltim ately only a d e m o n stra tion: langu age h as created m an, it h as revealed m an to him self; w ith ou t lan gu age there is no self-co n sciou sn ess at all. W ith o u t langu age, n o th in g rem ain s for m an ex c ep t th e p ath s o f ex p erien ce. In su b o rd in atin g exp erien ce to langu age, m an founds logic. In su b ord in atin g langu age to ex p erie n ce, the form er becom es prey to d ialectic; how ever, d eath puts an end to it and la n gu age alw ays subsists. For Parain , our m o d e m d ialectic is only an asp ec t o f th e etern al dialogu e o f lan gu age and the flesh in w h ich the L o gos h as sp ok en th e first w ord and h as also reserved the last; su ch is the true ground o f w hat P arain un d erstan ds by logic, w hich he does n ot co n fu se w ith form al logic. In h is C ritiq u e o f the M aterialist D iale ctic , 1 9 Parain describ es the p ersisten ce o f the L o gos through the insoluble situ atio n s and co n tra d ictio n s th a t we live and exp ress w hether in H e g e ls d ialectic o f p ro p o sitio n s, M arx s d ia le ctic o f exp erien ce, or in the d ialectic o f art. W e b eliev e th a t th ese dilem m as and situ a tio n s are resolved, but th ese resolu tion s n ever do an y th in g but reprodu ce our failure before a world th at we did n o t create but for w h ich we are n everth eless resp on sible because we speak. C o m m u n ism is on ly on e stage o f the gran d h isto rical re volu tion begun w ith the R eform ation through the su b stitu tion o f d ia lectic, a do ctrin e o f exp erien ce, for the logic groun ded on R ev e latio n .'" T h e p arad ox is th at com m u n ism h as co n trib u ted to reestab lish in g th e reign o f the idea over the individual, w hich am o u n ts to re co n stitu tin g the prelim inary and necessary co n d itio n for the birth o f a new idea o f G o d ." C o m m u n ism is first founded u pon th e inversion o f an essen tially reli gious idea: equality before d eath and before G o d . T h e in version o f th e idea p rovo ked by the exp erien ce o f m aterial inequ ality as giv en prim arily by the hu m an co n d itio n ju stified its se co n d , scie n tific fo u n d a tio n : d ia lectica l m aterialism and its p o litical, eco n o m ic, an d so cial ap p licatio n s. H egel preserved only the trium ph o f lan gu age ov er ex iste n ce, a b a n d o n ing ex iste n c e to its fate as v ictim . It is here th at M arx interrupts w ith his reproach th at ev ery th in g in th is system is turned on its h ead, and [announces] h is in ten tio n to put th in gs b ack on th eir feet. In d o in g this, g iv in g everyth in g to th e body, to the flesh, he n eglects the soul, an d , a cco rd in g to P arain , la n guage. If the sp iritu al com m erce o f m en were sim ply a d irect em an atio n o f their m aterial beh avior, on e would be faced w ith a useless m o n ologu e, a cry

vii. L'Em barras du Choix, p. 134.

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in th e desert. H ow ever, our law is indeed th e d ialectic, Parain says, but w hat restrain s it is th e d ialogu e betw een th e flesh and langu age, th e body callin g for its con trary in order to be w hat it is n ot and language co m in g to its a id .2 1 A c c o rd in g to him , M arx h as on ly ap p lied to work the p rop ositio n al d ia lectic th at H eg el ap p lie d to co n sciou sn ess. Parain repro ach es Hegel for having stopped at the birth o f the dialectic of lan guage and existence; if he had pushed this dialectic further, he would have ended up by questioning its rights to experience, let us say to the freedom o f experience.2 1 W ith its taste for freedom , exp erien ce ten ds to forget th a t it created n eith er lan gu age n or the w orld. B ut d eath return s to insin uate itself in to it ju st w hen it is go in g to giv e up its atte m p ts because it is never finished with them. H av in g n ever rested, how can it take the tim e to w rite? T h is in con sisten cy is all the greater precisely b ecau se w riting an d here Parain jo in s B lan ch o t a g a in to write is to kill what is movement and life. With its m ania for experience, Parain rightly says, humanity has effectively ceased to be able to look its mortal condition in the face. This is the secret o f our modem despair.2 3 In order for experience to bear witness to our power o f truth, w hich can hold us breathless until it is satisfied, it must have at its disposal n ot only the im m ortality o f the soul but also th at o f the flesh. T h is ob jection by Parain returns us to the last judgm ent before w hich n o speech could be totally decisive. E xperience can be taken as a proper ob ject o f description only when death, the source o f its fundam ental uncertainty, is rejected. T h e dialectic o f both M arx and H egel supposes that science exhausts all o f our cares. It forgets that the indi vidual wants to know why he disappears prior to being able to end his exjxrie nee.2 4 S c i en ce thus never eludes the im age o f death that art represents because there is con trad iction oth er than th at discovered by the dialectic, a contradiction that is the law o f our tragic union w ith language : revolt is in the world.2 5 If scie n ce on ly gives an a cco u n t o f error, then art gives an acco u n t of falseh ood b ecau se it in d icates the m ore fu n d am en tal co n trad ictio n s betw een w hat we are and th e exp ression o f a situ atio n th at, precisely in exp ressin g it, we are in cap ab le o f tak in g on. P arain sees h ere th e so urce o f th e tw o so lu tio n s p rop osed to our g e n e r a tio n : a e sth e tic (K ierk e gaard a n d N ie tz sc h e ), an d sc ie n tific (H e g el and M a rx ). T h e a e sth e tic so lu tio n is groun ded on the in d ifferen ce th a t on e acq u ires in c u ltiv a tin g a rt.2'1 If I d e v o te m y self to lan gu age, this is b ecause I ce a se to love m yself after h a v in g preferred m yself to oth ers. But my flesh is w hat loves an d I c a n n o lon ger love w h en I am at th e p o in t o f losin g it. T h is law h o ld s for b o th civ iliz atio n s an d in d iv id u als. A civ iliz atio n uses its body, an d alw ays seek s o th e r b o d ie s to in c arn ate its soul. W h en th is soul ab an d o n s it th rough an error o f th e flesh in c arn atin g it, the in d iv id u als suffer th is d is so c ia tio n intim ately. It is then th at, p ushed by th e n eed to free m yself from a d e ad a tm o sp h ere, I am w ithdraw n from life. P arain sees in the d ia le ctic o f art a k in d o f d ifferen tial ca lc u lu s th at w ould allow for th e ca lcu la tio n o f

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the co lle c tiv e d e clin e o f a civ ilizatio n th ro ugh in d iv id u al dram a. In th is u n i v ersal d isso c ia tio n , th e a esth etic so lu tio n w ould be my ow n b ecau se it offers m e th e c h a n ce o f u tterin g the sp ee ch before d e a th th at "w ill p ro v id e m e my p la c e , the m e an in g th at I h av e in history. B u t if art transform s em o tio n in to ju st [/uste] lan g u ag e," it on ly d o cs so th ro u gh in d ifferen ce, a sacrifice o f th e flesh th at p rod u ces the im age o f d e ath . E m o tio n is so irrefu table th at from the m o m en t it is tran slated in to w ords d e a th , v a lu a b le or u sele ss, reverts en tirely to a q u estio n o f truth o r falseh o o d . If the w ords o f art exp ress a cry, th is is b ec au se they are n o t tak en up by d iscu ssion bu t by pow er we w ould say th e au th ority o f e m o tio n an d K ie rk eg aard s p rofou n d o b je c tio n to H eg el, acc o rd in g to P arain , is th a t the d ia le ctic o f p ro p o sitio n s is e x p la in ing rath er th an responding to th e cry and h e a lin g it. U ltim ately, because P arain s th ou gh t is co m p letely cen tered on the flesh, its loss and its resurrection, it p oses the follow in g qu estio n : b ecause it is exp erim en tal, does the m aterialist d ia lectic p rovide the response to the d is so ciatio n o f flesh an d lan gu age, an d w ould it satisfy th e p la in t o f th e cry expressed in the d ialectic o f art? If every civ ilizatio n uses the body in w h ich it is in carn ated and if the idea th at it represents is alw ays in search o f o th e r b od ies w here it co u ld survive, then the m aterialist d ia lectic o u gh t to p rove its truth by a t least p reven tin g the d eath o f a civilizatio n , sin ce it is true th at it still know s n o th in g contrary to th e d eath o f the in d ivid ual, let alo n e an y th in g o f th e cry th at is expressed by art. From th is a gain em erges the fact th at the m ean in g o f art w ould be to exten d the d ialogu e betw een ex iste n c e a n d lan gu age b eyond the d ia lectic o f prop ositio n s, beyond scien ce, because ex p erien ce is n ever fin ish ed u n til it has abolish ed the im age o f d eath ; art alw ays sign ifies th e ruin o f exp erien ce. T h u s is revealed a fu n d am en tal d ialectic o f w hich th at o f p ro p o sitio n s an d th at o f sc ie n c e would be on ly stages, the d ia lectic th at goes from silen ce to silen ce: I am born in silen ce an d I die sp eak in g so th at the silen ce o f my d e a th can sp eak . A rt expresses th is d ia lectic in th is way: b eliev in g th at it co m es from my em otio n , th at is to say from nothing, my sp eech w an ts to return to this n o th in g. (T h is is an im portant asp ec t o f M au rice B lan ch o t's th o u gh t.) O n the contrary, religion p ron oun ces: if my sp eech , co m in g from lan gu age (h ere Parain m eans G o d ), lends itself to em o tio n in order to exp ress it, th en my sp eech returns to the langu age th at is G o d . T h u s for P arain th e prim acy o f lan gu age o v er exp erien ce is revealed by the incapacity o f our intelligence to recuperate a body" [se refaire un corps ] and in the qu estio n in g o f our exp erim en tal k now ledge, it feels like a m aled ictio n th at alw ays ob ligate s us to p ersevere w ithout h a v in g a b eg in n in g .2 7 A n d it is on ly w hen sufferin g or d eath th reaten s to im pose silen ce on us th a t we are even m ore co n cern ed w ith tak in g on langu age. It is th is dialogu e o f lan gu age an d existen ce, th is d ialogu e o f flesh and langu age m arked by art th at, in th e assessm en t o f civilizatio n s as o f th e life o f

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ind iv id uals, sh ow s th at falseh ood is p aid n o t only in silver but by d e a th . N o tab ly , in the d o m ain o f work, I assum e an order w here I give a liv in g part o f m yself to m yself; this order co m es to m e from langu age w h ich gives a m e an in g to the silen ce o f my d e v o tio n and a sp eech on b eh alf o f my alreadysp en t energy. T h u s 1 alw ays sp eak o f w hat 1 can n o t accom p lish , su ch th at what I say, bein g true for others, is n o th in g but falsehood for m y self at the m o m en t w hen d e a th co m es to take me. O b se rv in g th is reversal o f roles in th e ev en ts o f history, Parain already o u t lin es here the n egativ e asp ect o f th e co m m u n ist enterprise, exp ressed by p ro p ag an d a, w hile its p o sitiv e asp ect is co n stitu te d only by the silen ce o f those w h o are sacrificed through its effort. B ecau se th e d ia lectica l so lu tio n alw ays requires th at on e u ndertake w hat is m ost necessary . . . the least foreseen , w ith sacrificial rath er th an w ith ec o n o m ic m ean s, aga in st o n e se lf an d n o t for o n eself,"28 the co m m u n ist re v o lution is n o t p rodu ced, as M arx foresaw it, in G erm an y w here the industrial co n d itio n s offered favorab le terrain for a scien tific revolu tion , but in R ussia, am id th e ab sen ce o f any ind ustrialization and, b ecause o f this ab sen ce, by way o f an an tago n ism betw een m aterial n eed s and the n eed s o f art, betw een life an d death: on o n e side, th e h o pe o f div id in g the lan d s accord in g to th e farm ers an d their b e lie f in the resu rrection o f the flesh, an d on the oth er side the n ih ilist ten den cy o f the intelligentzia. T h e scien tific an d exp erim en tal d ia le c tic reestablish es th e law o f dialogu e betw een lan gu age an d flesh at the very m o m en t o f its a p p lic atio n . It thus creates a religious situ atio n in spite o f itself. A t the sam e tim e th e fu n dam en tal deficiency o f th e m aterialist dialectic b eco m es m an ifest: it do es n ot give an acco u n t o f the role o f existence in history" w h ich is th e c o n d itio n o f th e in d ivid ual led to interpret the situ atio n th at it m ak es for him . If ev ery th in g th a t h ap p en s can on ly ever lead to free do m , I w ill h av e prepared m yself to die, th at is to say th a t I will h av e sac ri ficed m yself to lan gu age. By ren d erin g m e resp on sib le for u n iversal destiny, co m m u n ism still su bord in ates m e to lan gu age and thus to an act o f faith. O n ly this act o f faith permits the individual to plug the gaping hole that the experi ential form ulas allow to rem ain.K O u t o f th is situ atio n , Parain will distin gu ish th e p ath th a t returns to logic th rough the d ia lectic. A s the d ialogu e betw een th e flesh an d langu age alone p revails b ecau se o f th e p ractical ap p lic atio n o f scie n ce to h u m an life the re actio n s o f m en an d ev en ts, insofar as they are p rodu cts in the course o f the S o v ie t ex p erie n ce, th em selves testify to the necessary re latio n betw een the flesh an d the Logos. U ltim ately the use o f an experience supposes a double interpretation o f the possible: either I ev alu ate the possible solely upon the co n d itio n o f attem ptin g its realization through the sacrifice o f my own flesh or that o f others, confident in fin al success, and th is rem ains an act o f faith in the resurrection, or, on the

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contrary, I seek an ev alu ation o f the price o f the realization o f the possible an d I would reject any experience accordin g to the recogn ition o f a law th at restrains m e from attem p tin g and in som e way saves me from the very temptation o f the experimental possible-, it is then th at from the dialectic th at em ploys the body, I return to the logic that recuperates it. Ju st as R u ssias religious in stin ct p revails ov er its taste in art, on e m ust recognize the return o f the lesson o f ex p erie n ce under the sign o f logic. T h is is the case w hen L en in declares, on th e day follow ing th e seizure o f pow er: A n d now we m ust w ork ; it is th e case m u ch later w hen S ta lin abolishes the rule o f a reven u e ce ilin g for Party m em bers, in stitu tin g in stead an inequality o f salaries co rresp o n d in g to an in equ ality o f yields. For P arain , the n orm th at is thus estab lish ed ov er in d iv id uals is th e sam e, if on e co n sid ers it w ell, as th at o f Genesis: You will earn your bread by the sw eat o f your brow . 1 T h e an tago n ism betw een th e E ast and th e W est th u s seem s to co m e from tw o different in terpretation s o f ex p erien ce and freedom , from a false idea o f the n in etee n th century: the idea that we know only through experience. In the W est this false idea draw s its n o tio n from freedom an d its aesth etic. Precisely through its co n crete ap p lic atio n by R u ssia th is false idea h as returned, a cco rd in g to P arain , to the d iscip lin e o f logic th at h as kep t it free o f an a e s th e tic n o tio n o f freedom . C o m m u n ism certain ly is n o t and could n o t be a regim e o f freedom because it is, d esp ite its p ro p ag an d a, the co n n e ctio n o f all in silen ce. In th e current p h ase o f its in equ ality o f co n d itio n s, it estab lish es an equality o f all in the co m m on in cap acity to easily sp eak th e truth, and co n seq u en tly in the co n sta n t dan ger o f lying, th at is to say th at o f th e lon gest d iscretion before d ecisive sp ee ch . 2 T h is is ju st as well b ecause, for P arain , co m m u n ism w ould o n ly m ake sen se if it persisted as lo n g as n ecessary in silen ce an d su b m issio n , so th at the word to say app ears at its hour, w ith th e greatest e x p e c tatio n and as a sole so v ereign . O n ly in th is way is Parain op po sed to the a esth etic idea o f free dom in the W est, an idea th at arises from p h ilo so p h ical idealism and that co n tin u es to be expressed by p h en om en o lo gy an d m o d e m ex isten tialism ; finally, in the n ih ilistic ten d en cies o f literature, first th ere is a re a ctio n to h is torical and so cial realities, an d then to ex p erim en tal k now ledge, before w h ich it in turn form s the n o tio n o f a n ecessarily a esth etic ex p erien ce. T h u s N ietzsch e and all o f m odern p ag an ism in h is w ake recreate th e m yths that they w ant to destroy. O u r W estern h u m an ism en ds in a gen eralizatio n o f the idea o f art for a rts sak e an d co n seq u en tly in a cu ltu re o f th e pow ers o f death . B ecau se after h a v in g ab an d on ed logic the reign o f th e L ogos sp eak in g in the flesh for the d o ctrin e o f ex p erien ce, the W est still h as n ot b eco m e c o n scio u s o f the dialogu e betw een flesh an d lan gu age it h as p rodu ced for us a rupture o f equilibrium at the exp en se o f th e pow ers o f life and fecundity, and in favor o f the pow ers o f d e a th represented by art and by a d isso c ia tio n o f ex iste n c e and language.

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Brice P arain s th ou gh t h as n o t stop p ed ev o lv in g sin ce L Em barras du Choix. A s so o n as an d to the ex te n t that- his p red ictio n s are con firm ed, that ev en ts con form to th e p red iction s, th e reference to S o v ie t R u ssia will acquire its purely sp iritu al sign ificatio n . W as there ever any oth er? For Parain , none o f th e so cial system s co m p e tin g today, w hose n o tio n s crudely deform the m o st grievou s m ortal qu estio n s, can furnish an au th en tic response to the sin gle au th en tic q u estio n in g: interior q u estio n in g. A n d th e resu ltin g quarrels are on ly so m u ch em pty air [vent]. T h e place o f silence created in R u ssia is not the result o f a free decision . It co u ld h ap p en in the W est, particularly in F ran ce, p rovided th at it is a qu estio n o f a free su b m issio n to the law o f the d ialogu e betw een flesh an d lan gu age. B u t the very p rin cip le o f this law, o f this ex c h an g e, resides in the b e lie f th at a truth exists. T h is p rim ord ial co n d itio n is lack in g, how ever, in a teach in g in w h ich the p rin cip al p o in t o f departure, P arain n otes, is th e ab sen ce o f truth. A n d w ithout the b elief in a true te a ch ing, n o th in g is p ossible. To put it differently: ex p erien ce rem ain s stripped o f m e an in g if it d o es n ot im ply th e know ledge o f error. W h at Parain w ants us to learn to retain is the lesson o f an exp erien ce w h ose quality, alth ou gh it was o f tragically false in spiratio n , is such th at, like all rigorously p ractical exp eri e n ce, it leads to h u m an n oth in gn ess, to a p o in t o f in tersectio n o f hum an sp ee ch an d grace. T h e tea ch in g th a t we ou gh t to draw from it is th at, w h at ev er sp eech we m ay say, it m ust resp ect us in our flesh, if it is a sp eech o f sa c rilege an d perd ition : our flesh will so on h av e ex h au sted the tem p tatio n s o f exp erien ce; it c a n n o t csca p e the c o n d em n a tio n o f our lan gu age, an d as soon as our flesh can n o lon ger eith er serve or su b ju gate it, we will find ourselves su b ju gated to our immortal speech. W h en m an is co m pletely ex h au sted or can n o lon ger d o an y th in g to find a reason th at su stain s his life, sp eech rem ains, eith er for h im to say to him self, or for so m eo n e to say w ho is n o t equal to m an bu t b en eath an d o u tsid e o f h im , if n o t also as close to h im as the sp ee ch o f co n fessio n ; to repeat his ex h au stio n , his failure, is to p o stp o n e [differer] his su icide; on th e contrary, to address o n e se lf to so m eo n e w ho u n d erstan ds and w ho u n d erstan d s ev en b etter b ecause he h as an ticip a ted failure, is to pray. ( The great advantage o f the one who believes in G od is that he can be silent when there is nothing to say, because he knows that G od takes care o f things when nec essary . . . the only attitude conforming to the scientific spirit .) In prayer m an tes tifies to truth ab ou t his error: h e takes truth as a w itness o f w hat he endures, but without having any right to life. H e o b ta in s th e grace to m ake a new b e g in n in g. Yet he c a n n o t rem ak e th is new b egin n in g, th is new life; he can only be put in th e p ositio n o f tak in g this life as a gift, a b ein g th a t do cs n o t rightfully b elon g to h im bu t w h ich befalls h im by grace.

Chapter Seven

On Maurice Blanchot4

Contrary to a purely symbolic interpretation o f the dogma o f the resurrection o f the flesh, Tertullian presents it in these terms: If representation resides in the image of truth, and the image itself in the truth o f being, the thing must exist for itself before serv ing as image for another. Similitude is not grounded in the void, nor parable upon noth ingness. ' All o f the consequences that Parain draws from his conception o f language are already [/resent in these propositions. IfTertullians proposition is then inverted, one would have circumscribed the sphere in which Maurice Blanchots meditation moves. I f representation resides in the image o f truth, truth is only ever an image and the image is itself only an absence o f being, thus a presence of nothingness; this is even what lan guage itself consists of: for in order for a thing to be able to serve as the image o f another, it must cease to exist for itself. A n image o f a thing designates nothing but the absence o f this other thing. A nd in this way not only does nothingness ground similitude, it is similitude itself. Similitude o f what? Is it not o f a being that is dissimulated? According to M aurice Blanchot, this notion o f the dissimulation o f being in lan guage reveals the function that language exercises in the existent, which is that o f death. But even this function o f death is double. "D eath is both the work o f truth in the world, and the perpetuity o f that which supports neither beginning nor en d ."2 The ambiguity o f language proceeds from this duplicity o f death. The existent seems to be composed only o f the search for a meaning; it is noth ing other than th e p ossib ility o f a b eg in n in g and an en d . Signification in exis tence proceeds from its very finitude, namely, the movement toward death. Language, inasmuch as it signifies, can only do so in its reference to insignifi cance. W hat is this absence o f signification? B ein g as bein g, because it is without beginning or end.

i. W e h ave retained only the final part o f a study on M aurice B lan chot published alm ost fourteen years ago in Les Temps Modernes (February 1949). T h is note perhaps can m ake up for the lacu n ae o f our previous interpretation and rectify its perspective.

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If death did not put an end to beings, if every thing had always to exist, there would be no more language, and thus no signification; every existent would imme diately collapse into the absurd, namely, into being. But death itself throws into the insignificance o f being without beginning or end that which, in the existent, namely, in this world, acquires a meaning that survives it in the world and in history, but that it absurdly survives in being. This is why language draws its signifying force from the presence o f nothingness in beings; it is "this life that carries death and is maintained in i t ." The insignificance o f being without end renders signification inseparable from dying. But meaning, if it is possible only from a beginning and with an end in view, is not meaning if it does not remain in the existent by becoming endless retraction insofar as a world is this context o f vicissitudes that one calls history / Thus m ean ing rests upon the being that consecrates the impossibility o f an indifferent meaning. But here is what is properly unbearable for the world: the existent as world is formed from the powerlessness o f ever thinking being as being ." Between the meaning o f existents and the b ein g forever where sense is lost [safrime], is situated that region called L iteratu re, or A rt. T h e w ork acquires a meaning outside o f existence, which makes it a participant in being, which is de[mved o f meaning. A nd the search for a beginning, that consists o f the existence of a creator who perpetually rejects his existence in word and image, bears witness to the insufficiency o f signification in relation to being; the more signification the work attains, the more the creator tends toward the insignificance o f being. If the existent the world and its history recovers from forgetting being as insignificance nevertheless, in the existent, speech and im age, which have become signifiers, sub-com e" to [ sous-vient ] s insignificance, but there it is still the Remembrance [Souvenir] o f what in itself is only an absence o f all memory, there fore forgetting: being, this perpetuity that supports neither beginning nor end. In the same way that the existent avoids the remembrance o f being as being in its apprehension o f an absolute insignificance, n am es prevent the fo rg ettin g o f bein g in finite beings. N am es are then already, in the sam e way as the image, a [presence o f nothingness in existents, and nevertheless, to signify them as such, they constitute them in being and restore them as in sign ifican ts [et les restituent insignifiants]. A s constituted in being, death makes them survive in their meaning, bein g for ever, sin ce alw ays [tant jam ais, depuis toujours]. But constituted in being, from the beginning they have lost their identity, only signifying in the finitude o f the existent. Identical in their temporal signification, but dissimilar to themselves, there where they are forever lacking meaning in being without beginning or end.

ii. H eidegger observes (in Nietzsche ) that m etaphysics has never been able to think being except ynder the m ode o f the existen t. But if the existen t is inconceivable without being, it is no less in a perpetual dereliction in relation to the being th at it deserts, and from w hich it endlessly absents itself [sabsentant]: this is the origin o f all m etaphysics.

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Thus the names of existents, like images metaphor, as well as the portrait (the im ages [imagines] or ancestral busts o f Roman antiquity) anticipate this dissem blance o f existents in relation to their identity, in the being beyond death; while on this side o f death they express the presence o f nothingness in beings, namely, their absence: to the degree that their names throw the existents back outside o f themselves. In the communication between beings the portion o f beings insignificance in each one interferes with the signification that they are given, namely, the mutual acceptance o f their disappearance. But then the relation with the dead [les disparus] intervenes, and in it the signi fication o f a nam e, in which the dead one [le disparu] survives, is again made ambigu ous; it is no longer the sam e in relation to its nonexistent self, because it is irrevoca ble, nothing but a past identity that remains in the existent mourning, memory, worship; in other words the last m ask o f what hides the indifference o f what since its disappearance no longer has, but has never had, either beginning err end is it the sam e again that signifies this or that for u s! A nd when it signifies it, is there not in our relations this insignificance in ourselves that prevails over all, as long as two beings are able to attribute to each other what in them has never had beginning or end and which the one rejects in the other as perpetually deferring the being that they are unable to communicate, but that befalls them and reunites them in insignificance.7 Without a doubt this is the secret o f the incommunicable, which strikes [frappe] a vision from silence. W hoever sees in this way, m ust express himself in order not to alienate the world, and he describes what he sees in order to combat his alien ation , although he only speaks to himself and can only be heard by the vision that comprehends him, such that his language is the speech o f what is silent.

iii. T h e m an w ho speaks works [exerce] at once the negation o f the existen t o f which he speaks and o f his ow n existen ce, and this n egation is worked by his power o f being rem oved from him self, o f being oth er th an his being. M oreover: speech is not only the non existen ce o f the thing spoken; speech as non existen ce becom es ob jectiv e reality. C f. Literature and the Right to Death, in Critique, X X , January 1948 (Literature and the R ight to D e ath , p. 324]. Death Sentence [English translation by Lydia D avis (Barrytow n, NY: S tatio n H ill, 1998)], through its texture and elem ents, still belongs to visionary literature, as long as its them e is the com m u n ication o f a dead being w ith oth er dead beings; but it departs from it as long as this co m m u n ication is established in the d eath o f beings from speech in a m eanin g w here speech is this life th at carries d eath and th at m aintains itself in it" (loc. cit.). T h u s the pow er o f pu tting beings to death, w hich speech exercises, m ust enter on the sam e level in d eath as a p lace o f com m u nication o f beings, n o t only o f com m unication, but o f union. But, because d eath both con stitu tes the m eaning o f m an and abolishes this m ean ing by abolish ing itself, delivering the m an who has ceased to be a m an, beyond death, to the existen ce henceforth deprived o f signification, this possibility presupposes death less than dying itself, nam ely the im possibility o f dying, a dead tim e [une fois mort], the experi ence o f dying w ithout end, as a source o f perpetual tem poralization. T h u s the concrete experience th at offers th e m ost perfect im age o f this tem poralization is the case o f the

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But what has the sam e denomination o f being as being, if it is equivalent to insignificance in the absence o f a beginning and an end1 The language signifying the existent gives to absolute insignificance the the most noble name o f existence, namely, G od. The rebtionshi[) thus established between this nam e, supreme am ong nam es, and the totality o f the existent if it is n o t sim ply a design atio n o f lan gu age by

incurable sickness, in w hich the m edical sentence: A s you ought to be dead in two years, the rest o f your life is excessive, constitutes the dying subject. A n exam p le that is neverth eless only a quite particular analogy with the Sp eech o f Beginning: the day when you will eat of it, you will certainly die. U ltim ately, the law th at condem ns to death the m an originally d es tined to life, m akes o f him not a dead on e [un mort] but a m ortal. D eath will com e to him in the sam e way as im m ortality, as a m odality o f his being w ithout w hich he would give up substance, from then on suspended betw een death and imm ortality. If original sin consists in the ch oice o f death , it appears as m an attain in g dying and the experience o f dying as a m odality o f his irrevocable existence. S o in Death Sentence, the sickness, th at can still be at the origin of this know ledge, will serve only as a p retext for the d em onstration o f a more profound phenom enon of B lan ch ot s thought. T h e description o f a concrete case o f incurable sickness and survival by the m edical con d em n ation will be identified with w hat language has itself revealed to B lan ch ot: the life o f being from its putting to d eath by speech. H ere we are presented with the rare success o f a com m u nication with others, o f the co m m unication o f an Erlebnis that, reproduced as it is in the rcit, brings the reader to co n front this form o f im m ediate transm ission o f events with the theoretical translation o f them in the im portant essay Literature and the Right to Death. W hen I say: this woman, the real d eath o f this w om an is announ ced and already present in my language. T h e power o f lan guage is able to detach her from herself, subtracting her from her existen ce and from her presen ce. [323) A possible destm ction, im plicit in language. But it is because this w om an is really capable o f dying, at each instant m enaced by the d eath linked and united to her by an essential bo n d th at language can accom plish this ideal n egation . [ibid.] T h e first part o f the rcit is devoted to agony, to death follow ed by a tem porary return to life o f an incurable young wom an. In his m editation on language, B lan ch ot insists upon the two m ovem ents o f speech. If the Lazare veni foras has had to leave th e obscure cadaverous real ity o f its original ground and in exch an ge has only been given spiritual life. language nevertheless know s th at som ething m ust be excluded by the terrible force that m akes beings com e into the world and by w hich they are lit [s'clairent]. [326] W h oever sees G od dies. W hat gives life to speech dies in speech: speech is the life that bears d eath and m ain tains itself in it. [327] S o in its profound concern literature does not rem ain in this first m ovem ent: it w ants to recuperate what language h as destroyed to recuperate the thing said as well as the th ing destroyed; it w ants the Lazarus o f the tom b, not the resurrected Lazarus. It is in this way that by the incantatory power o f the word, it m akes things really present outside o f themselves. T h e them e o f the second part o f the rcit is the description o f the links o f a present being outside o f itself with oth er beings outside o f them selves th at it m akes present by its con tact. In the first, the incurable young w om an, nam ed J, is dead from the m edical point o f view just like the speakin g o f the rcit; J herself has a vision of speaking as well as d eath (p. 17 [25]), though she does not know it. [J.s vision " causes her to repeat the phrase a perfect rose a num ber o f tim es. trans.] A decision is m ade for

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itself as return ed by bein g to lan gu age is made to submit to this name (personal and essential) the fate o f a sign ified existent. From the fact that this name would signify what it can never signify, what it comes to designate is absolute insignificance, namely, being; it constitutes being as a unique existent for the totality o f the existent. This is the signification o f the exis tent menaced by a single existent worthy o f absolute insignificance and, as an indi rect consequence, being itself menaced by a signification; namely, this same name submitted to the necessity o f a beginning and an end. Such seems to be the lesson o f the parable o f the M o st H igh . However, the analysis o f this singular book that we have given so fa r bears essentially upon the scholastic distinction between being and existence, o f b ein g and essence; it remains a valuable interpretation only as long as Blanchots meditation on language touches on the ancient torment o f thought, in its powerlessness to think bein g as bein g.
TH E M O ST H IG H

T h e book o p en s u pon th e life o f a m an , a m u n icip al fun ction ary w ho, outside o f h is hours a t th e o ffice, d ivid es h is sickly life betw een the clin ic and a c o n va lesce n ce co m p o sed o f d isen g agem en t and am bigu ous co n ta cts w ith his

a risky [alatoire] treatm en t o f in jections th at ought to restore her, but in her case risks killing her. T h e re is a parallel here betw een the disintegrating action o f com m on remedies and th at entirely spiritual o n e o f the thought o f speaking. T h e m edicine itself represents the world h ostile to the spirit, a world where the decay o f the flesh is accom plish ed while speaking is subject to the death th at gives speech, and that also exercises the constitutive force o f th e existen ce from death [ partir de la mort]. T h u s it can , by its presence beside w hat is considered dead, bring her back to the life o f speech; nevertheless it can only be the tim e o f a journey, after w hich the forces o f the world to w hich we belong reconstitutes the cad aver insofar as speakin g still belongs to the world. T h e life o f speech must co in cide with the total destruction o f w hat the nam ed ob ject carries in itself o f the world, so th at existen ce begins w ithout end, so th at being begins accordin g to the life o f language th at carries d eath and m aintains itself in it. In the rcit the transcription o f living events im plicates an order o f truth that is n e c essarily different from the th eoretical discussion o f this truth im plicit to the experience. In this sense the rcit is richer, but it is also m ore obscure. W e have here a co n tact with the mystery independent o f our com prehension, because we belong to this mystery, and what in us belongs to it thus rem ains as ungraspable to our reason as the incom m unicability o f lived and related fact. M aurice B lan ch ots art thus consists in putting a part o f ourselves into relation with w hat it says. A s soon as we read w hat he says to us, we do not understand it, we understand even less that we are already included in his sentence [phrase]. A n d this is nor because we do not understand that we are led to push further forward, but because we are co nstantly in search o f this part o f ourselves alienated by the rcit th at we w ant to recuperate at any price. A s readers we also w ant to regain what experience transcribes [tran scrite] o f facts, w hich takes our adherence, abolished, or a real presence, beyond its abolition.

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n eigh bors, unless his fatigue forces him to fall b ack on his family, co m po sed o f his m oth er w ho h as rem arried an d a sister. U p o n the return o f th is c h a ra c ter from a h oliday th at he h as ju st taken w ith his fam ily, an ep id em ic o f an in d eterm in ate illn ess breaks ou t in the qu arters w here the bu ildin g h e lives in is located . T h e illness takes on ap o caly p tic p rop ortio n s: riots, fires, repres sion s, cruelties, acts o f terror. But instead o f leavin g h is b uildin g now tran s form ed into a sordid dispen sary the n o v e ls hero rem ain s, as th ou gh he too, suffering from the sick n ess, is m ired in th e d e co m p o sin g atm osph ere. T h is is the exterior actio n as it appears to the ab sen tm in d ed reader. P erh aps he will n ever escap e from th e b ew itch m en t th at it exercises all by itself; there is an even greater c h a n ce th at he will n ot rem em ber the first words o f th e b ook at all: I w asnt alone, I was anybody [jtais un homme quelconque]. H ow can you forget, that phrase jform ule]?6 L e t us hold fast to th ese term s: anybody a p h rase su ch is the sen se th at B la n ch o t m akes o f lan gu age as the sim u ltan e ously tran scen d en t an d im m an en t a gen t o f our h u m an adven tu re, a langu age b oth associated with, and sep arated from , an y on e w h atsoev er [un homme quelconque]; an d in this way it also struggles aga in st forgettin g, a struggle th at m ak es a m em ory ou t o f it, bu t a m em ory sep arated from its su b ject. If la n guage rem ains asso ciated w ith so m eo n e [un homme], it will co n stitu te the p rop er m e an in g o f this person in term s o f an estab lish ed sign ificatio n and b oth will be exch an ged for truth. B u t as lon g as lan gu age is sep arated from so m eo n e w ith w hom it was asso ciated for a m o m en t because langu age exh au sts the m ean in g o f a p erson in th e m o vem en t th at is pron ou n ced through the story and w hich is th a t o f truth th e p erson b ecom es fortuitous; or b etter he is on ly lying, the story b ein g th e tru th ; or b etter he is th e truth, and it is the story th at lies. B ut this in terpretation m o ves away from th e true m ean in g a t th e p o in t o f graspin g it. D uring the holiday sp en t w ith his family, the ordinary m an w hose n am e will be m en tion ed only on ce, later, app ears linked to his sister (L o u ise) by a sort o f pact th at goes back to their ch ild h ood , but actu ally testifies to an infi nitely m ore rem ote origin as so on as on e is en ligh ten ed as to the ch aracters true co n d itio n . T h e scen e w ith the tapestry, on p ages 52 to 5 5 ,7 acquires its full m ean in g on pages 247 249^ w here an o th er m ed itation is recounted. Louise drags her brother into a cem etery (a word th at is p assed carefully over in silen ce so th at on ly a vast agglom eration o f empty houses appears, a first e v o catio n o f w hat we know b etter as the W estern Q u arter ) and there, at the b ottom o f a vau lt, sh e subm its h im to a rite, a ritual ex ecu tio n , w hose incantatory speech: A s lon g as I live, you will live and d eath will live. A s lon g as I breath e, you will breath e and ju stice will b r e a th e .. . . A n d now, Ive sw orn it9 is a speech th at the ordinary m an [lhomme quelconque] already u nderstood and we to o h ave already gleaned some part o f it. T h is is because we are in the pres en ce o f a separated m em ory here it rem ains to be seen w hat m em ory sep arated from its su bject it rem ains to be seen w hat su b ject. T h e n co m es the

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scen e o f the fligh t and the sisters pursuit o f the brother: I h ave n o idea w hat sh e read in my look. H er eyes becam e ash en , so m eth in g sn app ed , and she slap ped m e a slap that crushed my mouth."' From this p o in t on , the silen ce o f oth ers becom es th e sp eech o f the ordinary m an an d everythin g th at the o th ers say is th e sam e as w hat he co n ceals. To su ch an e x te n t th at "th e ev en ts are en closed in the w ords so th at [afin que] the words m ay be read in the ev en ts.1 T h u s is revealed little by little the secret o f a hero w ho, from an intim ate and fam ilial p lan e an adopted intim acy and fam ily we see in the secon d part o f th e b ook p assin g o n to the p lan e o f the co lle ctiv e calam ity, o f the ep idem ic, in the m idst o f a reign o f terror w hose im poten t co n sciou sn ess he will be [il sera la conscience impuissante ]. W hy d o esn t he m an age to leave th e W estern Q u ar ters, doom ed to d e v astatio n , murder, and fire? Su dden ly, in th e course o f a co n v e rsa tio n , we learn the n am e o f the ordin ary m an . H en ri S o rg e? M u st we n o t u tter th is nam e in the lan gu age o f th e Holy Empire o f M e tap h y sics an d tran slate: Heinrich Sorge ? T h a t is: die Sorge as o n e h ears it a t th e U n iv e rsity o f Freiburg? A "cu ra ," cura p u ra ? A pure c a re w h ich is ca m o u flaged under th e nam e o f Henri. A pure care, this is e x iste n c e: the D asein o f H en ri. B u t is it a m atter o f H e n ris e x iste n c e? N o t a t all. H en ri is th en on ly an essen ce th at h as received ex iste n c e , but then th e n o v e l w ould lose its in terest and th e title o f the b ook w ould be u n ju s tified . C o n seq u e n tly , it rem ain s on ly an e x p lic a tio n : H en ri S o rg e figures an ex iste n c e without being such, ein soseinloses D asein, an d th is is why he is n on e o th e r th an th is o n e th a t we h av e said d o es n o t h av e an esse n c e because his essence is his existence." W h o ev er sees G o d d ie s, w rites B la n ch o t in the trad itio n al sense. W h at giv es life to sp eech d ies in sp eech : sp eech is th e life o f th is death , it is the life th at carries d e a th an d m ain tain s itself in it. 1 0 H ere th is form ula ap p lie s to G o d h im se lf from the p o in t of view o f his Ungrund. G o d w ould know the c o n d itio n th at B la n ch o t m ak es for literature, G o d w ould know this: an abyss ( U ngrund) th at asks to speak , says nothing [rien ne parle], nothing (th e U ngrund ) fin ds its b ein g in sp eech and the b ein g o f sp ee ch is nothing.

iv. Page 75 [72], T h is scen e finds its counterpart on page 223 [232-233] and in the final scene. v. Tertullinn [On t/te Resurrection of the Flesh, trans. Peter H olm es, Ante-Niccne Christian Library: Vol XV. The Writings ofTertullian, Vol U (Edinburgh: T S i T C lark , 1870), ch. 20, Figurative Sen ses H ave T h eir Foundation in Literal Fact. Besides, th e A llegorical Style Is by N o M ean s the O n ly O n e Found in the Prophetic Scriptures, as A lleged by the H eretics. "T h e realities are involved in the words, ju st as the words are read in the reali ties. trans.] vi. A n d th is is why there are philosophers w ho say th at G o d has no quiddity or essence, because his essence is nothin g other than his ex isten ce. (S t. T h om as A q uin as, De ente et essentia, B ook V I.)

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W h a ts m ore [ plus forte raison], G o d is deprived o f his name, or ex isten ce is deprived o f bein g su ch because it is separated from the n am e o f G o d in the state o f care; under this borrowed nam e, Sorge, em ployed by the civil sta te ," he is renoun ced [se renie] in the life o f a m an , co m po sed o f different degrees o f nau sea by w hich his con sciousn ess em braces th e universe th at he h as created and w ho is now ruined even m ore and to the ex te n t th at h e h im self returns into the Ungrund; n o th in g is left to ch a n ce in th is sin gular p arable and it is therefore n o t in vain th at the on e w ho w as raised in the E ast lives in the p o p ulated quarters o f the W est.'" In the sam e way th e obscure ten dency o f la n guage th at is uttered through literature w ants to grasp the presen ce o f things before the world is, as well as w h at subsists w hen everythin g is effaced and the num bn ess [l'hbtude] o f w hat appears w hen there is n o th in g and w h ich by its co n cern for the reality o f things, for their unknow n, free and silen t ex is ten ce, m akes o f langu age a m aterial w ithout contour, a co n te n t w ithout form , a cap ricious im personal force th at says nothing, reveals nothing and is c o n ten t to proclaim , by its refusal to say an yth in g, th a t it co m es from an d returns to the n igh t, ju st as the notion o f the divin ity does: a return o f S p e e c h to its Ungrund o f w h ich the p h en om en o n revealed by literature, w h ich renders things and beings outside o f the world, is only the re flectio n .1 1 A n d ju st as the m yth o f the survivor was invoked, either o f a m an w ho believes th at h e is aliv e because he h as forgotten his death , or o f an o th er w ho know s th at he is dead vainly struggling to die, so now the m yth o f a creator who keeps watch over him self, w hile he w ould be dead in his creatio n , p rojects o n to G o d a d ivin e c o n sciousness em pty o f his hypostases. H ere the double polarity in the W ord is affirm ed again as a fun ction o f the n oth in gn ess th at it calls into b ein g, and as langu age is jo in ed w ith a m an an d then ab an d on s the m an , so the W ord o f G o d leaves G o d and co n tests w hat he h as uttered. T o su ch an ex te n t th at in The M ost High w hen he is qu estion ed on the on e h an d by the S ta te and the law, an d on th e oth er h an d by a revolt organized under the form o f an e p i dem ic and so cial d evastation (w hich are found to be only the co m plicity o f the revolt an d the su spect w ith the law th at they co m b at, w hile acts o f vio len ce an d repression are on ly the h u m an co m plicity o f the law w ith the hu m an m ovem en ts th at it suppresses), we understan d th at it is a qu estion here o f an in terpellation en gendered by the dialectic inh erent to the W ord: the S ta te w ith its law and its prisons from w hich m en n o longer w ant to leave because they h ave n ever been any m ore free th an prisoners,'"1 and where the sick are assim ilated w ith the crim in als and receive through th e p un ish m en t o f death the very error th at this p un ish m en t m akes them a to n e for are even here

vii. In B lan ch o ts hcxik, the W estern road becom es the th eater o f the declin e o f the O cc id e n t. viii. Sad e is the m ost poignant illustrat ion o f this.

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on ly the im ages o f the sign ification th at o n e h as decided to give to existen ce an d the w orld, im ages th at are, how ever, ruined or inverted by the im possibil ity even by virtue o f th e possible infinity o f language o f m a in tain in g a sig n ificatio n form ed through th e elim in ation o f everything that wills only for itself and never dies. T h e presen ce o f the S ta te , ju st like the presen ce o f G o d , d is p oses o f a ubiquity th at resides in the universal faculty o f speaking, o n e o f rec ogn izin g and p ron ou n cin g the law, but also o n e o f transgressing it by virtue o f th e presen ce o f the law. If G o d , because h e n o longer sp eaks, or is n o longer n am ed , or because h e sp eak s through the m outh o f his enem ies, returns to the Ungrund (an d from then on language seeks to destroy signified th in gs in order to know their real p resen ce), in the order o f facts, the epidem ic is able to fol low th e revolt and to suggest this revolt as a con sequ en ce. T h e incurable ill ness c a n n o longer be deciph ered in the p un ish m en t or in the crim e as w hat it in fact is: the will to grasp w hat th e usage o f words h as abolish ed in favor o f visible sign ification w ithout ceasin g to co n ce al its ob ject, because it is itself an im possibility o f dyin g.1 * T h is is why S o rg e says to B o uxx: P lease understan d, everything that you get from me is, for you, only a lie because Im the truth. '2 Dei Dialectus solecism us.'3N o on e know s this b etter than the on e who, b en eath the n am e "H en ri S o rg e , h as a co n sciou sn ess as infinite as its im poten ce: for its im po ten ce belon gs to its ow n im possibility o f dying, to its eternity. H e w ho is existen ce, p erh aps he aspires in turn to this d eath th at gives sign ification ; w ould existen ce be cap ab le o f it by ren ou n cin g its being such, by dying as G o d ? A lth o u g h he w ould d ie in the hearts o f m en so o n e w ould ex p licate Blanch o ts v isio n he w ould con sequ en tly survive in him self, h e would app ear to h av e forgotten h is "d e a th , or at least be refusing to rem em ber it. T h is is how his reactio n before th e very old tapestry, gnaw ed by worms, m ust be under stoo d : A h a false, perfidious im age, van ish ed and indestructible. A h cer tain ly so m eth in g very old, crim in ally old. I w anted to sh ake it, tear it apart, and, feelin g en velo ped in a fog o f m oisture and earth , I was gripped by the ob viou s blin dn ess o f all these peop le, by the crazily u n co n scious m ovem en t th at turned th em in to agen ts o f a horrible and dead p ast in order to lure me as well into the deadest and most horrible p as t. 1 4 A loyal functionary o f the S ta te , S o rg e s co n sciou sn ess is n ot sick en ou gh to m editate u pon certain reform s, and, w h en the m ach in e is d is rupted, he instead w ants to play its gam e well. S orge insin uates his resign ation m ore th an he gives it: all o f this b eh avio r is therefore ex actly the sam e as th at o f the M ost High. H ere is S orge, veg etatin g am id the general d evastation and, again , he bears the sam e attitu d e as th at o f a creator before his devastated c re a ture: the creature can only co n tem p late suffering, and th e form ers assum ption

ix. T h e epidem ic is here a perfect illustration o f contem porary thought and its liter ary expressions.

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is only a feint on his part; to put th is in a cruelly straightforw ard way, it was on ly to liken it to S o rg e he has on ly o n e p reoccu patio n , th at o f d issim u lat ing and co n fou n d in g his essence with his existence, an d this is w hat o n e ou gh t to call his immobility. But, if every voicc is only his ow n vo ice, then his silen ce is pen etrated by an o th er silen ce w hose im plicit accu sation is intolerab le to him : You d id n t h ear them , and th at was the worst. . . . W h ole p opu lation s . . . w ithout h avin g an y th in g to say . . . were ready to slide into the en orm ous h ole into w hich history stum bled. It was this silen ce th at hit m e like a powerful scream , an d how ling, ch okin g, w hispering, it drove the listener w ho ju st on ce had agreed to listen crazy. A n d this cry o f distress w as universal. I knew th at those w ho w anted the death o f the law were scream in g like the others; and I knew th at this petrified silen ce, through w hich som e co n tin u ed to express their co n fiden ce in an un sh akeab le regim e, to the p o in t o f n ot n o tic ing w hat was go in g on . . . w hich, for others, m eant con fu sion w hen faced w ith th e im possibility o f know ing where ju stice ended an d w here terrorism began, where inform ing for the glory o f the S ta te won ou t, an d w here inform ing for its ruin did too I knew th at this tragic silen ce was still m ore fearsom e than an yon e could h ave believed, because it was emanating from the silent cadaver o f the law itself, refusing to say why it had entered the tomb and whether it had gone down there to break open or to accept the tomb."' T h e n b ein g is unm asked. It is first unm asked by an unknow n w om an in the building. G o in g out, I said h ello to a w om an and op en ed the door for her. S h e look ed at m e for a m om en t, shuddered, and then, pale, threw h erself gravely at my feet, w ith a w ell-con sidered m ovem en t, her forehead pressed again st the ground; then sh e got up n im bly an d disappeared. A fter sh e left, I got w orked up w ith en thu siasm . I w an ted to do so m eth in g extraordin ary kill myself, for exam ple. W hy? O u t o f joy, n o doubt. But now this joy seem ed unb elievab le. I felt only b itterness. I w as overw helm ed and frustrated. 1* In extrem e sickn ess, ado ration is m o m en tarily m ade clear. But does this jo y fail to last because ex isten ce, b en eath the n am e o f w hich it is h en ccforth deprived, is now stronger than its adorable essence? Is it always the case th at i f ado ration provoked in being a m ovem en t o f generosity kill m yself, for exam ple this m o vem en t was an irritant to its im m utability, alth ou gh here it is im plied th at it w as the ex p ected gesture in this case. H e is alm ost im m ediately rccognized by the stran ge nurse Jea n n e , ch arged w ith his care, w ho confesses and [proclaims it: N ow , now, I know who you are, I h ave discovered it, I h ave to an n ou n ce it. N o w . . . Be careful, I said. N o w .. . . A n d sh e sat up suddenly, raised her h ead and w ith a vo ice th at p en etrated the walls, that overw helm ed the city an d th e sky, w ith such a full but calm voice, so im perious sh e reduced me to nothing, sh e scream ed, Yes, I see you, I hear you, and I know th at the M o st H igh exists. I can celeb rate him ,

x. B lan ch ot, The Most High (2 2 8 -9 /2 2 0 ).

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love him . 1 turn tow ard h im saying, Listen , L o rd .*' P araphrasin g the words o f Scrip tu re, So rg e scolds her: C o u ld n t you h av e kept th at to yourself? But here the d ivin e essen ce is supposed to hide from and refuse its n am e: W hy did you speak? G e t this: 1 d o n t assum e the burden o f your little secrets. Im n ot responsible for them . 1 d o n t know w hat you said. I forgot it im m ediately. 1 6 A n d it is existen ce deprived o f bein g, the Ungrund, th a t responds: Your words m ean n oth in g. . . . Even if they referred to so m eth in g th ats true, they would be w orthless. 1 7 H ow ever, from the m om en t th at the creator is discovered, as he is show n here, reduced to S o rg es repu gnan t state, it is n o t surprising to see h im en gaged in a je alo u s scen e w ith Je a n n e because sh e preten ds to live w ith him alon e, but also lives w ith the d o ctor R o ste. O n ly hindered b en eath this jealousy, the jealousy o f a creator for his creature p asses u n n oticed , and then, a t the precise m om en t w hen she says two o b scen ities to him : Suddenly, it w as as if Id been aw aken ed, an d a stran ge feeling w ent through me: a feeling o f splendor, a m ajestic an d radian t drun ken ness. It w as as if the day s even ts an d w ords had found a p lace in their true region. " Perhaps this was the last fragm en t o f div in e essence app ealed to by his n am e, before w hich it van ishes [svanouisse] into existen ce deprived o f being: Im anybody. H en ceforth is it still a qu estio n o f truth or o f a m ystification ? A n d if it were true th at this was a m ystification , w ould this n ot then provide a sin gle acco u n t o f the truth th at it is n ot? Id still like to be able to ch an ge my words into jo k es, b ecause I feel th eir w eight. B u t now you h ave to believe m e. W h a t Im goin g to say is true. T ake m e at my word, tell m e youll believe m e, sw ear to it. Yes, Ill believe you. S h e h esitated, m ade a vio len t effort, and then lowered h er head w ith a k in d o f laugh: I know that you are the Unique, the Supreme O ne. Who could stay standing before you? 's O n c e recogn ized, he thin k s o f on ly o n e thing: to flee. H ow c a n the on e w ho is e x iste n c e flee ex iste n c e? Perhaps it can by h id in g in th e Ungrund, sin ce lan gu age resides am o n g m en, d e v o id o f m ean in g: th e words o f the nurse w ho h as seen her ad o ratio n rejected n o lon ger seem b lasp h em ous: Im n ot b lin d, sh e said. . . . A s so on as I ap p roach , you step away. If I go away, you d o n t n o tice it. You n ever look at m e or h ear m e. You pay less atte n tio n to m e th a n to a rag. . . . W h y did you co m e here? I could ask you for a lon g tim e. W hy, right now, are you here, n ear m e? If its to m o ck m e, Im n o t ash am ed , I tak e pride in it. If its to reject m e, Im n o t hurt, Im stronger. B ecau se I d o n t give a d am n ab o u t you, either. I know w ho you are and I d o n t give a dam n abou t you . . . Ill lock you up like a dog. N o on e will know an y th in g ab ou t you, n o on e o th e r th an m e will h av e seen you . . . I ex p ec t n o th in g from you. Ive asked for n o th in g. Ive lived w ith ou t b ein g co n cern ed ab ou t your life.

xi. Ibid. (2 3 1 /2 2 1 ), Klossow skis em phasis. xii. Ibid. (2 3 2 /2 2 3 ).

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You sh ou ld know th at I h av e never, ev er im plored or b egged you. I h av e n ever said: com e, co m e, c o m e !"" A s words b ecom e absurd, carried by the m o v em en t th at d isso ciates essen ce from ex iste n c e as lon g as the an ticip ated ev en t d o esn t ap p ear the im possible d eath o f G o d so also attrib u tes break o ff from their su b jects, a ccid en ts from th eir su b stan ces: odors, colors, an d so u n d s are sep arated from the bein gs an d th in gs from w hich they em an ate in order to return to an e x is ten ce th a t d eterm in es its indtermination " as if ev en th e th in gs an d beings created by th e W ord h ave lost th eir essence, th eir b ein g su ch , in order to return to the state prior to th eir p roliferatio n through th e silen ce o f the on e th at utters them , ju st as S orge th rough ou t his co n fessio n n ever ceases d escrib ing them to us sin ce th e scen e in th e cem etery w h en, w h ispering the n am e o f his sister, h e felt this n am e d issolve in h is m outh , b eco m in g an o n y m o u s and 1 said n o m ore.*1 ' T h is scen e o f ritual ex e cu tio n th at is co m pleted by the slap that crushed my mouth'9 finds its co u n terp art in the fin al scen e o f the book. If Louise, w ho brought h im b ack to her room on the W estern road an d h elped him there during a b lack ou t, app eared to h im then as a n u rse, th e nurse Je a n n e now ev o k es his sister in th e isolatio n w ard20 w here sh e transfers the on e th at sh e alo n e h as recognized and w h o currently seem s p reoccu pied only w ith h is ow n safety : I knew th at, w h atever h ap p en ed , I had to keep still now .2 1 W ith this im m obility th at scan d alizes m en. I rem em bered th a t nothing could h ap pen a n d I rem em bered th at I knew it. . . . T h is th ou gh t was extrao rdin arily co m fortin g, in o n e fell sw oop it restored ev ery th in g. A n d th en , th an k s to the suppression o f th e d iv in e n am e by u n ch ain ed sp eech , w h at h ap p en s? S o rg e begin s to sw eep h is room sin ce th e floor tiles were c o v ered w ith dust, dried m ud, ev en straw . 2 2 E xisten ce m ak es a little p ile o f sw eepin gs before co llap sin g o n to the garb age," gradually in vad ed by an guish in the p riv atio n o f h is bein g. A n d we w itness ev ery th in g th at c o n stitu tes the stages o f on to lo gical d eco m p o sitio n (sig n aled by the ap p re h en sio n o f the toad , a v isio n o f d e b a se m e n t)2 3 u ntil th e fin al m o m en t w hen the "M o st H igh , w astin g away in its A b y ss, 2 4 sees its creatio n sin k in g in to the origin al cessp oo l out o f w hich S p e e c h [la Parole] h as draw n it: A co m p a c t an d gap in g p ile a h o le . . . it w as ab solu tely m o tion less, lying on the ground, it w as there, 1 saw it, co m pletely and n o t its im age, as m u ch from w ithin as from w ithou t; I saw so m eth in g flow, solidify, flow again , and n o th in g in it m o ved , its every m o vem en t w as total n um b n ess, th ese w rinkles, th ese ex c re s cen ces, this surface o f dried m ud its crushed insides, th is earth en h eap its am orph ous exterior; it d id n t start anyw here, it d id n t en d anyw here, it d id n t m atter w hich side you cau gh t it from , a n d o n ce its form was h a lf p erceived it

xiii. Ibid. (2 3 8 /2 2 8 ). xiv. Ibid. (7 0 /7 3 ).

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flatten ed o u t an d fell b ack in to a m ass from w h ich eyes co u ld n ever get free. . . . T h e p ile took n o n o tice o f my presen ce. It let m e app roach , I cam e still closer, and it d id n t m o ve; I w asn t ev en a stran ger to it, I slid up to it like n o o n e had ever d o n e before, an d it d id n t hide, it d id n t turn away, d id n t ask for an y th in g, d id n t take an y th in g away. Su d d en ly an d this I saw a fairly lon g ap p en d age, w h ich seem ed to b e d e m an d in g a se p arate ex isten ce, cam e up ou t o f the lum p; it th ru st itself ou t an d stayed there, stretch in g; the en tire m ass turned slow ly w ith idiotic ease an d w ithout budging. I en co un tered two little tran sparen t orbs, lying on top, rootless, sm ooth , oily, extrem ely sm ooth . T h e y w eren t loo k in g a t m e; n o h in t or m o vem en t cam e from them an d I m y self saw th em n o m ore th an if they h ad b een my ow n eyes, an d already I w as very clo se to th em , dan gerou sly close w ho h ad ev er b een th a t close?" A pow erful im age o f th e fall in to the in d eterm in ate as well as the rapid b lo s so m in g o f something ou t o f th e in d eterm in ate; it d o e sn t m atter w h ether this something here is the h u m an co n d itio n , th e d iv in e co n d itio n , or sim ply the very co n d itio n o f language. T h e final sc en e a scen e w here the p roph ecy o f th e cem etery is ful filled then ap p ears as a great m etap h y sical play o n words. T h e n urse Je a n n e b eh av es like a reversed M ad elein e. If M ad elein e fin ds the m ean in g o f ex is ten ce in th e vo id o f the tom b, Je a n n e n eeds to see ex iste n c e descen d into the tom b in order to know m e an in g for herself. S h e says: Youre n o t ju st so m e th in g o n e dream s abou t (You, th at is to say e x iste n c e ); Ive recognized you. N o w I can say: h e s co m e, h e s lived n ear m e, h e s there, its crazy, h e s th ere. W h ich again am o u n ts to saying: ex iste n c e h as co m e, e x iste n c e ex isted before m e, ex iste n ce is there. W h a ts crazy is th at the essence o f existence is to be exis tence. A n d th en : A liv e , you ve b een aliv e for n o o n e bu t m e. . . . C o u ld n t you ju st die o f it? S h e ca n n o t b ear th at ex iste n c e sh ou ld be existen ce. T h u s sh e says: N ow its tim e. Your life h as only b een for m e, so Im the o n e who h as to take it from you. A n d th en : N o b o d y know s w ho you are, bu t I know, a n d Im go in g to destroy you.25 T h is c a n h av e n o oth er m ean in g th an M eister E ck h arts: w hen I know w ho ex isten ce is, I lose e x iste n c e . T h e revolver th at Je a n n e , k n eelin g, aim s at the o n e w ho is e x iste n c e is n o th in g m ore th an a prop th at h ere co n form s to th e air o f fab ulation . It c a n n o t literally be a q u estio n o f d e icid e, nor, in an a n ago gical sen se, c a n it be a qu estio n o f su i cide. If it is in d e a th th a t ex iste n c e recovers sp eech , th is sp eech m ust still be th at o f the A u th o r; o f th e A u th o r o f the author, or sim ply o f the author. W e h av e h ad th e n a iv e te to in terpret The M ost High in th e literal sense. L an g u ag e im poses on us th e p resen ce o f the n am e o f G o d ; if th is n am e m ust u ltim ately h av e a m ean in g , b ecau se all n am es d em an d bein g, b oth th e m ost co m m o n an d th e m ost n o b le , an d "o u r d e a th serves th is, how is lan gu age

XV. Ibid. (2 4 7 -2 4 8 /2 3 7 -2 3 8 ).

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reversed here in the eclip se o f th e n o b lest n am e o f e x iste n c e? B ecau se its pow er o f n eg a tio n , bein g w orthy o f th e ab so lu te ex iste n c e th a t th is n am e d e sign ate s, n ever ce ases u n til it itself b eco m es ab so lu te e x iste n c e. In this sen se, lan gu age w ould be the M o st-H igh at th e very m o m en t w h en it n am es the M o st-B a se ."'

xvi. T h e m ore the world is affirm ed as rhe future and the broad daylight o f truth, where everything will h ave value, bear m eaning, where the whole will be achieved under the m astery o f m an and for h is use, the m ore it seem s th at art must descend toward that point where nothin g has m eanin g yet, the more it m atters that art m ain tain th e m ovem ent, the insecurity and the grief o f that w hich escapes every grasp and all en d s." (M aurice B lan ch ot, The Space o f Literature, trans. A n n Sm ock (Lin coln : U n iversity o f N ebraska, 1982), pp. 247/260, note.]

Chapter Eight

Nietzsche, Polytheism, and Parody1

Parody and p olyth eism in N ietzsch e? A t first sigh t, it is n ot at all clear w hat relation exists betw een these two term s, n or w hat kind o f co n cern s w ould lead o n e to sp eak o f th em , n or w hat interest on e m igh t h av e in raisin g su ch a qu es tio n . If for m ost peop le N ietzsch es n am e is inseparable from th e u tterance G od is dead , then it m ay seem surprising to speak o f the religion o f many gods w ith regard to N ietzsch e. A fte r all, there are co un tless p eop le today for w hom N ie t zsches n am e sign ifies n o th in g m ore th an this u tteran ce an d they did n ot n eed N ietzsch e to know th at all the god s are dead. It m ay also seem , perhaps, th at I am sim ply using N ietzsch e to dem on strate the existen ce o f m any gods an d to legitim ate polyth eism ; and, by play in g on these words, I will n o t escape th e reproach , under th e pretext o f sh ow ing the m ean in g o f parody in N ie t zsche, o f m ak in g a parody o f m yself an d thus o f parodying N ietzsche. If I m ust o p en m y self to su ch co n fu sion , I w ould n everth eless like to m ak e o n e th in g clear: insofar as o n e is led to interpret the th ou gh t o f a m in d [esprit] th at o n e tries to co m preh en d an d m ake co m preh en sib le, there is no on e w ho leads his in terpreter to p arody him as m u ch as N ietzsch e. T h is is true n o t on ly o f th ose interpreters w ho are sm itten w ith h is th ou gh t, but also th ose w ho try hard to refute h im as a dan gerou s spirit. N ietzsch e h im self urged o n e o f h is first interpreters n o o n e h ad yet sp ok en o f h im to a b a n d o n all p ath o s, n o t to take sides in h is favor, and to put up a so rt o f ironic resistan ce w hen ch aracterizin g him . H ere, th en , we c a n n o t av o id b ein g the v ictim o f a so rt o f ruse, n or can we av o id fallin g in to the trap in h eren t in N ietz sc h es ow n ex p erien ce and th ou gh t. U n le ss we sim ply u ndertake the work o f the h istorian , as A n d le r d id ,1 th e m o m en t we try to elu cid ate N ietz sc h es th ou gh t, he is alw ays m ade

i. Lecture at the C o lleg e de P hilosophie, 1957.

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to say m ore th an he says an d less th an he says. T h is is n o t as is o ften the case w ith oth er th inkers due to a sim p le lack o f p ersp ectiv e or even b ecause a d eterm in ate p o in t o f departu re h as been om itted . In a ssim ilatin g N ietzsch e, we m ak e h im say m ore th an he says, w hile in re jectin g or alterin g h im , we m ak e him say less than he says for th e sim p le reason th at, properly sp ea k ing, w ith N ietzsch e there is hardly eith er a p o in t o f departu re or a prcis ter m in us. N ietz sc h es co n tem p oraries an d friends were ab le to follow an e v o lu tion from The Birth o f Tragedy to The W anderer and H is Shadow and on to The G a y Science, an d from Zarathustra to The Twilight o f the Idols. B u t th ose o f us w ho h ave a t ou r disposal the youthful w ritings as w ell as the posth u m ou s work, in clu din g Ecce H om o, h ave n o t only been ab le to follow the ram ifica tio n s o f N ietz sc h es posterity, an d to w itness th e acc u satio n s m ad e again st N ietzsch e as a result o f recen t h istorical u ph eavals, but h av e also b een able to discern so m eth in g w h ich, I th in k , is n ot w ithout im po rtan ce: N ietzsch e, w ho was d esp ite ev ery th in g a p rofessor o f p h ilo lo gy a t B asel, an d thus an acad cm ic w ith absolu tely certain p ed ago gical am b ition s, did n o t d e v e lo p a p h i losophy. In stead, ou tside o f the fram ew ork o f the university, N ietzsch e d e v e l o p ed variatio n s on a p erson al th em e. L iv in g a sim p le life m arked by extrem e suffering an d c o n v alesce n c e, forced to so jou rn w ith in creasin gly frequency at h e a lth resorts, w hile in the m idst o f the greatest in tellectu al isolatio n , N ie t zsche was thereby ab an d o n ed , in th e m ost au spiciou s m anner, to listen to h im self alo n e [ sa seule audition]. T h is acad em ic, train ed in th e d iscip lin es o f scie n ce in order to te a ch and train oth ers, found h im self co m pelled to teach th e unteachable. W h a t is u n teach ab le are th ose m o m en ts w hen ex iste n ce, escap in g from the d e lim ita tio n s th at p rodu ce th e n o tio n s o f history and m orality, as well as th e p ra cti cal b eh avio r derived from th em , is sh ow n to be giv en b ack to itself w ith no o th e r go al th an th at o f return in g to itself. A ll th in gs then app ear at o n ce new a n d qu ite old; everyth in g is p ossib le an d ev ery th in g is im m ediately im po ssi ble, an d there are on ly two courses o p en to co n sciou sn ess: eith er to keep silen t, or to speak ; eith er to do n o th in g, or to a ct so as to im prin t on o n e s everyday q u o tid ian am b ian ce the ch aracter o f ex iste n ce given b ack to itself; eith er to lose itself in ex iste n c e or to reprodu ce it. N ietzsch e h ad im m ediately attain ed this u n teach ab le in his ow n solitude, through his ow n idiosyncrasies th at is, by describing himself as a co n v alesce n t w ho had suffered from the unresolved n ih ilism o f his ow n era an d w ho had resolved this n ih ilism , to the p o in t w here h e was able to restore to the n o tio n o f fatum its full force. H e had grasped the very ground o f existen ce, lived as for tuitous th at is, h e h ad grasped th at asp ect o f ex isten ce w hich, through him , w as fortuitously n am ed N ietzsch e. In th is way, h e h ad also grasped the n ece s sity o f accep tin g this fortuitous situ atio n as his ow n destiny (in the sen se he ascribes to th is w ord), w hich am ou n ts to a decision to affirm the ex iste n c e o f a universe th at h as n o oth er en d th an th at o f b ein g w h at it is.

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N ietzsch e recogn ized this ap p reh en sion o f e x iste n c e w h ich is n o th in g o th e r th an the ap p reh en sio n o f etern ity in the sim u lacra o f art an d religion , but he also saw th a t th is m ode o f app reh en sion is perpetu ally denied by sc i en tific activity, w h ich exp lores ex iste n c e through its tan gib le form s in order to co n stru ct a p ractic ab le an d liv ab le w orld. N o n e th e le ss, N ietzsch e felt a so l idarity w ith b o th th ese attitu d es tow ard ex iste n ce: th a t o f sim u lacra, as well as th at o f sc ie n c e, w h ich declares fiat veritas pereat vita.2 A n d so he put simulacra into science and science into sim ulacra in such a way that the scientist can say: "Q ualis artifex pereo!"' N ietzsch e w as prey to an in elu cidab le re v elatio n o f ex iste n c e th at did n o t know how to exp ress itself e x c e p t th ro ugh so n g an d im age. A struggle was b ein g w aged w ith in him betw een th e p oet and the scholar, betw een the vision ary an d th e m oralist, each o f w h ich w as trying to disqualify the role o f th e other. T h is struggle was p rovo ked by a feelin g o f m oral responsibility tow ard h is co n tem p oraries. T h e differen t ten d en cies, the differen t attitu d es th a t were figh tin g o v er N ie tz sc h e s co n scio u sn ess w ould en dure u n til a cru cia l ev en t was p rodu ced; N ietzsch e w ould b e extern alized in a ch aracter, a v eritab le dramatis persona: Z arath u stra a ch aracter w ho is n ot on ly the p ro d u ct o f a fictiv e redou blin g, bu t is in so m e way a ch alle n ge by N ietzsch e the vision ary to N ietzsch e the professor an d m an o f letters. T h e ch aracter o f Z arathu stra h as a co m p le x fun ction : on th e on e h an d, h e is th e C h rist, as N ietzsch e secretly and jealo u sly u n d erstan ds h im , bu t o n the o th e r han d, insofar as h e is the A ccu se r o f the trad itio n al C h rist, he is the o n e w ho p re pares th e way for th e ad v en t o f D ionysus ph ilo sop h os. T h e years d u rin g w h ich Thus Spoke Zarathustra w as fash ion ed , an d esp e cially th ose th a t follow ed its birth, were for N ietzsch e a state o f unparalleled distress. O ne pays dearly for immortality: one has to die several times while still alive. There is something that I call the rancor o f what is great: everything great a work, a deed is no sooner accomplished than it turns again st the m an who did it. By doing it, he has become w eak; he no longer endures his deed, he can no longer face it. Something one w as never permitted to will lies b eh in d one, something in which the knot in the destiny o f humanity is tied and now one labors under it! It almost crushes o n e .4 Z arath u stra, to be sure, was laten t in th e p reviou s w orks, but w h at is im p o rtan t for N ie tz sc h e s life is n o t on ly th e creatio n an d p resen ce o f the in effable so n gs o f the p oem . W h a t cam e to be d eterm in an t for N ietz sc h es life w as th e m ore or less co m p le te id e n tification o f N ietzsch e w ith th is p h y siog nom y, w hich for h im co n stitu te d a k in d o f prom ise, a resurrection, an a sc e n sion . In a ce rtain sen se, Z arath u stra is the star o f w hich N ietzsch e h im self is only the sate llite. E ven better, I w ould say th at N ietzsch e, after h a v in g p aved the way for th e trium ph o f Z arath u stra, rem ain s b eh in d in a p ositio n sacri ficed in the course o f a v ictoriou s retreat. A s he h im self said, he w ould pay dearly for this creatio n . Z arath u stra prefigures N ietz sc h es ow n im m ortality

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that immortality by which one dies more than once while still alive. W h e n N ie t zsche m an aged to sep arate Z arathu stra from h im self, an d w as thereby ab le to en co u n ter h im as a superior but still in accessib le reality, then the w orld o f ap p earan ce s w h ich , acco rd in g to th e d iv in e fable, w as created in six days disap peared a lo n g w ith th e true w orld; for in six days the true world becam e a fable o n ce again . N ietzsch e ca sts a retrosp ective g la n c e at th is refab u lation o f the true world th at disap pears in six days, or six p eriod s, w hich are the inverse o f th e six days o f th e w orlds creatio n . It is th is refab u lation th at he traces out in an aph orism o f The Twilight o f the Idols en titled H ow the True World Finally Becam e a Fable. H ere is the p assage: 1. T h e true w orld a tta in ab le for th e sage, the p iou s, the virtuous m an; h e lives in it, he is it. (T h e old est form o f the idea . . . a circu m lo cu tio n for the se n te n c e, I, P lato, am the tru th . ) 2. T h e true world u n attain ab le for now, but prom ised for the sage, the pious, the virtuous m an, for the sin n er w ho repen ts. (P rogress o f th e idea: it becom es m ore subtle, insidious, in com preh en sible . . . it b ecom es C h ristian .) 3. T h e true w orld u n attain ab le , in d em o n strab le, u n p rom isab le; bu t the very th ou gh t o f it a co n so latio n , an o b ligatio n , as an im perative. (A t b o t tom , the old sun, but seen through m ist an d sk ep ticism . T h e idea h as b ecom e elu sive, p ale, N o rd ic , K n igsb ergian .) 4- T h e true world u n attain ab le ? A t any rate, u n attain ed . A n d b ein g u n attain ed , also unknown. C on seq u en tly , n o t co n so lin g, redeem in g, or o b lig atin g: how could so m eth in g unknow n ob ligate us? (G ra y m ornin g. T h e first yaw n o f reason . T h e cockcrow o f p o sitiv ism .) 5. T h e true w orld an idea w h ich is n o lon ger go o d for an y th in g, n ot ev en ob ligatin g an idea th a t h as b eco m e useless an d superfluous conse quently, a refuted idea: let us ab olish it! (B rig h t day . . . return o f bon sens and gaiety: P lato s em barrassed blush; p an d em o n iu m o f all free spirits.) 6. T h e true w orld we h av e ab olish ed. W h a t w orld h as rem ain ed ? T h e ap p aren t o n e p erh aps? But n o ! With the true world we have abolished the appar ent one. (N o o n , m om en t o f the sh ortest shadow , en d o f the lon gest error: Incipit Zarathustra I)5 W ith the true w orld, we h a v e ab o lish ed th e ap p aren t w orld. W h e n the true world (th e P lato n ic, C h ristian , sp iritu alist, idealist, tran sce n d en tal w orld) th at serves as the p o in t o f reference for th e ap p aren t w orld disappears, then the ap p aren t world d isap p ears as w ell. T h e ap p aren t world ca n n o t b ecom e the real world o f scien tific p ositiv ism : th e world b eco m es a fable, the w orld as su ch is only a fable. F ab le m ean s so m eth in g th at is n arrated , and th at exists on ly in its n arration . T h e w orld is so m eth in g th at is n arrated , a n arrated ev en t, and h en ce an in terp retation . R e lig io n , art, sc ie n c e, an d h is tory are so m an y diverse in terpretation s o f th e w orld, or rather, so m an y v a ri an ts o f the fable.

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Is this to say that we are dealin g here w ith a universal illusionism ? N o t at all. T h e fable, I said, is an even t th at is narrated; it happens, or rather, it m ust m ake so m eth in g hap pen , and in effect an action takes place an d narrates itself; but if we are n ot co n ten t to listen and follow, if we seek to apprehen d the n ar ration in order to discern w hether behind the recitation there is n o t some moment th at differs from w hat we understand in the n arration , then everything is in ter rupted and o n ce again, there is a true world an d an apparent world. W e h ave seen how the true world and the app aren t world h ave becom e a fable, but this is n ot the first tim e. T h ere is so m eth in g in N ietzsch es text that w arrants m en tion: midday, hour o f the shortest shadow. A fter midday, everything begins again, including the an cien t world, th at is to say, the past interpretations. In antiquity, the hour o f m idday w as an hour at o n ce lucky and ill-fated [faste et nfaste], n ot only an hour in w hich all activity was suspended under the b lin d ing light o f the sun, but also an hour o f forbidden vision s, followed by delirium . A fter midday, the day declines into shadow s; but through these shadow s, we will be guided to profound m idn ight by Z arathustra, the m aster o f the fable. Fable, fabula, co m es from th e L a tin verb fari, w h ich m eans b o th to p re d ic t an d to rav e [prdire et divaguer], to p red ict fate an d to rave; fatum , fate, is also the p ast p articip le o f fari. T h u s w h en we say th a t the w orld h as b ecom e fable, we are also saying th at it is a fatum ; o n e raves, bu t in ravin g on e foretells an d pred icts fate. W e em ph asize th ese co n n o ta tio n s here b ecau se o f the role th at fatality th e cru cia l n o tio n o f fatum plays in N ietz sc h es th ou gh t. T h e refab u lation o f the world also m ean s th at th e w orld ex its h istorical tim e in order to reen ter the tim e o f m yth, th a t is, eternity. O r rather, it m ean s th a t th e vision o f the world is an ap p reh en sio n o f eternity. N ietzsch e saw th a t th e m en tal co n d itio n s for su ch an e x it [sortie] lay in the forgetting (o f th e h isto rical situ atio n ) th at was prelim inary to th e act o f creatin g: in forgetting, h u m an s su b-com e to [sousvient ] the p ast as th eir future, w h ich takes the figure o f the past.6 It is in this way th a t the past comes to [advient] th em in w hat they create; for w h at they b eliev e they create in th is way d o es n o t co m e to them from the p resen t, but is on ly the p ro n u n ciatio n o f a prior p ossibility in th e m om en tary forgettin g o f th e (h isto rically d eterm in ed ) presen t. Z arath u stras m ission is to give a new m ean in g and a new will to m en in a w orld th a t he is n ecessarily go in g to recreate. B u t sin ce every created world risks losin g its m e an in g and b eco m in g fabulous and d iv in e on ce again , and sin ce it m ay be rejected an d seem in tolerab le to m en n ow th at they h ave co m e to will nothing rath er th an so m eth in g, Z arathustra m u st reveal to them the true way, w h ich is n o t a straigh t p ath but a tortuous on e: For here is all my creating and striving, that I create and carry together into one what is fragment and riddle and dreadful chance.7 A lo n g w ith the true w orld, we h a v e ab olish ed th e app aren t w orld alo n g w ith the p reo c cu p atio n w ith truth, we h ave liq u id ated the ex p la n a tio n

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o f app earan ces. ( ' Explanation is what we call it, but it is 'description' that dis tinguishes us from older stages of knowledge and science. O u r descriptions are bet ter but we do not explain any more than our predecessors . p) A ll th is is full o f co n seq u en ce , for if the th ou gh t o f h a v in g ab olish ed th e ap p aren t w orld alo n g w ith the true world is n ot a sim p le quip, it gives an acc o u n t o f w h at w as h a p p en in g in N ietzsch e him self. H e h ad given n o tice to th e world in w h ich he still carried the n am e o f N ietz sc h e (a n d if he co n tin u ed to write under this n am e, it was in order to save appearances): ev ery th in g h as ch an ged and n o th ing h as ch an ged . It is b etter to let th ose w ho act b eliev e they are ch an gin g so m eth in g. D oes n ot N ietzsch e say th at these p eop le are n ot, in fact, m en o f actio n , but rather co n tem p lativ es w ho put a price on th in gs and th at m en o f actio n a ct only by virtue o f th is ap p re ciatio n by the co n tem p lativ es? But this su p pression o f the ap p aren t w orld, w ith its reference to the true world, finds exp ression in a lo n g p rocess th at c a n be follow ed on ly if we take in to acco u n t the co ex isten ce , w ithin N ietzsch e, o f the scie n tist an d the m oralist or m ore essentially, the p sy ch o logist an d th e visionary. Tw o differ en t term in ologies result from this, w h ich , in th eir perp etu al in terference, form an in escap ab le web. In th e en d, th e lucidity o f the p sy ch o logist, the destroyer o f im ages, will sim ply be put to w ork by the p oet, and th u s for the fable. In h is atte m p t to scrutinize the lived ex p erie n ce o f th e p o et the sle ep w alker o f the day the p sy ch o logist w ould d isco v er region s in w hich he h im se lf w as d ream in g o u t loud. T h is analysis o f the psychologist, before he was invaded by the dream s and visions he tried to avoid, allow s us to see su ccin ctly how, in the n am e o f the rational principles o f positivism , N ietzsch e winds up ruining n o t only the ratio nal co n cep t o f truth but also the co n cep t o f con scious thought, including the operation s o f the intellect, and how, on the oth er h an d, this depreciation of con scious thought leads N ietzsch e to qu estion the validity o f any com m unicability through language; and we can see m ore clearly how this analysis w hich reduces rational thought to im pulsive forces, but w hich attributes to these im pulsive forces the quality o f au th en tic existen ce leads to a suppression o f the lim its betw een the outside and the inside, a suppression o f the lim its betw een existen ce individuated here and now and existence returning to itself w ithin the per son o f the philosopher. W h at presides over this disin tegration o f co n cepts for obviously som eth in g m ust subsist is always the intensity o f the m ind w hich has been excited to a suprem e degree o f insom nia, a sustained perspicacity that drives to despair the dem and for integrity, a perspicacity w hose rigor goes so far as to w ant to be liberated from these fun ction s o f thought as if from a final servi tude, a final link w ith w hat N ietzsch e called the spirit o f gravity. T h e an alysis o f co n scio u sn ess th a t N ietz sc h e giv es in variou s aph orism s o f The G ay Science m ay be sum m arized in the follow in g ob serv ation s: 1. C o n scio u sn e ss w as th e latest fu n ctio n to d e v e lo p in the ev o lu tio n o f organ ic life; it is also the m ost fragile fu n ction , an d con sequ en tly, the m ost

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dan gerou s on e. If h u m an ity h ad b ecom e co n scio u s all at o n ce , as it h as b een b eliev ed , it w ould h av e p erish ed a lon g tim e ago. T h e p ro o f o f this lies in the great num ber o f false step s th a t co n scio u sn ess h as p rovoked in the life o f the sp ecies, and th at it co n tin u es to p rovo ke in th e lives o f in d ivid uals, insofar as it creates a disequ ilibrium in their im pulses. 2. T h is undesirable fu n ction (u n d esirable b ecau se it correspon d s to an in co m p atib le asp iratio n , the asp iration to tru th ) u ndergoes an in itial a d a p ta tion to o th e r im pu lsive forces; for a tim e, co n scio u sn ess is linked to th e lifeco n serv in g in stin ct, and th en o n e form s the fallaciou s n o tio n o f a c o n scio u s ness th at is stab le, etern al, im m u tab le, and, consequ en tly, free and respon sible. B ecau se o f this o v ere stim atio n o f co n sciou sn ess, its overh asty elab o ratio n h as been avoid ed . From this arises th e n o tio n o f su b stan ce. 3. T h e m en tal o p eration s th at this (opportu nely retarded) con sciousn ess d evelo p s in its elab o ratio n these o p eration s th at co n stitu te logical reason an d ration al know ledge are m erely the products o f this com prom ise betw een the im pulsive life and con sciousn ess. From w hat is logic born? O bviously from the illogicality w hose d o m ain was originally im m ense. A t this stage, accordin g to N ietzsches positiv ist descriptio n , logic b ecom es the strongest w eapon o f the im pulses, particularly for those beings in w hich aggressiven ess is translated into affirm ation or n egatio n , w hile illogicality rem ains the d o m ain o f the w eakest im pulses. O pp ortu n ely retarded in its ow n develo pm en t, co n scio u s ness (a s false co n sciou sn ess) develo ps con scious th ou gh t out o f the need to co m m u n icate through language. S u c h is the origin o f the m ost subtle o p era tio n s th at co n stitu te logical reason and ration al know ledge. A t b ottom , every h igh degree o f cau tio n in m ak in g in feren ces a n d every sk e p tical ten den cy co n stitu te a great dan ger for life. N o liv in g b ein gs would h ave su rvived if the o p p o site ten den cy to affirm rather th an su spen d ju d g m en t, to err and make up th in gs rather th an w ait, to assen t rather than n egate, to p ass ju d gm en t rath er th an be ju st h ad n ot been bred to the p o in t w here it becam e extrao rdin arily stro n g.9 4. C o n scio u sn e ss, as a th reaten in g fu n ction b ecause o f its a n tiv ital asp i ratio n , therefore fin ds itself m o m en tarily in retreat. In the relatio n sh ip o f kn ow led ge, how ever, th is dan gerou s pow er is m an ifested anew in its true ligh t. L o g ic a l reason , co n stru cted by the im pulses in th e course o f th is c o m b at w ith the a n tiv ital ten den cy o f co n sciou sn ess, en gen d ers h ab its o f th in k ing w h ich th e still-m alad ap ted ten den cy o f co n scio u sn ess is led to d e tect as errors. T h e se errors w h ich are precisely th ose th a t m ake life p ossible, and w h ich N ietzsch e will later recognize as form s for th e app reh en sion o f e x is ten ce alw ays observ e the sam e rules o f th e gam e: nam ely, th at there are durable th in gs; th at o b je cts, m aterials, an d b od ies ex ist; th at a th in g is w hat it ap p ears to be; th at our will is free; th at w h at is good for m e is good in an in trin sic m an n er ingrain ed p ro p o sitio n s th at h av e b ecom e the n orm s in a cc o rd an ce w ith w h ich logical reason estab lish es the true an d the n on tru e.

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It was on ly very late, says N ietzsch e, th at tru th em erged as th e w eakest form o f know ledge. It seem ed th at o n e was u n ab le to live w ith it: our o rg a n ism was prepared for the o p p o site . 1 0 H en ce , N ietzsch e rem arks, th e stren gth o f different so rts o f know ledge does n ot reside in th eir degree o f truth , but in th eir degree o f antiqu ity, their degree o f in corp oratio n , th eir ch aracter as c o n ditio n s for life. N ietzsch e here cites the ex am p le o f th e E leatics, w ho w an ted to put our sen sib le p ercep tion s in doub t. T h e E leatics, he says, b eliev ed it was possible to live the an tin o m ies o f th e n atu ral errors. B u t in order b o th to affirm the antinomy and to live it, they in ven ted the sage, a p erson w ho was b oth im personal a n d u n ch an geab le, an d thus they fell into illu sion (I am still c it ing N ietz sc h e). U n a b le to ab stract from their ow n h u m an co n d itio n , m isu n d erstan d in g th e n atu re o f the kn ow in g su b je ct, an d d en y in g th e v io len ce o f th e im pulses in know ledge, the E leatics, in an ab so lu te fash io n , believ ed they could co n ce iv e o f reason as a perfectly free activity. Probity and skepticism , th ose d an gerou s m an ifestatio n s o f co n sciou sn ess, were ab le to d e v elo p in ever m ore su btle ways at the m o m en t w h en th ese tw o co n trad icto ry p ro p o sitio n s appeared to be ap p licab le to life b ecause b o th were co m p a tib le w ith fu n d a m en tal errors the m om en t it b ecam e possib le to dispu te ab ou t th eir greater o r lesser degree o f utility for life. Likew ise, o th e r new p rop ositio n s, w hile n ot useful to life, were n o n eth eless n o t harm ful to life b ecause they were sim ply exp ression s in an in tellectu al gam e, an d , con sequ en tly, they bore w itness to the in n ocen t and fortu n ate ch aracter o f every gam e. A t th at m o m en t, th e act o f know ing and the asp iration to the true were fin ally integrated as o n e need am o n g oth er n eeds. N o t on ly b e lie f or c o n v ictio n , bu t also e x a m in a tio n , n egatio n , m istrust, or co n tra d ictio n co n stitu te d a pow er [une puissance], such th at even the bad in stin cts were su b ord in ated an d p laced in the service o f know ledge, and acquired the p restige o f w hat is licit, v en erated , an d useful an d u ltim ately th e look an d in n o cen ce o f the G o o d . N ietzsch e thereby co m es to this first co n clu sio n on the p recise situ atio n o f the ph ilosop h er: The thinker is now that being in whom the impulse to truth and those life-preserving errors clash for their first fight, after the impulse for truth has proved to be also a life-preservingpower. " T h e im pulse to truth is a life-con servin g pow er? B ut here th is is on ly a hyp oth esis, a m om en tary co n ce ssio n . In fact, N ietzsch e co n clu d e s w ith a q u estio n : To what extent can truth endure incorporation? T h a t is th e q u estio n ; th at is the ex p erim en t. 1 2 N ietzsch e h im self will carry th is exp erim en t to its co n clu sio n . W h en N ietzsch e evok ed the ex am p le o f th e E leatics as an attem p t to live the n a t ural an tin o m ies an attem p t th at required the im possible im person ality o f th e p h ilo so p h er in order to su cceed it w as h is ow n exp erien ce th at h e w as p ro je ctin g in to the past. T h e E leatics, said N ietzsch e, in ven ted th e figure o f the im personal an d im m u tab le sage as b ein g b o th O n e an d A ll. In so doin g, they fell in to illusion , N ietzsch e declares, b ecau se they rem ain ed unaw are o f

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the v io len ce o f th e im pulses in th e knowing subject. But if N ietzsch e, in this ju d gm en t aga in st th e E leatics, p resen ts h im self as the p erson in w hom this illusory exp erien ce h a s b een b rough t to co n sciou sn ess, it is precisely because h e h im self, obscurely, aspires to be b o th O n e and A ll, as if he now saw the secret o f th e exp erim en t in a return o f consciousness to the unconscious, and of the unconscious to consciousness so co m pletely an d so w ell th at, at the en d as at the b egin n in g, it w ould seem th at the true w orld exists now here else than in the sage. H ere, we m ust im m ediately distin gu ish betw een th e exp erim en t to be perform ed and the lived ex p erien ce [lexprience faire et l'exprience vcue], betw een suffering an d willing. In effect, we w ould like to know if the lived ex p erie n ce N ietz sc h es sp e cific exp erien ce, th e ecstasy o f th e etern al return in w h ich th e ego w ould su d den ly find itself to be b o th on e and all, o n e and m u ltiple co u ld be m ade the o b je ct o f a d em o n stratio n , an d th u s co n stitu te the p o in t o f departure for a m oral teach in g. B ut we m ust co n fin e ou rselves here to th e qu estio n we posed earlier: C o u ld the p h ilo so p h er h av e know ledge o f a sta te in w h ich h e w ould be b oth O n e and A ll, o n e an d m u ltiple, giv en the fact th a t he will alw ays ascribe m ore an d m ore co n scio u sn ess to h is p ath os? In oth er w ords: H ow co u ld h e p ossess his p ath o s know ingly insofar as the p ath o s w ould be an ap p reh en sion o f ex iste n c e return in g u pon itself? In aph orism 333 o f The G ay Science, N ietzsch e p rovides a com m en tary on o n e o f S p in o z as p rop ositio n s th at takes us to the h eart o f th is problem : The meaning o f knowing . N on ridere, non lugere, neque detestari, sed intelligere! says Sp in o za as sim ply an d sublim ely as is his w ont. Yet in the last an alysis, w h at else is th is intelligere th an the form in w h ich we co m e to feel th e o th e r three at on ce? O n e result o f the different an d m utually opposed im pulses to laugh, lam en t, and curse? B efore know ledge is p ossible, each o f th ese im pulses m ust first h av e presen ted its on e-sided view o f the th in g or the ev en t; after th is co m es the fight betw een these on e-sided view s, an d o c c a sio n ally these result in a m ean , o n e grows calm , on e fin ds all three sides right, an d there is a k in d o f ju stice an d a co n tract: for by virtue o f ju stice an d a c o n tract all th ese in stin cts ca n m ain ta in th eir ex iste n ce an d assert th eir rights a gain st each other. S in c e on ly the last scen es o f re co n ciliatio n an d the final a cc o u n tin g a t the en d o f th is lo n g p rocess rise to our co n sciou sn ess, we su p pose th at intelligere m ust be so m eth in g con ciliatory, ju st, and go o d so m e th in g th at stan d s essen tially op p o sed to the in stin cts, w hile it is actu ally n o th in g but a certain behavior o f the instincts toward one another. For the lon gest tim e, co n scio u s th ou gh t was con sid ered thou gh t itself. O n ly now does th e truth daw n on us th a t by far the greatest part o f our sp irits activity rem ain s u n co n scio u s an d unfelt. B ut I su ppose th a t th ese in stin cts w h ich are here c o n ten d in g aga in st o n e an o th er u n d erstan d very w ell how to

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m ak e th em selves felt by, and how to hurt, one another. T h is m ay w ell be the source o f th a t sudden and v io le n t ex h au stio n th at afflicts all th in k ers (it is the exh au stio n on a b attle fie ld ). In deed, there m ay be o c ca sio n s o f co n ce aled heroism in our w arring depth s, bu t certain ly n o th in g d ivin e th at eternally rests in itself, as Spin oza supposed. Conscious th in k in g, especially th at o f the p h ilosoph er, is the least vigorous and therefore also the relatively m ildest and calm e st form o f th in k in g, an d thus precisely p h ilo sop h ers are m ost a p t to be led astray abou t the natu re o f know ledge. In this very beau tifu l p assage, I su sp ect th a t N ietzsch e h a s defin ed , in a n eg a tiv e m anner, h is ow n m ode o f co m p reh e n d in g a n d know ing: ridere, lugere, detestari (lau gh in g, crying, h a tin g ) are three ways o f ap p reh en d in g existen ce. B u t w hat is a sc ie n c e th at laughs, or cries, or d etests? A p ath e tic know ledge? O u r p ath o s know s, bu t we are n ever ab le to sh are its m ode o f know ing. For N ietzsch e, every in tellectu al act correspo n d s to v a ria tio n s o f a sta te o f hum or. N ow , to attribu te a ch aracter o f ab so lu te valu e to p ath o s ruin s, in a sin gle blow, th e n o tio n th a t know ledge is im partial, sin ce it was on ly from an acq u ired degree o f im partiality th a t o n e called in to d o u b t th at sam e im p ar tiality. T h is ingratitude is th e inverse o f k now ledge, w h ich is disavow ed as so o n as it m ak es us co m preh en d th at we ca n n o t know an ingratitude th at w ill give birth to a new im partiality, but w ithin an ab so lu te partiality. For if logical co n clu sio n s are n o th in g but th e co n flict a m o n g the im pulses th a t ca n on ly en d in so m eth in g u nju st, to asp ire to m ore p artiality w ould b e to observe the h igh est ju stice. If the thinker, as N ietzsch e says, is the b ein g in w h om th e im pulse to truth and the life-preserving errors liv e an d stru ggle togeth er, an d if th e q u es tio n is kn ow in g to w hat e x te n t truth can bear in corp oratio n if th a t is the exp erim en t th at m ust now be perform ed then let us now try to see in w h at sen se p ath o s is ca p a b le o f this in corp oratio n as an ap p reh en sio n o f ex isten ce. N o w th at th e in tellectu al a ct h as b een devalorized sin ce it on ly takes p lace at th e p rice o f a suprem e ex h a u stio n why n o t adm it hilarity as m u ch as seri ou sn ess as an organ o f know ledge, for ex am p le, or an ger as m u ch as serenity? O n c e seriousn ess is adm itted to be a state as doubtful as h atred or ev en love, why could n o t h ilarity be as valid an d ob v io u s an ap p reh en sio n o f ex iste n c e as seriousness? T h e a ct o f know ing, ju d gin g, or co n clu d in g is n o th in g bu t th e resu lt o f a certain b eh av io r o f the im pulses tow ard eac h other. M oreover, co n scio u s th ou gh t especially th e th ou gh t o f the p h ilo sop h er is m ost o ften the exp ression o f a fall, a depression p rovoked by a terrible quarrel betw een two or three co n trad icto ry im pulses th at results in so m eth in g u n ju st in itself. D oes this m ean th a t th e p h ilo so p h er (o r the th in k er or the sage, in th e N ietzsch ean se n se) sh ou ld give h im self o v er to a sim ilarly co n trad icto ry b eh av io r am on g the im pulses? O r th at h e sh ou ld n ever sp eak ex c ep t in sta tem en ts th a t p ar

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tic ip a te in tw o or three sim u ltan eo u s im pulses, thereby g iv in g an acco u n t o f e x iste n c e app reh en ded th rough th ese two or three im pulses? If the act o f co m p reh en d in g so m eth in g is at th is p o in t su sp ect sin ce it n ever reach es a co n clu sio n e x c e p t by elim in a tin g o n e o f th e im pulses th at h as, in varying degrees, co n trib u ted to its form ation and if co m preh en d in g is n o th in g oth er th an a p recarious arm istice betw een obscu re forces, then, ou t o f th is co n ce rn for integrity th at d irects N ie tz sc h e s in vestigation so as to bring m ore co n scio u sn e ss to our im pu lsive forces, co m p reh en d in g can act on ly by exercisin g a perp etu al co m p licity w ith our ten d en cies, good or bad. H ow ever, d o es it n o t seem th at th is illusion is w orse th an th e on e for w h ich N ietzsch e reproach ed S pin oza, w hen Sp in o za op p o sed the a ct o f co m p re h e n d in g to th e fact o f laugh in g, crying, and h atin g? H ow c a n an obscure force reach co n scio u sn e ss as an obscu re force if it does n o t already b elon g to the full ligh t o f co n sciou sn ess? A s the A p o stle said, A ll things that are condemned are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.'"1 H ow to manifest without condemning1 H ow c a n an obscu re force be m ade m an ifest w ithout co n d em n in g itself to be illu m in ated ? C o u ld there n ot be a ligh t th at is n o t a c o n d em n atio n o f the sh adow s? P ath o s know s, n o doubt, b u t we c a n n o t sh are in its m o de o f know ing ex c ep t th rough th is co n d em n atio n : Take n o p art in th e unfruitful w orks o f the sh adow s, said the A p o stle .1 4 N e v e r th eless, it is w ritten th at the light shines in the darkness, but the darkness did not receive it. 1 5 T h e ligh t w an ted to be received by the sh adow s; there is thus a m o m en t w hen th e ligh t is a co n d em n a tio n , and there is a moment when the light seeks to be received by the shadows. E veryth in g th at rises up in to the full ligh t o f co n scio u sn ess rises up upside dow n the im ages o f n igh t are reversed in th e m irror o f co n sciou s th ou gh t. L ater we will see th at there is a n ecessity deeply inscribed in the law o f bein g th at is ex p lic ate d as th e u niversal w heel, th e im age o f eternity and th at the results o f th is law is the in version o f n igh t in to day, an d o f sleep into th e w akefulness o f co n sciou sn ess. C o n scio u s th ou gh t is co n stitu ted on ly in an d through an ign o ran ce o f th is law o f return. Every co n scio u s th ou gh t looks forw ard, iden tifyin g itself w ith a go al th at it p osits before itself as its ow n def in ition . B u t if co n scio u s th ou gh t ten ds to invert the im ages o f the n igh t in full day, th is is because, in tak in g exteriority as a p o in t o f departure, it claim s to be speaking, ev en as it m istran slates an origin al te x t o f w hich it is unaw are. A s N ietzsche says: C on sciou sn ess does n ot really belon g to m an s individual existen ce. . . . T h e thinking th a t rises to consciousness is only a tiny p art o f ourselves the m ost superficial and w orst part for only this conscious th inking takes the form of words, w hich is to say, signs o f communication. . . . T h e em ergence o f our sense im pressions into our ow n consciousness, the ability to fix them and, as it were, exh ib it them externally, increased proportionally w ith the n eed to co m m u n i cate them to others by m eans o f s ig n s .. . . C on sciou sn ess h as developed subtlety

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only insofar as this is required by social or herd utility. C onsequently, given the best will in the world to understand ourselves as individually as possible, to know ourselves, each o f us will only succeed in b ecom in g conscious only o f w hat is n ot individual but average. . . . Fundam entally, all our action s are alto geth er incom parably personal, unique, and infinitely individual; there is no doubt o f that. But as soon as we translate them into con sciousn ess they no longer seem to be. 1 6 In con clu sion : every co m in g to consciousness is the result o f an operation o f generalization, o f falsification, and thus is a fundam entally ruinous operation. It is n ot th e o p p o sitio n o f su b je c t an d o b je c t th a t c o n ce rn s m e here: th is d istin c tio n I leav e to th e e p iste m o lo g ists w ho h a v e b eco m e e n ta n g le d in th e sn ares o f gram m ar (th e m e tap h y sics o f th e p e o p le ). It is ev en less the o p p o sitio n o f th in g -in -itse lf an d a p p e a ra n c e ; for we d o n o t k n o w n early e n o u gh to be e n title d to any su ch d istin c tio n . W e sim p ly lack any o rgan for k n o w led ge, for tru th : we k n o w (o r b elie v e or im a g in e ) ju st as m u ch as m ay be useful in th e in terests o f th e h u m an h erd, th e sp ec ie s; a n d ev en w h at is h ere called u tility is u ltim ately a lso a m ere b elief, so m e th in g im aginary, an d p erh ap s p recisely th a t m ost c a la m ito u s stu p id ity o f w h ich we sh a ll p e r ish so m ed ay . 1 7 A c c o rd in g to th is d efin itio n , w h at co n scio u s th ou gh t p rodu ces is alw ays only the m ost utilizable part o f ou rselves, because on ly th at part is co m m u n i cab le; w hat we h av e o f the m ost esse n tial p art o f ou rselves will th u s rem ain an in com m u n icab le an d n on-u tilizable p ath os. By the in d iv id ual, by the person al, by the m ost essen tial p art o f ou rselves, N ietzsch e in no way m ean s w hat is gen erally u n d ersto od by th e term in d i v id u alism . W e will see, on the contrary, th at the in d iv id ual an d th e n o n in d iv id ual will be lin ked in an in d iscern ib le unity, w hich is in d icated by th is very co n cern for the au th en tic. B ut here we en co u n ter a n um ber o f d ifficu l ties in N ietzsch e. If co n scio u s th ou gh t in evitab ly betrays w h at we h av e o f the m ost esse n tial p art o f ourselves, how ca n th is essen tial asp ect be co m m u n icated to us? H ow can it be d istin gu ish ed from th e gregarious an d , sin ce the gregarious is alw ays tain ted by the p ejo rativ e n o tio n o f utility, how will this essen tial asp ect o f ou rselves escap e our ow n u tilitarian th ou gh t? W ill w hat is a u th en tic in us be so m eth in g en tirely u seless in its integrity, an d thus properly v a lu able in N ietz sc h es sen se, su ch th at h ere we at last find an ap p reh en sion o f ex iste n c e th at is su fficien t in itself, a possib ility o f b ein g b oth O ne and A ll ? For co n sciou s th ou gh t the so -called gregarious th ou gh t th at reveals n o th in g essen tial o f ourselves, th e th ou gh t disqu alified by N ietzsch e the greatest distress is to rem ain w ithout a go al, for ex am p le, th e ab sen ce o f a truth to be so u gh t for and a ttain ed as the suprem e goal o f co n scio u s thou gh t. By its natu re an d by d efin itio n , co n scio u s th o u gh t in itself is alw ays p ro je c t ing itself forw ard in search o f a goal.

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O n the oth er h an d , the greatest p leasu re o f our p ath o s the u n co n sciou s life o f the im pulses, th e essen tial asp ect o f ou rselves is to be w ithout any goal. Inversely, if th e b e lie f in a goal m akes co n sciou sn ess h ap pier and p ro cu res a degree o f security for co n scio u s th ou gh t, the effect o f this assign atio n o f an en d is felt (o r can be felt) in our p ath o s on ly as th e greatest distress. W h en N ietzsch e critiq u es S pin oza, h e m ean s n o th in g o th e r th an this. For a lth o u gh th e im pulses as n eeds are obviou sly unaw are o f w h at co n sciou sn ess w an ts, they n everth eless im agin e th at o f w hich they are th em selves the need. A s so on as co n scio u sn e ss p o sits a goal, the im pulses m om en tarily lose this im age they h av e o f th em selves. A s im ages o f them selves, the im pulses are a lie n ated from th eir ow n im age for the b en efit o f the go al o f w hich they are, by n atu re, unaw are. If th e essen tial asp ec t o f ou rselves lies in our p ath o s w hich is in e x p ressible or in com m u n icab le by itself then insofar as it form s the en sem ble o f our im pu lsive life, it also co n stitu te s an en sem ble o f n eeds. B u t do es it n ot then seek to satisfy itself in its ow n dissip atio n [dpense]!1 A n d how would th is d issip atio n effect itse lf and find satisfaction ? W h en our deepest n eed exp resses the m ost essen tial p art o f ou rselves in laugh ter and tears, for e x a m p le, it w ould d issip ate itself as lau gh in g an d crying, w h ich are in th em selves the im age o f this n eed . T h e lau gh in g an d crying w ould be produ ced in d e p en d en tly o f any m o tiv e th at co n scio u s th ou gh t w ould attrib u te to them , rightly or wrongly, from its g oal-orien ted p erspective. A n d b ein g thus d issi p ated , ou r m ost p rofound n eed an d the loss o f any goal w ould co in cid e, for an in stan t, w ith our profou nd h appiness. E v en w hen we d o n o t know how to sh are its m ode o f und erstan din g, our p ath o s d o es n o t thereby p reven t us from u n d erstan din g ourselves. For w here d o su ch su dden sa tisfactio n s, co u p led w ith the ab sen ce o f any ration al m o tive, co m e from for in stan ce, w hen I laugh or cry, seem in gly w ithout rea so n , before so m e sp e c tac le such as th ose offered by the view o f a sudden ly d is co vered lan d scap e or o f tid al p ools at th e edge o f the o c ean ? S o m e th in g is lau gh in g or cryin g in us th at, by m ak in g use o f us, is robbin g us o f ourselves an d co n c e a lin g us from ou rselves, but w hich, by m ak in g use o f us, is c o n c e a l ing itself. D oes th is m ean th at th is so m eth in g was n ot present otherw ise than in the tears an d laugh ter? For if I laugh and cry in this way, I take m y self to be exp ressin g n o th in g but th e im m ediate van ish in g o f th is unknow n m otive, w h ich h as found in m e n eith er figure n or sense, apart from the im age o f this forest or th ese w aves greedy for buried treasures. In relation to th is unknow n m o tive, w h ich is h id d en from m e by these outw ard im ages, I am , in N ie t zsch es sen se, on ly a fragment, an enigma to m yself, a horrifying chance. A n d I will rem ain a fragm ent, an enigma, and a chance in relation to th at m ost essen tial asp ect o f m yself, w h ich sp eak s through this laughter and these tears w ith ou t any ration al m o tive. B ut this m ost essen tial asp ect o f m yself, w h ich is m ad e m an ifest in this way, correspo n d s to an im age hidd en in the full ligh t o f

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co n sciou sn ess, an im age th at app ears to m e as in verted an d th at arrives late in th e goal-orien ted perspectiv e, w h ich w an ts to len d as m uch co n scio u sn ess as p ossible to th is laugh ter or to th ese tears. T h u s there m ust be a n ecessity th at wills m e to laugh or cry as if I were crying or lau gh in g freely. But is n o t th is necessity the very sam e n ecessity th at inverts n igh t in to day, w hich inverts sleep into the w akefulness w here co n scio u sn ess p osits its goal? Is this n ot the sam e n ecessity th at will re-invert the im ages o f the day in to th ose o f n igh t? T o live and to th in k in the go al-o rien ted p erspectiv e is to d ista n ce m yself from w hat is m ost essen tial in m e, or from the n ecessity th at testifies, w ithin m e, to my d eep est n eed. To w an t to recu perate th is m ost esse n tial p art o f m yself am o u n ts to liv in g backw ards from my co n scio u sn ess, and therefore I will put all my will and confidence in the necessity that has made me laugh and cry without any motive. For the m o vem en t th at throw s co n scio u sn ess ou t o f the n igh t an d into th e daw n, w here it p o sits its go al, is the sam e m o v em en t th at carries m e far from this go al in order to lead m e back , at deep est m id n igh t, to w hat I h av e th at is m ost essen tial. T o suffer th is n ecessity is o n e th in g; it is q u ite an o th er th in g to adh ere to it as a law, and still an o th er th in g to form u late th is law in the im age o f a circle. W e h av e seen th at th e asp iratio n to truth is giv en to us as an im pulse, an d th at th is im pulse b eco m es id en tified w ith th e fu n ctio n o f co n scio u sn ess. C o n seq u e n tly , to a sk w h eth er th e a sp iratio n to tru th can be a ssim ilated to p ath o s and its errors a m o u n ts to ask in g w h eth er p ath o s can p rod u ce so m e th in g th at it m ust still assim ilate. T h u s, if co n scio u sn e ss sim ply pursues this a sp iratio n as its ow n im pulse, by th is very fa ct th at im pulse w orks tow ard its ow n ruin in the n am e o f truth . W h a t is th is th in g th a t pursues su ch an im pu lsive asp iratio n , th is th in g o r th is sta te o f th in gs th a t co n scio u sn e ss p osits, in th e full lig h t o f day, u n d er th e n am e o f tru th an d as its ow n en d? W h a t is th is word tru th if n o t th e in verted im age o f w h at p rod u ced this im pulse to truth as a n eed ? T o re-in v ert th is u ltim ate im pulse called the a sp iratio n to tru th th is asp ira tio n o f th e to tality o f p a th o s taken to geth er to re-in v ert th e im age o f th is asp ira tio n w ould co m e dow n to fo r m u latin g w h at N ietz sc h e sta te s in th e follow in g p ro p o sitio n : Truth is an error without which a certain species o f life could not live. The value for life is ulti mately decisive."1 9 T h e m ost recen t asp ira tio n th a t h as c o m e to life this dan gero u s asp iratio n to truth is n o th in g o th e r th an th e return o f p ath o s in its to tality in th e form o f a goal. B ut here we d isco v er so m eth in g d isq u ietin g in N ietzsch e. W h a t did he m ean by p osin g the qu estio n o f k n o w in g if truth could endure its incorporation as a condition o f life ? W h at did he m ean by say in g th a t th e impulsive aspiration to truth had b ecom e life-preserving at the sam e tim e as the natural errors? A re n ot these qu estio n s asked from the view poin t o f co n scio u s an d gregarious th ou gh t, th at is, in the term s o f th e very co n scio u sn ess th at n ecessarily gives itself a goal? A n d w ould n ot th e term s error an d tru th , w h ich h ad p re v i

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ously been em p tied o f th eir gregarious m ean in g, im m ediately be filled again w ith th is sam e co n ten t? For the p h ilo so p h er (or the th in k er or th e sage in th e N ietzsch ean se n se ), the q u estio n is: W h at form co u ld be giv en to th is exp erien ce so th at it could be tau gh t? H ow co u ld th e will be p ersuaded to will the o p p o site o f every goal giv en by co n scio u s th ou gh t, su ch th at th e will co u ld strive to recu perate its m ost essen tial and least co m m u n icab le asp ect? H ow co u ld the will be p ersuaded to take itself as its ow n o b je ct, thereby p rod u cin g an ap p reh en sion o f ex iste n c e return in g to itself ju st as the w ill returns to itself? W as it n ot n ecessary to app eal to co n sciou s th ou gh t, and th u s to borrow from the lan gu age o f the herd (in th is case, the lan gu age o f p o sitiv ism ), and thus to take up o n ce again th e n o tio n s o f u tility and goal, an d d irect th em tow ard and again st every utility, tow ard an d ag ain st every goal? In h is retrosp ective preface to The G a y Science, d ated 1886, we read: In cip it traged ia is written at the end o f this book, with a disquieting casualness Beware! Something downright wicked and malicious is announced here: in cip it p aro d ia.20 What is the m eaning," N ietzsch e asks in the first aph orism o f The G ay Science, "what is the meaning o f the ever new appearance o f these founders o f moral ities and religions . . . these teachers o f remorse and religious w ars ? What is the meaning o f these heroes on this stage1 . . . It is obvious that these tragedians, too, promote the interest o f G od or work as G od's emissaries. They, too, promote the life o f the species by p rom o tin g the fa ith in life. 'Life is worth living,' every one o f them shouts; there is something to life, there is something behind life, beneath it; beware! From time to time this instinct, which is at work equally in the highest and basest men the instinct for the preservation o f the species erupts as reason and as passion o f the spirit. Then it is surrounded by a resplendent retinue o f reason and tries with all the force at its command to make us forget that at bottom it is instinct, drive, folly, lack o f reasons. Life sh all be loved, b ecause ! M an shall advance himself and his neighbor, because ! . . . In order th at w h at h ap pen s n ece ssar ily an d alw ays, sp o n tan eo u sly an d w ithout any purpose, m ay h en ceforth ap p ear to be d o n e for so m e purpose and strike m an as ration al an d an u lti m ate co m m an d m e n t, th e eth ic al teach er co m es o n th e stage, as the teach er o f the purpose o f ex iste n ce; an d to th is end h e in ven ts a seco n d , different e x iste n c e and u n h in ges by m eans o f his new m ech an ics the old, ordinary e x iste n c e . A n d N ietzsch e co n clu d es: N ot only laughter and gay wisdom but the tragic, too, with all its sublime unreason, belongs am ong the means and neces sities o f the preservation o f the species. Consequently . Consequently. C on se quently. O , do you understand me, my brothers? D o you understand this new law o f ebb and flood? There is a time for us, too!n D oes this m ean th at N ietzsch e in turn w ould like to en ter the stage as a new d o ctor o f the goal o f ex isten ce? A s a new do ctor o f m orality? D oes this m ean th at, in order to co m e to the aid o f the m ost essential asp ect o f ourselves,

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we m ust inevitably ap p eal to the ration alization s o f co n sciou s th ou gh t and the p ositin g o f a goal even though it is a qu estion o f app reh en din g an existen ce w ithout a goal? N ietzsch e always has a form ula th at seem s to imply an im per ative: the will to power. T h is en tails a serious q u estio n : w hat is N ie tz sc h e s true lan gu age? Is it the langu age o f lived exp erien ce, or o f in spiratio n , or o f revelatio n , or p erh aps o f the exp erim en t to be perform ed, th e lan gu age o f ex p erim en tatio n ? Is there n ot, in each case, an interference betw een th ese variou s lan gu ages, w h ich in terven es in the desire to legitim ate the in com m u n icab le lived ex p erien ce o f the etern al return by way o f a d em o n stratio n ? D oes n o t N ietzsch e provide this d em on stration at the level o f the scien tifically verifiab le co sm o s an d on the m oral p lan e, by elab o ratin g an im perative th a t c a n co m m an d the will under its relation to the will to pow er? Is th is n o t the p o in t w here the d u b i ous references to scie n ce and biology in terven e, w hen N ietz sc h es fu n d am en tal exp erien ce is already b ein g exp ressed on an en tirely different level by the ch aracter o f Z arath u stra? P erh aps we h av e here o n e o f the alte rn a tin g term s, o n e o f the asp ects o f N ie tz sc h e s an tin o m y : th e exp erien ce o f th e eternity o f the se lf at the e c sta tic m o m en t o f th e etern al return o f all th in gs could n o t be the o b je c t o f an ex p erim en tatio n any m ore th an it co u ld be the o b je c t o f a ration ally co n stru cted elu cid atio n ; any m ore th an th e lived, inexpressib le, an d therefore in com m u n icab le ex p erie n ce co u ld ground an eth ical im pera tiv e th at w ould turn the lived in to so m eth in g willed an d a rewilled, insofar as the u n iversal m o v em en t o f th e etern al return is su p posed to lead the will to will infallibly a t the willed moment. T h e lived exp erie n ce is th u s entirely im plicit in a contemplation w here th e will is co m p letely ab sorbed in an ex is ten ce rendered to itself so th at th e w ill to pow er is sim ply an attrib u te o f ex iste n ce, w hich w ills itself on ly insofar as it is. T h is ex p lain s the often doubtful ch aracter o f th ose p ro p o sitio n s o f N ietzsches, in th e fragm en ts on th e transvaluation o f values, th at co n sid er w ill to pow er in d ep en den tly o f the law o f the etern al return, in d ep en den tly o f th is re v elatio n from w h ich it is in separable. A t the level o f lived ex p erien ce, N ietzsch e is already surpassed by his ow n Zarathustra. N ietzsch e is n o m ore th an th e d o ctor o f a c o u n ter m orality th at is seem in gly exp ressed in clear lan gu age, an d w h ose w orth co m es from th is au d aciou s use o f co n scio u s th o u gh t for the b en efit o f th at w h ich h as n o goal. H e is the d o cto r o f a go al for ex iste n ce, ch arged w ith c o v erin g up his ow n retreat into th at region w here, in reality, h e h as already retired th is im m ortality from w h ich he h as p erish ed, as h e says m ore th an o n ce , an d from w h ich h e will return in deliriou s tran spo rts to show w h at he is under tw o differen t n am es: D ionysus an d the C ru cified . A fte r the p rop ositio n : Truth is a necessary error, we fin d th is o th e r p rop o sitio n : A rt is a higher value than truth, w h ich is th e co n clu sio n o f th ose p ro p o sitio n s w hich d eclare th at art prevents us from losing ourselves in the truth or art protects us from the truth. A ll th ese p ro p o sitio n s h av e th e sam e p ragm atic

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ch a ra cter as the p reced in g p rop osition : truth is only a necessary error2 2 a ch ar a cter th at h old s precisely because everyth in g is b ein g con sid ered solely from the v iew poin t o f its usefulness. N e v erth eless, as so on as error creates form s, it goes w ithout saying that art m ust effectively beco m e th at d o m ain w here willed error inaugurates a rule o f the game. Ju st as it is co n trad icto ry to give a p ractical ap p licatio n o f truth as error, so it ap p ears th at, in this d o m ain o f the gam e par excellence w h ich is art, im posture co n stitu te s a legitim ate activity in accord w ith the reason o f fictio n . B ut art h as a very w ide m ean in g , and in N ietzsch e, th is category in clu des in stitu tion s as m u ch as w orks o f free creatio n . For ex am p le and here we can see im m ediately w h at is a t issue how does N ietzsch e consider the C h u rch ? For him , th e C h u rc h is co n stitu ted grosso modo by a ca st o f profound impostors: the priests. T h e C h u rch is a m asterp iece o f spiritu al d o m in a tio n , and it required th at im possible p le b ian m o n k , Luther, to dream o f ru in ing th a t m asterp iece, th e last ed ifice o f R o m an civilizatio n am on g us. T h e a d m iration N ietzsch e alw ays h ad for th e C h u rch and the papacy rests p re cisely u pon the idea th at truth is an error, and th at art, as willed error, is higher th an truth. T h is is why Z arathustra co n fesses his affinity w ith the priest, and why, in th e Fourth Part, du rin g th a t extraordin ary gath erin g o f the different k in ds o f h igher m en in Z arath u stras cav e , the P ope the L ast Pope is on e o f the p ro p h ets gu ests o f h on or.2 3 T h is betrays, I th in k , N ietz sc h es tem p ta tion to foresee a ru lin g class o f great meta-psychologists w ho would take ch arge o f th e d estin ies o f future hum anity, sin ce they w ould know perfectly b oth the differen t asp iratio n s an d the different resources cap a b le o f satisfying them . W h at in terests us, how ever, is a p articu lar p roblem th at n ever ceased to p re o ccup y N ietzsch e: the p roblem o f the actor. W e read in aph orism 361 o f The G ay Science: Falseness with a good conscience; the delight in simulation expbding as a power that pushes aside one's so-called character,' flooding it and at times extinguishing it; the inner craving for a role and m ask, for app earan ce; an excess o f the capacity for all kinds o f adaptations that can no longer be satisfied in the ser vice o f the most immediate and narrow utility all o f this is perhaps not on ly pecu liar to the actor.24 L e t us take careful n o te o f ev ery th in g N ietzsch e is revealin g here: delight in simulation exploding as a power; pushing aside ones so-called character," sub merging it sometimes to the point o f extinguishing it here we suddenly perceive w hat w as th re aten in g N ietzsch e him self: first o f all, sim u lation ex p lo d in g as pow er to the p o in t o f su b m ergin g or ex tin g u ish in g o n e s so-called ch aracter. T h e p o in t here is th at sim u latio n is n o t only a m eans but also a power and thus th a t there is an irruption o f so m eth in g in com p atib le w ith o n e s so-called ch aracter, a p u ttin g in to qu estio n o f w hat o n e is in a situ atio n th at has b een d eterm in ed by th is sam e in d eterm in ab le. N ietzsch e calls th is p u ttin g in to q u estio n a surplus o f the adaptive faculties, but this surplus, he rem arks, never m anages to satisfy itself, or to serve an immediate and strict utility. T h is is why that

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which is expressed by thus surplus o f the facu lties o f a d a p tatio n h as a role, w h ich is existence itself ex isten ce w ith ou t a goal, ex iste n c e su fficien t u n to itself. B ut let us return, o n ce again , to th e first line: falseness with a good conscience. H ere we co n fro n t anew th e n o tio n o f the willed error. In th e ra tio n a l ity o f sim u lacra, it is willed error th at p rovides an a cco u n t o f th at ex iste n c e w hose very essen ce lies in the truth th at co n ce a ls itself, th at refuses itself. Existence seeks a physiognomy in order to reveal itself; the actor is its medium. W h a t reveals ex iste n c e? A p ossib le physiogn om y: p erh ap s th at o f a god. In an oth er curious passage from The G ay Science (aphorism 3 5 6 ), en titled H ow things will become ever more artistic in Europe," N ietzsche rem arks th at the care to m ake a livin g com pels alm ost all Europeans to ad o pt a p articu lar role, their o ccu p atio n . So m e people m anage to retain the m erely app aren t freedom o f ch oosin g this role for them selves, w hile for m ost people it is prescribed in advan ce. T h e result is qu ite singular: alm ost everyone identifies them selves w ith their role everyone forgets at what point chance, disposition , and arbitrariness were at work in them when the question o f their so-called v o c a tio n was decided and how m any oth er roles they m ight perhaps h ave been able to play, alth ough now it is to o late. In a more profound sense, the role has actually become character, and art has become nature. Later, the sam e aphorism discusses the qu es tion o f social degradation , but w hat I would like to em phasize is this: w hat is here described as a p h en om en o n o f contem porary so cial life appears in reality as the im age o f destiny itself and o f N ietzsch es destiny in particular. W e believe we ch oose freely to be w hat we are, but n ot bein g w hat we are, we are in fact con strain ed to play a role an d thus to play the role o f w hat we are out side ourselves. W e are n ever w here we are, but always where we are only the actor o f this other th at we are. T h e role represents the fortuitousness in the necessity o f destiny. W e can n o t n o t will, but we can n ever will so m eth in g other than a role. To know this is to play in good conscience, and to play as well as p o s sible am ounts to dissim ulating oneself. T h u s, to be a professor of philology at Basel or even the author of Zarathustra is n oth in g oth er th an to play a role. W h at on e dissim ulates is the fact th at on e is n o th in g oth er th an existen ce, and on e dissim ulates the fact that the role on e plays refers to existen ce itself. T h is problem o f th e acto r in N ietzsch e, an d th is irruption o f a pow er in a so -called ch aracter th a t th reaten s to su bm erge it to th e p o in t o f e x tin gu ish in g it th is p roblem , I am saying, is im m ediately re le v an t to N ie tz sc h e s ow n identity, to the p u ttin g in qu estio n o f th is identity co n sid ered as fortu itously received and then taken o n as a role ju st as th e role so m eo n e ch o o ses to play c a n be rejected as a m ask in favor o f an o th er on e from am o n g the th ou san ds o f m asks o f history. H a v in g p rodu ced th is co n ce p tio n from the valorization o f th e willed error, th e valorization o f im posture as a sim ulacrum , it now rem ains to determ in e to w h at e x te n t th e sim u lacru m , if it is an ap p re h en sio n o f ex iste n ce, co n stitu te s a m an ife statio n o f b ein g in the ex iste n t b ein g a m an ifestatio n o f bein g in th e fortu itou s ex isten t.

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Is existence still capable o f a G o d ! asks H eidegger. T h is qu estio n is ask ed as m u ch in the b iograp h ical co n te x t o f the p erson w ho form ulates it for the first tim e as a piece o f news- G od is dead as it is asked in the co n te x t o f the ev en ts an d th e th ou gh t o f th e contem porary ep och . T h e day after h is co lla p se , in T u rin, N ietz sc h e aw ak en s w ith th e fe e l ing o f b e in g b o th D io n y su s an d th e C ru c ifie d , a n d h e sig n s the letters he sen d s to S trin d b e rg , B u rck h ard t, an d o th e r n o ta b le figures w ith on e o f th ese d iv in e n am es. U n til this p o in t, it h ad alw ays b een a m atter o f op p o sin g D ionysus and the C ru cified : H ave I been understood ? Dionysus versus the C rucified."2 N o w th at N ietzsch e the professor h as faded or rather, now th a t he h as finally ab olish ed all lim its betw een o u tsid e an d inside h e d eclares th at the two gods are liv in g to geth er in him . L et us d istan ce ou rselves from all qu estio n s o f p ath ology, an d retain th is d e claratio n as a v alid ju d gm en t o f his ow n ap p re h e n sio n o f ex iste n ce. T h e su b stitu tio n o f the d iv in e n am es for th at o f N ie t zsche im m ediately tou ch es u pon the problem o f the identity o f the p erson in relatio n to a single G od, w ho is the truth, and to the ex isten ce o f m any gods, insofar as they are the ex p lic a tio n o f bein g, o n th e o n e h an d , and an exp res sion o f the plurality w ith in a sin gle in d ivid ual, w ithin eac h an d every in d i vidu al, o n th e other. T h u s N ietzsch e m a in ta in s w ithin h im self the im age o f C h rist, or rather, as he says, o f the C ru cified , a suprem e sym bol th at rem ain s in h im as the in d ispen sable o p p o site o f D ionysus. T h ro u g h their very an tago n ism , the two n am es C h rist and D io n y sus co n stitu te an equilibrium . It is clear th at th is brings us b ack to the p roblem o f th e au th en tic in co m m u n icable. It is in th is co n te x t th at K arl Lw ith , in his im po rtan t b ook on the etern al return, p oses the follow ing qu estio n o f credibility to N ie tz sc h e s do ctrin e: If h e is n o t D ionysus, does n o t th e w hole edifice fall into ruin?2 6 But I am claim in g th at th is qu estio n does n o t see in w h at sen se the sim ulacrum c a n or ca n n o t give an a cco u n t o f th e au th en tic. W h en N ietzsch e an n o u n ces th at G od is dead, th is am ou n ts to say in g th at N ietzsch e m ust n ecessarily lose h is ow n identity. W h at is presen ted here as an o n to lo g ica l cata stro p h e correspo n d s exactly to th e reab sorp tion o f both the true world an d ap p aren t w orld in to th e fable. W ith in the fable, there is a p lu rality o f n orm s; or rather, there is n o norm at all properly sp eaking, because the very p rin cip le o f a resp on sib le identity is unknow n in the fable, insofar as ex iste n c e is n eith er clarified n or revealed in th e p h ysiogn om y o f a unique G o d w ho, as the ju d ge o f a responsible self, w ould ex tract th e in d i vidu al from a p o te n tial plurality. G o d is dead does n o t m ean th at th e divin ity ceases to act as a clarifica tion o f e x iste n c e, bu t rather th at th e abso lu te gu aran tee o f the identity o f the resp on sib le se lf v an ish es from the horizon o f N ietzsch es co n scio u sn ess, w hich in turn m erges w ith th is disap pearan ce.

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If the co n ce p t o f identity van ish es, at first sigh t all th at rem ain s is the fortu itou sn ess th at befalls co n sciou sn ess. U p u n til th en , co n scio u sn e ss re co g nized th e fortu itou s by virtue o f its app aren tly n ecessary identity, w hich ju d ges th at all th in gs around it are eith er necessary or fortuitous. But, as so o n as the fortuitous is revealed to co n scio u sn ess as the n e c e s sary effect o f a u n iversal law, as the w heel o f fortune, it can co n sid er itself to be fortuitous. A ll th at rem ains for co n scio u sn ess is to d eclare th at its ow n identity is a fortu itou s case arbitrarily m ain tain e d as necessary, ev en if this m ean s u n d erstan d in g itself through this u n iversal w heel o f fortune, and even if th is m eans em b racin g ( if p o ssib le) the to tality o f cases, fortu itou sn ess itself in its n ecessary totality. W h at su bsists th en is bein g, an d the verb to b e is n ever ap p lic ab le to b ein g itself, but to the fortu itou s. In N ie tz sc h e s d e claratio n , J am Chambige, I am Badinguet, I am Prado. . . . A t bottom I am every name in h i s t o r y we can see his co n scio u sn e ss en u m eratin g, like so m an y draw ings in a lottery, the dif ferent p ossib ilities o f bein g th at, taken together, w ould be b ein g itself. T h ese d ifferent p ossib ilities m ake use o f the m om en tary su ccess th at is n am ed N ie t zsche, but w ho, as a su ccess, w inds up ab d ica tin g h im se lf for a m ore generous d em on stration o f bein g. In the end I would much rather be a Basel professor than G od; but I have not dared push my personal egoism so fa r as to desist for its sake from the creation o f the world. . . . O ne must make sacrifices however and wherever one lives.a E xisten ce as the etern al return o f all th in gs is produ ced in th e ph ysiog n om ies o f as m any m u ltiple god s as it h as p ossib le m an ife statio n s in the souls o f m en. If the will adh eres to th is perp etu al m o v em en t o f the u niverse, w hat it co n tem p lates is first the w heel o f th e god s, as it is said in Zarathustrai The universe is only an etemal-fleeing-from-itself, an etemal-retuming-intoitself o f multiple gods, a blessed-contradicting, a blessed-reconciling, a rejoining of multiple gods.29 N o doubt, the N ietzsch ean version o f polyth eism is n ecessarily as d istan t from the d e votion o f an tiqu ity as his co n ce p t o f a d iv in e in stin ct ge n e ratin g m any gods is n ecessarily d ista n t from the C h ristia n n o tio n o f divinity. But w hat th is v e rsio n " show s is the refusal to se ttle in to an a th eistic m orality th at, for N ietzsch e, was n o less su ffocatin g th an th e m o n o th eistic m orality. H e could n ot help but see in a th eistic and h u m an istic m orality m erely the co n tin u atio n o f w h at he felt was th e tyranny o f a u n iqu e truth, w h atever its n am e m ight be w h ether it app eared in the form o f a categ o rical im perative or as the physiogn om y o f an exc lu siv e an d p erson al G o d . T h u s, the d isb e lie f in a uniqu e an d n o rm ativ e G o d , in a G o d w ho is th e Truth, is n o n eth eless affirm ed as an impiety that is divinely inspired, w h ich forbids any refoldin g o f reason b ack in to strictly h u m an lim its. N ietz sc h ea n im piety n o t on ly d is credits ration al m an, but rem ains co m p licit w ith all the p h an tasm s th at are reflection s in the soul o f ev ery th in g th a t m an h as h ad to ex p el in order to

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arrive a t a ratio n al d efin itio n o f his n ature. T h is impiety, how ever, do es n o t asp ire to a pure an d sim p le u n leash in g o f b lin d forces, as so m e are often led to say w ith regard to N ietzsch e. H e h as n o th in g in com m on w ith a v italism th at w ould m ak e a cle an slate o f all o f the elaborated form s o f culture. N ie t zsche is at the a n tip o d e s o f any n atu ralism , and his im piety d eclares itself to be a tributary o f his culture. T h is is why o n e finds, in Z arath u stras in c a n ta tio n , so m eth in g like an app eal to an insurrection o f im ages th ose im ages th a t th e h u m an soul is ab le to form , in its ph an tasm s, from its ow n obscure forces. T h e se p h an tasm s testify to the so u ls aptitud e for an alw ays-inexh au stib le m etam orp h osis, its n eed for an u n app easab le an d u n iversal in v e st m en t, in w h ich v ariou s diverse ex trah u m an form s o f ex iste n ce are offered to the soul as so m an y p ossib ilities o f b ein g sto n e, p lan t, an im al, star bu t p re cisely insofar as they w ould alw ays b e p o ssib ilities for the life o f th e soul itself. T h is ap titu d e for m etam orp h osis (w h ich , under the regim e o f an exclusive n o rm ativ e p rin ciple, is o n e o f the m ajo r tem p tation s th at m an h as h ad to stru ggle again st for m illen n ia in order to co n q u er and defin e h im self) h as n ot itself co n trib u ted to the elim in atory form ation th a t had to lead to m an. T h e p ro o f o f th is c a n be found in th e d e lim itatio n o f the d iv in e an d the hu m an , an d in th at adm irable co m p e n satio n by w hich m an to the ex te n t th at he ren ou n ces his bestiality, vegetality, a n d m inerality, a n d hierarchizes his desires an d p assio n s acco rd in g to alw ays-variable criteria reveals w ithin h im se lf an an alogo u s hierarchy in regions th a t are supra- or infraw orldly. T h e u n iverse is p op u lated by m an y d iv in ities, by variou s d iv in ities o f b o th sexes, a n d thus d iv in ities th a t are ca p a b le o f pursuing, fleein g from , an d u n itin g w ith eac h other. S o it w as at th a t m o m en t w hen the surprising equilibrium o f th e world b lossom ed in to m yth, w hen th an k s to the sim u lacra o f m ultiple god s, diverse w ith regard to their gend er and sex" n eith er co n scio u s n or

ii. W hat is glim psed here is n ot the return o f a dem onology ( obscure forces as demons) but a thcogony (psychic dispositions as d ivinities; an tagon istic and conciliatory dispositions as d ivinities given to quarreling and couplin g). T h e dem onology o f N eop laton ic origin was already tending toward a psychology, a kind o f figurative psychology. Pan-theology, on the oth er hand, presupposes a notion of space where the inner life o f the soul and the life o f the cosm os form a single space, in w hich the event w hich, for us, is psychological is situ ated as a spatial fact. T h is is why the pan-theology o f myth w ith its genealogies o f d ivin i ties, its amorous adventures o f gods and goddesses creates an equilibrium betw een m an and his own forces, for the latter find their physiognom ies in the etern al figure o f the gods. T h e practical consequen ces o f such an equilibrium are the ex act opposite o f those that follow from a purely psych ological co n cep tion th at is, con scien ce an d the will, and h en ce the m orality o f behavior. In a theogony, w hat reigns is sim ply an exchange or com m erce betw een the favor and disfavor o f being: the physiognom y o f som e god who attracts or repulses the physiognom y o f som e goddess, according to the rule o f the law o f the chase, o f erotic attraction . H ow ever, this is not w hat we have been led to call a pure transposition o f h um an experience, but rather a process th at belongs to the very m anifestations o f being:

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u n co n scio u s, n eith er o u tsid e n or in sid e, n eith er obscu re forces nor p h an tasm s" p reoccu pied the m ind, o n ce the en tire soul m an aged to situ ate th ese im ages in sp ace, and to render them in d istin gu ish ab le from th e soul. O u t o f this relation betw een the div in e an d the hu m an , m oral m o n oth eism h as ach ieved the co n q u est o f m an by him self, an d h as su b ju gated n atu re to m an by en ab lin g the an th ro p o lo gical p h en o m e n o n o f scien ce. M oreover, acco rd in g to N ietzsch e, after two m illen n ia this re lation h as p rovo ked th at profou nd disequilibrium w h ich h as resulted in the disarray o f n ih ilism . H en ce the a lie n a tio n o f the universe from m an , w h ich N ietzsch e discern ed in the exp lo ratio n o f the u niverse by scien ce; an d h e n ce th e loss o f w hat is expressed by this n o stalgia for the soul (as cap a b le o f m etam o rp h o sis): the fu n d am en tal eros th at m akes m an , as N ietzsch e says, the anim al who reveres.10 W h at b ecom es app aren t, then, is th at the even t o f the d e ath o f G o d stirs th e eros o f the soul at its root; it aw aken s the in stin ct o f ad o ratio n , this instinct that generates gods, w hich in N ietzsch e is b oth a creative will an d a will to eternal ization." T h e d eath o f G o d m ean s th at a rupture is in trod u ced in to th is eros, w h ich is then sp lit into two con trary ten d en cies: the will to self-creation, w h ich is n ever w ithout d estru ction , an d the will to adore, w h ich is n ever w illed w ithout w illin g ete m alizatio n . Insofar as the will to power is sim ply an o th er term for this set o f ten d e n cie s an d co n stitu te s the universal cap acity for m etam orp h osis, it fin ds so m eth in g o f a c o m p e n sa tio n , or a k in d o f healing, in its id e n tification w ith Dionysus, in the sen se th at, in N ietzsch e, this a n c ie n t god o f p olyth eism w ould exp ress and co m b in e w ithin h im se lf all the dead and resurrected gods. Z arath u stra h im self a cco u n ts for th e d isso c iatio n o f th ese tw o w illings (th e will to create and the will to ado re) w hen h e d em an d s the creatio n o f new values an d thus new truth s, w hich m an w ould n ot know how to eith er believe or obey, sin ce they w ould be m arked w ith the seal o f distress and destru ction . It w ould be im possible for the will to create new v alu es to ever app ease the n eed to adore, sin ce this n eed is im plicit in th e will to eternalization o f on eself. If m an is an an im al th a t reveres, he w ould on ly know how to revere w hat co m cs to him from the n ecessity o f b ein g by virtu e ot w hich he c a n n o t,n o t will to be. For th is reason , he w ould n o t know how to eith er obey or b eliev e in the valu es he d elib erately creates, were it n ot a m atter o f the very sim u lacra o f his n eed for eternity. H en ce the a lte rn atio n , in Z arath u stra, betw een the will to create, in the ab sen ce o f god s, and the c o n tem p latio n o f the dance o f the gods, w h ich ex p lain s the u niverse. It is w hen he

the com m erce o f the sexes in the form o f divinities is sim ply an ex plication o f being in its m odes o f appearing and disappearing, w hereas in its htiman form th is sam e exch an ge is sim ply the experience o f living and dying. W hat we call theogony is n oth in g other th an a n ec essary participation in the ex p lication s o f being in divine physiognom ies.

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an n o u n c es th at all the gods are dead th at Z arathustra dem ands th at w h at m ust now live is the o v erm an , th at is, a h u m an ity th at knows how to ov ercom e itself. H ow is it ov ercom e? By rew illing th a t everything th at already w as be reprodu ced, and to do th is as its ow n activity. T h is a ct is defin ed as the will to create: as Z arath u stra declares, if there were gods, what would there be to ere ate? B u t w h at is it th at leads m an to create if n ot the law o f th e etern al return , to w hich h e d ecid es to adh ere? T o w hat does he adh ere if n o t a life th at h e h as forgot ten, but w hich the re v elatio n o f the etern al return as law in cites him to re-w ill? A n d w hat does h e re-will if not th at w h ich he now do es n ot w ant to will? Is th is to say th at the ab sen ce o f god s in cites him to create new gods? O r d o es he w ant to p reven t the return o f th ose ages w hen he ado red th e gods? In re-w illing the god s, d o es he m ake m an m o ve to a high er life? But how w ould th is life be a h igh er life, if it ten ds tow ard th at w h ich already w as? In o th e r words, how could it be a higher life if it tends tow ard a sta te w here it does n ot w an t to create, bu t would rather adore the gods? O n c e again , it w ould thus seem th a t the d o ctrin e o f th e etern al return is co n ce iv ed as a simulacrum o f a doctrine, w hose parodie ch aracter gives an a cc o u n t o f hilarity as an attrib u te o f ex iste n c e an attrib u te th at becom es suf ficien t to itself w hen laugh ter bursts from the ground [fond] o f th e w hole truth , eith er b ecau se the truth ex p lo d e s in the laugh ter o f th e gods, or because th e god s th em selves die from a m ad laughter. W h en a god w an ted to be th e on ly G o d , all the oth er gods were seized by a m ad laughter, to th e p o in t w here they died lau gh in g. For w hat is the d iv in e, if n o t th e fact th at there are m any gods and n ot a sin gle G o d ? L au gh ter is here like the suprem e im age, the suprem e m an ifestation o f the d ivin e reabsorbin g the an n ou n ced gods, an d an n ou n cin g th e gods w ith a new burst o f laughter; for if the gods are dying from this laughter, it is also from this laughter that bursts from the ground o f the whole truth th at the gods are reborn. W e m ust follow Z arathustra to the en d o f his adven tu re in order to see the refutation o f this n eed to create for and again st necessity, w hich denounces the solidarity betw een the three forces o f etemalization, adoration, and creation the three card in al virtues in N ietzsche. In this refutation , we can see th at the d eath o f G o d and the distress o f the fun dam en tal eros, th e distress o f the need to revere (a distress th at the will to create turns from in derision as its ow n fail ure), are identical. For if it is the failure o f a sin gle in stin ct, the derision that co m p en sates for it is n on eth eless inscribed in the n ecessity o f the eternal return. O n c e he h as w illed th e eternal return o f all th in gs, Zarathustra h as ch osen in ad v an ce to see his ow n do ctrin e turned from in derision, as if laughter, that infallible murderer, were b o th the best inspirer o f th e doctrine as well as its best denigrator. Thus the eternal return o f all things also wills the return o f the gods. W h at oth er m ean in g th an this can be attrib u ted to the extraordinary

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parody o f the C o m m u n io n , in w hich G o d s m urderer is also the person w ho offers the ch alice to the ass: a sacrilegious figure o f the C h ristian G o d from p agan tim es, but m ore specifically a sacred an im al in the an cien t m ysteries, the Golden A ss o f the Isiac3 4 in itiation , an an im al w orthy o f its tireless l a !" 1 its tireless yes lets all things return worthy o f representing the long-suffering o f the divin e, w orthy also o f in carn atin g an an cie n t divinity, D ionysus, the god o f the vine, resu n ected in general drunkenness. T h u s, finally, as the W anderer tells Zarathustra: in the case o f gods, death is always a mere prejudice.

iii.

la: ita est! [The refrain o f the ass during the A ss F estival in Parr IV o f Thus Spoke

Zarathustra, pp. 4 2 5 -4 3 6 . Ita est" is L atin m eaning, literally, it is indeed." K aufm ann ren ders it as Yea-Yuh. trans.)

Translator s Afterword

Klossowskis salto mortale

Such a Deathly Desire w as originally p ublish ed in 1963 an d co lle cts togeth er se v e n essays th at h ad previously appeared in diverse p u b licatio n s during the p reced in g fifteen years. A p p en d e d to these essays is an eigh th , lon ger essay, N ietzsch e, P olyth eism , and Parody, th at was given as a lecture in 1957 but h ad n o t previously app eared in print. T h e w ork w as K lossow skis first m ajor th eo retical work sin ce the p u b licatio n o f Sade, M y Neighbor in 1947- B etw een the tw o works, K lossow ski had pub lish ed h is trilogy, The Law s o f Hospitality, w hose fin al vo lu m e, Le Souffleur ou la Thtre de socit, appeared in 1960. M o st o f th e essays inclu ded in the vo lu m e h av e been rew orked, in so m e cases (such as th e essay on B la n ch o t) substan tially. T h is reediting, as well as the fact th at the b ook d o es n o t preserve the ch ron ology o f the original p u b lica tio n o f the essays, is ev id en ce o f the th em atic unity o f the work. A key in d i ca tio n o f th ese th em es can be found in th e title o f the b ook: a line from K lo s so w sk is now infam ou s tra n sla tio n o f V irgils A eneid.1 In the Fifth B o ok o f V irgils ep ic, A e n e a s and his co m p an io n s arrive (a g a in ) in Sicily, h a v in g fled th e d estru ction o f th eir n ativ e Troy, h o u n ded by Ju n o , and h a v in g ju st left D id o, the qu een o f C arth a g e , to despair and c o n se qu en t su icid e for h er love o f A e n e a s. T h e ir arrival co in cid es w ith the an n iversary o f the d e a th o f A e n e a s father, A n ch ises, w ho is buried on S icily (w here the T ro ja n s h ad previou sly lan d ed , the circularity o f th eir voyage se rv ing to further em ph asize th e d esp air th at grips th em u pon their return ). In c o m m e m o ratio n o f h is father, A e n e a s presides ov er a series o f gam es and c o n tests but, as they celeb rate, the T rojan w om en, w eepin g ov er th eir fate, are d riv en by an agen t o f Ju n o to set fire to the sh ips p ulled up on sh ore in an effort to brin g an en d to their pursuit o f Italys shores. T o m as to w h ether to co n tin u e h is v o yage after th is display o f despair, A e n e a s is visited by A n c h ise s sh ad e w h o tells him to u nd ertak e a jo urn ey to the U nderw orld in order to receive his coun sel.

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A en ea s sets forth from Sicily with his best m en and, upon landin g in Italy, goes to m eet the Sibyl who will reveal the way to the Underw orld. T h e priest ess, gripped by A p ollo, sings o f the violen ce and toil that the Trojans will face in Italy as they struggle to found their new city. A en eas brushes this aside h a v ing him self foreseen it and presses the Sibyl to tell him w hat is required for him to reach A n ch ises. T h e Sibyl tells him that he must perform two tasks: obtain a golden bough for Persephone, and provide a proper burial for on e o f the Trojans who was washed overboard and killed during the passage from Sicily to Italy. A en eas com pletes both tasks and follows the Sibyl into the Underw orld. Pass ing through the shadow s o f m onstrous beasts and the crowds o f unburied dead, A en eas leaves the golden bough at the gate o f H ades p alace before going on to Elysium, where he is greeted by the sight o f the souls o f the blessed ranging over a beautiful plain bounded on on e side by a large river, sporting and actin g as though they still lived. Finding A nch ises, A en ea s asks his fathers sh ade about the other shades and the river, Lethe. A n ch ises tells him that L eth es waters are those o f forgetfulness w hich strip a soul o f m ortal cares and desires and ready it to assum e a new body. Struck th at anyone would ever willingly leave Elysium, A en eas asks A nch ises, quae lucis miseris tam dira cupido?" Roughly: w hat is this so deathly desire that these w retched on es h ave for light?2 In answer, A n ch ises w eaves a cosm ology in w hich, accord in g to the actio n o f m ind [nou.s], a great livin g m ass is created through the infusion o f celestial spirit [spiritus] into the corporeal world. From th is inspirited m atter livin g things arise, individuals w hose activity m an ifests their celestial origin o f spirit even as they are m ingled and dam pen ed by th e earthly m ortality o f their flesh. B ecau se o f o cclu sio n by the body, these celestial elem en ts o f spirit c a n n ot clearly see th at after w hich they strive and their com poun ded desire becom es m ortal passion . S o thorough is this m ixin g th at its tain t persists in the soul even after the d eath o f the body. A ll o f these affliction s [pestes] are then extracted through p en an ce [poenis], ach ieved by th e su b jectio n o f the soul to elem en tal forces as well as through the sim ple p assage o f tim e. T h e sh ades o f Elysium are these purified, celestial elem en ts o f spirit an d , w hen they h ave dw elt in Elysium for a thou san d years and regained the purity o f th eir origin, they are called by the god to L eth e, w hose w aters erase the m em ories o f their body and, through this forgettin g, their desire to be em bodied is rekindled. K lossow skis F ren ch tran slatio n o f th is forgetful urge o f celestial forces to return to the bod ies th at will n ecessary co n strain them is un si funeste dsir. Sign ifican tly , K lossow ski ch o o ses the rem arkably co m p le x a d je ctiv e funeste to render dira, the ad je ctiv e d escrib in g the q u a lita tiv e force o f the co sm o s in A n c h ise s cosm ology. Dira, w hen person ified [Dirae] is the L atin n am e for the Furies, the god desses o f reven ge, an d so ca n be tran slated as fearful or awful, bu t it also origin ally derives from the lan gu age o f po rten ts an d om en s an d so carries th e sen se o f ill-omened, foreboding, or dreadful. In this way it ech o e s its G re e k co g n a te deinos, w h ich m ean s terrible, awful, divine ruination, bu t also

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sim ply godlike. Deinos is also co g n a te w ith th e G re e k verb daio, w hich can m ean to burn or to divide an d , in the latte r sen se, to divide and distribute lots or destinies. A s an ad jectiv e it could b e rendered as fateful. D aios, in turn, m ean ing hostile or destructive, is th e D oric eq u iv alen t o f deios. T h e latter term , as w ell as deinos, ech o , but h a v e an u n certain ety m o lo gical relatio n to daimon, th e gu id in g sp irit m ost fam iliar from S o c ra te s sp eech in the Apology. K lossow skis ch oice for rendering dira, funeste (from the Latin funestus m eaning deadly or calamitous ) dates from th e fourteenth century and is an ad jec tive that attach es to som eth in g that causes or is som ehow concern ed w ith death. Its primary m eaning, according to the R obert, is mortal or finite. It preserves its etym ology in its secondary and tertiary m eanings: an adjective that describes a portent o f death, som eth in g disastrous, tragic, or catastrophic. In literary language it can often carry the sense o f sinister. H ere it is rendered as deathly rather than deadly because the desire is for m ortal life, o f w hich death is a m om ent. Deathly certain ly d o es n o t cap tu re the full rich n ess o f the etym ological resources th at K lossow ski m ak es use of, but ev en K lossow ski does n ot require funeste to do any heavy th eoretical lifting. In stead, he co in s a new term , sousvenir ( ), co m p o u n d ed o f th e p rop ositio n sous - an d the verb venir. A s a p ro p o sitio n or ad jectiv e sous m ean s under, o r beneath, an d is o ften used in h y p h en ated exp ression s to d e n o te n o t only p o sitio n but also rank or im portance (th u s sous'hom m e, inferior person). It thus closely correspo n d s to the E n glish sub-. T h e French verb venir, w hich sim ply m eans to come, like its English co u n terp arts, h as both a sp atial (to approach) and tem poral {forthcoming) a sp ect. A lth o u g h sous-venir w ould be u n fam iliar to K lossow skis French read ers, it has a ready an ton y m in th e verb survenir (th e prep ositio n /prefix sur m ean s above) w h ich m eans to happen unexpectedly, w hile survenir m ean s to come after as an ad d itio n or su p plem en t. Sous-venir, th en , would m ean the h ap p e n in g o f so m eth in g exp ected th at is n o t su p plem en tary but essen tial or integral to the su b je ct o f the a ctio n . T h is asp ect o f the n eologism m an ages to c a tc h the fatefu l asp ec t o f dira as well as funeste. Sous-venir is also a hom on ym o f th e co m m o n an d fam iliar Fren ch word souvenir, w h ich ca n be a verb m ean in g to remember, or a n oun m ean in g eith er the faculty of memory or w h at th e faculty o f m em ory brings to m ind, a memory. By em ph asizin g the prefix sous-, K lossow ski calls atte n tio n to, on the o n e h an d, the ab sen ce o f co n scio u s m astery ov er th e faculty o f m em ory, the way in w hich co n sc io u s n ess can find itself su b m itted to (literally placed under) the pow er and effects o f its rem em bran ces; on the o th e r h an d, by e ch o in g a m en tal faculty, K lossow ski in d icate s th a t th is su b m issio n o f co n sciou sn ess in rem em b ran ce is n o t a su bm issio n to so m eth in g a cc id e n ta l or foreign, but to so m eth in g th a t is itself an integral p art o f the m in d .4 Sous-venir, th en , co m b in in g the two asp ects, w ould m ean a faculty o f rem em b erin g to w h ich the co n scio u s m ind is necessarily, fatefully, su b m itted as th at w h ich is, u ltim ately and originally, integral to it. T h e m ind sub-comes to (a hom on ym o f succum bs) m em ory w hen

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th at m em ory co m es as so m eth in g u n ex p ected and thereby ach ie v es the su b m ission o f co n sciou sn ess, even as co n scio u sn e ss d iscovers n o th in g in this rem em brance or in th is faculty oth er th an its ow n integral nature. T h is si funeste dsir" is therefore a desire to su b -co m e to th e rem em bran ce th at is o n e s fate, o n e s integral n atu re. For V irgil, th is desire befalls, as th eir d iv in e lot, as th eir fateful destiny, the souls in the U nderw orld w hen they forget the forgetfuln ess co n seq u en t on m ortal ex iste n c e an d su ccum b to the en ergetic celestial drive o f the prim ordial sp irit.5 B o th V irgil an d K lo s sow ski em ph asize n ot the o rigin atin g ch aracter o f th is spirit, but its perp etu al force w hich is co n stitu te d an d su stain ed by a necessary forgetting. In the U n derw orld, w hat cau ses A e n e a s surprised e x c lam a tio n is th e app reh en sion o f the force or pow er o f ex iste n c e th at through the self-forgetfuln ess o f in d i vidu als su ccum bs to its ow n fateful forgetfuln ess th a t renew s its desire for m ortal, bodily life, an d therefore for its ow n en erv atio n . W h at th is force o f creatio n w ills, w hat it aim s at so th a t it c a n be su stain ed as the force th at it is, is n ot the reversal o f the co n scio u s en erv atio n o f th is force the p o llu tio n th at befalls it as a result o f its m ortal differen tiatio n but rath er th e reversal o f the very p oles o f this ju d gm en t on m ortal ex isten ce. For the liv in g co sm o s to be w hat it is it ca n n o t forget or esch ew m ortality, w h ich is th e fateful an d fatal asp ect o f life, bu t it also c a n n o t sim ply a cc ep t th is m ortality b ecau se it is an ta g o n istic an d a n tith etica l to its ow n, essen tially creativ e valu e. T h e r e fore, creatio n can on ly acco m p lish itself in the u n co n scio u s reversal o f the reversal th at it su ccum bs to in co n sciou s, m ortal life. T h o se souls th at A e n e a s sees su ccum b to a desire to b ecom e m ortal precisely because their desire is to be etern al. T h ey aim at d ay ligh t, the ligh t o f day th a t ech oes th eir fin itu de, b ecause they are its integral expression . K lossow ski finds A e n e a s a sto n ish m en t repeated in the b asic idea o f Z arath u stra,6 in the qu estio n o f th e d em o n w ho p oses the q u estio n o f ete r n al recurrence: a parable th at is d ecisive n o t on ly for Klossow 'skis read in g o f N ietzsch e, but for the organ ization o f the th em e th at runs th rough ou t the essays o f Such a Deathly Desire. T h e qu estio n o f the dem on , insofar as it in vites the discovery o f the secret o f the etern ally recurrent w ill, determ in es the lesson o f the G a y a Scienza. K lossow ski fin ds N ie tz sc h e s ow n situ atio n as an author, h is ow n su b -com in g to the m om en t th a t is-to-com e for him , expressed in th e p arable o f th e d em o n . A s he repeats the insigh ts he gain ed co n ce rn in g history from O n the A dvantages and Disadvantages o f History for Life w ith in him self, as the history o f h u m an ity is co n d en sed in to the in ten sive exp erien ce o f a sin gle soul, N ie tz sc h e s know led ge b ecom es a pow er o f m etam orp h osis.7 T h e fu n d am en tal q u estio n , ex p ressed m ythically in the p arab le o f the dem on , is: how can o n e rem em ber forgettin g? H ow can the in stau ration o f m o rtal ex iste n c e be reco llected w ithin th at e x iste n c e itself? T o take on history is to assim ilate th a t history, to take it as a p lastic resource o f creativ ity rath er th an th e cau sal d e term in atio n o f a p resen t sta te o f affairs.

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B ut to find such a resource is p recisely to forget th e app aren t specificity o f the w illful agen t. A n in d ivid ual n ever rem em bers forgettin g, but a w illful agen t su b-com es to th e eternity o f w hat w ills in it insofar as th e assim ilatio n an d c o n d en sa tio n o f history is itself a re p e titio n o f th e etern al plasticity o f the force o f th e ce lestial w ill. It is this rep etitio n th at is affirm ed in the p o sitiv e response to th e d e m o n s qu estion , w ith the dem on serv in g here as the figura tion o f th e gap betw een th e in d iv id ual and the ce lestial will th at c a n n o t be ov ercom e or m ed iated by th e fin ite resources o f th e former. T h is is why the affirm ative response can on ly be a c o n firm a tio n : it is a ch o ice w ithout u n d erstan din g, a c h o ice o f the w ill the only c h o ice the w ill is cap ab le o f alo n e because it is the only c h o ice th at does n o t require the settin g forth o f d eterm in ate alte rn ativ e s, itself affirm in g the d istin ctio n o f the m om en t identical to every o th e r m om en t (th e m o m en t o f the d e m o n s qu estio n ) w hose identity is precisely the co n firm atio n o f the etern al pow er o f w illing. T h e d em on , th en , o n K lossow skis readin g, is the im age th e m ind th at h as d isc o v ered th e plurality o f w ill m ust form in order to a ch ie v e its ow n conform ity w ith th e law w hose reco gn itio n forces it into vertigin ou s forgetfulness. It e n ab les fo rg ettin g to be rem em bered by m ak in g forgettin g the rem em brance o f w h at the in d iv id u al m ust disavow in order to be, w h ich is also w hat th at sam e in d iv id ual m ust will in order to b ecom e, in order to live an d to will. T h is is the p ecu liar ch aracter o f K lossow ski's salto mortale: n ot so m uch a leap as a som ersau lt, a forcin g o f co n scio u sn ess through a full circle. It is the circu it o f th is salto mortale, o p en ed by the qu estio n o f the dem on , th at organizes th e su bsequ en t essays o f the book. In his acco u n t o f The G ay Science an d its relatio n to O n the Advantages and Disadvantages o f History for Life, K lossow ski in d icates the im po rtan ce o f a certain k in d o f polyth eism for the form ation o f the im age o f th e dem on . Polytheism here c a n be u nderstood as a new in terp retation o f the tem p tatio n offered by the S e rp e n t in the G a r d en o f Eden. T h e know ledge to be gain ed from the proffered fruit is n ot m erely so m e new piece o f in form ation but rather th e ab ility to know m u lti p le truths and m u ltip le n orm s w ithout ju d gin g on e to be the n egatio n or refu tatio n o f an o th er.8 T h u s K lossow ski focuses on Du B o ss reproach to G id e : th at th e latte rs c o n c e p tio n o f the dem on vio lates the p rin ciple o f c o n tra d ic tion. H ow ever, K lossow ski uses N ie tz sc h e s insight in to the n atu re o f the d em o n to u n co v er a sen se for it q u ite different from the on e th a t Du Bos deploys. A c c o rd in g to T ertu llian , th e dem on is n o t m erely a d erivativ e or p ar a sitic entity, but is also an exp ressio n o f th e sp iritu al as op po sed to the b o d ily and co n crete, an d su ch an u n d erstan d in g is at the root o f D u B o ss m isu n d erstan d in g (d elib erate o r a cc id e n ta l) o f G id e . D u B os takes G id e s in v o ca tio n o f the d em o n in a tran scen d en tal sen se, an alo go u s to th a t o f T er tu llian , a s an in v o catio n to turn away from co n crete p rob lem s and co n cern s. K lossow ski, how ever, p oin ts ou t th at th rough out their ex c h a n g es G id e p er sists in co n ce iv in g o f the d em o n ic as a m atter o f the co n crete, and a lso o f the

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freedom o f the co n crete. Du B o s is therefore right to try to app reh en d G id e through the th em e o f the dem on but, precisely because th e th em e o f the sim u lation o f freedom is the very gam e th at G id e is p layin g, D u Bos b eco m e s lost o n his ow n hunt. T h e gam e is repeated in the co rresp o n d en ce betw een G id e an d C la u d e l th at revolves around th eir fateful ex ch an ge in 1914, o n the o c ca sio n o f C la u d e ls readin g o f The C av es o f the Vatican.y O u trag ed at the n o v e ls p d rastie scen es, C la u d e l dem an ds an e x p la n a tio n , a co n fessio n o f th e m ean in g an d purpose o f th ese th em es in his frien ds work. G id e ob liges him , but atte m p ts to fram e the revelatio n o f his ow n n atu re in su ch a way as to elude all o f the m onstrous iden tificatio n s th at C la u d e l h as already form ulated as possibilities. T h is m an eu ver forces w hat is, for K lossow ski, a d e cisiv e split in the co n crete problem s in stan tiated by G id e . W h ere G id e s life w as previously lived through a series o f d ivision s, sp littin gs th at again recall B au d elaires two sim u ltan eo u s p o stu lates, the ex c h a n g e w ith C la u d e l yields a new pursuit: n o lon ger indexed by th e secret th at is h idd en by its contrary, G id e aim s to ruin the n o tio n o f identity th at perm its su ch a th in g as the secret to ex ist at all. T h e secret is eq u iv alen t to a p sy ch o logical and sp iritu al cap italism , its d is closure to a fun gibility o f the life o f so u ls. 1 0 G id e s rem ark ab le an d strikingly can d id literary ou tp u t is a fu n ctio n o f th at dem on w hose qu estio n drives the in d ivid ual to d iscover th e ce lestial will w hose forgettin g en ab les in d iv id u al ity a t all and, for K lossow ski, it w as in h is co rresp o n d en ce th at G id e found his d e m o n s.1 1 U ltim ately , th en , G id e s p ro ject is th e dram atizatio n o f the d em o n ic in terrogation : a p erform ance th at p laces th e very n o tio n o f the in d i vidu al in jeopardy an d so u nites au d ien ce an d sp ec tac le . T h is is w hat allow s K lossow ski to see in G id e s work the rein v estm en t o f the in d ivid ual n o t w ith a sin gle, unifying d ivin e force, as o n e readin g o f A n c h ise s cosm o lo gy m igh t h ave it, but w ith the co n crete forces th at alo n e yield in d iv id u atio n . T h is polytheism , th e (re)in v estm en t o f th e individual w ith the eternal forces o f universal m etam orph osis, is co n jo in ed to a co n cern w ith language in K lossow ksis readin g o f Barbey d A u rev illy s A M arried Priest. H ere again, the dram atized will o f the individual auth or ach ieved through an interlocutor (B arb ey s friend T rbu tien) serves as the cataly st for the p rodu ction o f a m u l tiple physiognom y. In th e case o f Barbey, this assum ed th e form o f the dandy, the on e w ho w anted to ex alt uselessn ess as the suprem e valu e an d thereby, like G id e , h ave d o n e w ith the spiritual cap italism em b odied in th e econ om y o f the individual and its atten d an t co n cep ts. L ike S a d e , w hom he ech oes in K lossow skis ears, Barbey aim s at n o th in g less than the co m p lete liq uidation o f m oral norm s follow ing the gu id an ce offered by the d e m o n s qu estio n in favor o f the trium ph or ex altatio n o f exclu sive ex p erien ces, id iop ath ic and idiom atic exp erien ces that perm it o f n o eq uivalen cy or ex ch an ge. Lik e N ie t zsche, for w hom the death o f G o d was an ob serv ab le fact o f the tim es, Barbey w rites am id the divorce o f religion an d m orality an d , lin k in g m ystery to the

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former, seeks to destroy the calcu lativ e reason th at h as yoked itself to the la t ter. R ath er th an dism issing him as an eccen tric C a th o lic polem icist, K lo s sow ski finds in Barbeys p roject th e dram atization o f the individual w ho takes sides again st reason an d thereby assum es the rh etorical style o f orthodoxy. In A M arried Priest the discovery o f the d eath o f G o d yields the sam e adh erence to rules and p roh ib ition s as belief the defin ing form o f the individual thereby perpetually u ndoes the rem em brance o f willful forgetfuln ess.1 2 T h is co llu sio n w ith fate is acco m p lish ed th rough the co n stru ctio n o f a literary ed ifice (a term th at d e n o tes Barbeys p ecu liar sty le) th at perm its the reflection o f b o th sign s and their am b igu ities. T h e essay on B a ta ille s L 'Abbe C can thus be seen as form in g a sort o f b rief corollary to K lossow skis essay on A M arried Priest. Its title e c h o in g lan gu age in its nudity ("L A , B, C ), B a ta ille s story is, for K lossow ski, an in v e stigatio n in to th e very p ossibility o f sp ee ch en gen d ered by th e d em o n ic su p position th at the tran scen d en t ground o f langu age is lost. A c c o rd in g to su ch a su p p ositioin , it is a seem in gly p ara d o x ic a l fullness o f silen ce th a t groun ds the determ in aten ess o f language. H ow ever, th is silen ce on ly a tta in s n o rm ativ e force in the sp eech th at violates it. T o geth er w ith the essays on P arain an d B lan ch o t, this essay situ ates the problem o f polyth eism in lan gu age specifically sitin g it around th e n ecessity o f th e nam e o f G o d . In B a ta ille s w ork, all o f the app aratu s o f the C a th o lic C h u rc h is arrayed in order to express, through the sacram en t th at ex p oses the d e a th o f G o d , th e in sisten t rep etitio n o f the n am e o f G o d w ithin and by la n gu age. L an gu age and tran sgression reflect each oth er through the reiteration o f the carn al a ct in lan gu age, a reiteration th at alw ays comes too late, but w h ose very u n tim elin ess drives lan gu age to its lim its (m akes it do so m er sa u lts). T h is co n ju n c tio n o f th e flesh and lan gu age is presen t in P arain s p h i losophy o f lan gu age as well. W here B ataille exp lores the transgressive exp res sion s o f lan gu age, P arain is co n ce rn ed w ith the re lation o f language and the body, argu in g th at th e body is created by langu age an d finds its purpose in co n form in g to its origin. T h e fateful, m ortal d e v iatio n , the division betw een the body an d its sp ee ch , is a sign o f the m ortal an im ality o f the individual bein g. T h ro u g h th ese co n cern s, K lossow ski fin ds Parain takin g aim a t any sort o f tran sce n d en tal ego; ju d gm en t arises in and as bodily actio n an d , m ore im po rtan t, th is a ctio n and its ju d gm en t occur in a world th at is n ot sim ply m astered by it. L an gu age creates th e in d ivid ual by givin g it a n am e th at both in d icates the ground o f langu age an d the d eath o f th at ground. T h is double an d redou bled fate o f lan gu age ensures the equality o f every speaker and, at th e sam e tim e, th e in ab ility o f any in d iv id ual ju d gm en t to attain legitim acy in th e ex iste n t world. T h e task set for h u m an b ein gs is therefore to form ulate a n on co n trad icto ry lin gu istic ex p ressio n o f th at w hich would gu arantee eq uality an d sim u ltan eo u sly provide an ad equ ate ju d gm en t o f the world. S u c h an idea w ould be the idea o f G o d a celestial sp eech in A n c h ise s co s m ology. T h u s P arain lin k s the n am e o f G o d an d the d eath o f the body w ith

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the m om en t w hen sp ee ch is rendered silen t an d , at the sam e tim e, the m o m en t w hen th e ce aselessn ess o f sp e e c h s exp ression is m ad e m an ifest beyond the life o f th e individual. T h is p arad o x ica l resolu tion o f tru th and d e a th organizes K lossow skis readin g o f B la c n h o ts The M ost High. R ev e rsin g P arain , B la n ch o t co n ten d s th at m o rtal lan gu age d o es n o t en d in d eath but arises there. L an gu age requires a d e term in ate, m o rtal in d ivid ual insofar as exp ression is on ly ever th e im age th at d esign ates th e ab sen ce o f a thing. L a n gu age itself is d em o n ic. T h e n am e o f G o d , as th e d e sign atio n o f w hat is undy ing an d n ever absen t, is therefore an abso lu tely in sign ifican t n am e, a n am e for insign ifican ce. B la n c h o ts n ovel is a parab le o f th is extrem e fatality o f la n gu age an d , ultim ately, a co n tin u a tio n o f its fateful adv en tu re o f exp ressive sig n ificatio n and sign ifican ce, w hich on ly ever return s to th e n ecessity th at w h at is alw ays m ust die. It is fate, fatum , th at co n jo in s the v ital, c e lestia l will w ith the m ortal, ration al will to truth. T h e exp ression o f this ra tio n a l will is p red iction , the p o sitin g o f a goal for an actio n . B ut every p red iction , K lossow ski insists, again h av in g recourse to etym ology, is also to err, b oth m ean in gs (an d here, rem em berin g P arain , it is a m atter o f th e m ortal treason o f lan gu age) b ein g c o n tain ed in th e L atin fari. P red iction , the asp iratio n o f m ortal em b odim en t, is alw ays errant insofar as this asp iration is clo ak ed in its ow n m ortality and m istakes its in d ivid uality for its essen ce. T h is an tin o m y n o t on ly ca n n o t be ov ercom e, it is itself co n stitu tiv e o f the h igh est a sp iratio n o f th ou gh t: the exp erien ce o f etern al return. T h is ex p erie n ce is th at o f path o s, o f th e forget ful asp iration o f the souls th a t p o p u late th e p lain o f L e th e, now rendered as the co n stitu tive im pulses o f m ortal in d ivid uals. P ath o s, "th e u n co n sciou s life o f im pulses, is w h at raves as co n scio u sn e ss su b -com es to its ow n vitality. H ow ever, in reflectin g on th is v ita l life, co n scio u sn ess inverts the n atu re o f these very im pulses: it form s an im age o f th em as goal-seek in g, w here the search for a goal is th e d istin c tiv e m ark o f conscious w illing. S trip p in g this m ark away, u n th in k in g co n scio u sn ess, the im pulses are satisfied in w hat K lossow ski calls their d issip a tio n (dpense). T h is u n co n sciou s life is exposed in m om en ts o f vital ex u b eran ce (o f pain or pleasu re) w hose in ten sity is grasped only retrosp ectively and alw ays w ith the in k lin g th at th is rem em b er ing is itself a forgettin g o f the m ost essen tial asp ect o f the exp erien ce. In the accom p lish m en ts o f p ath o s, o f u n co n scio u s im pulses, th e greatest desires o f v itality are satisfied. Insofar as th ese are the very desires th at co n scio u sn ess sets out to fulfill in its search for truth, co n scio u sn e ss fin ds its fate in its m o r tality. A s the im pulse or will to stabilize the im pulses th em selves through the d eterm in ation o f the en ds or goals o f th eir activity an d this is the will to truth th at foretells, th at p red icts th e co n sta n cy th at will be sa tisfa ctio n co n sciou sn ess in fact w ills its d issip atio n insofar as th is d issip a tio n is the accom p lish m en t o f the activity o f vitality. T h e will to truth en gen d ers fab u latio n (K lossow ski again m ak in g use o f th e etym ology o f fa ri), the n e ce s

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sity o f th e reversal o f th e life o f co n scio u sn e ss such th at the ravin g o f fatum w h ich is alw ays app reh en d ed retrospectively co u ld b ecom e the o b je ct o f pre d ictio n . T h is is the circu lar law o f the etern al return. Every p red iction is a dram atizatio n o f th is fatality that can only be experienced. T ruth as w illed error th is is the law o f th ou gh t discovered in N ie t zsche form ulated fin ally as th e co m b ativ e ju x tap o sitio n o f two gods: D ionysus versus the C ru c ified . T h is is a duality o f the on e and the many, n o t o f two d istin c t unities. P olyth eism exp resses the rav in g, v ita l aspect o f e x iste n c e; G o d is d e a d exp resses a liq u idation o f the gu aran tor o f iden tity, n o t its sim p le transfer (to hum anity, for in stan ce). In dividu al ex isten ce b ecom es fragm entary, fortu itou s, w hen it is d iscovered as the u nstable eq u i librium o f v ita l a n d ration al forces. In its asp iration tow ard stability, toward m ean in g , a n d therefore for the atta in m e n t o f identity, the individual d o es n ot co m e u pon but is sw ept under by the h etero gen eou s asp iration s o f the u n co n scio u s im pulses. Every in d ivid ual is a perp etu al m om en t an d a perpetuum mobile th at co n tin u es th e salto mentale o f equilibrium , o f creatio n a n d the reveren ce th at p reserves w hat is created . T h e world is thus filled w ith those god s an d god desses (figures o f the forgetful will to m ortal ex te m a liz a tio n ) en gen d ered by th is equilibrium , d eities w ith as m any form s as there are exp ression s o f desirou s vitality : jealo u s, w arlike, loving, w rathful, crafty gods cap a b le o f u n lim ited co up lin gs, co m b in atio n s, and transform ation s. H ow ever, o n e m ight ask w hether, in g iv in g expression to the d o ctrin e o f etern al return, N ietz sc h e h as n o t n ecessarily falsified it by allow ing it to be d eterm in ed a cco rd in g to th e lan gu age o f co n sciou sn ess, a langu age w ith w h ich it is irrecon cilab le. T o use the lan gu age o f the first aph orism o f The G ay Science: is N ietzsch e co n d em n ed to act out the tragedy o f the m oral d o c tor w h o obscu res the strife o f im pu lsive v itality b eh in d th e articu lation o f a go al (th e th o u gh t o f etern al return ) th at co ord in ates every im pulsive force arou n d itself. T h e resolu tion o f th is im passe lies in th e p articu lar relation betw een will to pow er (th e im pulsive force o f celestial v itality ) an d the e x p e rien ce o f etern al return. T ak en singly, n eith er is cap ab le o f groun din g an im perative or o f organizin g a m ean in g. O n ly w hen the exp erien ce o f etern al return is absorbed b ack into the im pu lsive flux that is w ill to pow er do they atta in a degree o f consistency. T ogether, the two prin ciples form N ie tz sc h e s an tin o m y , n eith er o n e cap ab le o f groun ding thought. T h e lived ex p eri en ce is thus en tirely im plicit in a contemplation w here the will is co m pletely absorbed in an e x iste n c e rendered to itself so th at the will to pow er is sim ply an attrib u te o f ex iste n ce, w hich wills itself only insofar as it is."'1 T h e m o r tal will th a t im plicitly p osits th e lim itin g errors that it co n tests w ith its p ro je c ts an d p red iction s; and ce lestial power, the polyphony to w h ich these lim its su b-com e b o th are ab so rb ed in the thought o f etern al return. A tran sv alu atio n o f all v a lu e s, this new th ou gh t, as an experience, is the p aro die in version o f the asp iration to truth.

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B ecau se the valorization o f w illed error is the affirm ation o f the difficulty en co u n tered by th o u gh t in the re coilin g o f its salto mortale, it form s an acc o u n t o f the gam e o f ex isten ce played by the fin ite in d ivid ual. W e believe we ch o o se freely to be w hat we are, but n o t b ein g w hat we are, we are in fact co n strain ed to play a role and th u s to play the role o f w hat we are outside ourselves. W e are n ever where we are, but alw ays w here we are on ly the actor o f this other th at we a re ."1 '1 T h u s on e is fated to play a role the souls w hose lots are draw n m ust b ecom e m ortal a g a in but this fate can be affirm ed precisely as a role, as an op portun ity for m asks to be d o n n ed an d discarded. To p lay the actor is to affirm the in version o f co n scio u sn ess as an inversion and, in so do in g, w h at o n e d issim u lates is the fact th at o n e is n o th in g oth er th an existen ce, an d o n e d issim u lates the fact th a t the role o n e p lay s refers to existen ce itself. 1 5 T h is is the case o f N ietzsch e: th e d issim u lation o f a physician o f culture p erpetrated by the fortu itou s exp ression o f forces. It c a n n o t be the case th at sim u latio n is redu cible to an exp ressive acc o u n t o f the u n co n sciou s; such a lin gu istic aven u e h as already been closed off. For K lossow ski, the d isclosive pow er o f the sim u latio n en acted by the m ortal will in its affirm ative response to the qu estio n o f the dem on is c o n tain ed in N ietz sc h es fam ous statem en t: G o d is d e a d . G od is dead does n ot m ean th at the divin ity ceases to act as a clarificatio n o f ex iste n ce, but rather th at the abso lu te gu aran tee o f the identity o f the resp on sib le se lf v an ish es from the horizon o f N ie tz sc h e s co n sciou sn ess, w h ich in turn m erges w ith this d isap p e ara n c e. 1 6 In affirm in g the su b -com in g o f the essen tial p art o f c o n scio usn ess, N ietzsch e plays at roles to the p o in t th a t these roles overw helm any sen se o f identity. T h e roles are taken seriously insofar as they are roles n o lon ger in relation to a lost essen ce and, in th is parody, the fortuitous co m es to app ear as necessary, as th e w heel o f fortune (fatum ). A t the o u tset o f N ietzsch e, P olytheism , an d Parody, K lossow ski c a u tio n s th at n o oth er au th or seem s to lead their interpreter to p arody th em so m uch as N ietzsch e does. Indeed, w hat could be m ore in clin ed to repetition th an a th ou gh t th at co n jo in s the will to create an d th e will to revere the tw in tem p tatio n s o f the interpreter? O n th e o n e h an d is a will to fill the la cu n ae, to re con cile the app aren t co n tra d ictio n s, to orien t an d subsum e the a u th o rs work to a sin gle purpose or thesis; on th e other, a will to celeb rate the insigh ts th at ring true and e x c o ria te th ose th at ring false, to prioritize the p assages th at are, for the interpreter, th ose th at are m ost deeply affectin g, to singularize the insigh ts or blunders ev en as they are repeated, to revere or to co n d em n (w h ich itself is m erely an inversion o f reveren ce) under th e guise o f critical en gagm en t. T h e very title o f the essay sign als K lossow skis ack n ow led gem en t o f this bind, and his p ersisten ce en su res his parody. But this very ack n ow led gm en t voids the essays p reten sion s to singularity, its ow n p reju dices. It thus co n clu d es w ith laugh ter the v o ice o f an ass, repeated, and servin g as the affirm ative seal o f the p ath o s im p licated w ithin its thesis.

Notes

C H A PT ER O N E . O N SO M E FU N D A M E N T A L T H E M E S O F N I E T Z S C H E S GAYA S C I E N Z A T h is essay first a p p e a re d a s an in tro d u c tio n to K lo sso w sk is tra n sla tio n o f N ie tz sc h e s Die frhliche W issenshaft: L a G a y a Scienza, tran s. P ierre K lo sso w sk i (P aris: E d itio n s du C lu b F ran a is d u L iv re, 1 9 5 6 ). It is w orth n o tin g th a t K lo sso w sk i m ak es a d istin c tio n betw een th e gay a scienza, N ie tz sc h e s sc ie n c e th at co n sid e rs its o b je c ts as ae sth e tic p h e n o m e n a , a n d N ie tz sc h e s b o o k , "L e G a i Savoir." 1. In E n g lish in th e o rigin al. 2. F ried rich N ie tz sc h e , The G a y Science , trans. W alter K au fm an n (N e w York: V in ta g e , 1 9 7 4 ), B o o k 5, 3 4 7 , p. 340. 3. K lo sso w sk i is referrin g to th e tra n sla tio n s o f Le G a i Savoir by H en ri A lb e rt (P aris: M ercu re d e F ran ce, 1 8 9 9 ), an d A le x a n d r e V ia la tte (P aris: G a llim a rd , 1 9 3 9 ). 4. The G a y Science, B o o k 5, 3 7 7 , p. 3 3 9 . 5. G en esis 3 :5 . In th e G a r d e n o f E d en , th e S e rp e n t tem p ted E ve w ith th e w ords e ritis sic u t d ii": you w ill be like g o d s."

6 . F rie d rich N ie tz sc h e , O n th e U s e s an d D isa d v a n ta g e s o f H isto ry for L ife ,


Untim ely M editations, tran s. R . J. H o llin g d a le (N e w York: C a m b rid g e U n iv e r sity Press, 1 9 8 3 ), 1 , p. 61. 7. Ibid.

8 . Ibid.
9. Ib id ., tra n sla tio n m od ified. 10. Ib id ., 1 , p. 6 2 , tr a n sla tio n m od ified. 11. Ibid. 12. let tru th p rev a il th o u g h life p erish ; Ibid., 4, p. 78.

133

134

N OTES TO CHAPTER TWO

13. Ibid., 8 , p. 103, tra n sla tio n m o d ifie d . 14. Ibid., 1 , p. 66 , tra n sla tio n m o d ified.

15. Ib id ., p. 63.
16. A p o rtm a n te a u w ord, so u s-ienir is c o in e d by K lo ssow sk i from th e p re p o si tio n sou s, m e a n in g u n d er" or b e n e a th (a lso u sed as a prefix u su ally tran slate d as su b- ), a n d th e in fin itiv e form o f v en ir, m e a n in g to c o m e . It is a h o m o n y m o f th e w ord so u v en ir, b o th a n o u n m e an in g m em ory, an d a v erb m e a n in g to rem em b e r. Finally, it a lso e c h o e s to a lesser e x te n t th e v erb so u te n ir, m e a n in g to b e a r" or to su sta in . It th u s carries a se n se o f rem em b ran c e as so m e th in g th a t is u n d e rg o n e , or th a t o n e su ccu m b s to. 17. N ie tz sc h e , L e tte r to Ja c o b B u rck h ard t, d ate d Ja n u a ry 6 , 1889, in The Portable Nietzsche, tran s. W alte r K au fm an n (N e w York: V ik in g P ress, 1 9 5 4 ), p. 686 . 18. The G a y Science, B o o k 5, 3 4 3 , p. 2 7 9 , tra n sla tio n m od ified. 19. Ibid., p. 181, tr a n sla tio n m od ified. 20. T h e first an d fin al lin e o f S tir n e r s The Ego an d Its O w n , tran s. S te v e n Byington , ed. D av id L e o p o ld (C a m b rid g e : C a m b rid g e U n iv e rsity Press, 1 9 9 5 ); th e G e r m a n p h rase is Ich hab' m ein' Sach a u f N ichts gestellt," w h ich B y in g to n an d L e o p o ld tra n s la te a s A ll th in g s are n o th in g to m e . 21. The G a y Science, B o o k 5, 3 7 7 , p. 3 4 0 , tra n sla tio n m o d ified . 2 2 . T h e fin al se c tio n o f Ecce H om o is e n title d W h y 1 A m a D e stin y . C f. F ried rich N ie tz sc h e , T h e G enealogy o f M orals an d Ecce H om o, tran s. W alte r K a u fm a n n (N e w York: V in ta g e , 1 9 9 0 ), pp. 3 2 6 - 3 3 5 . 2 3 . The G a y Science, B o o k 1, 2 0 , p. 9 2 , tr a n sla tio n m o d ified. 2 4 . N ietz sc h e refers to a co n fe re n c e c o n v e n in g all o f th e E u ro p e an p rin ce s in R o m e in a letter to A u g u st S trin d b u rg , d ate d D e ce m b e r 3 1 , 1 888. T h e re are a n u m ber o f referen ces in N ie tz sc h e 's fin al letters to sh o o tin g or "d o in g aw ay w ith o n e or m an y a n ti-S e m ite s. K lo ssow sk i p ro b ab ly h a s in m in d th e letter to Franz O v e rb e ck , d a te d Ja n u a ry 4, 1889. 2 5 . In a p ag e from h is Jou rn al d a tin g from 1918, G id e w rites A n d o f co u rse it is p o ssib le after these m en [So crates, M a h o m e t, S t . P aul, R o u sseau , D ostoevsky, Luth er] to th in k as they d o w ith ou t b e in g u n b alan ce d o n eself; b u t it is a n u n b alan ce d state th at in th e b e g in n in g b rou g h t th ese th o u g h ts to ou r rescue, w h ich th e reform er n eed ed to re-establish in h im th e brok en equ ilib riu m . It w as n ecessary in fa c t th at, in th e b e g in n in g, o n e sh o u ld be ill to perm it, later o n , th e h e a lth o f m any. R o u sseau w ith ou t h is m ad n ess w ould h a v e b e en on ly a cru de C ic e r o ; an d it is precisely in N ie tz sc h e s m ad n ess th a t I see th e c e rtificate o f h is au th e n tic g re atn e ss." A n dr G ide, Jo w n a ls, Volume 2 , 1 9 1 4 - 1 9 2 7 , trans. Ju stin O B rien (C h ic a g o : U n iv e rsity o f Illin o is Press, 194 8 ). 2 6 . The G a y Science, B o o k 4 , 2 8 8 , p. 2 3 1 .

C H A P T E R T W O . G I D E , D U B O S , A N D THF. D E M O N
T h i s e ssa y o r ig in a lly a p p e a r e d in L es Tem ps M od ern es, * 5 9 , S e p te m b e r 1950.

C h a r le s D u B o s ( 1 8 8 2 - 1 9 3 9 ) w as a F r e n c h lite rary c r itic w h o stu d ie d a t O x fo rd

NOTES TO CHAPTER TWO

135

a n d w a s flu e n t in b o th F re n ch a n d E n g lish . H e w ro te c r itic is m a s w ell a s b e in g a tr a n sla to r a n d w o rk ed th r o u g h o u t h is c a re e r to g e n e r a te in te re st in E n g lish literary w o rk s w ith in F re n c h in te lle c tu a l c ir c le s. G id e d e d ic a te d to D u B o s th e a c c o u n t o f h is r e lig io u s c r isis o f 1 9 1 5 - 1 9 1 6 , N u m q u id et tu . . . ? [A n d y ou also . . . ?], w h ich w as p u b lish e d in 1 9 2 2 . In it G id e sp e a k s e x te n siv e ly o f th e d e m o n n o t m erely a s a so u rc e o f te m p t a tio n , b u t as a p e r v a siv e a n d a c tiv e fo rc e o f p e r su a sio n . D u B o s w as a c lo se frie n d a n d c o rr e sp o n d e n t o f G i d e s fo r m an y y e a rs b u t, fo llo w in g D u B o s's c o n v e r sio n to C a th o lic is m , h e p u b lis h e d a d ir e c t a tta c k u p o n G id e (D ialogu e avec Andre' G id e ) in 1 9 2 9 . In 1 9 5 0 , D u B o ss D ialogue avec A n d r G ide w as re p u b lish e d , a lo n g w ith Lettres de C h arles D u B os et rponses d A n d r G id e , a n d th e fo u rth v o l um e o f D u B o s s Jo u rn a l intime, a n d th e se th ree b o o k s p r o v id e d th e o c c a sio n for K lo sso w sk is essay. A g re a t d e a l o f su p p le m e n ta r y m a te r ia l o n D u B o s's re la tio n w ith G id e c a n b e fo u n d in th e Jo u r n a l intime w h ich c h r o n ic le s D u B o ss c o n v e r sio n to C a th o lic is m in th e 1 9 2 0 s. 1. L iterally : L e t G id e perish , an d let th e d e v il b e . A rep h rasin g o f "fiat veritas pereat v ita," L e t th ere be tru th a n d let life p erish . 2. B a u d ela ire, M y H eart L a id B a r e , in Intim ate Jou rn als, tran s. C h risto p h e r Ish erw oo d ( S a n F ra n cisc o : C ity L ig h ts, 1 9 9 0 ), X L I, p. 6 3. T h e re are in ev ery m an , tw o sim u lta n e o u s p o stu la te s [Ish erw ood ren d ers th e F ren ch p o stu la tio n s as te n d e n c ie s], o n e to G o d , th e o th e r to S a t a n . In v o c a tio n o f G o d , or Sp iritu ality , is a d esire to c lim b h ig h e r; th a t o f S a t a n , or an im ality , is d e lig h t in d e sc e n t. 3. T e rtu llia n (c a . 1 5 5 - 2 3 0 ) is o n e o f th e m o st im p o rtan t o f th e C h r istia n C h u r c h F ath ers a n d th e first to c o m p o se h is w orks in L atin . T e rtu llian , O n the Soul, tran s. P eter H o lm e s, A nte-N icene C hristian Library: Voi X V . The Writings o f Tertullian, Vol II (E d in b u rg h : T & T C la rk , 1 8 7 0 ), c h . 57, M a g ic an d S o rce ry O n ly A p p a re n t in T h e ir E ffects. G o d A lo n e C a n R aise th e D e a d . T h is im p o stu re o f th e ev il sp irit lying c o n c e a le d in th e p erso n s o f the d ead , we are ab le, if I m istak e n o t, to prove by actu al facts, w h en in c a se s o f ex o rc ism (th e e v il sp irit) affirm s h im se lf so m e tim es to be o n e o f th e re lativ e s o f th e p erso n p o ssesse d by h im , so m e tim e s a g la d ia to r o r a bestiarius [beast-figh ter], a n d so m e tim e s e v e n a g o d ; alw ay s m ak in g it o n e o f h is c h ie f care s to e x tin g u ish th e very tru th w h ich w e are p ro claim in g , th at m en m ay n o t read ily b e liev e th a t all so u ls rem o v e to H a d e s, an d th a t th ey m ay o v erth ro w faith in the resu rrection an d th e ju d g m e n t. 4. O n e o f th e a p p e n d ic e s in G id e s Jou rn al o f The Counterfeiters (ap p e n d e d to th e n o v e l) is e n title d Id e n tific a tio n o f th e D e m o n . In th is ap p e n d ix , w h ich tak e s th e form o f a d ia lo g u e b etw een tw o u n n am ed p erso n s, o n e o f th e in te rlo c u to rs sp eak s o f w ritin g so m e th in g like a d ia lo g u e , en title d C o n v e r sa tio n w ith th e D e v il. In th e p ie c e , th e D e v il's first w ords w ould be: Why should you be afraid o f me? You know very well I d on t exist." A n d r G id e , The C ounterfeiters, tran s. D o ro th y Bussy (N e w York: V in ta g e , 1 9 7 3 ), pp . 4 6 5 467. 5. C f. A ndr G id e, Jo u rn als, Volume 3 , 1 9 2 8 -1 9 3 9 , tran s. Ju stin O B rien

(C h ic a g o : U n iv e r sity o f Illin o is Press, 1 9 4 8 ), en try d ate d 1 2 /06/31, p. 2 0 6 . A s for m e, I w ould rath er be v o m ite d th a n v o m it. T h is is also th e fin al en try from G i d c s Jo u r nals th a t M a lle t in clu d e s in The C orrespondence, 18 9 9 - 1 9 2 6 , Between P aul C laudel and A ndr G ide.

136

N O T E S TO CHAPTER THREE

6 . Ib id ., en try d a te d 0 9 /1 9 /2 9 , p. 2 1, tr a n sla tio n m o d ifie d . T h o V an R ysselb erg h e ( 1 8 6 2 - 1 9 2 6 ) w as a B e lg ian p a in te r w h o, a lo n g w ith h is w ife, w as a clo se frien d o f G id e's. 7. P eter W u st (1 8 8 4 - 1 9 4 0 ) w as a C h r istia n e x iste n tia l p h ilo so p h e r an d th e o lo g ian . H e tau g h t a t th e U n iv e rsity o f M n ste r Irom 1 9 3 0 u n til h is d e a th from c a n c e r in 1940. W u st w en t to P aris in 1 9 28, w here h e m et w ith a n u m b er o f C a th o lic th in k ers, in c lu d in g D u Bos.

8 . G id e 's Dostoievsky w as first p u b lish e d in 1923.


9. In a c o n v e r sa tio n o n M a rc h 2, 1 831, E ck e rm an n ask e d G o e t h e , H a s n o t M e p h isto p h e le s d e m o n ic traits to o ? G o e th e rep lied , N o , M e p h isto p h e le s is m u ch to o n e g a tiv e a b e in g . T h e D e m o n ic m a n ife sts itse lf in a th o ro u gh ly a c tiv e pow er. G o e th e , C onversations with Eckerm ann (N e w York: M . W alte r D u n n e, 1 9 0 1 ), pp. 356-3 5 7 . 10. C f. A n dr G id e, Jo u rn als, Volume 2 , 1 9 1 4 - 1 9 2 7 , tran s. Ju stin O B rien

(C h ic a g o : U n iv e r sity o f Illin o is P ress, 1 9 4 8 ), u n d ate d entry, p. 189, an d th e a p p e n d ix Id e n tific a tio n o f th e D e m o n in Jo u rn al o f The C ounterfeiters.

C H A P T E R T H R E E . IN T H E M A R G I N OF T H E C O R R E SP O N D E N C E BETW EEN GIDE AND CLAUDEL


T h is essay d e a ls w ith th e co rre sp o n d e n c e b etw een A n d r G id e an d th e C a th o lic au th or, p o et, a n d d ip lo m a t P aul C la u d e l b etw een 1 8 9 9 an d 1 926. T h is c o rre sp o n d e n c e , to g eth e r w ith a n u m b er o f en trie s from G id e 's Jou rn al, w ere co lle c te d an d p u b lish e d w ith a n In tro d u c tio n an d N o te s by R o b e rt M a lle t w ho h ad b e e n G id e s secretary for a b r ie f tim e in C orrespondance avec P aul C laudel ( J 8 9 9 - 1 9 2 6 ) (P aris: G a llim a r d , 1 9 4 9 ). In o rd er to m a in ta in c o n tin u ity w ith th e e x istin g E n g lish tr a n sla tio n , w h ile p reserv in g th e d e ta ils th at K lo ssow sk i em p h asizes, all tr a n sla tio n s from M a lle ts b o o k h a v e b e en a d a p te d from The C orrespondence Between P aul C laud el an d A ndr G ide, trans. Jo h n R u ssell (B o sto n : B e a c o n Press, 1 9 6 4 ). T h e p a re n th e tic a l page n u m b ers co rresp o n d to th e E n g lish an d F ren ch e d itio n s, respectively . 1. A n dr G id e, Jo u rn als, Volume 1 ,

J8 8 9 - 1 9 1 3 ,

tran s. Ju stin O B rien (C h ic a g o :

U n iv e r sity o f Illin o is P ress, 1 9 4 7 ), p. 78, K lo sso w sk is e m p h asis. 2. Ibid., p. 79. 3. The Correspondence Between P aul C laudel an d A n dr G ide, letter d ate d 1 2 /0 8 /0 5 (4 8 /1 1 ). 4. Ibid. ( 4 8 - 4 9 /1 1 - 1 2 ) . 5. Ib id ., letter d a te d 0 3 /1 9 /1 2 (1 8 1 /1 3 3 ).

6 . Ja c q u e s-B n ig n e B o ssu et ( 1 6 2 7 - 1 7 0 4 ) w as a F ren ch b ish o p , th e o lo g ia n , an d


m em b er o f th e A c a d m ie F ran aise . G id e is referring to h is w ork, H istory o f the Vari ations o f the Protestant C hurches, p u b lish e d in 1688. 7. A n dr G id e, Jo u rn als, Volume 3 , 1 9 2 8 - 1 9 3 9 , en try d a te d 0 6 /2 6 /3 7 , p. 3 5 5 . T h is en try w as w ritten after G id e an d C la u d e l h ad b ro k e n o ff th eir co rre sp o n d e n ce .

N OTES TO CHAPTER THREE

137

In a n in te rv iew w ith D o m in iq u e A r b a n for th e jo u rn a l C om bat, c o n d u c te d in M arch 1947, C la u d e l is ask ed a b o u t G id e an d G id e s pu zzlem en t o v e r th is lin e. A r b a n s in te r view is a p p e n d e d to M a lle ts b o o k ; C la u d e ls respon se is fou n d o n p. 234.

8 . In ord er to p reserv e life, we lose lifes m e a n in g . T h is is a lin e from Ju v e n a ls


Satires, V III, 8 4 . Theseus w as first p u b lish e d in 1946 by G a llim a rd . 9. C f. ib id ., jo u rn a l en try d a te d 12/05/05 (4 6 /1 0 ). 10. Strait Is the G a te w as first p u b lish e d in 1909 by M e rcu re d e F ran ce. 11. Ib id ., le tte r d a te d 0 5 /1 0 /0 9 ( 9 1 /4 7 ), K lo sso w sk is e m p h asis; tra n sla tio n m o d ified. 12. Ib id ., letter d a te d 0 6 /1 8 /0 9 (9 2 /4 7 ), K lo sso w sk is em p h asis o n an admirable mechanism is employed here, tra n sla tio n m o d ified. 13. Ibid. 14. A ndr G id e, Jo u rn als, Volume I , 1 8 8 9 - 1 9 1 3 , p. 3 1 0 , en try d ate d 0 1 /1 4 /1 2 . P a u l-A lb e rt L a u ren s ( 1 8 7 0 - 1 9 3 4 ) w as a p a in te r an d professor a t the E co le des B eau x A rts. H e w as a clo se frien d o f G i d e s an d p a in te d a p o rtrait o f th e n o v e list th a t still h a n g s in th e L u x e m b o u rg M u seu m . 15. Ib id ., pp . 3 1 1 - 3 1 2 , en try d ated 0 1 /1 9 /1 2 , tra n sla tio n m od ified. 16. Ib id ., tr a n sla tio n m o d ified . 17. Ib id ., tra n sla tio n m o d ified . 18. Ib id ., letter d a te d 0 3 /1 9 /1 2 ( 1 8 0 /1 3 2 ), tran slatio n m o d ified. K lo ssow sk i in te r je c ts a n o te in b ra c k e ts sta tin g th at th e b o o k in q u e stio n is The C a v e s o f the V atican." V alery L arb au d ( 1 8 8 1 - 1 9 5 7 ) w as a F ren ch w riter, n o v e list, an d tran slato r o f a n u m ber o f w orks in c lu d in g Jo y c e s U lysses. 19. Ibid. (1 8 1 /1 3 3 ), tra n sla tio n m od ified.

20 . bid.
2 1 . Ib id ., letter to Ja c q u e s R iv i re d ate d 0 3 /0 2 /1 4 (2 0 1 /1 5 6 ), tra n sla tio n m o d i fied. 2 2 . Ib id ., letter d a te d 0 3 /0 2 /1 4 ( 2 0 2 /1 5 7 ), tran slatio n m od ified. 2 3 . Ib id ., letter d a te d 0 3 /0 7 /1 4 ( 2 0 3 /1 5 8 ), K lo sso w sk is em p h asis; tran slatio n m o d ified . 2 4 . Ibid., letter d a te d 0 3 /0 8 /1 4 ( 2 0 4 /1 5 9 ), tran slatio n m od ified. 2 5. C f. A n d r G id e, Jo u m a b , Volume 1 , 1 8 8 9 - 1 9 1 3 , p. 2 9 6 , from a d e ta c h e d page. M a rce l D ro u in ( 1 8 7 0 - 1 9 4 6 ) , w h o w rote u n d er th e p se u d o n y m o f M ic h e l A rn a u ld , w as a p ro fe sso r o f p h ilo so p h y an d o n e o f th e fou n d ers o f th e N.R.F. 2 6 . Ibid., letter d a te d 0 3 /0 9 /1 4 ( 2 0 7 /1 6 0 ), tran slatio n m od ified. 2 7 . Ja c q u e s R iv i re ( 1 8 8 6 - 1 9 2 5 ) , a F ren ch critic, w as a n ed ito r a t th e N .R .F . from 1 9 1 9 u n til 1925. 2 8. The C orrespondence Between Paul C laudel and A n d r G ide, letter d ate d 0 3 /1 0 /1 4 (2 0 7 /1 6 0 ), tra n sla tio n m od ified.

138

NOTES TO CHAPTER FOUR

2 9 . Ibid. ( 2 0 8 - 2 0 9 /1 6 1 - 1 6 2 ) , tr a n sla tio n m o d ified. 3 0 . K lo ssow sk i is referring, o f co u rse, to th e M arq u is d e S a d e . 3 1 . E u gn e M o n tfo rt ( 1 8 7 7 - 1 9 3 6 ) w as a F ren ch n o v e list w h o w as in v o lv e d in th e p ro d u c tio n o f th e first issue o f th e N .R .F . in 1 908, a lo n g w ith G id e . B e cau se o f a d isa g re e m e n t b e tw een th e tw o, th e in itial grou p o f e d ito rs d isb an d e d an d a n ew first issue a p p ea red the fo llo w in g year. T h e q u o te c ite d by K lo sso w sk i is from th e M ay 10, 1910, issue o f Les M arges, a jo u rn a l fo u n d e d by M o n tfo rt. G id e c ite s th e artic le , an d criticize s it, in h is Jou rn al. 32. A ndr G id e, Jo u rn als, Volume 1, 1 8 8 9 - 1 9 1 3 , p. 2 5 9 , en try d ate d 0 4 /2 4 /1 0 . Ju stin O B rien p ro v id es a n o te to h is tra n sla tio n in d ic a tin g th at th e referen ce h ere is to th e story o f th e b eau tifu l Italian lady w h o en jo y ed th e F lo re n tin e ices so m u ch th at sh e e x c la im e d : Peccato che non sia u n a peccata (W h a t a sh am e its n ot a s i n ) ! T h is is a lin e from th e A p p e n d ix to The Counterfeiters e n title d Id e n tific a tio n o f th e D e m o n . T h e re m ay a lso be a referen ce h ere (su gg ested by th e e ty m o lo g ical c o n n e c tio n o f so r b e t and th e L a tin v erb so rb e o w h ich m ean s to sw allow or d rin k ") to sin -e a te rs, p eo p le w ho, in e x c h a n g e for p ay m en t, w ould take u p o n th e m se lv e s th e sin s o f so m e o n e dyin g. T y pically, th e sin -e ater w ould, by m e an s o f ritu al, tran sfer th e sin s first to a p ie c e o f fo od (o fte n b read ) an d th en co n su m e th e fo o d a n d , w ith it, th e d y in g p e r so n s sins. T h e C a th o lic C h u rc h co n d e m n e d th e p ra c tic e a s a ca rd in a l sin p u n ish ab le by e x c o m m u n ic a tio n . M y th an k s to Ju lia n a E im er for p o in tin g o u t th is c o n n e c tio n . 33. The Private M em oirs and C onfessions o f a Justified Sinner, Ja m e s H o g g (O x fo rd : O x fo rd U n iv e rsity Press, 1 9 9 9 ). T h is n o v e l w as o rig in ally p u b lish e d in 1824 an d tells th e sto ry o f a you n g m an se d u ced by th e D e v il w h o e n d s up c o m m ittin g m urder. G id e su p p lied an In tro d u c tio n for an ed itio n o f th e b o o k p u b lish e d by th e C re sse t P ress in 1947. 3 4 . A ndr G id e, Jo u rn als, Volume 3 , 1 9 2 8 - 1 9 3 9 , p. 7, en try d a te d 0 2 /2 7 /2 8 , tra n s la tio n m od ified . 3 5 . Ibid., p. 8 .

CH A PTER FO U R . PREFACE TO A M A R R IE D P R I E S T BY B A R B E Y D A U R E V I L L Y T h is essay first a p p ea red a s a P reface to U n prtre m ari by B arb ey d A u rev illy , (E d i tio n s du C lu b F ra n ais d u L iv re, P aris, 1 9 6 0 ). Ju le s A m d e Barbey d A u re v illy ( 1 8 0 8 - 1 8 8 9 ) w as a F ren ch n o v e list w h o is n ow p e rh ap s b e st k n ow n for h is c o lle c tio n o f sto ries Les Diaboliques [The She-Devils] a s w ell a s h is ex tre m e an d e c c e n tric C a t h o li cism an d d an d y ism . 1. T h o m a s de Q u in c e y ( 1 7 8 5 - 1 8 5 9 ) w as an E n g lish au th or, m o st fam o u s p e r h a p s for h is C onfessions o f an English O piu m -E ater, first p u b lish e d in 1822, from w h ich th is q u o te is tak en . 2. Je a n -P a u l M a ra t ( 1 7 4 3 - 1 7 9 3 ) w as id en tified w ith th e Ja c o b in fa c tio n d u rin g th e F ren ch R e v o lu tio n a n d w as in stru m en tal in th e c r e a tio n o f th e R e ig n o f Terror. H e w as m u rdered in h is b a th tu b (w h ere h e so u g h t freq u en t re lie f from a sk in d isease) by C h a r lo tte C o rd ay , a m em b er o f th e G ir o n d in s (a rival R e v o lu tio n a ry g ro u p ).

NOTES TO CHAPTER FOUR

139

A lp h o n se M arie L o u ise P rat dc L a m a rtin e ( 1 7 9 0 - 1 8 6 9 ) w as a p ro m in en t p o e t and p o litic ia n in F ran ce, ele cted to th e A c a d m ie F ra n a ise in 1 822, w h o w as a lso the a u th o r o f a tw o -v o lu m e h isto ry o f th e G ir o n d in s [H istoire des Girondins (P aris: Furne, 1 8 4 7 )]. D u rin g th e R e v o lu tio n o f 1848, L a m a r tin e w as briefly th e h ead o f th e g o v ern m en t. F o llo w in g th is, he assu m ed the p o sitio n o f M in iste r o f F oreign A ffairs, b efore retirin g from p o litic a l life a n d d e v o tin g h im se lf to literatu re. L am artin e w as a p a n th e ist an d a n im p o rta n t in flu e n ce o n th e F ren ch S y m b o list p oets. 3. nihil obstat: n o th in g stan d s in th e w ay. T h is is th e sta m p o f the C a th o lic ce n so r, to w h om m a n u sc rip ts are su b m itted by a u th o rs se e k in g ap p ro v al for th eir w orks. If th ey rece iv e th is stam p , th eir w ork s are se n t o n to th e b ish op , w h o th en d e c id e s w h eth er th ey w ill be p u b lish ed . 4. A fin de n o n -re e v o ir is a legal e x c e p tio n or p lea th a t sh ow s the p la in tiff h a s n o righ t to b rin g th e ch arg e eith e r b e cau se a c e rta in tim e p erio d h as ex p ired , or b e ca u se th ere h a s b e e n so m e e v e n t th at h a s v itia te d th e o r ig in al cau se for ac tio n . 5. L a C houannerie w as th e n a m e o f a roy alist gu errilla m o v e m e n t a c tiv e in B rit ta n y a t v a rio u s tim e s in th e late e ig h te e n th an d early n in e te e n th cen tu ries.

6 . Jo se p h de M a istre (1 7 5 3 - 1 8 2 1 ) w as a p ro m in e n t c o n se rv a tiv e p h ilo so p h e r


a n d p o litic ia n . F o llo w in g th e R e v o lu tio n o f 1789, d e M aistre argu ed for th e retu rn o f th e d iv in e ly sa n c tio n e d m onarch y. 7. Lettres Tre'butien (P aris: F ran o is B e rn o u ard , 1 9 2 7 ), v. 3, pp. 2 1 5 - 2 1 6 , letter d a te d M arch 14, 1 855.

8 . Le C hevalier des Touches [The Knight o f Touches], first p u b lish ed in 1864. In


a d d itio n to b e llo w s, soufflets c a n a lso m e an (p h y sic a l) b lo w s, an d "touches" m ay be ren d ered as to u c h e s (a s w ith a bru sh ). 9. C y m o d o c e is th e n am e o f on e o f th e m ain ch aracters in C h a te a u b r ia n d s Les M artyrs (1 8 0 9 ). R a ise d as a p ag an in G r c e c e d u rin g th e reign o f th e R o m a n E m peror D io c le tia n , sh e is d e stin e d by G o d to m arry th e C h r istia n E udorus. A fte r th eir m ar riage, th e new em peror, G ale riu s, issues a d ecree c o n d e m n in g all C h ristia n s. R e tu rn in g to R o m e to d efen d o th e r C h ristia n s, E u doru s is arrested an d , w h en sh e refuses to ren o u n ce C h ristia n ity , C y m o d o c e jo in s h er h u sb an d in th e C o lise u m w here they are d evou red . T h e n am e co m e s from a N ereid an d , literally, m ean s w ave-receiver. S h e is m e n tio n e d in p a ssin g by H esio d ; sh e is o n e o f th e N e re id s w h o g o w ith T h e tis to c o n so le h er so n A c h ille s after h e h ears o f th e d e a th o f P atroclu s in B o o k 18 o f The Iliad; sh e a p p e ars tw ice in The Aeneid, o n c e in B o o k 5 as o n e o f a grou p o f N e re id s a c c o m p an y in g N e p tu n e , an d a g ain , prom in en tly, in B ook 10 w here sh e sp eak s w ith A e n e a s (a s th e N ereid w h o kn ow s h u m an sp e e ch th e b est) an d urges h im o n to fig h t Turnus. 10. G e o r g e B e rn a n o s ( 1 8 8 8 - 1 9 4 8 ) w as a C a th o lic F ren ch w riter b e st kn ow n , p erh a p s, for h is The D iary o f a C oun try Priest (1 9 3 6 ), w h ich w as a d ap te d an d m ad e in to a m o v ie by R o b e rt B resso n in 1950. 11. M a rq u is de S a d e , Eugnie de F r a m a l (P aris: L es E d itio n s G e o r g e s A rtig u es, 1 9 4 8 ); tra n sla ted in to E n g lish as Incest, tran s. A n d rew B row n (L o n d o n : H esperu s Press, 2 0 0 3 ). 12. Lettres Trbutien, v. 3, p. 2 8 5 , letter d ated Ju n e 2 8, 1855.

140

N O T E S TO CH AP TER SIX

C H A PT ER FIVE. TH E MASS OF G E O R G E S BATAILLE


T h is essay o rig in a lly a p p eared in 8 4 , in S e p te m b e r 1950. 1. T h e referen ce h ere is to th e th e o lo g ia n an d m ystic, M e ister E ck h art (circa 1 2 6 0 - 1 3 2 8 ).

C H A P T E R SIX. LA N G U A G E , S I L E N C E , AND C O M M U N I S M
T h is essay o rig in a lly a p p eared in C ritique (w ith th e su b title O n L E m barras du choix [The Trouble with Choice], by B rice P a ra in ) in Ju n e 1 949. B rice P arain ( 1 8 9 7 - 1 9 7 1 ) w as a p ro m in e n t p h ilo so p h e r an d th e o lo g ia n in F ran ce for m u ch o f th e tw e n tie th c e n tury w h o w rote e x te n siv e ly o n p ro b le m s o f lan g u age . 1. T e rtu llia n (c a . 1 5 5 - 2 3 0 ) is o n e o f th e m o st im p o rta n t o f th e C h r istia n C h u r c h F ath ers. H is p rin c ip a l w ork c o n c e r n in g th e h eresy o f th e D o c e te s is D e C a m e Christi (O n the Body o f C h rist). T h e D o c e te s ( G n o stic s) b e lie v e d in th e d iv in ity o f C h r ist b u t n o t in th e ab ility o f G o d to assu m e m aterial form . For th em , C h r ist w as n o t m a terial a t all, b u t m erely a sort o f p h a n ta sm p ro d u c ed by th e D iv in e. 2. Ib id ., p. 119. 3. L 'Em barras du choix, p. 80. 4. Ibid., p. 81. 5. Ibid., p. 84.

6 . Ibid.
7. C f. S 0 ren K ie rk e g aard , The C oncept o f A nxiety, ed. an d tran s. R e id a r T h o m te a n d A lb e rt B. A n d e rso n (P rin c e to n : P rin c e to n U n iv e r sity Press, 1 9 8 0 ), A n x ie ty about th e G ood (T h e D e m o n ic ), pp. 1 18-154. P arain refers sp e cific ally to K ierk egaard 's d iscu ssio n o f th e d e m o n ic o n p. 8 7 o f L E m barras du choix, c a llin g it, in a fo o tn o te , th e fu n d a m e n tal c ate g o ry o f th e d ia le c tic .

8 . L E m barras du choix, p. 88.


9. Ib id ., p. 86 , n o te 2. 10. Ibid., p. 87 11. C f. LE m barras d u choix, p. 92 12. C f. L E m barras du choix, p. 93 13. Ibid. 14. Ibid., pp. 9 3 - 9 4 . 15. L E m barras du choix, pp. 9 4 - 9 5 . L e ib n iz s arg u m en t c a n be fou n d in M e d ita tio n s o n K n o w led g e, T ru th , an d Id e as," in Philosophical E ssay s, tran s. G a r b e r and A n e w (In d ia n a p o lis: H a c k e tt, 1 9 8 9 ), p. 25. 16. L E m barras du choix, p . 9 4 , n o te 1. 17. K lo sso w sk is te x t reads, T o u s les n o m s d e m a n d e n t tre le p lu s co m m u n co m m e le p lu s n o b le d e le x iste n c e . P a ra in s te x t, w h ich K lo sso w sk i is follow in g,

N OTES TO CHAPTER SEVEN

141

read s, T o u s les n o m s d e m a n d e n t tre, le p lu s co m m u n c o m m e le p lu s n o b le ( L E m barras du C hoix, p. 9 5 ). It seem s likely th a t th ere sh o u ld be a c o m m a in K lo sso w sk is te x t a fter tre , a n d th e tra n sla tio n refle cts th is. W ith o u t th e co m m a, th e se n ten c e w ould read: E very n am e ask s to be th e m o st co m m o n as w ell as th e m o st n o b le n am e o f e x is te n c e . 18. A lle r et R e to u r, p. 234. 19. L 'E m b a n a s du C hoix, XIV , pp. 1 3 4 -1 6 4 . 20. Ibid., p. 135. 2 1 . Ib id ., p. 138. 2 2 . Ib id ., p. 139. 23. Ib id ., p. 140. 2 4 . Ibid., p. 141. 2 5 . Ibid. 26. Ib id ., p. 143. 27. Ibid., p. 148. 2 8 . Ibid., p. 150. 29. Ibid. 3 0 . Ibid., p. 151. 31. Ibid., p. 160. 32. Ib id ., p. 162 fo llo w in g P a ra in s te x t by su b stitu tin g p a ro le for p a rt. 3 3 . Ib id ., p. 164.

CHAPTER SEVEN. ON MAURICE BLANC HOT


A s K lo sso w sk i's first n o te in d icate s, th is essay w as p rev io u sly p u b lish e d in Les Temps M odernes w here it carried th e su b title O n M au rice B la n c h o ts D eath Sentence an d The M ost H igh. In o rd er to m a in ta in c o n tin u ity w ith th e e x istin g E n g lish tran slatio n , w h ile p reserv in g th e d e ta ils th a t K lo sso w sk i em ph asizes, all tra n sla tio n s from The M o st High h a v e b e e n a d a p te d from A lla n S t o e k ls E n g lish tra n sla tio n (L in c o ln : U n i v ersity o f N e b r a sk a P ress, 1 9 9 6 ). W h e n K lo ssow sk i m ak es referen ce to sp e cific p ag e n u m b e rs in th e b o d y o f th e essay, th o se n u m bers h a v e b e e n c h a n g e d to co rresp o n d to th e E n g lish tra n sla tio n a n d th e re le v a n t p ag es in th e o r ig in al F ren ch ed itio n h av e b e e n in d ica te d in th e e n d n o te s (o r in squ are b rack ets w h en th e c ita tio n is itse lf in a n o te ). W h e n n o referen ce is g iv e n in K lo sso w sk is te x t, refe ren ces h av e b e e n p ro v id ed to b o th th e E n g lish a n d th e F ren ch e d itio n s, w ith th e E n g lish g iv en first, th e F ren ch se co n d . 1. T e rtu llia n , O n the Resurrection o f the Flesh, tran s. P eter H o lm es, A nte-N icene

Christian L ibrary: Vol X V . The Writings o f Tertullian, Vol II (E d in b u rg h : T & .T C la rk , 1 8 7 0 ), ch . 3 0 T h is V isio n In terp re ted by T e rtu llian o f th e R e su rrectio n o f th e B o d ies o f th e D e ad . A C h r o n o lo g ic a l Error o f O u r A u th o r, W h o S u p p o se s th a t Ezekiel in

142

NOTKS TO CHAPTER SEVEN

H is C h . X X X I. P ro p h esied B efore th e C a p tiv ity . N ow , a lth o u g h th ere is a sk e tc h o f th e true th in g in its im age, th e im age itse lf still p o ssesse s a tru th o f its ow n: it m u st n e e d s be, th erefore, th a t m ust h av e a prior e x iste n c e for itself, w h ich is used figurativ ely to ex p ress so m e o th e r th in g. V acu ity is n o t a c o n siste n t b asis for a sim ilitu d e, n o r d o es n o n e n tity form a su itab le fo u n d a tio n for a p a r a b le . 2. M a u rice B la n c h o t, L ite ratu re a n d th e R ig h t to D e a th , in The W ork o f Fire, tran s. C h a r lo tte M a n d c ll (S ta n fo rd : S ta n fo r d U n iv e r sity P ress, 1 9 9 5 ), pp. 324ff. 3. T h is p h rase o p e ra te s as a so rt o f refrain in B la n c h o t's essay L ite ratu re an d th e R ig h t to D e a th , pp. 3 2 2 , 3 2 7 , 3 3 6 . M a n d e ll ren ders it a s th e life th at en d u res d e a th an d m a in ta in s itse lf in it. 4- T h e F ren ch te x t o f th is se n te n c e reads: O r, le sens, s'il rtest possible q u p a rtir d 'u n comm encem ent et dans la perspective d une fin , n est pas sens s'il ne dem eure dans l existant en devenir se dsavouant sans cesse en tant que monde ce contexte de vicissitudes que lon nomme lhistoire." 5. A p o rtm a n te au w ord, sous-vient" is co in e d by K lo sso w sk i from th e p re p o si tio n sou s, m e a n in g u n d er o r b e n e a th (a lso used a s a p refix u su ally tran slate d as su b- ), an d th e th ird -p erson p resen t, in d ic a tiv e form o f venir, m e an in g to c o m e . It is a h o m o n y m o f th e w ord souvenir, b o th a n o u n m e a n in g m em ory, an d a verb m e a n in g to rem em b er. Finally, it a lso e c h o e s to a lesser e x te n t th e v e rb soutenir, m e a n in g to b e a r or to su sta in . It th u s carries a se n se o f rem em b ran ce as so m e th in g th a t is u n d erg o n e o r th a t o n e su ccu m b s to.

6. M au rice B la n c h o t, The M ost High (9 /1 ).


7. Ibid. ( 5 7 - 5 8 ) .

8 . Ibid. ( 2 3 7 - 2 3 8 ) .
9. Ibid. (7 1 /7 4 ). 10. B la n c h o t, L ite ratu re an d th e R ig h t to D e a th , p. 3 2 7 . 11. B la n c h o t, L ite ratu re an d th e R ig h t to D e a th , pp. 3 2 8 - 3 3 0 . 12. B la n c h o t, The M ost High ( 1 7 6 /1 7 1 ). 13. A d ia le c tic a l so le c ism o f G o d . A so le cism is a sy n ta c tic a l error. 14. B la n c h o t, The M ost High (5 4 /5 8 ). 15. Ibid. ( 2 3 1 /2 2 2 ), K lo sso w sk is e m p h asis. 16. Ibid. ( 2 3 1 /2 2 2 ). 17. Ibid. (2 3 1 /2 2 2 ). 18. Ibid. (2 2 4 /2 3 3 ). 19. Ibid. (7 2 /7 5 ). 20. Ibid. ( 2 4 1 /2 3 0 ). 2 1 . Ibid. ( 2 4 2 /2 3 1 ). 2 2 . Ibid. (2 4 2 /2 3 1 - 2 3 2 ) .

N O T E S T O C H A P T E R l i l C. UT

2 3 . Ibid. ( 2 4 4 /2 3 4 ). 2 4 . Ibid. ( 2 4 6 /2 3 5 ). 2 5 . Ibid. ( 2 5 3 - 2 5 4 /2 4 3 ) .

C H A P T E R EI GH T . N I E T Z S C H E , P O L Y T H E I S M , A N D PARODY
T h is is a slig h tly rev ised v ersio n o f a tr a n sla tio n th a t a p p eared in th e Bulletin for the Socit Am ricaine de Philosophie de Langue F ran aise , V ol. 14, N o . 2, Fall 2 004. 1. K lo sso w sk i is referring to the w ork o f C h a r le s A n d le r, N ietzsche, sa vie et sa pense, 3 v ols. (P aris: G a llim a r d , 1958). 2. L e t th ere be tru th an d let life p e r ish . F rie d rich N ie tz sc h e , Untim ely M dita tions, tran s. R . J. H o llin g d a le (N e w York: C a m b rid g e U n iv e r sity P ress, 1 9 8 3 ), 4, p. 78. 3. W h a t a n a rtist p erish es w ith m e . T h e se are th e last w ords attrib u te d to th e R o m a n e m p e ro r N e ro . N ie tz sc h e q u o te s th em in The G a y Science, tran s. W alter K aufm an n (N e w York: V in ta g e , 1 9 7 4 ), B ook 1, 3 6 , p. 105. 4 . F ried rich N ie tz sc h e , Ecce H om o, in Basic Writings o f N ietzsche, ed. and trans. W alter K a u fm a n n (N e w York: M o d e rn Library, 1 9 9 2 ), T h u s S p o k e Z arath u stra: A B o o k fo r A ll an d N o n e , 5, p. 759. 5. F ried rich N ie tz sc h e , Twilight o f the Idols, tran s. W alter K au fm an n , in The Portable Nietzsche (N e w York: V ik in g Press, 1 9 5 4 ), pp. 4 8 5 - 4 8 6 .

6 . A p o rtm a n te a u w ord, so u s-v ie n t is c o in e d by K lo sso w sk i from th e p re p o si


tio n so u s," m e an in g u n d er or b e n e a th (a lso used as a p refix u su ally tran slated as su b - "), an d th e th ird -p erson p resen t, in d ic a tiv e form o f ten ir, m e an in g to c o m e . Sous-vient" a lso e c h o e s th e word "souvenir, b o th a n o u n m ean in g m em ory, an d a v erb m e a n in g to rem em b er. F inally, it a lso e c h o es, th o u g h to a lesser e x te n t, th e v erb "souten ir," m e a n in g to b e ar o r to su sta in . It th u s carries a se n se o f rem em b ra n c e a s so m e th in g th a t is u n d e rg o n e " o r th at o n e su cc u m b s to (a n in a c tiv ity o f c o n sc io u sn e ss p rep arato ry for th e c o m in g forth [advient, in th e n e x t se n te n c e ] o f the p a st). 7. F ried rich N ie tz sc h e , Thus Spoke Z arath ustra , in The Portable Nietzsche (N e w York: V ik in g P ress, 1 9 5 4 ), S e c o n d P art, O n R e d e m p tio n , p. 253.

8 . N ie tz sc h e , G a > Science, B o o k 3, 1 1 2 , p. 172.


9. Ibid., 1 1 1 , pp . 1 7 1 -1 7 2 . 10. Ib id ., 1 1 0 , pp. 1 6 9 -1 7 1 . 11. Ibid. 12. Ibid. 13. Ephesians 5 :1 3 . 14. Ephesians 5 :1 1 . 15. John I 1:5.

144

N OTES TO CHAPTER EIGHT

16. N ie tz sc h e , G a y Science, B o o k 5, 3 5 4 , pp. 2 9 7 - 3 0 0 . 17. Ibid. 18. D p e n se " m e a n s, literally , e x p e n d itu r e , o r w a ste ; th e v e rb dpenser m e a n s to sp e n d a n d c a n a lso m e a n to c o n su m e . It o c c u rs fre q u e n tly in th e w ork o f B a ta ille , w h ere it is u su ally tra n sla te d in to E n g lish as e x p e n d itu r e . K lo sso w sk i u ses it to e x p re ss th e n o n g o a l-o r ie n te d e x p e n d itu re o f u n c o n sc io u s im p u lses; in c o m m u n ic a b le p a th o s. T h e c o n tr a st b e tw e e n th is e x e rtio n an d th a t o f th in k in g c a n be se e n in th e c o m p o n e n ts o f th e w ord itse lf: d e -," a p r e p o sitio n th a t c a n h a v e th e se n se o f n e g a tio n (a s in "dm onter, to d is-m o u n t ), a n d "p en se," th e im p e ra tiv e fo rm o f th e v e rb p e n se r," to th in k . T h e w ord th u s a lso c a rrie s a se n se o f to u n th in k . 19. F ried rich N ietz sc h e, The Will to Pow er, ed. W alte r K au fm an n , tran s. W alter K a u fm a n n a n d R . J. H o llin g d a le (N e w York: V in tag e B o o k s, 1 9 6 7 ), B o o k 3, S e c tio n 4, 4 9 3 [1885], p. 27 2 . 20. N ie tz sc h e , G a y Science, P reface to th e S e c o n d E d itio n , 1 , p. 3 3 , tran slatio n m od ified. 2 1 . N ie tz sc h e , G a y Science, 1, pp. 7 4 - 7 6 . 2 2. S e e N ie tz sc h e , Will to Power, B o o k 3 , S e c tio n IV, 8 5 3 , A r t in The Birth o f Tragedy," p. 4 5 1 . 2 3. Z arath u stra first en c o u n te rs th e L a st P op e in T h us Spoke Zarathustra, F ou rth P art, 6 , R e tire d , p p . 3 7 0 - 3 7 5 . 2 4. N ie tz sc h e , G a y Science, B o o k 5, 3 6 1 , pp. 3 1 6 - 3 1 7 . 25. N ietz sc h e, Ecce H om o, W h y I A m a D estin y , 9, in B asic Writings o f N iet zsche, p. 79 1 . 26. K arl Lwith , N ietzsches Philosophy o f the E ternal Return o f the Sam e, tran s. J. H a rv e y L o m a x (B erk ele y : U n iv e rsity o f C a lifo r n ia P ress, 1 9 9 7 ). 2 7 . N ie tz sc h e , letter to Ja c o b B u rck h ard t, d ate d Jan u a ry 6 , 1 889, in The Portable Nietzsche, p. 686 . 2 8 . Ibid, p. 68 5 . 29. N ie tz sc h e , T h us Spoke Z arathustra, T h ir d P art, O n O ld an d N ew T a b le ts, p. 309. 30. N ie tz sc h e , G a y Science, B o o k 5, 3 4 6 , pp. 2 8 5 - 2 8 7 . 3 1 . Ib id ., 3 7 0 , p p. 3 2 7 - 3 3 1 . 3 2 . N ie tz sc h e , T h us Spoke Z arathustra, S e c o n d P art, U p o n th e B le ssed Isles, p. 199, tra n sla tio n m od ified. 3 3 . N ietz sc h e, Thus Spoke Z arathustra, T h ir d P art, O n A p o sta te s ," p. 294. 3 4 . O f o r relatin g to th e p ag an Isis cu lts. 3 5. N ie tz sc h e , T h us Spoke Z arathustra, F o u rth P art, T h e A s s F e stiv a l, p. 4 2 6 , tra n sla tio n m od ified.

N O T E S T O T R A N S L A T O R S A F T E R W O R D

145

T R A N S L A T O R S A F T E R W O R D : K L O S S O W S K l S SA L T O MORTALE
1. In th e In tro d u c tio n to h is tr a n sla tio n o f V irgils Aeneid, K lo sso w sk i w rites, T h e d islo c a te d a sp e c t o f th e syntax . . . sh o u ld not be treate d as so m e arbitrary pellm ell, a b le to be rea d ju sted acc o rd in g to o u r ow n g ram m atical lo g ic, in th e tra n sla tio n o f a p o em w h ere it is p recisely the v o lu n ta r y ju x ta p o sitio n o f w ord s (w h o se sh o c k p ro d u ces th e so n o ro u s rich n ess a n d th e m a g ic [prestige] o f th e im age ) th a t c o n stitu te s th e p h y sio gn o m y o f e a c h v erse . . . V irg ils e p ic p o em is in effe ct a th e a te r w here w ords mime th e c h a r a c te rs g estu res and sta te s o f so u l, ju st as by th e ir arra n g e m e n t th ey also m im e th e p ro p er a c c o m p a n im e n ts o f th e ac tio n . T h e w ords, n o t b o d ie s, are w h at take o n a d isp o sitio n [a ttitu d e]; th ey are w h at is w o v en , n o t th e c lo th in g ; th ey sc in tilla te , n o t th e arm or; th ey h ow l, n o t th e sto rm . C it e d b y A la in A rn a u d in Pierre Klossowski (P aris: d itio n s du S e u il, 1 9 9 0 ), p. 19. 2. V irgil, Aeneid, B o o k V I, lin e 721. 3. C f. P la to , A pology, trans. G . M . A . G ru b e, in P lato: Com plete W orks, ed. Jo h n M . C o o p e r (In d ia n a p o lis: H a c k e tt, 1 9 9 7 ), p. 29 ( 3 1 c - 3 2 a ) . O n th e ety m o lo g y o f the term s, see th e re le v a n t e n trie s in A . G . L id d e ll and R . S c o t t , Greek-English Lexicon with a Revised Supplem ent, 9 th ed. by S tu a r t Jo n e s an d M c K en z ie (N e w York: C la r e n d o n / O x fo rd U n iv e r sity Press, 19 9 6 ). 4. K lo ssw sk is n o tio n o f su b c o m in g is ech o ed by D eleu zes read in g o f P ro u sts in v o lu n ta ry m em ory. T h e S e a rc h fo r lo st tim e is in fact a se arc h for tru th . . . . P roust d o e s n o t b e lie v e th a t m a n , n or e v e n a su p p o sed ly pure m in d , h as by n atu re a d esire for tru th , a w ill-to-tru th . W e se arch fo r truth o n ly w h en w e are d ete rm in e d to d o so in term s o f a c o n c r e te situ a tio n , w h en we u n d ergo a k in d o f v io le n c e th a t im p els us to su ch a se a rc h . G ille s D eleuze, Proust & Signs: The Com plete Text, tran s. R ich ard H ow ard (M in n e a p o lis: U n iv e rsity o f M in n e so ta P ress, 2 0 0 0 ). 5. C e le s t ia l h e re is m e an t to e c h o A n c h ise s d e sc rip tio n o f th e c a e le stis o rig o o f th e en e rg y th a t d ire c ts p rim o rd ial spirit. V irgil, A eneid, B o o k V I., lin e 730.

6 . F rie d rich N ie tz sc h e , Ecce H om o, in B asic Writings o f Nietzsche, ed. an d trans.


W a lte r K a u fm a n n (N e w York: M o d e rn Library, 1 9 9 2 ), H iu s S p o k e Z arath u stra: A B o o k for A ll a n d N o n e , 1 , p. 752. 7. C f. A n d to th e e x te n t th a t k n o w le d g e th e re b y d e v e lo p s th e p o w er o f m e ta m o rp h o sis, a life liv e d o n c e a n d for all su d d en ly a p p e a r s m ore im p o v e rish e d th a n a s in g le in sta n t ric h w ith m an y w ays o f e x istin g ; th is is w hy a sin g le in sta n t th u s c h a r g e d , th u s su b c o m e d to [sous-venu] in th e su sp e n sio n o f th e c o n sc io u sn e ss o f th e p re se n t, su ffice s to rev erse th e c o u rse o f a life. H e n c e th e illu m in a tiv e c h a r a c te r o f th e G a y a Scien za w h o se m an y a p h o r ism s testify to th e m o m e n ts o f an e c sta tic se re n ity: b e c a u se from th e n o n h e h a d th e fe e lin g (fo r m u la te d se v e n y ears late r a t th e h e ig h t o f h is m a d n e ss) that a t bottom I am every n am e in history, o f lo sin g h is ow n id e n tity in th e v ery c e rtitu d e o f fin d in g it a g a in , m u ltip lie d , in th e id e n tic a l p e r m a n e n c e o f th e u n iv e r se . O n S o m e F u n d a m e n ta l T h e m e s o f N ie tz sc h e s G a y a S c ien z a ," p. 12.

8 . In La sy n th se d isju n c tiv e , an e x tra c t fro m Anti-O edipus th at they c o n


trib u ted to a n issu e o f L A rc d e v o te d to K lo ssow ski, D eleu ze, an d G u a tta r i attrib u te to

146

N O T E S T O T R A N S L A T O R S A F T E R W O R D

K lo sso w sk i th e d o u b le a r tic u la tio n th a t regards th e b o d y an d m in d a s refle ctin g o n e an o th e r. G ille s D eleuze an d F lix G u a tta r i, L a sy n th se d isju n c tiv e , in L A rc 4 3, K lo ssow sk i (1 9 7 0 ) , pp. 5 4 - 6 2 . 9. T h is n o v e l a lso ap p ears in E n g lish u n d er th e title L afcad io s Adventures. 10. In th e M arg in o f the C o rre sp o n d e n c e B e tw een G id e an d C la u d e l, p. 68. T h e fu n g ib ility o f so u ls is a c h ie f co n c e r n in K lo ssow sk i s L a m onnaie vivante (P aris: T e rrain V agu e, 1 9 7 0 ). 11. A c c o r d in g to G id e th e D e v il is a n ag e n t o f red o u b lin g . T h is is w ell kn ow n to G id e th a n k s to th e O th e r h a v in g bo rrow ed, in its n o n e x iste n c e , th e e x iste n c e o f a C la u d e l, o f a C h a r le s D u B o s." G id e , D u B os, an d th e D e m o n , p. 4 2. 12. T h is is p recisely w h at c o n stitu te s th e in te re st o f o n e a sp e c t o f th is sin g u lar b o o k : th e stru ctu re o f th e h u m a n sou l is m ad e su ch th a t it w ou ld n o t k n ow h o w to a c t w ith o u t p ro h ib itio n , n or co u ld it be c o n stitu te d w ith o u t it: in o rd er to su sta in itself, th e ad h e re n c e to a th eism resu scitates all th e p ro h ib itio n s th a t b e lie f is b ased o n from th en o n it m u st fortify itse lf a g a in st its retu rn . P reface to A M arried Priest by B arbey d A u rev illy , p. 81. 13. N ietz sc h e, P o ly th e ism , an d P arody, p. 165. 14. Ibid., p. 168. 15. Ibid., p. 169. 16. Ib id ., p. 170.

Index

A b b o t F o n ta in e , 41 A cephale, vii A eneid (V irg il), 1 2 3 - 1 2 4 , 126, 139n 9 Aline and V alcour ( S a d e ) , 49 (n . i) A n d le r, C h a r le s ( N ietzsche, sa vie et sa pen se), 9 9 - 1 0 0 , 1 4 3 n l Apology (P la to ), 125 A r b a n , D o m in iq u e , 1361 3 7n7 A rn a u ld , M ic h e l (M a rc e l D ro u in ), 4 0, 137n25 B a lth u s, vii B alzac, H o n o r , 62 Barbey d Aurevilly ( C a n u ) , 52 (n . iii) B a ta ille , G e o rg e s, vii, 6 5 - 7 0 B a u d ela ire, C h a r le s , 17, 4 8 ; tw o sim u lta n e o u s p o stu la te s, 17, 2 3, 128, 135n 2 B e rn a n o s, G e o r g e , 5 4 , 1 3 9 n l0 B e rth o le t, P h ilip p e, 3 0 Beyond G ood and Evil (N ie tz sc h e ), 11 (n . v ) Birth o f Tragedy, The ( N ie tz s c h e ),100 B la k e , W illia m , 2 9 B la n c h o t, M a u rice , 74, 7 7 , 7 9 , 8 0, 8 5 - 9 8 , 123, 1 2 9 - 1 3 0 ; D eath Sentence, 8 7 - 8 9 (n . iii); L ite ra tu re an d the R ig h t to D e a th , 8 7 - 8 9 (n . iii);T h e M ost High, 8 9 - 9 8 , 1 3 0 ; T h e Space o f Literature, 9 8 B o n n a rd , P ierre, vii

B o ssu et, Ja c q u e s-B n ig n e , 3 1 , 1 3 6 n 6 B re to n , A n d r , vii B u rck h ard t, Ja c o b , 117 C ahiers personnels ( S a d e ) , 4 9 (n . i) C a illo is, R oger, ix C a lv in , Jo h n , 3 1 , 33 C a th o lic ism , 28, 3 3 , 3 6 , 3 8 , 4 0 , 4 3, 4 7 - 4 8 , 50, 52 C av e s o f the V atican, The ( G id e ) , 28, 3 8 - 3 9 ,4 1 , 128 C h ateau des soufflets (d A u re v illy ), 51, 63 C h e ste r to n , G .K ., 31 C ity o f G o d (A u g u s tin e ), 6 1 - 6 2 C la u d e l, C h a r le s, 2 5, 2 7 - 4 5 , 128 C o m m u n ism , 7 1 -8 3 C oncept o f A nxiety, The (K ie rk e g aard ), 75 C onfessions o f a Justified Sinner (H o g g ), 4 4 , 138 n 3 3 C ontre-A ttaqu e (jo u rn a l), vii C o rn e ille , P ierre, 36 Correspondence Between P aul C laud el and A ndre G ide (M a lle t), 2 7, 3 0 C orydon (G id e ) , 24, 2 9, 3 6 , 4 0 , 44 C oun terfeiters, The ( G id e ) , 4 4 , 135n 4, 138n32 D A u rev illy , Barbey, 4 7 - 6 4 , 1 2 8 - 1 2 9 ; A M arried Priest, 4 7 - 6 4 , 1 2 8 - 1 2 9 ; ath e-

147

148

INDEX

D 'A u rev illy , B arbey (continued) ism , 5 0 , 5 3 , 5 6 , 59; Barbey d Aurevilly (by Je a n C a n u ), 52 (n . iii); C a th o lic ism , 4 7 - 4 8 , 5 0, 5 2 - 5 4 , 6 0 - 6 2 ;C h ateau des soufflets, 51, 6 3; d an d y ism , 4 8 ; Diaboliques ( The SheD evils), 4 7 , 4 9 , 5 0 - 5 1 , 5 6; Lettres Trebutien, 51, 5 7 - 5 8 (n . iv ), 64 Death Sentence ( B la n c h o t), 8 7 - 8 9 (n . iii) D e a th o f G o d , 2 - 3 , 1 1 - 1 3 , 1 5 ,9 9 , 117, 1 2 0 - 1 2 1 , 128, 1 3 1 -1 3 2 D e F o n te n e lle , B e rn ard , ee 5 7 (n . iv) D e L a m a rtin e , A lp h o n se , 48 D eleu ze, G ille s , 14 5 n 4 ; a n d G u a tta r i, 1 4 5 -1 4 6 n 8 D e M a istre , Jo se p h , 4 8 , 6 0 , 139n 6 D e N e r v a l, G e r a r d , 4 8 D e Q u in cey , T h o m a s, 4 8 , 13 8n 1 D e U n a m u n o , M ig u el, 43 D e sca rte s, R e n e , 74 Diaboliques (T h e She-Devils) ( d A u re v illy ), 4 7 , 4 9 , 5 0 - 5 1 , 56 D ieu vivante, vii D ostoevsky, Fyodor, 2 3 , 53 (n . iii), 54, 6 2 , 13 4 n 2 5 Dostoevsky (G id e ) , 23 D ro u in , M arce l (M ic h e l A r n a u ld ), 40, 13 7 n 2 5 D u B os, C h a r le s, 1 7 - 2 5 , 1 2 7 -1 2 8 , 1 3 4 -1 3 5 Ecce H om o (N ie tz sc h e ), 100 E m p ed o cle s, 14 E tern al return , 2 - 3 , 8 - 1 0 , 16, 107, 114, 118, 121, 126, 131 Eugnie et F ranval (Incest) (S a d e ), 59 F a te (fa tu m ), 9 - 1 0 (n . iv ), 14, 6 2 - 6 3 , 100, F au st, 55 G a y Science, The (N ie tz sc h e ), 1 - 1 6 , 6 5, 10 0 , 1 0 4 - 1 0 5 , 107, 113, 1 1 5 -1 1 6 , 126, 127, 131, 133n3 G id e , A n d r , vii, 1 7 -2 5 , 1 2 7 - 1 2 8 ; an d C a th o lic ism , 2 8 , 3 3 , 3 6 , 3 8, 4 0 , 4 3 ; 103, 1 2 4 - 1 2 6 , 132

The C av es o f the Vatican ( Lafcadio's A dventures), 2 8 , 3 8 - 3 9 , 4 1 , 128; an d C la u d e l, C h a r le s, 2 5, 2 7 - 4 5 ; C orydon, 24, 2 9, 36, 4 0 , 4 4 ; The C ounterfeiters, 4 4 , 1 3 5 n 4 , 13 8 n 3 2 ; an d th e d em o n , 1 7 - 2 5 , 28; D ostoevsky, 2 3; H o m o se x u ality , 2 9; If the Seed Should Die, 23, 4 4 ; The Imm oralist, v ii, 2 8 - 2 9 , 3 7, 3 9 ; Jou rn als, 20, 2 8 - 2 9 , 3 6 - 3 7 , 3 9, 4 3 - 4 4 ; an d Pierre K lo sso w sk i, vii; an d M a d e le in e G id e , 3 9 ; and N ie tz sc h e , 14, 3 3 ; N .R .F ., 3 6, 3 8; an d ped erasty, 2 4 - 2 5 , 3 8 - 3 9 ; an d P ro te stan tism , 2 9 - 3 3 , 3 8 , 4 4 ; Saul, 2 9, 3 7 , 3 9 ; an d th e sim u lacru m , 1 8 - 1 9 ; Strait is the G ate , 2 8 , 3 5 ; Theseus, 32 G o e th e , Jo h a n n W o lfg an g v o n , 2 - 3 ; 2 2 - 2 5 , 5 5, 1 36n 9 G r e e n e , G r a h a m , 54 H eg el, 5 - 6 , 1 7 , 6 7 , 7 8 , 7 9, 8 0 H eid eg ger, M a rtin , 7 5, 86 , 9 1 , 117 H e in e , M au rice , vii H en ri, A lb e r t, 133n 3 H ilarity (la u g h te r), 1 0 8 - 1 0 9 , 1 1 2 - 1 1 3 , 121, 132 H ld e rlin , vii, 6 If the Seed Should D ie ( G id e ) , 2 3, 44 Im m oralist, The (G id e ) , vii, 2 8 - 2 9 , 3 7, 39 Ja m m e s, F ran cis, 3 1 ,4 1 Jou rn als o f A n dr G id e, 2 0, 2 8 - 2 9 , 3 6 -3 7 , 39, 4 3 -4 4 Jo u v e , Pierre Je a n , vii Justin e ( S a d e ) , 4 9 (n . i) K a n t, Im m an u el, 102 K ie rk e g aard , S 0ren , 7 5, 7 9 , 8 0 , 140n 7 K lo sso w sk i, P ierre, L a m onnaie vivante, 1 4 6 n l0 ; L a revocation de /Edit de N an tes, v iii; L a vocation suspendue, v iii; The Law s o f Hospitality (Lois de lhospitalit), v iii, 123; Le bain de

INDEX

J4V

D iane, v iii; Le Baphom et , v iii, ix; Le Souffleur, v iii, 123; Nietzsche et le cer cle vicieux, v iii; Roberte ce soir, viii; Sad e M y N eighbor ( Sade mon prochain), v iii, 123 L a m a rtin e , d e, A lp h o n se , 4 8 , 139n2 L Abbe C . (G e o r g e s B a ta ille ), 6 5, 129 L a fcadio's A dventures (G id e ) , 2 8 , 3 8 - 3 9 , 4 1 , 128 L a m onnaie vivante (K lo sso w sk i), 1 4 6 n l0 L arb au d , V alery, 13 7n 18 L a revocation de lEdit de N an tes (K lo sso w sk i), viii L au g h te r (h ila rity ), 1 0 8 - 1 0 9 , 1 1 2 -1 1 3 , 121, 132 L au ren s, P a u l-A lb e rt, 3 6 , 1 3 7 n l4 L a vocation suspendue (K lo sso w sk i), viii Law s o f H ospitality, The (K lo sso w sk i), v iii, 123 Le bain de D ian e (K lo sso w sk i), v iii Le Baphom et (K lo sso w sk i), v iii L eib n iz, G . W., 77, 1 4 0 n l5 L E m barras du choix (P a r a in ), 72, 77, 83 L e n in , V .I., 82 Les M artyrs ( C h a te a u b r ia n d ), 139n 9 Le Souffleur (K lo sso w sk i), v iii, 123 Lettres Trebutien ( d A u r e v illy ), 51, 5 7 - 5 8 (n . iv ), 64 L Hypothese d u tableau vole (film ), viii L w ith , K arl, 117 L u th er, M a rtin , 3 1 , 76, 115, 134n 25 M a h o m e t, 13 4 n 2 5 M a ra t, Jc a n -P a u l, 1 38n 2 M a rx , K arl, 78, 7 9 ,8 1 M a sso n , A n d r , vii M e iste r E ck h a rt, 6 5 - 6 6 , 9 7 , 1 4 0 n l M e p h isto p h e le s (c h a r a c te r in G o e t h e s F a u st), 2 4 , 5 5 , 1 3 6 n 9 M o n tfo rt, E u gn e, 4 3 , 138n31 M ost High, The ( B la n c h o t), 8 9 - 9 8 , 130 N .R .F . (jo u rn a l), 3 6 , 3 8 N ie tz sc h e , 1 -1 6 , 3 3 , 4 8 , 6 5 , 79, 9 9 - 1 2 2 , 1 2 6 - 1 2 8 , 1 3 0 - 1 3 2 ; an d art, 5, 1 0 1 - 1 0 2 , 11 4 ; a n d th e d e a th o f G o d ,

2 -3 , 1 1 -1 3 , 1 5 ,9 9 , 117, 1 2 0 - 1 2 1 , 128, 1 3 1 - 1 3 2 ; an d th e d e m o n , 8 - 1 0 , 1 1 9 -1 2 0 (n . ii), 1 2 5 - 1 2 7 ; an d D ion ysu s, 1 3 - 1 4 , 101, 114, 117, 120, 122, 131; an d ete rn al retu rn , 2 - 3 , 8 - 1 0 , 16, 107, 114, 118, 121, 126, 131; an d fab le, 1 0 2 - 1 0 4 , 117, 1 3 0 -1 3 1 ; an d fate (fatum , d e stin y ), 9 - 1 0 (n . iv ), 14, 100, 103, 132; an d fo rg ettin g, 3 - 5 , 7 - 8 ; an d G id e , 14, 3 3 ; an d th e h isto rical se n se , 3 - 6 ; an d th e last m an , 15; an d lau gh ter (h ila r ity), 1 0 8 - 1 0 9 , 1 1 2 - 1 1 3 , 121, 132; and m ad n ess, 14, 1 3 4 n 2 5 ; an d m yth, 3, 9 - 1 0 (n . iv ); an d n ih ilism , 3, 1 2 -1 3 , 15, 100, 120; an d th e o v e r m an, 1 -2 , 1 2 -1 3 , 15, 121; an d p a r o dy, 9 9 - 1 2 2 , 132; an d p ath o s, 1 1 0 -1 1 2 ; an d p o ly th eism , 3, 7, 9 9 - 1 2 2 , 1 2 7 - 1 2 8 , 131; an d religio n , 2, 5 -6 , 1 1 -1 3 , 101, 102; Revaluation o f All Values, 11, 131; and th e spirit o f gravity, 104; an d th e u n co n scio u s, 5, 7, 12, 1 0 4 - 1 0 6 ; an d will to pow er, 1, 3, 9 - 1 1 , 15 (n . x ii), 114, 131; an d Z arath u stra, 3, 101, 102, 103, 115, 1 2 1 - 1 2 2 , 126 Nietzsche (H e id e g g e r), 8 6 (n . ii) Nietzsche and the Vicious C ircle (K lo sso w sk i), viii N ietzsche, sa vie et sa pense (C h a r le s A n d le r), 9 9 - 1 0 0 , 1 4 3 n l N ih ilism , 3, 1 2 -1 3 , 15, 72, 8 2 , 100, 120 N osferatu the Vampire (film ), 45 N ote Regarding M y Detention ( S a d e ) , 49 (n . i) O v e r m a n , 1 -2 , 1 2 -1 3 , 15, 121 P arain , B rice, 7 1 - 8 3 , 8 5 , 1 2 9 -1 3 0 P arody, 9 9 - 1 2 2 , 132 Pays (jo u rn a l), 51 P h e n o m en o lo gy , 7 3 - 7 4 , 82 P lato , 3, 9 - 1 0 (n . iv ), 2 4 - 2 5 (n . ii), 1 0 2 , 125 Poetry and Truth (Dichtung und Wahrheit) ( G o e t h e ), 24

150

INDEX

P o ly th e ism , 3 , 7, 9 9 - 1 2 2 , 1 2 7 - 1 2 8 , 131 P rou st, M a rce l, 21 Recherches su r la nature et les functions du language (P a r a in ), 73 R e fo rm a tio n , 2, 78 Retour France (P a r a in ), 77 Revaluation o f A ll Values (N ie tz sc h e ), 11, 131 R ilk e , R a in e r M a rie, vii R iv i re , Ja c q u e s, 3 8 - 3 9 , 4 1 - 4 2 , 1 3 7 n 2 7 Roberte ce soir (K lo sso w sk i), v iii R o u ssea u , Je a n -Ja c q u e s, 134n 25 R uiz, R a u l, viii S a d e , D .A .F ., vii, 4 9 , 5 6 - 5 7 (n . iv ), 6 7,

Stirn e r, M a x , 13 Strait is the G a te (G id e ) , 2 8, 35 S trin d b u rg , A u g u st, 117 S u a re s, A n d r , 3 0 S u b -c o m in g , 7 - 8 , 8 6, 103, 1 2 5 - 1 2 7 , 1 3 4 n l6 T e rtu llian , 17, 7 1, 8 5 , 9 1 , 127, 1 3 5n 3, I 4 0 n l , 1411 4 2 n l Theseus ( G id e ) , 32 Thus Spoke Z arathustra (N ie tz sc h e ), 100, 101, 1 1 4 - 1 1 5 , 116, 118, 122 T r a n sc e n d e n ta l eg o , 7 3 - 7 4 Twilight o f the Idols, The (N ie tz sc h e ),

100, 102

68 , 9 2 , 128
Sad e M y N eighbor (K lo sso w sk i), v iii, 123 S t . A u g u stin e , 6 1 - 6 2 S t . P aul, 134n 25 S t . T h o m a s A q u in a s, 91 (n . vi) S a r tr e , Je a n -P a u l, 73, 77 Satires (Ju v e n a l), 1 3 7 n 8 S a u l (G id e ) , 2 9 , 3 7 , 3 9 Sc h o p e n h a u e r, A rth u r, 12 S c h w o b , M arce l, 3 0 S im u la c ru m , 1 8 - 1 9 , 7 0 , 116, 121 Situations I (S a r tr e ), 73 S o c ra te s, 13 4 n 2 5 S p in o z a , B a ru ch , 1 0 7 - 1 0 9 , 111 S t a lin , Jo se p h , 82

Untim ely M editations (N ie tz sc h e ), 3 - 6 , 1 2 6 ,1 2 7 V ia la tte , A le x a n d r e , 133n3 V irgil, 1 2 3 - 1 2 4 , 126, 1 39n 9 W anderer and H is Shadow , The (N ie tz sc h e ), 100 W ill to pow er, 1 , 3 , 9 - 1 1 , 114, 131 W u st, Peter, 2 2, 136n7 Z arath u stra (c h a r a c te r in N ie tz sc h e s T h us Spoke Z arathu stra), 3 , 2 9, 55 101, 102, 103, 115, 1 2 1 - 1 2 2 , 126 Z u cca, P ierre, viii

PHILOSOPHY

K l

ossowski

Such a Deathly Desire


Pierre Klossowski
Translated and with an Afterword by Russell Ford
Shocking, brilliant, and eccentric, the French author, translator, and artist Pierre Klossowski (1 9 0 5 -2 0 0 1 ) exerted a profound effect on French intellectual culture throughout the twentieth century. The older brother o f the painter Balthus, secretary to the novelist Andr Gide, friend to Georges Bataille and Maurice Blanchot, and heralded as one o f the most important voices in the French return to Nietzsche by Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze, Klossowski pursued his singular vision o f mortal embodiment through a variety o f scholarly manifestations. In Such a Deathly Desire (Un si funeste dsir), Klossowskis original interpretation o f Nietzsches eternal return is developed around the enigmatic figure o f the dem on, then deepened with provocative readings o f Gides correspondence; Barbey dAurevilly s novel A M arried Priest; and the intertwining o f language and death in the work o f Bataille, Blanchot, and Brice Parain. The book concludes with the powerful essay Nietzsche, Polytheism, and Parody, in which Klossowski articulates the consequences o f the eternal return and the meaning o f Nietzsches genealogy o f the fabulation o f the world. Intersecting with and confounding a range o f disciplines including psychoanalysis, literary criticism, gender studies, and philosophy Klossowskis critical writings on language, literature, and the aesthetics o f embodiment remain powerful and original contributions to contemporary concerns in the theoretical humanities. Pierre Klossowski was one o f the most influential (albeit idiosyncratic) literary figures in France during the postwar years, yet his work remains strangely unknown in the Englishspeaking world. Such a Deathly Desire was one o f the essential books o f Klossowskis oeuvre, and it includes seminal articles on Gide, Bataill, and Blanchot, as well as his now-classic essay Nietzsche, Polytheism, and Parody. The appearance o f the book in English has long been anticipated, and we owe an immense debt to Russell Ford for providing us with an accessible and accurate translation. Daniel W. Smith, Purdue University

uch a Deathly Desire

Russell Ford is Assistant Professor o f Philosophy at Elmhurst College. A volume in the SUNY series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy Dennis J. Schmidt, editor

S U N Y

STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK PRESS


www.sunypress.edu