23 Jul 2006

L'oeuvre au noir

L'oeuvre au noir, Marguerite Yourcenar

A bitch to get into, and a pain throughout, unread it would have left me in shame.

Its redeeming quality is Yourcenar's apparent superpower. I cannot imagine how or why a being would take on such projects. It's because I admire this book that I enjoy it. It has an insistently bleak aesthetic, and its structure, as far as I can tell, is at best elusive. How can anyone consistently write this? Yet she writes perfectly.

Those are my thoughts on the form. My thoughts on the theme are as follows: one of the things that I find alternatively annoying and reassuring about Yourcenar is that she takes on some of the worst human fears, and poetically renders them natural and befitting our cycles of existence. Any horror you can think of, on a scale from personal to worldwide, Yourcenar can balance against other human traits until she convinces you that it is nothing but a barely existing neutrality. Her resigned way of writing about carnal pleasure in the same vein as about genocide is simple comforting.

My thoughts on the content? I don't think much of it. I don't get the feeling that the story is the most important part of this narrative.