Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« Burn On Nickels | Narrative Ressentiment »

Friday, July 20, 2007

Still Dead Narrative

posted by on July 20 at 14:12 PM

My correct position on the death of narratives is accurately expressed by the poem “La Cloche fle”:


It is bitter and sweet, during winter nights,
To listen, beside the throbbing, smoking fife,
To distant memories slowly ascending
In the sound of the chimes chanting through the fog.

Happy is the bell with the vigorous throat
Which, despite old age, watchful and healthy,
Faithfully sends out its religious cry,
Like an old soldier sentinel under the tent!

My soul is cracked, and when in its boredom
It wishes to fill the cold air of the night with its songs,
Often it happens that its feeble voice

Seems like the thick death-rattle of one wounded, forgotten
By the edge of a lake of blood, under a great pile of the dead,
And who dies, without moving, after enormous efforts. (Translation: a mix of Wallace Fowlie and Geoffrey Wagner)


I enjoy the hearty and holy (and wholly naive) narrative “which sends out its religious cry, like an old soldier sentinel under the tent!” But I cant see this narrative as anything than what it is: as dead as Homer. And as a writer (and filmmaker), I can only say this to myself, in all honesty: “moi, mon me est fle.” My soul/bell is cracked.

By the middle of the 19th century, the greatest poet of that century (Whitman’s negative), Baudelaire knew that the cracked bell would be the condition of the writer, the artists, the drinker—his/her soul is not only cracked for good but also trying to move while under the pile of the dead (Aescylus, Christopher Marlowe, John Lyly, John Webster, Spinoza, Nietzche, Hegel, Marx, Dickens, Ruskin, Walter Pater, Joyce, Zora Neal Hurston, Gogol, Richard Wright, Nabokov, Ellison, Bely, Sontag, Sologub, Borges—and all the rest of my dead).

To get excited over a story is to get excited by a voice coming out of a tomb.

RSS icon Comments

1

I'm on to you, Charles! Yo' suspect!

Posted by Mr. Poe | July 20, 2007 2:30 PM
2

I'd be pretty fuckin' excited by a voice coming out of a tomb.

Posted by christopher | July 20, 2007 2:36 PM
3

Charles... this is Jesus... STOP PLAYING WITH YOURSELF!

Posted by monkey | July 20, 2007 2:42 PM
4

I would just like to say that I actually thoroughly enjoy Chaz' posts, I often find them quite thoughtful and interesting, but what I really wanted to say here was that I couldn't read that poem without hearing Geddy Lee singing it in my head.

That might be cuz I'm drunk though.

Carry on!

Posted by BillyCorazon | July 20, 2007 2:43 PM
5

ok, I'll bite: no art dies, as long as there's someone around make it. Go ahead Chaz, moan about the death of this and that; the rest of us will be dancing and reading.

Posted by Special K | July 20, 2007 2:44 PM
6

Sweet reference, monkey! You win! Though honorable mention goes to Billy for a very amusing observation.

Posted by christopher | July 20, 2007 2:53 PM
7

Thank you christopher. I'd curtsy but I'm drunk.

Posted by monkey | July 20, 2007 3:14 PM
8

Plan B likely involves putting pressure on the health department not to renew licenses. I doubt they'd reject any mayor's request.

Posted by investigatory journalist | July 20, 2007 3:21 PM
9

oops, wrong post. i lose.

Posted by investigatory journalist | July 20, 2007 3:23 PM
10

All this over a hat? oh, you ubermenchen.

Posted by stone | July 20, 2007 4:49 PM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 14 days old).