Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sur les premiers chapitres d’Esthétique et théorie du roman (Bakhtine et deconstruction)


Bakhtine signale que les objets de création culturelle*** ont une complexité et une plénitude qui troublent la possibilité de formation d’une science sur eux. Ce que cette complexité et cette plénitude demandent c’est une esthétique sistématique et générale. 
On peut discuter à quel point cela implique vraiment une critique du formalisme russe et des perspectives qui y sont associeés. (La notion de fonction poétique de Jakobson semble être plus esthétique que scientifique, et dans ce sens elle est valable.) 
Pensé en relation avec le domaine éthique et le domaine de la connaissance, le domaine esthétique est le seul qui pourrait donner un sens d’unité (et d’autonomie) à la culture (et à la nature). C’est le domaine du téléologique. Il n’est pas matériel. La position de Bakhtine semble être kantienne. 
Du point de vue de la déconstruction, cette unité téléologique est peut-être beaucoup plus problématique (dans ce qui concerne la subjectivité et surtout la voix), mais aussi nécessairement liée au domaine de ce qui a été traditionnellement appelé esthétique.**** Et tout le reste en dépend. 
***Dans quelle mesure on peut parler de création seulement culturelle? Pour Bakhtine, le rythme est « architectonique », c’est-a-dire, il est esthétique et beaucoup plus que un matériau organisé. Est-ce qu’on peut réduire le rythme a une chose culturelle et humaine? En outre et malgré sa polémique avec le symbolisme, Bakhtine a aussi valorisé « la parole religieuse (mythologique, mystique, magique) » (je cite le texte dans la traduction de Daria Olivier, p. 169).
****Et aussi métaphorique dans un sens qui ne peut jamais être réduit au littéral et encore moins à quelque projection du « corporel » sur « l’abstrait ».
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Haroldo de Campos, sur Bakhtine et Propp:
"Só o olhar superficial enxerga uma oposição irredutível entre Propp e Bakhtin. Ambos tratam de estabelecer uma tipologia da narrativa; o primeiro, com base em critérios predominantemente sintagmáticos; o segundo, com apoio na distinção paradigmática 'monológico' vs. 'polifônico'..." (Deus e o Diabo no Fausto de Goethe, p. 164).
"Propp acentua os mesmos aspectos valorizados por Bakhtin no fenômeno do 'riso ritual', mostrando como, no folclore, 'o riso é um meio mágico apto a criar vida, mágico enquanto oposto ao racional'; esta 'faculdade de despertar vida' é interpretada como 'faculdade de suscitar vida vegetal'..." (Deus e o Diabo no Fausto de Goethe, p. 106).

Une critique démasquante du livre Bakhtine démasqué, pour Sandra Nossik:
"As traduções utilizadas (somente uma tradução para cada texto no original russo), diretamente comparadas entre si, divergem pelos seus autores, pelas suas datas, e às vezes pelo seu idioma de chegada (francês, italiano, inglês). A imprecisão terminológica e conceitual que poderia resultar dessas fontes secundárias heterogêneas é tanto mais problemática considerando-se que o objetivo anunciado dos autores é trazer à luz as divergências 'estilísticas' entre os textos de Bakhtin, Voloshinov e Medvedev, divergências 'decorrentes de sua organização argumentativa global, tanto quanto de sua organização sintática e macrossintática'" (Bakhtiniana, vol. 9, Apr/Jul 2014); 

See also:
- défi du non-circoncis;
- Cristovão Tezza haunted by Barthes;
- Concretos &/ou Brazilian Inteligentsia;
- Eduardo Viveiros de Castro: Brazilian Perspectivism?
- Augusto Meyer and Machado de Assis;
- O Primo Basílio de Eça de Queirós;
- A Stragegy for Writting;
And also:
- Pier Paolo Pasolini & Deconstruction;
- Favorite quotes from Detlev Claussen's Theodor W. Adorno;
- Umberto Eco about Nietzsche (& deconstruction);
- Federico Fellini's Satyricon;
Podem Ficar com a Realidade;
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Other excerpts: 
"At the heart of the tragic catastrophe in Dostoevsky's work there always lies the solipsistic separation of a character's consciousness from the whole, his incarceration in his own private world. Thus the affirmation of someone else's consciousness—as an autonomous subject and not as an object—is the ethico-religious postulate determining the content of the novel (the catastrophe of a disunited consciousness)" (Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics, Caryl Emerson translation, Univ. of Minnesota Press, 1984, p. 10);
"... the image of many unmerged personalities joined together in the unity of some spiritual event, was fully realized for the first time in his novels. This astonishing internal independence of Dostoevsky's characters, which Askoldov correctly notes, is achieved by specific artistic means. It is above all due to the freedom and independence characters possess, in the very structure of the novel, vis-a-vis the author—or, more accurately, their freedom vis-a-vis the usual externalizing and finalizing authorial definitions. This does not mean, of course, that a character simply falls out of the author's design. No, this independence and freedom of a character is precisely what is incorporated into the author's design" (p. 13);
"A novel such as Bouvard et Pecuchet, for example, unites material of the most heterogeneous content, but this heterogeneity does not function in the structure of the novel itself and cannot so function in any well-defined way—because it is subordinated to the unity of a personal style and tone permeating it through and through, the unity of a single world and a single consciousness" (p. 15); 
"Dostoevsky's novel is a whole formed by the interaction of several consciousnesses, none of which entirely becomes an object for the other; this interaction provides no support for the viewer who would objectify an entire event according to some ordinary monologic category (thematically, lyrically or cognitively)—and this consequently makes the viewer also a participant" (p. 18);
"Dostoevsky does not for a single moment permit us to lose ourselves in joyous recognition of that reality [of pragmatic plot considerations] (as Flaubert does, or Leo Tolstoy); instead he frightens us, and this is precisely because he snatches and rips everything out of the normal and predictable chain of the real..." (p. 20);
"Dostoevsky's world is profoundly pluralistic. If we were to seek an image toward which this whole world gravitates, an image in the spirit of Dostoevsky's own worldview, then it would be the church as a communion of unmerged souls, where sinners and righteous men come together; or perhaps it would be the image of Dante's world, where multi-leveledness is extended into eternity, where there are the penitent and the unrepentant, the damned and the saved. Such an image would be in the style of Dostoevsky himself, or, more precisely, in the style of his ideology, while the image of a unified spirit is deeply alien to him" (p. 26-27);
"The objective complexity, contradictoriness and multi-voicedness of Dostoevsky's epoch, the position of the déclassé intellectual and the social wanderer, his deep biographical and inner participation in the objective multi-leveledness of life and finally his gift for seeing the world in terms of interaction and coexistence—all this prepared the soil in which Dostoevsky's polyphonic novel was to grow" (p. 30-31);
One may also speak of elements of polyphony in Balzac's work—but only of elements. Balzac belongs to the same line of development in the European novel as Dostoevsky, and is one of his direct and most immediate predecessors" (p. 34); 
"... almost all of Dostoevsky's novels have a conventionally literary, conventionally monologic ending (especially characteristic in this respect is Crime and Punishment). In essence only The Brothers Karamazov has a completely polyphonic ending, but precisely for that reason, from the ordinary (that is, the monologic) point of view, the novel remained uncompleted" (p. 39-40);
"That which was presented in Gogol's field of vision as an aggregate of objective features, coalescing in a firm socio-characterological profile of the hero, is introduced by Dostoevsky into the field of vision of the hero himself and there becomes the object of his agonizing self-awareness; even the very physical appearance of the 'poor clerk,' described by Gogol, Dostoevsky forces his hero to contemplate in the mirror" (p. 48);
"Dostoevsky sought a hero who would be occupied primarily with the task of becoming conscious, the sort of hero whose life would be concentrated on the pure function of gaining consciousness of himself and the world. And at this point in his work there begin to appear the 'dreamer' and the 'underground man' (p. 50);"The idea helps self-consciousness assert its sovereignty in Dostoevsky's artistic world, and helps it triumph over all fixed, stable, neutral images. But on the other hand, the idea itself can preserve its power to mean, its full integrity as an idea, only when self-consciousness is the dominant in the artistic representation of the hero" (p. 79);
"It is quite possible to imagine and postulate a unified truth that requires a plurality of consciousnesses, one that cannot in principle be fitted into the bounds of a single consciousness, one that is, so to speak, by its very nature full of event potential and is born at a point of contact among various consciousnesses. The monologic way of perceiving cognition and truth is only one of the possible ways. It arises only where consciousness is placed above existence, and where the unity of existence is transformed into the unity of consciousness" (p. 81);
"Dostoevsky was capable of representing someone else's idea, preserving its full capacity to signify as an idea, while at the same time also preserving a distance, neither confirming the idea nor merging it with his own expressed ideology. The idea, in his work, becomes the subject of artistic representation, and Dostoevsky himself became a great artist of the idea" (p. 85);
"Raskolnikov's idea comes into contact with various manifestations of life throughout the entire novel; it is tested, verified, confirmed or repudiated by them... Let us again recall Ivan Karamazov's idea that 'everything is permitted' if there is no immortality for the soul. What an intense dialogic life that idea leads throughout the whole of The Brothers Karamazov, what heterogeneous voices relay it along, into what unexpected dialogic contacts it enters! On both of these ideas (Raskolnikov's and Ivan Karamazov's) the reflections of other ideas fall, similar to what happens in painting when a distinct tone, thanks to the reflections of surrounding tones loses its abstract purity, and only then begins to live an authentic 'painterly' life" (p. 90);
"[According to Grossman] the adventure world [of adventure, boulevard novel] gave expression to a 'primordial trait' of Dostoevsky's art: 'the impulse to introduce the extraordinary into the very thick of the commonplace, to fuse into one, according to Romantic principles, the sublime with the grotesque, and by an imperceptible process of conversion to push images and phenomena of everyday reality to the limits of the fantastic" (p. 103);
"In Dostoevsky, the adventure plot is combined with the posing of profound and acute problems; and it is, in addition, placed wholly at the service of the idea. It places a person in extraordinary positions that expose and provoke him, it connects him and makes him collide with other people under unusual and unexpected conditions precisely for the purpose of testing the idea and the man of the idea, that is, for testing the 'man in man.' And this permits the adventure story to be combined with other genres that are, it would seem, quite foreign to it, such as the confession and the saint's Life" (p. 105);
"The menippea is characterized by an extraordinary freedom of plot and philosophical invention. The fact that the leading heroes of the menippea are historical and legendary figures (Diogenes, Menippus and others) presents no obstacle. Indeed, in all of world literature we could not find a genre more free than the menippea in its invention and use of the fantastic... the fantastic here serves not for the positive embodiment of truth, but as a mode for searching after truth, provoking it, and, most important, testing it. To this end the heroes of Menippean satire ascend into heaven, descend into the nether world, wander through unknown and fantastic lands, are placed in extraordinary life situations" (p. 114).
"In the menippea there appears for the first time what might be called moral-psychological experimentation: a representation of the unusual, abnormal moral and psychic states of man—insanity of all sorts (the theme of the maniac), split personality, unrestrained daydreaming, unusual dreams, passions bordering on madness, suicides, and so forth" (p. 116); 
"Very characteristic for the menippea are scandal scenes, eccen- tric behavior, inappropriate speeches and performances, that is, all sorts of violations of the generally accepted and customary course of events and the established norms of behavior and etiquette, including manners of speech" (p. 117);
"Thus could be born in the bosom of parody one of the greatest and at the same time most carnivalistic novels of world literature: Cervantes' Don Quixote. Here is how Dostoevsky assessed that novel: 'There is nothing in the world more profound and powerful than this work. It is the ultimate and greatest word yet uttered by human thought, it is the most bitter irony that a man could express, and if the world should end and people were asked there, somewhere, 'Well, did you understand your life on earth and what conclusions have you drawn from it?' a person could silently point to Don Quixote: 'Here is my conclusion about life, can you judge me for it?''" (p. 128);
"A combination of carnivalization with a sentimental perception of life was found by Dostoevsky in Sterne and Dickens" (p. 156);
"One basic source of carnivalization for literature of the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was the writers of the Renaissance—above all Boccaccio, Rabelais, Shakespeare, Cervantes, and Grimmelshausen" (p. 157);
"... this element of literary conventionality, and the various forms used to expose it, always served to intensify greatly the direct and autonomous signifying power of the hero and the independence of the hero's position. In this sense literary conventionality, in Dostoevsky's overall plan, not only did not reduce the signifying- and idea-content of his novels, but on the contrary could only increase it (as was also the case, incidentally, with Jean Paul and even with Sterne) (p. 226-27);
"Another type of free menippea, with a fantastic and fairy-tale element, was represented in the work of Hoffmann, who already exercised a significant influence on the early Dostoevsky. Dostoevsky's attention was also attracted by the tales of Edgar Allan Poe, close in essence to the menippea. In his prefatory note 'Three Tales of Edgar Poe, Dostoevsky quite correctly noted the characteristics of that writer, so similar to his own: 'He almost always takes the most extraordinary reality, places his hero in the most extraordinary external or psychological position, and with what power of penetration, with what stunning accuracy does he tell the story of the state of that person's soul!'" (p. 243);
"'The depths of the human soul,' or what the idealist-Romantics meant by 'spirit' in contrast to soul, become in Dostoevsky's work the subject of objectively realistic, sober, prosaic depiction... Dostoevsky is deeply and intimately connected with European Romanticism, but that which the Romantic approached from within, in categories of his own "I" by which he was obsessed, Dostoevsky approached from without—in such a way, however, that this objective approach did not reduce by one iota the spiritual problematics of Romanticism, nor transform it into psychology (p. 277/Three fragments from the 1929 edition)
"Thomas Mann's Doktor Faustus as an indirect confirmation of my idea. Dostoevsky's influence. Conversation with the devil. The narrator-chronicler and the main hero. The complex authorial position (cf. Mann's letters). Retellings (verbal transpositions) of musical works: in Netochka Nezvanova, but especially in the retelling of Trishatov's opera1 (here there is a literal coincidence of texts about the devil's voice); finally, retellings of Ivan Karamazov's poems. The hero-author. The main thing: the problem of polyphony" (p. 284/"Towards a reworking of the Dostoewsky book");
"Dostoevsky made spirit, that is, the ultimate semantic position of the personality, the object of aesthetic contemplation, he was able to see spirit in a way in which previously only the body and soul of man could be seen. He moved aesthetic visualization into the depths, into deep new strata, but not into the depths of the unconscious; rather, into the depths of the heights of consciousness. The depths of consciousness are simultaneously its peaks (p. 288/"Towards a reworking of the Dostoewsky book");

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Falls in Paraná/Argentina



Pictures taken in places such as the cathedral Nossa Senhora Aparecida (Cascavel, PR/Brazil) and the Argentinian side of the Iguazu falls.
Pictures taken in Maquiné (RS/Brazil) (for more, see here).
Jean-Michel Basquiat
Detail from The Pilgrimage (1982),
image from Leonhard Emmerling's Basquiat.
Mondrian, Tableau n. 3 (1913),
Stedelijk Museum, picture taken by A/Z.
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"... al no encontrar con la facilidad requerida por la absoluteza de su apriorismo, Hegel desconfía y nos otorga su desdén. Busca en la América, el espíritu objetivo, y lo que encuentra, como en el Génesis, es el aliento de Dios rizando las aguas, como una piedrecilla lanzada de canto sobre la tranquila laminación líquida..." Lezama Lima).
"Nous ne devons pas regarder par delà la nature, nous devons plutôt voir à travers elle... ce sont les choses les plus extérieures qui nous mènent à conscience de notre être, c'est-à-dire aux choses les plus intérieures..." (Piet Mondrian, traduction par Michel Sephour).
"L'impératif statique, condition terrestre... où la gravitation impose un mouvement fini, conduit le mouvement vers sa fin en plaçant sous l'hégémonie d'un autre. Le plus fort tire tout à lui. Ce plus fort est animé de son côte par le mouvement et entraîne sa victime dans sa course. Mais l'opprimé ne s'en aperçoit pas directement; il lui faut voir comment aménager son joug, s'y créer peu à peu une aire de mouvement suceptible de lui assurer une sorte d'autonomie. Ainsi croissent les plantes, marchent ou volent les bêtes ou l'homme" (Paul Klee, traduction Pierre-Henri Gonthier)
"... rouge-violet, rouge, orangé, jaune, vert, bleu, bleu-violet (indigo)... quelque chose d'insolite aux deux extrémités de la série... les deux moitiés doivent faire un tout, les deux violets un seul violet, et les deux bouts mystérieux de la chaîne se souder en circuit infinit, sans commencement ni fin... L'arc-en-ciel n'était qu'un reflet d'une totalité inconnue auparavant..." (Paul Klee, traduction par Pierre-Henri Gonthier).
"Die Natur soll der sichtbare Geist, der Geist die unsichtbare Natur sein" (Schelling).

An obscure poem by Murilo Mendes:
Passaros noturnos
Ao longe balançam o canto obscuro
Pois nas grutas profundas se encolheram
E nos maciços de árvores.
Pela noite seu canto oblíquo
Na soledade do silêncio
Configura-os a bichos desconhecidos,
São provisoriamente outros bichos
Nascidos sem lei nem forma
Do intocado abismo e da folhagem.
Pássaros fantasmas,
Pássaros noturnos
Anunciadores de uma vida livre
Cujo segredo ao nosso ouvido escapa,
Uma vida de ignota relação.

***See also:
- Misiones;
Buenos Aires (Argentina);
Montevideo (Uruguay - South America);

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Augusto Meyer and Machado de Assis (Cristovão Tezza and others)



l'evangile après Salo (more info see here);
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"Thought is happiness, even where it defines unhappiness: by enunciating it. By this alone happiness reaches into the universal unhappiness."
Theodor W. Adorno, Essays on Music
"Being smart could make you depressed, certainly, if you weren't smart about what you were smart about."
Andy Warhol, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol
"La spirale dont il est question n'est-ce pas justement celle qui crée la confusion totale, voire le complet renversement entre le haut et le bas?"
Henri Pousseur, Musiques Croisées
"... il se tient dans le dehors. Et contre cette menace il ne doit pas se défendre, il doit au contraire s'y livrer."
Maurice Blanchot ('Où maintenant? Qui maintenant?')
"... l'auteur... doit chercher par et dans son oeuvre ce qui, niant ses propres limites, ses faiblesses, ne participe pas de sa servitude profonde." 
Georges Bataille, La littérature et le mal
"... meine Humanität besteht nicht darin, mitzufühlen, wie der Mensch ist, sondern es auszuhalten, daß ich ihn mitfühle..."
Nietzsche
"... as Virgil disappeared as Dante's guide on Mt. Purgatory... so Braz's life is not only a failure in the picaresque cadre, it is incomplete in another sense." 
Helen Caldwell, Machado de Assis
"Não compreendi sequer que ela se mascarava, de propósito, com aquela zombaria, que era o último ardil das pessoas envergonhadas e de coração virtuoso, quando alguém lhes procura penetrar a alma, de modo rude e insistente..."
Memórias do Subsolo (tradução Boris Schnaiderman)
"Comme c'est par tromperie que Soslan l'a surpris et tue, un jour viendrá où, chez le morts, le duel recommencera entre Totyradz et le héros d'acier. Et ce ne sera pas un duel ordinaire. Les morts se presseront à ce spectacle. Pour mieux voir, ils monteront sur les cibles..." 
Le livre des heros (traduction Dumézil)
"That Nature is always right, is an assertion, artistically, as untrue, as it is one whose truth is universally taken for granted. Nature is very rarely right, to such an extent even, that it might almost be said that Nature is usually wrong: that is to say, the condition of things that shall bring about the perfection of harmony worthy a picture is rare, and not common at all."
Whistler

"Ne suis-je pas un faux accord
Dans la divine symphonie,
Grâce à la vorace Ironie
Qui me secoue et qui me mord?"
"... si, sans se laisser charmer,
Ton oeil sait plonger dans les gouffres..."
Baudelaire

Augusto Meyer's literary criticism about Machado de Assis is nowadays recognized as pivotal. Professor Regina Zilberman (Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul) writes the following in the back flap of a recent edition of Meyer's essays: "Augusto Meyer holds a creditable position... in the legacy of studies about the most important Brazilian writer before the advent of Modernism" (see Augusto Meyer, Machado de Assis. 1935-1958. Rio de Janeiro: José Olympio, 2008).
Antonio Candido is perhaps more strict: "sometimes... an accessible surface devoid of any mystery conceals to a less experienced reader or literary period values that are rare and profound. A typical example is Machado de Assis—celebrated for a long time in view of what in him was most flippant [epidérmico], till Augusto Meyer, Lúcia Miguel-Pereira and Barreto Filho (his most outstanding critics) highlighted recently the innermost power that constitutes his real and singular greatness" (A Formação da Literatura Brasileira. Rio de Janeiro: Ouro sobre Azul, 2012, p. 453).  
What should we make of this?
The relevance of Augusto Meyer's criticism about Machado de Assis is neat: it opposes the inane image of Machado de Assis as a "benevolent" skeptic, common among Machado's contemporaries such as Alcindo Guanabara (a Brazilian journalist and politician of the time) (see Meyer, Machado de Assis, p. 130). But it should be circumscribed to this point.
The image of Machado de Assis created by Meyer himself is equally preposterous. Meyer conflates what he thinks are Machado de Assis's ideas with the ideas expressed by Machado's narrators and characters. Meyer's procedure betrays a misunderstanding of something which is essential to literary writing: its fictional, counterfactual character.
It is exactly because Machado de Assis pushes literary writing to its limits, arriving at enigmatical, sometimes profoundly somber outlines and intuitions, that he is not Meyer's "subterranean man."
Machado de Assis's brilliant criticism of Eça de Queirós's O Primo Basílio (referred just en passant by Meyer, Machado de Assis, p. 106), shows that Machado had a very perspicuous understanding of both the nature of literary writing and the "limits" of literary movements such as the so-called naturalism of some 19th-century authors. The problem with naturalism was not that it dwelled on the abject, but that it adhered too much to "reality"—an alleged abject reality that naturalism would display in an "implacable, cogent, and logical" way (see Machado de Assis, "O Primo Basílio de Eça de Queirós").*
Meyer is completely mistaken when he attributes to Machado "a conscience that recognizes the uselessness of conscience" (Machado de Assis, p. 101). The case is exactly the opposite: through literary writing, Machado fully exercises his conscience—exceeding but by the same token remaining faithful to it. What Georges Bataille correctly says against merely "existentialist" perspectives (à la Sartre) in literature, wouldn't apply to Machado: "un désir de néant qui ne voulut pas recevoir de limite est réduit à la vaine agitation" (La littérature et le mal. Paris: Gallimard, 1957, p. 138).
Machado never succumbs to vain agitation. The "stasis" [inércia] that Meyer attributes to Machado's late works (Machado de Assis, p. 100, cf. 41) is the highest outcome of literary writing. In relation to Quincas Borba, for instance, John Gledson remarked more recently something obvious that has nonetheless been systematically bypassed by many other readers: the plot fairly and squarely contradicts the novel’s motto (see Gledson’s introduction to this novel). The motto (ao vencedor as batatas) is deflated rather than praised, and through a process to which the main character (Rubião) is submitted (he is not the agent of the plot).** One should call this DECONSTRUCTION. It is also involved in what Meyer calls “neutralization”—a neutralization that would come from an “excess of clairvoyance” (Machado de Assis, p. 32).
It is possible to say, with Roberto Schwarz, that Machado was led to such an extreme process by certain bias, dislocations, and dissociations typical of the Brazilian society of the period (a society based on slavery and also on a system of dispensation of favors and counter-favors, upon which the writers depended, although the official ideals and values came from liberal Europe) (see Schwarz, Ao Vencedor as Batatas. São Paulo: Editora 34, 2000, p. 16-21, 195-96, 199, 210).*** But it is the process in itself (a certain kind of literary writing) that explains Machado’s labyrinth: a “literary” rather than a psychological or social labyrinth. One should remember that it is through writing that one can both create and deconstruct psychological and social categories, prejudices, and expectations. Moreover, it is through a certain kind of writing that one can problematize what lies perhaps beneath these categories, prejudices, and expectations (being irreducible to them).****
Besides "stasis" and "neutralization," other provocative notions used by Meyer are "virtuality" (Machado de Assis, p. 85) and "vicious circle" (p. 59). The same words have been applied in a somewhat different way to Nietzsche by one of his most insightful exegetes: Pierre Klossowski. 
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*Deleuze says the following about la Bête humaine, which he characterizes as Zola’s epic: "le essential de l’épopée, c’est un double registre où les dieux, activement, jouent à leur manière et sur un autre plan l’aventure des hommes et de leurs instincts" (Logique du sens, p. 384); a few paragraphs later, "la fêlure ne traversait et n’aliénait la pensée que pour être aussi la possibilité de la pensée, ce à partir de quoi la pensée se développe et se recouvre" (p. 386). Oswald de Andrade: "Trasponho a vida. Não copio igualzinho. Nisso residiu o mestre equívoco naturalista… Tudo em arte é descoberta e transposição" ("Objeto e fim da presente obra," Serafim Ponte Grande).
**The unreability of Machado’s narrator had already been unequivocally ascertained by other English [?] critic, referred by Gledson, and who influenced his analysis: J. C. Kinnear. In his article “Machado de Assis: To Believe or Not to Believe,” Kinnear says that “Brás Cubas, Dom Casmurro and the narrator of Quincas Borba are to a large extent unrealiable because they write books which lay claim to total truth, which have no awareness of their limitations… Quincas Borba is all the more remarkable because it is a third-person novel with an unreliable narrator: there is one Machado, claiming to give pure representational realism, often with the pessimistic overtones of the naturalist novel, and another Machado undermining that pretence” (The Modern Language Review, vol 71, n. 1, Jan. 1976, p. 54-65). Later on, in the same article, Kinnear will refer to Helen Caldwell, the North-American critic who, in 1960, first brought attention to the fact that Dom Casmurro’s narrator is completely unrealiable.
***In the biographical outline of Machado de Assis given by Lucia Miguel-Pereira in her "Pesquisas Psicológicas," one finds condensed many concrete elements that give support to Schwarz’s thesis: “Orphan by mother while still a little boy, and by father a little later, Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis found in his stepmother, Maria Inês, kindness and shelter. In 1856 he is admitted to the Imprensa Nacional as apprentice typographer. Two years later, he becomes proofreader for the publishing house of Paula Brito, a close friend. With the help of Pedro Luís, he is offered the same job at the Correio Mercantil. He publishes poems, essays and his first fictions in Marmota, a magazine of Paula Brito. In 1860, with the help of Quintino Bocaiúva, he starts to work in the newsroom of the Diário do Rio de Janeiro. He also collaborates with the Semana Ilustrada… At the age of 30, he marries D. Carolina Augusta de Novais, the sister of Faustino Xavier de Novais, his partner at the magazine O Futuro” (Lucia Miguel-Pereira, Prosa de Ficção. Rio de Janeiro: José Olympio, 1957, p. 60). The information concerning the death of Machado’s parents is not accurate (see Caldwell, Machado de Assis: The Brazilian Master and His Novels. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1970, p. 14-15), but the whole picture is truthful. One wonders why Lucia Miguel-Pereira’s criticism remains out of print, while Meyer’s is being reedited. She is a better critic.
****Schwarz’s Ao Vencedor as Batatas was originally published in 1977. Paradoxically enough, it is much more enlightened than Schwarz’s second book about Machado de Assis, Um mestre na periferia do capitalismo, originally published in 1990. One wonders why John Gledson translated the second book into English instead of the first. Perhaps because he is there quoted, perhaps because the book can be taken as a good example of the sociological and historicist bias that in the end undermines almost all Brazilian literary criticism, with the exception of the criticism written by Haroldo de Campos. One should remember that Haroldo de Campos was himself a (concretist) poet and an outstanding translator—that is, a writer. His O Sequestro do Barroco na Formação da Literatura Brasileira is a brilliant attack on both the sociologism and the psychologism that pervade Brazilian literary studies. One of the most felicitous books ever written about Machado de Assis—O Calundu e a Panacéia (by Enylton de Sá Rego), unfortunately out of print!—was conceived after its author attended to a colloquium given by Campos in the University of Texas at Austin. Returning to Schwarz’s second book, the problem lies with its main thesis. It is impossible to reduce—as Schwarz tries to do, the paradoxical characteristics of the narrator of Memórias Póstumas de Bras Cubas to “class ideology.” They go beyond that, and what Schwarz calls “metaphysical skid” [derrapagem metafísica] is essential to Machado’s work. Ultimately, "whim" and "spirit of negation," if correctly understood, are not things amenable to "dialectical" treatment. This is the immemorial sans fond in which more or less invisibly just now hangs the abyss between "dust and darkness" [pó e trevas] and "the gentleness of the wind" [A Suavidade do Vento, 1991/2015] in Cristovão Tezza’s skilled prose. In an essay in which he discusses the fate of avantgard poetry (and cinema) in (neo)capitalist societies, Pier Paolo Pasolini once referred to the responsibility of “raising questions” through “amphibological works” [porre delle domande in opere anfibologiche], whose understanding would demand “an extension and a necessary methodological modification of Marxist analysis” [un allargamento e forse... una modifica metodologica dell'analisi marxista], and which are actually not under Marxist jurisdiction (Empirismo eretico, 147). In O espírito da prosa, Tezza attacks in a more or less superficial way what he calls "a nihilist new wave of radical criticism" (decrying with a somewhat lowbrow philistinism traditions of literary theory going back to the Russian formalists, with the exception of Bakhtin). But when trying to convey what turns people into writers (in the 19th and 20th centuries), Tezza is unable to bypass a "monstrous" experience of subjective exhaustion: "experimentem trancar o filho num quarto escuro, amarrando sua perna numa estaca irremovível; cortem sua comida pela metade ou, ao contrário, abarrotem-no de calorias, para em seguida reclamar que estão gordos..." (p. 49-50).

See also:
- Cristovão Tezza haunted by Barthes;
- Concretos &/ou Brazilian Inteligentsia;
- Eduardo Viveiros de Castro: Brazilian Perspectivism?!
- Sur les premiers chapitres d'Ésthetique théorie du roman;
- Icons of Romanticism (Brazil);
Pau Brasil (Oswald de Andrade);
- Mario de Andrade, tel que je l'imagine (bricolage & fragments);
- Noite Morta (Manuel Bandeira, 1921);
- Favorite Drummond (with translation);
- Two invisible phanopoeias & a silence (by Arnaldo Antunes) + Alice Ruiz;
- Podem ficar com a realidade (Leminski);
- O Primo Basílio de Eça de Queirós;
- Arcadisme et Romantisme au Portugal;
- A Stragegy for Writting;