Friday, August 23, 2013

Painting in Two Frames

Piglia quoted as an example of Borges’s claim one of Michail Chekhov’s tales whose nucleus is: ‘A man goes to the casino at Monte Carlo, wins a million, returns to his place and commits suicide.’:
If this is the nucleus of a story, one must, in order to tell it, divide the twisted story in two: on the one hand, the story of the game; on the other, that of the suicide. Thus Piglia’s first thesis: that a story always has a double characteristic and always tells two stories at the same time, which provides the opportunity to distinguish the story which is on the first plane from the number 2 story which is encoded in the interstices of story number 1. We should note that story number 2 only appears when the story is concluded, and it has the effect of surprise. What joins these two stories is that the elements, the events, are inscribed in two narrative registers which are at the same time distinct, simultaneous, and antagonistic, and the construction itself of the story is supported by the junction between the two stories. The inversions which seem superfluous in the development of story number 1 become, on the contrary, essential in the plot of story number 2. /…/

There is a modern form of the story which transforms this structure by omitting the surprise finale without closing the structure of the story, which leaves a trace of a narrative, and the tension of the two stories is never resolved. This is what one considers as being properly modern: the subtraction of the final anchoring point which allows the two stories to continue in an unresloved tension.

This is the case, says Piglia, with Hemingway, who pushed the ellipse to its highest point in such a way that the secret story remains hermetic. One perceives simply that there is another story which needs to be told, but which remains absent. There is a hole. If one modified Chekhov’s note in Hemingway’s style, it would not narrate the suicide, but rather the text would be assembled in such a way that one might think that the reader already knew it. Kafka constitutes another of these variants. He narrates very simply, in his novels, the most secret story, a secret story which appears on the first plane, told as if coming from itself, and he encodes the story which should be visible but which becomes, on the contrary, enigmatic and hidden.
- Slavoj Zizek, "Brunhilde's Act"

Maybe you had to be there....


WomanHonorThyself said...

always a fascinating topic despite how macabre it can be eh...............Happy Monday my friend:)

-FJ said...

Thanks Angel! Happy Monday!