Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Strangers in the night

Lots of genuinely thought-provoking stuff in Edward Said's On Late Style (I must listen to more music!), but I am instead unfairly singling out this funny curiosity of a passage, which I could not resist and in which Said recalls an evening spent with Jean Genet in Beirut (the essay on Genet opens with Said's account of watching Genet speak - and be wildly mistranslated - at a 1970 rally in support of the Black Panthers on the Columbia University steps):
He smoked constantly, and he also drank, but he never seemed to change much either with drink, emotion, or thought. I recall that during the evening he once said something very positive and surprisingly warm about Jacques Derrida -- un copain, remarked Genet -- whom I had thought of as a quietist Heideggerian type at the time; Glas had not yet appeared, and it was only six months later, when Mariam, our little son, and I spent a few weeks in Paris, that I learned from Derrida himself that his friendship with Genet had originally been sealed as the two of them watched soccer matches together, which I thought was a nice touch. There is a brief allusion in Glas to our little encounter at Reid Hall in April 1973, although I've always been slightly miffed that Derrida should refer to me anonymously only as "un ami" who brought him news of Genet.
(I am also reminded that one of the things I did the last time I was on sabbatical was read Glas!)

No comments:

Post a Comment