Monday, May 08, 2006

"Nadja" by Breton

After finishing Nadja by André Breton last night, I closed the book, took a deep breath and then started over. I realized that I had not paid proper attention to the beginning because I am programmed to read a novel in an Aristotelian fashion. I also realized upon finishing that it holds the key to surrealism and only in the re-reading would I truly understand.

I see the novel expressing, inter alia, the idea that the random acts of life received raw, without the ever-gnawing desire to cook our experiences through will and ego, offer a panoply of possibilities that when studied in silence and in arrears hold meaning and significance. Most novelists in their desire to be god-like in their omniscience create a dead letter, which we rush through to the end. However, a novel like Nadja demands a rereading and another, just as the poetry of Celan demands a rereading.

I believe the novel also conveys the message that life received in the ultra receptive posture attracts all types of images and symbols that we usually ignore; however, if we pause and recollect, listen and mediate, we may come to see the beauty of the random act, which creates, as we discussed in earlier posts, depth. Our life could resemble a poem or a piece of art rather than misery and boredom if we were prepared to concentrate on the chaotic acts that occur daily and which we usually ignore.

More on Nadja in future posts.

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