Friday, December 16, 2011

The Unreal Life of Sergey Nabokov XI

Counterfeiting the Counterfeiters

Counterfeiting the Counterfeiters

"I am going to tell you my life
simply, without modesty and
without pride, as simply as
if I were talking to myself."
—André Gide, The Immoralist

Some people might have made—
A novel out of it; but the story I
Am going to tell is one which
Took all my strength to live it
And now I write it this way

It took all of Caloub, as well—
All his young male strength
To give me like I wanted to
Get outta him, all the way down
My struggling, gagging throat

Do str8t novelists construct—
Their characters; control them
And make them speak. While
Gay novelists like Gide listen to
Them, lets them be themselves?

I eavesdropped on Caloub—
Eventually getting to know him.
What I heard him say when I
Began to understand him, even
When he was totally guttural.

Collaborating with Imposters

"I should like events never
to be related directly by the
author, but instead exposed
(and several times from
different vantages) by those
actors who will be influenced
by those events.”
—André Gide, The Counterfeiters

In their account of the actions—
I should like the events to appear
Slightly warped; the reader may take
A sort of interest from the mere fact
Of having to reconstruct the story.

The story requires his collaboration—
In order to take shape properly.
Properly speaking, the book has no
Single center for my various efforts
To converge upon an effortless center

They center about two foci—
As in an ellipse. On one side, the event,
The fact, the external datum; on the other
Side, the very effort of the novelist to make
A book out of it all. The book lives, dies

This Gide focus that throws—
The plot off center and leads it toward
The young & evil. In short, I see this
Notebook in which I am writing as
The hidden history of the novel

The novel within a novel—
Pouring from one book into another
Oozing its semenosity, coagulating
Itself with each readerly ejaculation
Suggesting—a tentative amoureuse

The influence of one such book—
On others yet to be written during
Such acts exercising retroactions
Things getting transposed and
Counterfeited over again & again.

Gay Characters and Reliable Narrative

“We are supposed
to get together
tomorrow night [ ...]
I look forward
to meeting Caloub…”
—André Gide,
The Counterfeiters

Some readers have long admired—
The ending of The Counterfeiters
With Edouard's suspensive remark:
"I am very curious to know Caloub."
Indeed, it’s very suggestive.

In his Journal the author notes:
"This novel will end sharply, not through
Exhaustion of the subject, which must give
The impression of inexhaustibility, but
Thru its expansion and blurring”

The blurring of its outline—
Not neatly rounded off, but rather the
Dispersing, disintegrating of characters,
The very subject of that work needing
More light thrown on it to see

Something more surely establishes—
The proportions of the whole such as
Michel being enchanted by Algerian boys
Much more than worrying about his ailing
Wife in the unfavorable North African climate

This gay attitude that marks Gide's novel—
The Counterfeiters (Les Faux-Monnayeurs)
Whose hero has an affair with his teenage
Nephew, buying a guide to Algeria for a still
younger nephew, Caloub, a young male Lolita

Caloub, a young male Lolita?

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