Saturday, November 29, 2014
Nagel and the equivalent characters in Hamsun's other books are “like escaped convicts” writes Woods. I agree so where is the crime?
(Not even what but where?)
Time is after them, police officer Time (they keep trying to evade Time. Nagel stays in bed when he should be up; it's petty), but Isak in Growth is contented at all points of time.
In them all you have a kind of Romantic self-ness: very emotional; they would rather be emotional than comfortable. Not to burn with a hard gemlike, etcetera, but to flutter, or, in Isak's case, to be a Norwegian brand of immovable potato. That secret immobility seems to be the evidence of self-ness in so many books, as I keep noting and noting, even in Joyce, Ulysses flying around the core Bloom, until the unstated question in so much of literature becomes, how much inconsistency will it take to destabilise a person's self-ness; and then there is Clarissa in Clarissa, whose will is an annihilating bomb, but I am not referring to anyone's will, only to the phenomenon that so many writers seem to detect at the heart of everything else in a person; and which may only be, hark, the tentative definition that A.R. Ammons once gave of poetry: "a linguistic correction of disorder" (A Note on Incongruence, 1966).
(I am not sure that the phenomenon is there in Clarissa. I don't think so. I believe that the characters, as they are described, have aspects, the despairing aspect for instance, or the friend aspect, and then will, but not the detached central obduration that I believe I can see depicted by implication in, eg, Hamsun, or by statement in Peake, the isolate apartness that is assumed to exist, no character really isolated in Clarissa but linked constantly with letters so that they are always spoken about: Samuel Richardson not assuming that Clarissa has it, nor assuming that she doesn't have it, but the idea not occurring to him anywhere; the whole notion absent from that book, though do the letters themselves, the mental picture of letters, does that make me think of aspects, aspects, turned towards the reader's face like a set of pages?)