A born diarist, Guibert regarded the genre of “novel” with a fatigued, valedictory suspicion: “It is perhaps preferable to circle around the idea of the novel, to dream it, like in Gide’s Marshlands, and to botch it, rather than succeed, since the successful novel is perhaps a very banal form of writing.” He wants writing to be a form of physical adventure—a leap, a plunge, a way to befriend the abyss: “I would like one day to throw myself into a narrative that would be but an event of writing, without a story, and without boredom, a true adventure. . . . The other day I wrote that it was necessary to surrender to pure events of writing (just as the most pure photos are pure events of light).” What is a pure event of writing? Certain French thinkers called it “writing the body,” a phrase that doesn’t get sung a lot these days, though I hope that Guibert’s journal will bring this philosophically inclined subset of body-smeared literature back into prominence. What else is there to write but the body? “Pains in my left eye where it seemed I let a bit of semen penetrate by rubbing my eyes after having jerked off . . .” As in Monique Wittig’s pronoun-slashed The Lesbian Body, every organ within Guibert’s literary body intramurally huddles with its mates; his journal invents a body where “semen” and “left eye” belong to each other, even if their spunky wedlock causes distress.
Tuesday, June 03, 2014
Baton Rouge, New York, Miami
At Bookforum, Wayne Koestenbaum considers Hervé Guibert's unbridled eroticism: