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jeudi, 01 septembre 2011

Marc Laudelout sur "Méridien Zéro"

Marc Laudelout sur "Méridien Zéro"

Le Bulletin célinien n°333

Le Bulletin célinien n°333 - septembre 2011

Vient de paraître : Le Bulletin célinien n°333.

Au sommaire :

Marc Laudelout : Bloc-notes
François Gibault : Céline n’a pas besoin de célébration nationale
Michel Uyen : Un nouveau livre sur l’exil danois
M. L. : Réception critique du Céline de Henri Godard
Philippe Alméras : Céline à la sauce velours
M. L. : Jérôme Dupuis, Rouletabille du journalisme littéraire
M. L. : Pierre Duverger, photographe de Céline
Pierre de Bonneville : Villon et Céline (2)
M. L. : L’Année Céline 2010

Un numéro de 24 pages, 6 € franco. Le Bulletin célinien, B. P. 70, Gare centrale, BE 1000 Bruxelles.

Le Bulletin célinien n°333 - Bloc-notes

 
En cette époque où dérision et sarcasmes triomphent, j’imagine les commentaires acidulés de certains apprenant que la tombe de Céline fut fleurie le 1er juillet par la Société des Études céliniennes. Que les persifleurs me pardonnent de ne pas faire chorus. J’ai apprécié cette initiative qui s’avère, par les temps qui courent, vraiment anticonformiste. Quelques jours avant la date anniversaire, François Gibault adressa un courrier aux membres parisiens de la SEC pour leur donner rendez-vous au cimetière de Meudon. Le BC décida alors de relayer l’information auprès de ses abonnés disposant d’une adresse électronique.
C’est ainsi qu’une soixantaine de personnes se retrouvèrent autour de la tombe de Céline pour lui rendre l’hommage refusé par la République au début de cette année. L’initiative ne fit-elle pas l’unanimité au sein du bureau de la SEC ? Toujours est-il que celui-ci ne fut représenté que par son président ¹. Sans doute peut-on comprendre l’absence de certains. D’autant qu’être présent à Meudon ce 1er juillet, c’était s’exposer au risque de côtoyer des personnes souhaitant surtout rendre hommage à l’auteur des « pamphlets ». Cela n’a pas manqué. Certains d’entre eux, davantage familiers du Coran que de Céline, font partie de cette cohorte admirative d’un seul pan de son œuvre pour les raisons que l’on devine. Dont un individu qui, sûr de son petit effet, exhibait ostensiblement un exemplaire de Bagatelles pour un massacre. Certes on me dira que cette faune avait une allure tout à fait célinienne tant certains semblaient issus en droite ligne de Guignol’s band. Au moins faut-il reconnaître qu’ils se tinrent cois et ne troublèrent en aucune façon la réunion ².
Bien entendu, il importe de respecter la sensibilité de chacun. Ainsi n’aura-t-on pas été étonné de ne pas rencontrer certains céliniens patentés. On se souvient de l’embarras de l’un d’entre eux, il y a quelques années, lorsqu’à l’issue d’une émission télévisée, Bernard Pivot demanda benoîtement aux invités d’imaginer une question à poser à Céline si, par miracle, il apparaissait devant eux.
Coïncidence : ceux qu’on peut qualifier de « céliniens historiques » – François Gibault, Frédéric Vitoux, Philippe Alméras et Henri Godard – ont cette particularité commune d’avoir écrit une biographie de Céline. La dernière en date étant celle de Henri Godard. Pour ma part, j’ai apprécié la finesse et la densité de ce travail même s’il y a inévitablement des réserves à formuler. Le climat délétère de la IIIe République eût mérité d’être décrit tant il explique aussi l’éclosion des écrits de combat. En revanche, l’auteur montre bien comment Céline est venu à l’écriture, lui qui fut élevé dans un milieu où rien ne le prédisposait à une destinée d’écrivain. Les pages concernant ses années de formation sont éclairantes à cet égard. Dans notre numéro de juin, nous avons publié l’appréciation élogieuse de Frédéric Vitoux. Vous lirez dans ces pages celle, plus critique, de Philippe Alméras, ainsi qu’un panorama de la réception critique du livre. Le BC renoue ainsi avec le débat qu’il a toujours tenté de privilégier — le lecteur demeurant finalement seul juge.

Marc LAUDELOUT


1. Rappelons que les membres du conseil d’administration sont : Isabelle Blondiaux, André Derval, David Fontaine, Henri Godard, Marie Hartmann, Catherine Rouayrenc, Christine Sautermeister, et Alice Stašková. Cela étant, plusieurs céliniens, membres ou non de la SEC, étaient présents : David Alliot, Anne Baudart, Christian Dedet, Michel Déjus, Jérôme Dupuis, Valeria Ferretti, Matthias Gadret, Philippe Ginisty, Frédéric Monnier, etc.
2. Cf. Louis Egoïne de Large, « Chapeau Meudon et Bagatelles », Le Clan des Vénitiens [http://blanrue.blogspot.com], 10 juillet 2011.

mercredi, 17 août 2011

Knut Hamsun

Knut_Hamsun.jpg

Knut Hamsun

Kerry Bolton

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com/

Editor’s Note:

This much-expanded version of a previously-published essay on Knut Hamsun is chapter 6 of Kerry Bolton’s Artists of the Right: Resisting Decadence, forthcoming from Counter-Currents.

Knut Hamsun, 1859–1952, has had a decisive impact on the course of twentieth century literature, both in Europe and America, yet was for decades little discussed let alone honored even in his native Norway.

Ernest Hemingway tried to emulate him as did Henry Miller, who called Hamsun “the Dickens of my generation.” Thomas Mann wrote, “never has the Nobel Prize been awarded to one so worthy of it.” Herman Hesse called Hamsun his favorite author. Admired by H. G. Wells, Kafka, and Brecht,[1] Hamsun always enjoyed a great following not only in Germany but particularly in Russia, where he was lauded especially by Maxim Gorky. Even inside the Communist State Hamsun continued to be published despite his politics, and he remained an influence on such Bolshevik luminaries as Aleksandr Kollontai and Illya Ehrenburg.[2]

Origins

Hamsun was born Knut Pedersen of an impoverished peasant family of seven children on August 4th, 1859. His father was a farmer and a tailor; his mother’s lineage was of Viking nobility. Knut had a hard upbringing on his uncle’s farm where he was sent when he was nine. But his uncle also ran the local library, which gave  him the chance to begin his self-education.[3]

He left his uncle’s farm in 1873, and over the next few years worked at a variety of jobs, laboring, teaching, and clerical, as he widely journeyed about.[4]

America

At 18 he had published his first novel called The Enigmatic One, a love story.[5] He then paid for the publication of another novel Bjorger.[6] But acknowledgment as a writer was a decade away, as there was then little interest in his peasant tales.

In 1882 Knut traveled to the USA, joining the great Norwegian emigration to that country. Between numerous jobs he was able to get some newspaper articles published and began a series of lectures on authors among the Norwegian community.[7] From this early start, Hamsun wrote as an observer of life. He was the first to develop the novel based on the psychology of characters. Hamsun wrote of what he saw and felt particularly identifying with the workers and the tramps. But he was soon disillusioned with America, despite his initial wonder, and he expressed his disgust for American life in articles for Norwegian newspapers[8] upon his return.[9]

In the first sentence of his first article on America[10] Hamsun described the country as “the Millionaires’ Republic,” a reference to the manner by which elections are based on money,[11] and where the “diseased an degenerate human raw material stream every day from all over the world.” Alluding to principles that are today familiarly called “the American Dream,” Hamsun states that the immigrant is soon disappointed when “the principles do not deliver what they promise.”

He was skeptical about the liberty fetish upon which the American ethos is proclaimed, stating that it is in practice not so much a matter of having “liberty” as “taking liberties.”[12] The purpose of being American is to fulfill a “carnivorous, satiating existence, with the ability to afford intense sensual pleasures . . .”[13]

What now seems particularly prescient, Hamsun, in criticizing the “machinelust” of Americans alludes with a mixture of amazement and abhorrence to having eaten even an egg “from a Brooklyn egg factory” (Hamsun’s emphasis),[14] perhaps something that might have seemed pathological for a youthful Scandinavian of country stock.

Hamsun’s next article for Aftenpost centered on New York, and focused on what can be considered the vulgarity of American city-dwellers in comparison to those in Europe; their loudness and their lack of etiquette.[15] “New Yorkers know little about literature or art.”[16] The theater is popular but the “level of dramatic art is so low.”[17]

Hamsun’s first major literary work came in 1888 when he succeeded in getting published a short story in a magazine, which was to form part of his novel, Hunger. The story gained him access to the literary scene in Copenhagen. Hamsun became a celebrity among the young intellectuals. He was invited to lecture before university audiences.[18]

He was commissioned to write a book on America in 1889 setting aside the completion of Hunger. The result was The Cultural Life of Modern America,[19] based on his second trip to the USA in 1886, which had been prompted by his desire to make a literary mark for himself there.[20]

By 1888 he was so repelled by the USA, that he took to wearing a black ribbon in sympathy with four German anarchist immigrants[21] who had been sentenced to death for the Haymarket bombing in Chicago, 1886.

He left a departing message, giving a two-hour lecture on the cultural vacuity of America.[22]

Despite his destitution upon settling in Copenhagen, he wrote to a friend: “How pleased I am with this country. This is Europe, and I am European—thank God!”[23]

It was two lectures on America at the University of Copenhagen that formed the basis of the aforementioned Cultural Life of Modern America. Nelson remarks of Hamsun’s particular disgust, which might to many readers seem completely relevant to the present time: “In particular he was offended by the exaggerated patriotism of Americans, their continual boasting of themslevs as the freest, most advanced, most intelligent people anywhere–boasting from which the foreigner could not escape.”[24]

Hamsun attacked the crass materialism of the  USA. He despised democracy as a form of despotism, abhorring its leveling nature and mob politics. America is a land where the highest morality is money, where the meaning of art is reduced to its cash value. He also expresses his misgivings about the presence of Africans in the USA. The Civil War is described as a war against the aristocracy by northern capitalists. He writes: “Instead of founding an intellectual elite, America has established a mulatto stud farm.”

Literary Eminence

Resuming the writing of Hunger after his musings on America, this appeared in 1890. It has been described as one of the great novels of urban alienation. Like much of his writing it is partly autobiographical. It centers on a young budding writer trying to fend off poverty, wandering the streets in rags, but in some odd way enjoying the experiences despite the hardship. Through an act of will the character maintains his identity.

This was perhaps the first novel to make the workings of the mind the central theme. It was a genre he was to continue experimenting with over the next ten years. Contra orthodox psychological theories, Hamsun held that a diversity of separate personality types within the individual is a desirable state of being. He wrote of this in regard to his aim for literature: “I will therefore have contradictions in the inner man considered as a quite natural phenomenon, and I dream of a literature with characters in which their very lack of consistency is their basic characteristic.”[25]

Hamsun’s next great novel was Mysteries,[26] virtually a self-portrait. One reviewer described Hamsun as expressing “the wildest paradoxes,” a hatred of bourgeois academics and of the masses. The principal character, Nagel, is presented in the form of free flowing thought associations and a stream of consciousness.[27]

Here Hamsun identifies himself as “a radical who belongs to no party, but is an individual in the extreme.”[28] The book caused an uproar among literary circles, but it sold well.

Having outraged the literary establishment, Hamsun next set about critiquing the younger coterie of writers as arrogant and talentless wastrels, whom he represents in Shallow Soil[29] as “a festering sore on the social organism of the Norwegian capital,” in the words of Prof. Wiehr.[30]

Here Hanka Tidemand, a liberated and modern woman of the type detested by Hamsun, finds her true nature back with her hard working husband and children, after an affair with an artist. She realizes her mistaken course, on the verge of divorce, when she sees her children. Here Hamsun sets out his constant theme of rediscovering one’s roots in the simple life, in family and, in children. The well-meaning Mr Tidemand has his wife Hanka leave after she is seduced by one of the bohemian parasites.

[Tideman’s] regard for the individual liberty of his wife amounts really to a fault. He fails to see, however, the grave danger which is threatening Hanka and believes to be promoting her true happiness in according her perfect freedom. His devotion to her never ceases, and when she at last repents, he makes reconciliation easy for her. . . .

Hanka is evidently the product of a misdirected striving for emancipation; she seems to acknowledge no duty except the duty to herself. [31]

The Kareno trilogy of plays (At the Gates of the Kingdom, Evening Glow, and The Game of Life)[32] focuses Hamsun’s growing anti-democratic sentiment in the character of Ivar Kareno, a young philosopher who states:

I believe in the born leader, the natural despot, not the man who is chosen but the man who elects himself to be ruler over the masses. I believe in and hope for one thing, and that is the return of the great terrorist, the living essence of human power, the Caesar.[33]

By now, Hamsun had become a celebrity, cheered in the streets by crowds although he despised the attention, but several decades away from being honored with a Nobel Prize

The Growth of the Soil

The Growth of the Soil is a remarkable book for those who have a yearning for the timeless in a world of the superficial and the transient. Published in 1917, it was the work that was cited when Hamsun was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1920.

This is the world of a rough, coarsely-featured farmer Isak, and a woman, Inger, who happened to come by from across the valley, stay with him to sire a children and help Isak work the land, raise goats, potatoes, corn, milk the cows and goats, make cheese, and subsist at one with nature.

Isak and Inger are archetypes of the peasant; the antithesis of the New Yorker and the archetypical “American” described in Hamsun’s essays on the USA.

The sense of a day-by-day part of eternity lived by Isak and Inger is captured, juxtaposing their lives with the grain they sow and the earth they till, as part of a single rhythm that has existed for centuries:

For generations back, into forgotten time, his fathers before him had sowed corn, solemnly, on a still, calm evening, bets with a fall of warm and gentle rain, soon after the grey goose flight. . . .

Isak walked bare headed, in Jesus’ name, a sower. Like a tree stump to look at, but in his heart like a child. Every cast was made with care, in a spirit of kindly resignation. Look! The tiny grains that are to take life and to grow, shoot up into ears, and give more corn again; so it is throughout the earth where corn is sown. Palestine, America, the valleys of Norway itself—a great wide world, and here is Isak, a tiny speck in the midst of it all, a sower. Little showers of corn flung out fanwise form his hand; a kindly clouded sky, with a promise of the faintest little misty rain.[34]

The woman as mother is the highest of peasant values, and indeed of the fulfillment of women, in antithesis to the “liberated woman” that was becoming evident in Hamsun’s time as a symptom of a culture’s decay, a type already described by Hamsun in Shallow Soil and elsewhere.

The rearing of children is the purpose of Being of the wife and mother, as much as that might be sneered at now, but as Spengler noted, there is nothing more important than the continuation of a family lineage, generation-after-generation, and one might add—interestingly—the same values hold as true for the aristocrat as for the peasant; there is no more dread than being the last of a family’s line. Hence, we see something of this feeling described by Hamsun:

She was in full flower, and constantly with child. Isak, himself, her lord and master, was earnest and stolid as ever, but he had got on well, and was content. How he had managed to live until Inger came was a mystery . . . now, he had all that a man can think of in his place in the world.[35]

The feeling is described by Oswald Spengler in The Hour of Decision, which captures the same intent that Hamsun was expressing in drama:

A woman of race[36] does not desire to be a “companion” or a “lover,” but a mother; and not the mother of one child, to serve as a toy and a distraction, but of many; the instinct of a strong race speaks in the pride that large families inspire, in the feeling that barrenness is the hardest curse that can befall a woman and through her the race . . .[37]

This is precisely the type of woman that Inger represents: “She was in full flower, and constantly with child . . .”

A man wants stout sons who will perpetuate his name and his deeds beyond his death into the future and enhance them, just as he has done himself through feeling himself heir to the calling and works of his ancestors.[38]

This organic conception of family, an instinct during the “Spring” and “Summer” epochs of a civilization, becomes atrophied during the “Autumn” and “Winter” epochs, as Spengler aptly terms the morphological cycles of a culture; which is of course the situation today, and was becoming apparent during Hamsun’s time. The culture-problem addressed by Hamsun in Shallow Soil, etc., where the “emancipated woman” leaves her family, is described by Spengler:

The meaning of man and wife, the will to perpetuity, is being lost. People live for themselves alone, not for future generations. The nation as society, once the organic web of families, threatens to dissolve, from the city outwards, into a sum of private atoms, of which each is intent on extracting form his own and other lives the maximum of amusement–panem et cicenses. The women’s emancipation of Ibsen’s time wanted, not freedom from the husband, but freedom from the child, from the burden of children, just as men’s emancipation in the same period signified freedom from the duties of family, nation, and State.[39]

Hamsun addressed a matter of land ownership and purchase, as it had been the habit of the tillers to simply stake out a plot of land and work it, without thought as to how and where to purchase it. Amidst the cycles of struggle, drought, crop failures, births of children, and crop recovery, and the contentedness of Isak and Inger and their family amidst it all, an official calls upon them one day to enquire as to why Isak never bought the land.

Buy? What should he buy for? The ground was there, the forest was there; he had cleared and tilled, built up a homestead in the midst of a natural wilderness, winning bread for himself and his, asking nothing of any man, but working, and working alone.[40]

The district sheriff’s officer finally calls by, looking at the vast tracts of tilled land, and asking why Isak had never come to him to purchase it. Soon after a bit of verbal sophistry, Isak begins to see how the official must be correct. Asking about “boundaries,” Isak had only thought in terms of how far he could see and what he could work. But the State required “definite boundaries,” “and the greater the extent, the more you will have to pay.” To all of this, Isak, could only acknowledge with “Ay.”[41]

From there, the simple life of Isak and Inger is confronted with a bureaucratic muddle, with questions on the money-value of the land, its waters, the potential for fishing, and the possibility of ores and metals.

Then civilization reaches Isak and Inger in the form of the telegraph (which becomes a metaphor for “civilization”) which is to go through his land, and for which he would be paid to upkeep the lines. [42] Furthermore, there was a copper mine in the hills that was to be bought from Isak.[43] Despite the money that now comes to Isak, he remains always a peasant, still toiling, knowing that is who he is and not wanting to be anything else:

Isak understood his work, his calling. He was a rich man now, with a big farm, but the heavy cash payments that had come to him by a lucky chance he used but poorly; he put the money aside. The land saved him. If he had lived down in the village, maybe the great world would have affected even him; so much gaiety, so many elegant manners and ways; he would have been buying useless trifles, and wearing a red Sunday shirt on weekdays. Here in the wilds he was sheltered from all immoderation; he lived in clear air, washed himself on Sunday mornings, and took a bath when he went up to the lake. Those thousand Daler—well, ’twas a gift from Heaven, to be kept intact. What else should he do? His ordinary outgoings were more than covered by the produce of his fields and stock.[44]

The copper mining, which went to Swedish ownership, began encroached increasingly, much to the distress of the villagers. Elesuesu, Isak and Inger’s eldest son, having spent much time away had returned ruined by civilization, improvident,

Poor Eleseus, all set on end and frittered away. Better, maybe, if he’d worked on the land all the time, but now he’s a man that has learned to write and use letters; no grip in him, no depth. For all that, no pitch-black devil of a man, not in Jove, not ambitious, hardly nothing at all is Eleseus, not even a bad thing of any great dimensions.

Something unfortunate, ill-fated about this young man, as if something were rotting him from within. . . . the child had lost his roothold, and suffered thereby. All that he turns to now leads back to something wanting in him, something dark against the light.[45]

Eleseus represents that type which becomes predominate in the “Winter” cycle of a civilization, when the City and money form the axis of living; where the peasant and the artisan emigrant from the country to the city and become either part of the rootless, alienated proletarian mass or a part of the equally rootless bourgeois. The same contrast that Hamsun dramatized was examined several years later by Spengler in his seminal study of cultural morphology, The Decline of The West:

Beginning and end, a peasant cottage and a tenement block are related to one another[46] as soul and intellect, as blood and stone . . . now the giant city sucks the country dry, insatiably and incessantly demanding and devouring fresh streams of men, till it dies in the midst in the midst of an almost uninhibited waste of country.[47]

Hamsun concludes with Geissler, the district official who had once come on behalf of the State to measure the worth and boundaries of Isak’s land, and then to buy the copper mine from Isak, regretting the impact the mining had had upon the village, offering this observation to Isak’s younger son Sivert who had stayed with the land, which encapsulates Hamsun’s world-view and moral of the story:

Look at you folk at Sellanraa,[48] now; looking up at blue peaks every day of your lives; no new-fangled inventions about that, but fjeld and rocky peaks, rooted deep in the past—but you’ve them for companionship. There you are, living in touch with heaven and earth, one with them, one with all these wide, deep-rooted things. No need of a sword in your hands, you go through life bareheaded, barehanded, in the midst of a great kindliness. Look, Nature’s there, for you and yours to have and enjoy. Man and Nature don’t bombard each other, but agree; they don’t compete, race one against the other, but go together. There’s you Sellanraa folk, in all this, living there. Fjeld and forest, moors and meadow, and sky and stars—oh, ’tis not poor and sparingly counted out, but without measure. Listen to me, Sivert: you be content! You’ve everything to live on, everything to live for, everything to believe in; being born and bringing forth, you are the needful on earth. ’Tis not all that are so, but you are so; needful on earth. ’Tis you that maintain life. Generation to generation, breeding ever anew; and when you die, the new stock goes on. That’s the meaning of eternal life. What do you get out of it? An existence innocently and properly set towards all. What you get out of it? Nothing can put you under orders and lord it over you Sellanraa folk, you’ve peace and authority and this great kindliness all round. That’s what you get for it. You lie at a mother’s breast and suck, and play with a mother’s warm hand. There’s your father now, he’s one of the two-and-thirty thousand. What’s to be said of many another? I’m something, I’m the fog, as it were, here and there, floating around, sometimes coming like rain on dry ground. But the others? There’s my son, the lightning that’s nothing in itself, a flash of barrenness; he can act. My son, ay, he’s the modern type, a man of our time; he believes honestly enough all the age has taught him, all the Jew and the Yankee have taught him; I shake my head at it all. But there’s nothing mythical about me; ’tis only in the family, so to speak, that I’m like a fog. Sit there shaking my head. Tell the truth–I’ve not the power of doing things and not regretting it. If I had, I could be lightning myself. Now I’m a fog.[49]

Hamsun explicitly identified the peasantry as the well-spring of a healthy culture, the embodiment of those ever-relevant values that contrast the values of decay represented by the city, the bourgeois, proletarianization, urbanization and industrialization:

A tiller of the ground, body and soul; a worker on the land without respite. A ghost risen out of the past to point the future, a man from the earliest days of cultivation, a settler in the wilds, nine hundred years old, and, withal, a man of the day.[50]

In the August Trilogy,[51] as in The Growth of the Soil and elsewhere, Hamsun had taken up the concerns of encroaching mechanization and cosmopolitanism, epitomized by the USA, and instead championed traditional values, such as those of localism and the rural. Nelson remarks that Hamsun was espousing an agrarian, anti-capitalist conservatism that was becoming popular among the literati in both Europe and America.

Quisling and Hitler

With such views forming over the course of decades, and achieving wide acclaim, Hamsun’s support for Quisling and for the German occupation of Norway during World War II, is consistent and principled within his historical and cultural context.

Hamsun disliked the British as much as the “Yankees” and the Bolsheviks. He had been appalled by the British war against the Boers, which he would surely have regarded as a war by a plutocratic power against an entire folk who epitomized a living remnant of the type portrayed by Isak in The Growth of The Soil.[52] He had also alluded to the “Jews”[53] as harbingers of modernism and cosmopolitanism.

In contrast to Britain, the USA and the USSR, National Socialist Germany claimed to champion the peasantry as the eternal well-spring of a healthy culture, very much in keeping with Hamsun’s views in The Growth of The Soil and elsewhere. This is why the National Socialists saw Hamsun as a fellow-traveler.

In 1933 Walther Darré, a widely recognized agricultural expert, had been appointed Reich Minister of Food and Agriculture, and also had the title “National Peasant Leader.” Goslar was named the “National Peasant City,” and pageants were held to honor the peasantry. Practical measures to deal with the crisis on the land were enacted immediately, including the Hereditary Farm Law, which protected the peasantry from foreclosure and ensured the family inheritance. [54]

Alfred Rosenberg, the primary National Socialist philosopher in Germany, had already paid tribute to Hamsun in his seminal Myth of the Twentieth Century (1930), with specific reference to The Growth of the Soil, as expressing the “mystical-natural will” of the peasant better than any other living artist:

No one knows why, with great effort, the farmer Isak cultivates one piece of land after another in god-forsaken regions, or why his wife has joined him and gives birth to his children. But Isak follows an inexplicable law. He carries on a fruitful quest out of a mystical primal will. At the end of his existence he will certainly look back in astonishment at the harvest of his activity. The Growth of the Soil is the great present day epic of the Nordic will in its eternal primordial form. Nordic man can be heroic even behind the wooden plow.[55]

Such was the background when in 1934 Hamsun wrote an article, “Wait and See,” in which he attacked the opponents of National Socialist Germany and asked if a return of Communists, Jews, and Bruning to Germany were preferable. In 1935 he sent a greeting to Der Norden, the organ of the Nordic Society, supporting the return of the League of Nations mandate, Saarland, to Germany, and from the start supported Germany privately and publicly wherever he felt able.[56] Hamsun and his wife Marie remained particularly close to the Nordic Society, which was avid in promoting Hamsun’s works.[57]

In April 1940 the Germans occupied Norway to secure the sea route, after the British had on several occasions breached Norwegian neutrality, included mining of Norway’s territorial waters, about which the Norwegian Government impotently protested. [58]

In 1933, former Defense Minister Vidkun Quisling had established his own party Nasjonal Samling (National Unification). Hamsun had formed a good impression of Quisling since 1932, and wrote in support of Nasjonal Samling’s electoral appeal in 1936 in the party newspaper Fritt Folk. His wife Marie was the local representative of the party.[59]

Ironically, Quisling, his very name becoming synonymous with “traitor,”[60] was the only politician who had campaigned before the war for a strong defense capability, and was particularly pro-British, having been honored by the British Government for looking after British interests in Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution, where he had been the principal aide to the celebrated Dr. Fridtjof Nansen, who was directing the European Famine Relief to Russia in 1921, with Quisling serving as Secretary for the Relief Organization.[61]

Quisling sought an alliance of Nordic nations including Germany and Britain, in what he called a “Northern Coalition,” against Communism.[62]

The only strong resistance against the German invasion came from a garrison commanded by an officer who belonged to Quisling’s party. The King and Government quickly fled, leaving Norway without an administration or any voice to negotiate with the Germans.[63] Quisling, like Petain in France, and many other figures throughout Europe who were to be branded and usually executed as “traitors,” stepped in to fill the void as the only political figure willing to try and look after Norwegian interests under the occupation. He declared himself Minister President, but because he was not a pliant tool he did not enjoy the confidence of the German military authorities. He was soon forced to resign in favor of an administrative council under German control, but eventually regained a measure of authority.[64]

Meanwhile, Hamsun urged Norwegians to rally behind Quisling so that some form of sovereignty could be restored. He described Quisling as “more than a politician, he is a thinker, a constructive spirit.”[65]

Hamsun’s longest wartime article appeared in the German language Berlin-Tokyo-Rome periodical in February 1942, where he  wrote: “Europe does not want either the Jew or their gold, neither the Americans nor their country.”[66]

Despite Hamsun’s pro-German sentiment, he championed the rights of his countrymen, including those who resisted the German occupation. He attempted in intercede for the writer Ronald Fangen, and many others, who had been arrested by the Gestapo.[67]

In 1943 Hamsun and his wife accepted the invitation of Goebbels to visit Germany. Goebbels wrote of Hamsun as being “the embodiment of what an epic writer should be.” Hamsun was equally impressed with the Reich Minister and sent Goebbels the Nobel medal he had been awarded, which Goebbels accepted as Hamsun’s “expression of solidarity with our battle for a new Europe, and a happy society.”[68]

Whilst en route to Norway from Germany, Hamsun met Hitler, a meeting which did not go well, as Hamsun took the opportunity to condemn the military administration of Norway which had rendered Quisling powerless, and they parted in an unfriendly manner[69]

However, Hamsun continued to support Germany, and expressed his pride when a son, Arild,  joined the Norwegian Legion of the Waffen SS.[70]

In 1945  several strokes forced Hamsun to quiet his activities. But with Hitler’s death Hamsun defiantly wrote a tribute for the press:

I am not worthy to speak his name out loud. Nor do his life and his deeds warrant any kind of sentimental discussion. He was a warrior, a warrior of mankind, and a prophet of the gospel of justice for all nations. He was a reforming nature of the highest order, and his fate was to arise in a time of unparalleled barbarism, which finally failed him. Thus might the average western European regard Hitler? We, his closest supporters, now bow our heads at his death.[71]

Post-War Persecution

Membership of Quisling’s party was declared a criminal offense and Hamsun’s sons Tore and Arild[72] were among the first of  50,000 Norwegians to be arrested as “Nazis” (sic) or as “collaborators.”[73] Marie and Knut were arrested a few weeks later. Due to his age, at 86, Hamsun was sent to a hospital rather than to a prison, although the stress and treatment struck considerably at his still quite good health. He was defiant and stated to the authorities that he would have assisted the Germans more if he could.[74]

He was sent to an old folks home where he was a popular guest. However, prosecuting Norway’s leading cultural figure, like America’s dealings with Ezra Pound, was an  awkward matter. Consequently, Hamsun spent 119 days in a psychiatric clinic. The psychiatrists found in him, as in the characters of his novel’s, a complex interplay of traits, but the most prominent of all they described was his “absolute honesty.” The conclusion was that Hamsun was not insane but that he was mentally impaired. Hence, what Ferguson calls “an embarrassing situation,” given that Hamsun was “first and foremost [Norway’s] great writer, their national pride, a loved and admired and never quite respectable ancient child,” was dealt with by concluding that his support for Germany could be put down to “senility.” This was the party-line taken up by the press throughout the world.[75]

Reading  Hamsun’s post-war autobiographical On Overgrown Paths, written amidst the threats of prosecution and the interrogations, shows him to be perfectly lucid. Hamsun, as this last writing shows, although deaf and going blind, retained his mental faculties impressively, along with a certain fatalism and humor.[76]

Although the Attorney General opted not to proceed against Hamsun, the Crown wished to try him as a member of Nasjonal  Samling. To Hamsun the action at least meant that he was being officially acknowledged as of sound mind. He was fined 425,000 kroner.[77]

With ruinous fines hanging over them, the Hamsuns returned to their farm Norholm.[78] On appeal the fine was reduced to 325,000 kroner,[79] his persistence and courage in speaking on behalf of imprisoned Norwegians under the German Occupation being a mitigating factor. Tore was also fined, and his brother Arild was jailed until 1949 for his membership of the Norwegian Legion. Marie Hamsun was released from jail in 1948.[80]

On Overgrown Paths was published in 1949 and became an immediate best seller,[81] although Hamsun ended his days in poverty on his farm. He died in his sleep on February 19, 1952.

When the Robert Ferguson’s biography appeared in 1987, he wrote that while Norway is especially keen to honor its writers, “Hamsun’s life remains largely uncommemorated by officialdom.” [82] However, two decades later, in 2009:

In Norway, the 150th birthday of Knut Hamsun will be celebrated by theatrical exhibitions, productions, and an international conference. One of the main squares of Oslo, located just beside the national Opera, will henceforth bear his name. A monument will finally be erected in his honor. One might say that the Norwegians have just discovered the name of their very famous compatriot. Recently, a large number of towns and villages have named squares and streets for him. At the place where he resided, in Hamaroy, a “Knut Hamsun Center” will officially open on August 4th, the day of his birth. On that day, a special postage stamp will be issued. Yet Knut Hamsun was denounced and vilified for decades by the Norwegian establishment.[83]

Hamsun’s defiant commitment to Quisling and to Germany during the war was a logical conclusion to ideas that had been fermenting and widely read and applauded over a period of half a century. Yet when it came time to act on those ideals, of fighting materialism, plutocracy, and communism, for the restoration of rural and peasant values against the encroaching tide of industrialism and money, Hamsun’s fellow-countryman reacted with outrage. Hamsun, unlike some of the pre-war supporters of National Socialism or Fascism, for better or for worse, never did compromise his values.

Notes

[1] Robert Ferguson, Enigma: The Life of Knut Hamsun (London: Hutchinson, 1987), p. 300.

[2] Ferguson, Enigma, p. 301.

[3] Ferguson, Enigma, p. 13.

[4] Ferguson, Enigma, p. 21.

[5] Hamsun, The Enigmatic One, 1877.

[6] Hamsun, Bjorger, 1878.

[7] Richard C. Nelson, Knut Hamsun Remembers America: Essays and Stories: 1885–1949 (Missouri: University of Missouri Press, 2003), pp. 4–5.

[8] Knut Hamsun, “Letters from America,” Knut Hamsun Remembers America, p. 7.

[9] Ferguson, Enigma, p. 68.

[10] Hamsun, “The American Character,” Aftenposten, Christiania, Norway, January 21, 1885; Knut Hamsun Remembers America, pp. 17–18.

[11] Hamsun, “The American Character,” p. 19.

[12] Hamsun, “The American Character,” p. 14.

[13] Hamusn, “The American Character,” p. 20.

[14] Hamsun, “The American Character,” p. 21.

[15] Hamsun, “New York,” Aftenposten, February 12, 14, 1895; Knut Hamsun Remembers America, pp. 28–29.

[16] Hamsun, “New York,” p. 29.

[17] Hamsun, “New York,” p. 30.

[18] Ferguson, Enigma, p. 101.

[19] Hamsun, The Cultural Life of Modern America, 1889.

[20] Knut Hamsun Remembers America, p. 7.

[21] Knut Hamsun Remembers America, p. 9.

[22] Knut Hamsun Remembers America, p. 9.

[23] Knut Hamsun Remembers America, p. 10.

[24] Knut Hamsun Remembers America, p. 10.

[25] Ferguson, Enigma, p. 124.

[26] Hamsun, Mysteries, 1892.

[27] Ferguson, Enigma, p. 133.

[28] Ferguson, Enigma, p. 138.

[29] Hamsun, Shallow Soil, 1893.

[30] Josef Wiehr, Knut Hamsun: His personality and his outlook upon life (Smith College Studies in Modern Languages, 1922), p. 23.

[31] Wiehr, Knut Hamsun, p. 24.

[32] Hamsun, 1895–1896.

[33] Ferguson, Enigma, p. 164.

[34] Hamsun, The Growth of the Soil (1920), Book I, Chapter 3. http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/h/hamsun/knut/h23g/index.html

[35] Hamsun, The Growth of the Soil, Chapter 4.

[36] It needs to be pointed out that by “race” Spengler did not a biological, or “Darwinistic” conception, but an instinct. “Race” means “duration of character,” including “an urge to permanence.” Oswald Spengler, The Hour of Decision, p. 220.

[37] Oswald Spengler, The Hour of Decision, p. 220.

[38] Oswald Spengler, The Hour of Decision, pp. 220–21.

[39]

[40] Hamsun, The Growth of the Soil, Chapter 5.

[41] Hamsun, The Growth of the Soil, Chapter 5.

[42] Hamsun, The Growth of the Soil, Chapter 9.

[43] Hamsun, The Growth of the Soil, Chapter 10.

[44] Hamsun, The Growth of the Soil, Chapter 14.

[45] Hamsun, The Growth of the Soil, Book II, Chapter 11.

[46] “Related to one another” in the sense that they express the analogous features of a culture in its “Spring” High Culture cycle and its “Winter” Late Civilization cycle respectively.

[47] Oswald Spengler, The Decline of The West, 1928 (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1971), Vol. 2, p. 102.

[48] The name of Isak’s farm.

[49] Hamsun, The Growth of the Soil, Book II, Chapter 12.

[50] Hamsun, The Growth of the Soil, Book II, Chapter 12.

[51] Hamsun, August, 1930.

[52] The Boers were–and partly remain–an anomaly in the modern world; the vestige of the bygone era who had to be eliminated as a hindrance to the global economic structure. Hence the recent ideological and economic war against the Afrikaner to destroy his “apartheid” was a continuation of the Boer Wars under other slogans, but with the same aim: to capture the wealth of southern Africa–in the name of “human rights”–for the sake of the same kind of plutocracy which had fought the Afrikaners’ forefathers a century previously.

[53] Hamsun, The Growth of the Soil, Book II, Chapter 12.

[54] Anna Bramwell, Blood and Soil: Walther Darré and Hitler’s Green Party (Buckinghmanshire: The Kensal Press, 1985), p. 91.

[55] Alfred Rosenberg, The Myth of the Twentieth Century, 1930 (Torrance, Cal.: The Noontide Press, 1982), p. 268.

[56] Ferguson, Enigma, p. 326.

[57] Ferguson, Enigma, p. 338.

[58] Ralph Hewins, Quisling: Prophet Without Honour (London: W. H. Allen, 1965), p. 201.

[59] Ferguson, Enigma, p. 333.

[60] Hewins, Quilsing, p. 9. Hewins, a wartime journalist, wrote his biography to amend for the part he had played in portraying Quisling as the epitome of “treason” (p. 11).

[61] Hewins, Quisling, p. 55.

[62] Vidkun Quilsing, Russia and Ourselves (London: Hodden and Stoughton, 1931), p. 275.

[63] Hewins, Quisling, p. 208.

[64] Hewins summarizes the situation when writing: “The whole myth of unprovoked aggression by Germany should be abandoned. It is incredible and does grievous injustice to the ‘quislings’ who are quite wrongly alleged to have engineered the German Occupation. There is no truth in this sinister legend” (Hewins, Quisling, p. 198).

[65] Ferguson, Enigma, p. 357.

[66] Hamsun, “Real Brotherhood,” Berlin-Tokyo-Rome, February 1942; Ferguson, Enigma, p. 351.

[67] Ferguson, Enigma, p. 359.

[68] Ferguson, Enigma, pp. 369–70.

[69] Ferguson, Enigma, pp. 374–75.

[70] Ferguson, Enigma, p. 383.

[71] Hamsun, “Adolf Hitler,” Aftenposten, May 7, 1945, p. 1

[72] Ferguson, Enigma, p. 387.

[73] Hewins, Quisling, pp. 357–58. Hewins notes that these thousands of Norwegians were jailed for years often without charge or trial, interrogated for eight hours a time, subjected to “eeling” (being dragged back and forth across broken stones), and a starvation diet of 800 calories a day. “Many prisoners died of malnutrition or starvation, and limbs swollen from privation were a commonplace. Hundreds, if not thousands, died of dysentery and tuberculosis epidemics. Hundreds more bear the scares of kicking, beating and brutality of their guards” (Hewins, pp. 357–58).

[74] Ferguson, Enigma, pp. 387–88.

[75] Ferguson, Enigma, pp. 389–90.

[76] Hamsun, On Overgrown Paths, 1949 (London: MacGibbon and Kee, 1968).

[77] Ferguson, Enigma, p. 407.

[78] Ferguson, Enigma, p. 408.

[79] Ferguson, Enigma, p. 409.

[80] Ferguson, Enigma, p. 410.

[81] On Overgrown Paths was also published simultaneously in German and Swedish editions. Ferguson, Enigma, p. 416.

[82] Ferguson, Enigma, p. 421.

[83] Robert Steuckers, “Knut Hamsun: Saved by Stalin?,” Counter Currents, http://www.counter-currents.com/2010/07/knut-hamsun-saved-by-stalin/ The title of the Steuckers article refers to Soviet Foreign Affairs Minister Molotov having intervened in 1945 in favor of Hamsun, stating: “it would be regrettable to see Norway condemning this great writer to the gallows.”


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mardi, 16 août 2011

Aeschylus' Agamemnon: The Multiple Uses of Greek Tragedy

Aeschylus’ Agamemnon:
The Multiple Uses of Greek Tragedy

Jonathan BOWDEN

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com/

eschyle.jpgGreek tragedy is all but forgotten in mainstream culture, but there is a very good reason for looking at it again with fresh eyes. The reasons for this are manifold, but they basically have to do with anti-materialism and the culture of compression. To put it bluntly, reading Greek tragedy can give literally anyone a crash course in Western civilization which is short, pithy, and terribly apt.

Let’s take — for purposes of illustration — the first part of the Oresteia by Aeschylus, which concentrates on Agamemnon’s murder by his wife Clytemnestra. This work would take about two hours to read in a verse translation by Lewis Campbell (say). You will learn more about the civilization in those two hours than many a university foundation course, or hour after hour of public television, are capable of giving you.

The real reason for perusing this material, however, is the sense of excitement which it is capable of generating. Agamemnon and his entourage have returned to Argos after the successful sack of Troy and the destruction of Priam’s city.

A series of torches across the Greek peninsula announces the triumph, and the Watchman on the palace roof is the first to bear witness to the signal. The Chorus of Argive Elders soon gathers and is addressed in turn by a herald and then Clytemnestra. She swears undying loyalty to her husband (falsely) and makes way for his triumphant entry, although for those with acute ears there is a sense of foreboding in the imagery and early language of the play.

Agamemnon enters and speaks of his victories, but is ill-disposed to walk on the purple vestments that his wife has had strewn on the ground. He considers them unworthy or liable to damage his standing with the Gods. Clytemnestra seems to want her husband to behave more like an Eastern potentate than a Greek monarch. After much show of reluctance — he accedes to his wife’s wishes, kicks off his sandals and walks on the Imperial purple . . . in a manner that Clytemnestra knows will antagonize the Gods. She wishes this due to the future assassination which she has in view.

The prophetess Cassandra is then introduced from Agamemnon’s car, and she outlines — in ecstatic asides and verbal follies — the likelihood of her paramour’s death at the hands of his wife. She also speculates on the origin of the curse deep in the history of the House of Atreus — when Thyestes’ own children were baked in a pie for the edification of their father in revenge for adultery. This sets in train the codex of revenge and hatred which inundates the House’s walls with blood and gore and sets the ground for new horrors at a later date. Cassandra, surrounded by the near-seeing and purblind chorus, goes into the House where her Fate is sealed.

After a discrete interval, Clytemnestra emerges in one of the most dramatic sequences in all of Western art. She clutches a dagger in one hand and is partly covered in blood; whereas Agamemnon, her previous lord and husband, lies dead inside the folds of a net, with Cassandra raving and raving over him. The prototype for Lady Macbeth and every other three-dimensional female villain, Clytemnestra boasts of her deed and how she executed it — to the shock, horror, and awe of the Argive elders.

The killing is justified — in her eyes at least — by the sacrifice of her daughter, Iphigenia, to make the wind change its direction when the Greek fleet is becalmed at Aulis on the way to Troy. For this willful act of child-murder, Clytemnestra has lain in wait with her lover, Aegisthus, to slay the King of Argos. (Aegisthus is descended from Thyestes and has his own reasons for wishing doom to the House of Atreus.)

This particular play ends with a confrontation between Aegisthus’ soldiers and the elderly members of the Chorus, but Clytemnestra — by now sick of bloodshed and desiring peace — intervenes so as to prevent further conflict. The play concludes with the two tyrants, surrounded by their mercenaries, walking back towards the palace where they will rule over the Argives.

The question is always raised in modernity: Why bother with this material now? The real reason is the abundant ethnic and racial health of ancient Greek culture. Although tragic, blood-thirsty, and mordant in tone, it is abundantly alive at several different levels. It also exists as the prototype for so much Western culture, whether high or low.

As I have already intimated, a two-hour read is broadly equivalent to a short university course in and of itself. Also, the pre-Christian semantics of this material speaks across two and a half thousand years very directly to us today, certainly in the post-Christian context of Western Europe. Another reason for parents reading this material to adolescent children (at the very least) is its pagan immediacy. This is not cultural fare that can be dismissed as lacking pathos, blood-and-guts, or a sense of reality, if not normalcy.

Another reason for refusing to give this work a wide berth has to be the fact that various forces which were out-gunned and defeated in the twentieth century definitely took the Greek side in various cultural debates. This can also be seen in Wyndham Lewis’ Childermass which I reviewed [2] elsewhere on this site, where the chorus of opposition to the Humanist Bailiff (a sort of democratic Punch) has to be the philosopher Hesperides and his band of Greeks.

The culture of the Greeks still has dangers associated with it, hence the re-routing of Classics to a netherworld in the Western academy. Yet the refutation of Bernal’s Black Athena is still everywhere around us; as long as people have the wit to pick up the plays of Aeschylus and read.


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mercredi, 10 août 2011

Jonathan Bowden on Thomas Carlyle

 

Jonathan Bowden on Thomas Carlyle

lundi, 08 août 2011

Jonathan Bowden on H. P. Lovecraft

 

Jonathan Bowden on H. P. Lovecraft

vendredi, 05 août 2011

T. S. Eliot: Ultra-Conservative Dandy

T. S. Eliot:
Ultra-Conservative Dandy

 

 

By Jonathan Bowden

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com/ 

 

eliot1.jpgFor a brief period in the late 1990s there was an attempt to demonize T. S. Eliot as an anti-Semite. This opinion was most ably canvassed by Anthony Julius’ T. S. Eliot, Anti-Semitism and Literary Form [2], but the attempt failed, and Eliot’s reputation as a poet now stands even higher than ever.

Thomas Stearns Eliot’s most controversial book was the collection of essays drawn from a series of lectures he gave in 1934 called After Strange Gods: A Primer of Modern Heresy [3]. In this book, Eliot argued for an organic society — primarily from a Christian perspective — and he took a decidedly non-philo-Semitic position, considering that the more organic the society, was the better its prospects.

It seems an utter travesty, at this date, that the most famous English language poet of the twentieth century should be treated in this way.

For the interesting things to say about this fey, classical, and austere man have little to do with this (or his marriage to Vivienne Haigh-Wood in 1915) but, rather, revolve around his contribution to literary criticism. In this regard, his development of the idea of a tradition within a writer’s oeuvre proves crucial — witness his own distancing over time from the thesis of “The Wasteland” and “The Hollow Men” as he turned to Christianity, metaphysically speaking. The idea of not seeing works in isolation but from a whole perspective is very interesting in a deeply conservative way.

This further ramifies with Eliot’s coolness and classicism in the arts — if compared and contrasted to his hostility to the Romantics, particularly a left-wing revolutionary like Shelley. (Eliot would have had no time for the literary prognosis of the Trotskyist Paul Foot in his Red Shelley [4].) Nonetheless, for him, poetry was a codification but never a standardization. It was an escape from emotion through distancing — rather than an achievement of emotional excess through revelation. All of this led to his espousal of the metaphysical poets — Donne, Vaughan, Marvell, and Thomas — as he praised their use of metaphysics in poetry to provide a unified sensibility.

Possibly Eliot’s most famous literary idea was the objective correlative — whereby he sought a general, and culturally relevant, explanation of works which transcended personal responses to them. This involved a semi-objective as well as a subjective reading of the text. A piece attempts to mean what it says, but it also indicates states of mind and experiences which are factual and that can be essayed without being unduly personal about literature.

This hunt for a more general meaning indicates a social vision for art in a man whose own work is very abstruse and ‘difficult’ to understand. This is particularly true of the early poems such as “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” (1917) and “The Wasteland” (1922), but changes somewhat after “Ash Wednesday” in 1927.

If we might turn to the poetry now: “Prufrock” begins with a stream of consciousness which is typical of early modernism — although much of Eliot’s early poetic vision owes something to his discovery of Arthur Symonds’ The Symbolist Movement in Literature [5] in 1908. Prufrock begins with comparing the evening to an etherized patient upon a table which was considered scandalous at the time when Georgian poetry was all the rage. There is even a hint of the right-wing nihilism of Gottfried Benn in early Eliot. In “Prufrock” he deals with a disappointed life, states of physical and intellectual inertia, and the absence of both carnal love and spiritual progress.

In October 1922 “The Wasteland,” edited extensively by Ezra Pound, made its appearance and extended the analysis, amid many other concerns, to his failing marriage to Vivienne, both of whom were suffering from nervous and mental disorders at the time. The poem definitely chimes with the post-First World War disillusionment of an entire generation.

“The Hollow Men” in 1925 confirms and extends this triad of despair until his conversion to Anglicanism from Unitarianism in 1927. This event was definitely the key metaphysical moment in this very fastidious man’s life. The hunger for meaning and a dormant metaphysical purpose came out. For, in his conversion or re-conversion, Eliot illuminated the idea that life is spiritually barren and meaningless without an over-arching quest, sensibility or teleology.

Certainly once his conversion is definite, the pitch of Eliot’s life and his poetry (above all) takes a decisive turn. “Ash Wednesday,” the “Ariel” poems, and the “Four Quartets” (for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1948) are much more certain in their direction, as well as being more casual, melodic, and contemplative in their creative method. Although secular literati remain discomfited by these poems’ transparent religiosity. This is nowhere more apparent than in the “Four Quartets” which is immersed in Christian thought, traditions, and imagery.

Much of his creative energy after “Ash Wednesday” went into writing plays in an attempt to broaden the poet’s social role — all of these pieces were verse dramas. The whole point of Sweeney Agonistes (1932), The Rock (1934), and Murder in the Cathedral dealing with Thomas a Beckett’s assassination was to bring a larger or wider audience to a conservative purpose for Christian poetry.

For Eliot is that rare thing in twentieth century literary art — an ex-nihilist, someone who reverses the positions of Dostoyevsky’s The Possessed (without the enervation) and wanders back towards C. S. Lewis, Belloc, and Chesterton. I think the key point about these partial dandies and Right-wing conservative intellectuals is their belief in belief. . . . For, without the prospect (even in its absence) of metaphysics, life had no ultimate meaning for them, or for us. Almost everything else about them is incidental to this truth.


 

 

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samedi, 30 juillet 2011

Wyndham Lewis' The Apes of God

Wyndham Lewis’ The Apes of God

by Jonathan Bowden

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com/

Wyndham Lewis
The Apes of God [2]

apes-of-god.jpgThe Apes of God happens to be one of the most devastating satires to be published in the English language since the days of Dryden and Pope. It appeared in a Private Press edition [3] (prior to general release), and at over 600 pages it was the size of your average London telephone directory.

The Apes deals, in ultra-modernist vein, with a catalog or slide-show of dilettantes from the London of the inter-war period. It is, in reality, a gargantuan satire against the Bloomsbury Group and all of its works. The historical importance of the Bloomsbury Group is that they were the incubator for all the left-liberal ideas which have now hardened to a totalitarian permafrost in Western life. This is the real and crucial point of this gargantuan effort — an otherwise neglected work.

To recapitulate some of the detail: the novel concerns the sentimental education of a young idiot (Dan Boleyn) in the ways of Bloomsbury (apedom). During this prologue he meets a great galaxy of the millionaire bohemia so excoriated by Lewis. The chapters and sub-headings basically deal with his education in ideological matters (not that the simpleton Dan would see it in that way), and he is assisted in his insights by Pierpoint (a Lewis substitute), the Pierpointian ventriloquist and contriver of ‘broadcasts’, Horace Zagreus, as well as Starr-Smith. The latter is Pierpoint’s political secretary, a Welsh firebrand, who dresses as a Blackshirt for Lord Osmund’s fancy-dress or Lenten party which makes up a quarter to a third of the book.

[4]

Wyndam Lewis' portrait of Edith Sitwell

The liberals who are dissected are James Julius Rattner (a Semitic version of James Joyce), Lionel Kien and family, Proustians extraordinaire, various poseurs and Bullish lesbians, as well as the Sitwell family group who are depicted as the Finnian Shaws. The Sitwells are all but forgotten today, but they were highly influential in the world between the Wars — as is witnessed in John Pearson’s masterly biography Facades: Osbert, Edith and Sachaverell Sitwell. It is no accident to say that this satire has kept the Sitwells in contemporary culture, despite the fact that they are the butt of Lewis’ ferocious wit.

Throughout this odyssey through Apedom various themes are disentangled. The first is a penchant for the class war — in a parlor Bolshevik manner — from those who superficially have the most to lose from it. This leads to an active collaboration between masters and servants ahead of time. The next “war” to which these pacifists hook their star is the age-war between the generations which is best illustrated by the Sitwells’ attitude to their aged Patriarch, Cockeye in the novel.

Other cults or pseudo-cults of the lower thirties (i.e., the twenties) were the cult of the child, feminism of various kinds, the glorification of the negro (witness the work of Firbank, for instance), and the ever-present cult of homosexuality. As Horace Zagreus — one of Lewis’ voices in the novel — acidly points out: as far as Bloomsbury was concerned, heterosexuality was the love that dare not speak its name.

All of these putative forms of political correctness were held together by a rising generation whose most ‘advanced’ adherents were determined to let their hair down during the roaring ’20s. Indeed, the cloying, ormolu tainted facade of the super-rich — anatomized in this novel — only came to an end with the Great Crash, which burst at about the time of the novel’s appearance in 1930.

The semantics of the radical bourgeoisie have largely taken over the world — and what was anathema to mass or philistine opinion is now the normal chit-chat of the semi-educated to educated. Revolutionary bohemia — according to Lewis — proceeds in three stages. First you have the aristocratic version of it during the 1890s — the “naughty nineties,” the breaking of Oscar Wilde, etc., only for this stage to be followed by a mass bourgeois version of la Decadence in the 1920s. This makes way for the mass proletarianized version of bohemia which hits the world in the 1960s, after a few beatnik preliminaries the decade before. Lewis never lived to see this period, having died in 1957.

Another very interesting feature about Lewis’ prescience is his understanding of revolutionary ideology and its after-effects. For, as early as The Art of Being Ruled in 1926, Lewis was positing the notion that the emancipation of women to work would kill off the family far more effectively than all the feminist route-marches put together.

One of Lewis’ most extraordinary judgments is that many Marxian values, floating freely and slip-streaming their historical source, could make use of market capitalism to achieve their ends. This was an insight of such penetration and Chestertonian paradox in 1926 that it must have appeared half-insane.

Other ancillary positions which were part of this Super-structuralist ramp (sic) were the cult of the exotic and the Primitive in art, Child art and children’s rights, Psycho-analysis, and hostility to all prior forms.

The revolutionary thinker Bill Hopkins once said to me that one of the reasons for the obsession with primitivism in early modernism was a reaction to Western thought’s compartmentalization in the late nineteenth century. This led to a desire to kick against the pricks and develop contrary strategies of pure energy in the Arts. Whatever the truth about this, a hostility towards the martial past, nationalism, imperialism, race and empire — the entire rejection of Kipling’s Britain — was part-and-parcel of the Bloomsbury sensibility.

Nonetheless, it goes without saying that Lewis, the founder of the Vorticist movement inside modernism, saw modern art as a weapon in his battle against The Apes of God. In this regard Lewis was that very rare animal — a thoroughgoing modernist and a right-wing transvaluator of all values.

Interestingly, the idea of The Apes comes from the dilettantist perquisite of thousands of amateur painters, poets, sculptors, writers and the rest, themselves all part of a monied bohemia, who crowd out the available space for genuine creatives like himself. The cult of the amateur, however, would soon be replaced by the general melange of entertainment and the cultural industry which has probably stymied a great deal of post-war creation that Lewis never lived to see.


Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: http://www.counter-currents.com

URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2011/07/wyndham-lewis-the-apes-of-god/

jeudi, 28 juillet 2011

Claves clasicas de la obra de Jorge Luis Borges

borges2.jpg

CLAVES CLASICAS DE LA OBRA DE

JORGE LUIS BORGES

UN INTENTO POR DESENTRAÑAR CIERTAS CLAVES "CLASICAS" EN LA OBRA LITERARIA DEL ESCRITOR ARGENTINO, A PARTIR DE LAS CUALES APROXIMARNOS AL SER DE AMERICA Y DE LOS AMERICANOS.


 
CONSIDERAMOS UNA OPCIÓN VÁLIDA para acercarnos a la esencia de América, internarnos por el sendero de su literatura. En este contexto, dos aproximaciones complementarias se visualizan con perfecta nitidez, y que de manera convencional podemos denominar "urbana" y "telúrica", es decir, la visión de América desde la ciudad y desde su geografía potente. Entre los escritores que podríamos ubicar en la perspectiva "urbana", es decir, que miran América y el Mundo desde la ciudad, nos parecen dos buenos ejemplos Jorge Luis Borges y Manuel Mujica Laínez; a su vez, entre aquellos que prefieren situar si obra en el corazón geográfico de América, en la selva húmeda o en la fría serranía, destacan Gabriel García Márquez y Mario Vargas Llosa. Por cierto, esta dicotomía, como todas, es arbitraria y discutible. No obstante, nos parece sosteniblc, como expresión de aquellas fuerzas o mentalidades que, unas veces en pugna y otras en armonía, han contribuido a modelar la arquitectura de nuestra cultura americana.

En el presente artículo, nos centramos en la obra literaria de Jorge Luis Borges, desarrollando una hipótesis precisa, a saber: que en los escritos del argentino, viven claves del mundo clásico, entendido este como el universo de la cultura Greco-Romana, tributario a su vez del horizonte cultural de los pueblos indoeuropeos, y en consecuencia pre-cristiano y pre-moderno, o en otras palabras, tradicional.

Tales claves se plasmarían en las nociones que Borges tiene del tiempo, de la inmortalidad, del destino y del héroe.

A partir de tales claves, y de acuerdo a nuestra lectura –y no la de Borges necesariamente, quiza sólo un mero vehículo depositario de ideas fundamentales-, América representaría un tercer intento (después del original y del Romano-Germánico) para re-crear, en un medio más salvaje y despiadado que el europeo, un nuevo Mundo "Clásico". Para tal empresa, además, tales hombres. Los americanos vendrían a ser los últimos clásicos, los descendientes postreros de Ulises, los argonautas del más recóndito confín del mundo, arrojados por la marea a las inhóspitas playas americanas. Ellos son los últimos sobrevientos del mundo clásico, y por ende, del mundo tradicional, ajeno por completo a la modernidad. Partimos del supuesto, que la realidad parece confirmar y no desmentir, que en los tiempos que corren, de planetarizacion, nihilismo y desacralización, sólo en América puede fundarse un Nuevo Orden, Clásico y Tradicional, periclitada tal posibilidad en Europa hace media centuria. En otras palabras, el viejo espíritu premoderno (y en cierta medida postmoderno), al cual se unió el catolicismo en su mejor época (la del románico y del gótico, creaciones europeas, ajenas por completo al judaismo y por tanto al cristianismo), perviviría únicamente en nuestras tierras, y sólo en ellas cabría una re-fundación, un restablecimiento de un orden trascendente y una nueva emergencia del homo religiosus, el hombre resacralizado.

La idea que Borges tiene de la Historia y del tiempo constituye un fiel reflejo de la concepción solar del eterno retorno, y escapa por consiguiente de la concepción escatológica y lineal propia del Judaismo y del cristianimo. Especialmente nítido es lo anterior en "El inmortal", primera narración de su volumen titulado El Aleph. En ella, el tema de la vida eterna se presenta más como un infierno que una bienaventuranza: "Ser inmortal es baladí; menos el hombre, todas las criaturas lo son, pues ignoran la muerte; lo divino, lo terrible, lo incomprensible, es saberse inmortal. He notado que, pese a las religiones, esa convicción es rarísima. Israelitas, cristianos y musulmanes profesan la inmortalidad, pero la veneración que tributan al primer siglo prueba que sólo creen en él, ya que destinan todos los demás, en número infinito, a premiarlo o a castigarlo. Más razonable me parece la rueda de ciertas religiones del Indostán; en esa rueda, que no tiene principio ni fin, cada vida es efecto de la anterior y engendra la siguiente, pero ninguna determina el conjunto".


En la Ciudad de los Inmortales (imagen del cielo y del infierno quizá), todos sólo ansian morir. Finalmente, que si "existe un río cuyas aguas dan la inmortalidad, en alguna región habrá otro río cuyas aguas la borren". Pero el deseo de morir también implica el ansia por re-nacer, por recomenzar tras fundirse con el regazo terrenal. Ello es válido tanto en la escala cósmica como en la personal. Estamos aquí en el meollo de la concepción trágica de la vida, inherente al mundo griego y que posteriormente hacen suya Séneca y sus discípulos. En efecto, si la Historia no tien un fin, un sentido, tampoco hay un juicio postrero en el cual responder, ante un juez omnipotente y cuya sentencia es inapelable, por culpas originales. El hombre, en consecuencia, no debe atar a su cuello el pesado yugo del "consuelo metafísico".

La vida es por tanto un laberinto, cuyo centro jamás alcanzaremos ("insoportablemente soñé con un exiguo y nítido laberinto: en el centro había un cántaro; mis manos casi lo tocaban, mis ojos lo veían, pero tan intrincadas y perplejas eran las curvas que yo sabía que iba a morir antes de alcanzarlo"). Nótese que el agua (del río de la inmortalidad o del cántaro), que simboliza al bautismo, o la "salvación", es inalcanzable para Borges, escéptico y trágico.

En el relato al que aludimos, Borges llega a encontrarse (y a identificarse) con otro poeta ciego, nada menos que el propio Homero, uno de los trogloditas que habitan en la Ciudad de Los Inmortales. Ambos son uno solo, de la misma manera como Borges y su universo literario también se funden, al punto que éste resulta efectivamente vivido y es por lo tanto más real que la vida misma, cobra mayor consistencia que los acontecimientos cotidianos, Borges pretende quizá ser una imagen, reflejada en un espejo (otro símbolo al que recurre tan asiduamente como el laberinto), del propio Homero, a modo de un rapsoda contemporáneo que renueva con cierta ironía escéptica y fatalista (trágica en consecuencia) el mundo de los relatos fantásticos y mágicos, heroicos y donde el destino ha de cumplirse irremisi-blemente. Así, más allá de un interés objetivo por aquel mundo, que lo lleva a no ocultar su admiración por H.P. Lovecraft y E.A. Poe, hay en Borges una implicación subjetiva que creemos es producto de su concepción del tiempo y de la Historia. Borges, puesto que vive en tal Mundo, realmente se siente militando en las huestes de un caudillo normando en la batalla del puente de Stamford, en 1066, o como calígrafo en un arrabal de Bulaq, en el séptimo siglo de la Héjira, transcribiendo "con pausa caligrafía, en un idioma que he olvidado, en un alfabeto que ignoro, los siete viajes de Simbad y la historia de la ciudad de Bronce". La historia, entonces, asi como nuestra existencia, no tienen un sentido o una finalidad metafísicos, así como tampoco existe el pasado y el futuro, sino sólo un presente eterno, reflejo de múltiples existencias, que se superponen, superando el tiempo.

Que esta percepción es clásica y ajena al universo cristiano, pareciera tornarse aún más explícita en el símbolo del laberinto, al que ya aludíamos, que veladamente Borges opone al símbolo de la cruz: "Agustín había escrito que Jesús es la vía recta que nos salva del laberinto circular en que andan los impíos", escribe en su relato "Los teólogos"; Borges se sabe "impío", y de ahí que acepte adentrarse en el laberinto, en la Casa del Minotauro, sin esperanzas, pero también, reiteramos, sin remordimientos. Creemos ver aquí una posición familiar a la Escuela Estoica, trasuntándose una sugerente hilación, directa y sin interferencias judeo-cristianas, que se origina en el pretérito mundo Greco-Romano, de ahí hasta Séneca (depositario e interprete ya "intelectualizado" del mundo clásico) y finalmente al mismo Borges, es decir, desde la Roma hispánica hasta la América románica. Así, la rueda solar y la cruz cristiana conforman los polos de un enfrentamiento cósmico que Borges explicita cautelosamente: "Cayó la rueda ante la Cruz", escribe, pero nada en sus palabras nos hace pensar que tal derrota haya sido definitiva. Por lo demás, agrega: "En las cruces rúnicas los dos emblemas enemigos conviven entrelazados". Es decir en la cruz celta el mundo clásico y tradicional, representado por la rueda solar, encierra, como en un círculo mágico diseñado por el mismísimo Merlín, a las líneas perpendiculares de su enemiga mediterránea. No hay por tanto tal derrota, sino un repliegue, una inmersión hacia las capas profundas de nuestro inconsciente individual y colectivo, que cada cierto tiempo se manifiesta históricamente, visiblemente, usando una expresión de C.G. Jung, como explosiones de "Wotanismo".

América se presenta a su vez como un mundo en creación, indómito, cuya naturaleza es a tal punto poderosa que empequeñece al hombre (ver CIUDAD DE LOS CÉSARES N° 13, entrevista a Miguel Serrano). En este medio, los nuevos Argonautas, los últimos descendientes de Ulises, arrojados a las playas de la "Terra Australis Incógnita", combaten con denuedo, intentando forjar un Nuevo Mundo que, si somos fieles a nuestro origen, no debería ser sino una recreación del Mundo más antiguo entre los mundos antiguos. No está demás precisar que tal combate, por el momento, no es sino personal o a lo más grupal, en un esfuerzo por hacer "rectangular" nuestra Alma, como nos pediría Nietzsche, y no una tarea de masas, dada la contingencia epocal que atravesamos.

En este contexto, Borges parece obsesionado con la imagen trágica de los descendientes de nórdicos o europeos septentrionales, que se ven devorados, subsumidos por el mundo indígena y telúrico de América, perdiendo casi por completo todo rasgo de la cultura de sus ancestros, todo gesto civilizado. Tal ocurre con el destino de los hermanos "Nelson", protagonistas del cuento "La intrusa": "En Turdera los llamaban "los Nilsen". El párroco me dijo que su predecesor recordaba, no sin sorpresa, haber visto en la casa de esa gente una gastada Biblia de tapas negras, con caracteres góticos; en las últimas páginas entrevió nombre y fechas manuscritas. Era el único libro que había en la casa. La azarosa crónica de los Nilsen, perdida como todo se perderá". La misma imagen simbólica de la Biblia que trajeron los olvidados antepasados y que nadie entiende, aparece en el magnífico relato "El Evangelio según Marcos", de sobrecogedor final. El relato se sitúa en una estancia hacia 1928. En ella viven los "Cutres" apellido con reminiscencias germánicas. Se trata del capataz y de su familia: "Los Cutres eran tres: el padre, el hijo, que era singularmente tosco, y una muchacha de incierta paternidad. Eran altos, fuertes, huesudos, de pelo que tiraba a rojizo, y de caras aindiadas. Casi no hablaban. La mujer del capataz había muerto hace años". A la estancia, llega en plan de vacaciones un estudiante eterno de medicina, proveniente de Buenos Aires, que "veneraba a Francia pero menospreciaba a los franceses; tenía en poco a los americanos, pero aprobaba el hecho que hubiera rascacielos en Buenos Aires". Los Cutres eran analfabetos, primordiales y sombríos. El huésped, explorando la casa de aquellos, se topa un día con una Biblia en Inglés: "En las páginas finales los Guthrie –tal era su nombre genuino- habían dejada escrita su historia. Eran oriundos de Inverness, habían arribado a este continente sin duda como peones, a principios del siglo diecinueve, y se habían cruzado con indios. La crónica cesaba hacia mil ochocientos setenta y tantos; ya no sabían escribir. Al cabo de unas pocas generaciones habían olvidado el inglés: el castellano (...) les daba trabajo". El visitante hojeó el volumen y se topó con el Evangelio según Marcos, que comienza a leer a los Cutres más por afán literario que proselitista. Trabajosamente, intenta explicarles quién fue Cristo, por qué murió, como murió y qué es el infierno; así transcurren los días. En las últimas líneas del relato, el visitante, aterrorizado y aturdido, alcanza a comprender que para "salvarse", los Cutres han decidido crucificarlo igual que a ese extraño personaje llamado Cristo, mientras los elementos se desatan con la lluvia, la tormenta y el río desbordado.

En América, entonces, los descendientes de los olvidados celtas, remontando la rueda hacia atrás, se han descristianizado, y las viejas e incomprensibles Biblias góticas olvidados en un rincón polvoriento.

En Borges, también está presente la lucha permanente que libran en América el mundo de la ciudad y el mundo de la naturaleza, que alternativamente se entremezclan y se repelen. Presenciamos el entrechocar bullente del universo americano urbano, por lo general pegado al litoral, con su espalda protegida por el Océano, a modo de cordón umbilical que lo une a la "civilización", y el universo americano agreste y feraz, selvático, exuberante e imponente, que termina por infiltrarse en la ciudad o en la parodia o fallida imitación de la ciudad, como en el mundo de García Márquez.

Ambos mundos están presentes en Borges, pero desde la perspectiva del primero, de la ciudad: "Yo creí, durante años, haberme criado en un suburbio de Buenos Aires, un suburbio de calles aventuradas y de ocasos visibles. Lo cierto es que me crié en un jardín, detrás de una verja con lanzas, y en una biblioteca de ilimitados libros ingleses. Palermo del cuchillo y de la guitarra andaba (me aseguran) por las esquinas, pero quienes poblaron mis mañanas y dieron agradable horror a mis noches fueron el bucanero ciego de Stevenson, agonizando bajo las patas de los caballos, y el traidor que abandonó a su amigo en la luna y el viajero del tiempo, que trajo del porvenir una flor marchita, y un genio encarcelado durante siglos en el cántaro salomónico y el profeta velado del Jorasán que detrás de las piedras y de la seda ocultaba la lepra. ¿Qué había, mientras tanto, del otro lado de la verja con lanzas? ¿Qué destinos vernáculos y violentos fueron cumpliéndose a unos pasos de mí en el turbio almacén o en el azaroso baldío?".

América es también un país "nuevo", y por tanto, epopéyico, mitológico, saturado de historia heroica y trágica: "Yo afirmo –sin remilgado temor a un novelero amor de la paradoja- que solamente los países nuevos tienen pasado; es decir, recuerdo autobiográfico de él; es decir, tiene historia viva. Si el tiempo es sucesión, debemos reconocer que donde densidad mayor hay de hechos, más tiempo corre y que el más caudaloso es el de este inconsecuente lado del mundo. La conquista y colonización de estos reinos –cuatro fortines temerosos de barro prendidos en la costa y vigilados por el pendiente horizonte, arco disparador de malones- fueron de tan efímera operación que un abuelo mío, en 1872, pudo comandar la última batalla de importancia contra los indios, realizando, después de la mitad del siglo diecinueve, obra conquistadora del dieciséis".

Finalmente, en la figura del héroe y de su destino fatal, al que es imposible escapar, y donde antes que el libre albedrío pareciera imponerse la impronta de Edipo, percibimos arquetipos tradicionales que en Borges son tema recurrente. En este punto, el escritor argentino piensa y escribe como un discípulo de Sófocles (en palabras de dos autoras chilenas. "El destino, la Moira o Parca, es un poder que ordena lo que tiene que ser y lo que debe ser, es decir también lo justo. Por ello, es también amo de los dioses, quienes no pueden transgredirlo intentando salirse de sus límites". Nota al Canto VI de la Ilíada, Gabriela Andrade y María Luisa Vial).

A cada hombre, entonces, le espera su destino, tejido por las diosas, a veces incluso para toda una estirpe. En el universo literario de Borges, ello tiene validez tanto para el compadrito que cae acuchillado en un sórdido arrabal bonaerense a principio de siglo, como al gaucho que finalmente se encuentra, bajo la luna que ilumina la vastedad de la pampa, con su enemigo de toda la vida, o al caudillo normando que cae atravesado por una lanza en las frías playas de Bretaña. Por lo demás, la misma noción del héroe se entrelaza con la del destino. No debemos olvidar que el héroe es aquel fiel a la palabra empeñada y que en consecuencia enfrenta su destino. En tal perspectiva, entendemos a cabalidad la siguiente frase de Borges: "Cualquier destino, por largo y complicado que sea, consta en realidad de un solo momento: el momento en que el hombre sabe para siempre quien es".


ANDRÓNICO*




*Pseudónimo de Juan Andrés Orrego Acuña. Publicado en CIUDAD DE LOS CÉSARES N° 17, Enero/Febrero de 1991.

mardi, 26 juillet 2011

Marc Laudelout sur Louis-Ferdinand Céline

 

Céline, bulletin celinien, un homme, un destin,

Marc Laudelout sur Louis-Ferdinand Céline
http://meridienzero.hautetfort.com/archive/2011/07/06/emission-n-57-louis-ferdinand-celine.html

dimanche, 24 juillet 2011

L. F. Céline: nouvelles parutions italienne et néerlandaise

Louis-Ferdinand Céline: nouvelles parutions italienne et néerlandaise

Ex: http://lepetitcelinien.blogspot.com/ 

 
Parution aux éditions Il Settimo Sigillo de lettres de Céline à la presse collaborationniste entre 1940 et 1944. Un choix d'Andréa Lombardi, préfacé par Stenio Solinas, traduit du français par Valeria Ferretti. http://lf-celine.blogspot.com

Presentiamo qui, per la prima volta in italiano, le discusse lettere e gli scritti di Louis-Ferdinand Céline alla stampa collaborazionista francese e apparse su “Je suis partout”, “Au Pilori”, “Germinal”, “La Gerbe”...
I temi toccati da Céline in queste lettere “maledette”, vanno dalla disfatta del 1940 e Vichy, gli ebrei, il razzismo, la guerra, la collaborazione franco-tedesca e gli intellettuali, alla polemica letteraria contro Proust, Cocteau e Peguy. Nel volume sono anche riprodotte le pagine originali delle ormai introvabili riviste e quotidiani dove apparvero gli scritti tradotti, mentre le appendici comprendono la risposta di Céline alle accuse della Procura francese, un ricordo di Céline scritto da Karl Epting, direttore dell’Istituto Tedesco di Parigi, un breve saggio sulla cultura politicizzata della Sinistra in quegli stessi anni e uno sui rapporti tra gli intellettuali francesi e tedeschi, e numerose fotografie.



Un livre de Nico Keuning paraît en néerlandais sur la période de l'exil danois, De laatste reis, De Deense jaren van Céline in ballingschap 1945 - 1951, aux éditions Aspekt.


Louis-Ferdinand Céline (1894-1961) heeft als soldaat, (onder zijn werkelijke naam Destouches), arts en schrijver een turbulent leven geleid. Als avonturier en gelukzoeker zocht hij zijn heil in Afrika en in zijn functie als hygiënist van de Volkenbond reisde hij onder andere naar Amerika, Engeland, Duitsland, Denemarken...

Met zijn roman Reis naar het einde van de nacht (1932) bracht hij een vernieuwing in de Europese literatuur teweeg. ‘Ik heb de emotie weer in de schrijftaal gebracht.’ In Nederland vond hij bewonderaars onder schrijvers als Gerard Reve en W.F. Hermans. Wellicht ook door zijn misantropie, paranoia en eigenzinnigheid. Eind jaren ’30 neemt zijn carrière een dramatische wen- ding als hij in antisemitische pamfletten openlijk sympathiseert met ideeën van het nationaal-socialisme en het Franse volk waarschuwt tegen de joden en de dreiging van een Tweede Wereldoorlog. Uit angst geëxecuteerd te worden, slaat Céline in juni 1944 op de vlucht.

De laatste reis laat een andere Céline zien: een schrijver in het plunje van een zwerver op de vlucht door Duitsland, ondergedoken in Kopenhagen, opge- sloten in de Vestre Fængsel, de gevangenis in Kopenhagen, onder huisarrest in Klarskovgaard op het Deense eiland Seeland. Een kankerende Céline, een hatende Céline een wanhopige Céline, maar vooral een schrijvende Céline. Tijdens zijn Deense ballingschap (1945-1951) schreef hij naast een aantal romans zo’n vierduizend brieven, waarvan honderden aan zijn advovaat Thorvald Mikkelsen die in een ministerie van Justitie de slepende rechtszaak uiteindelijk wist te winnen.

Nico Keuning bezoekt de adressen in Kopenhagen, Korsør en Klarskovgaard, komt in contact met Céline-kenners, vindt nieuwe documenten, ontdekt een ‘pleitrede’ van Céline uit 1946 en werpt een ander licht op de Deense jaren van zowel de persoon Destouches als de schrijver Céline, die nu vijftig jaar geleden, op 1 juli 1961 in Meudon overleed.

jeudi, 21 juillet 2011

Le Bulletin célinien n°332

Le Bulletin célinien n°332 - juillet/août 2011

Ex: http://lepetitcelinien.blogspot.com/

 
Vient de paraître : Le Bulletin célinien n°332.
 
Au sommaire :

- Bloc-notes (Marc Laudelout)
- In memoriam Colette Destouches
- L’année de Céline ou « la fête des fous » (Pierre Lalanne)
- In memoriam Thomas Federspiel (François Marchetti)
- Huit entretiens sur Céline (Frédéric Saenen)
- La revanche posthume de Céline (Jérôme Dupuis)
- Céline toujours indésirable à Montmartre (Marc Laudelout)
- Villon et Céline [1] (Pierre de Bonneville)
- Céline en Goétie (Philippe Alméras)
- Hommage de la S.E.C. à Céline

Un numéro de 24 pages, 6 € franco.
Le Bulletin célinien, B. P. 70, Gare centrale, BE 1000 Bruxelles
 

 

 

samedi, 16 juillet 2011

George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four

George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four

By Jonathan Bowden

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com/ 

george-orwell.jpgGeorge Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four [2] is probably the most important political novel of the twentieth century, but the Trotskyite influence on it is under-appreciated. The entire thesis about the Party’s totalitarianism is a subtle mixture of libertarian and Marxist contra Marxism ideas. One of the points which is rarely made is how the party machine doubles for fascism in Orwell’s mind – a classic Trotskyist ploy whereby Stalinism is considered to be the recrudescence of the class enemy. This is of a piece with the view that the Soviet Union was a deformed workers’ state or happened to be Bonapartist or Thermidorean in aspect.

Not only is Goldstein the dreaded object of hatred — witness the Two-Minute hate — but this Trotsky stand-in also wrote the evil book, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, which the party defines its existence against. The inner logic or dialectic, however, means that the Inner Party actually wrote the book so that it would control the mainsprings of its own criticism.

One of the strongest features of Nineteen Eighty-Four is its use of what the novelist Anthony Burgess called “sense data.” These are all the unmentionable things — usually realities in the physical world — which make a novel physically pungent or real to the reader. This is the very texture of life under “real, existing socialism”: scraping oneself in the morning with a bar of old soap, the absence of razor blades, human hair blocking a sink full of dirty water; the unsanitary details of conformism, socialist commerce, and queuing which made the novel feel so morally conservative to its first readers. This and the depiction of the working class (or Proles), who are everywhere treated as socially degraded  beasts of burden. Some of the most fruity illustrations come from Winston Smith’s home flat in Victory mansions — the smell of cabbage, the horrid nature of the Parsons’ children, the threadbare and decrepit nature of everything, the continuous droning of the telescreen.

Most of these “sense data” are based on Britain in 1948. It is the reality of Wyndham Lewis’ Rotting Hill — a country of ration cards, depleted resources, spivdom, dilapidated buildings after war-time bombing, rancid food, restrictions, blunt razor blades, and almost continuous talk about Victory over the Axis powers. Britain’s post-war decline dates from this period when the national debt exceeded outcome by seven times — and this was before the joys of Third World immigration which were only just beginning. The fact that Nineteen Eighty-Four is just the conditions in Britain in 1948 — at the level of the senses — is a fact not widely commented on.

The uncanny parallels between Newspeak and political correctness are widely mentioned but not really analyzed — save possibly in Anthony Burgess’ skit 1985, a satire which majors quite strongly on proletarian or workers’ English — whereby every conceivable mistake, solecism, mispronunciation, or scatology is marked up; correct usage is everywhere frowned upon.

Another aspect of the novel which receives scant attention is its sexological implications. In most coverage of Nineteen Eighty-Four the party organization known as the Anti-Sex league is given scant attention. Yet Orwell had considerable theoretical overlaps with both Fromm and Wilhelm Reich — never mind Herbert Marcuse. Orwell’s thesis is that totalitarianism fosters a sexless hysteria in order to cement its power. The inescapable corollary is that more liberal systems promote pornography and promiscuity in order to enervate their populations.

Orwell certainly pin-pointed the arrant puritanism of Stalinist censorship — something which became even more blatant after the Second World War. One also has to factor in the fact that Orwell was living and writing in an era where importing James Joyce’s Ulysses and Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer were criminal offenses. Nonetheless, Orwell’s anti-puritanism and libertarianism, sexually speaking, is very rarely commented on. Perhaps this leads to the nakedly sexual rebellion of Winston’s and Julia’s affair against the Party. A series of actions for which the mock-Eucharist, the imbibing of bread and wine in O’Brien’s inner party office, will not give them absolution!

It might also prove instructive to examine the sequences of torment which Winston Smith has to undergo in the novel’s last third. This phase of the book is quite clearly Hell in a Dantesque triad (the introductory section in Victory Mansions and at the Ministry is Purgatory, and Heaven is the brief physical affair with Julia). In actual fact, well over a third of the novel is expended in Hell, primarily located in the fluorescent-lit cells of the Ministry of Love.

This is the period where O’Brien comes into his own as the party inquisitor or tormentor, an authorial voice in The Book, and a man who quite clearly believes in the system known as Ingsoc, English Socialism. He is a fanatic or true believer who readily concedes to the Party’s inner nihilism and restlessness: “you want an image of the future, Winston, imagine a boot stamping down on a human face forever.”

orwell1984.jpg

Moreover, the extended torture scene proceeds over a third of the novel’s expanse and was quite clearly too much for many readers — in north Wales, one viewer of the BBC drama in the mid-fifties dropped dead during the rat scene. I suppose one could call it the ultimate review! Questions were even asked in parliament about what a state broadcaster was spending its money on.

Nonetheless, O’Brien is quite clearly configured as a party priest who is there to enforce obedience to the secular theology of Ingsoc. (Incidentally, Richard Burton is superb as O’Brien in the cinematic version of the novel made in the year itself, 1984 [5].)

The point of the society is to leave the Proles to their own devices and concentrate entirely on the theoretical orthodoxy of both the inner and outer party members. In this respect, it resembles very much a continuation of the underground and Bohemia when in power. You get a whiff of this at the novel’s finale, with Winston ensconced in the Chestnut Tree cafe waiting for the bullet and convinced of his love for Big Brother.

This is the inscrutable face of the Stalin lookalike which stares meaningfully from a hundred thousand posters in every available public place. Might he be smiling under the mustache?


Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: http://www.counter-currents.com

URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2011/07/george-orwells-nineteen-eighty-four/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/1984_movie_poster.jpg

[2] Nineteen Eighty-Four: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0452284236/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=countercurren-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399369&creativeASIN=0452284236

[3] Image: http://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/goldstein.jpg

[4] Image: http://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/bigbrother.jpg

[5] 1984: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00007KQA3/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=countercurren-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399369&creativeASIN=B00007KQA3

vendredi, 03 juin 2011

Louis Boussenard, un écrivain-aventurier

Louis Boussenard, un écrivain-aventurier dans le meilleur sillage de Jules Verne

Autore: Jean Mabire

Ex: http://www.centrostudilaruna.it/

D’une génération suivant celle de Jules Verne, Louis Boussenard semble en avoir parfaitement assimilé toutes les recettes. Comme son grand aîné, il réussit à nous faire partager la passion des «voyages extraordinaires» sans pourtant jamais arriver au même succès. S’il est un nom qui apparaît souvent dans la littérature populaire à partir des débuts de la IIIe République, c’est bien celui de Louis Boussenard, qui ne cache guère son ambition de s’imposer dans le sillage de Jules Verne et connaîtra indéniablement
la faveur d’un vaste public.

Sa méthode de publication est simple: feuilletons dans le célèbre Journal des Voyages puis parution en volume, sous cartonnage d’éditeur, notamment par les soins de Flammarion, puis de Tallandier. Il écrira ainsi une quarantaine de romans qui le classent d’emblée parmi les meilleurs auteurs du genre. Son biographe, Thierry Chevrier, en lui consacrant plusieurs articles dans l’indispensable Rocambole, le célèbre bulletin des amis du roman populaire, a grandement contribué à faire revivre une oeuvre à laquelle son illustrissime aîné risquait sans doute de porter ombrage par la magie d’un récent tapage médiatique quelque peu démesuré. Du moins, Boussenard en aura-t-il profité par ricochet.

Rien que ses origines familiales sont pour le moins pittoresques: le futur écrivain populaire naît à Escrennes dans le Loiret, le 4 octobre 1847. Sa mère est une jolie lingère d’une vingtaine d’années, du nom d’Héloïse Lance, qui aura pour ami le régisseur de la propriété où elle travaille, Louis-Antoine Boussenard, de plus d’un quart de siècle son aîné. On dit que ce séducteur est lui-même le fils d’un moine défroqué! Le jeune Louis, après de bonnes études à Pithiviers, se dirige vers la Faculté de médecine de Paris, mais la guerre éclate et il rejoint les armées. Durant le siège de la capitale, il servira comme aidemajor. Au début du mois de décembre 1870, il sera même blessé durant la bataille de Champigny.

Finalement, la littérature et les voyages l’attirent plus que la médecine. On le retrouve, dit-on, aux antipodes pendant
plusieurs mois au début de l’année 1876. De ce séjour lointain, il ramènera son premier roman, qui s’intitule tout simplement A travers l’Australie et paraîtra en feuilleton au printemps 1878. Le succès est immédiat, car l’ancien étudiant en médecine a le sens de la couleur locale (même quelque peu enjolivée) et surtout de l’action avec ce qu’il faut de violence et de suspense comme on dit aujourd’hui.

Voici donc Boussenard entré dans la république des lettres par la grande porte. Il récidive, dès l’année suivante, avec ce qui sera son premier très grand succès – et en quelque sorte le livre emblématique de sa carrière: Le Tour du Monde d’un Gamin de Paris. Il lui faut d’abord imaginer son héros: ce sera un garçon de 17 ans, qui répond au nom de Victor Guyon et reçoit le surnom de «Friquet». Il faut croire qu’il attire le lecteur puisqu’il y aura une dizaine de volumes de ses aventures et que le nommé «Friquet» aura même une sorte d’alter ego féminin sous le pseudonyme de «Friquette», dans les dernières années du siècle.

Son second séjour lointain, en 1880, en Guyane, sera décisif pour sa carrière. Cette fois, il n’a pas hésité à se documenter sur le terrain, débarquant à Cayenne et explorant les rives du Maroni pour rencontrer les indigènes de la Guyane française comme de la Guyane hollandaise. Il fréquentera même des bagnards, car le pénitencier est alors en pleine expansion, et ne manquera pas de croiser la route des chercheurs d’or. De ce voyage, qui prendra par moments l’aspect d’un périple quasi initiatique, naîtront les trois volumes de son nouvel ouvrage: Les Robinsons de la Guyane. Il a désormais trouvé la formule qui fera sa renommée.

Il lui suffit donc de multiplier voyages et aventures, en privilégiant les terres exotiques, mais sans obligatoirement se rendre sur place. La plupart de ses livres seront désormais un peu tous construits sur le même modèle, comme A travers l’Océanie ou Aventures de trois Français au pays des diamants. Cet écrivain qui se situe sans vergogne dans le sillage de Jules Verne ne montre pas une imagination délirante dans le choix de ses titres, comme en témoignent ses romans de la fin des années 80: Au pays des lions, Au pays des tigres, Au pays des bisons… Il se montrera quand même plus imaginatif avec Les chasseurs de caoutchouc et surtout Les secrets de monsieur Synthèse qui montrent qu’il aurait pu avoir quelque don pour la science-fiction et renouveler ainsi son imaginaire.

On le verra notamment avec Les aventures extraordinaires d’un homme bleu. Comme son célèbre maître, il ne peut s’empêcher de se livrer à des considérations historiques, géographiques et surtout ethnographiques, qui sont incontestablement un des charmes de son oeuvre, même si elles contribuent à la dater quelque peu. Il n’empêche que nous avons bien du plaisir à le suivre à travers le monde, de l’empire des Indes aux Etats-Unis, en passant par l’Afrique du Sud, les pays balkaniques, Bornéo et, bien entendu, le pôle Nord, qui n’a jamais été tant à la mode.

C’est en 1899 que cet écrivain d’aventures décide de terminer le siècle en beauté avec un de ses récits les plus ambitieux et les plus célèbres: L’enfer de glace. Il s’agit d’une de ses courses pour la conquête de l’Arctique, dernier espace aussi mystérieux qu’inexploré. Paru en 1892, ce récit volontairement très héroïque, reflète assez bien les préoccupation de l’époque, à commencer par un patriotisme pour le moins exacerbé. Quatre personnages sont alors en compétition: l’Anglais Sir Arthur Leslie, le Russe Sériakoff, le Français d’Ambrieux et l’Allemand Pregel. C’est entre ces deux derniers que la complétion sera la plus rude, car une question emblématique les sépare: l’Alsace-Lorraine! Aucun des explorateurs n’est décidé à faire de cadeau à ses concurrents et le duel tourne au drame quand les uns possèdent encore un navire sans provisions tandis que les autres n’ont plus que des vivres sans bâtiment pour les transporter dans les solitudes polaires. La remontée le long des côtes du Groënland sera pour tous ces explorateurs un long calvaire, qui se terminera sur une banquise dérivant jusqu’au cap Tchéliouskine en Sibérie. Deviner qui sera le vainqueur n’est pas une grande surprise.

Louis Boussenard se montre aussi passionné par le roman historique, comme en témoignent Le capitaine casse-Cou, Le zouave de Malakoff, Marko le Brigand ou ses livres consacrés aux divers conflits qui ensanglantent la vieille Europe de son temps. Mais il n’est pas homme à ne s’intéresser qu’au passé et comme beaucoup de ses contemporains il croit avec une sorte de fanatisme à l’aviation naissante, y consacrant un livre qui n’aura pas moins de deux titres successifs: Les gratteurs du ciel ou Les aventuriers de l’air. Son dernier ouvrage paraîtra à titre posthume en 1912: Friquet, Totor et Compagnie (Totor étant le fils de Friquet) car Louis Boussenard est mort le 11 septembre 1910 à Orléans.

(National-Hebdo n. 1132 – 27 mars 2006).

 

mardi, 31 mai 2011

Fuad Rifka est mort...

 

Fuad_Rifka.jpg

Fuad Rifka est mort…

 

L’hebdomadaire allemand Der Spiegel annonce discrètement le décès, survenu le 14 mai dernier dans sa quatre-vingt-unième année. Né sur la frontière entre la Syrie et le Liban, Fuad Rifka avait étudié à Tübingen dans les années 60. Der Spiegel rappelle ses paroles : « Mon séjour à Tübingen a été comme un séisme dans mon existence ». Après de bonnes études de philosophie, il passe dans cette ville universitaire du Baden-Würtemberg une thèse de doctorat sur l’esthétique selon Martin Heidegger puis retourne au Liban en 1966 pour y enseigner ce que l’on appelait là-bas la « philosophie occidentale » et pour poursuivre sa belle carrière de poète. Avant de partir pour l’Allemagne, il avait cofondé une revue d’avant-garde à Beyrouth, Shi’r, dont l’objectif était de révolutionner la poésie de langue arabe. Outre la publication de ses superbes recueils de poésie, Fuad Rifka a composé une anthologie de la poésie allemande du 20ème siècle et a traduit les œuvres de Hölderlin, de Trakl, de Rilke, de Novalis et de Goethe en arabe, ce qui lui a valu d’être nommé membre correspondant de l’Académie allemande de la langue et des lettres. Le monde arabe vient de perdre son germaniste le plus sublime, en même temps qu’un poète bilingue arabe/allemand d’une exceptionnelle qualité qui, peut-être mieux que les germanophones eux-mêmes, a su traduire en vers l’idée cardinale de son maître Heidegger, celle de la sérénité, de la Gelassenheit, face aux éléments et à la nature.

 

(source : Der Spiegel, n°21/2011).

samedi, 28 mai 2011

Gottfried Benn

Gottfried Benn in Interview (1956)

Gottfried Benn liest aus "Kunst und Drittes Reich"

 

vendredi, 27 mai 2011

Livr'arbitres, printemps 2011

Nouveau numéro de la revue « Livr’arbitres».

Printemps 2011

 

La revue littéraire non-conforme « Livr’arbitres » consacre son nouveau dossier central aux « écrivains des vastes horizons » avec notamment une entrevue avec Sylvain Tesson.

Egalement dans ce numéro : Rencontre avec Fanny et Mathilde du Tour d’Europe à Pieds, le coup de gueule de Thierry Marignac, portrait de Joseph Kessel par Francis Bergeron, in memoriam Jean Lartéguy…

Et toujours des recensions d’ouvrages, des billets d’humeurs, des nouvelles inédites…

Livr’arbitres
36 bis rue Balard
75015 Paris

Le numéro : 6 euros
L’abonnement (4 numéros ) : 22 euros


Article printed from :: Novopress.info France: http://fr.novopress.info

URL to article: http://fr.novopress.info/85563/nouveau-numero-de-la-revue-%c2%ab-livr%e2%80%99arbitres%c2%bb-printemps-2011/

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vendredi, 20 mai 2011

Le Bulletin célinien n°330 (mai 2011)

 
Vient de paraître : Le Bulletin célinien, n° 330.
 
Au sommaire:

Marc Laudelout : Bloc-notes
Jean-Pierre Doche : Voyage inutile ! (Jean-François Balmer à Sceaux)
Stéphane Balcerowiak : Une lettre [sur Céline] de Ramon Fernandez à Pol Neveux
F. G. : « Ça a débuté comme ça » (Théâtre du Pont Neuf, à Toulouse)
Jean-Paul Angelelli : Le retour de Lucien Rebatet
Stéphane Balcerowiak : Revin vaut bien une thèse
M. L. : Céline et le légionnaire
Frédéric Saenen : Un dilettante déloyal (Jean Fontenoy)
Alain Ajax : Point de vue. M. Godard est-il négligent ?
Agnès Hafez-Ergaut : Hommes, chevaux et guerre dans Casse-pipe (II)
M. L. : Céline sur tous les fronts (IV)
M. L. : David Alliot, pourfendeur des idées reçues sur Céline

Un numéro de 24 pages, illustrations. Prix : 6 € frais de port inclus (chèque à l’ordre de M. Laudelout).

Le Bulletin célinien

B. P. 70
Gare centrale
1000 Bruxelles
Lors du colloque Céline qui s’est tenu au Centre Pompidou en février dernier, il s’est produit un incident pittoresque. Se présentant à la fois comme membre de la Ligue des Droits de l’Homme et de la Société des Études céliniennes depuis des décennies, un auditeur s’est dit accablé par les réquisitoires dont Céline était l’objet, ne reconnaissant pas l’écrivain (dont il est un lecteur assidu) dans le portrait totalement à charge qu’on faisait de lui. Il faut dire que Martin, Lindenberg, Hartmann & cie ne firent pas dans la dentelle, présentant Céline comme le chantre des camps de la mort. Assertion que même un Henri Godard, peu suspect de complaisance envers Céline, a toujours récusée (1) .
Ainsi arrive-t-on à culpabiliser les lecteurs de Céline. Un philosophe médiatique – et, accessoirement, ancien ministre de l’Éducation Nationale – n’a pas hésité à estimer « douteuse » l’admiration que l’écrivain suscite (2).
Une spécialiste de Céline met, elle, en garde le lecteur de… Voyage au bout de la nuit car on y trouve « tous les ingrédients pour le populisme actuel » : « Le regard porté par Céline sur son époque, est aussi dangereux pour la nôtre. De Céline, il n’y a pas de lecture innocente possible : la vigilance doit s'exercer jusque dans l’appréciation du style, et pas seulement dans l’effort pour restreindre à l'œuvre, l'admiration que nous pourrions être tentés d'éprouver pour l'écrivain (3). » Vigilance donc. On se plaît à imaginer les commentaires goguenards que cette prose eût inspiré à Albert Paraz. Dans son journal, il campe un nommé Reilhac, marxiste de stricte observance, s’écriant : « Ça sent le néo-fasciste ! Vigilance ! ». Et Paraz d’ajouter : « Croyez-moi, il a trouvé le moyen de dire ça en roulant les R. » (4)
On apprend, par ailleurs, que la municipalité de Paris s’apprête à dénommer « place Louis-Aragon » un coin de l’île Saint-Louis, au prétexte que le poète stalinien a vécu, dans l’immeuble qui surplombe ce coin, une liaison avec la milliardaire anglaise Nancy Cunard. Le maire de Paris, qui s’est associé aux cris d’orfraie de Serge Klarsfeld contre Céline, ne voit donc aucun inconvénient à honorer Aragon qui appela au meurtre de Léon Blum et qui osa applaudir à l’assassinat d’un enfant (le tsarévitch de Russie), ajoutant au crime l’insulte et la moquerie (5).
« Céline s’est mis à jamais hors de toute consécration officielle », affirmait Henri Godard en 1994, puis en 1998 (6). Une dizaine d’années plus tard, il revenait sur ce jugement en cautionnant l’inscription de Céline dans les « Célébrations nationales 2011 ». On sait ce qu’il en advint. En portant un regard suspicieux sur les lecteurs de Céline, une étape est désormais franchie.

Marc LAUDELOUT

1. « Il n’y a, dans les textes, correspondances ou propos mis au jour jusqu’à présent aucune attestation d’une connaissance de la réalité du processus de solution finale. » (Henri Godard, Notice de « Guignol’s band » in Romans III, Gallimard, coll. « Bibliothèque de la Pléiade », 1988, p. 945.)
2. Luc Ferry, « Célébrer Céline ? », Le Figaro, 29 janvier 2011. La citation est la suivante : « Céline n’est ni Hugo ni Molière : non seulement le jugement de l’histoire n’est pas passé, mais l’« admiration » qu’il suscite est pour le moins douteuse, à proprement parler discutable si l’on songe que l’exceptionnelle virulence de son antisémitisme n’est pas ou ne peut pas être tout à fait sans lien avec le fond de son œuvre. »
3. Frédérique Leichter-Flack, « Céline, le « style contre les idées » ? Méfiance ! », www.lemonde.fr, 27 janvier 2011.
4. Albert Paraz, Valsez saucisses, Amiot-Dumont, 1950, p. 82.
5. Dans Hourra l’Oural (1934). Texte réédité dans les Œuvres complètes d’Aragon (La Pléiade).
6. Henri Godard,
Céline scandale, Gallimard, coll. « Blanche », 1994 (rééd. Gallimard, coll. « Folio », 1998).

 

 

Solzhenitsyn and the Russian Question

Solzhenitsyn and the Russian Question

 

by John Laughland

 

http://www.lewrockwell.com/

62.jpgThe death of Alexander Solzhenitsyn produced predictable reactions from Western commentators. Yes, they said, he was a moral giant for so bravely exposing the evils of the Soviet penitential system in The Gulag Archipelago; but he later compromised his moral stature by failing to like the West and by becoming a Russian nationalist.

A perfect example of this reasoning was Anne Applebaum’s piece in The Guardian. Herself the author of a history of the Gulag, she wrote,

In later years, Solzhenitsyn lost some of his stature …thanks to his failure to embrace liberal democracy. He never really liked the west, never really took to free markets or pop culture.

Such comments reveal more about their author than about their subject. We are dealing here with something I propose to call geo-ideology: the alas now widespread prejudice that “West” and “democracy” are identical concepts. In the minds of such commentators, moreover, the “West” is also identical with “free markets” and “pop culture.” The “West,” apparently no longer means “the Christian religion” or even that body of inheritance from the magnificent treasure-house of the cultures of Athens and Rome. Instead it means MTV, coke and Coke.

At every level these assumptions are false. Let us start with “free markets,” the endlessly repeated shibboleth of the globalisers. By what possible criterion can
Russia be said to have a less free market than the United States of America, or than the majority of European Union member state? One of the key measure of the freedom of a market is the amount of private income consumed by the state. The income tax rate in Russia is fixed at a flat rate of 13% – a fraction of the 25% or so paid in the US, 33% of so paid in the United Kingdom and the 40% or more paid in continental Europe. As for pop culture, Russia unfortunately has plenty of it. Her youth are just as imbued with it, unfortunately, as the youth of Europe and America.

The comments also fail to present the reader with any serious analysis of Solzhenitsyn’s political position. The author makes vague and disparaging references to the unsuitability of Solzhenitsyn’s “vision of a more spiritual society” and to his “crusty and old fashioned nationalism” – judgements which appear to owe much to the Soviet propaganda she says she rejects. But she fails to allow the reader to know just what she means. Surely, on the occasion of a man’s death, it might be opportune to tell people about what he thought.

Anyone who reads Solzhenitsyn’s astonishing essay from 1995, The Russian Question at the End of the Twentieth Century, will see that this caricature is nonsense. There is nothing irrational or mystical about Solzhenitsyn’s political positions at all – and he makes only the most glancing of references to the religion which, we all know, he does indeed hold dear. No, what emerges from this essay is an extremely simple and powerful political position which is easily translated into contemporary American English as “paleo-conservatism.”

Solzhenitsyn makes a withering attack on three hundred years of Russian history. Almost no Russian leader emerges without censure (he likes only the Empress Elizabeth [1741–1762] and Tsar Alexander III [1881–1894]); most of them are roundly condemned. One might contest the ferocity of Solzhenitsyn’s attacks but the ideological coherence of them is very clear: he is opposed to leaders who pursue foreign adventures, including empire-building, at the expense of the Russian population itself. This, he says, is what unites nearly all the Tsars since Peter the Great with the Bolshevik leaders.

Again and again, in a variety of historical contexts, Solzhenitsyn says that
Russia should not have gone to the aid of this or that foreign cause, but should instead have concentrated on promoting stability and prosperity at home.

While we always sought to help the Bulgarians, the Serbs, the Montenegrins, we would have done better to think first of the Belorussians and Ukrainians: with the weighty hand of Empire we deprived them of cultural and spiritual development in their own traditions… the endless wars for Balkan Christians were a crime against the Russian people… The attempt to greater-Russify all of Russia proved damaging not only to the living national traits of all the other ethnicities in the Empire but was foremost detrimental to the greater-Russian nationality itself … The aims of a great Empire and the moral health of the people are incompatible … Holding on to a great Empire means to contribute to the extinction of our own people.

There is literally nothing to separate this view from the anti-interventionist anti-war positions of Pat Buchanan (author of A Republic not an Empire) or Ron Paul.

After dealing with both the horrors of Communism, Solzhenitsyn of course turns his attention to the terrible chaos of the post-Communist period. Here again, his concern for the Russian people themselves remains consistent. He writes,

The trouble is not that the USSR broke up – that was inevitable. The real trouble, and a tangle for a long time to come, is that the breakup occurred along false Leninist borders, usurping from us entire Russian provinces. In several days, we lost 25 million ethnic Russians – 18 percent of our entire nation – and the government could not scrape up the courage even to take note of this dreadful event, a colossal historic defeat for Russia, and to declare its political disagreement with it.

Solzhenitsyn is right. One of the most lasting legacies of Leninism, which remains after everything else has been swept away or collapsed, was the decision to create bogus federal entities on the territory of what had been the unitary Russian state. These entities, called Soviet republics, contributed only to the creation of bogus nationalisms and of course to the dilution of Russian nationhood. They were bogus because the republics in question did not, in fact, correspond to ethnic reality: Kazakhs, for instance, are and remain a numerical minority in Kazakhstan, while “Ukraine” is in fact a collection of ancient Russian provinces (especially Kiev) and some Ukrainian ones. This bogus nationalism allowed the Soviet Union to present itself as an international federation of peoples, rather like the European Union today, but it was exploited by Russia’s enemies when the time came to destroy the geopolitical existence of the historic Russian state. This happened when the USSR was unilaterally dissolved by three Republic leaders in December 1991.

And this is the key to the West’s hostility to Solzhenitsyn. The man the West exploited to destroy Communism refused to bend the knee to the West’s continuing attempts (largely successful) to destroy
Russia herself. Perhaps it is no coincidence that Anne Applebaum, an American citizen, is the wife of the Foreign Minister of Russia’s oldest historical enemy, Poland.

This article originally appeared in The Brussels Journal.

August 12, 2008

John Laughland's [send him mail] latest book is A History of Political Trials: From Charles I to Saddam Hussein.

Copyright © 2008 John Laughland

mercredi, 18 mai 2011

Maurice Dantec entre Guerre froide et Djihad

Dantec.jpg

Maurice Dantec entre Guerre froide et Djihad

 

par André WAROCH

 

Pourquoi les guerres de religion sont une chose trop sérieuse pour être laissées aux catholiques

 

De Maurice Dantec, j’avais tenté de lire une ou deux œuvres de fiction, comme Les racines du mal dont j’avais péniblement parcouru quelques dizaines de pages avant de renoncer, définitivement rétif au style du romancier. M’avaient en revanche beaucoup plus intéressé les étranges Théâtres des opérations, T.D.O. pour les intimes, trois tomes d’un journal sauvage tenu entre la fin des années 90 et le milieu des années 2000.

Je pense pouvoir dire, après l’avoir lu et relu, après avoir médité sur ses inconséquences et ses insuffisances, que Maurice Dantec est un des écrivains importants de notre époque. Un de ceux, peut-être, sur lesquels se pencheront les historiens de l’an 3000, lorsqu’ils porteront leur regard sur la période actuelle, sur ce Bas-Empire de la Modernité, et qu’ils chercheront à établir l’anthologie des écrivains symptomatiques de la dégénérescence de l’Occident. Ou de ceux qui feront figure d’exception.

Il était une fois un banlieusard rouge né à la fin des années cinquante, et ayant développé par réaction (déjà !) une fascination pour les États-Unis; pas celle que peut éprouver le gauchiste de base pour les virus mondialistes qui s’y développent (comme le dit magnifiquement Dantec, le gauchiste n’aime pas l’Amérique, il aime l’Amérique qui déteste l’Amérique), mais plutôt l’admiration rêveuse que tant d’Européens ont sainement éprouvé pour ce pays, pour ses mythes, pour ses grands espaces, son sud profond, sa musique, sa littérature.

Alors que les Américains se relevaient de la guerre du Vietnam et finissaient par terrasser l’Union soviétique, l’Europe de l’Ouest, dans son morbide paradis postmoderne, s’engageait dans une direction inquiétante. Immigration, colonisation, insécurité, exactions, islamisation. Rome n’était plus dans Rome, et personne ne savait plus où la trouver. Maurice Dantec, soldat perdu de l’Occident, partit donc en quête de la nouvelle capitale. Il la trouva, sa Ravenne, et il dut pour cela traverser tout un océan.  Elle n’était peut-être pas aussi belle qu’il l’avait cru, peut-être aussi était-elle déjà atteinte par la vérole qui avait déjà emportée les provinces de l’autre rive. Mais elle n’avait pas, elle, renoncé à se battre. Lui non plus.

Littérateur nourri de théologie, de science-fiction, et d’une herbe d’excellente qualité, Maurice Dantec mit au service de la cause occidentale et chrétienne sa rage, son mysticisme, sa haine de ce qu’était devenue l’Europe. Enfant battu de Saint-Augustin et d’Iggy Pop, il ne tenta ni un traité théologico-politique pour discussions de salons de thé avec Emmanuel Todd, ni un journal intime, dans lequel il aurait relaté la détresse sexuelle de l’orignal du Nouveau-Brunswick les soirs d’aurore boréale. Dantec, complètement défoncé à diverses substances dont il dressait l’inventaire au fur et à mesure de cet anarchique bréviaire, exilé ayant laissé son cœur battant dans les profondeurs des Abysses hexagonales, nous livra, sans méthode aucune, son âme malade, ses haines inexpiables, l’aigreur et le désespoir qui l’avaient fait fuir un continent perdu qu’il n’eut pas le courage – ou la cruauté -  de continuer à voir s’enfoncer dans l’abîme.

8929-medium.jpgSes envolées guerrières, ses insultes faciles et ses outrances, cette exaltation que l’âge ne semblait pas devoir tempérer, tout cela s’étalait au fil de milliers de pages, entre deux hommages à Kelly Minogue ou Bertrand Burgalat. Ses T.D.O. sautaient du coq à l’âne, sans queue ni tête, sans début ni fin, bref, ils ressemblaient beaucoup trop à la vie pour qu’on puisse en tirer quelque chose d’aussi simple qu’un résumé.

Le problème de Dantec, malgré ce qu’il avait envie de croire, c’est qu’il était le produit de son époque. Les jeunes femmes à qui il est arrivé, après une soirée étudiante, de se réveiller dans des draps inconnus, l’entrejambe poisseuse, pourraient en témoigner : sous l’influence de certaines substances, on peut parfois, sans trop réfléchir, faire des choses qu’on regrettera une fois dégrisé.  Qu’il est ainsi cruel de comparer ce qu’avait écrit Dantec au sujet des bombardements sur la Serbie en 1999 et l’union sacrée qu’il prônait, cinq ou six ans plus tard, contre l’islam.

Celui qui prenait les Kosovars pour les nouveaux juifs du Ghetto de Varsovie et Milosevic pour un nouvel émule d’Hitler ou de Staline, en venait, dans le troisième tome, à soutenir Vladimir Poutine qui, selon certaines estimations, a supprimé le quart ou le tiers de la population tchétchène. Il en appelait dorénavant à l’union sacrée de tous les non-musulmans contre la religion islamique, alors qu’en 1999 il nous faisait sa petite précieuse : et que Milosevic n’était pas un chrétien mais un communiste, et que les Serbes ne menaient pas une guerre comme des gens bien comme il faut, et que les Bosniaques n’étaient pas vraiment des musulmans (était-il au courant que les Musulmans du Kosovo étaient des Albanais, et non des Bosniaques ? On pouvait croire que non, tant son combat en faveur des premiers n’apparaissait que comme un prolongement de celui qu’il mena pour le compte des seconds).

Maurice Dantec n’avait pas une grande culture politique et historique. Il reproduisait donc les schémas de la Guerre froide, ou chaque camp, pour l’emporter sur l’autre dans le cœur des peuples européens, se présentait comme celui qui avait terrassé un mal nommé l’Allemagne hitlérienne et qu’il était nécessaire, dans cet optique, de présenter comme absolu. Après avoir  refusé de voir que le régime serbe, pour « communiste » (très crépusculaire) qu’il soit, combattait l’islamisation de l’Europe, il se mit à traiter les islamistes de fascistes et de nazis, ce qui n’était pas non plus la meilleure manière de comprendre le monde tel qu’il était devenu. L’islam était plus que millénaire, le nazisme et le communisme étaient nés et morts – ou presque – au XXesiècle. À les utiliser comme des catégories conceptuelles absolues, on risquait donc de ne rien comprendre au monde tel qu’il était devenu, ou peut-être tel qu’il n’avait jamais cessé d’être, avant et après ces deux parenthèses historiques.

On ne peut s’empêcher de penser que la conversion au catholicisme de Maurice Dantec, si sincère put-elle paraître, y compris aux yeux de l’intéressé, n’est qu’un moyen de plus pour Maurice de continuer la lutte. Une énième provocation. Un acte politique travesti en révélation mystique. Le christianisme comme arme, comme étendard contre l’islam, comme il le fut jadis contre le communisme.

L’Église catholique, quand on regarde son histoire, et contrairement à ses rivales protestantes et orthodoxes, est une machine de guerre, qui instrumentalise la religion à des fins politiques, tel que l’avait bien décrit A.S. Komiakov. Alors, pourquoi pas, effectivement ? Pourquoi ne pas enfin assumerla nature profondément machiavélique de cette Église, dont la fonction fut toujours de prolonger l’Empire romain sous une forme métapolitique. Le célèbre mot d’Henri IV, « Paris vaut bien une messe », pouvaient résumer à eux seuls mille cinq cent ans de catholicisme.

Maurice Dantec n’est pas encore prêt à sauter le pas qui sépare l’hypocrisie du cynisme. Mais il est sur la bonne voie. Il a toujours été sur la bonne voie. Son bad trip post-Guerre froide, dans American Black Box, le meilleur de trois T.D.O., est doucement en train de s’atténuer, parce que Dantec est en train de se constituer, à force de délaisser quelque peu la littérature pour les livres d’histoire, ce qui lui manquait auparavant : une mémoire longue.

À l’heure ou j’écris ces lignes, j’ignore où en est Maurice Dantec. Je sais que l’élection de Barack Obama a été pour lui une rupture profonde, l’effondrement de la dernière forteresse occidentale, du dernier krak qui résistait encore au mondialisme et à l’islamisme, la chute des ultimes vestiges du christianisme dont il se réclamait : ce christianisme vivant, viril et guerrier, dont George Bush, bien que protestant évangélique, était sûrement, à ses yeux, un digne représentant. Car Maurice Dantec serait sûrement prêt à militer pour interdire l’entrée des Églises médiévales, ces chefs d’œuvre de l’époque des Croisades, aux catholiques post-Vatican II. Il pourrait même rajouter, dans son style inimitable : l’ouverture à l’autre, il y a des maisons pour ça.

Pour ma part, je ne partage nullement l’admiration de Dantec pour George Bush ni pour la politique du gouvernement américain. Il n’est d’ailleurs nullement question, pour moi, de l’aimer ou de la détester, mais de considérer si, oui ou non, elle a pour but de servir les intérêts de l’Europe, et la réponse est : non, en aucune façon. Les États-Unis, George Bush compris, ont mené une politique d’intérêt national au sens strict du terme, et ne se sont embarrassés d’aucune solidarité « identitaire » à l’égard du Vieux Continent. George Bush est chrétien et, grâce à lui, il n’y a plus de chrétiens en Irak.

295446.jpgLa joie qu’on pouvait sentir chez Maurice Dantec quant à la perspective de la mort prochaine de Saddam Hussein était d’ailleurs obscène. Saddam, qui avait sûrement plus fait pour combattre le fondamentalisme que n’importe qui d’autre. Saddam, qui avait été le seul, après le retrait d’Israël, à envoyer des armes aux chrétiens du Liban à la fin des années quatre-vingt. Saddam, qui avait embauché le chrétien Tareq Aziz comme vice-premier ministre, et donné à un de ses fils un prénom païen de l’ancienne Mésopotamie. Ce Saddam qui, aux yeux de Dantec, ressemblait sûrement trop au méchant idéal dans un film de Chuck Norris. Sa chute fut, hélas, le signal, pour les islamistes, de l’ouverture de la chasse au Chaldéen.

Personnage déroutant que ce Maurice Dantec,  souvent antipathique par l’extrémisme de sa pensée comme de son tempérament, utilisant des grilles de lectures tantôt dépassés, tantôt faussées par l’exaltation mystique. Le fait d’avoir choisi de livrer ses idées politiques sous la forme erratique de « fragments » traduit bien la nature même de cette pensée, encore embryonnaire. Nous pensons pouvoir dire que les trois T.D.O. sont le récit de la mutation d’un homme qui change de millénaire au milieu de sa vie. L’histoire de Maurice Dantec, c’est l’histoire de l’Europe depuis 1945.

Les combats à venir ne se mèneront pas au nom de la démocratie, du communisme, des moustaches de Staline ou du brushing de Ronald Reagan. La Chine a réhabilité Confucius. La Russie est redevenue orthodoxe. L’appel du muezzin a eu raison des slogans du parti Baas. Certains Iraniens essaient même d’exhumer le cadavre de Zarathoustra. Seuls les Occidentaux continuent à se cramponner aux idéologies universalistes qu’ils ont inventées. Comme l’avait prévu Guillaume Faye, la modernité finissante voit refleurir les grandes civilisations éternelles, technologiquement surarmées : ce qu’il nomme l’archéofuturisme.

L’élection de Barack Obama fournit à Maurice Dantec le prétexte inconscient qui lui manquait pour cesser de voir dans les États-Unis le bras armé de la Chrétienté. À partir de là, la Russie, comme pour tant d’autres, peut devenir son nouveau référent identitaire et politique.

Malgré ses débordements divers, ses quasi-appels au meurtre irresponsables, son manque confondant de discernement entre la mystique et le réel, et des lectures politiques mal digérées, nous ne pouvons nous payer le luxe de passer sous silence l’un des seuls écrivains actuels qui soit assez fou pour être libre. Penser contre son époque est devenu le privilège de quelques marginaux abîmés par la vie. C’est sûrement l’époque qui veut ça.

 

André Waroch

 

• D’abord mis en ligne sur Novopress, le 27 janvier 2011.


Article printed from Europe Maxima: http://www.europemaxima.com

URL to article: http://www.europemaxima.com/?p=1875

samedi, 07 mai 2011

Drieu La Rochelle vide lo spettro di una nuova guerra e per questo credette nell'Europa unita

Drieu La Rochelle vide lo spettro di una nuova guerra e per questo credette nell’Europa unita

Francesco Lamendola

Ex: http://www.centrostudilaruna.it/

Vi sono scelte che non vengono perdonate, che fruttano al proprio autore la «damnatio memoriae» perpetua, indipendentemente dal valore del personaggio e da tutto quanto egli possa aver detto o fatto di notevole, prima di compiere, magari per ragioni contingenti e sostanzialmente in buona fede, quella tale scelta infelice.

È questo, certamente, il caso dello scrittore Drieu La Rochelle (Parigi, 1893-1945), il quale, nonostante i suoi innegabili meriti letterari e l’importanza di certe sue intuizioni politiche nel periodo fra le due guerre mondiali, per il fatto di aver aderito al Partito Popolare Francese dell’ex comunista Jacques Doriot ed averne condiviso, durante l’occupazione tedesca della Francia, le posizioni collaborazioniste, è stato scacciato per sempre dal salotto buono della cultura europea e ha subito la rimozione sistematica dei suoi meriti di europeista convinto, quando l’idea di un’Europa unita era una rara eccezione alla regola nel panorama uniforme dei gretti nazionalismi.

Ma chi era Pierre Drieu La Rochelle, prima di convertirsi al fascismo, nel 1934, e prima di accettare di collaborare con i Tedeschi nella Francia occupata, fino a ricoprire la direzione della prestigiosissima «Nouvelle Revue Française»?

Non è tanto la sua biografia che qui ci interessa, reperibile presso qualunque testo di letteratura francese, quanto l’itinerario spirituale che lo ha portato, rara e felice eccezione nel panorama degli anni Venti e Trenta, a perorare la causa di una unità europea capace di assorbire e ricomporre i nazionalismi esasperati e contrapposti.

Il primo dato significativo è la sua partecipazione alla prima guerra mondiale, dal principio alla fine (comprese tre ferite sul campo, di cui due nel solo 1914). Egli vi andò entusiasta, come tanti altri giovani della borghesia non solo francese, ma tedesca, russa, austriaca, italiana; ma ne tornò traumatizzato e disgustato. Aveva sognato la guerra eroica, e si trovò scaraventato in una carneficina di tipo industriale, dove la vittoria finale non andava al più audace o al più coraggioso, ma a quello che aveva alle spalle il più potente sistema industriale e finanziario.

Il pacifismo di Drieu La Rochelle, pertanto, non nacque da motivazioni etiche, ma, in un certo senso, estetiche: lettore entusiasta, fin dalla prima gioventù, dello «Zarathustra» nietzschiano, e quindi odiatore della mediocrità e della anonimità della società di massa, egli vide nella guerra moderna non già la smentita, ma il trionfo di quella mediocrità e di quella anonimità, dunque qualcosa di osceno e di stupidamente brutale.

Il secondo dato importante è la lucidità con la quale egli comprese che, a partire dal 1919, l’Europa aveva perduto il suo ruolo primario sulla scena della politica e dell’economia mondiali, a vantaggio di potenze imperiali di tipo “continentale”: Stati Uniti, Russia, e, in prospettiva, Cina e India. Prima di molti intellettuali e di molti uomini politici, egli comprese che nessun Paese europeo – tranne, forse, la Gran Bretagna, in virtù del suo immenso Impero coloniale – avrebbe potuto, alla lunga, reggere il confronto con quei colossi.

Pertanto, anche il suo superamento del nazionalismo – a cui aveva creduto appassionatamente – non si basa su ragionamenti di ordine umanitario, ma di “Realpolitik”. Così come Machiavelli vide lucidamente che gli Stati regionali italiani non avrebbero potuto reggere la sfida delle monarchie nazionali francese e spagnola, se non si fossero riformati da cima a fondo; allo stesso modo Drieu La Rochelle vide che gli Stati europei sarebbero usciti dal gioco delle grandi potenze mondiali se non fossero stati capaci di rinunciare alla pietra d’inciampo del nazionalismo e non avessero costruito una unione di tipo federale.

Il suo giudizio sul nazionalismo, dunque, non scaturiva da ragioni morali, ma politiche: esso aveva fatto il suo tempo. In altre epoche della storia aveva potuto svolgere un ruolo utile, anzi, necessario; adesso, non era altro che un peso morto, un ostacolo privo di senso (egli adopera il termine «rinsecchito») alla futura salvezza del Vecchio Continente.

Perché Drieu La Rochelle era una nazionalista, un francese che amava la Francia sopra ogni altra cosa; ma non fu mai un nazionalista gretto e miope, capace, cioè, di misconoscere la funzione storica e culturale svolta dalle «altre» patrie nella storia d’Europa. Egli, in particolare – cosa tanto più notevole, nel clima della «pace punitiva» imposta a Versailles da Clemenceau alla Germania sconfitta – non fu mai uno spregiatore della cultura tedesca; non solo: sostenne sempre che, accanto all’influsso della Grecia, di Roma e dell’Umanesimo italiano, la cultura francese era il risultato di un altro influsso, quello nordico d’oltre Reno, che aveva svolto un ruolo non meno significativo del primo.

Il terzo elemento è la ricerca tormentata, quasi affannosa, di una formula politica capace di fornire un orientamento spirituale e materiale ai popoli dell’Europa, usciti dalla prova durissima della prima guerra mondiale e frastornati da eventi di grande portata storica, potenzialmente minacciosi, quali la nascita dell’Unione Sovietica, il sorgere del fascismo e, poi, del nazismo, e la grande crisi di Wall Street del 1929. I suoi ondeggiamenti politici sono apparsi sovente quali segni di confusione ideologica e di velleitarismo; forse, sarebbe più giusto considerarli quali segni di una aspirazione ardente, ma sincera, a trovare un porto sicuro nella grande procella che in quegli anni infuriava sul mondo.

Il suo accostamento al Partito Popolare Francese di Doriot, ex comunista divenuto fautore di Hitler e Mussolini, giunge solo alla metà degli anni Trenta, dopo che egli sembra avere esplorato ogni strada, ogni possibilità, per individuare una via d’uscita dalla crisi della civiltà europea che gli sembrava, e a ragione, una crisi non solo economica e politica, ma innanzitutto spirituale. È come se egli avesse bussato a tutte le porte e, solo dopo averle trovate tutte chiuse a doppia mandata, si fosse risolto ad entrare nell’unica stanza che gli si rivelò accessibile.

In ogni caso, è certo che la sua adesione al collaborazionismo con i Tedeschi, dopo il 1940, non ebbe niente di opportunistico e niente di disonorevole, per quanto la si possa considerare politicamente discutibile o anche decisamente sbagliata. Egli non desiderava un’Europa asservita alla volontà di Hitler, e aveva sempre affermato di non intendere l’unità europea come il risultato di un’azione di forza da parte di una singola Potenza. Tuttavia, nel 1940, si trovò a dover fare una scelta irrevocabile: scelse quello che gli parve il male minore. È noto, d’altronde, che si adoperò per ottenere la liberazione di Jean Pulhan, detenuto nelle carceri naziste; ma questo sarebbe stato troppo facilmente dimenticato, nel cima da caccia alle streghe del 1945 che lo spinse al suicidio.

Nella sua ricerca di un nuovo ordine europeo che consentisse alle «patrie» francese, tedesca, inglese, italiana, di continuare a svolgere un ruolo mondiale nell’era dei colossi imperiali, si era accostato anche a certi ambienti industriali e finanziari che egli definiva «capitalismo intelligente», perché aveva intuito che, in un mondo globalizzato, anche il capitalismo avrebbe potuto svolgere una funzione utile, purché si dissociasse dal nazionalismo e contribuisse a creare migliori condizioni di vita per gli abitanti del Vecchio Continente. Grande utopista, e forse sognatore, Drieu La Rochelle si rendeva però conto della importanza dei fattori materiali della vita moderna, e intendeva inserirli nel quadro della nuova Europa da costruire.

Al tempo stesso, egli era un nemico dichiarato della tecnologia fine a se stessa e, più in generale, degli aspetti quantitativi, puramente economicisti della modernità. Una sua lampeggiante intuizione si può riassumere nella frase: «L’uomo, oggi, ha bisogno di ben altro che inventare macchine; ha bisogno di raccogliersi, di danzare: una grande danza meditata, una discesa nel profondo». Pertanto, egli vide lucidamente il pericolo della costruzione di un’Europa senz’anima, rivolta solo agli aspetti materiali dell’esistenza.

Si potrà definire questa posizione come tipicamente decadentistica; e, in effetti, non è certo un caso che, anche sul piano del suo itinerario letterario, egli si sia mosso fra Dadaismo, Surrealismo e Decadentismo alla Thomas Mann: sempre alla ricerca di una nuova via, di un varco fuori dal grigiore della mediocrità della società tecnologica e massificata. In un certo senso, il suo itinerario politico non è stato altro che il riflesso e il prolungamento di quel suo errabondo, infaticabile viaggio artistico alla ricerca, se non di una nuova Terra Promessa, certo di una via di fuga dagli aspetti più alienanti della modernità.

In fondo, la sua vicenda umana, artistica e politica fra vitalismo, pessimismo (pensò più volte al suicidio), estetismo, superomismo e «rivoluzione conservatrice» lo accomuna a personaggi come Ernst Jünger, i quali, dopo essere stati segnati irreversibilmente dall’esperienza della guerra di trincea, si dedicarono interamente alla ricerca di una nuova società, capace di dare un senso a quei sacrifici e di fare proprie cere esigenze del mondo moderno, volgendole però al servizio di un primato dello spirito sull’economia e sulla tecnica.

Quanto alla sua adesione finale al Nuovo Ordine nazista, non bisognerebbe dimenticare che egli non fu poi così isolato come si pensa, dal momento che intellettuali ed artisti del calibro di Ezra Pound, Knut Hamsun e Céline finirono per fare delle scelte analoghe alle sue, e ciascuno di essi in perfetta buona fede. Egli sperò, come quelli, di poter agire dall’interno del sistema hitleriano per affermare i valori in cui aveva sempre creduto, contro la doppia minaccia del totalitarismo politico russo e del totalitarismo finanziario americano; e, se commise un grave errore di giudizio, bisogna pur ammettere che, nel fuoco della seconda guerra mondiale, non tutto quel che oggi ci sembra evidente, con il senno di poi, lo era anche allora; e non tutto quel che si fece allora, nell’Europa dell’Asse, era totalmente folle e scellerato, come poi una Vulgata manichea lo ha voluto dipingere.

Ha scritto Alessandra La Rosa nel suo pregevole saggio «L’idea di Europa in Drieu La Rochelle» (nel volume L’Europa e le sue regioni, frutto di un Convegno internazionale svoltosi presso ‘Università di Catania ed organizzato dal Dipartimento di studi politici nel maggio 1990 (Palermo, Arnaldo Lombardi Editore, pp. 95-106 passim):

«Per Drieu fare l’Europa è una questione vitale da qualunque punto ci si pone, esterno o interno. “Il faut faire les Etates unis d’Europe parce que c’est la seule façon de defendre l’Europa contre elle-même et contre les autres groupes humains”. Se dal punto di vista estero bisogna fare l’Europa per far sì che non sia fagocitata dall’imperialismo capitalista americano e dall’imperialismo socialista risso, dal punto di vista interno i pericoli che nascono da un diffuso ed esasperato nazionalismo chiedono tale soluzione. L’unità europea è necessaria per porre fine alle lotte interne nate dai differenti interessi nazionali che potrebbero culminare in una ulteriore guerra fratricida da cui l’Europa non uscirebbe salva.

Secondo George Boneville, l’odio della guerra e l’amore dell’Europa presentano una stretta correlazione nella maggior parte delle riflessioni fatte dagli intellettuali sul tema dell’Europa. Nel caso di Drieu La Rochelle l’equazione è più complessa. Come vedremo l’atteggiamento europeista di Drieu non scaturisce da un rifiuto della violenza in sé, da un odio per la guerra tra le nazioni e quindi da un amore innato per la pace. L’esprit de guerre e la volontà di potenza sono presenti nel suo pensiero. Come dice Simon “il a chanté la guerre accoucheuse de héros”. Il primo conflitto mondiale viene accettato con entusiasmo da Drieu, che parte volontario. La guerra, al di là del suo carattere ideologico, rappresenta per Drieu l’occasione per permettere di risvegliare nell’uomo quelle virtù virili, come il coraggio, l’amore del rischio e il senso del sacrificio, attraverso le quali affermare la propria volontà di potenza, “en dépit de tous les obstacles et de toutes les menaces”.

Ma è anche vero che sul tema della guerra Drieu dimostra di avere delle esitazioni e dei ripensamenti che alla fine lo portano ad un superamento del suo atteggiamento antipacifista, come dimostra la sua argomentazione su l’unità europea. (…) È la realtà della guerra a mostrare a Drieu la portata dell’errore delle sue immaginazioni giovanili. Per l’uomo Drieu che ha vissuto l’esperienza amara delle trincee e frustrante del campo di battaglia, la guerra non è più “une novetaué mervelleuse, l’accomplissement qui n’était pas espéré de notre jeunesse”, ma solamente una esperienza da ripudiare fatta solo di distruzione e sofferenza (…). La speranza iniziale che la guerra fosse un movimento rivoluzionario rinnovatore e benefico fa posto alla presa di coscienza della estrema bestialità di ogni atto bellicistico. La  guerra è solo “geste obscene de la mort” reso ancora più ripugnante dall’uso di armi e di tecniche micidiali proprie della guerra chimica.. Sul campo di battaglia Drieu prende coscienza della profonda dicotomia esistente tra la guerra moderna, da lui vissuta, fatta di ferro , d scienza e di industria, e la guerra “éternelle”, da lui sognata, fatta di scontri frontali, di muscoli, di guerrieri. La “violence des hommes” caratterizza la prima, la “violence des choses” la seconda. La guerra moderna nega tutti i valori che giustificavano agli occhi di Drieu la guerra eterna (…).

La presa di coscienza che ciò che lui aveva vissuto come combattente era la forma decadente della guerra classica spiega il suo disincanto, il suo disgusto, il suo sentimento di sentirsi “blessé”. Ciò ha contribuito a far assumere a Drieu una posizione antimilitarista; ad aprire la strada del suo pensiero al pacifismo che negli anni venti si manifesta come protesta contro la guerra moderna. In tal senso si spiegano certamente le prime affermazioni di Drieu sulla necessità di evitare la ripetizione di una guerra se non si voleva l’agonia dell’universo. (…)

Il cambio di carattere della guerra eterna ci può aiutare a capire le dichiarazioni antimilitariste di Drieu come rifiuto della guerra moderna, ma se ci soffermassimo solamente sulle sue proteste contro la guerra moderna non potremmo capire le sue dichiarazioni di pacifismo assoluto, implicite nella sua posizione europeista. Infatti la condanna della guerra moderna non implica ancora la condanna morale della guerra in sé, quindi anche di quella che per Drieu è la “vera” guerra. È necessario perciò soffermarsi sul superamento della sua posizione nazionalista per capire come Drieu approdi all’internazionalismo pacifista che implica una condanna morale e politica della guerra.

Drieu La Rochelle non è certamente un intellettuale che crede nell’Europa “a priori” e che quindi nega di fatto l’idea nazionale. Tutt’altro (…). È indubbio che nel pensiero di Drieu è possibile individuare degli aspetti della dottrina nazionalista. Ma è anche vero che nello stesso pensiero giovanile di Drieu, ritenuto da alcuni il più patriottico, è possibile individuare delle affermazioni che lo allontanano dalla stretta osservanza del pensiero maurissiano. Nel poema “A vous Allemands” Drieu mostra di non condividere l’antigermanismo dell’Action Français.. Drieu prova del rispetto per il valore e la forza del nemico tedesco, fino a vedere nei tedeschi la fonte della rigenerazione nazionale. (…) Non solo Drieu rifiuta l’antigermanismo politico, ma anche quello filosofico, che invece caratterizzava il pensiero di Maurras. Per Maurras il pensiero francese è figlio dell’umanesimo mediterraneo, espressione quindi di quella ragione e di quella misura tipica del mondo greco-latino. Per Drieu, invece, il pensiero francese non è figlio solo del genio mediterraneo, ma anche delle influenze nordiche. (…)

Se certamente Drieu non è un intellettuale che nega a priori l’idea di nazione, bisogna anche ammettere che il discorso politico di Drieu è caratterizzati da fasi evolutive in cui vi è un ripensamento e un superamento degli aspetti nazionalisti del suo pensiero (…). Genève ou Moscou e L’Europe contre les patries sono testi in cui il superamento della posizione nazionalista di Drieu trova la sua completa realizzazione. Drieu si pone contro il concetto di unità nazionale, presentando l’esagono francese come un “carrefour” aperto sul mondo, aperto sull’Europa, nel cui seno già si realizza l’incontro del genio nordico e mediterraneo. La Francia contemporaneamente fiamminga, bretone, basca, alsaziana, realizzava già l’unità nella diversità (…).

Ogni manifestazione di nazionalismo culturale, integrale, è per Drieu espressione di un “ottuso” conservatorismo che porta a coniugare solo questo verbo: “Je suis français“. Contro l’isolazione culturale, mortale per la stessa creazione, Drieu sostiene l’assimilazione culturale, affermando che per vivere pienamente bisogna espandere la propria identità e non rimanere radicato nella propria (…).

Nel 1922 in Mesure de la France il rifiuto della guerra poteva sembrare più legato alle condizioni inaccettabili della guerra moderna meccanica e chimica, piuttosto che legato ad un superamento della sua posizione nazionalista. Ma i saggi politici di Genève ou Moscou e L’Europe contre les patries dimostrano come Drieu riunisca in uno stesso rifiuto la guerra e il nazionalismo che genera il primo. Il sentimento del patriottismo non corrisponde ala realtà delle cose. Esso è sorpassato. Cosa significa essere un patriota francese in un’Europa aperta ai grandi imperi? “Aujord’hui la France ou l’Allemagne, c’est trop petit” (…).

Rifiutando ogni forma di particolarismo nazionalismo nazionale Drieu esorta i Francesi a “mourir comme Français, à renaitre comme hommes” per poi diventare degli europei. La sua presa di posizione contro le patrie e il nazionalismo ha un corollario positivo: la sua professione di fede europea. (…) La sua speranza nella unione europea si colora, come nella maggior parte dei casi, di pacifismo morale e politico, che può sembrare paradossale in un futuro teorico del fascismo. “Les seuls adversaires de la guerre dans notre societé sons les objecteurs de coscience”. A costoro Drieu dedica un capitolo in Socialisme Fasciste parlandone con ammirazione e simpatia. Nella parte finale di L’Europe contre les patries fa sua la loro tesi. Sotto forma di dialogo col suo “io” Drieu dichiara che nell’evento di una guerra europea rifiuterà la mobilitazione poiché, se come uomo considera la guerra moderna il “geste obscene de la mort”, come europeo vede la sola speranza di sopravvivenza dell’Europa in una unità pacifica. L’amore della nuova patria europea impone non la guerra ma la pace (…).

Nel 1922, in Mesure de la France, egli si muove nella direzione di una Europa delle patrie. (…) Considerando ancora la patria come una realtà che non poteva essere negata, egli propende verso l’idea di una alleanza tra le patrie europee, sotto la forma di una confederazione, dove potrebbe essere creata qualche struttura in comune. Ma nello stesso del 1922 , rifiuta ogni soluzione che si fondi sull’egemonia di una nazione federatrice. (…)

Nel 1928 la posizione di Drieu diventa molto più radicale sul modo di realizzare l’unità europea. Il nome di “Ginevra”, presente nel titolo del suo saggio, indica come in questo periodo Drieu crede che la Società delle nazioni sia l’agente della unificazione europea. La sua speranza di vedere realizzare una unificazione europea sotto il segno liberale lo porta ad ammirare l’azione di alcuni politici: come “l’effort admirable et fécond d’Aristide Briand”. (…)

L’unificazione europea non è solo un’idea, non è solo un progetto morale. Drieu prende posizione anche sulle forze sociali ed economiche che debbono operare prr la sua realizzazione. Egli si rende conto che il sistema economico è un importante agente di unificazione (…) Negli anni Venti, dal 1925 al 1929, Drieu fa appello alla forza del sistema capitalista. Spera in un neo-capitalismo intelligente e riformatore che rinunci alla concorrenza selvaggia che regnava sia tra le azioni che all’interno d queste. L’alleanza tra capitalismo e nazionalismo non può essere, secondo Drieu, che accidentale; la logica stessa dell’evoluzione del capitalismo deve condurlo, se esso vuole sopravvivere, all’internazionalismo (…) Drieu sostiene i nuovi capitalisti, agenti di un sistema industriale intelligente, poiché li considera forze rivoluzionarie che concorrono alla realizzazione della unità europea».

Abbiamo paragonato Drieu La Rochelle a un viandante che bussa a tutte le porte, consapevole – come pochi suoi contemporanei lo erano stati – dei tempi tremendi che si andavano preparando, fin dall’epoca della conferenza di Versailles che, chiudendo il capitolo della prima guerra mondiale, apriva le ragioni per lo scoppio della seconda.

Tipica, in proposito, è stata la sua illusione che la Società delle Nazioni potesse svolgere il ruolo storico di tenere a battesimo la nascita della nuova Europa unita: illusione generosa e, a suo modo, non del tutto sbagliata, se gli uomini che erano allora alla guida dell’Europa avessero posseduto un po’ più di lungimiranza e un po’ più di saggezza. Invece, come è noto, la Società delle Nazioni divenne quasi subito un supplemento di potere per le ambizioni egemoniche della Gran Bretagna e della Francia, svuotandola di ogni credibilità e di ogni significato ideale.

Il risultato di quella miopia, di quel gretto egoismo nazionalista è noto: sia la Gran Bretagna che la Francia perdettero tanto i loro imperi coloniali, quanto il loro ruolo di potenze mondiali, subito dopo la fine della seconda guerra mondiale: avevano sacrificato una splendida occasione di mettersi all’avanguardia dell’unità europea per inseguire la chimera di una splendida autosuffcienza «imperiale», per la quale non possedevano né i mezzi, né la credibilità ideologica (dopo aver combattuto contro Hitler in nome della libertà dei popoli di tutto il mondo).

Che dire, dunque, del sogno europeista di Drieu La Rochelle?

Anche se, oggi, è di gran moda esercitarsi nel tiro al bersaglio sugli sconfitti e stracciarsi le vesti davanti agli errori e alle contraddizioni dei perdenti, nondimeno bisognerebbe recuperare quel minimo di onestà intellettuale per rendere atto a uomini come Drieu La Rochelle che il loro sogno non è stato solo e unicamente uno sbaglio; che un’Europa diversa e migliore avrebbe potuto nascere, e la tragedia della seconda guerra mondiale avrebbe potuto essere evitata, se altri uomini generosi avessero condiviso quel medesimo sogno.

mercredi, 04 mai 2011

Les pamphlets toujours interdits?

par Marc Laudelout
 
 
Selon une idée fausse mais très répandue, les pamphlets – que feu Maurice Bardèche nommait satires – ne sont pas réédités en raison d'une interdiction officielle. En réalité, c'est Céline lui-même qui n'a pas souhaité cette réédition après la guerre. Sa veuve, Lucette Destouches, a maintenu cette censure durant un demi-siècle. Pas de manière totale puisqu'elle a autorisé la réédition de la préface de L'Ecole des cadavres (1942) dans un volume comprenant notamment les lettres adressées aux journaux de l'occupation (1). Sur son site internet (2), Henri Thyssens se demande si les pamphlets sont, en réalité, toujours interdits de publication par la République. Car ils le furent le 15 janvier 1945 : l'Office professionnel du Livre, émanation de ce qui s'appelait alors le ministère de la Guerre, adressa ce jour aux libraires une première liste d'ouvrages à retirer de la vente (3). On y trouve une demi-douzaine de titres des éditions Denoël dont les trois pamphlets de Céline : Bagatelles pour un massacre, L'École des cadavres et Les Beaux draps. Autres maisons frappées par cette mesure d'interdiction : les éditions Balzac (ex-Calmann Lévy), Debresse, Baudinière, Grasset et Sorlot. Mais pas Gallimard curieusement. Or en juillet 1945 le Contrôle militaire précisera que ces listes étaient établies en vue de retirer de la circulation non seulement des oeuvres d'esprit collaborationniste, mais aussi des livres s'inspirant des principes de la Révolution nationale. Par ailleurs, ces mesures d'épuration frappaient les ouvrages en particulier et non les auteurs en général. Le statut de ces listes d'interdiction reste à définir. Mais le point décisif est de savoir si cette directive a été abrogée. Henri Thyssens pense que ça n'a pas été le cas.
Et de poser la question clé : les pamphlets de Céline restent-ils interdits par la seule volonté de leur auteur ou parce qu'ils figurent dans cette liste ? Il rappelle que les pièces scabreuses des Fleurs du mal condamnées en 1857 ne furent réhabilitées qu'en... 1949. Ceci a son importance car si, après la disparition de Lucette Destouches, l'ayant droit suivant donnait le feu vert à une réédition des pamphlets, ceux qui s'y opposeraient pourraient invoquer cette directive. À condition qu'elle n'ait effectivement pas été abrogée. On sait que ces textes ne pourraient être censurés sur base des lois antiracistes, celles-ci n'étant pas rétroactives. En revanche, ils pourraient donc l'être en vertu de cette décision ministérielle de 1945. Tant qu'un chercheur n'aura pas établi la vérité sur ce point, le conditionnel est de rigueur.

Marc LAUDELOUT
Le Bulletin célinien n°329, avril 2011.


1. En 1986 dans les Cahiers Céline n° 7. Ce recueil comprend également Mea culpa qui, lui, n'a donc pas été interdit en 1945 mais dont Céline ne souhaitait pas davantage la réédition. Six ans après sa mort, Lucette accorda à André Balland l'autorisation de rééditer ce libelle pour une édition collective en cinq volumes. Cette autorisation fut également accordée en 1981 à Luce Fieschi pour une autre édition collective (en neuf volumes) aux éditions du Club de l'Honnête Homme. Notons qu'en 1979, bien avant la chute du mur de Berlin, un célinien écrivait son indignation de ne pas voir ses pairs condamner l'anticommunisme célinien jugé par lui « tout aussi criminel » [sic] que son antisémitisme.
2.« Robert Denoël, éditeur » [http://www.thyssens.com]. Voir « Chronologie » (janvier 1945).
3. « Ouvrages à retirer de la vente (première liste) », Office professionnel du livre. Annexe à la circulaire N° 1 du 15 Janvier 1945. Présentation : « Le Contrôle Militaire des Informations (Ministère de la Guerre) porte à la connaissance des libraires une première liste d'ouvrages d'esprit collaborationniste et tombant sous le coup des consignes militaires qu'ils sont instamment priés de retirer de la vente et de retourner aux éditeurs. ». Il y eut quatre listes au total. Il apparaît qu'elles ont été établies hâtivement et sans trop de discernement puisque Guignol's band figure dans celle du 15 mars 1945.

 

 

mardi, 03 mai 2011

Sparta e i Sudisti nel pensiero di Maurice Bardèche

Sparta e i Sudisti nel pensiero di Maurice Bardèche

Francesco Lamendola

 
La figura di Maurice Bardèche è maledettamente scomoda ancora oggi, a diversi anni dalla sua scomparsa (avvenuta nel 1998; era nato nel 1907); la sua è una di quelle figure talmente scorrette politicamente, che è quasi impossibile parlare di loro nel salotto buono della cultura – francese, in questo caso; e ancora più difficile è parlarne serenamente, senza prestarsi al gioco di un revisionismo che non si propone di riportare in luce verità nascoste e dimenticate, ma che si esaurisce tutto in chiave nostalgica e reazionaria.

Cognato di Robert Brasillach, fucilato al termine della seconda guerra mondiale per aver collaborato coi nazisti; allievo di quel Charles Maurras, che il Nolte ha giudicato, insieme a Hitler e Mussolini, la più rappresentativa figura del fascismo a livello europeo; fermo sostenitore del governo di Vichy e della politica del maresciallo Pétain: tutto questo e altro ancora è stato Maurice Bardèche, saggista, giornalista e critico d’arte di levatura nazionale e internazionale, ma fascista impenitente, che si firmava appunto come «scrittore fascista».

Avendo votato la sua vita, dopo la Liberazione (o sedicente tale), alla riabilitazione della memoria di Brasillach – la cui esecuzione aveva definito un assassinio legalizzato – e, in genere, alla riabilitazione del collaborazionismo di Vichy e del fascismo in quanto tale, dovette subire l’ostracismo della cultura ufficiale e fondare una propria casa editrice, per mezzo della quale condusse una battaglia incessante per diffondere i suoi ideali.

Egli ebbe il coraggio di fare apertamente quello che altri fecero un po’ di soppiatto o che addirittura rinnegarono: continuò a professare i valori di un tempo e non venne mai a patti con l’ideologia dei vincitori. Non intendiamo qui fare l’apologia delle sue idee, anche perché ogni apologia è una operazione supremamente stupida in se stessa; ma rendere doverosamente atto della sua coerenza intellettuale e della sua onestà civile.

Come storico e saggista, fu tra i primi a contestare la legalità del processo di Norimberga e a mettere in dubbio il diritto giuridico e morale dei vincitori di ergersi a giudici dei vinti, magari per dei reati che, all’epoca dei fatti, non erano considerati tali in nessuna legislazione del mondo; così come fu uno dei primi a parlare in termini critici della distruzione di Dresda e delle esecuzioni sommarie avvenute dopo la Liberazione, da lui equiparate a crimini di guerra. Fu pure multato per essersi occupato dell’Olocausto in una forma vicina a quella di Robert Faurisson, che non piacque alla Vulgata democratico-resistenziale, la sola ufficialmente ammessa. Venne inoltre condannato a un anno di prigione per apologia dei crimini di guerra ed uscì solo perché gli venne concessa la grazia dal Presidente della Repubblica, René Coty.

Come presidente del Movimento Sociale Europeo, coagulò esponenti della destra europea quali Oswald Mosley, ex capo dei fascisti inglesi, il tedesco Karl-Heinz Priester, lo svedese Per Engdahl e l’italiano Ernesto Massi. Concentrò poi la sua attenzione di studioso sull’esperienza della Repubblica Sociale Italiana (che, da noi, è tuttora considerata alla stregua di una misera e sanguinaria appendice del Ventennio, consumatasi all’ombra del “tedesco invasore” e quindi come tipico esempio di Stato collaborazionista fantoccio), e ne fece la base per una sua rinnovata proposta politica, che egli stesso denominò “fascismo perfezionato”.

Né ha giovato alla sua fama o alla sua memoria il fatto che, dopo la sua scomparsa, a tesserne l’elogio sia stato Jean-Marie Le Pen, capo del Fronte Nazionale Francese e considerato dalla cultura politica progressista nient’altro che il leader di un partito xenofobo e reazionario.

Nel suo saggio Sparte et les Sudistes (Les Sept Couleurs, 1969; traduzione italiana di Orsola Nemi col titolo Fascismo ’70. Sparta e i Sudisti, Edizioni del Borghese, 1970, pp. 81-86), egli così sintetizza il proprio pensiero politico:

«Insegnare di nuovo agli uomini il gusto e il rispetto delle qualità umane, ricondurre la vita e le anime verso il corso naturale delle cose, ecco le due massime che dovrebbero guidare quanti pensano che l’uomo può ancora mettere il morso al cavallo che gli ha preso la mano e che noi chiamiamo la nostra “civiltà”. Quella che io chiamo Sparta è la patria in cui gli uomini sono considerati in ragione delle loro qualità virili poste al di sopra di tutte le altre. Quelli che io chiamo i Sudisti sono gli uomini i quali si sforzano di vivere secondo la “natura delle cose”, e pretendono di correggerla aggiungendo soltanto la cortesia e la generosità.

In ciascuno di noi si trova una qualche aspirazione che ci trascina a volte verso Sparta, a volte verso i Sudisti. Per lo più, sono le circostanze che ci inducono a sostenere un concetto spartano pur rimpiangendo che non faccia maggiori concessioni ai Sudisti o, inversamente, ad avvicinarci a qualche prospettiva sudista, pur augurandoci che conservi qualcosa di Sparta. Queste intermittenze spiegano forse le contraddizioni di quel che si chiama arbitrariamente “La Destra”, la quale presenta tutte le sfumature di questi due atteggiamenti. Le due posizioni non sono tuttavia inconciliabili. Coincidono e si sposano tanto facilmente in ciascuno di noi perché sono l’una e l’altra “naturali”, il rispetto delle qualità umane essendo così conforme alla “legge naturale” come la conformazione al “corso naturale delle cose”. Ma l’uno e l’altro di questi atteggiamenti comportano rischi in cambio dei loro vantaggi: Sparta rischia di essere inabitabile, i sudisti spartani possono finire col divenire gendarmi, il sudismo può finire nell’egoismo e nell’insolenza. Noi dobbiamo chiederci che cosa si può conservare di sudista a Sparta o che cosa dobbiamo serbare di Sparta per impedire ai sudisti di essere soltanto uomini di mondo.

Non bisogna fidarsi ciecamente dei libri illustrati. Sparta non è una città dove non si sente che rumore di sproni e dove nessuno dei passanti sorride. Il precetto del coraggio era chiaro e risolveva tutte le difficoltà. Il coraggio dava accesso all’aristocrazia e si era esclusi dall’aristocrazia se non si aveva coraggio. La casta dei guerrieri governava la città, nessun’altra voce aveva diritto di farsi intendere. Era la casta che portava da sola il fardello della difesa del Paese e lo portava per tutta la vita. Ma gli altri, protetti dal suo servizio, non si sentivano stranieri. Il coraggio era ricompensato fra loro, e chi aveva dato prova di possedere le virtù del soldato, partecipava ai privilegi del soldato. Anche gli iloti, se si erano distinti per una azione meritoria, avevano diritto di partecipare al combattimento. Quelli che si erano battuti al fianco delle celebri falangi non erano mai più schiavi, divenivano uomini liberi, erano onorati. Si afferma anche che gli stranieri potevano ricevere il titolo di Spartani, se accettavano di vivere secondo la regola che gli Spartani si erano imposta. E, al contrario, i giovani della casta guerriera che si dimostravano vili nel combattimento o non si sottomettevano alla disciplina della Città, erano degradati ed esclusi dalla vita pubblica.

L’educazione non aveva altro scopo che l’esaltazione del coraggio e della energia. I ragazzi vivevano tra loro il più presto possibile, in truppe analoghe a quelle dei balilla dell’Italia fascista o della Hitlerjugend, di cui facevano parte dalla età di sette anni. […]

Spesso è riprovato il culto del coraggio e della virilità accusandolo di durezza e aridità. È un’interpretazione da moralisti che la vita privata a Sparta non conferma su tutti i punti. Si trova sotto la rudezza di Sparta una specie di bonomia tedesca la quale suggerisce che le cose non sono tanto semplici. Plutarco descrive Agesilao che giuoca ai cavalli coi suoi bambini, come si racconta del nostro re Enrico IV; Antalcida manda la sua famiglia a rifugiarsi a Citera, quando teme un’invasione; l’assemblea degli Spartani piange di commozione udendo recitare un coro dell’Elettra e sono appena usciti dalla guerra contro Atene: gli Spartani avevano anche un gusto innato e un sentimento abbastanza vivo della musica, il che stupiva i loro contemporanei. In quanto al loro orgoglio di casta, che bisogna pensarne, quando sentiamo dirci che i giovani Spartani avevamo ciascuno un fratello di latte scelto tra i figli dei suoi iloti, il quale riceveva la sua medesima educazione, prendeva parte con lui ai pasti collettivi, portava le armi accanto a lui nei combattimenti e condivideva i suoi stessi privilegi? Quale democrazia ha accordato questa eguaglianza autentica ai figli dei mezzadri? Gli iloti e i perieci vissero duecento anni sotto il “giogo” di Sparta e non vi furono ammutinamenti se non in circostanze del tutto eccezionali e per cause estranee al regime. È difficile credere che abbiano vissuto durante tutto questo tempo in una continua e insopportabile umiliazione.

L’idea che ci facciamo di Sparta è dunque spesso un’idea del tutto letteraria; riduciamo arbitrariamente Sparta a una esperienza di “laboratorio”. Ne facciamo uno stato nel quale regna solo l’energia. Quel che definisce Sparta non è la caserma, come troppo spesso si crede, ma il disprezzo dei falsi beni.

Sparta non è solo il ragazzo dalla volpe. L’energia non è che una conseguenza, non è che un segno di Sparta. Prima di tutto, Sparta è una particolare idea del mondo, una particolare idea dell’uomo. Per questo fa paura. Sparta crede che in definitiva sia la spada a decidere. Non si può sfuggire al suo verdetto. Il numero dei vascelli e i marmi dei portici, i palazzi, le sete, le sontuose lettighe, il prestigio, lo splendore non sono che girandole, palline di vetro, lampioni che una tempesta può a un tratto spegnere e spezzare: bisogna essere pronti per questa tempesta. Senza di ciò, non si ha libertà; le città le quali dimenticano che la libertà si difende in ogni istante, si guadagna in ogni istante, sono già, senza saperlo, città schiave. Il culto dell’energia, del coraggio, della forza sono soltanto le conseguenze di questa concezione della città».

Non sarà sfuggito al lettore che, a dispetto della piacevolezza dello stile, la tesi di Bardèche appare viziata da una forzatura ideologica che lo porta ad accostamenti storici quanto meno opinabili, come quello fra gli Spartiati ed i Balilla fascisti o i membri della Hitlerjugend; laddove è facile vedere come le somiglianze siano più esteriori che sostanziali, specialmente nel primo caso.

E tuttavia, per quanto la volontà di dimostrare una tesi precostituita faccia velo all’Autore, è difficile rifiutare in blocco la sua analisi del fenomeno sociale rappresentato dall’antica Sparta e ancor più quello della Confederazione sudista (che noi, per ragioni di spazio, abbiamo dovuto omettere).

Meglio: è difficile rifiutare in blocco la sua tesi circa la solidità e, si vorrebbe dire, la perennità di quella componente aristocratica, nel miglior senso della parola, che caratterizza non tanto questa o quella esperienza storica di governo, ma l’idea del governo in generale, così come Platone l’ha delineata nella Repubblica e nelle Leggi, ma che i pensatori politici moderni, da Locke in poi, non riescono neppure ad immaginare.

A noi che siamo cresciti nella apparente ovvietà del sistema democratico, sfugge come l’umanità abbia potuto governarsi per millenni senza di esso, pur realizzando opere egregie; e sfugge come il cosiddetto miracolo greco non consista solo nella democrazia ateniese, ma anche nella oligarchia spartana, fondata su un valore che non è quantificabile in termini economici, ma solo e unicamente in termini di onore, dovere e spirito di sacrificio.

Solo una lettura frettolosa e parziale, inficiata da pregiudizi tipicamente moderni, potrebbe vedere nella costituzione spartana null’altro che arbitrio, oppressione dei più deboli e brutale esercizio di un potere militaresco.

E solo uno spirito politicamente fazioso potrebbe negare quanto di perenne e di nobilmente spirituale vi sia in una idea del governo che pospone ogni altro valore, a cominciare da quello dell’interesse materiale, ad un severo ascetismo virile, tutto rivolto al bene supremo della Patria e spregiatore di quello spirito di parte dietro il quale sogliono camuffarsi gli egoistici interessi personali.

In questo senso è fuori di dubbio che noi pure avremmo qualche cosa da imparare dal modello spartano, così come avremmo qualcosa da imparare dal modello sudista: non certo in un ricupero del razzismo o magari dello schiavismo, ma nel riconoscimento che troppo spesso, nei sistemi democratici, il merito non riesce ad affermarsi e il bene dell’intera società soccombe davanti al prevalere delle logiche di parte.

Per quanto il ragionamento di fondo del Bardèche non ci convinca, laddove egli vorrebbe fare del principio aristocratico un fatto di natura positivo in se stesso – anche perché in tal modo verrebbero banditi o fortemente sminuiti ideali essenziali, quali la compassione e la sollecitudine per i più deboli – è tuttavia certo che il suo discorso contiene un monito a non lasciarsi prendere la mano dalla demagogia e dal populismo a buon mercato.

Una giusta idea della politica dovrebbe partire, come cosa ovvia, dallo spirito di servizio e dalla priorità del bene comune; dovrebbe inoltre recuperare l’importanza di concetti quale onore, valore, dedizione, lealtà e magnanimità.

Si obietterà che codesti valori sono quelli tipici della società cavalleresca e che, da quando la borghesia si è affermata come classe egemone a livello mondiale, non vi è più posto per essi e nemmeno potrebbe esservi.

Forse.

Ma siamo sicuri che onore, valore, dedizione, lealtà e magnanimità siano valori legati esclusivamente ad un certo modello economico e sociale e non, piuttosto, valori perenni dell’umanità, senza i quali nessuna società potrebbe contemperare in se stessa le inevitabili spinte centrifughe?

Céline historien?

 par Philippe Watts
 
 
Plaidoyer pro domo, omissions... D'un château l'autre, incomparable évocation de Sigmaringen, peut-il servir à l'historien ?

Le 4 juillet 1961, Louis Destouches, alias Louis-Ferdinand Céline, était enterré par ses proches à Meudon. Il venait de succomber, à 67 ans, à un accident cérébral. Cinquante ans après la mort de celui qui fut un témoin du régime de Vichy autant qu'un écrivain et une voix influente de cette sombre époque, les textes de Céline, modèles de littérature, peuvent-ils éclairer l'historien ?
Prenons le cas d'une de ses œuvres majeures, son roman le plus « historique », D'un château l'autre, dont la publication, en 1957, marque le retour de Céline sur la scène littéraire. Après le succès mondial de Voyage au bout de la nuit (1932), l'ignominie des pamphlets antisémites, l'exil et la prison au Danemark de 1945 à 1951 et plusieurs romans passés presque inaperçus, Céline se fait remarquer avec ce livre dans lequel il décrit la fin du régime de Vichy et le départ précipité vers l'Allemagne, en septembre 1944, de nombreux ministres de la collaboration. D'un château l'autre peut être vu comme la réponse de Céline à de Gaulle qui vient de publier les deux premiers volumes de ses Mémoires de guerre, L'Appel (1954) et L'Unité (1956). Céline, se comparant à Tacite, déclare dans les premières pages du roman qu'il est le « témoin véritable » d'un moment de l'histoire que la France d'après-guerre aurait préféré oublier.
« Témoin véritable »... au style bien éloigné cependant de celui du chroniqueur qu'il prétend être à propos de cet événement historique : ses Mémoires de guerre sont animés par une vitupération incessante, cette verve qu'Antoine Compagnon a identifiée comme l'une des composantes principales du style des antimodernes (1). Les cent premières pages de D'un château l'autre prennent la forme d'une jérémiade dirigée contre ses contemporains et la France de 1957. Avec son mélange d'argot et de préciosité littéraire, Céline croque des portraits souvent grotesques mais toujours comiques de ses rivaux littéraires : Sartre, mais aussi Mauriac, Claudel, Roger Vailland, Jean Paulhan et même son éditeur Gaston Gallimard – le « sordide épicier ». Il évoque aussi les crises contemporaines : la révolte hongroise d'octobre 1956, Dien Bien Phu, les grèves de l'usine Renault, le canal de Suez. De son pavillon de Meudon, il crache sa haine de la vanité et la bêtise d'un monde moderne soumis à la loi du profit, l'implacable domination des nantis, et la religion du progrès.
D'un château l'autre est également un portrait remarquable du « ramas de loquedus », ces ministres du gouvernement de l'État français rassemblés, de gré ou de force, en Allemagne par les nazis en septembre 1944, et auprès desquels Céline a servi de médecin. Se retrouvent à Sigmaringen ministres et miliciens, journalistes et généraux qui créent une « commission gouvernementale pour la défense des intérêts français en Allemagne » et dont le but est d'attendre la reconquête de la France par les troupes allemandes. C'est ce monde que Céline décrit, en commençant par le château baroque de l'ancienne famille des Hohenzollern : « Vous vous diriez en opérette... le décor parfait... vous attendez les sopranos, les ténors légers [... ] le plus bluffant : le Château !... la pièce comme montée de la ville... stuc et carton-pâte ! »
Nous voyons donc Pétain et son entourage se promenant sous les bombardements alliés, Pierre Laval, qui nomme Céline gouverneur des îles Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, Otto Abetz, Fernand de Brinon, secrétaire d'Etat sous Laval, Jean Bichelonne, ministre du Travail, Paul Marion, ancien communiste devenu ministre de l'Information. Céline révèle aussi les intrigues, les manies, les illusions et les haines qui parcourent ce petit monde et qui n'ont pas leur place dans les archives. Son témoignage sur cet épisode est ainsi devenu une des sources les plus précieuses pour les historiens de la fin de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, en particulier Henry Rousso qui dans Pétain et la fin de la collaboration retrace ce moment de l'histoire européenne (2).
Derrière ce témoignage se retrouvent également les procès de la fin de la guerre. « Nuremberg est à refaire », déclare Céline, dénonçant avec constance la violence de l'épuration sauvage et l'hypocrisie de la justice des vainqueurs. L'auteur met en balance les actions des collaborateurs français et la rébellion antisoviétique en Hongrie, la lutte des indépendantistes algériens et les engagements des joséfins, ces alliés espagnols de Joseph Bonaparte... A plusieurs reprises, il évoque aussi le bombardement de Dresde, ce qu'il appelle « la tactique de l'écrabouillage et friterie totale au phosphore » ; un événement que, selon lui, le monde d'après 1945 préfère oublier.
Céline lui-même, au moment de son exil, avait été accusé de trahison par les tribunaux de l'épuration en France pour avoir fait réimprimer pendant l'occupation ses pamphlets antisémites Bagatelles pour un massacre (1937) et L'École des cadavres (1938), mais aussi pour avoir soutenu Jacques Doriot, et pour avoir été traité en ami par les forces d'occupation. En 1949, il est accusé du crime d'« indignité nationale » (3). En 1951, l'amnistie lui permet de rentrer en France, mais jusqu'à la fin de sa vie ses écrits prennent la forme d'un plaidoyer contre Nuremberg, les procès de l'épuration et sa propre dégradation nationale. Ce qui nous vaut quelques omissions de taille. Ainsi, dans D'un château l'autre il n'évoque qu'en passant Bagatelles pour un massacre et son propre antisémitisme, et il ne parle jamais de la Shoah. Ce livre, chef-d'œuvre littéraire, reste néanmoins un document précieux sur la fin de la collaboration et l'exil du gouvernement de Vichy à Sigmaringen.
Pas étonnant, donc, qu'il soit copié : son style, son engagement font de Céline une espèce de modèle pour pénétrer le siècle tragique. En effet, nous continuons à entendre sa voix dans une littérature contemporaine qui cherche à s'emparer de l'histoire dans ce qu'elle a de plus violent. Déjà les romanciers américains Joseph Heller dans Catch-22 (1961) et Kurt Vonnegut avec Abattoir 5 (1969) s'étaient tournés vers Céline pour nous faire sentir les défaillances logiques et la violence extrême de l'héroïsme guerrier américain. Plus récemment, dans son roman Allah n'est pas obligé (2000), l'Ivoirien Ahmadou Kourouma a adopté un style qui rappelle celui de Céline pour nous raconter les aventures du jeune Birahima, un enfant-soldat embrigadé dans les guerres civiles au Liberia et en Sierra Leone : « Voilà. Je commence à conter mes salades. [ ... ] C'est comme ça que ça se passe », lance le narrateur. Dernier exemple en date, celui des Bienveillantes (2006) de Jonathan Littell : à travers la voix de l'ancien SS Max Aue, il nous semble entendre celle de Céline, sa complicité hostile avec le lecteur tout au long d'un récit presque insoutenable des atrocités nazies. La verve rhétorique de Céline, son ressentiment, sa proximité avec les acteurs de l'histoire mais aussi sa complicité avec les pires atrocités du XXe siècle font de lui une espèce de terrible modèle pour une nouvelle littérature qui tente de nous faire comprendre les gestes, les paroles et le monde sensoriel d'un siècle tragique.

Philip WATTS
Professeur au département de français à l'université de Columbia
Histoire n°363, avril 2011.


1- A. Compagnon, Les Antimodernes, de Jpseph de Maistre à Roland Barthes, Gallimard, 2005.
2- H. Rousso, Pétain et la fin de la collaboration : Sigmaringen, 1944-1945, Bruxelles Complexe, 1984.
3- Anne Simonin a retracé les origines et l'évolution de ce "crime nouveau", Le Déshonneur dans la République. Une histoire de l'indignité, 1791-1958, Grasset, 2008.

lundi, 02 mai 2011

Colloque international: "Céline à l'épreuve"

 
Colloque international "Céline à l'épreuve"
25, 26 et 27 mai 2011 à Paris et à Nantes
 
TLI-MMA (Université de Nantes), Ecritures de la modernité (Sorbonne Nouvelle- Paris-III), Centre de recherche sur les arts et le langage (CNRS-EHESS) organisent un colloque international consacré à Louis-Ferdinand Céline les 25, 26 et 27 mai 2011 à Paris et Nantes. Voici le programme de ces 3 journées.

Université de Paris-3
Maison de la Recherche, 4 rue des Irlandais, Ve ardt.
Mercredi 25 mai (matin)

Président de séance : Alain Schaffner

9h30 : Henri Godard (Université de Paris IV) : « Autour d’une biographie »
10h : Régis Tettamanzi (Université de Nantes) : « Bilans critiques »
10h30 : pause
11h : Cécile Leblanc (Université de Paris III) : « La correspondance Céline-Mondor »
11h30 : Alexandre Seurat (Université de Paris III) : « Céline face à l’hystérie »

Mercredi 25 mai (après-midi)
Président de séance : Alain Cresciucci

14h : Odile Roynette (Université de Besançon) : « Céline combattant : une lecture historienne »
14h30 : Jérôme Meizoz (Université de Lausanne, Suisse) : « Pseudonyme et posture chez Céline »
15h : pause
15h30 : Gisèle Sapiro (CNRS, EHESS) : « La figure de l’écrivain irresponsable »
16h : Philippe Roussin (CNRS, EHESS) : « Sartre : Céline ou Genet »

Jeudi 26 mai (matin)
Président de séance : Philippe Roussin

9h : Catherine Rouayrenc (Université de Toulouse-II) : « De la phrase à l’énoncé oral : une désarticulation progressive »
9h30 : Alain Schaffner (Université de Paris III) : « La tension narrative dans les premiers romans de Céline »
10h : pause
10h30 : David Décarie (Université de Moncton, Canada) : « Métaphores et inconscient : de l’émotion célinienne au tropisme sarrautien »
11h : Alain Cresciucci (Université de Rouen) : « Céline et le cinéma »

Jeudi 26 mai (après-midi)
Président de séance : Philipp Watts

14h : Yoriko Sugiura (Université de Kobé, Japon) : « Perte et deuil dans Mort à crédit »
14h30 : Tonia Tinsley (Université du Missouri, USA) : « Virginie, l’épreuve féerique du féminin célinien »

Université de Nantes
Vendredi 27 mai (matin)
Bâtiment Censive, salle 4046
Président de séance : Régis Tettamanzi

10h : Gaël Richard (La Roche-sur-Yon) : « Céline et le mouvement breton »
10h30 : Sonia Anton (Université du Havre) : « L’apport des lettres inédites »
11h : Jean-Paul Louis (éditeur) : « L’édition de la correspondance de Céline : état des lieux »

Vendredi 27 mai (après-midi)
Bâtiment Censive, salle de conférences
Présidente de séance : Anne Roche


14h : Anne Roche (Université de Provence) : « Succession ouverte ? »
14h30 : Philipp Watts (Université de Columbia, USA) : « Une nouvelle littérature du mal ? »
15h : pause
15h30 : Table ronde : l’influence de Céline sur la littérature française contemporaine : Mickaël Ferrier (écrivain), Hédi Kaddour (écrivain), Yves Pagès (éditeur, écrivain)
17h-18h : Lecture-spectacle par Thierry Pillon (Voyage au bout de la nuit)


Organisation:
Philippe ROUSSIN, Centre de recherche sur les arts et le langage (CNRS-EHESS)
Alain SCHAFFNER, Ecritures de la modernité (Sorbonne Nouvelle- Paris-III)
Régis TETTAMANZI, TLI-MMA (Université de Nantes)