Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Fictional Creatures; or, sympathy for the golem

[This refers back to the previous post on the 'incompletness' of imaginary beings.]

It's enough to will it, I'll will it, will me a body, will me a head, [...] There you are now on your feet, I give you my word, I swear they're yours, I swear it's mine, get to work with your hands, palp your skull, seat of the understanding, without which nix, then the rest, the lower regions, you'll be needing them, and say what you're like, have a guess, what kind of man, there has to be a man, or a woman, feel between your legs, no need of beauty, nor of vigour, [..] And to start with stop palpitating, no one's going to kill you, no one's gong to love you and no one's going to kill you, perhaps you'll emerge in the high depression of Gobi, you'll feel at home there.
This is from Beckett's Texts for Nothing. The fictional creature appears underneath our eyes.We witness some malformed golem patched together from (what Beckett elsewhere calls) 'wordshit', taking shape infront of us, pathetically incomplete, 'poor in being' as are all fictional entities, lacking the ballast of existence.

The fictional being, like Morpheus, can take any shape and no shape, traverse all space and time.. ("you'll emerge in the high depression of Gobi"). But this comes at the price of a painful insufficiency. This fictional being, particularly in Beckett's Texts, is a Struldbrug  who cannot die, resurrected by every eye and voice and ear of every scattered reader.

The twist in Beckett, as perhaps in Bruno Schulz, lies in a kind of identificataion with such creatures, who in their very incompleteness and indigence act as the most fitting and exact analog for human existence. It is as if the "I"finds echo and confirmation not in the mirror (where hangs only the passport photo that others use to identify you) but in the fragile, misshapen and unrealised creatures who emerge eternally on the page.

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