Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Bergson on the novelist/ own presence.

Ktismatics and I were discussing world makingworldmaking from the point of view of the writer of fiction. This extract from Time and Free Will by Henri Bergson is germane. Bergson is a difficult thinker but one I think that should be approached directly by diving into the primary texts and avoiding the myrmidons Deleuze, et al. If I may further mix the metaphor they are like whales, very like whales, in that they strain out what is food for them. They might have left this after them or promoted the strange idea that Bergson requires naturalising.

Now, if some bold novelist tearing aside the cleverly woven curtain of our conventional ego, shows us under this appearance of logic a fundamental absurdity, under this juxtaposition of simple states and infinite permeation of a thousand different impressions which have already ceased to exist the instant they are named, we commend him for having known us better than we knew ourselves. This is not the case however and the very fact that he spreads out our feeling in a homogeneous time, and expresses its elements by words, shows that he in his turn is only offering us its shadow but he has arranged this shadow in such a way as to make us suspect the extraordinary and illogical nature of the object which projects it; he has made us reflect by giving outward expression to something of that contradiction that interpenetration, which is the very essence of the elements expressed. Encouraged by him, we have put aside for an instant the veil which we interposed between our consciousness and ourselves. He has brought us back into our own presence.
(from Time and Free Will pg.62 ereader search on own presence.

1 comment:

ombhurbhuva said...

Joyce and Woolf were influenced by Bergson in their attempt at reproducing the babbling brook of consciousness with its swift alterations and incompletion. Words seem more like elements in a formula that fused together in the mind of Bloom or Mrs. Dalloway cause poetic experience in the mind of the reader.

- a catalyst, yes, that French chap, dammed clever, the moustache and the curly brimmed bowler. Cé he Dia? Fearín Beag is hata cruaidh air. Eliot too, time gentlemen please. You could send him in to clear the bar at closing time.