Saturday, 29 December 2007

Jean Daive: "Métaphore - mais réelle. Vécue."

Métaphore - mais réelle. Vécue.*
Jean Daive's Récit testifies to his friendship with Paul Celan.

The mais in the laconic pair of sentences (a fragment, fragmentary one-liner) implies that metaphor is usually neither "real" nor "lived", and these incompatibilities (incompossibilities) implied by the quasi oxymoron are indeed among the main reasons for Celan's total rejection of, or objection to, the concept of metaphor; i.e. among the contraindications against its application.

* Jean Daive, La Condition d'infini 5: Sous la coupole. Récit (Paris: P.O.L, 1996), p. 42.

Friday, 28 December 2007

Boggy soil

Ted Cohen's article, truly a major contribution to metaphor theory, from which I borrow the title of the present weblog, is entitled "Metaphor and the Cultivation of Intimacy".* However, while Cohen's identification of the functioning of metaphors with the fuctioning of jokes tells a lot about jokes and metaphors, this complacent "cultivation of intimacy" between a "metaphor maker" and his audience has very little to do with poetry, I'm afraid...

Truer to poetry than any modern contribution to the theory of metaphor is, as I would venture to say, Martin Heidegger's well-known but most often poorly understood "adage" in "Das Wesen der Sprache": As long as we take Hölderlin's Worte, wie Blumen as a metaphor, as metaphors, or even as a metaphor for metaphor, "we stay bogged down in metaphysics". This is how the English translation, by Peter D. Hertz, nicely puts it. The original text reads as follows (Unterwegs zur Sprache, p. 207):
Wir blieben in der Metaphysik hängen, wollten wir dieses Nennen Hölderlins in der Wendung »Worte wie Blumen« für eine Metapher halten.
Outrageous, like poetry.
* Critical Inquiry, Vol. 5, No. 1, Special Issue on Metaphor, Autumn, 1978, pp. 3-12.

Being's not a predicate, they say

Time, the unity of contradictory predicates: To be or not to be.

Wolf's-hour fragments on black bile (melancholia)

Woke up at three. Could not sleep, read some Hegel.

The black bile of melancholy knows itself: black soil.

The black bile of melancholy knows itself for what it is: black soil. Therefore it is not simply a metaphor any longer.

Black soil: I’m not sure whether this is the right word.

Mustaa multaa.

Black dirt, earth, mould... I’m still not sure, after looking it up in a dictionary.

The elements are raging in the darkness, outside. What else is my anxiety than – hmh – this picture of Climate Change seen in the window?

In introducing a word I introduce it to itself.

In introducing a word I introduce it – to itself.

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Just saw Szabó’s film on Furtwängler

My reluctance to accept the thought that a poet could “give a voice to that which has none”, or in other words, to act as a stand-in of sorts in prayer (see my “Schreiben als Form des Gebets”) – or let’s say, even, my very disgust at the thought.

What was I thinking?

Perhaps I wasn’t – but such unthought things return nachträglich. My disgust – it was directed at the idea that the most intimate, most private voicelessness, wordlessness, could be substituted, surrogated (is there such a verb? have to check), like a poem by its interpretation, as Th. S. explicated my implications... (but that’s different!)

The most intimate, private voicelessness (Schweigen) substituted by a public hearing.

Yes, music is a way of not speaking.

If I may say so.

[Added much later, a clip on Furtwängler conducting An die Freude on April 19, 1942 – "Duldet mutig, Millionen! /Duldet für die beßre Welt!" etc. – :]

Monday, 17 December 2007

Opening words

After reading just a couple of pages in Blanchot’s L’écriture du désastre, fragments on inattentiveness and one on forgiveness. [On page 89: "Pardonne-moi de te pardonner."] These offer me an escape of sorts. From what, if not from myself.

Commentary on myself, i.e. on my “thesis”:

Claiming that when Kant speaks of hypotyposes (yes, in plural: schematic and symbolical type of hypotyposis) he is not speaking of metaphor, I don’t think I was clear enough.

“Images in poetry”, this is approximately what Celan says, “are nothing visual.” Keineswegs Visuelles. Nothing visual, nothing visible. [Later, I add the exact phrase: "Bildhaftes, das ist keineswegs etwas Visuelles". I cite this on p. 206 of my Counter-figures.]

The dog is nothing visible. The schema of “dog” is even less visible, if possible, than the schema of triangle.

“The visible”, writes Merleau-Ponty, “is pregnant with the invisible”. This is precisely a comment on Heidegger’s argument against the concept of metaphor in Der Satz vom Grund.

This love of the “abstract” — it is a love for that which shall disappear. Mortality, terrestriality, temporality, and never the supra-lunar... Never? Perhaps never. Always perhaps, never for ever, never, perhaps.

Love for the ephemeral.

For words too, like flowers.

Watch their éclosion in the morning light.