Thursday, April 20, 2006

Doomed Lovers

In The Writing of the Disaster Maurice Blanchot is suspicious of language. Well, not all language, but some language -- particularly language that is narcissistic, when the voice speaking it is caught up in its self-sameness, its own sound. The speaker of such language is doomed because he/she cannot locate in that language anything other to love. This, apparently, is also the fate of lovers who "touch each other with words, whose contact with each other is made of words, and who can thus repeat themselves without end, marveling at the utterly banal, because their speech is not a language but an idiom they share with no other, and because each gazes at himself in the other's gaze in a redoubling which goes from mirage to admiration" (128). But it also occurs to me that this isn't so much about the language, as it is about what the language obscures, in this sense. The transgression of Narcissus was one of seeing -- that is, of seeing only himself. The gaze on one's own self, then is the seeing that is transgressive. And so I wonder, then, if there is a way out of the lingual disaster -- a way that the two presumably doomed lovers who "touch each other with words" can continue to touch each other in that way without it becoming narcissistic. A way in which the seismic shuddering of their verbal exchanges can avoid the phenomenon of redoubling.


Anonymous said...

I don't think that it's possible for such a relation to avoid narcissism; words are, after all, really just words -- they reflect something, but don't really represent what we think they do. And if they're just reflection, we're back to redoubling, and to the narcissistic image. A relationship must be outside of language.

Donna B said...

First off, I'm SO glad I got here before David Scott, who, opposite to King Midas, turns every blog he touches into dross.

Second, I don't understand the first anonymous, but your post reminds me of what I worry about: that every relationship is a reflection of some family member relationship (OOOOH, hands over ears, la la la!) No! I want a relationship to not be a brother or father. I want him to be sexy and different. I like men who are just a little bit different.