|dc.description.abstract||A summary, as if the reader mattered
"La condition primordiale d une étymologie rigoureuse :
l établissement du sens initial"
Emile Benveniste (1938),
Les Mages dans l Ancien Iran
There is this tendency to if ever challenged to refer to some original sense in a phrase.
This sense may then be broken down to its main, undivided atomic building block ; the word (and surely to even smaller elements). But the word is not logos, it is nomos ; it is a name. It becomes logos. It becomes law.
Now enters this tiny voice, so insistent what if that original sense has been wrongly perceived ? Worse, what if it is not ? Worst, what if it is less existant than a dream ? A lot of buildings may then be seen to be castles in the air ; wonderful, till they fall. They do so every day, all those disasters brought to us by the rumours, mishaps we prefer to treat from a distance. They re so many, they will exhaust any serious listing.
But what if I am wrong, and that the word actually carries that initial sense (Benveniste) ? In that case, my rather new-kindled interest in the history of vir virtú, vertu, aretē & dygd finds its easy justification (but my project was not from the outset one of taxonomy.)
One does not have to be Socrate, Cratylus, Plato or Buddha to work with these questions. One cannot be, one has to do it by oneself. It may be tough in the start, but it becomes not just a necessity it is that serious it may also, curiously, become an art, and a beautiful, joyful one.
This mémoire treats basic experience. It departs from an uneasiness : How come some works of arts just won t let go of me ? Could their tenacity be explained, not just by their being sublime (Longinus), but by their virtuosity ? What, then, is virtuosity ?
I would have to do a re-reading : a reading of my readings. Three experiences decided, unanimously, inconsiderate, to be re-read by me : those with Madame de La Fayette (1678), Miles Davis (1958), and Georges Perec (1975). These re-readings of mine turned out to be readings of me ; I followed some counsel, and looked into the dusty chamber of an hidden art, etymology. From there, I was sent to the very border of the Indo-European, into truly pre-historic mythos, a primordial sea of knowledge beyond the nostratic (a presumed substratum of language). I was, literally, sent back to Memory. (A mother of mine. Her name is Mnemosyne). What I found shook me, no, that s way too weak, and unprecise. I was clawed.
What I came close to, is what I am. Ever grateful to great readers and writers Kertesz, Balzac, Felman, Barthes, Bourdieu to mention just a handful I have to say that it is beyond paragate male dominance. Beyond Vir mensura and beyond model thinking, it is parasamgate even beyond that. It is virtuosity itself ; the aesthetic, sensual legitimation of dominance. It is of Eros, so poorly understood (I speak for myself, of course). It is violent.
I spoke of joyful. I will not take from the reader any pleasure, or throe, of reading this mémoire. Therefore I speak of other things, other ways to just about the same core. Like any writing, it beats about the bush : ça tourne autour du pot, as one extraordinarily astute reader told me dryly, over that table (merci). Now and then, I hope, the reader will nevertheless become aware of a strange thing ; the pot is right here (right here, write now, cf. Calder 1982, on Burroughs). The reading is that pot, and the reading is magic (which means wonderful, and not understood). This is the writing of my reading.
So, to resume. There are three main strata of perspective in this work. These angles treat basic experience. The first level is my wonderment towards the effect of art. I ask again, and again, how come (my rendez-vous with) certain fragments stay with me, stay in me and thus seem to have provoked a change of me ? The second level rises from such questioning : could the effect of art be adequately accounted for by my use of a word such as virtuosité ? I would then have to examine that word, thing and notion more closely, and that work takes up about forty percent of this mémoire, rooting up the *wir, vr, etc.
The third level is hardly governed by will alone. It is the discovery of my lecture.
I have come to look upon lecture as far more, and older, than reading. It is something I am born with, but haven t cultivated ; I no longer can assume that any litterate person can do a lecture, nor that analphabetism per definition means a life deprived of possibilities. On the contrary, I am on the verge of discovering all the things that can be experienced through a stripping-down of conventional readings. For a great keyword it is, conventional . And what is reading (fr. lecture) ? The etymologist will remind us that the root-sense of that word has to do with collecting and gathering, so there is from the outset this element of choice to it.
It s most interesting.
This reading that I m writing, has brought me to Paris for a short semester (2005) and for a few days visit to Poland. In Oświęcim as in Paris I was so privileged, I could walk and walk around, taking pictures and notes fram dawn to dusk and let the History of Europe, and of the IndoEuropean seep into me. In that way I was allowed to combine a pélérinage, with the falcon of Robert Burton as a faithful travelmate, with the study of Georges Perecs W ou le souvenir d enfance. This drawn-out exercice has enabled me to do interpretations of my chosen art-objects in a scope, and to a degree that I could not have imagined from the outset.
I bring no grand conclusions today. The reader will be able to surmise that this work has a strong flavor of exploration. In that sense it has just barely started. Let me then hasten to say that anyone really can take similar approaches, and explore those mythical limits between subject and object with their own heart as guide.
I end this with what may be seen as the start. In this work, I have made a lecture. This is the name of that lecture:
Madame de La Fayette, Miles Davis, Georges Perec :
Lecture de l art, appropriation de la langue
I do find it necessary to challenge the idea that reading is well taken care of and I do so, as if the reader mattered.
Oslo, 16.05.2006. Arne Abildgaard.||nor