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André Malraux : towards the expression of transcendence by David Bevan

By David Bevan

The relevant axes of inquiry are Malraux's ongoing quest for a size of transcendence inside of human existence and, at lest as compelling, his look for the main applicable and potent skill through which to precise a altering know-how of simply what that measurement could be. now not strangely, in a global it sounds as if doomed to languish within the spectral shadow of dying, there are specific constants: a craving for a few fraternity to wrestle man's crucial solitude, a refusal to sink with out attempt into the vortex of the Absurd, a conviciton that existence is to be lived absolutely and very. The human situation is what it's. The ways that Malraux's characters, and naturally Malraux himself, do something about this situation demonstrate a transparent evolution, particularly from the 1933 novel l. a. situation humaine onwards. The reader follows Malraux from playful early life throughout the dichotomy of affliction and glorification in his center years, in the direction of the essentially interrogative utterances of the mature guy. the customarily frivolous, occasionally sardonic, humour of minor supplies method first to a painful attractiveness of the abyss, then to the invention of a really tentative equilibrium within the philosophy of metamorphosis espoused by way of an older Malraux. André Malraux: in the direction of the Expression of Transcendence unearths the critical steps wherein Malraux accomplished that equilibrium.

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Example text

The final rejection is both lucid and mutual. It is this erotic encounter which is contextualized by the potentiality of the two identical skeletons intertwined on the Tibetan wallhanging over Ferral's bed. Devoid of detail and devoid of flesh, they serve to bestow on the carnal coupling about to take place below a symbolic quality that is both impersonal and de-sexualized. Eroticism, for Malraux, is in all ways, and always, an ultimately negative and unfulfilling experience. But should we go further in our conclusions?

Second, the trance-like condition ("en transe") of the two skeletons alluded to by Malraux11 not only reinvokes the state of deep meditation already discovered in the legendary sources from which the Citipati emerge, it also reaffirms that alienation of lucidity so often characteristic of both erotic activity and dance, where rhythmic physical patterns "transport" the practicant. However, among the detail Malraux has furnished, there is no doubt that it is the total similarity of the two skeletons ("exactement semblables") which is most conducive to fruitful reflection.

Moreover, free indirect style preserves those affective elements which are sacrificed in normal reported speech, as well as the questions and exclamations which are also part of the essential subjective texture of any utterance or thought. Of course the attraction of such a technique for an author whose avowed aesthetic goals privilege the presence and participation of the 28 Andr£ Malraux reader is evident. Nor is there any doubt that free indirect style and its more blatant companion, monologue interieur, were part of the literary climate which prevailed during Malraux's formative years in Paris; Joyce, Valery Larbaud, Gide, and a host of others bear unequivocal witness to this.

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