Stéphane Zagdanski / Robert G. Margolis,
"The Eruption of a Verbal Audacity"
A Conversation About Chaos brûlant, “Burning Chaos”.
-To the blessed memory of Charles Mopsik
Robert G. Margolis: Let us begin with the title of your new novel Chaos brûlant, “Burning Chaos”. The title is used with reference to a sentence by Friedrich Nietzsche, which you also employ as the epigraph to your novel: “Civilization is only a thin film over a burning chaos.” What is this “Burning Chaos”? What does Nietzsche and, therefore, do you mean by it?
In “Thus Spake Zarathustra,” Nietzsche writes: “One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.” And: “I tell you: you still have chaos in yourselves.” Is this “chaos” the same as the “Burning Chaos” your novel invokes? Is the narrator of your novel, whom you name “Bag O’Bones,” and his friends, other mad residents of the Manhattan Psychiatric Hospital, and who are the different commentators--whose characters are themselves commentaries, on the ‘text’ of the DSK Affair, are they differently “mad” in relation to this chaos-within than the madness of your story’s protagonists, DSK and the others? In other words, you, by your novel’s title, and in concert with Nietzsche, seem to indicate something primordially and universally structural with regard to individual, social, and cultural ‘realities’. What is it?
If you will allow, a further variation on this first question (and which anticipates my second question): In your writing, you always are working, in one mode or another, and though it may not be immediately evident, with Jewish Thought and Literature. Jewish Thought and Literature has long realized that the ‘original Chaos’, Tohu ve-Bohu, and the ‘Darkness upon the face of the Deep,’ are, so to speak, pre-primordial realities upon which the ‘works of the Beginning’, that is the creation of this world, are ‘built’. May we infer that you, as author, are aware that, in its own way, the Book of Genesis, and the Hebrew Bible as a whole, speaks of and makes one of its themes this same “Burning Chaos,” which humanity’s ‘works’, its civilizations, will only thinly cover, if even that?
Stéphane Zagdanski : Actually, it is not so much the idea of chaos, in the sense of a universal disorder, which first interested me in Nietzche’s sentence—which is from The Will to Power, as the idea of the « thin film » of civilization—die Kultur Nietzsche writes—which conceals this burning chaos. You observe to begin with that, in English as in French, Nietszche’s sentence allows for a play on the word « film » (« pellicule » in French), with reference to the cinema, that is, the hypnotic spectacularization of events. Whereas in the original version, « Apfelhäutchen » evokes the skin of an apple, with no celluloid-relateable witz possible since Nietzsche, who died in 1889, did not know about the birth of cinematography. This witz on the word « film » is important. In fact, without its excessive media coverage, the DSK Affair, which is the context but not the heart of my novel, would have had only a very minor repercussion. Now, like all my other books, Chaos brûlant means to be, along with what else it purposes, a virulent critique of the way in which, to simply state it, minds are poisoned by images to the detriment of the word. Whence the chapter, for example, on the geneology of hypnosis, from Daguerre to Twitter. To continue with Nietzsche’s sentence, great attention must be given to the « burning » of chaos, which completely corresponds to the calcinated. ashified condition of our failing civlization—I am speaking about western civilization, whose self-consuming inferno is bringing its practicable disaster to the whole world. Whence the chapter of Chaos brûlant dedicated to global warming, to pollution, and to the catastrophic melting of the Ice Sheet. By comparison, the Hell of Dante is a hierarchized, hence organized, frigid spiral of punishment. That is no longer at all where we are. So too, “chaos”, in its Greek meaning, which Nietzsche knew, is not the anarchy of a universe headed for ruin. “Chaos,” Heidegger writes in reference to Hesiod, “initially means the half-a-gape and its meaning coincides with the Open—unfounded, bottomless, abyssal, [coincident] with the gapping fissure.” Chaos, in Nietzsche, is the formless burbling up of life itself, in as much as it precedes all delimitation, and it is joined with the essence of truth, alèthéia. It is « the knowable to know, » Heidegger further explains, « no reality preceeds this gape, it only returns into it ; everything that appears is, each instance, already preceeded by it. » All this is to say that my « chaos » is no more that of Nietzsche than the « thin film » of my witz is the skin of an apple, or rather a pesticide contaminated apple! Basically, it is between the words of Nietzsche’s beautiful sentence that the meaning of Chaos brûlant is located: in the idea of the veil which conceals the fatal decline, and therefore Spectacle’s ensnaring delusion, but also the slightness of this concealment which an eruption of verbal audacity can disassemble so as to unveil the other side of the alienation of contemporary nihilism.
The characters in the Manhattan Psychiatric Center: Luc Ifer, Bag ‘O Bones, Artaud, Marx, Guy Debord, Freud and Kafka—and one could even add Goneril, the fiancée of Bag ‘O Bones, who embodies the hyperbolic incoherence of advertising propaganda, represent different aspects to rending the ensnaring delusion. Each possesses an aptitude for lucidity, a little like superheroes who each have their own special power (Bag ‘O Bones at one point compares himself to [the comic book superhero] Daredevil)…Their madness is not the individualization of the world’s insanity; rather it is the extreme refinement of it, which enables them to enter into resonance with it, the better to discern and to denounce it, in one respect, and in another respect to dare to say everything, for they all are profoundly inhabited by the Word. It is this which saves them from the Abyss into which Number, global Finance to be precise, is engulfing the planet. You know the saying of Joyce: “Word, save us!” They are in somewise the Apostles of the Word…This is what distinguishes them from the ordinary insane of my novel: DSK, Sarkozy and the others (with the exception of [Benjamin] Brafman who also hides a kind of mystical secret), who express themselves and work in the name of Number and not of the Word.
As for the Tohu ve-bohu of Genesis, it has nothing to do with what I name “burning chaos” (which, as I just explained, is neither strictly what Nietzsche means by it). First, because it precedes creation; it neither encloses nor threatens it, contrary to the contemporary chaos; and, especially, because the Biblical Tohu ve-bohu is intimately joined to the noble sovereignty of the Word. It even could be, say certain traditional Jewish texts, the ink into which the divine pen was dipped in order to write and to create the world…This is far from the crimes of Goldman Sacks cretinously glossed by Standard & Poor’s!
Robert G. Margolis: Perhaps a better English translation of Nietzsche’s sentence would then be: « Civilization is only a thin skin on a burning chaos. » As an aside, I had made a note to ask you about the dissimilarity between Dante’s Inferno and the « burning » of the chaos of the contemporary world. We do not, as did Dante in Hell, move through veilings and unveilings of knowledge, of interiority, toward ever more receptivity to the « good of the Intellect », which is, as well, the good of the Word. The « burning » of « burning chaos » dœs not, if you will, ‘burn us into light’, as dœs Dante’s Inferno. And yet, as you just articulated it so beautifully, an « eruption of verbal audacity »--a fulgurating effusion of « the good » of the Word, can similarly or samely break through to rend and unveil the congealed, concantenated, ossified nihilist opacities of our time.
In this sense, your writing, in its entirety—‘fiction’/’non-fiction’, novels, essays-- is a sustained and sustaining, a renewing and renewable “eruption of verbal audacity”. You mention a continuity of intent and purpose between your novel Chaos brûlant and all your previous books. In the Preface to the second edition (published in 2005) of your first published book, L’impureté de Dieu, “The Impurity of God,” you wrote: “My ambition, which has remained intact and been reiterated in each of the books I have written since [publication of this first book in 1991]—including those that apparently are furthest from Jewish Thought, was to unite in myself this strange [that is, the Jewish] spiritual tradition with literature, as Kafka and Philip Roth had previously effected it. Nothing has ever weakened my resolve or my desire to make such an alliance, otherwise unknown in French…”
Readers in English have not yet been introduced to the vastly subtle, multitudinously resonant play of combinations and permutations of Jewish Thought with literature which permeates and pervades all your writing. Can you speak about a few instances—that you regard as especially exemplary or significant, in Chaos brûlant, in which this interior “alliance” achieves its plenary expression in your writing?
Stéphane Zagdanski: I think that your first translation of Nietzsche’s phrase as « a thin film » is perfect; indeed, it marvelously corresponds to this passage from Chaos brûlant in which I denounce the celluloidial vampirizing of the world:
“Pragmatists, the Americans already are fine tuning the TV series and films based on the scandal. It has been, besides, a longtime since the succubus Celluloid sucked up American public life in its entirety, from which it is no longer distinguished.
“The cinema!” Luc said. “That industry of frigidity-made-farce! Ask Artaud what he really thinks of this “dead, illusory, cut-up-into-frames world.” This is so true that I am not certain of not having thought of it before him. Ask yourself why, in the little town of Oswiecim, which, when they occupy it, the Nazis rename “Auschwitz,” though the SS were prohibited from going into bars and restaurants, the town’s little movie theater was reserved exclusively for them…”
Of course, Chaos brûlant flows in a current of Jewish Thought. I am thinking not only of the obvious themes: the strange attitude of a kind of inverse ‘tikkun’ of Brafman, DSK’s attorney, whose entire career has consisted, by pleading on behalf of the worst mafia crimes against America’s puritan propriety, of repairing the harm done to his family during Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass. This night in which, as he explains it in a long speech given in his synagogue, the police’s proper uniform allowed for its barbaric double to show through, revealing the other side of western civilization embodied in the criminal Nazi thug…If Evil can uniformly dress itself in the rags of Good, why not do good by defending, in a completely lawful manner and by means of speech alone, the lackeys of Evil whom the self-proclaimed acolytes of Good claim to condemn. I am not speaking only about the messianic theme embodied by the schizophrenic “Kafka” who, at the end of the novel, invokes the Prophet Amos, in the middle of an earthquake and an IMF-collapse cocktail party. No, I have also placed a few kabbalist indicatories here and there in the text, apart from the principal intent, profoundly Jewish, which is the critique of King Look. For example, when I have each of the Manhattan Psychiatric Center residents, in turn, and each in a different context, say: “No before or after in my fused brain”; “No before or after in this fused chaos”; “No before or after in the global nightmare of my soul”; “No before or after in the irascible realm of tumult”…I borrow a classic formulation of midrashic interpretation which states “no before or after in the Torah,” meaning that two separated verses can be interpreted without regard for their chronological order. This coincides with one of the intuitions of Chaos brûlant according to which the worst evils of the past continue at work in the most vile maelstromic whirls of current events. No before or after between Auschwitz and IBM’s Watson supercomputer, no before or after between advertisement whose falsification Balzac analyzed and the sly conniving of the Spin Doctors which no politician today can do without. No before or after between the madness of Hitler, Nazi crimes, the genocide of the American Indians, the rudiments of American psychiatry, the enslavement of Blacks in the United States, and the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet or the concussive shocks of Finance. No progress, in other words, between the worst times of modern History and the genocidal management of the globe which characterizes the most contemporary habitual nihilism and its proclivities.
Another kabbalistic allusion is the plays on the names sown throughout the novel, and primarily on the three initials DSK. They indicate that the framework and weave of the text possesses a destinal value; that your name precedes you in life, and that language, if one does not pay attention to it, has many expedients by which to send you its regards. Thus the episode in which the DKS lock, preventing DSK from getting back into his house, literally locks him out…Alas, DSK, because he is anesthetized to the Word, never seems to listen to or understand the warnings about his destiny guised as witz.
Robert G. Margolis: Your writing, I find, does not submit to or cooperate with reductive, very often reactionary, categories of conceptual confinement. This is due, at least in part—and, again, this is my own construance, to your ‘midrashic’ receptivity to the possibilities of the ‘flesh-made-word’ and of the Word-made-literature. These are the very possibilities of uninhibited, often subversive, always imaginative invention indigenous to the Hebrew Bible, to Midrash, the Talmud and the Zohar.
You refer to Chaos brûlant—the completed novel and the mode of its composition—as an « Instantaneous Metaphysical Fiction ». In English (I.M.F.) as well as in French (F.M.I.), this appellation shares the same acronym with the International Monetary Fund ; as much as to allude to a kind of writer’s Art of War to describe, to understand, and to struggle against Number’s war to exterminate the Word (as you state it, without dissumulation or disguise).
Of course, it needs be asked what do you mean by « Instantaneous Metaphysical Fiction », and why precisely « metaphysical » ? As a personal mode of your writing, there is continuity with your previous published novels and essays, certainly, but what does an « Instantaneous Metaphysical Fiction » allow you to do differently as a writer?
I am remembering your comment to me that Chaos brûlant has particular precedent in three of your previously published books: « a mixture of elements, » you wrote, from Les Intérêts du temps (The Benefits of Time), de Pauvre de Gaulle! (Poor de Gaulle!) et de La mort dans l’œil (Death in the Eye).
Briefly, for each of these three books, what are the precedents of style and/or theme which, in Chaos brûlant, you re-transmit from yourself to yourself to your reader?
Stéphane Zagdanski: There is, of course, some playfulness in the use I made of the acronym I.M.F. to refer to this novel as an « Instantaneous Metaphysical Fiction » or, again, « Instantaneous Metapsychological Fiction, » but it is not only this. To tell you, dear Robert Margolis, something of what happened ‘behind the scenes’ of Chaos brûlant, no doubt it would never have occurred to me to look into the case and the personality of the former I.M.F. director, if, near the end of May 2011, I had not been contacted by a North American publisher, whose speciality is books about public scandals, to write a book about the then on-going affair…By the end of a few months the man had shown himself to be the consummate con artist; I have never seen the 25,000 dollars he contractually promised to me, nor received the airplane tickets so as to bring my wife and my daughter there to dance the « Kuitata Piquant » (the latest popular hip gyration from the Ivory Coast) in the company of some Guinean informer connected to the Diallo family, nor met the American legal experts this imposter claimed to have in his pocket, nor corresponded with the researcher he claimed was available to me, nor had lunch in California with his Hollywood bigshot friends interested by the scandal. After a summer of deception after deception—which are so funny as to one day be the setting for another book—I found myself with a hundred page manuscript work-in-progress and with dozens of different documents, some of them quite rare, gathered here and there. It remained only for me to make a decision: either abandon the entire project and see four months of uninterrupted intensive work (and thereby the first chapters of Chaos brûlant) come to naught, or to transform the Capote-like investigatory project (à la In Cold Blood) into a typically Zagdanskian midrash, ending up as a new novel--for which « l’affaire DSK, » as I told you, would structure the setting but would not be its heart; and which, not content merely to take the pulse of our delectable epoque, would pronounce it clinically dead before undertakng post-mortem dissection of its corpse, cutting deep into it with gleaming bright scalpels!
Which is what I did…
Chaos brûlant shares with Les intérêts du temps (« The Benefits of Time ») a meditated critique of mass-media and the universal expansion of its cretinous propaganda through the vehicule of computer technology. With Pauvre de Gaulle! (« Poor de Gaulle ! »), it shares the x-ray of an age through one of the major figures of its spectacle. The ideological imposture embodied by De Gaulle reflected through and through France’s twentieth century. Today the imposture has become globalized—« the false is without answer » (Debord), and the farce become totalitarian ; subsequently a DSK can embody all the defects of the global twenty-first century. Finally, the analysis of visual nihilism that I conduct in La mort dans l’œil (« Death in the Eye « ) is continued in Chaos brûlant, in which I immersed myself to the very center of the whirlwind of Spectacle (YouTube, Twitter…) so as to examine its virulent lunacy.
What Chaos brûlant inaugurates, different from these other books, is the opportunity to write a novel dedicated to the most « burning » current events, yet another meaning of the title. By these events of summer 2011, I do not mean only the DSK Affair, but correlatively (and however obviously hidden by the media barrage surrounding this grotesque but significant news story) the catastrophic recrudescence of the international economic crisis. I thus inaugurated a new literary genre, the live novel, written in time with developments to the scandal and the crisis. Such is what I have called an « Instantaneous Metaphysical Fiction ». No need to dwell on the words « Fiction » and « Instantaneous ». As for « Metaphysical, » it comprises a revelation, apocalyptic in nature, of the profound meaning of what was happening (occuring) before the eyes of the novel as it was written. Simply said, the imbecile fall of DSK from the height of his financier-politician throne, to me, seemed the most exact caricature of the planet’s devourment by the gravest economic crisis since the 1929 Crash. That the two events, the farce and the tragedy, coincided—whereas, in Le 18 Brumaire de Louis Bonaparte (« The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte »), Marx had only emphasized their repetition seemed, to me, a decisive demonstration of the upending madness of the most dismal, darkest nihilism.
Like all novelists working from a news story, I was inspired by Stendhal, the unqualified precursor of this approach. He claimed to perambulate his mirror along main street. I balanced my speculum on the edges of the Abyss…Too often neglected is the subtitle to Le Rouge et le Noir (« The Red and The Black ») : « A Chronicle of 1830 » ; elaborated starting from the Berthet trial, a provincial news item in 1827, Stendhal displays a virtuoso divinatory discernment of his contemporaries, showing what Nietszche named his « psychological second sight ». Chaos brûlant could naturally be subtitled « A Chronicle of Summer 2011 », and Stendhal’s warning in the post-scriptum to his masterwork rewritten as follows : The disadvantage of the reign of spectacle, besides excluding all freedom, is that it gets mixed up and meddles in what is none of its business; for example, the private life. Whence America’s hysteria and France’s trepidation... < « The disadvantage of the reign of opinion, though it procures freedom, is that it gets mixed up and meddles in what is none of its business; for example, the private life. Whence the sadness of America and England. »>
It was in this wise that for a long time, like so many others before me, I desired to write about a sordid, corruption-laden news story. Not some vague journalistic compilation politely termed a « novel » to compete in vulgarity with the celebrity photo magazines—which in this regard are themselves lagging far behind on-line computer gossip and voyeurism, but by inventing a narration proportionate in its excess to our ever tempting and enticing Epoque, in which the new high-speed mass media—YouTube, Twitter, etc.—are to Stendhal’s reading the Gazette des tribunaux, to the New York Times for Capote, what an Ipad is to a school slate. The media-legal deflagration of the DSK Affair served up the opportunity to me on a plate, with DSK largely displacing Dreyfus, from the point of view of the « reign of opinion » which Stendhal castigates in his post-scriptum.
One need not be extra lucid in order to register the atmosphere of delirium which crashed down upon and around this [DSK’s] grotesque ejaculation. This widespread ensorcellement makes first for a marvellous case for psychoanalysis : how otherwise to explain the sabotage of a career on the threshold of international triumph by an off-the-cuff act of oral sex in a hotel room? Here also is why this live novel presents itself as an « Instantaneous Metapsychological Fiction,» because nothing at all is understood by keeping to the surface of mind, justifying the motive as the will to power, money, political ambition, as twisted, calculating libido –indeed unconciously deliberate acting out and self-defeating behavior, behaviors whose key is missing from the meagre manual on socio-pathologies of French and English op-ed writers. Pathetic as they are hilarious, the characters in this extravagent affair escape, by essence, the media’s sieve since the sieve, itself, is only a cog in the intrigue-machine, same as the television viewers, newspaper readers and internet voyeurs, such as Ivan Levaï, Anne Sinclair’s first husband and DSK’s cuckold, who published a « chronicle » to defend the honor of his usurper…The journalistic interpretation, which is the interpretation of all the works already published about the scandal since the month of August, is thus destined to fail.
In contradistinction, each of the actors in this tragi-comedy of summer 2011 is fascinating to turn into a novel. The ineffable DSK who, from his childhood to the day of the verdict in New York, has collected earthquakes in his wake. Nafissatou Diallo, whose improbable, typically run-on, tall tales overturned the entire legal process. Benjamin Brafman, haunted by the capriciousness of Good and Evil in the attempt to destroy the Jews of Europe, and whose each step is marked with the mystic seal of reparation…And all the others, near or far, implicated in the Affair, caught in the blind eye of the media hurricane : Kenneth Thompson, Cyrus Vance, Anne Sinclair, Tristane Banon, his mother Anne Mansouret, Marie-Victorine M’Bissa of course…but also the couple Carla Bruni and Nicolas Sarkozy, the ex-couple Hollande and Royal, the French socialists, the journalists…an incredible cohort worthy to populate an island, coming each day of that strange rainy summer of 2011 to put their galvanized skulls under my scalpel of style.
Here then is the Fiction. The day when the earth moved in New York, preventing prosecutor Cyrus Vance from delivering his justification, I grasped the powerfully symbolic dimension of the DSK Affair. By means of a rambunctious trial, it is our hardly to be envied 21st century which is surveilled, inveighed against, dirtied, dishonored, judged, condemned…and finally collapses, along with its cruel mother the Economy, bringing down in its catastrophe the expert ‘babbleaters’ and ‘bavardeers’
When Reality surpasses Fiction, Fiction must catch up by endowing it with the outrageous amplitude of Myth. All these are reasons to explain that the narrator of this novel, like the little troupe of persons with whom he converses and who move about in the Manhattan Psychiatric Center, are real and formidably smart. The others, beginning with DSK, connected to the media-political-economic-legal-cultural current events of these last months, are invented. Despite the deceiving appearances which project on our television and computer screens, they only exist and thrive in our subservient, submitted minds.
As to what happened in suite 2806 of the Hotel Sofitel in New York City, May 14, 2011, between 12:06 and 12:26 in the afternoon, only three persons know: the man, the woman, and the novelist who « senses through walls »<Proust, Letter to Jacques Boulenger>…
Robert G. Margolis: Midrash is a singularly Jewish conception and mode of reading, of study, of interpretation, which, as we know, is not limited to its traditional forms. In the « alliance » which you interiorly effect, and by which you accomplish a ‘unification’ of Jewish Thought with literature, Midrash is integral. Your fourth published book, On Anti-Semitism, you qualify as a Midrash ; and indeed, I think, one may transpose or ‘migrate’ this term into and through the occasion of thought specific to each of your writings, such that Midrash qualifies all you write.
Midrash, we may say—and giving Witz the constellation of meanings it bears from its origin, at once manifests the Witz of the Word and the Witz of the Writer. An interviewer once asked you do you feel yourself to be more an essayist or a novelist. Permit me to quote your reply, as I feel it alludes to how Chaos brûlant, along with all your other published novels and essays, may function ‘midrashically,’ at least for those who read, in part, to effect in themselves the same kind of “alliance” from which your writing emanates.
“I do not make the distinction. From the moment I put into writing teachings brought forth from my own body, I regard my essays as novels…I view the novel in a very broad sense. For me, the essayist is one of the emanations of the novelist. The novel is the absolute literary genre. Thought and imagination go together. I always quote this sentence by La Bruyère: “They would exclude from the history of Socrates that he knew how to dance.”
But this may only be my own conclusion. Do you at all agree in seeing your books, whether Chaos brûlant or another, as written ‘midrashically’ and ‘at work’ that way in the reader? Which is to ask, first: What, to you, is Midrash, and specifically en rapport with your act of writing?
Stéphane Zagdanski: Midrash is my primary reference, whether or not it is indicated in my books; but it is so present in principle that it can be forgotten and be of no concern. In a certain way, all my books are, in their interstices, only one long midrash on myself. By « midrash » I mean that somewhat cartesienne hermeneutic « method ,» characteristic of Jewish writings, which proceeds from the absolute sovereignty of the Text over the world. In this sense, not only does it include the Midrash as such (Midrash Rabbah, etc.), but the Talmud, the Sefer Yetsirah, the Zohar, all of kabbalist and hasidic literature…In short, Jewish thought in its entirety, from the Torah to God knows where it ends…
Chaos brûlant reports the grave danger today incurred by the preeminence of the Text over the world, since the novel describes the attempted extermination of the Word by Number. This is what I call “the Genocidal Management of the Globe.” In recalling, for example, IBM’s role in the organization of the Nazi death camps, I mean to show that it is already Number (or, if one prefers, Technique, numerical organization, so much evidenced by the tattoos of the concentration camp prisoners) which, with the Nazis, led to the delirium of extermination. Now, this insanity, just as it was not born ex nihilo with Hitler’s rise to power, did not self-destruct with the fall of the mustachioed hysteric! It is thus that at the end of the novel the IBM supercomputer, nicknamed “Watson,” seizes power, in a totalitarian and delirious manner, during an IMF cocktail party. In actuality, Watson just was bought by the largest financial institution in the world: CitiGroup…Sunt idem: they are the same!
But Chaos brûlant is not content to describe this war, the onslaught of attack launched in assault on the Word. It actively takes part in it—on the side of the Word, of course, by working with it on all levels: there is midrash. This is why, for example, I interpret the total subjugation of the planet to Finance as a direct consequence of the linguistic impoverishment of Number, an indigence demonstrated by the globalized economy’s borborygmus acronymical labeling: “AAA”, “BBB”, etc…This is why I re-inject into this sordid financial farce variations of meaning and truth by transposing their CCC into: “Collusion Corruption Concussion” (which has the advantage of being bilingual!).
The lengthy chapter dedicated to the irreversible melting of the Ice Sheet recapitulates, not by accident, the fifty words in the splendid Inuit vocabulary for snow. As much as the Ice Sheet, it is the Word which is disintegarting and disappearing from its battering by Number, in this case from speculation in oil.
But at the same time that something extraordinary is vanishing, one who speaks this disappearance endures and protects the essential. This is the reason why Chaos brûlant concludes with its own disappearance, when the computer on which it all was supposed to have been written, without it being saved, is suddenly turned off by an employee of the Manhattan Psychiatric Center.
And yet, the word has had its say, and all its resources are intact in the mind of the author and, let us hope, in the soul of the good, kind reader…
10 septembre 2012