I have some books sitting by my desk that are only sitting here because I need to transcribe some passages from them before they go either back onto my shelf or into my “to sell”pile.
from FORBIDDEN FICTIONS: PORNOGRAPHY AND CENSORSHIP IN TWENTIETH CENTURY FRENCH LITERATURE by John Phillips:
- homosexual French writers: Tony Duvert, Jean Demélier, Renaud Camus and Dominique Fernandez
- On Story of O:
Admittedly, the letter O also suggests the sex object that the character consents to become: the possession of Sir Stephen, whose mark is branded on her body. Yet, her aspiration to self-effacement seems to have a quasi-religious motivation which comes from within rather than from outside herself. The desire to erase her conventional identity, to achieve the neutrality of a being without a specific polarity, a being existing in every sense ‘entre la vie et la mort’ (‘between life and death’), dictates her behaviour towards herself as well as towards others. ‘In manus tuas, Domine,’ O silently says to her lover, expressing a kind of spiritual death wish. For the writer, this is a widespread fantasy, resembling religious devotion:
[Women] want to be possessed, possessed completely, until death. what one seeks is to be killed. What else does the believer seek but to lose herself in God. It seems to me to be the height of ecstasy to have onself killed by someone one loves. I cannot think otherwise.
- On Duvert’s Récidive:
And when you go from train to train and from station to station in search of something which disappeared long ago, which is perhaps somewhere else, some time later, or which was here, just a minute ago, or which doesn’t exist, you don’t see anything any more, you forget what you were looking for, unless it’s one train or another, you live your life in a corridor.
Such changes in time and space construct a world which is virtual, not real, a world of desire rather than fulfilment, in which the subject’s identity drifts between the insecurities and anxieties of adolescent desires and a predatory adult sexuality, between the perspective of a 15-year-old boy and those of his older lovers. It is a highly subjective perspective, hedged around by the admission of its own limitations, often doubtful, contradictory, playing on the reader’s own needs to fantasise and underlining the discontinuous nature of homosexual identity.
This prvileging of the plural and the fragmented undermines the binary structures of heterosexuality and its exclusivity, and it also serves in Récidive to blur the boundaries between adolescence and adulthood, aiding and abetting the evasion of responsibility.
- For a detailed discussion of the ‘Guyotat Affair,’ see Harrison, Circles of Censorship, pp. 174-80
- André Pieyre de Mandiargues, Le Déordre de la mémoire: Entretiens avec Francine Mallet (Paris: Gallimard, 1975) pp. 174-75. Mandiargues called this list his modern ‘Enfer’, a reference to the collection of books of the same name, considered unsuitable for public consumption, mainly on the grounds of their obscenity, and set up by the Bibliothèque Nationale in 1874.
from NOHOW ON by SAMUEL BECKETT
- “Riveted to some detail of the desert the eye fills with tears. Imagination at wit’s end spreads its sad wings. Gone she hears one night the sea as if afar. Plucks up her long skirt to make better haste and discovers her boots and stockings to the calf. Tears. Last example the flagstone before her door that by dint by dint her little weight has grooved. Tears.” (56)
- “Such–such fiasco that folly takes a hand. Such bits and scraps. Seen no matter how and said as seen. Dread of black. Of white. Of void. Let her vanish. And the rest. For good. And the sun. Last rays. And the moon. And Venus. Nothing left by black sky. White earth. Or inversely. No more sky or earth. Finished high and low. Nothing but black and white. Everywhere no matter where. But black. Void. Nothing else. contemplate that. Not another word. Home at last. Gently gently.” (66)