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Repetition and structure : a study of William Faulkner and Claude Simon Cobley, Evelyn Margot 1979

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REPETITION AND STRUCTURE: A STUDY OF WILLIAM FAULKNER AND CLAUDE SIMON by EVELYN MARGOT COBLEY B.A., Brigham Young-University, 1972 M.A., The University of B r i t i s h Columbia,.1975 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Programme i n Comparative Literature)  We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA September 1979 (c) Evelyn Mar got Cob ley,. 1979  In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representatives.  It is understood that copying or publication  of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission.  Department nf  Comparative  Literature  The University of British Columbia 2 0 7 5 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5 Q £ a  e  September 7,  1979  ii ABSTRACT  This study focuses on r e p e t i t i o n as a l i t e r a r y device and documents i t s findings with examples from William Faulkner's Absalom, Ahsalomt and Claude Simon's La Route des Flandres. It distinguishes between the  fol-  lowing kinds of r e p e t i t i o n : 1. Immediate r e p e t i t i o n of words where two or more i d e n t i c a l or near-identical words succeed each other immediately. 2. Interrupted r e p e t i t i o n of words or sentences where some material separates two or more occurrences of the same or similar words (sentences). 3. Repetitive patterns i n the narrative structure which take the form of a) simple duplication of episodes, characters, narrators; b) r e p e t i t i o n as a retardation device i n the suspense structure of Absalom, Absalom!; c) r e p e t i t i o n i n the fragmented structure of La Route des Flandres; d) doubling of characters i n r e p e t i t i v e behavioral patterns. 4. Repetition and I n t e r t e x t u a l i t y where l i t e r a r y allusions draw attention to the "copy mechanism" which connects a text with a precoded c u l t u r a l system. These d i v i s i o n s form the major chapters of t h i s study; they move from the smallest to the largest units of the f i c t i o n a l text and follow an analogical rather than a causal pattern. The major purpose of r e p e t i t i o n i n Absalom, Absalom', and La Route des Flandres  i s to perform such functions as ambiguities;  formal t r a n s i t i o n s  between episodes; the relationship between main narrative and  digressions;  narrative pace, temporal s t r a t i f i c a t i o n s , narrative voices, thematic associations; the relationship between fact and f i c t i o n ; narrative progression; the symmetrical arrangement of narrative fragments; the doubling characters and narrators i n s t r u c t u r a l and psychoanalytic  of  terms; represen-  tation and n o n - r e f e r e n t i a l i t y i n l i t e r a t u r e . As a r e s u l t , r e p e t i t i o n i n  Iii Absalom, Absalom! and La Route des. Flandres,: 1. conforms to conventional usage i n some instances and exploits experimental pos.s.ibalities i n others.. 2. contributes both to narrative continuity and discontinuity. 3. functions as an ordering, s t a b i l i z i n g device but acts as a subversive agent when i t erodes the coherence i t supposedly establishes and maintains. 4. challenges l i t e r a r y conventions by b l u r r i n g the d i s t i n c t i o n s between such categories as character and narrator, past and present, time of narration and time of the narrative, main story and narrative frame. 5. challenges assumptions about human nature by undermining the concept of the independent and isolated human i n d i v i d u a l . 6. challenges assumptions about the nature of c r e a t i v i t y by questioning the p o s s i b i l i t y of o r i g i n a l (ex n i h i l o ) l i t e r a r y production. Most c r i t i c s discuss r e p e t i t i o n i n terms of sameness and " s p a t i a l form." Assuming that a word or phrase, when repeated, i s i d e n t i c a l to i t s previous occurrences, they conclude that the aim of r e p e t i t i o n i s to abolish time by space. But this study makes difference rather than sameness the main focus and accounts f o r the e f f e c t on r e p e t i t i o n of intervening material. This new perspective corrects the overemphasis  that  the " s p a t i a l form" orthodoxy places on analogical relationships. When r e p e t i t i v e devices are analyzed both temporally and s p a t i a l l y , Faulkner and Simon are seen to go beyond s p a t i a l form to exploit r e p e t i t i o n through breaks i n the narrative sequence. Continuities and d i s c o n t i n u i t i e s thus complement each other i n ways that d i f f e r s i g n i f i c a n t l y from " s p a t i a l form" interpretations.  iv  TABLE OF CONTENTS. Abstract  p. i i  Table of Contents  p. i v  A Note on R e f e r e n c e s and Acknowledgments Preface  p.  p. v i i  viii  Introduction  p. 1  Chapter I : Immediate R e p e t i t i o n 1. I n t r o d u c t i o n  p. 13  t o immediate r e p e t i t i o n  p . 13  2. I m m e d i a t e R e p e t i t i o n i n f l u e n c e s r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h i n t h e t e x t a. A f f e c t i v e i n t e n s i t y and s e m a n t i c a m b i g u i t y b. F o r m a l  transcendence  c. C u m u l a t i v e p a t t e r n  p . 17  p . 17  p. 21 p. 23  3. I m m e d i a t e R e p e t i t i o n i n f l u e n c e s reality p . 26  t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p between t e x t and  4. I m m e d i a t e R e p e t i t i o n a n d r e l a t i o n s h i p b e t w e e n two t y p e s o f f i c t i o n p . 29 a. S t r u c t u r a l p i v o t b . Word games 5. C o n c l u s i o n  Chapter  p . 30  p. 36  p. 37  I I : Interrupted  1. I n t r o d u c t i o n  R e p e t i t i o n o f words and s e n t e n c e s  p . 40  2. R e p e t i t i o n i n t h e s e n t e n c e  p . 42  3. R e p e t i t i o n i n t h e a r r a n g e m e n t o f r e c u r r i n g k e y - w o r d s a . Mood a n d a t m o s p h e r e b. C h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n  p . 50  d. I n s t a b i l i t y  p . 52  p . 55  p . 46  p . 49  c. A s s o c i a t i o n  e. P a c e  p . 40  p . 46  V  4.  R e p e t i t i o n i n the w o r d s p. 57  s t r u c t u r a l operations  a.  O r i e n t a t i o n among n a r r a t i v e v o i c e s  b.  T e m p o r a l s t r a t i f i c a t i o n and  c. D o c u m e n t a t i o n  p.  5.  Transitions  Conclusion  p.  p.  and  ellipses  strands p.  p.  71  p.  i n the N a r r a t i v e  Introduction  2.  Simple d u p l i c a t i o n of episodes, characters, a.  Juxtaposition  b.  Superimposition  c.  Substitution  73  ( p a r a l l e l i s m and p.  contrast)  narrators p.  p.  75  p.  100  76  81  89  Overall suspense  Structure  p.  (Faulkner)  96 p.  98  The  i i . i i i .  The r o l e o f r e p e t i t i o n i n m i s l e a d i n g i n f o r m a t i o n p. 103 The r o l e o f r e p e t i t i o n i n t h e o v e r a l l n a r r a t i v e p r o gression p. 105 The r o l e o f r e p e t i t i o n i n p o i n t o f v i e w p. 113 The r o l e o f r e p e t i t i o n w i t h i n n a r r a t i v e l e v e l s p. 118 The r o l e o f r e p e t i t i o n i n t h e s t r u g g l e b e t w e e n f a c t and fiction p. 120 C o n c l u s i o n t o r e p e t i t i o n and s u s p e n s e p. 121  vii.  r o l e of r e p e t i t i o n i n a p r o l e p t i c opening  Repetition i. ii. i i i . iv. v.  4.  and  p.  73  p.  i n the  Structure  i.  iv. v. vi.  b.  62  66  1.  a. R e p e t i t i o n  58  69  Chapter I I I : R e p e t i t i v e Patterns  3. R e p e t i t i o n  p.  key-  63  d. H e t e r o g e n e o u s c o n n e c t i o n s e.  of r e c u r r i n g  and  fragmentation  (Simon)  p.  125  Some b a s i c o b s e r v a t i o n s a b o u t t h e n a r r a t i v e s t r u c t u r e i n "La Route" p. 126 The r e l a t i o n s h i p b e t w e e n r e p e t i t i o n and f r a g m e n t a t i o n p. Temporal s t o r y p r o g r e s s i o n p. 13Q Formal n a r r a t i v e patterns p. 134 C o n c l u s i o n t o r e p e t i t i o n and f r a g m e n t a t i o n p. 139  Repetitive Behavioral a . D o u b l i n g as  Patterns  p.  142  a t r a d i t i o n a l F r e u d i a n phenomenon  p.  143  129  b . D o u b l i n g a s a s y n c h r o n i c phenomenon i. ii. i i i .  Theoretical Application Application  background p. 149 t o "Absalom" p. 156 t o "La Route" p. 162  c. D o u b l i n g a s a d i a c h r o n i c i. ii. i i i .  Theoretical Application Application  5. C o n c l u s i o n  p . 148  phenomenon  p . 165  background p. 166 t o "Absalom" p . 168 t o "La Route" p. 175  p. 177  Chapter IV: R e p e t i t i o n 1. I n t r o d u c t i o n  and I n t e r t e x t u a l i t y  p . 180  p. 180  2. L i t e r a r y a l l u s i o n s  and c r i t i c a l  3. L i t e r a r y a l l u s i o n s  as inappropriate  4. L i t e r a r y a l l u s i o n s  and c u l t u r a l a u t h o r i t y  5. L i t e r a r y a l l u s i o n s  and a r b i t r a r i n e s s  6. L i t e r a r y a l l u s i o n s  as s t r u c t u r a l paradigms  7. L i t e r a r y a l l u s i o n s  as s e l f - q u o t a t i o n s  8. L i t e r a r y a l l u s i o n s  t o contemporary authors  9. C o n c l u s i o n  Conclusion Footnotes  p. 2 1 3  p. 217 p . 224  Selected Bibliography  p . 239  attitudes  p. 183  parallels  p. 185  p . 187  p . 202 p . 205  p . 208 p. 210  vii  A NOTE ON REFERENCES  The e d i t i o n o f W i l l i a m F a u l k n e r ' s A b s a l o m , A b s a l o m ! c i t e d t h r o u g h o u t i s t h e M o d e r n L i b r a r y E d i t i o n p u b l i s h e d b y Random H o u s e , New York, 1936; r p t . 1964. The out  e d i t i o n o f C l a u d e Simon's L a Route d e s F l a r i d r e s c i t e d i s p u b l i s h e d by E d i t i o n s de M i n u i t , P a r i s , 1960.  through-  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS  I w i s h t o t h a n k P r o f e s s o r s F. G r o v e r a n d G. Good o f t h e U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia f o r t h e i r v a l u a b l e c r i t i c i s m and a d v i c e p e r t a i n ing to the preparation of t h i s thesis. I am g r a t e f u l t o J o h n C o b l e y f o r h i s s u p p o r t and encouragement. I am a l s o  indebted  t o t h e Canada C o u n c i l f o r  i t s f i n a n c i a l support.  viii PREFACE This study has arisen out of a more or less i n t u i t i v e awareness that recent prose f i c t i o n makes both frequent and innovative use of repet i t i o n . As I turned to c r i t i c a l investigations of the theory and practice of l i t e r a r y r e p e t i t i o n , I found that very l i t t l e work had been done i n this area and that the existing approaches tended to be rather one-sided. Since a r t i c l e s and books dealing d i r e c t l y with my subject were r e l a t i v e l y scarce, I had to extend my research into related f i e l d s i n order to apply their methods and findings to my own study. With some diligence and some luck I stumbled on many interesting theories of language and f i c t i o n that shed considerable l i g h t on my enterprise. The main d i f f i c u l t y of my approach was that I did not know i n advance what exactly I was looking f o r . Since I could not f i n d a coherent and convincing theory or model for r e p e t i t i o n , I had to formulate one with the supplementary  help of l i t e r a r y texts. The texts did not  only supply i l l u s t r a t i o n s (answers) f o r a theory but, at the same time, they provided the questions that would have to be asked f o r such a theory to come into existence. This meant that I had to s t a r t my analysis from the texts without making an interpretation my main concern. My i n i t i a l intention was to consult a representative cross-section of contemporary f i c t i o n i n order to determine  the role of r e p e t i t i o n i n recent  l i t e r a r y developments. But, since texts had to be read very c l o s e l y for the right t h e o r e t i c a l questions to emerge, I decided to l i m i t myself to two texts. Absalom, Absalom! and La Route des Flandres suggested  themselves  because they t y p i f y the " d i f f i c u l t " or experimental novel and because they include a variety of examples i l l u s t r a t i n g the use of r e p e t i t i o n . Although  ix  the main focus of my study i s the theory and practice of r e p e t i t i o n , the juxtaposition of Absalom and La Route occasionally threatens to take over center stage. I t i s unavoidable, and perhaps even desirable, that this juxtaposition i n i t i a t e s c e r t a i n s h i f t s i n the established  interpre-  tations of the two novels. One of the main attractions of studies i s that works illuminate each other, often  comparative  h i g h l i g h t i n g aspects  that would otherwise have gone unnoticed.- The early comparatists' insistence on "influence" favors the interpretation of a l a t e r work i n the l i g h t of an e a r l i e r one. This insistence obscures the importance of the opposite d i r e c t i o n i n the process of continuous c r i t i c a l evaluation which T.S. E l i o t has formulated i n "Tradition and the Individual Talent": ... what happens when a new work of a r t i s created i s something "' that happens simultaneously to a l l the works of a r t which preceded i t . The e x i s t i n g monuments form an i d e a l order among themselves, which i s modified by the introduction of the new (the r e a l l y new) work of a r t among them. The e x i s t i n g order i s complete before the new work arrives; f o r order to p e r s i s t a f t e r the supervention of novelty, the whole e x i s t i n g order must be, i f ever so s l i g h t l y , altered; and so the r e l a t i o n s , proportions, values of each work of art toward the whole are readjusted; and this i s conformity between the old and the new.l In certain areas, then, Simon's work modifies our attitude  towards  Faulkner's j u s t as Faulkner's modifies our attitude towards Simon's. Aside from certain coincidences between Absalom and La Route, the juxtap o s i t i o n should bring out most c l e a r l y where Faulkner i s audaciously experimental and Simon unexpectedly t r a d i t i o n a l . Confronted with an overwhelming number of l i t e r a r y repetitions i n Absalom and La Route, I had to s e t t l e on a suitable arrangement of my material. Since I was interested i n l i t e r a r y r e p e t i t i o n as a manipulative  X  device rather than as an imitation of speech rhythms or natural phenomena, I decided to analyze r e p e t i t i o n on d i f f e r e n t l e v e l s of textual complexity. A d i v i s i o n suggested i t s e l f that would move from the smallest to the largest units of the text. The f i r s t chapter thus concentrates on the immediate r e p e t i t i o n of words, the second on the interrupted r e p e t i t i o n of words and sentences, the third on the r e p e t i t i v e patterns i n narrative structure, and the fourth on the r e p e t i t i v e nature of i n t e r t e x t u a l i t y . The chapters turned out to be of rather unequal length. Although I considered dividing the long chapter on narrative structure into two smaller ones, I rejected this procedure because i t would have distorted the c o n t r o l l i n g idea behind the study's organization. Contrary to the t r a d i t i o n a l thesis format, my study i s not arranged according to causal sequence but according to analogical patterns. In defense of my analogical structure I can c i t e two p a r t i c u l a r l y important considerations. The inductive nature of my investigation does not lend i t s e l f to the deductive form of a thesis statement that Is supported by the body of the study. And, perhaps more s i g n i f i c a n t l y , the structure of my study r e f l e c t s the assumptions and conclusions about the nature and function of l i t e r a r y r e p e t i t i o n . Since the way Faulkner and Simon use l i t e r a r y r e p e t i t i o n challenges center-controlled unity and l i n e a r causality i n f i c t i o n , I have chosen a c r i t i c a l methodology based on analogy and levels of complexity.  INTRODUCTION Although p r a c t i c a l discussions of r e p e t i t i o n i n prose f i c t i o n appear once i n a while, they generally f a i l to provide a clear, under-  ~"  ! tf  standing of the theoretical assumptions on which they are based. The concept of r e p e t i t i o n i s perhaps not as easy to pinpoint as i t may seem. Since r e p e t i t i o n i s a fact of both l i f e and a r t , discoveries made i n one d i s c i p l i n e are often applied to the study of another. The result i s that d i f f e r e n t areas of inquiry are treated as i f they were the same. The mechanistic workings of r e p e t i t i o n i n the natural world often provide a metaphor for r e p e t i t i o n i n behavioral f i e l d s l i k e psychology or l i t e r a ture. One may  object that this problem i s merely a question of metaphoric  d i s t i n c t i o n . But, as Jacques Derrida argues, " l a metaphore n'est jamais innocente. E l l e oriente l a recherche et f i x e l e s resultats.-"!Choosing the right metaphor i s therefore a matter of great importance and I propose to evaluate and, where necessary, replace e x i s t i n g metaphors for literary repetition. C r i t i c a l studies of l i t e r a r y r e p e t i t i o n tend to c i t e Freud's Beyond 2 the Pleasure P r i n c i p l e  as a main source for their t h e o r e t i c a l  assumptions.  Let us see where Freud himself borrows h i s metaphor for r e p e t i t i o n i n order to decide i f l i t e r a r y scholars are indeed j u s t i f i e d i n basing themselves on his work. Beyond the Pleasure P r i n c i p l e discusses the relationship between the compulsion to repeat and the death instinct. Freud distinguishes between two p r i n c i p l e s . The pleasure p r i n c i p l e i s the " p r i n c i p l e of con3 stancy"  which endeavors to avoid or reduce tension to an i d e a l state of  equilibrium or i n e r t i a . The r e a l i t y p r i n c i p l e , on the other hand, arises  1  2  from external circumstances which force man to tolerate unpleasure or to postpone pleasure. With the famous Fort/Da example, Freud shows how a c h i l d transforms an unpleasant s i t u a t i o n into a pleasant one by a c t i v e l y i n i t i a t i n g unpleasure instead of being i t s passive v i c t i m . The compulsion to repeat i s an i n s t i n c t u a l urge to e s t a b l i s h or rather to return to a state of pleasurable i n e r t i a . Freud argues that an i n s t i n c t does not generate change but " i s an urge inherent i n organic l i f e to restore an e a r l i e r state of things. . ."^ . An organism abandons i t s i n i t i a l i n e r t i a only under the "pressure of external disturbing forces"^ so that the "aim of a l l l i f e i s 6 death. ..."  The sex instincts,. Freud's "true l i f e i n s t i n c t s , "  7  only  prolong  the organism's road towards death. Human beings are therefore caught i n a " v a c i l l a t i n g rhythm"  between the pressure  towards death and the pressure  towards' l i f e . In System and Structure,  Anthony Wilden claims that Freud's argument  i s weakened by two basic errors: a) the assumption that Fechner's bioenergetic model applies to the human organism; b) the b e l i e f that Eros and Thanatos are of the same l e v e l of abstraction. Let me elaborate on these two points. As we have seen, Freud considers s t a s i s the basis of pleasure and the goal towards which a l l l i v i n g organisms s t r i v e . Wilden argues that this i s not so. Freud's models, Fechner and Helmhdlz, are discussing a mechanistic,  closed system, whereas Freud i s concerned with human behavior,  that i s , with a system that i s open to external (social) circumstances. Freud thus f a i l s to distinguish "between closed-system or i n s t i n c t u a l or programmed r e p e t i t i o n and the OSCILLATION induced i n goalseeking  systems,  not as a r e s u l t of 'causes' emanating; from their ' i n t e r n a l properties,'  3  but as a r e s u l t of c o n s t r a i n t s imposed on them by an environment W i l d e n concludes  t h a t the main e r r o r a s s o c i a t e d w i t h  t h i s confusion i s  t h a t " t e n s i o n i s DEVIANT o r an e n v i r o n m e n t a l i n t r u s i o n ; whereas i n f a c t t e n s i o n i s one o f the p r o d u c t s i s well.taken, and  o f o r g a n i z a t i o n itself.""'""'"  Wilden's p o i n t  e s p e c i a l l y when we c o n s i d e r t h a t the dynamics of c o n f l i c t  c o n t r a d i c t i o n as w e l l as the o s c i l l a t i o n o f paradox and a m b i g u i t y a r e  e s s e n t i a l forms o f human e x p e r i e n c e The  and b e h a v i o r .  second major f l a w i n Freud's model r e s u l t s from a c o n f u s i o n be-  tween Eros as a " p r i n c i p l e of i n f o r m a t i o n "  12  (human o r s o c i a l  communication)  and Thanatos which "cannot be p r o p e r l y a p p l i e d above the p h y s i c a l o r b i o 13 chemical  level."  I n o t h e r words, Freud  d i s c u s s e s the human organism as  a c l o s e d system which i s d i v o r c e d from any s o c i a l c o n t e x t . The " ' d e s i r e for  death'  behavior  ( T o d e s t r i e b ) , " then,  o f the g o a l s e e k i n g  system [Freud] i s s t u d y i n g  l o n g as i t reduces a l l g o a l s a form o f human b e h a v i o r  i s "a b i o e n e r g e t i c e x p l a n a t i o n f o r the  to the b i o l o g i c a l l e v e l ) .  (and inadequate so . .""^ R e p e t i t i o n as  and human p e r c e p t i o n should n o t and cannot be ab-  s t r a c t e d from a s o c i a l and temporal c o n t e x t .  I n e r t i a a n d . s t a s i s a r e mani-  f e s t l y dangerous and f a l s e metaphors f o r a l l r e p e t i t i o n o p e r a t i n g  i n open,  b e h a v i o r a l systems. S i n c e l i t e r a t u r e f u n c t i o n s w i t h i n a s o c i a l and hence open c o n t e x t , The  these metaphors a r e t h e r e f o r e inadequate c r i t i c a l  s t a s i s metaphor p l a y s a c e n t r a l r o l e i n another o f t e n c i t e d  on r e p e t i t i o n : E l i a d e ' s Myth o f the E t e r n a l Return. "^ E l i a d e ' s 1  is  tools.  main p o i n t  t h a t a r c h a i c man, p r a c t i c i n g " r i t u a l r e p e t i t i o n , " ^ i s i n " r e v o l t 1  concrete, h i s t o r i c a l time." ^ 1  the c y c l i c a l r e c u r r e n c e  T h i s r e v o l t i s based on o b s e r v a t i o n s  o f the seasons and the continuous  study  renewal o f  against about  4  organic l i f e . The attempt to abolish h i s t o r i c a l time i s influenced by the conservative  tendencies of archaic man.  L i f e f o r him was  the  constant  reenactment of the cosmic Creation: 1. Every creation repeats the pre-eminent cosmogonic act, the Creation of the world. 2. Consequently, whatever i s founded has i t s foundation at the center of the world (since,as we know, the Creation i t s e l f took place from a center).18 Mythical experience i s thus firmly grounded i n an o r i g i n a l source and a center around which a l l subsequent manifestations  of l i f e must turn. A  d e f i n i t e beginning engenders and controls a l l l a t e r repetitions so that archaic man  i s always looking backwards and never towards the future. In  harried modern times, we look back n o s t a l g i c a l l y toward archaic man's denial of h i s t o r i c a l time and see i t as a more healthy attitude toward existence. There i s no doubt something consoling i n the b e l i e f that even the individual's own  death represents only a step towards a new beginning. This  notion of an eternal return c e r t a i n l y compares favorably with our own  anx-  iety about the destructive process of time. However, modern society can only dream of recapturing this mythical notion of abolished time. Science has shown that even the cycles of nature are developmental and that the cosmos i t s e l f i s entropic. The argument that r e p e t i t i o n abolishes time i s thus based on inadequate' knowledge about the actual world and resorts to a metaphor which i s supposed to describe natural phenomena rather than s o c i a l i n t e r a c t i o n or l i t e r a r y a r t i f i c e . Two  book-length studies on r e p e t i t i o n i n prose f i c t i o n resort to  a s t a s i s metaphor  i n order to describe the ways i n which r e p e t i t i o n func-  tions i n the works of writers l i k e Faulkner, Forster, and Proust. Bruce  5  Kawin's T e l l i n g I t Again and Again x y  refers to Eliade-and claims that r e -  p e t i t i o n "has the power to abolish time"  20  and to "abolish h i s t o r y . "  21  22 E.K. Brown, i n his Rhythm i n the Novel,  reaches a s i m i l a r conclusion  about Proust's ambition to recapture the past. Since A l a recherche du 1  23 temps perdu  is-no doubt the most often c i t e d work i n c r i t i c a l evaluations  of l i t e r a r y r e p e t i t i o n , Proust's theories regarding timelessness are of considerable i n t e r e s t . Although the c r i t i c a l consensus i d e n t i f i e s timelessness with s t a s i s , Proust's aesthetic theory and'practice'do not r e a l l y advocate the abolishment of time. Timelessness i s an aesthetic p r i n c i p l e that has i t s roots i n relationships and analogies between d i f f e r e n t times, localities,  characters^, and other e n t i t i e s . The common assumption that  the "memoire involontaire" represents the most valuable lesson i n A l a recherche does not take into account that this experience is- only a stepping stone towards Marcel's a r t i s t i c  breakthrough. As Gilles'Deleuze points out:  Chez Proust, les clochers de M a r t i n y i l l e et l a petite phrase de V i n t e u i l , qui ne font intervenir aucun souvenir, aucune resurrection du passe, l'emporteront toujours sur l a madeleine et les paves de Venise, qui dependent'de l a memoire,. ^ et, a ce t i t r e , renvoient encore a une "explication m a t e r i e l l e " . The  steeples.of M a r t i n v i l l e and V i n t e u i l ' s l i t t l e phrase are superior to  the madeleine and the cobblestones because they consist of pure aesthetic pattern. Deleuze discusses a h i e r a r c h i c a l order i n A l a recherche i n which art occupies the. highest position, whereas other realms, those of " l a 25 mondalite," "de l'amour," and "des impressions ou des qualites sensibles" represent imperfect stages on the road to pure aesthetic form. A l a recherche exemplifies and argues f o r a r e l a t i o n a l aesthetics. The emphasis i s on relationships and e n t i t i e s are denied any essence. The-best a r t produces  new  6  forms and rearranges, habitual perceptions i n such a way that established attitudes must be redefined. E l s t i r ' s painting " l e port- de Carquethuit," for instance, abolishes the normal demarcation^between land and sea by using "pour l a p e t i t e v i l l e que des termes marins, et que des termes u r 26 bains pour l a m e r . "  Similarly, Marcel attributes the o r i g i n a l i t y of an  unnamed writer to the fact that " l e s rapports entre les choses etaient 27 d i f f erents <de-ceux qui les l i a i e n t pour moi.  . ."  In spite of a strong  subjective element i n h i s aesthetic, Proust does not encourage or condone any unconstrained r e l a t i v i s m . Art mediates between an inner and an outer r e a l i t y because "toute impression est double, a demi engainee dans l'objet, prolongee en nous-meme par une autre m o i t i e q u e  seul nous pourrions con-  28 naxtre."  Even the finished work of a r t i s not a self-contained e n t i t y .  I t interacts not only with i t s s o c i a l referents but also with both previous and future works of a r t . The timelessness of a r t i s not a question of subject matter but rather a constant struggle towards formal innovation. The creative a r t i s t must surpass and refute even those he admires because "on ne peut r e 29 f a i r e ce qu'on aime qu'en l e renoncant."  The i n d i v i d u a l work transcends  time only insofar as i t s formal novelty provides a•new impetus for a r t . Proust's r e l a t i o n a l aesthetic thus works on the p r i n c i p l e that everything i s always p o t e n t i a l l y already something else, so that the novel functions as a complex.network of analogies- and relations that p a r t i a l l y repeat each other. Repetition i n the universe of A l a recherche i s more than a mnemonic device and i s not tied to a center or o r i g i n . I t i s a formal p r i n c i p l e which has the power to anticipate future patterns. Therefore, i n the face of Proust's theory and praxis i t seems inadequate s t a s i s and immobilization.  to speak of r e p e t i t i o n i n terms of  7 The s t a s i s metaphor i s flawed because i t implies the absolute coincidence of events or points i n time. In the case of the "memoire involont a i r e , " s t a s i s would mean that the past and the present are i d e n t i c a l rather than j u s t the same. However, i d e n t i t y could not give aesthetic pleasure because i t i s undifferentiated and therefore cannot be perceived. Sameness, on the other hand, implies or subsumes difference. The same can only be perceived against a background of difference and, as Foucault, Derrida, and Deleuze argue, i t does i n fact contain d i f f e r e n c e . Sameness and difference are thus as inextricably linked as presence and absence i n Derrida's notion of "difference."  In p r a c t i c a l terms, i t i s important  to  remember that the impression l e f t by the madeleine or the cobblestones  in  A l a recherche i s more intense when i t i s r e c o l l e c t e d than i t was when f i r s t experienced. There i s therefore a q u a l i t a t i v e difference between two experiences which conjure up sameness. If the emphasis of the "memoire involontaire" i s on the r e l a t i o n s h i p between two experiences, i s a temporal parallax or displacement.  the r e s u l t  Time and h i s t o r y are therefore  not a c t u a l l y abolished. The e f f e c t that i s usually ascribed to arrested motion i s r e a l l y an o s c i l l a t i o n between two or more moments i n time. Even Kawin and Brown, although they stress the immobilizing e f f e c t of r e p e t i t i o n , acknowledge 30 that i t "allows for progress"  and "accretes meaning from the succession 31 of contexts i n which i t occurs." Moreover, the "expanding symbol," that 32 i s " r e p e t i t i o n balanced by v a r i a t i o n , " permits for Brown "a rhythmic 33 arrangement that can do more than unify and i n t e n s i f y "  because i t i s  "an expression of b e l i e f i n things hoped f o r , an index i f not an  evidence  8 of things not seen."'  34  Kawin also admits that "the aesthetics of r e p e t i -  35 tion cannot r e a l l y be separated  from the aesthetics of change"  and i n -  • 3g  dicates that he has simply "chosen to emphasize the former." ever, questionable  It i s , how-  that the two aesthetics can be separated. A more com-  plete method would have to approach r e p e t i t i o n as a process of o s c i l l a t i o n . O s c i l l a t i o n i s an image that conveys not only the i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p of r e p e t i t i o n and change but also the r e l a t i o n a l nature of r e p e t i t i o n on a l l levels of complexity. A comprehensive approach to r e p e t i t i o n must take the context i n which repetitions occur into consideration. The mere reappearance of a word, phrase, character, or episode i s not i n and of i t s e l f  significant. It  must be viewed against the background of other repetitions and/or of'the narrative context. Wilden's discussion of context assumes an unlimited f i e l d of p o s s i b i l i t i e s which i s gradually narrowed down by natural or a r t i f i c i a l constraints. A graphic demonstration of what he c a l l s the "convergence of constraints" shows that the speaker of English i s quite free to choose the l e t t e r s "E L E P" but, constrained by the rules of the English language, he must add the only permissible sequence of "H A N T." The advantage of Wilden's methodology i s that i t respects l e v e l s of complexity. It accounts, f o r instance, for the r e l a t i o n a l nature of a l l context-bound systems: As i n the case of the boundary which separates " f i g u r e " and "ground" i n a perception, boundaries belong neither to what i s inside them, nor to what i s outside them. The f i g u r e ground boundary i s the r e s u l t of introducing a d i g i t a l d i s t i n c t i o n into the analog continuum of differences i n a perceptual f i e l d . 3 7  This implies t h a t . r e p e t i t i o n resides neither i n the f i r s t appearance of an  9  element nor i n i t s subsequent reappearances but i n the relationship  between  them. Instead of a c i r c l e image, r e p e t i t i o n should be represented as a wave o s c i l l a t i n g through time:  I t should now be clear that I propose to replace the s t a s i s metaphor with the more f l e x i b l e concept of a wave. This image of r e p e t i t i o n  accom-  modates both s t a t i c and temporal dimensions and lends i t s e l f to an i l l u s t r a t i o n based on Roman Jakobson's famous metaphor/metonymy  distinction:  METAPHOR: Code Selection Paradigm Substitution Similarity Condensation  METONYMY: Message Combination Syntagm Difference Contiguity Expansion  4-  Repetition works on the syntagmatic axis by means of contiguity  which  means the reappearance of the same or very s i m i l a r words, phrases, episodes i n l i n e a r succession. On this metonymic axis, r e p e t i t i o n introduces d i s persion and interrupts  the continuity of the text. I f a continuous se-  quence l i k e A B C D E F G H  p e r i o d i c a l l y repeats a l e t t e r , l i k e  ABC  A D E A F G H A, the reader experiences this v i o l a t i o n of the sequence as  10  unsettling. On the syntagmatic axis, r e p e t i t i o n thus disturbs or impedes the l i n e a r narrative development and introduces recursive loops that force the reader to retrace his steps. On the paradigmatic axis, on the other hand, r e p e t i t i o n u n i f i e s the text thematically and s t r u c t u r a l l y through association. The recurrence of the element A i n the above example creates a v e r t i c a l connection which belongs to a non-causal, analogical order. Paradigmatic patterns thus compensate for metonymic dispersion. The v e r t i c a l and the horizontal axes of r e p e t i t i o n interact i n such a way  that one always mediates the terms of the other. The most accurate  representation of r e p e t i t i o n i s therefore a triangle i n which b i l a t e r a l r e l a t i o n s are inevitably connected by a locus of mediation. I am using the term "mediation" i n the "formalist sense" defined by Raymond Williams 38 i n Keywords.  Williams speaks of "mediation" as "an a c t i v i t y which d i 39  r e c t l y expresses otherwise unexpressed r e l a t i o n s "  and traces this mean-  ing to the notion of . . .interaction as i n i t s e l f substantial, with forms of i t s own, so that i t i s not the neutral process of the i n t e r a c t i o n of separate forms, but an active process i n which the form of the mediation a l t e r s the things mediated, or by i t s nature indicates their nature.40 A l l e n t i t i e s are thus mediated by s p e c i f i c r e l a t i o n s "but cannot be reduced to an abstraction of that relationship."^"'"  If r e p e t i t i o n could be  achieved i n the content of repeated events, i t would be a b i l a t e r a l and time-abolishing phenomenon. But since, at the very least, time separates events, a b i l a t e r a l approach obscures the r e a l relationship between them, If A^ i s the f i r s t occurrence of an event and A  2  represents i t s recurrence,  11  t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p l o o k s as f o l l o w s : l o c u s of  mediation  The message i n r e p e t i t i o n cannot be t r a n s m i t t e d d i r e c t l y ( d o t t e d l i n e ) but has s h i p between events  from  to be mediated by a c o n t e x t . The mediated  to relation-  changes both o f them so t h a t each i s m o d i f i e d by  o t h e r . M e d i a t i o n p l a y s a p o s i t i v e r o l e i n r e p e t i t i o n and p r o v i d e s e n e r g e t i c r a t h e r than a m e c h a n i s t i c approach. The as a c o l l e c t i o n of e i t h e r l i n e a r o r geometric  the  an  t e x t no l o n g e r appears  ( s t a t i c ) r e l a t i o n s h i p s but  as an e n e r g e t i c i n t e r p l a y of f o r c e s and p r o c e s s e s . S t r u c t u r a l i s m i s espec i a l l y g u i l t y o f r e d u c i n g t e x t s to b i n a r y and geometric not take o t h e r forms of o r g a n i z a t i o n i n t o account.  p a t t e r n s which do  Jacques D e r r i d a ' s  c r i t i q u e o f s t r u c t u r a l i s m extends to Jean Rousset's phenomenological model i n which " l e geometrique ou l e morphologique n ' e s t c o r r i g e que par une  me-  42 canique,  jamais par une  energetique.  11  o r i e n t e d model which i s a b l e to account  D e r r i d a h i m s e l f f a v o r s a more p r o c e s s f o r the g e n e r a t i v e potency  of  literary  t e x t s : "La f o r c e de l ' o e u v r e , l a f o r c e du g e n i e , l a f o r c e a u s s i de ce q u i  en-  gendre en g e n e r a l , c ' e s t ce q u i r e s i s t e a l a metaphore geometrique, e t c ' e s t l ' o b j e t propre de l a c r i t i q u e l i t t e r a i r e . "  When D e r r i d a c l a i m s t h a t " l e 44  t r a v a i l des f o r c e s ne se l a i s s e p l u s t r a d u i r e dans une he g e s t u r e s  d i f f e r e n c e de  forme,"  towards a r e l a t i o n a l theory which c o n c e n t r a t e s not o n l y on  f e r e n t k i n d s but a l s o on d i f f e r e n t l e v e l s of r e l a t i o n . The  dominance of  difthe  12  s p a t i a l metaphor i s p a r t i c u l a r l y d e t r i m e n t a l it  to c r i t i c a l  d i s c o u r s e because  tends to b l i n d us to o t h e r p o s s i b i l i t i e s . L i a n e Norman warns o f t h i s  danger when she p o i n t s o u t : The c r i t i c a l h a b i t o f s e e i n g a p i e c e o f l i t e r a t u r e as a whole d e s i g n , a symmetrical o b j e c t i n space, as i t were, r a t h e r than an event apprehended i n time, o f t e n obscures many o f the s t r u c t u r a l f u n c t i o n s o f p a r t i c u l a r stratagems.45 If  the dominance of the s p a t i a l metaphor f o r r e p e t i t i o n i s broken, the  manipulative As  p o s s i b i l i t i e s o f the d e v i c e can move i n t o the f o r e g r o u n d .  an e n e r g e t i c r a t h e r than a s t a t i c i n f l u e n c e , r e p e t i t i o n  ambiguities,  c o n t r o l s complex r e l a t i o n s h i p s between  r a t o r s , and i m p l i e d r e a d e r s ,  creates  characters,  nar-  a f f e c t s n a r r a t i v e pace, and i n i t i a t e s  inter-  t e x t u a l r e f e r e n c e s . From the s m a l l e s t l i n g u i s t i c u n i t s t o the l a r g e s t i n t e r t e x t u a l sphere, r e p e t i t i o n demonstrates the same impulse to connect what i s d i s p a r a t e and to s e p a r a t e what i s u n i f i e d . What should from the p r e s e n t  emerge  study o f two examples o f r e c e n t prose f i c t i o n i s the  v a r i e t y and i n f l u e n c e o f r e p e t i t i o n o p e r a t i v e on a l l l e v e l s o f l i t e r a r y discourse.  13  CHAPTER I IMMEDIATE REPETITION 1. Introduction to immediate r e p e t i t i o n Kurtz's famous cry '"The horror! The horror!'""'" r e p r e s e n t s the climax of Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Marlow's puzzled and fascinated recounting of Kurtz's l a s t words imparts e f f e c t i v e l y the unknowable nightmare v i s i o n of the dying man. The mystery surrounding Kurtz's figure throughout the story i s once more emphasized without being analyzed. Conrad conveys h i s message not only through the content of the word u t tered but also through i t s r e p e t i t i o n . Immediate r e p e t i t i o n * of words or sentences i s , of course, a general l i n g u i s t i c habit and i t i s not s u r p r i s ing that i t should have found i t s way into l i t e r a t u r e . However, this type of r e p e t i t i o n i s not as innocent as i t appears. Indeed, i n novels, this device i s often used to perform s p e c i f i c l i t e r a r y tasks. The t i t l e of Faulkner's novel Absalom, Absalom! i s a good case i n point. Had Faulkner chosen to c a l l h i s novel simply "Absalom," the reader would expect a story centering on a character of this name i n the t r a d i t i o n of Madame Bovary, Anna Karenina, Tom Jones, Lord Jim, or Mrs. Dalloway. The r e p e t i t i o n i n the  *I use the term "immediate r e p e t i t i o n " quite loosely and include both epizeuxis (immediate recurrence of a word) and diacope (repetition of the same words with words occurring i n between). I t seems to me that we react to both " A l l r i g h t , a l l r i g h t " and " A l l r i g h t , he said, a l l r i g h t " i n ess e n t i a l l y the same way. Moreoverj I don't i n s i s t that my repetitions be absolutely i d e n t i c a l i n either form or content. Whether a statement reads "What s h a l l I do" or "What s h a l l we do" does not represent a s i g n i f i c a n t enough difference to warrant a d i s t i n c t i o n .  14  t i t l e informs us that Absalom, Absalom! does not belong to this t r a d i t i o n and that the focus of the novel w i l l be on the universal implications of the circumstances associated with King David's son. As with Kurtz's words, the r e p e t i t i o n i n Faulkner's t i t l e communicates a message that goes beyond semantic s i g n i f i c a n c e . As a l i t e r a r y device,* immediate r e p e t i t i o n implies more subtle suggestion than meets the eye. 2 Ludwig Klages  exemplifies a t r a d i t i o n a l view of r e p e t i t i o n as  anachronistic vestiges of primitive thought processes. He supports his view with evidence of r e p e t i t i o n i n children's games, f o l k l o r e , and music. This evidence convinces him that art forms which r e l y heavily on r e p e t i t i o n (especially music) are backward examples of communication and w i l l be  left  behind as the human mind evolves. But instead of diminishing i n importance, as Klages foresaw i n 1925, r e p e t i t i o n seems to f l o u r i s h i n recent a r t and l i t e r a t u r e . If r e p e t i t i o n should indeed be considered the remnant of a more primitive epistemology, i t s comeback i n the twentieth century would represent a nostalgia f o r a pre-Cartesian or the hope f o r a post-Cartesian form of knowledge. In either case, i t suggests a general d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with Cartesian premises based on the following "copy model" of perception: ob j ect  * sensation-  » perception  * interpretation  An alternative to this l i n e a r causal model would have to be r e l a t i o n a l and analogical. In medieval times, argues Michel Foucault i n Les mots et les  *I do not wish to deny that immediate r e p e t i t i o n i s perhaps equally complex i n normal speech; however, my focus i s on i t s l i t e r a r y use.  15  choses, such a r e l a t i o n a l approach to r e a l i t y was the order of the day: Jusqu'a l a f i n du XVIe s i e c l e , l a ressemblance a joue un r o l e batisseur dans l e savoir de l a culture occidentale. C'est e l l e qui a conduit pour une grande part l'exegese et 1'interpretation des textes: c'est e l l e qui a organise l e jeu des symboles, permis la-connaissance des choses v i s i b l e s et i n v i s i b l e s , guide l ' a r t de l e s representer.3 The medieval world was an i n t e r r e l a t e d network of r e l a t i o n s h i p s , a text that was there to be interpreted: "Le monde est couvert de signes q u ' i l faut d e c h i f f r e r , et ces signes, qui revelent des ressemblances et des 4 a f f i n i t e s , ne sont eux-memes que des formes de l a s i m i l i t u d e . " As an endless, l i m i t l e s s network of r e l a t i o n s h i p s , " l a ressemblance ne peut etre connue par elle-meme" and therefore "les signes ne peuvent etre autre chose que des similitudes.""' In other words, similitude can only refer to i t s e l f . Among the four p r i n c i p a l figures of resemblance that Foucault isolates are analogy and sympathy. Unlike the d u a l i s t i c perception of Cartesian rationalism, analogies and sympathies cannot be true or f a l s e but only more or less true. Foucault believes that the twentieth century i s i n the process of another important epistemological turning point.* I f the medieval r e l a t i o n a l model i s the only known a l t e r n a t i v e to the Cartesian causal approach, a new epistemological s h i f t would again turn towards some r e l a t i o n a l solution. Recent investigations into theories of perception support  this  assumption. A more accurate description of perception than the Cartesian  *Foucault i d e n t i f i e s the f i r s t important epistemological break with the emergence of rationalism.  16  copy model takes the form U l r i c Neisser diagrams i n Cognition and Reality:  Modifies  Cognitive map of the world and i t s possibilities  Locomotion and action  Directs This figure emphasizes perception as an ongoing, r e l a t i o n a l process rather than a f i n i t e movement from object to interpretation. Repetition, as a mode of communication that transcends r a t i o n a l l i m i t s , moves towards; a r e l a t i o n a l model of perception. E s p e c i a l l y immediate r e p e t i t i o n , being the most emotive type of r e p e t i t i o n , offers connotative rather than denotative messages. Wilden's  differentiation  between analog and d i g i t a l information (terms borrowed from computer communication) permits a clear understanding of the interrelatedness and complementarity of such concepts as Frege's "Sinn" (connotation) and  17  "Bedeutung" (denotation).' The analog i s for Wilden "the emotive, the phatic, the conative, and the poetic" whereas the d i g i t a l would be "the 8 cognitive and the metalingual."  The;analog  and the d i g i t a l r e l a t e to  each other i n terms of a p r i n c i p l e of balance: The analog i s pregnant with MEANING whereas the d i g i t a l domain of SIGNIFICATION i s , r e l a t i v e l y speaking, somewhat barren. . . Thus what the analog gains in.semantics i t loses i n syntactics ^ and what the d i g i t a l gains i n syntactics i t loses i n semantics. Measured i n Wilden's sense, immediate r e p e t i t i o n i s pregnant with meaning but lacking i n s i g n i f i c a t i o n . Considering that language belongs to the domain of s i g n i f i c a t i o n , any analysis of immediate r e p e t i t i o n finds i t s e l f impeded by the heavy weight of analog meaning. Language i s thus forced to depict a phenomenon that i s foreign and h o s t i l e to i t s own nature. The most my study can hope to achieve i s to demonstrate not so much the essence as the effect of.immediate  r e p e t i t i o n on the l i t e r a r y  text. 2.  Immediate Repetition influences relationships within the text  2,  a. A f f e c t i v e i n t e n s i t y and semantic  ambiguity  Jean Cohen depicts immediate r e p e t i t i o n as " l a redite du signe ent i e r ( s i g n i f i a n t 4- s i g n i f i e ) " " ^ and associates i t with tautology. Asking himself what a t a u t o l o g i c a l r e p e t i t i o n changes, he concludes: "Mais ce n'est pas l e sens noetique. Et ce n'est pas non plus l e sens pathetique, dans son contenu.  . . Alors, ou est l e changement? Reponse: dans l ' i n 11  tensite de 1'affect."  What Cohen does not mention i s that the semantic  element of an immediate r e p e t i t i o n can either reinforce or contradict the formal aspect. I t i s true that immediate r e p e t i t i o n i n t e n s i f i e s the  18 reader's a f f e c t i v e response but, at the same time, immediate also plays on ambiguities• When Rosa c a l l s "'Judith!'.,.  repetition  .'Judith!'"  (p. 137) after learning of Henry's murder or when she says on two occasions "Why? Why?, and Why?" (pp. 167, 170), a q u e s t i o n she has "asked and listened to f o r almost f i f t y years" (p. 167), then the form simply reinforces and i n t e n s i f i e s the speaker's anguish. Elsewhere i n the,text, immediate r e p e t i t i o n works even m o r e e x p l i c i t l y through 1  double,-meanings.  Referring to her barren childhood and youth, Rosa maintains that to be female means to "endure and then endure, without rhyme or reason or hope of reward^-and  then endure", (p. 144). The word, "endure," denoting s t o i c  resignation, i s transformed into a b i t t e r indictment of father and society. Similarly, Quentin's v i s i t to Sutpen's. Hundred with Rosa contains a repet i t i o n that must be interpreted on two l e v e l s . Quentin's "'I dont know what to do. I.dont know what to do'" , (p. 364) applies primarily to his uneasiness about entering  a strange house at night, but i t also means, on a  f i g u r a t i v e level,.that he i s , a f r a i d to find Henry, the surviving ghost from the past whose existence threatens to introduce r e a l i t y into the largely f i c t i v e reconstruction of the Sutpen saga. Perhaps the most e f f e c t i v e displacement between content and form appears i n the ambiguity of the novel's l a s t sentences. When Shreve asks, "Why  do you hate the South?",Quentin r e p l i e s :  "I dont hate i t , " Quentin said, quickly, at once, immediately; "I dont hate i t , " he said. I dont hate i t he thought, panting i n the cold a i r , the iron New England dark; I, dont. I don't! I dont-hate i t ! I dont hate i t ! ' (p. 378)." If  Quentin had stated only once.that he does not hate the South, we. would  accept this as a statement of fact. One r e p e t i t i o n of "I dont hate i t " would  19  be construed as simple emphasis or as an attempt to convince Shreve. •But the multiple repetitions betray Quentin's  intense, obsessive pre-  occupation with the South and force the reader to suspect that Quentin r e a l l y does hate the South although he does not want to. "The use of immediate repetitions for.purposes of i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n and ambiguity i s a conventional l i t e r a r y device. I use the word "conventional" as the opposite of "experimental" and hope to avoid a l l pejorative associations i n the same way as Simon does i n an interview with. Ludovic Janvier: Bien sur, dans l e s romans que j'appellerais non pas traditionnels (comme l ' a d i t Harold Rosenberg, l a t r a d i t i o n en art c'est " l a t r a d i t i o n du nouveau") mais p l u t o t conventionnels (et non pas "balzaciens", comme l e font abusivement certains critiques en oubliant que les formes romanesques de Balzac etaient: a) absolument neuves et propres a Balzac et b) etroitement l i e e s a un moment tres precis de l ' h i s t o i r e dont nous sommes l o i n ) . . To speak of a conventional device thus means that i t i s w e l l established and has s a t i s f i e d the requirements of many w r i t e r s . Contemporary n o v e l i s t s , who choose to react against l i t e r a r y conventions, often do so ;not. because they deny the value of well-used devices but because they wish to indicate the audacity and newness of their own endeavors. Simon, counting himself among experimental writers, r e j e c t s many conventional devices without, however, scorning predecessors who have used them. At the same time, Simon retains a. number of conventional devices himself either because they serve his purposes or because he r e a l i z e s that the innovative has to overlap with . the already f a m i l i a r i f a text i s to be accessible to a reading p u b l i c . One of the conventional devices Simon r e l i e s on i s immediate repet i t i o n f o r i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n and ambiguity. The r e p e t i t i v e - f o r m of .''  20  utterances i n La Route reinforces their semantic meaning and conveys joy, fear, anger, or mental anguish. Georges, f o r instance, expresses surprise and pleasure over the unexpected a r r i v a l of Blum i n the same prison t r a i n by thinking: "Bon Dieu bon Dieu bon Dieu bon Dieu, l e reconnaissant reconnaissant l a voix. . ." (p.'164). On the other hand, desperation and the fear of being taken prisoner mark the plea of a s o l d i e r from another regiment who chances on Reixach's group with an empty horse: "'Laissez-moi monter laissez-moi monter oh dites laissez-moi monter'" (p. 228). Perhaps the best example of immediate r e p e t i t i o n i n this context occurs i n the sexually charged confrontations between Georges and Gorinne.. During their f i r s t meeting, Georges grabs Corinne's arm and presses i t v i o l e n t l y . Corinne responds by repeating: "Je vous en prie Voyons Je vous en p r i e Je vous en p r i e . . ." (p. 239). The r e p e t i t i o n of these words conveys a complex message. In the f i r s t place, Gorinne obviouslv reacts to the pain of Georges' grip. But, considering that Corinne i s a married, woman, she also addresses herself to the sexual aggression i n Georges' action. Moreover, since Corinne rejects Georges' advance verballv but does not try to remove her arm, her words underline the woman's ambiguity towards the man's unspoken demand. Georges becomes Corinne's lover but the woman's i n i t i a l ambiguity never disappears and, discovering that Georges treats her as a sex object, i t turns into hatred. In the l a s t scene between the lovers, Corinne expresses her mounting anger through a series of immediate r e p e t i t i o n s . She attacks Georges, who has turned on the l i g h t , by y e l l i n g at him: "Eteins je te dis eteins eteins tu entends eteins" (p.. 293). Her outburst t e l l s Georges that she i s angry even- before she i n t e n s i f i e s her offensive by c a l l i n g him:  21  "Espece de salaud Espece de salaud" (p. 294) and by demanding: "Laissemoi laisse-moi laisse-moi" (p. 294). The break-down of their relationship i s as much the r e s u l t of Georges' own sexual ambiguity as of Corinne's. The search for the essence of what i s female leads Georges into a c o n f l i c t with the " f l e s h and blood" woman. A similar c o n f l i c t  charac-  terizes the relationship between Georges and his father P i e r r e . During the evening before Georges leaves for the war,  Georges answers his father's  innocent question "'Qu'est-ce que tu as?'" with what seems an unwarranted outburst: '"Rien j e n'ai r i e n Je n'ai surtout pas envie d'aligner encore des mots et des mots et encore des mots'" (p. 36). On the one hand, this outburst conveys a t y p i c a l father-son disagreement. But, on the other hand, i t describes a more fundamental ambiguity i n Georges' mind. Georges i d e n t i f i e s his father with the world of books, whereas the war represents the world of action. The r e p e t i t i o n of "mots" therefore communicates a r e j e c t i o n of Pierre's i d e a l i s t i c assumption that the key to a better world l i e s i n education. As i n the case of the other examples of immediate repet i t i o n i h La Route, the r e p e t i t i v e form of Georges' statement reinforces i t s semantic content.  2. b. Formal transcendence The interplay between form and content can take the shape of transcending the meaning of repeated words rather than merely reinforcing or contradicting them. In Absalom, for instance, immediate r e p e t i t i o n communicates i n purely formal terms feelings of entrapment. When Sutpen finds himself caught i n an impossible s i t u a t i o n , he expresses h i s i n a b i l i t y to find a way out through an i n t e r n a l dialogue i n which he discusses what  22  action he could take against Pettibone, the plantation owner who  has  insulted him by sending him to the backdoor: But I can shoot him: he argued with himself and the other; No. That wouldn't do no good: and the f i r s t : What s h a l l we do then? and the other: I dont know: and the f i r s t : But I can shoot him. . . and the other: No. That wouldn't do no good: and the f i r s t : Then what s h a l l we do? and the other: I dont know; (p. 235) The dilemma whether or not to k i l l Pettibone i s conveyed through a potentially limitless  dialogue within Sutpen. By conjuring up the image  of a mind trapped l i k e a caged animal, Faulkner shows that Sutpen i s imprisoned by circumstances. The same image applies to Quentin whose mind is locked i n the past history of the South. Meeting face to face with Henry, Quentin's conversation with the surviving ghost takes on the form of a c i r c l e without e x i t : And you are ? Henry Sutpen. And you have been here Four years. And you came home ? To d i e . Yes. To die? Yes. To d i e . And you have been here Four years. And you are ? . Henry Sutpen. (p. 373)  ?  ?  The physical presence of a character out of the Sutpen past moves the story Quentin and Shreve have constructed out of f i c t i o n and into r e a l i t y .  Quentin  i s so obsessed with the past that he cannot l i v e properly i n the present; but, as long as he can relegate the Sutpen saga to f i c t i o n and hence keep some distance from i t , he maintains some hold on sanity. This hold becomes precarious once Quentin discovers Henry, for he laments: "'Nevermore of  23  peace. Nevermore of peace. Nevermore Nevermore Nevermore"' (p. 373). Quentin's peace of mind has of course been eroded slowly as h i s preoccupation with the Sutpen saga has i n t e n s i f i e d . Shreve's needling c u r i o s i t y edges Quentin on and threatens to suffocate him i n the endless r e p e t i t i o n of the same facts through Rosa, Mr. Compson, and f i n a l l y Shreve. Reacting to Shreve's decision to take over as narrator, Quentin thus imparts his anguished fascination by complaining: Am I going to have to have to hear i t a l l again he thought I am going to have to hear i t a l l over again I am already hearing i t a l l over again I am l i s t e n i n g to i t a l l over again I s h a l l have to never l i s t e n to anything else but this again forever. . . (p. 277) Mere words could not depict as v i v i d l y as this r e p e t i t i v e construction an obsessive state of mind. Through immediate  r e p e t i t i o n , Faulkner forces  the reader to enter-, through mimetic action, into Sutpen's and Quentin's trap. 2. c.  Cumulative pattern A cumulative pattern of immediate repetitions i s r e a l l y a case of  formal transcendence on a larger scale. The d i s t r i b u t i o n of immediate repetitions can be used to control and develop the i n t e n s i t y of situations or character t r a i t s . In Absalom, we find a cumulative pattern of immediate repetitions which communicates the increasing dilemma of a character and the gradual progress towards a p l o t climax. I t i s of course impossible to measure the increase i n i n t e n s i t y i n arithmetical fashion. The cumulative e f f e c t i s more s a t i s f a c t o r i l y explained i n terms of G i l l e s Deleuze's comment on the annual f e s t i v i t i e s commemorating the French Confederation: "La fete n'a pas d'autre paradoxe apparent: repeter un 'irrecommencable . Non pas 1  24  ajouter une seconde et une troisieme f o i s a l a premiere, mais porter l a 13 premiere f o i s a l a 'nieme' puissance."  The exponential power Deleuze  describes represents a suitable analogy for-the cumulative effect found i n the episodes devoted to the relationship between Bon and Henry that lead up to the c r u c i a l f r a t r i c i d e . The pattern of immediate r e p e t i t i o n s subtly reinforces the way  i n which circumstances gradually narrow down  Henry's p o s s i b i l i t i e s of escaping from an impossible  dilemma.  The f r a t r i c i d e i s the consequence of two important factors i n Bon's background: he i s Sutpen's son from a f i r s t marriage and he i s part negro. Faulkner  traces the way  i n which Henry learns about these-factors and  how'  he t r i e s to accept and incorporate them, within his moral framework. The f i r s t speculations about the f r a t r i c i d e are offered by Mr. Compson who exemplifies here the customs and attitudes of Southern whites. He believes that Bon's octoroon mistress i s the c r u c i a l obstacle. This speculation i s misleading on a f a c t u a l l e v e l but coincides with the mental and emotional state Quentin and Shreve l a t e r a t t r i b u t e to Henry. Although Mr. Compson's reasons are wrong, he i s right i n showing how  a tortured Henry sides with  Bon even though the evidence Sutpen o f f e r s against the friend at Christmas i s no doubt true. Confronted with what he knows to be true and unwilling to accept i t , he exclaims: I w i l l believe; I w i l l . . 1'.willy Even;..ifoitcisrsoy even i f what my-father told me i s true ,and which, i n spite of mys e l f , I cannot keep from knowing i s true, I w i l l s t i l l believe (p. 90). Henry r e i t e r a t e s . " I w i l l . b e l i e v e ! I w i l l ! I w i l l ! Whether i t i s true or not, I w i l l believe!" (p. I l l ) while he and Bon are looking for the octoroon mistress i n New  Orleans, and again "I w i l l believe! I w i l l ! I w i l l ! " (p.  112)  25  when confronted with the marriage license. For Mr. Compsoni the l i n e Henry w i l l not cross i s the l e g a l document because i t goes against the customs-of the South: "'But you married her. You married h e r "  1  (p. 117).  Of course, once Quentin and Shreve pick up the story of what pushed Henry to k i l l Bon, the octoroon mistress disappears from center stage. Quentin and Shreve know that Bon i s Sutpen's son and that h i s i n tention to marry Judith amounts to incest. In their view, Bon•threatens to transgress not only s o c i a l custom but also moral law. In this version of the story, the truth Henry learns at Christmas i s the fact that Bon'is h i s brother. Mr. Compson's depiction of Henry's dilemma corresponds to the emotional struggle that characterizes the son's decision to turn against the father. But the focus i s now no longer on New Orleans but on the four years Henry and Bon spend i n the war. The main issue seems to be Bon's intended incest. Henry begs: '"Wait. Wait. Let me get used to i t ' "  (p. 340)  and, when Bon ends the period of suspension by announcing h i s decision to marry Judith, Henry sighs: "'Thank God; Thank God,' not: for the incest of course but because at l a s t they were going to do something. . ." (p. 347). Having given h i s consent against his better judgment, Henry expresses h i s ambivalence i n words that are supposed to convey h i s s a t i s f a c t i o n but succeed i n showing only h i s anguish: "'Thank God; Thank God' panting and saying 'Thank God,' saying,'Pont try to explain i t . Just.do i t ' " , ( p . 349). Henry t r i e s hard to convince himself that he approves of the incest, and, even when h i s father t r i e s to make him r e t r a c t h i s permission, he remains firm: "-Yes. I have decided, Brother or not, I have decided. I w i l l . I w i l l " " (p. 354). Quentin and Shreve are picking up words from Mr. Compson's version  26  and are now  using them to underline Henry's gradual change of mind. When  Sutpen t e l l s Henry that Bon  i s not only his brother but also part negro,  Henry arrives at a b a r r i e r he cannot scale. At f i r s t he s t i l l wavers between rejecting and accepting I'll  " (p. 356).  Bon:  I t i s Bon who  "-No!  Henry c r i e s . -No!  No!  f i n a l l y forces Henry to admit  Referring to Bon's i r r e v e r s i b l e decision to marry Judith, the  I will— defeat.  following  dialogue takes place: -No, Henry says. —No. No. -I cannot? -You s h a l l not. -Who w i l l stop me, Henry? -No,  Henry says. —No..  No. No.  (p.  357)  Henry moves from,an i n i t i a l "-Yes. I w i l l . . ." to a'"-No! I w i l l . . ." and'ends with an emphatic "No.  You  s h a l l notJ" He then confirms h i s pain-  f u l l y established stand by repeating  twice more "You  s h a l l not!"  (p.  The immediate repetitions serve to reinforce emotional i n t e n s i t y and  358). stress  Henry's gradually narrowing options. The cumulative pattern thus provides signals for the urgency and progress of a s i t u a t i o n that i s i n e v i t a b l y moving towards a catastrophic  resolution.  3. Immediate Repetition influences the relationship between text and reality The examples of immediate r e p e t i t i o n discussed  so far are i n one  sense or another concerned with the relationship between form and content within the text i t s e l f . But immediate repetitions also operate on a d i f ferent l e v e l ; they signal a c o n f l i c t between truth and f i c t i o n . The narrators i n Absalom and La Route are often confronted with a r e a l i t y which  27  contradicts the "truth" of their imagination. We are no longer dealing with degrees of•ambiguity, generated by differences between form and content, but with .absolute either/or questions about factual accuracy. These questions are most s k i l l f u l l y introduced by means of a double narrator. The disputes between Quentin and Shreve i n Absalom and between Georges and Blum i n La Route permit a constant evaluation of facts and of their interpretations. Occasionally Faulkner and Simon draw e x p l i c i t a t tention to the a r b i t r a r y and i l l u s o r y nature of f i c t i o n . They interrupt the even flow of the narrative with immediate repetitions which force the reader to ask himself whether the account he i s reading can be trusted or not. In Absalom, Shreve and Quentin sometimes correct each other as i n the case of Quentin's geographical error: . :  " A l l r i g h t , " Quentin said. " " A l l r i g h t , " Quentin said. "  West V i r g i n i a wasn't admitted into the United States u n t i l  " "  " A l l right a l l right a l l r i g h t , " Quentin said. (pp. 220-21) The reader knows that i t does not matter much whether Sutpen's home state was  called West V i r g i n i a or not; Nevertheless, he i s compelled to consider  the r e l i a b i l i t y of a narrator who  i s apparently unable to deal with even  the most basic f a c t u a l information. The reader's suspicions are reinforced by Shreve's i n a b i l i t y to follow the vertiginous plunges of Quentin's imagination:  "Wait. Wait.. •You cant, know yet. You... cannot.: know .yet whether  what you see i s what you are looking: at or what you are b e l i e v i n g . Wait. Wait." (p. 314) . In view of the d i f f i c u l t i e s the reader experiences with Absalom, he undoubtedly  shares and applauds Shreve's cautionary scepticism.  Quentin himself eventually admits h i s l i m i t a t i o n s i n understanding the  28  reasons and motivations of h i s characters: "I dont know," Quentin said., "Yes, of course I understand i t . " They-breathed i n the darkness. After a moment Quentin said: "I dont.know." "Yes. You dont know.. You dont even know about the old dame, the Aunt Rosa." fp. 362) Quentin's r e i t e r a t i o n of "I dont know" indicates that he i s often groping i n the dark. His f a i l u r e i s of course a general f a i l u r e . Total r e a l i t y remains outside.the human grasp,, and the predominantly  subjective selec-  tion of -pertinent d e t a i l s that Proust suggests i n h i s notion of "involuntary memory" i s perhaps the only accessible truth. In La Route, immediate repetitions focus on the same question of truth and f i c t i o n as i n Absalom. Speaking of the story Blum constructs about the.Reixach ancestor, Georges queries: " B i e n s u r . Bien sur. Bien rsur. Mais comment savoir?.  (p. 85). Although Georges indicates- at  least p a r t i a l agreement with Blum, h i s q u a l i f i c a t i o n and the -very -need to comment on the story suggest that i t might be suspect. When Georges interrupts Blum's narrative .with a correction about the ancestor's wife, this suspicion becomes a certainty: "'Done cette Dejanire. . ..',, et Georges:  'Virginie', et Blum':i 'Quoi?', et Georges:; 'S'appelait V i r g i n i e . '  Et Blum: 'Beau nom pour une putain. Done cette v i r g i n a l e . V i r g i n i e . . .." (p. 191). Blum immediately incorporates the new information and thereby admits that his reconstruction i s b u i l t more on supposition than f a c t . Blum p e r i o d i c a l l y s o l i c i t s agreement from Georges and,  as i n the case of  h i s conjecture that the ancestor, was k i l l e d , by h i s wife's lover, ; receives 1  a negative response: "Et Georges 'Non!' Et Blum:. 'Non? Non? Non?.Mais com-  29  merit l e s a l s - t u a l a f i n ? "  (p.,200-201)..*  In Absalom, Shreve's q u e r i e s  -demand t h a t Quentin, as the c r e a t o r of the Sutpen saga, account f o r the s o u r c e s o f h i s m a t e r i a l , whereas i n La Route,, the s t o r y - t e l l e r Blum c h a l l e n g e s Georges  to prove t h a t h i s i m a g i n a t i v e r e c o n s t r u c t i o n i s not  true.  I n s p i t e of the concern F a u l k n e r and Simon share f o r q u e s t i o n s of t r u t h and f i c t i o n ,  t h e r e i s a s u b t l e s h i f t of emphasis  from Absalom.to  L a Route.  F a u l k n e r ' s c o n c e r n f o r v e r i s i m i l i t u d e makes him defend the c l a i m s of f i c t i o n , whereas Simon's acceptance of f i c t i o n as r e a l i t y p u t s the burden of n e g a t i v e p r o o f on the d o c t r i n e of v e r i s i m i l i t u d e .  4. Immediate R e p e t i t i o n and,the r e l a t i o n s h i p between two,types o f The examples o f immediate  r e p e t i t i o n i n Absalom  fiction  and L a Route, have so  f a r been m o t i v a t e d by p r e d o m i n a n t l y p s y c h o l o g i c a l c o n s i d e r a t i o n s . They have .occurred i n d i r e c t . a n d r e p o r t e d speech and i n d i r e c t and r e p o r t e d  thought.  On.the whole, they have commented on e m o t i o n a l o r mental a t t i t u d e s  and  s i t u a t i o n s . But a c o m p l e t e l y d i f f e r e n t use of immediate  appears  i n La Route. Simon adapts immediate  repetition  r e p e t i t i o n to p u r e l y s t r u c t u r a l  functions  i n the form o f s t r u c t u r a l p i v o t s * * a n d word games. These t e c h n i q u e s owe  their  *A s i m i l a r passage appears on the s u b j e c t o f the a n c e s t o r ' s r e t u r n from S p a i n : " E s t - c e que ce n ' e s t pas comme c a ? " asks Blum.and r e c e i v e s the emphatic answer: "'Non!', e t Blum: 'Non? Mais qu'en s a i s - t u ? ' , et.Georges:' 'Non!'" (p.-199). **I am u s i n g " s t r u c t u r a l p i v o t " as a b l a n k e t term f o r " c h a r n i e r e s t r u c t u r e l l e " and "metaphore s t r u c t u r e l l e " , as they are -used by Jean R i c a r d o u i n "Un Ordre dans l a d e b a c l e , " Problemes du nouveau roman (Paris: E d i t i o n s du s e u i l , 1967), p. 48.  30 •effectiveness to manipulations of language and not to psychologically j u s t i f i e d associations. Jean Ricardou, the most adamant spokesman f o r the nouveau roman, rejects such.psychological manifestations  interpretations as deplorable  of the dominant ideology i n c r i t i c a l discourse. Simon's  own statements have tended to•support the psychological and l a t e r the f o r m a l i s t i c approaches. His "psychologisme" betrays i t s e l f i n statements l i k e : "Tout ce qu'on-peut e c r i r e c'est non pas l e monde exterieur mais sa projection en n o u s . I n a l a t e r interview, Simon contradicts this e a r l i e r p o s i t i o n and sides.with Ricardou: As I have said, my texts have no "referents;" there i s no model, imitation, copy, reproduction-words which inevitably come to mind with t h i s unfortunate choice of terminology. There are, instead, excitants and s t i m u l i that both i n i t i a t e and reactivate, and that are most often brought into play by what I c a l l "writing i n action." 1 5  If s t r u c t u r a l pivots and word games are appreciated  as formal experiments,  they show Simon's tendency to separate his f i c t i o n from  conventional  techniques. 3. a.  Structural pivot The s t r u c t u r a l pivot, perhaps Simon's most o r i g i n a l contribution to  f i c t i o n , i s not s t r i c t l y speaking an immediate r e p e t i t i o n . The r e p e t i t i o n Is either too diffuse—some material i n v a r i a b l y separates the repeated e n t i t i e s — o r too condensed—the r e p e t i t i o n i s subsumed as i n case of the pun. Nevertheless, the s t r u c t u r a l pivot resembles immediate r e p e t i t i o n suff i c i e n t l y to be discussed here. The primary function of the pivot i s to bring about a b i f u r c a t i o n i n the narrative without recourse to conventional transitions.. Contrary to other immediate r e p e t i t i o n s , which tend to  31  i n t e n s i f y or unify the narrative, the s t r u c t u r a l pivot introduces d i s continuities by switching narrative l e v e l s without warning. Instead of deepening emotional aspects of the text or exploiting tensions v e r t i c a l l y between form and content or truth and f i c t i o n , the structural pivot operates on the horizontal l e v e l and depends for i t s tension on the d i s l o c a t i o n of narrative strands. The context i n which, the s t r u c t u r a l pivot occurs i s of c r u c i a l importance. The semantic content of repeated words, however, i s perhaps even less s i g n i f i c a n t than i n immediate repetitions where form underlines content when emotional i n t e n s i t y i s desired and contrasts w i t h i t when ambiguity i s intended. In the case of a pivot, repeated words are chosen because they f u l f i l l a s t r u c t u r a l need and their selection i s usually dictated by an apposite double meaning. The pivot i s used not because i t comments on the story but because i t executes narrative transitions. The s t r u c t u r a l pivots i n La Route are of two basic types.. In the one case, the repeated word applies i n i t s l i t e r a l meaning to two d i f f e r e n t narrative episodes. In the other one, the pivot works on a double meaning i n which one episode r e l i e s on the l i t e r a l and the other on the f i g u r a t i v e connotation. The type i n which the r e p e t i t i o n of a l i t e r a l meaning i s involved i s s t i l l close to conventional t r a n s i t i o n s . La Route describes Corinne at the races and then, with the help of a pivot, switches to Georges r i d i n g through a wet night at the Flanders front. The narrative switch i s indicated not only by the pivot but also.by a paragraph  inden-  tation, a t r a d i t i o n a l marker for a change i n narrative content. The f i r s t paragraph ends with: "Corinne se levant nonchalamment, se dirigeant sans  32  hate. . . vers les tribunes. . ." and the next one starts with: "Mais i l n'y avait pas de tribunes, pas de public elegant pour nous regarder. . ." (pp. 24-25). The two episodes juxtapose an a c t i v i t y i n two  different  contexts so as to make a s o c i a l comment. The episodes are s i m i l a r because i n both instances men  are r i d i n g horses. They are d i f f e r e n t i n that the  f i r s t episode depicts high society at the races during peace time, whereas the second describes the dismal experience of the cavalry i n war action. Although  the l i n k between the episodes i s j u s t i f i e d thematically,  i t appears rather contrived on the formal l e v e l . "Tribunes" i s repeated i n negative terms, that i s , the significance of the connection i s that there are no "tribunes" i n Flanders. Due  to this negative dimension,  the  narrative switch i s not based on a double meaning or the r e p e t i t i o n of a word i n d i f f e r e n t contexts. The pivot work-ing'-on-li-teral meanings works more successfully i n another example. The narrative segments concern a mad prisoner who i s locked-up i n the Saxon prison camp and the love making between Georges and Corinne: ". . . i l est foutu de b r a i l l e r comme 5a sans arret toute l a nuit, hurlant sans f i n sans but dans l e s tenebres, hurlant puis brusquement e l l e cessa. . ." (p. 264).. Here the-narrative switch i s almost . imperceptible and i s recognized only a f t e r the reader, having found hims e l f suddenly i n new  t e r r i t o r y , has retraced h i s steps and ascertained  that "hurlant" applies i n one instance to the mad  prisoner and i n the  other to Corinne.^ Compared to the "tribunes" example, this pivot has a more disruptive impact on the structural l e v e l and functions more organically on the thematic  one.  33 The second type of pivot forces a narrative t r a n s i t i o n by using both the l i t e r a l and the f i g u r a t i v e connotation of a word. The  transi-  tion can be brought about by using f i r s t either the l i t e r a l or the figurative meaning. In the case of a pun,  the l i t e r a l meaning comes  f i r s t and i s then complemented by the f i g u r a t i v e one. The pun does not actually repeat a word but compels the reader to read the same word twice. Ricardou draws attention to the pun* i n an example where Georges comments on de Reixach's a r i s t o c r a t i c habits: . . .ces reflexes et traditions ancestralement conserves comme qui d i r a i t dans l a Saumur et f o r t i f i e s par l a s u i t e , quoique d'apres ce qu'on racontait e l l e . . .s'etait chargee en seulement quatre ans de mariage de l u i f a i r e oublier ou en tout cas mettre au rancart un certain nombre de ces t r a d i t i o n n e l l e s t r a d i t i o n s . . . (p. 12). The word,"saumure" and i t s phonetic equivalent "Saumur" has two meanings: "sens capte: l e s e l ; sens v e r i t a b l e : ecole m i l i t a i r e . "  1 4  By speaking of  " l a Saumur", Simon already a t t r a c t s the reader's attention because the d e f i n i t e a r t i c l e represents, i n this case, a transgression against the rules of grammar. Ricardou d i f f e r e n t i a t e s between the ordinary pun, where the hidden meaning supports the l i t e r a l one, and the pivot i n Simon's novel where "Le sens approche et l e sens v e r i t a b l e jouissent d'une maniere d'equi valence. Le mot Saumur joue des l o r s l e role d'un a i g u i l l a g e . Instantanement, l a phrase bifurque vers une autre voie, l'evocation de Corinne en ce qu'elle f i t abandonner a de Reixach l e prolongement de Saumur: l a c a r r i e r e . The hidden meaning, assumes an importance equal to the surface one. Both meanings of "saumur" suggest the concept of conservation and Corinne  *This example i s not s t r i c t l y speaking a pun; i t i s more a f a r fetched "a peu pres".  34  represents  the erosion and disruption of the s t a b i l i t y a "de Reixach  has t r a d i t i o n a l l y enjoyed. The narrative switch, however, receives i t s f u l l significance only i f we r e c a l l that a crudely told story involving sex i s c a l l e d "une h i s t o i r e salee" i n French.* The word "Saumur" therefore functions s t r u c t u r a l l y as a f u l l y motivated pivot. Ricardou singles out another i n t e r e s t i n g pivot i n La Route which he c a l l s a "metaphore s t r u c t u r e l l e " because the f i g u r a t i v e and the l i t e r a l meaning of a word form the foundation for a t r a n s i t i o n . The pivot moves the narrative from de Reixach brandishing  his sabre to r e f l e c t i o n s about  Corinne: . . .toute l a lumiere et l a g l o i r e , sur l ' a c i e r v i r g i n a l . . . Seulement, vierge, i l y avait b e l l e l u r e t t e qu'elle ne l ' e t a i t plus. . . (p. 13). The pivot refers to i t s own inappropriateness  by pointing out that "vierge"  applies to Corinne only i n an i r o n i c sense. But the irony i s extremely functional because i t comments on the precariousness of an a r i s t o c r a t i c code that cherishes the i l l u s i o n of purity i n both m i l i t a r y and domestic matters. There are, of course, less complex examples of pivots i n La Route and,  since this device i s r e l a t i v e l y new and unusual, they should perhaps  be i l l u s t r a t e d . Blum's irreverent r e t e l l i n g of de Reixach's struggle to keep his wife, for instance, plays on a symbol of control over both horses and women. Speaking of de Reixach's attempt to r i v a l Iglesia's mastery over horses, Blum's double meanings constantly confuse horse and woman: . . .c'est-a-dire q u ' i l l'amenerait e l l e aussi au poteau. . . l u i f e r a i t passer l e gout ou l'envie d'un autre poteau. . .ou s i tu preferes d'un autre baton, c'est-a-dire que s ' i l r e u s s i s s a i t a se s e r v i r de son baton aussi bien que ce jockey qui..." (p. 185).  *Ricardou does not make this l a s t point c l e a r .  35 "Baton", l i t e r a l l y a s t i c k to tame horses and f i g u r a t i v e l y the male sex organ,  permits Simon to switch back and forth between the horse race and ;  Corinne's i n f i d e l i t i e s . Comparisons between human beings and animals lend themselves e s p e c i a l l y to sexual double meanings and represent a f e r t i l e ground f o r switches between war and love scenes. At one point, the narr a t i v e moves"from Georges as an escaped prisoner to h i s making love to Corinne. Georges sums  up h i s state of mind by saying: ". . .je n'etais  plus un homme mais un animal" (p. 292). He then q u a l i f i e s this  statement  and relates his unfortunate condition to sexual g r a t i f i c a t i o n : . . . j ' e t a i s un chien j e galopais a quatre pattes. . . comme seule une bete pouvait l e f a i r e insensible a l a fatigue a mes mains dechirees j ' e t a i s cet ane de l a legende grecque r a i d i comme un ane idole d'or enfoncee dans sa delicate et tendre chair. . . (p. 292). The t r a n s i t i o n i s extremely smooth and again the reader i s forced to retrace h i s steps i n order to follow the narrative. A l a s t example of a pivot moving from a l i t e r a l to a f i g u r a t i v e meaning i s once more concerned with Georges' war experience and h i s sexual consciousness. Lying i n a ditch i n order to escape detection by the Germans, Georges thinks: ". . .et dans les aubes grises l'herbe aussi e t a i t grise couverte de rosee que j e buvais l a buvant par l a tout entiere. . . buvant son ventre les boules de ses • seins fuyant sous mes doigts. . ." (p. 260). Although war, love, and jealousy provide highly emotional contexts, the s t r u c t u r a l pivots never function to i n t e n s i f y an a f f e c t i v e s i t u a t i o n . These exclusively s t r u c t u r a l examples of immediate r e p e t i t i o n work against conventional l i t e r a r y technique i n that they emphasize formal"rather than thematic aspects of t r a n s i t i o n s .  36  b. Word games Word games are again a rather loose form of immediate r e p e t i t i o n . The r e p e t i t i o n i s no longer of entire words but of even smaller units of meaning. In poetry similar repetitions are called a l l i t e r a t i o n , a poetic device which usually f u l f i l l s the reader's expectations of pleasing harmonies and unifying connections. In La Route, however, this kind of r e p e t i t i o n has a disruptive, provocative, and disorienting e f fect because i t unexpectedly  confronts us i n a prose context and because  the word combinations are not necessarily compatible. In Blum's description of the ancestor's state of mind when he discovers h i s wife's i n fidelity,  words are s t i l l semantically connected but c l e a r l y chosen for  their a l l i t e r a t i v e p o s s i b i l i t i e s : ". . .et l u i se tenant l a , dans ce desordre de l ' e s p r i t , ce desarroi, ce desespoir: d e f a i t , desoriente, desarconne, depossede de tout et peut-etre deja detache, et peut-etre deja a demi d e t r u i t . . ." (p. 199). This l i s t does not seem to be a serious attempt at recreating the ancestor's f e e l i n g s . The words obviously generate  their own momentum and make descriptive meaning a  secondary consideration. A s i m i l a r word game depicts the f r u s t r a t i o n Georges experiences when he t r i e s to ride a  horse with s t i r r u p s that  are too short: ". . .alors que j'avais 1'habitude je veux dire j ' h a b i t a i s l ' a t t i t u d e j e veux dire j'habitudais de monter long. . ." (p. 311). Here the momentum of the words transgresses against .grammar and creates the word" j'.habitudais" which does not exist i n French. Twisting language to achieve e f f e c t s , Simon has Georges wonder about names of v i l l a g e s that may  or may not be i n German hands. A l l the soldiers can know i s the  37  "noms enigmatiques sur les plaques i n d i c a t r i c e s les bornes, colories  eux  aussi et moyennageux L i e s s i e s comme l i e s s e kermesse Henin nennin Hirson herisson hirsute Fourmies. . ." (p. 309).* The p o s s i b i l i t y of combining words i n d i f f e r e n t ways, so as to form heterogeneous series or even nonsense words which are s t i l l functional, shows how  a r b i t r a r y language i s .  Simon forces the reader out of his automatic responses to the text makes him  think about language and  and  the process.of f i c t i o n . Immediate repe-  t i t i o n has a defamiliarizing e f f e c t which heightens our awareness of technical f r o n t i e r s Simon i s approaching. The new  the  f i c t i o n advocated by  Simon s t r i v e s against expectations set up by l i t e r a r y conventions and lenges established  f i c t i o n a l forms.  5. Conclusion:',. A psychological study of rhythm and r e p e t i t i o n by Paul Fraisse d i f f e r e n t i a t e s between temporal and  s p a t i a l r e p e t i t i o n ; Fraisse argues  that temporal r e p e t i t i o n i s more emotive whereas s p a t i a l r e p e t i t i o n i s more i n t e l l e c t u a l : Cependant, i l n'y a qu'analogie entre r e p e t i t i o n de formes spatiales et succession de formes temporelles. Certes on retrouve dans les. deux cas des processus perceptifs de meme nature, mais une difference e s s e n t i e l l e se manifeste: l'exploration de l a r e p e t i t i o n dans l'espace,.meme l o r s q u ' e l l e exige une succession de fixations oculaires, n'engendre pas 1'induction motrice qui caracterise les successions tempor e l i e s de stimulations exteroceptives surtout de nature aud i t i v e . II manque au rythme s p a t i a l d'etre cette experience o r i g i n a l e qui entraine toute l a personnalite dans un mouvement riche de repercussions a f f e e t i v e s . 1 8  *0ther examples of such word games can be found on pp. and 309 of La Route.  41-42,  296,  chal-'  38  Immediate r e p e t i t i o n belongs to the temporal category because the proximity of repeated words permits v i r t u a l l y no s p a t i a l associations. The high emotive l e v e l of immediate repetitions thus coincides with Fraisse's general observations. However, the l i t e r a r y use of immediate r e p e t i t i o n does contain a strong current of i n t e l l e c t u a l manipulation. We have seen that immediate repetitions negotiate between the form (syntax) and meaning (semantics) of words, a t t r a c t attention to questions of truth and f i c t i o n , and contribute to the c o n f l i c t between conventional and experimental l i t e r a r y techniques. Faulkner and Simon are almost always i n control of the results they achieve by means of immediate r e p e t i t i o n s . This i s perhaps'most e x p l i c i t i n Simon's experimentation with s t r u c t u r a l pivots. The s t r u c t u r a l pivot works on a l i n e a r  (temporal)  l e v e l since i t determines bifurcations i n the narrative flow. I t therefore operates i n a technical, i n t e l l e c t u a l way and hence directs i t s e l f against Fraisse's conclusion. Simon i n fact succeeds i n using immediate r e p e t i t i o n i n a way that i s contrary to i t s normal functioning. The same point applies, although i n d i f f e r e n t degrees, to the other types of immediate r e p e t i t i o n I have discussed. Immediate repetitions are best understood when the context i s taken into consideration. The context mediates the relationship between repeated words because i n i s o l a t i o n immediate repetitions would lose their s i g n i f i c a n c e . On an informational l e v e l , immediate repetitions are tautological because to repeat the same word adds nothing to our understanding of f a c t s . But a tautology i s not t o t a l l y redundant; i t carries a d i f f e r e n t kind of message. Through a simple r e p e t i t i o n i t i s  39  p o s s i b l e to suggest e l a b o r a t e meanings, a m b i g u i t i e s , and nuances w i t h o u t r e s o r t i n g to l e n g t h y e x p l a n a t i o n s . On r e p e t i t i o n i s t h e r e f o r e redundant and it  expansionary  and, on the o t h e r ,  condenses the t e x t and c o n t r i b u t e s to i t s economy. I t i s of  obvious  course  t h a t immediate r e p e t i t i o n s do not c a p t u r e the meaning o f an  event by themselves. they express we  the .one hand, immediate  They f u n c t i o n more as a s u p p o r t i n g s t r u c t u r e i n t h a t  i n a d i f f e r e n t code what the t e x t has a l r e a d y e x p l a i n e d . I f  take the example of immediate r e p e t i t i o n s p u n c t u a t i n g the  s h i p between Henry and Bon  d u r i n g the war  relation-  (2.c), i t i s c l e a r t h a t F a u l k n e r  t e l l s us a g a i n what he has a l r e a d y t o l d us i n o t h e r d e s c r i p t i v e Immediate r e p e t i t i o n s are thus a form of what R i f f a t e r r e c a l l s determination.'"? R i f f a t e r r e argues  passages. "over-  that a l l l i t e r a t u r e operates on a  m u l t i p l i c i t y o f codes. H i s work on " o v e r d e t e r m i n a t i o n " c o n c e n t r a t e s p r i m a r i l y on metaphor. He  speaks,  f o r i n s t a n c e , of a " c o n t e x t u a l o v e r -  19 determination of 'pining'" i n Wordsworth's "Yew  T r e e s " and p o i n t s out  20 t h a t the word t r e e " i s s t a t e d a g a i n and a g a i n i n a cumulative  sequence."  I f immediate r e p e t i t i o n s are acknowledged as a form of " o v e r d e t e r m i n a t i o n , " t h e i r a c t i v e c o n t r i b u t i o n to l i t e r a r y  t e x t s can be f u l l y a p p r e c i a t e d .  40  CHAPTER II Interrupted Repetition of words and sentences  1. Introduction Interrupted r e p e t i t i o n distinguishes i t s e l f from immediate repet i t i o n i n that the repeated words or sentences are separated by other words or sentences. T r a d i t i o n a l rhetoric c l a s s i f i e s this type of repet i t i o n as a diacope. As a s t y l i s t i c term, a diacope i s more or less limited to repetitions on the sentence l e v e l . Whenever repeated words punctuate extended passages, paragraphs, or chapters, we no longer speak of diacope but of recurring key-words (or sentences). Both diacope and recurring key-words are instrumental i n regulating the pace of the narrative; they are rhythmic devices. Diacope functions almost e n t i r e l y as a. s t y l i s t i c convenience which permits sentences to expand or contract. Recurring key-words, however, serve not only rhythmic purposes but  initiate  paradigmatic associations between individual segments i n which repeated words appear. Where diacope has a temporal dimension only, recurring keywords operate on both a temporal and a s p a t i a l axis. • My discussion of diacope and recurring key-words i n Absalom and La Route makes use of two e a r l i e r c r i t i c a l studies: Monique Hyde's unpublished dissertation on "William Faulkner and Claude Simon: A S t y l i s t i c 1 2 Study" and Joseph W. Reed's Faulkner's Narrative. Hyde concentrates on "the long sentence, the heavy use of the present p a r t i c i p l e , the abundance of parenthesis" as the  most f r u i t f u l "aspects of resemblance"  between the two authors. She examines the t y p i c a l loose sentence i n the  3  41  works of Faulkner and Simon by focusing on " s y n t a c t i c a l structures and atomic components."  Her study i s thorough, though perhaps a shade  tedious because of her tendency to i l l u s t r a t e her points with  copious  examples i n the form of r e l a t i v e l y long c i t a t i o n s from texts. My  own  interest, i n the sentences of Faulkner and Simon i s more limited than Hyde's and does not demand the same detailed and comprehensive attention to grammatical and s t y l i s t i c questions. Hyde's analysis does, however, overlap with my own focus on the subject of p a r a l l e l constructions, "reprises," and, to a lesser extent,  approximations.  Reed's book on Faulkner i s one of the best studies of the narrative structure i n Faulkner's novels. The chapter on Absalom' (chapter 7) offers many s i g n i f i c a n t insights which reinforce my own ideas not only about nar(  r a t i v e progression but also about the c r u c i a l importance of metaphor. Indeed, Reed's careful analysis of metaphor i n Absalom.supplies  many p a r a l -  l e l s to the ways i n which recurring key-words function. In Reed's opinion, "Absalom i s Faulkner's most metaphorical novel, and metaphor i s more central to i t s meaning than to that of any of his other novels. . ."^ I t i s therefore not surprising that Reed produces a diagram ( i n the appendix) which gives detailed information on the frequency and densitv of metaphor i n the novel. From this data, Reed draws conclusions about the "narrative's tempo, pace, and rhythm" and "narrative strategy"  i n general. Since recur-  ringVkev-words are quite often metaphors, t h e i r d i s t r i b u t i o n coincides more or less with Reed's diagram.^ Metaphors and recurring kev words also work J  . - •  <•  •  •  •  •  ••  •  •  i n concert as the "central b a r r i e r to a contented and comfortable  reading  8 of Absalom"  because both devices frustrate reader expectations. As might  42  be expected, aside from occasional p a r a l l e l s , Reed's study of metaphor does not always move i n the same d i r e c t i o n as an analysis of recurring key-words. Both Hyde and Reed thus provide me with useful without necessarily influencing the orientation of my  2.  own  information investigations.  Repetition i n the sentence The sentence i n the works of Faulkner and Simon has a tendency toward  digression, accretion, modification. I t often stretches grammar to i t s l i m i t s : occasionally i t i s even downright ungrammatical. What keeps the sentence together i s usually a d i s t i n c t i v e rhythm. This.rhythm i s supported by r e p e t i t i v e patterns  i n which a key-word reappears several  times. P a r a l l e l constructions  and "reprises" are some landmarks of this  pattern. In order to d i f f e r e n t i a t e between p a r a l l e l constructions  and  "reprises," i t i s necessary to give some rather long examples. A t y p i c a l p a r a l l e l construction, a device used only by Faulkner, appears i n the f i r s t chapter of Absalom:* . . . though I defy anyone to blame me, an orphan of twenty, a young woman without resources, who should desire not only to j u s t i f y her s i t u a t i o n but to vindicate the honor of a family the good name of whose women has never been impugned, by accepting the honorable proffer of.marriage from the man whose food she was forced to subsist on. And most of a l l , I do not plead mys e l f : a young woman emerging from a holocaust which had taken parents security and a l l from her, who had seen a l l that l i v i n g meant to her f a l l into ruins about the feet of a few figures with the shapes of men but with the names and statures of h e r o e s — a young woman, I say, thrown into d a i l y and hourly contact with one of these men. . . (p. 19; i t a l i c s mine)  *This example was pp. 94-95.  not used by Hyde; for other examples, see Hyde  43  The r e p e t i t i o n of "a young woman" reminds the reader p e r i o d i c a l l y of the subject matter i n question. The p a r a l l e l construction keeps the labyrinthine sentence together and controls i t s digressive tendency. A "reprise" i s a s l i g h t l y modified  form of a p a r a l l e l construction.  The term i s borrowed from the f i e l d of music where i t s use i s now " r e s t r i c t e d to the r e p e t i t i o n of or return to the f i r s t subject or theme, of a sonata movement, a f t e r the development."  In short, i t i s  a r e c a p i t u l a t i o n which d i f f e r s from the p a r a l l e l construction " i n that the word or phrase repeated i s not merely a kind of mnemonic device r e f e r r i n g back to the same person or action, but resumes the main thread of the sentence, usually a f t e r an addition, an explanation or a digression, and helps i t s progress." ^ 1  which concentrate  Hyde d i f f e r e n t i a t e s between " r e p r i s e s "  on verbs, present p a r t i c i p l e s , nouns, and  conjunctions.  As my purpose i s not s p e c i f i c a l l y s t y l i s t i c , this kind of detailed c l a s s i f i c a t i o n seems superfluous. Instead I w i l l select a few good examples to c l a r i f y the way  i n which " r e p r i s e s " function. In Absalom, the " r e p r i s e "  frames a digression which i s almost always put within a parenthesis: And so i n the next two seconds they would almost catch him ( h e — the lawyer—would show her the actual l e t t e r , the writing i n the English she couldn't read, that had j u s t come i n , that he had j u s t sent for the nigger to carry to her when she came i n , and the lawyer done practised putting the necessary date on the l e t t e r u n t i l he could do i t now while?his back would be toward her, i n the two seconds i t would take him to get the l e t t e r out of the f i l e ) — c a t c h him, get so close to him as to have ample s a t i s f a c tion that he was a l i v e ; . . . (p. 305; i t a l i c s mine). The parenthesis betrays a clinging to the old l i t e r a r y p r i n c i p l e of " c l a r i t y " and shows a lack of confidence  i n the reader's a b i l i t y to  understand the text without typographical help. Simon occasionally  44  submits to the pressures of the " c l a r i t y " convention and includes a parenthesis. The death of Wack, f o r instance, i s described i n a parenthesis i n which the slow-motion q u a l i t y of the incident i s stressed. The l a s t words before the parenthesis are "puis j e v i s Wack" \ (p. 158) and the f i r s t ones after the parenthesis are "je v i s Wack qui venait de me depasser. . .".(p. 159).* But Simon also experiments with "reprises" that are not reinforced by parentheses.  The following pas-  sage focuses on George's escape from prison camp and on h i s making love to  Corinne: . . . toujours courant galopant a quatre pattes j ' e t a i s un chien l a langue pendante galopant haletant tous deux comme des chiens je pouvais v o i r sous moi ses reins creuses, ralant, l a bouche a moitie etouffee v o i l a n t son c r i mouille de s a l i v e dans l ' o r e i l l e r f r o i s s e et >par dela sonepaule sa joue d'enfant couchee sa bouche d'enfant aux levres gonflees meurtries entr'ouvertes exhalant l e rale tandis que j e m'enfoncais lentement entrant m'engloutissant i l me semblait de nouveau que cela n'aurait pas ne pouvait pas avoir de f i n mes mains posees, appuyees sur ses hanches ecartant je pouvais l e v o i r brun fauve dans l a nuit et sa bouche faisant Aaah aaaaaaaah m'enfoncant tout entier dans cette mousse ces mauves petales j ' e t a i s un chien j e galopais a quatre pattes dans les fourrees. . . (pp. 291-92; my i t a l i c s )  The " r e p r i s e " i s perhaps not as obvious as i n the passages with parenthesis. I t i s , however,  quite evident and the chiasmus (reversed order  of phrases) adds s t i l l another dimension to the device. The passage i s bewildering because the digression concerns the sexual  act and has no  d i r e c t connection with the description of Georges' escape. This bewilderment increases as the material separating the repeated phrases gets longer. Hyde c i t e s an example where the phrase "leurs uniformes raides, conservant"  (p. 69)"^ i s repeated nineteen l i n e s apart. Moreover,  *For other examples, c f . Hyde pp. 95-100.  45  the digression makes a comparison between old newsreels and comments on the "stupidity of crowds" and thereby takes us " f a r away from the 12 description i n progress (the soldiers' uniforms)."  Indeed, the  reader v i r t u a l l y forgets that he i s confronted with a digression. The long gap between repeated sentences gives the digression precedence over the main theme so that the return to the main description takes him by surprise. I t i s i n fact sometimes d i f f i c u l t  to say whether the  "reprise" controls the meandering sentence or contributes to i t s confusion. Another rhythmic and r e p e t i t i t v e device, used extensively by both Faulkner and Simon, i s the use of conjectural terms i n order to achieve, 13 i n Warren Beck's words, a "statement of alternative suggestions." Two good examples, one from each novel, should demonstrate s u f f i c i e n t l y how r e p e t i t i v e this device i s : . . . this man whom Henry f i r s t saw r i d i n g perhaps through the grove at the University on one of the two horses which he kept there or perhaps crossing the campus on foot i n the s l i g h t l y Frenchified cloak and hat which he wore, or perhaps (I l i k e to think this) presented formally to the man r e c l i n i n g i n a flowered, almost feminized gown, i n a sunny window i n h i s chamber. . . (p. 95; my i t a l i c s ) . Et peut-etre n'etait-ce meme pas l e deshonneur, l a brusque r e v e l a t i o n — e t son incapacite (apres tout peut-etre n ' e t a i t i l pas absolument imbecile—comment l e s a v o i r ? — p e u t - e t r e n ' e s t - i l pas i n t e r d i t d'imaginer que ses ordres etaient non pas stupides mais les meilleurs. . . (p. 214; my i t a l i c s ) . Similar effects are achieved with words, l i k e "doubtless," "probably," "maybe," etc. i n Absalom and "sans, doute," "probab.lement," "plutot," 14 "c'est-a-dire," etc. i n La Route.  Here, as i n the case of p a r a l l e l  constructions and "reprises," r e p e t i t i o n reveals i t s e l f as a central  46  component of the long, meandering sentence. Thus, on the sentence l e v e l , interrupted r e p e t i t i o n establishes a rhythmic pattern, keeps sentences from disintegrating into chaos, and, i n some instances^ even contributes to the reader's d i s o r i e n t a t i o n .  3. Repetition i n the arrangement of recurring key-words The combination of confusion  and coherence, c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of  interrupted r e p e t i t i o n on the sentence l e v e l , can be observed i n even larger narrative units. The recurrence of key-words i n extended passages, paragraphs, chapters,.and the o v e r a l l text controls a variety of narrative functions. I t sets up b a r r i e r s against expectations, a digressive narrative together,  keeps  and regulates the novel's pace. In ad-  d i t i o n • to these already f a m i l i a r functions of interrupted r e p e t i t i o n , recurring key-words perform descriptive tasks and manipulate events by making the meaning of c e r t a i n key-words " s l i d e " or develop. Recurring key-words serve thematic and s t r u c t u r a l intentions and,  although they  are usually a c l e a r l y v i s i b l e phenomenon, they can work below the  surface  and influence the reader's responses i n subtle ways. This section investigates the nature and function of recurring key-words and discusses some of their thematic and s t r u c t u r a l implications.  3. a.  Mood and atmosphere Stefan Hock discovers " i n gewissen Formen der Wiederholung einen  starken Stimmungsgehalt""'"^ and  thereby points to an area of r e p e t i t i o n that  i s often alluded to. The more a word i s repeated, the more loaded i t  47  becomes. The mood i n the opening s e c t i o n o f Absalom has been o f t e n and  s u c c e s s f u l l y a n a l y z e d as a f u n c t i o n of a d j e c t i v a l p r o f u s i o n .  for  instance,  s t a t e s t h a t the " f i r s t  atmospheric—-we a r e t r a n s p o r t e d are a l s o heavy w i t h a d j e c t i v e s  Reed,  two paragraphs a r e h e a v i l y  to M i s s Havisham's c h a m b e r — b u t ( f o r t y - n i n e i n the f i r s t  they  and s e v e n t y -  16 six  i n the second)".  adjectives life  , What Reed f a i l s  t o s t r e s s i s t h a t many o f these  (and t h e i r noun forms) a r e r e p e a t e d . The s t e r i l i t y  o f Rosa's  i s p r i m a r i l y suggested through the r e i t e r a t i o n o f " h o t , " "dead,"  "dark," " d u s t y , " and "dry" September a f t e r n o o n , "  i n the f o l l o w i n g v a r i a t i o n s : "hot weary dead  "hot a i r l e s s room," "moving a i r c a r r i e d h e a t , "  "dark was always c o o l e r , " "dust motes," "dead o l d d r i e d p a i n t , " " d r y v i v i d dusty sound," " i n the e t e r n a l . b l a c k , "  "long-dead o b j e c t s , " "Out  of the b i d i n g and dreamy and v i c t o r i o u s d u s t , " "dim c o f f i n - s m e l l i n g gloom," " o l d f l e s h , " " d r i e d sand." I n - o r d e r to complete the p i c t u r e of a woman e x i s t i n g i n a r r e s t e d references three  time, F a u l k n e r a l s o i n c l u d e s  t o time and the seasons: "September a f t e r n o o n , "  repeated  "forty-  summers," " w i s t a r i a v i n e blooming f o r the second time  that  summer," " f o r t y - t h r e e y e a r s now," "twice-bloomed w i s t a r i a , " " q u i e t September.sun" (pp. 7-8). heaviest  concentration  A l t h o u g h the opening paragraphs c o n t a i n the  o f r e p e t i t i o n s f o r mood,, they appear throughout  Absalom. I do n o t t h i n k t h a t t h i s argument needs d e t a i l e d s u p p o r t ; the c o n s t a n t r e c u r r e n c e o f key-words l i k e " o u t r a g e , " "doom,"  "despair,"  " f a t e , " "ghost," " o g r e , " "shadow," "shade," "shape," "phantom," and  "destiny" As  s h o u l d be s u f f i c i e n t  "curse,"  evidence.  i n Absalom, r e c u r r i n g key-words h e l p  to s e t the atmosphere  48  i n La Route.  Since a large part of La Route takes place during the  phoney war of September 1939 to May 1940 and the active war of May 10 to June 10, 1940, the atmosphere determining words center around the discomforts  soldiers are exposed to. There are frequent  allusions to  the physical environment of "boue," " p l u i e , " and "nuit" as well as to basic needs l i k e "dormir," "manger," "boire," and "smoking". Depicting the demoralization .  of the s o l d i e r s , Simon resorts to repetitions, of .  .  .  »  "decomposition," "degradation," "erosion," "desordre," " d e f a i t e , " "desastre," "pourrir," and "puer."  These recurring key-words bring the  digressions into Georges' sexual preoccupations back to the physical • r e a l i t y of the war. The mood Simon establishes i s thus not merely descriptive but f a c i l i t a t e s a juxtaposition of l i v e d experience and imaginary existence. It i s not through a s t r i c t l y cumulative e f f e c t that recurring key^words produce the desired mood. Although r e p e t i t i o n imbues words with deeper significance and thereby contributes to t h e i r "key-word" status, i t leads to another important consequence. Both Absalom and La Route are highlv fragmented and digressive texts. Recurring  key-  words r e c a l l thematic issues and t i e together narrative fragments. I f the context i n which recurring key-words appear i s taken into consideration, disparate episodes are brought into contact and assume a meaning that i s not l i m i t e d to a cumulative effect alone. Indeed, by v i r t u e of their fragmentation, Absalom and La Route i n v i t e a paradigmatic reading along the v e r t i c a l axis of repeated key-words.  49  3. b. Characterization Recurring key-words  often function i n " l e i t m o t i f " fashion.  "Leitmotif" i s a term borrowed from music where i t was f i r s t  developed  by Richard Wagner to apply to a "short musical phrase representing and recurring with a given character, s i t u a t i o n , or emotion i n an opera. Both Faulkner and Simon use " l e i t m o t i f - t y p e words and phrases f o r their depiction of characters. Occasionally they do so for comic r e l i e f . The fixed figure of speech "They aint whupped us y i t , a i r they" (pp. 184, 187,  278, 280) characterizes Wash, Faulkner's tragicomic conception of a  poor white. Simon also resorts to a humorous " l e i t m o t i f " when he repeats ". . .peut-etre v o u l a i t - i l seulement t i r e r son coup l u i aussi" (pp. 123, 276). This ambiguous expression sums up the lame man's love of guns and suspected sexual f r u s t r a t i o n . But, i n general, " l e i t m o t i f s " are used more s e r i o u s l y . Some characters i n Absalom are consistently referred to by an expression that sums up t h e i r t r a i t s as the narrators see them. E l l e n i s a "blooming b u t t e r f l y " (pp. 69, 72, 74, 75, 78, 80, 85, 97, 126), Bon i s a " f a t a l i s t " (pp. 105, 108, 120, 123, 132, 270, 318, =335), and Sutpen i s a l t e r n a t i v e l y a "demon" (pp. 8, 9, 11, 13, etc.) or a "fine figure" (pp. 184, 271, 282, 287, 288, 304, 363) . S i m i l a r l y , Simon depicts de Reixach's impact on Georges through " l e i t m o t i f s " that denote the captain's a r i s t o c r a t i c bearing. Many references are made to h i s impassive f a c i a l expression, h i s "dos raide" i n the saddle, and the l i f t e d "sabre" at the moment of h i s death. De Reixach's ancestor i s repeatedly associated with twenty-three  volumes of Rousseau and I g l e s i a i s treated  to a "visage de P o l i c h i n e l l e " (pp.124, 151, 165, 172) because of h i s b i g  50  nose. Unlike other recurring key-words, " l e i t m o t i f s " do not deepen their meaning through r e p e t i t i o n but, because they act as quasi-musical signals, they lose their s p e c i f i c semantic importance. Descriptive aptness makes room for rhythmic q u a l i t y . 3. c.  Association The " l e i t m o t i f " f o r comic e f f e c t and f o r character i d e n t i f i c a t i o n  belongs to a l i t e r a r y convention whose main exponent is'Thomas Mann. In early works, the " l e i t m o t i f " i s limited to external character t r a i t s with usually symbolic overtones. The most famous of these appears i n Buddenbrooks where Thomas Buddenbrook's rotten teeth suggest the decay of the family dynasty. In l a t e r works, e s p e c i a l l y i n Doktor Faustus, " l e i t m o t i f s " perform more complex thematic and s t r u c t u r a l r o l e s . The Esmeralda " l e i t m o t i f " , f o r instance, i s no longer a stable e n t i t y but expands and changes i t s meaning as i t enters into association with other motifs. Simon, too, resorts to similar ambitious " l e i t m o t i f " techniques. The recurring key-word i s short-hand f o r an extended incident and, because the incident i s now reduced to a;small unit, i t can enter into associative s e r i e s . The recurrence, of a key-word does not produce emotive i n t e n s i t y or add new information. The " l e i t m o t i f " of the l i f t e d "sabre" at the moment of de Reixach's death i l l u s t r a t e s this point. "Sabre" i s f i r s t mentioned i n a passage that describes the death scene quite adequately:*  *The only more complete depiction occurs i n the long description at the end of La Route which does not mention the word "sabre."  51  . . . comme par exemple ce reflexe q u ' i l a eu de t i r e r , s o n sabre quand cette r a f a l e l u i est p a r t i e dans l e nez de derr i e r e l a haie: un moment j ' a i pu l e v o i r a i n s i l e bras leve brandissant cette arme i n u t i l e et d e r i s o i r e . . . comme s i son cheval et l u i avaient ete coules tout ensemble dans une seule et meme matiere, un metal g r i s , l e s o l e i l miroitant un instant sur l a lame nue puis l e tout—homme cheval et sabre—s'ecroulant d'une piece sur l e cote comme un cavalier de plomb. . . (p. 12). This passage represents the f i r s t statement of a theme on which a number of variations are l a t e r played. I t contains v i r t u a l l y a l l the information we are l i k e l y to glean from this theme. The variations are simply restatements which are occasionally contradictory. In one instance Georges indicates that h i s f i r s t impression was that only the horse had been k i l l e d because,  with respect to de Reixach, "nous l'avons vu degainer son  sabre. . ." (p. 47). Another time Georges believes that " l e geste absurde et d e r i s o i r e de degainer et brandir ce sabre" came at a point when de Reixach was "deja completement mort" (p. 89). Perhaps more important are short references to "sabre" that tend to be intervowen with other events and images. Speaking of the ancestor, Simon unexpectedly switches to "un simple canard sans tete brandissant ce sabre l'elevant etincelant dans l a lumiere avant de s'ecrouler sur l e cote. . ." (p. 90) and, i n a passage describing the decomposing dead horse, Georges suddenly asks himself "quand est-ce q u ' i l se mettrait a. puer pour de bon continuant toujours a brandir son sabre. . ." (p. 117). And, when Georges i s p a r t i c u l a r l y conscious of a spring day, he associates "l'aveuglant s o l e i l de mai" with the memory of "un instant fouj avait etincele l ' a c i e r du sabre brand!. . ." (p.  125). Simon merges de Reixach f i r s t with the ancestor and then with  the dead horse. The key-word also relates two separate moments i n time. La Route conditions the reader to recognize "sabre" as a s i g n a l for de  52  R e i x a c h ' s d e a t h and t h e ambiguous  c i r c u m s t a n c e s s u r r o u n d i n g i t . E v e n when  the f i g u r e  (p.  "brandissant l e sabre"  Blum, I g l e s i a , C o r i n n e , and S a b i n e , identify  234) i s m i x e d i n w i t h r e f e r e n c e s t o  the reader i s immediately able t o  t h e a p p r o p r i a t e e p i s o d e and t o e s t a b l i s h  the necessary  associations  between de R e i x a c h and t h e o t h e r c h a r a c t e r s . The v a r i o u s a l l u s i o n s Reixach's death  certainly  go b e y o n d t h e s t r i c t  definition of the "leitmotif."  T h i s complex t e c h n i q u e encourages a p a r a d i g m a t i c r e a d i n g which e v e n more p r o n o u n c e d i n t h e " l e i t m o t i f " (p.  122), referring  i s perhaps  o f t h e "paon t i s s e dans l e r i d e a u "  t o t h e woman who h i d e s b e h i n d  man's f a r m . A l t h o u g h " r i d e a u " o r " p a o n " a l w a y s the m o t i f g r a d u a l l y takes on l a r g e r  t o de  a c u r t a i n a t t h e lame  points t o a s p e c i f i c  significance.  episode,  Because i t appears  r e p e a t e d l y i n c o n j u n c t i o n w i t h C o r i n n e and t h e a n c e s t o r ' s w i f e , i t e v e n t u ally  comes t o s t a n d f o r a l l r e a l a n d i m a g i n e d  a d u l t e r o u s l o v e . The " l e i t m o t i f " nances extend  incidents that  thus turns i n t o  f a r beyond t h e i n i t i a l  involve  a f o c a l p o i n t whose r e s o -  situation.  3. d . I n s t a b i l i t y The r e c u r r i n g k e y - w o r d s I h a v e a s s o c i a t e d w i t h t h e " l e i t m o t i f " have a f i x e d meaning a n d , a l t h o u g h they echo o t h e r images, they a r e always  tied  to a specific  character or episode. Not a l l r e c u r r i n g  key-words work a l o n g t h e l i n e s and p r o l i f e r a t e  o f s i m p l e e q u i v a l e n c e . Some d e v e l o p  because they change t h e i r meaning o r because  different  v o i c e s employ them. I t i s i n t h i s a r e a t h a t t h e s t u d i e s o f m e t a p h o r and o f r e c u r r i n g k e y - w o r d s c o i n c i d e t o some e x t e n t . T h e  correspondence  between metaphor and r e c u r r i n g key-word i s , o f c o u r s e , o n l y  partial.  53  Metaphors do not necessarily depend on recurrence; many words are metaphors because they conform to a l i t e r a r y convention. On the other hand, many recurring key-words have no f i g u r a t i v e s i g n i f i c a n c e . Nevertheless, some of Reed's observations about metaphor i n Absalom run p a r a l l e l to my own on recurring key-words. He argues, f o r instance, that "one character takes over another character's metaphor and changes 18 i t s tone and purpose."  Words l i k e "demon", "doom," and " f a t e " are  introduced by Rosa i n a highly emotional tone. Mr. Compson then picks them up i n a more descriptive mode so that Rosa's words, when repeated by Mr. Compson, lose their incantatory power i n exchange for a more detached approach. When Shreve f i n a l l y resorts to the same words again, he does so i n an exaggerated and i r o n i c way. By the time Rosa's words are appropriated by Shreve, they have degenerated into parodies of themselves. Words that are used by d i f f e r e n t characters occur often and therefore a t t r a c t special attention. In order to increase their v i s i b i l i t y ^further, - Faulkner has chosen words that have been used so much i n l i t e r a ture that they are immediately recognizable as c l i c h e s . Usually writers try to avoid cliches, preferring an o r i g i n a l style and v i s i o n . But Faulkner i s audacious enough to repeat words that have already been c l a s s i f i e d as overused. He thereby exploits our conditioned uneasiness about cliches and transforms them into symbols of a psychologically unhealthy attitude towards the past. E s p e c i a l l y Rosa and, to a lesser extent, Quentin betray an obsession with Sutpen's story that manifests i t s e l f through an excessive fondness f o r c l i c h e s .  54  What f u r t h e r c o m p l i c a t e s t h e i s s u e o f r e c u r r i n g k e y - w o r d s i s t h a t they a r e n o t o n l y used of  by d i f f e r e n t  s i t u a t i o n s . Reed s t a t e s  characters but can apply t o a v a r i e t y  that:  even t h e most c o n v e n i e n t o r f r e q u e n t l y r e p e a t e d metaphors a r e s u b j e c t t o d e v e l o p m e n t . Some b e g i n w i t h o n e t e n d e n c y of m e a n i n g , e v o l v e t h r o u g h t h e b o o k , a n d emerge w i t h q u i t e a n o t h e r meaning.!9 The  word " o u t r a g e , " f o r i n s t a n c e , appears  i n t h e account  c h a r a c t e r s a n d d e p i c t s a number o f o n l y l o o s e l y r e l a t e d  of various situations. I t  d e s c r i b e s Sutpen's i n s u l t i n g p r o p o s a l t o Rosa ( p . 1 7 7 ) , a l l u d e s t o Bon's death  (Rosa, p. 140; S h r e v e ,  Sutpen  p. 1 7 9 ) , i n d i c a t e s Bon's f e e l i n g s  ( M r . Compson, 9 6 ; S h r e v e  towards  3 0 8 ; B o n , 3 1 8 ) , a p p l i e s t o n e g r o women  ( S h r e v e , p p . 2 9 9 , 3 1 3 ; M r . Compson, p . 2 6 9 ; B o n , p . 1 1 6 ) , c o n v e y s t h e town's a t t i t u d e towards of  Rosa's f a t h e r  trip tone.  to Haiti  Sutpen  ( M r . Compson, p . 4 6 ) , r e f e r s t o t h e d e a t h  ( M r . Compson, p . 8 4 ) , i n t e r p r e t s  ( Q u e n t i n , p . 2 4 6 ) , a n d comments o n Q u e n t i n ' s  . . of smoldering outrage"  studied element.  i ni t s specific Superficial  Sutpen.  narrative  c o n t e x t s , i t r e v e a l s i t s e l f as a h i g h l y  statements  of h i s "over-  ( p . 2 1 8 ) When t h e w o r d " o u t r a g e " i s unstable  concerning Faulkner's use of "outrage"  g e n e r a l l y assume t h a t i t s t a n d s i n a o n e - s t e p of  Sutpen's account  However, a s t h e d e t a i l e d  account  e q u i v a l e n c y t o Rosa's h a t r e d  o f t h e word's u s e s u g g e s t s ,  " o u t r a g e " i s a f a v o r i t e term w i t h a l l t h e n a r r a t o r s and c a n o c c u r i n d e s c r i p t i o n s t h a t h a v e n o t h i n g t o do w i t h e i t h e r R o s a o r S u t p e n . T h e instability ly related  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c o f r e c u r r i n g key-words l i k e to the speculative nature of the narrative.  "outrage" i s partSince  n a r r a t o r s e v a l u a t e t h e same e v e n t s , i t i s n o t s u r p r i s i n g develop  t h e i r own m e a n i n g a n d a p p e a r i n c h a n g i n g  different  t h a t key-words  c o n t e x t s . B u t , t h e word  55  "outrage" attracts attention also because i t i s melodramatically colored. This coloring i s i n i t s e l f disturbing and, when i t combines with unstable recurrence, the reader becomes disoriented. Faulkner means to shock the reader out of his habitual responses to metaphor and c l i c h e s . Through r e p e t i t i o n he once again transgresses established l i t e r a r y practice. 3. e. Pace If the frequency and d i s t r i b u t i o n of recurring key-words are analyzed, some interesting insights about Faulkner's l i t e r a r y technique emerge. Some of these coincide with Reed's remarks about the relationship between pace and metaphor. He argues, f o r instance, that the high percentage of metaphor in the f i r s t two paragraphs of Absalom—paragraphs which also contain a high concentration of recurring key-words—is  not "calculated to persuade  20 us to read on."  There are too many gaps and holes i n these  paragraphs  to stimulate the reader's c u r i o s i t y . Instead of postulating a s p e c i f i c enigma, Faulkner simply indicates that mystery i n i t s e l f i s at the core of the narrative we are about to read. This procedure either compels the reader to continue i n spite of his bewilderment or to abandon the novel from the start. The second valuable insight Reed conveys about the f i r s t two paragraphs reads as follows: "Just at the point Faulkner might be expected to want to speed us up, to soar and zoom arid p u l l us into the book, verbal excess  slows  21 us down."  With "verbal excess" Reed means of course metaphor. However, the  narrative contains not just a l o t of d i f f e r e n t metaphors but the same metaphors appearing again and-again. Metaphor and recurrence often combine to slow down the narrative just when at least a p a r t i a l resolution appears on  56  the horizon. In Chapter Five, Rosa's account of her own story, Faulkner moves towards the moment when Rosa i s expected to reveal what "bald outrageous words" (p. 168) Sutpen spoke to her when the narrative suddenly switches to a recapitulation of what we know already. This recap i t u l a t i o n i s a l l the more f r u s t r a t i n g as i t consists of key-words l i k e "doomed," "demon," "shot," "waiting," "dead," "love" (p. 169), key-words that make the reader impatient with Rosa's convoluted s t y l e . Faulkner does not place clusters of recurring key-words where the narrative approaches or arrives at a climax. He inserts them instead i n those areas where progress must be slowed down. Reed i s correct i n stating: " I f the reader i s conscious of any dragging i n the pace, he notices metaphor" (p. 151). He notices not only metaphor but also r e p e t i t i o n . Suspense cannot' operate properly because the "dragging i n the pace" impedes the conventional movement towards resolutions. Although ordered progress often seems to be just around the corner, i t i s inevitably sabotaged by verbal excess. The b a r r i e r s to stock responses are not just a w i l l f u l game with l i t e r a r y conventions; they force the reader to complement h i s habitual horizontal reading with a v e r t i c a l one. Instead of concentrating on events and resolutions, Absalom moves questions of motivation and narrative process into the foreground. The recurrence of key-words thus draws attention away from representation and towards interpretation. It i s interesting to note that Simon refrains from using recurring key-words for pacing purposes. We find no increase i n emotional i n t e n s i t y or narrative speed i n La Route that could be traced back to recurring key-words. The reasons for this must be sought i n Simon's r e f u s a l to give  57  some themes p r e f e r e n c e o r d o m i n a n c e o y e r o t h e r s . I n a c c o r d a n c e t h e o r e t i c a l p r e s u p p o s i t i o n s o f t h e new  n o v e l , L a Route i s supposed  a s s i g n m o r e o r l e s s e q u a l s i g n i f i c a n c e t o a l l t h e m e s and on  their  interrelations  with  r a t h e r t h a n on  their hierarchical  to  the to  concentrate  arrangements.  I h a v e shown, f o r i n s t a n c e , t h a t t h e r e c u r r e n c e o f " s a b r e " c o n f o r m s an a s s o c i a t i v e r a t h e r t h a n a c u m u l a t i v e p a t t e r n . Such a s s o c i a t i v e  to  pat-  t e r n s a r e m a r k e d b y r a d i c a l f r a g m e n t a t i o n so t h a t t h e k i n d o f  suspense  structure important  recurring  i n Absalom cannot  operate  i n L a R o u t e and  key-words can t h e r e f o r e n o t a c t as b a r r i e r s t o r e a d e r e x p e c t a t i o n . S i n c e S i m o n a v o i d s e v e n t h e i l l u s i o n o f a movement t o w a r d s r e s o l u t i o n , i n La Route i s not determined  by  the r e l a t i v e presence  pace  or absence of  v e r b a l e x c e s s . Moreover, s i n c e the fragmented, c o n s t r u c t i o n of t h e n a t u r a l l y imposes a predominantly  v e r t i c a l reading, recurring  a r e n o t n e e d e d t o d r a w a t t e n t i o n away f r o m  4.  key-words  the t e x t ' s h o r i z o n t a l  R e p e t i t i o n i n the s t r u c t u r a l operations of r e c u r r i n g  I have emphasized t h e i r  dimension.  key-words  I h a v e so f a r d i s c u s s e d r e c u r r i n g k e y - w o r d s o f a f i g u r a t i v e Although  novel  technical functions, a thematic  nature. coloring  has n e v e r t h e l e s s t e n a c i o u s l y c l u n g t o them. However, n o t a l l r e c u r r e n c e concerns  words w i t h m e t a p h o r i c  significance.  e x p l o i t r e c u r r i n g key-words f o r predominantly  B o t h F a u l k n e r and  Simon  s t r u c t u r a l purposes.  c o n t r a s t t o the f i g u r a t i v e key-words, the s t r u c t u r a l ones a r e n o t sociated with c e n t r a l episodes l e s s p i c k e d a t r a n d o m and  or s p e c i f i c  In as-  c h a r a c t e r s . T h e y a r e more o r  a r e used to c o u n t e r a c t or sometimes t o i n c r e a s e  the fragmentation of a t e x t ,  to perform  t r a n s i t i o n a l o p e r a t i o n s , and  to  58  help the reader unravel complex associative labyrinths. The s p e c i f i c c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of these structural manipulations depend on the degree of digression and fragmentation i n a narrative. In Absalom, one of the f i r s t experimental novels, much care i s taken to guide the u n i n i t i a t e d reader. In La Route, on the other hand, the reader's a b i l i t y to cope with experimental writing i s taken for granted, and the main concern i s with the surface and geometry of the text. The d i f f e r e n t attitude towards digression and fragmentation influences the ways i n which recurring keywords contribute to structural choices. Digression and fragmentation thus provide the necessary context f o r this kind of r e p e t i t i o n . 4. a. Orientation among narrative voices and strands Faulkner's e f f o r t to make a complex and fragmented novel l i k e Absalom accessible to his readers makes him include a certain amount of reading assistance. Recurring key-words counterbalance the novel's digressive narrative and offer some foothold on both a l o c a l i z e d and on a more general l e v e l of the text. The f i r s t chapter of Absalom, f o r instance, f a c i l i t a t e s orientation among the narrative voices and temporal dislocations by means of certain reiterated phrases. These phrases avert t o t a l narrative d i s i n t e g r a t i o n by leading the reader p e r i o d i c a l l y back to the main story l i n e . The repeated phrases tend to j u s t i f y the digressions and thereby give the i l l u s i o n  of some narrative cohesion. When Rosa i n s i s t s i n two places  that Sutpen "wasn't a gentleman" (pp. 14, 16), she suggests that Sutpen's disreputable character explains and j u s t i f i e s her digression into h i s marriage, the f r a t r i c i d e , the war, and h i s a r r i v a l i n Jefferson. Rosa's constantly wandering mind needs to be kept i n check by such r e i t e r a t i o n s  59  as  Sutpen's need f o r " r e s p e c t a b i l i t y  t h a t she  " h o l d s no  1 1  (pp.  15,  16,  17,  28), Rosa's  b r i e f " e i t h e r f o r h e r s e l f or E l l e n  (pp.  15,  17,  claim 18),  E l l e n ' s demand t h a t R o s a " p r o t e c t t h e m " ( s p e c i f i c a l l y " J u d i t h " )  (pp.  18,  them-  21,  selves" order  2 2 ) , and  the  (pp.  27).  and  25,  g i v e the  story t e l l e r .  The  quite unstable first  The  chapter  illusion  that Rosa pursues a c o n v e n t i o n a l  d i f f i c u l t y with Faulkner's  and  have a tendency to o v e r l a p . T h e i r arrangement i n  the  makes t h i s  quite  clear:  I h o l d no g r i e f P r o t e c t them ( o r J u d i t h ) Respectability  wasn't even a gentleman  E  P r o t e c t them f r o m t h e m s e l v e s i s reassured  by  A  A B C D  the r e a p p e a r i n g  up  r i n g phrases but  C  C  D  D  e s t a b l i s h e d order  story line  i n the d i g r e s s i o n s they  neat  chapter.  The  to accept  then,  l u r e us  chapter  d i g r e s s i o n s f o r the main concern.*  Faulkner's  i n t o a more o r l e s s l i n e a r  a l w a y s p u l l s us  *See s e c t i o n 2,  this  phenomenon  recur-  narrative too,  impel  key-phrases,  approach w h i l e the weight of  towards a paradigmatic  chapter.  Recurring  course  linear  e s t a b l i s h e d through the justify.  sug-  chapter's  p r o g r e s s i o n r e s e m b l e s Simon's s e n t e n c e " r e p r i s e s " f o r t h e y , us  E  i s of  the key-phrases are only a s u r f a c e  i n the  E  key-phrases because they  the r e a l o r g a n i z a t i o n of the  s i g n i f i c a n c e l i e s not  D  B C  o n l y d o e s t h e o v e r l a p p i n g make any  i m p o s s i b l e , but  which covers  B  E  o r d e r i n g h a n d i s a t w o r k . The  i l l u s o r y . Not  progression  a are  He  largely  g o a l as  footholds i s that they  B C D  t h a t an  "only from  T h e s e r e p e t i t i o n s e s t a b l i s h some m i n i m a l n a r r a t i v e  A  reader  gest  c h i l d r e n ' s n e e d t o be p r o t e c t e d  15,  reading.  the  60  Recurring key-phrases also help to sort out the many narrator l e v e l s i n Absalom. The constant criss-crossing of narrative l e v e l s would be incomprehensible i f certain signals d i d not c l a r i f y their interconnections. Quentin's presence i s most prominent i n the opening section, where he p a r t i a l l y accounts for h i s r o l e . Faulkner introduces a narrative frame for the Sutpen saga by presenting Quentin i n the act of l i s t e n i n g to accounts about the past. This frame concentrates on Quentin's puzzlement about Rosa's decision to t e l l him her story and brackets the digressions dealing with Sutpen and h i s children. F i r s t of a l l , Quentin introduces and closes his description of Rosa i n her tomb-like room by repeating the statement: " I t ' s because she wants i t t o l d " (pp. 10, 11). He then anticipates his father's explanations for Rosa's reasons: " I t would be three hours yet before he would learn why she had sent for him. . ." (p.  11). This a n t i c i p a t i o n i s followed by b r i e f allusions to Sutpen's  a r r i v a l , the children's fate, and Sutpen's death. The frame story has now arrived at a l a t e r time that same day when Quentin asks his father: "But why t e l l me about i t ? "  (p. 12). This question i s an i n v i t a t i o n to  Mr. Compson for his interpretation of Rosa's character and behavior. With Quentin's resolution to continue i n his narrator role—"Whatever her reason for choosing him. . ."(p. 1 3 ) — t h e story of Sutpen's early a c t i v i t i e s i n Jefferson i s subsequently resumed. The repeated references to Quentin's puzzlement neatly signal narrative switches between the p o r t r a i t s of Sutpen and Rosa. The repeated phrases i n the f i r s t  chapter are spaced r e l a t i v e l y  close together and even quite oblique repetitions are e a s i l y recognized.  61  B u t when t h e s p a c e s , b e t w e e n r e p e a t e d s e g m e n t s a r e l a r g e r , m u s t b e made more v i s i h l e .  the r e p e t i t i o n s  Semantic resemblances a r e c o n s e q u e n t l y r e i n -  f o r c e d by i d e n t i c a l o r n e a r - i d e n t i c a l  syntactical  formulations. Faulkner  makes p a r t i c u l a r l y e f f e c t i v e u s e o f w i d e l y s p a c e d r e p e t i t i o n s  i n Chapter I I I .  T h i s c h a p t e r b e l o n g s t o M r . Compson a n d i s much b e t t e r f o c u s e d a n d o r g a n i z e d than the opening s e c t i o n .  Indeed, a f t e r Rosa's meandering  v o i c e , Mr.  Compson's a c c o u n t s t r i k e s u s a s c o n n e c t e d a n d l o g i c a l . We a r e i n f a c t a l most b l i n d e d t o t h e s t i l l This i s perhaps because  very digressive nature of this part of the novel.  t h e d i g r e s s i o n s t e n d t o be c o n f i n e d t o t h e e v e n t s  c o v e r e d i n t h e c h a p t e r a n d do n o t i n t r o d u c e r a d i c a l t e m p o r a l The  dislocations.  r e c u r r i n g key-phrases are intended to support the i l l u s i o n  Compson o f f e r s a r e a s s u r i n g l y r a t i o n a l a p p r o a c h  t h a t Mr.  t o t h e Sutpen s a g a . They  u s u a l l y appear a t t h e b e g i n n i n g o f p a r a g r a p h s and f o r c e t h e d i g r e s s i n g rative  t e m p o r a r i l y b a c k t o t h e m a i n t h r e a d . The f o l l o w i n g e x a m p l e s  s t r a t e how p a r a g r a p h o p e n i n g s t h a t e c h o rative  nar-  demon-  each o t h e r suggest an ordered n a r -  progression: " T h a t may h a v e b e e n t h e l a s t  t i m e s h e saw h i m [ S u t p e n ] " ( p . 6 6 ) .  " A l t h o u g h s h e was n o t t o s e e S u t p e n a g a i n f o r y e a r s . . ." ( p . 6 8 ) . " T h a t was t h e summer f o l l o w i n g H e n r y ' s University. "That  year a t the  . ." ( p . 7 0 ) .  summer s h e saw H e n r y  a g a i n t o o " (p.7 1 ) .  "Then s h e s t o p p e d s e e i n g E l l e n e v e n "  (p.73).  "So M i s s R o s a d i d n o t s e e a n y o f them;. "So  first  she d i d n ' t even  see E l l e n anymore"  . ." ( p . 7 4 ) . (p.7 8 ) .  A l t h o u g h t h e m a t e r i a l c o v e r e d i n t h e p a r a g r a p h s moves b a c k a n d f o r t h  62  between events taking place from Sutpen's a r r i v a l to Bon's death, the echoing paragraph openings t r y to deny or counteract this f a c t . This method permits Faulkner to portray Mr. Compson as a l o g i c a l , r a t i o n a l man  and, at the same time, to continue the novel's associative structure.  4. b.  Temporal s t r a t i f i c a t i o n and e l l i p s e s Recurring key-phrases  continuity and coherence;  i n Absalom tend to emphasize the novel's  they often cover up or smooth over the digres-  sions i n the narrative. But they can also draw e x p l i c i t attention either to temporal s t r a t i f i c a t i o n s or to gaps i n the story. The chapter  concerned  with Sutpen's past (Chapter VII) provides i l l u s t r a t i o n s for both p o s s i b i l i t i e s . The i n i t i a l frame story for the flashback into Sutpen's childhood and youth i s the chase and consequent capture of the escaped French a r c h i tect i n 1835. Progress reports on the chase alternate with General Compson's report on Sutpen's confidences. These confidences contain a large e l l i p s e . After General Compson has told of Sutpen's early experiences,"the arduous journey to H a i t i i s summarized i n the sentence: "He went to the West Indies" (p. 238). Following a switch to the architect chase, Sutpen's story i s resumed with the same sentence  (p. 239). General Compson then repeats Sutpen's  explanation for going to the West Indies. We learn that the idea was  suggested  to him i n school but the actual journey i s again summarily dismissed with: ". . . and I went to the West Indies" (p. 243). When Sutpen's story i s once more taken up, he has already arrived i n H a i t i . Faulkner draws attention to the e l l i p s e i n order to show that Sutpen's exploits were not dictated by love of adventure but by the demands of a design. The same point i s made when  63  Sutpen's journey from H a i t i to Jefferson i s again l o s t i n an e l l i p s e . His a r r i v a l i n Jefferson i s as sudden as his a r r i v a l i n H a i t i . This time the e l l i p s e occurs i n the frame story; i t takes t h i r t y years before Sutpen f i n i s h e s h i s t a l e . The architect frame ends with Sutpen's decision to leave H a i t i and a new frame, Sutpen's v i s i t to General Compson's o f f i c e i n 1864, forms the background to Sutpen's l i f e i n Jefferson. In conclusion, then, the alternations between frame and main story are always abrupt and d e f i n i t e . The narrative can no longer be termed digressive but moves on two d i s t i n c t temporal l e v e l s . And, instead of framing a digression, recurring phrases emphasize e l l i p s e s . Repetition i n this.chapter thus signals temporal dislocations and narrative d i s continuities.  4. c. Documentation Both Absalom and La Route are narratives about narrative and hence very conscious of the relationship between f i c t i o n and r e a l i t y . Novelists of the past have often t r i e d to give their f i c t i o n an i l l u s i o n of r e a l i t y by including a l l sorts of documents which were supposed to vouch f o r the authenticity of the narrative. Authors were fond of pretending that they had found l e t t e r s , a diary, a t r a v e l log, or other factual sources on which they based their s t o r i e s . I t i s surprising that experimental authors l i k e Faulkner and Simon include some documents of this type. In Absalom these sources of v e r i s i m i l i t u d e are not addressed to the reader but to Quentin who needs to convince himself that the people about whom he talks have some r e a l i t y . In La Route, however, these sources undermine conventional gestures towards v e r i s i m i l i t u d e and  64  declare their In  unreliability.  Absalom t h e r e are over seventy r e f e r e n c e s to v a r i o u s l e t t e r s  and n o t e s . Many o f t h e s e l e t t e r s the p a s t of Sutpen  and  represent a v e r i f i a b l e  most r e m a r k a b l e  and  Harvard announcing  Bon's c o r r e s p o n d e n c e  repeatedly alluded  R o s a ' s d e a t h , and t o J u d i t h . The  tangible  i n the framing p a r t of the n o v e l .  which M i s s Rosa r e q u e s t s ^ Q u e n t i n ' s v i s i t , at  between  t h e p r e s e n t o f Q u e n t i n ; t h e y t e n d t o be  o b j e c t s t h a t Quentin sees or handles The  link  to l e t t e r s  are the note i n  the l e t t e r Quentin r e c e i v e s the only s u r v i v i n g l e t t e r  c o n j e c t u r e s about  Sutpen  and  of his  c h i l d r e n a r e p e r i o d i c a l l y p u n c t u a t e d by g l a n c e s a t Q u e n t i n i n t h e a c t of  c o n t e m p l a t i n g one  o f t h e s e l e t t e r s . The  letters  thereby  mediate  b e t w e e n t h e l e v e l s o f n a r r a t o r and n a r r a t i v e . M o s t o f t h e l e t t e r s e v e n t u a l l y quoted  in full  s o t h a t t h e i r p h y s i c a l p r e s e n c e and  content  r e v e l a t i o n amount t o f o r m i d a b l e p r o o f t h a t t h e i r a u t h o r s h a d The  gravestones that Quentin v i s i t s  same way into of  as t h e l e t t e r s .  the l i f e  the l i f e  i n Chapter S i x function  digress  Hundred. Most  t a k e t h e f o r m o f a q u i c k summary o f a l r e a d y known  t h e g r a v e s t o n e o f C h a r l e s - E t i e n n e S a i n t - V a l e r y Bon  ter  a b o u t whom v e r y l i t t l e h a s b e e n known b e f o r e . The  p h y s i c a l evidence that the "ghosts" of Quentin's l i v i n g beings. Photographs, are another  ence of a s t o r y based At f i r s t  existed.  They f o r m a frame t h a t p e r m i t s F a u l k n e r t o  But  library,  once  i n much t h e  s t o r y of each of the people b u r i e d a t Sutpen's  stories  are  especially  on  introduces a characgravestones provide  s t o r y w e r e a t one  the f a m i l y p o r t r a i t  form of documentation  facts.  in  time  Sutpen's  that suggests that the  exist-  fact.  g l a n c e , s i m i l a r d o c u m e n t s seem t o f u n c t i o n i n much t h e same  65  way  i n La Route. Since childhood, for instance, Georgess!'. imagination  has been stimulated by the p o r t r a i t of the ancestor. E s p e c i a l l y a crack i n the paint, parading as a b u l l e t wound i n the man's forehead, has frightened the c h i l d and now  intrigues the s o l d i e r . Georges'  conjectures are considerably influenced by the i l l u s o r y wound, and the reconstruction of the ancestor's death i s therefore based on f a l s e evidence  (pp. 56, 57, 80, 225). Indeed, p o r t r a i t s and other paintings  are consistently shown to f a l s i f y r e a l i t y i n one way  or another. Blum  blames " l e s a v o i r - f a i r e de l ' a r t i s t e . . ." (p. 196) for the appearance of the ancestor and his wife i n two small medallion pictures, and Georges has to read the name of the person represented i n order to i d e n t i f y the ancestor's wife i n one p a r t i c u l a r l y bad p o r t r a i t . Moreover, Georges occasionally pretends that he bases certain descriptions on paintings he has seen. One such painting concerns the ancestor's war experiences i n Spain. But just as Blum i s about to believe i n the painting, i t s existence i s denied: "II n'y avait non p l u s — d u moins i l n'en avait jamais vu—d'image representant cette b a t a i l l e , cette defaite, cette deroute. . ." (pp. 214, 215). The only picture of the b a t t l e Georges i s aware of i l l u s t r a t e s " l a phase v i c t o r i e u s e de l a campagne: mais cette v i c t o i r e n'etait arrivee qu'un an plus tard, et c ' e t a i t environ cent ans plus tard encore qu'un peintre o f f i c i e l avait ete charge de l a representer. . ." (p. 215). The retrospective rearrangement of events emphasizes a g l o r i f i e d conception of the h i s t o r i c a l past and the a r t i s t ' s temporal distance from his subject further d i s t o r t s the f a c t s . In a similar case, Georges leaves i t unclear whether an  66  e t c h i n g , on which story,  he a p p a r e n t l y r e l i e s  i s actually  f o r the details  of the ancestor's  i n h i s f a m i l y ' s p o s s e s s i o n o r n o t . I t i s o n l y when  Blum c h a l l e n g e s h i m d i r e c t l y  t h a t he a d m i t s  t h e n o n - e x i s t e n c e o f such  a n e t c h i n g ( p p . 8 5 , 1 8 6 - 8 7 , 2 0 2 , 2 1 4 ) . The d o c u m e n t a r y e v i d e n c e i n La Route  i s thus s u b j e c t t o a e s t h e t i c c o n v e n t i o n s o r has been c o n s t r u c t -  ed r e t r o s p e c t i v e l y . out  I t i s made t o f i t h i s t o r i c a l p r e c o n c e p t i o n s o r t u r n s  t o be c o m p l e t e l y i m a g i n a r y . Simon summarizes t h e u n r e l i a b i l i t y o f  such documents by r e l e g a t i n g pas"  them t o a " g r a v u r e q u i n ' e x i s t a i t meme  a n d a " p o r t r a i t p e i n t c e n t c i n q u a n t e a n s p l u s t o t . . ." ( p . 2 3 1 ) .  What s e r v e d i n A b s a l o m a s a g e n u i n e  attempt  t o g i v e some v e r i s i m i l i t u d e  to t h e n a r r a t i v e i s d i s m i s s e d i n L a Route as a h i g h l y suspect  4. d .  Heterogeneous  connections  R e c u r r i n g key-words o r sentences themselves  convention.  to associations that d i f f e r  of the n o n - f i g u r a t i v e type lend i n some w a y s f r o m t h o s e  achieved  b y means o f r e c u r r i n g l e i t m o t i f s o r m e t a p h o r s . R e c u r r i n g l e i t m o t i f s a n d metaphors i d e n t i f y n o v e l . De R e i x a c h ' s  themes w h i c h  a r e a l r e a d y g i v e n prominence i n t h e  " s a b r e " o r t h e word " o u t r a g e " i n Absalom connect  a  c e n t r a l c o n c e r n w i t h a number o f o t h e r m a i n f o c a l p o i n t s . The r e c u r r e n c e of n o n - f i g u r a t i v e key-words supports a s s o c i a t i o n s t h a t a r e n o t d i r e c t l y r e l a t e d but belong  together because of j u x t a p o s i t i o n a l arrangements.  a s s o c i a t i o n s a r e c o n s i d e r a b l y more a r b i t r a r y  than metaphoric  ones.  Such Simon,  for instance, likes  t o describe^phenomena as c o l o r b l o b s , t h a t i s , i n  t h e way t h e y f i r s t  r e a c h t h e s e n s e s . The a d v a n t a g e o f c o l o r b l o b s i s  t h a t they c a n a p p l y t o an almost  l i m i t l e s s number o f t h i n g s . One o f t h e  67.  most frequently mentioned colors, i n La Route i s pink. Pink i s above a l l the color of de Reixach's stable so that both. I g l e s i a and l a t e r de Reixach himself appear as a "casaque rose" (pp. 23, 150, simply as a "tache rose" i s extracted  (pp. 150,  168,  174,  154,  179)  or  177). The pink racing color  from Georges' description of horses i n terms of  constantly  changing colors against a fixed background of trees: Jaune, b r e t e l l e s et toque b l e u e s — l e fond vert noir des marronniers— Noire, croix de Saint-Andre bleue et toque b l a n c h e — l e mur vert noir des marronniers—Damier bleu et rose toque b l e u e — l e mur vert noir des marronniers—Rayee cerise et bleue, toque bleu c i e l — l e mur vert °ir des marronniers—Jaune, manches cerclees jaune et rouge, toque r o u g e — l e mur vert noir des marronniers—Rouge, coutures g r i s e s , toque r o u g e — l e mur vert noir des marronniers—Bleu c l a i r , manches noires, brassard et toque r o u g e s — l e mur vert noir des marronniers— Grenat, toque g r e n a t — l e mur vert noir des marronniers—Jaune, cercle et brassards verts, toque r o u g e — l e mur vert noir des marronniers— Bleue, manches rouges, brassard et toque v e r t s — l e mur vert noir des marronniers—Violette, croix de Lorraine cerise, toque v i o l e t t e — l e mur vert noir des marronniers—Rouge, pois bleus, manches et toque r o u g e s — l e mur vert noir des marronniers—Marron cercle bleu c i e l , toque noire. . . (pp. 22-23). n  The  color pink, s p e c i f i c a l l y , permits Simon to carry out a number of i n -  teresting operations.  Both being under the influence of Corinne, I g l e s i a  and de Reixach are drawn together because they wear a "casaque rose v i f . . . qu'elle leur avait en quelque sorte imposee a tous deux" (p.  154).  Corinne herself i s i d e n t i f i e d with pink. Watching the race, she i s standing with "une  de ces f e u i l l e s jaunes ou roses sur lesquelles sont i n s c r i t e s  les dernieres cotes.  . ." (p. 24). What counts for both de Reixach and  I g l e s i a i s the mastery of woman and horse. Simon therefore applies  the  "taches vives" (including the color pink) to " l e s robes des chevaux et c e l l e s des femmes" (p. 19). These connections are further complicated by the dead horse Georges encounters during the war.  The " c h i f f o n rose"  68  (pp. 29,  251,  308), having escaped  p l a c e where t h e dead h o r s e more f o r t u n a t e The  rouge"  time.  the c o l o r p i n k draws a t t e n t i o n t o c o l o r s  and  Corinne wears a "robe  more a p p r o p r i a t e a s " ' C o r i n n e ' i s c e r t a i n l y no c o l o r "rouge" a n c e s t o r and  faisait  rouge"  penser  ( p . 234)  which  a 'corail'"  t h e r e f o r e makes u s de R e i x a c h  into account.  The  (p. 8 8 ) , a puddle  The the  has  of u r i n e (p. 92), the  ( p . 2 1 1 ) , and  c o n n e c t i o n s b e t w e e n t h e s e o b j e c t s and  l i n k a g e a s d i s t u r b i n g and  an  even  sombres". These denote  T h e r e a r e no  Although  Corinne.  which  b o t t l e of wine  their  There  r e c u r r e n c e of "rouge" e s t a b l i s h e s  contents of a broken logical  i s a l l the  take background i n f o r m a t i o n about  more r a d i c a l c o u n t e r p a r t i n r e f e r e n c e s t o " t a c h e s the a n c e s t o r ' s g e n i t a l s  "tache  (p. 235).  d i r e c t c o n n e c t i o n b e t w e e n t h e a n c e s t o r and  an a s s o c i a t i o n between r e l a t i v e l y h e t e r o g e n e o u s e l e m e n t s  experiences  in  a n c e s t o r ' s b u l l e t wound, f o r i n s t a n c e , i s s e e n a s a  ( p . 81)  the  i s decomposing, juxtaposes the animal w i t h i t s  c o u n t e r p a r t s d u r i n g peace  i n s i s t e n c e on  g e n e r a l . The  f r o m a n o p e n s u i t c a s e and m a r k i n g  Corinne's  spilled  hair the  (p.  264).  reader  disorienting.  n o n - f i g u r a t i v e key-words l a c k the s p e c i f i c adherence to  themes c h a r a c t e r i s t i c o f r e c u r r i n g m e t a p h o r s , t h e y n e v e r t h e l e s s t e n d r e i n f o r c e major themes. Most c o l o r b l o b s r e f e r c e n t r a l concern  i n some way  to the  a b o u t s e x and v i o l e n c e . B u t , u n l i k e m e t a p h o r i c  to  novel's  connections,  n o n - f i g u r a t i v e o n e s a r e u s u a l l y q u i t e o b l i q u e . T h e y become n o t i c e a b l e o n l y b e c a u s e o f r e p e t i t i o n and q u e s t i o n . The  n o t b e c a u s e o f any  image of " p a t t e s r e p l i e e s "  r e c u r s i n s e v e r a l c o n t e x t s and  thereby  a p p l i e s most o f t e n t o t h e dead h o r s e  o r g a n i c l i n k w i t h a theme i n  o r "jambes r e p l i e e s , "  invites  for instance,  certain associations.  G e o r g e s k e e p s p a s s i n g and  to the  It dying  69  horse i n the stable (pp. 27, 29, 105, 270). I t can,however, describe people. The jockey I g l e s i a rides with his "petites jambes r e p l i e e s " (p. 24) and a dead soldier i n a painting (p. 215) as well as women i n the act of making love (p. 191) are represented i n the same terms. The recurr i n g image ties together death and sex, human beings and animals. The same network of associations suggests i t s e l f throughout La Route, primarily by means of juxtaposed fragments which exemplify this thematic core. Because of their r e l a t i v e l y arbitrary status, recurring key-words of the non-figurative type allow for great f l e x i b i l i t y and encourage l i n g u i s t i c and compositional experiments.  4. e.  Transitions Simon's experiments with transitions represent an excellent example  of how the r e p e t i t i o n of more or less a r b i t r a r i l y selected words can be exploited. These experiments are similar to s t r u c t u r a l pivots (see Chapter I, Section 4. a.) except that i n the present case the r e p e t i t i o n i s not immediate and therefore often more d i f f i c u l t to spot. The  tran-i  s i t i o n s work on an i n t e n t i o n a l confusion concerning the reference of repeated words.  In a description of the sexual act, Georges speaks of the  penis as a "gland a cause de l a peau qui l e recouvre a moitie. . ." Ip.  290). Approximately half a page l a t e r , he refers to "glands" as the  acorns the arab prisoners used to c o l l e c t . Using the same word i n d i f ferent senses, Simon executes a t r a n s i t i o n from the sexual relations between Georges and Corinne to Georges' experiences as a prisoner of war. Even more complex i s a t r a n s i t i o n making use of a third-person pronoun.  70  Here the repeated persons.  The  Reixach  tries  word does not  following  refer  to d i f f e r e n t  passage continues  t h i n g s but  to  different  to d e s c r i b e a scene i n which  t o a r b i t r a t e a d i s p u t e b e t w e e n t h e g u n - h a p p y l a m e man  h i s enemy, t h e m a y o r ' s  de  and  assessor:  . . . traque par l a honte 1 ' i n s u p p o r t a b l e a f f r o n t endure dans l a femme de s o n f r e r e l u i d o n t on n ' a v a i t p a s v o u l u p o u r f a i r e l a guerre a q u i l ' o n n ' a v a i t p a s v o u l u c o n f i e r un f u s i l . A l l o n s d i t - i l l a c h e z c e t t e arme c ' e s t comme 5a que d e s a c c i d e n t s a r r i v e n t , m a i s i l ne v o u l a i t r i e n e n t e n d r e , apparemment i l t e n a i t a c e t a t t i r a i l de c h a s s e u r a ce f u s i l a v e c l e q u e l i l s ' e t a i t f a i t r e p r e s e n t e r s y m b o l e ou q u o i . . . ( p p . 2 8 8 - 8 9 ) In order alludes second  to understand  t h i s passage, i t i s necessary  t o t h r e e d i f f e r e n t men. t o t h e l a m e man,  i m p e r a t i v e to grasp  and  larger  t o de R e i x a c h ,  the  "il" refers  to the a n c e s t o r .  one  gun  I t i s moreover  i s i n question. Only a  context permits  an  f r o m one  location  intelligent  thorough  deciphering  century. A  i n G e o r g e s ' war  similar  experiences  another: P a s a q u a t r e h e u r e s du m a t i n a c h e v a l s u r une sous l a p l u i e Tu c r o i s q u ' i l e s t q u a t r e h e u r e s du m a t i n Tu f i n i r a t o u t de meme p a r f a i r e j o u r ? ( p . 278)  The  "il"  t r a n s i t i o n from the t w e n t i e t h to the e i g h t e e n t h  o p e r a t i o n marks the s h i f t to  first  the t h i r d  t h a t more t h a n  knowledge of the n o v e l ' s of t h i s  The  to r e a l i z e t h a t  allusions  to four o'clock  t h e same c o n v e r s a t i o n . B u t , lusion  prison  train.  the  s h i f t s between scenes correspond  crois  qu'il  c o n t e x t makes i t c l e a r  t o G e o r g e s and  Such t r a n s i t i o n s  et  i n t h e m o r n i n g seem t o f o r m p a r t o f one  i s to the s o l d i e r s ' meandering r i d e  front.v.and t h e s e c o n d one  carne  through  Blum h e i n g  t h a t the f i r s t a l -  a rainy detained  f r u s t r a t e our h a b i t u a l  and  night at in a  assumptions  the  dark that  (and h e n c e b e t w e e n d i f f e r e n t moments i n t i m e )  t o an o r g a n i c  c a u s a l o r d e r . I n s t e a d , we  are  forced to  acknowl-  71  e d g e m o v e m e n t s f r o m one arbitrary  choices  on  s c e n e t o t h e n e x t as  the  tempting to d i s g u i s e  a u t h o r ' s p a r t . By  the  r e s u l t of  accentuating  t r a n s i t i o n s , Simon c e l e b r a t e s  relatively  rather  than  the process  at-  of  fiction.  5.  Conclusion Interrupted  repetition reveals  to the p a t t e r n i n g of sentences  and  pacing  ( d i a c o p e ) and  larger narrative units fragmented novels  of  i t s e l f as  an  important  contributor  the n a r r a t i v e . I t r e g u l a t e s  influences  the  c o n t r a c t i o n and  the  rhythm  expansion  ( r e c u r r i n g key-words). I t i s i n d i g r e s s i v e  l i k e A b s a l o m and  La Route t h a t  and  these operations  are  p a r t i c u l a r l y p r o m i n e n t . I t seems t h a t r e p e t i t i o n g o e s h a n d i n h a n d fragmentation ates  i n that  i t because the  s i o n of create  the  encourages the the  recurrence  t e x t . At  a pattern  i t b o t h a c c e n t u a t e s and  the  of key-words impedes the  same t i m e ,  i t .It  linear  the b a r r i e r s t o a l i n e a r  of a n a l o g i c a l c o n n e c t i o n s of  t h e i r own.  o f o f t e n h i g h l y h e t e r o g e n e o u s and  e l e m e n t s . The  frequency, density,  can  us  and  even  with  accentu  progresreading  Recurrence  s i m u l t a n e o u s p u r s u i t o f d i f f e r e n t t i m e s t r a t a s and  coexistence  thus t e l l  counteracts  of  permit  contradictory  d i s t r i b u t i o n of r e c u r r i n g key-word  a l o t a b o u t t h e k i n d o f a s s o c i a t i o n s we  are  supposed  trace. Faulkner  and  Simon f u r t h e r use  r e c u r r i n g key-words i n order  p e r f o r m s t r u c t u r a l o p e r a t i o n s , i n w h i c h m a i n n a r r a t i v e and or various  e p i s o d e s and  to  digressions  t h e m e s a r e d i s t i n g u i s h e d f r o m each, o t h e r .  In  to  72  this context, r e p e t i t i o n helps the reader to orient himself i n an otherwise confusing narrative maze. Many of these operations have the added intention of f r u s t r a t i n g reader habits and expectations. They draw attention to f i c t i o n as a process rather than a finished product. By making connections and transitions d i f f i c u l t , the reader must p a r t i c i p a t e i n the act of creation. Interrupted r e p e t i t i o n thus emphasizes the generative power of language.  73 CHAPTER I I I REPETITIVE PATTERNS IN THE NARRATIVE STRUCTURE  1.  Introduction The forms of r e p e t i t i o n I have discussed so far have taken  discrete units of the text f o r their subject. I have shown that although they often serve s t r u c t u r a l purposes,  they do not belong to  the narrative structure proper. By narrative structure I understand those operations which determine the plot arrangement, that i s , the "story •' as actually told or the way i n which the events are linked together.""'" The difference between the e a r l i e r chapters and the present one thus centers on a question of h i e r a r c h i c a l d i s t i n c t i o n . Having analyzed r e p e t i t i o n on primarily l i n g u i s t i c l e v e l s , I now propose to concentrate on the much vaster and more complex l e v e l of o v e r a l l organization. The narrative structure represents the single most important aspect of a novel. I t transforms a given subject matter into a work of a r t and involves important questions l i k e the succession of events, the relationship between characters, and the role of narrators. In standard studies of prose f i c t i o n , these questions are usually discussed i n d i v i d u a l l y as i f they could be separated from each other. L i b r a r i e s contain many studies that find such separations convenient, although I doubt whether their authors would believe that they correspond to the r e a l i t y of the work of f i c t i o n . Since r e p e t i t i v e patterns cut across episodes, characters, and narrators, their analysis r e s i s t s standard c r i t i c a l divisions and requires an arrangement that emphasizes d i f f e r e n t  74  aspects of episode succession, character behavior ,~ or narrator r o l e . ,  The amount of material to he covered and the resistance to  standard  divisions: thus account for the complexity and length, of this chapter on the narrative structure of Absalom and La Route. Formal c r i t i c i s m tends to emphasize the geometry of narrative structures; i t discusses the ways i n which s t r u c t u r a l elements r e l a t e to each other and to the text's o v e r a l l intention. This geometric focus concentrates  on the mechanics of a text and generally obscures the  interplay of forces and the interdependence of contradictory propositions l i k e s t a s i s and progress. It seems that i n recent c r i t i c a l the stress on symmetry has almost e n t i r e l y neglected  discourse  the l i n e a r i t y of  narrative. However, some c r i t i c s are challenging the dominance of symmetry as does J . H i l l i s M i l l e r when he argues that r e p e t i t i o n , thought to be a form of symmetry, i s i n t r i c a t e l y related to l i n e a r i t y :  '.  The image of the l i n e cannot, i t i s easy to see, be detached from the problem of r e p e t i t i o n . Repetition might be defined as anything which happens to the l i n e to trouble or even to confound i t s straightforward l i n e a r i t y : returnings, knottings, recrossings, 2 crinklings to and f r o , suspensions, interruptions, f i c t i o n a l i z i n g s .  Repetitive patterns i n the narrative structure of Absalom and La Route must therefore be studied i n the l i g h t of both symmetry and  linearity.  Any duplications i n these texts disturb the narrative l i n e without being able to destroy i t . Simple duplications often take the form of juxtapos i t i o n s , superimpositions,  and substitutions; they work on a p r i n c i p l e  of symmetry with v a r i a t i o n . In the history of aesthetics, symmetry has enjoyed a reputation for ornamental embellishment which, i n the dominant d u a l i s t i c terminology, enhances the form rather than the content of the  75  work of a r t . I t i s , of course, t a c i t l y understood that form and content complement each other and make equally s i g n i f i c a n t contributions to the meaning and value of a r t . The kinds of formal connections operative i n duplicated episodes,  characters, or narrators i n f i c t i o n , for instance,  add at least as much to the t o t a l impact of a text as does the subject matter. Form often constitutes a substructure which i s not subconscious but uses channels of communication inaccessible, to the surface structure. It permits insights that cannot be expressed d i r e c t l y but must be arrived at by decoding the formal connections between narrative elements. What may  look l i k e a binary r e l a t i o n s h i p on the surface may  i n fact  reveal i t s e l f as a triangular mediation. The focus of mediation stands i n a d i a l e c t i c a l relationship to the triangle's base configuration and influences the deciphering of the message. If the r e p e t i t i v e  patterns  i n the narrative structure of Absalom and La Route are discussed both symmetrical and l i n e a r manifestations,  as  then duplication of events,  characters, and narrators can be seen to release energies that a purely geometric and mechanistic  2.  approach could not take into account.  Simple duplication of episodes,  characters, narrators  Repetition i n narrative structure i s more accurately described  as  duplication. Duplication i t s e l f i s a blanket term for juxtapositions ( p a r a l l e l s and contrasts), superimpositions,  and substitutions. These  d i s t i n c t i o n s matter because they give a more precise idea of the categories involved and because the differences between them influence the ways i n which they function. Juxtaposition implies "the act or an  instance  76  of placing two or more objects i n a close s p a t i a l or ideal r e l a t i o n 3 ship."  The act of placing objects aide by side indicates that they  are not i n actual contact. Juxtaposition can take the p o s i t i v e form of p a r a l l e l i s m or the negative one of contrast. Contrast immediately suggests difference as well as s i m i l a r i t y . The same holds true for p a r a l lelism, although i n less obvious fashion. Webster's speaks of p a r a l l e l i s m as "extending i n the same d i r e c t i o n and everywhere equidistant: 4  forming a l i n e i n the same d i r e c t i o n but not meeting."  The s i m i l a r i t y  between p a r a l l e l objects never threatens to become an i d e n t i t y . The same cannot be said with equal force of superimposition  and s u b s t i t u t i o n .  To superimpose means "to cause to become attached, united, coexistent, or i n t e r r e l a t e d i n the manner of a layer, stratum, or accretion."^ Although impositions of this type do not integrate attached  entities,  they are i n bodily contact and therefore overlap to some extent. The movement towards i d e n t i t y becomes even more pronounced i n the case of substitution which i s defined as "something that i s put i n place of something e l s e . " Substitution does of course not mean t o t a l i d e n t i t y because the o r i g i n a l pattern i s s t i l l v i s i b l e underneath i t s replacement. The degree of contact between duplicated e n t i t i e s undoubtedly contributes to the nature of the relationship between them. 2. a.  Juxtaposition (parallelism and contrast) Duplicated events often appear as stories within a story and there-  by permit a simultaneous comment on separate incidents. In the case of Absalom and La Route various private concerns function as a p a r a l l e l to the American C i v i l War on the one hand and the Second World War on the  77  other. The f r i c t i o n between Sutpen and his adversaries, for instance, has quite j u s t l y been interpreted as a comment on the C i v i l Indeed, one of the most popular  War.  interpretations of Absalom argues  that Sutpen's whole l i f e functions as a symbol for the Confederate defeat. Faulkner reinforces this o v e r a l l symbolic pattern by presenting private antagonisms between characters i n m i l i t a r y terms. Rosa conceives of her relationship with Sutpen as a war and speaks of " a l l i a n c e , " "adversaries," "picquets," " a r t i l l e r y , " " c i t a d e l , " and "armistice" (pp. 63-65). Sutpen himself organizes his l i f e as i f i t were a m i l i t a r y campaign and the courtship between Bon and Judith i s planned " l i k e the campaigns of dead generals i n the textbooks" (p. 321). Even.'.the actual involvement i n the C i v i l War  reveals i t s e l f as a private a f f a i r . Bon  and  Henry e n l i s t i n the hope that the War would s e t t l e the matter, leave free one of the two i r r e c o n c i l a b l e s , since i t would not be the f i r s t time that youth has taken catastrophe as a d i r e c t act of Providence for the sole purpose of solving a personal problem which youth i t s e l f could not solve, (p. 120) In the same vein, the confederate  defeat represents for Bon a chance to  meet up once more with Sutpen so that "the whole purpose of the retreat seemed to him to be that of bringing him within reach of his father, to give his father one more chance" (p. 347). Private and public concerns r e f l e c t each other without ever a f f e c t i n g the outcome of e i t h e r . Simon mirrors the violence of war  i n a number of vehement disputes  and actual bodily threats. The prisoners of war for water, food, fresh, a i r ,  fight, among each other  and moving space. Wack and Blum enter into  heated discussions about the woman behind the curtain; Corinne argues  78 f i r s t with. R e i x a c h and then w i t h . I g l e s i a about R e i x a c h ' s d e c i s i o n t o p l a y j o c k e y ; and Georges and C o r i n n e a r e c o n s t a n t l y q u a r r e l i n g . Moreo v e r , the lame man t h r e a t e n s t h e mayor's a s s e s s o r w i t h a gun, and Georges and I g l e s i a almost k i l l a man w h i l e r o b b i n g him. Simon makes the c o n n e c t i o n between p r i v a t e d i s p u t e s and m i l i t a r y a g g r e s s i o n e x p l i c i t when he speaks o f "ce f u r i e u x e t obscur dechainement de v i o l e n c e au s e i n de l a v i o l e n c e . . . " . ( p . 24);.; The p r i v a t e d i s p u t e s r u n p a r a l l e l t o t h e War b u t never become confused w i t h i t . The r e s u l t i s a u n i v e r s a l i z a t i o n of v i o l e n c e . C o n t r a s t i n g e p i s o d e s a r e m i r r o r o p p o s i t e s of each o t h e r and, l i k e p a r a l l e l e v e n t s , they suggest  s i m i l a r i t i e s r a t h e r than i d e n t i t i e s . They  g e n e r a l l y take t h e form o f r e v e r s e d u p l i c a t i o n s which have t r a d i t i o n a l l y been a s s o c i a t e d w i t h a t u r n o f f o r t u n e t h a t i n v e r t s i n i t i a l  circum-  s t a n c e s i n o r d e r t o a r r i v e a t p o e t i c j u s t i c e . A l t h o u g h F a u l k n e r i s fond of concepts  l i k e " f a t e " and " d e s t i n y , " he makes s u r p r i s i n g l y l i t t l e use  of the wheel o f f o r t u n e t r a d i t i o n . However, Sutpen's r i s e from p o v e r t y to  r i c h e s and h i s f a l l back t o p o v e r t y i s a c l a s s i c example o f a wheel  o f f o r t u n e . The change o f f o r t u n e i n Sutpen's l i f e  i s a c c e n t u a t e d by  two e p i s o d e s . The p l a n t a t i o n owner t r e a t s t h e young Sutpen w i t h e x a c t l y the same d i s d a i n as Sutpen l a t e r e x h i b i t s towards Wash. The p r i c e Sutpen pays f o r h i s arrogance  i s d e a t h , a f a t e he had, as a boy, c o n s i d e r e d  i n f l i c t i n g on P e t t i b o n e . The r e v e r s e d u p l i c a t i o n i s a l l t h e more p e r f e c t as the e a r l i e r i n c i d e n t marks t h e b e g i n n i n g and t h e l a t e r one t h e end of Sutpen's l i f e . Simon, t o o , r e s o r t s t o some r e v e r s e d u p l i c a t i o n s . He i n c l u d e s  79  two incidents i n which. Georges, i s , f i g u r a t i v e l y speaking, f i r s t on one side of the fence and then on the other. In the f i r s t incident, Georges cannot make out what some c i v i l i a n s y e l l at him but suspects h o s t i l i t y on their part (pp. 91-93). The reverse s i t u a t i o n has Georges, dressed i n c i v i l i a n clothes, running a f t e r a truck whose driver cannot hear his words and who believes, him to be h o s t i l e (pp. 210-11). The second incident relates to the animosity  of a group towards an i n d i v i d u a l . A  soldier who wishes to j o i n Georges and his companions i s pushed back i n much the same way as Georges i s refused access to the back of a truck by some soldiers (pp. 227, 210-11). Reverse duplications contain of course a strong element of irony. Georges i s gradually reduced from a man i n control of his circumstances (he i s part of a group and owns a horse) to a s o l d i e r caught i n the progressive d i s i n t e g r a t i o n of his world (he i s an outcast who has no influence over the truck driver's action). Contrast puts difference into the foreground and conceals  similarity,  whereas p a r a l l e l i s m works i n the opposite d i r e c t i o n . In both cases, however, separate incidents are juxtaposed so as to suggest connections that are neither causal nor d i r e c t l y stated. Stories within-a-story and reverse duplications have always been popular devices i n prose f i c t i o n . Their symmetry has much formal appeal and permits a clear and e f f i c i e n t organization of subject matter. What i s perhaps less common i s the near-identical r e p e t i t i o n of c e r t a i n passages that we find i n Absalom and La Route. They seem to f a l l into two general categories. Depending on how exactly the wording corresponds, i t i s either the extreme s i m i l a r i t y or the s l i g h t differences between  80  passages that i s s i g n i f i c a n t .  Whenever the r e p e t i t i o n i s v i r t u a l l y exact,  the passages denote ohsessive preoccupations as i n the case of Georges' fascination with death and sex. Georges describes the eye of a dying horse i n two places with the same words because the curved surface of the organ seems to conceal a secret understanding of death (pp. 67 and 130). Similarly, Corinne's status as a sex object i n Georges' consciousness i s affirmed when Corinne i d e n t i f i e s herself twice with suggestive graffiti  (pp. 96 and 276). In these examples the r e p e t i t i o n i s primarily  emphatic. However, s l i g h t differences can play o f f two nearly i d e n t i c a l -  passages against each other. In Absalom a passage i s often f i r s t related by a witness of the events and l a t e r quoted by one of the narrators while r e t e l l i n g the story. The exchange of words between Sutpen and Judith on the subject of Bon's murder i s f i r s t reproduced by Rosa and l a t e r cited by Quentin (pp. 159 and 277). Sutpen's l a s t dialogue with Wash i s presented f i r s t through the midwife's eyes and then repeated within a conjectural account from Wash's point of view (pp. 286 and 288)..This method of d i r e c t and i n d i r e c t reporting i s made possible by Faulkner's complex narrative technique. Since La Route depends on a similar narrator arrangement, i t resorts to near-identical repetitions i n much the same way as Absalom. The adultery of the ancestor's wife i s f i r s t described i n terms of a "scene gallante" (p. 88) and l a t e r told as i f i t were actually (p.  happening  199). The l o s t soldier's plea to j o i n de Reixach.'s group i s alluded  to i n an anticipatory summary and l a t e r taken up again as. a d i r e c t account, complete with inverted commas for the dialogue (pp. 46-47 and 228-29).* *Cf.  In addition to these examples, i t happens occasionally that  also pp. 126 and 131 for a similar example.  81  a passage spoken by one character i s l a t e r used by another one as i f i t were his own.  In Absalom, Henry confronts Sutpen with the same words  that Bon had-addressed  to Henry at an e a r l i e r date Cpp-  349 and 354).  Faulkner thereby shows Henry's tendency to ape Bon and, by making Henry's r e p e t i t i o n less poetic than Bon's o r i g i n a l speech, he points to Bon's innate superiority. Georges, too, comments on the s o c i a l depravity of the aristocracy i n La Route with words that were obviously suggested by his father's philosophical musings (pp. 35 and 152). Differences i n wording and context can thus be exploited for narrative distance and nuances of meaning.  2. b.  Superimposition The superimpositions i n Absalom and La Route derive from the  coexistence of several time l e v e l s . Although these time l e v e l s maintain their autonomy, they always threaten to merge into each other. In Absalom the past and the present comment on each other as d i s t i n c t ent i t i e s at the same time as Quentin i s unable to separate h i s own  life  from events that have happened before he was born. Quentin's sense of the past coexisting with the present establishes him as a credible narrator because he cannot help but become a part of the world he narrates. Faulkner introduces Quentin as a bridge between past and present when he speaks of two separate Quentins now—the Quentin Compson preparing for Harvard i n the South, the deep South, dead since 1865 and peopled with garrulous outraged baffled ghosts. . . and the Quentin Compson who was s t i l l too young to deserve yet to be a ghost, but nevertheless having to be one for a l l that, since he was born and bred i n the deep South. . . (p. 69).  82  Faulkner repeatedly points out that Quentin "knows" simply hecause he i s a Southerner. This means that Quentin i s endowed with the "eighty years' heritage of the same a i r which the man  Sutpen  himself had breathed  between this September afternoon i n 1909 and that Sunday morning i n June i n 1933 when he f i r s t rode into town. . ." (p. 11). Indeed, the past almost obliterates the present with i t s interchangeable ghosts, so that Faulkner can say of Quentin that "his very body was an empty h a l l echoing with sonorous defeated names; he was not a being, an e n t i t y , he was a commonwealth" (p. 12). Quentin's i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with the past f a c i l i t a t e s his role as narrator but imprisons him i n a time from which he would l i k e to escape i n order to l i v e h i s present destiny. The narrator's sense of imprisonment i s a l l the more d i s t r e s s i n g as the Quentin of 1909  cannot  measure up to the Supten of 1833. The past seems invariably more glorious than the present because, as Mr, Compson contends, the past was . . . integer for integer, larger, more heroic and the figures therefore more heroic too, not dwarfed and involved but d i s t i n c t , uncomplex who had the g i f t of loving once or dying once instead of being diffused and scattered creatures drawn b l i n d l y limb from limb from a grab bag and assembled, author and v i c t i m too of a thousand homicides and a thousand copulations and divorcements (p. 89). If Quentin's obsession with the Sutpen legend i s related to h i s own  life  as i t i s told i n The Sound and the Fury, i t becomes clear that Quentin's tragedy i s his i n a b i l i t y to behave i n the same uncompromising way i n which Henry acts. Henry k i l l s Bon while Quentin f a i l s to protect the honor of his s i s t e r by not k i l l i n g her seducer Dalton Ames. The superimposition of  *Cf. also: ". . .he already knew, since he had been born i n and s t i l l breathed the same a i r i n which the church b e l l s had rung on that Sunday morning i n 1833. . ." (p. 31).  83 time levels i n Absalom asks us to judge the present i n terms of the past at the same time as i t obliterates their d i s t i n c t i o n . This i s not a paradox but an equivocation i n that Quentin could never decide i f the past was a blessing or a curse. The superimpositions i n Absalom are mainly concerned with the s t r a t i f i c a t i o n of time. For Simon superimposition i s a much more c r u c i a l concept as he makes clear when he describes h i s texts i n terms of "metaphoric associations, comparisons, superimpositions, contrasts, oppositions. . ."^ Simon's use of superimposition strives to achieve the e f f e c t of a palimpsest i n that an image or a scene remains v i s i b l e while another one i s inscribed on top of i t . The r e s u l t i s that the relationship between superimposed elements "functions l i k e a set of mirrors that r e f l e c t l y modified images."  slight-  On one l e v e l , of course, Simon superimposes time  stratas i n much the same way as Faulkner. On another, however, he further superimposes people, objects, or concepts through l i n g u i s t i c twists. Superimposition thus reveals i t s e l f as part of Simon's general method i n La Route. The superimposition of the ancestor and de Reixach i s r e l a t i v e l y systematic and tends to fuse the experiences of the two men. Simon relates the ancestor and de Reixach i n most e x p l i c i t form as the following passages i l l u s t r a t e : Comme 1'autre homme-cheval, 1'autre orgueilleux imhecile deja, cent cinquante ans plus t o t , mais qui, l u i , s'est s e r v i de son propre p i s t o l e t pour. . . (p. 73). . . . l e dos sourd, aveugle et raide qui continuait a s'avancer devant l u i parmi l e s ruines fumantes de l a guerre, et 1'autre, de face, tout aussi immobile, solennel et raide dans son cadre t e r n i , t e l que pendant toute son enfance i l avait pu l e v o i r . . . (pp. 73-74).  84 . . . comme s i l a b a l l e de p i s t o l e t t i r e e un s i e c l e et demi plus tot avait mis toutes ces annees pour atteindre sa deuxieme c i b l e mettre l e point f i n a l a un nouveau desastre. . . (p. 79). Repetant, refaisant ce que cent cinquante ans plus tot un autre de Reixach. . . avait deja f a i t en se t i r a n t volontairement une b a l l e dans l a tete. . . (p. 84). Almost the same d e t a i l s — t h e p i s t o l , the immobile back and face, the hint at  s u i c i d e — c h a r a c t e r i z e these passages. Although the two men have l i v e d  150 years apart, Georges and Blum impute the same defeats i n war and bed to  their suspected suicides. As the novel progresses, the fate and the  personalities of the two men begin to merge more and more into'.each other. Since l i t t l e i s known about the ancestor's l i f e , the narrators a t t r i b u t e to him some of the events i n de Reixach's experience. I n i t i a l l y the ancestor and de Reixach are superimposed because both of them may have committed a v e i l e d suicide. After a while, however, Blum suddenly  insin-  uates that the ancestor i s "cet autre cocu" (p. 186) and constructs a whole episode around the hypothetical i n f i d e l i t i e s of the ancestor's wife. The superimposition becomes s t i l l tighter when Blum asks provocat i v e l y i f the ancestor's wife "avait vingt ans de moins que l u i "  (p. 195).  Blum evidently transposes a fact from de Reixach's l i f e to that of h i s ancestor. The tendency to mix up facts extends to the story of s t i l l another cuckold. The lame man with the r i f l e i s superimposed on the ancestor when Georges speaks of " l e boiteux,.le disgraciado tenant ce f u s i l de chasse avec lequel j'avais toujours cru q u ' i l s'etait tue, un accident l e coup partant tout seul 1'ensanglantant.  . ." (pp. 122-23).  The confusion between the ancestor who i s dead and the man with the r i f l e who i s s t i l l a l i v e i s i n t e n t i o n a l and pushed to further extremes when  85  Blum asks about t h e a n c e s t o r : " E s t - c e q u ' i l n ' e t a i t pas a u s s i boiteux. The  . ." CP-  282).  s u p e r i m p o s i t i o n o f t h e a n c e s t o r and de R e i x a c h  i s later  c o m p l i c a t e d when G e o r g e s a n d B l u m r e s o r t t o t h e i r own e x p e r i e n c e s t o complete  the picture of t h e i r  the a n c e s t o r and  de R e i x a c h  c h a r a c t e r s . A s i d e from b e i n g share  cuckolds,  the d i s t i n c t i o n of having  fought  w i t h a l o s i n g a r m y . The a n c e s t o r ' s d e f e a t i n S p a i n i s d e s c r i b e d i n terms o f de R e i x a c h ' s tures. Although  circumstances  and o f Blum's and Georges'  t h e "chemins de l a d e f a i t e " a r e i n d u s t y S p a i n ,  s p e a k s o f t h e a n c e s t o r a s i f h e moved t h r o u g h imagines  advenBlum  r a i n y F l a n d e r s and  t h a t h e , l i k e de R e i x a c h , had a l o y a l s e r v a n t w i t h h i m :  . . . dans l e s i l e n c e n o c t u r n e , d e s b r u i t s , un p i e t i n e m e n t de s a b o t s , c a r sans doute n ' e t a i t - i l pas s e u l , a v a i t - i l l u i a u s s i a u p r e s d e l u i , s ' e t a i t - i l f a i t s u i v r e d'un f i d e l e v a l e t , comme 1 ' a u t r e a amene a v e c l u i a l a g u e r r e p o u r p a n s e r s o n c h e v a l e t f o u r b i r ses bottes l e f i d e l e jockey. . . (p. 197). Blum s u g g e s t s  t h a t t h e two R e i x a c h s  become more o r l e s s o n e a n d t h e  same i n h i s m i n d . G e o r g e s i s , more s u b t l e when h e d e s c r i b e s t h e a n c e s t o r ' s r e t u r n home b y i n c l u d i n g d e t a i l s o f h i s own s e n s a t i o n s d u r i n g t h e F r e n c h retreat: . . . done l u i l a i s s a n t l a . s e s t r o u p e s d e f a i t e s , l a p i e t a i l l e , l e s f u y a r d s g u e u l a n t s a n s d o u t e eUx a u s s i a p l e i n s poumons a l a t r a h i s o n , e n p r o i e a c e t t e p a n i q u e , c e t t e ' e s p e c e de d i a r r h e e m o r a l e ( a s - t u remarque qu'on a p p e l l e c e l a a u s s i l a c o u r a n t e ? ) impossible, a c o n t e n i r , i r r a i s o n n e e . . . (p. 193). Although  Simon does n o t e x p l i c i t l y  sage s w i t c h e s from  say so, the p o i n t of yiew  t h a t o f an o u t s i d e observer  i n this  t o t h a t o f an i n s i d e  pas-  86  participant.* The connection between.the ancestor and de Reixach i s not limited to external sensations but extends to the personal consequences the m i l i t a r y defeat has on their l i v e s . Having l o s t their wives to r i v a l s , they hope to regain their self-respect through m i l i t a r y success. Although the family legend has i t that the ancestor k i l l e d himself i n order to escape from the g u i l l o t i n e , Georges maintains that he did so because of d i s i l l u s i o n e d p o l i t i c a l hopes. De Reixach i s subject to a similar disillusionment when he discovers that the war does not conform to  the lessons he has learned at the Saumur m i l i t a r y academy. This l i n e  of  argument f i t s into Georges' suicide theory and finds support i f not  an actual source i n the story of a general who commits suicide because the disintegration of h i s army does not follow the rules and reasons on which he had based his l i f e . Speaking of de Reixach and echoing the ancestor, Georges maintains that " l e general l u i aussi s'est tue: non pas seulement l u i [de Reixach], cherchant et trouvant sur cette route un suicide decent et maquille, mais 1'autre [le general]aussi dans sa v i l l a , son j a r d i n aux a l l e e s de gravier r a t i s s e . . ." (pp. 202-203). The superimposition of various layers of experience provides the separate threads that f i n a l l y combine into a complete picture of m i l i t a r y defeat. Each man's story not only complements but is_ each other man's story  *Cf. also pp. 215-16 where the ancestor's " r e t r a i t e par toutes les routes qui descendaient des Pyrenees," i s described i n terms of modern warfare such as "des fosses bordes de morts, des chevaux creves, des camions brules et des canons abandonnes. . ." (Especially the reference to "camions brules" belongs to Georges' own obsessive memories). See also p. 225 where the impression the end of the b a t t l e i s supposed to leave on the ancestor i s imagined through Georges' own experience: "Nous avons vu, connu cela: ce ralentissement, cette progressive immobilisation."  87  since the superimpositions insure that, as i n a palimpsest, a l l are simultaneously v i s i b l e . Simon thus enriches and complicates the l i f e story of each character by a t t r i b u t i n g to one man the t r a i t s and circumstances of another. He also comments on the process that goes into the construction of a f i c t i o n a l character. Instead of pretending that a f i c t i o n a l character corresponds  to a l i v i n g person, Simon  demonstrates how t r a i t s and experiences from d i f f e r e n t sources combine to give the i l l u s i o n of unity. The superimpositions i n La Route that do not depend on time s t r a t i f i c a t i o n s are the result of verbal plays. Two main centers of attention i n the novel are women and horses. Although the three men who fascinate Georges have either l i v e d at d i f f e r e n t times (the ancestor 1  and de Reixach) or come from d i f f e r e n t s o c i a l classes (de Reixach and I g l e s i a ) , their common interest i n horsemanship and sex lends i t s e l f to conscious verbal confusion and ambiguity. De Reixach and I g l e s i a believe that Corinne can be mastered i n the same way as a horse because her sexual i n s t i n c t s reduce her to the state of an animal. Suspicious that Corinne betrays him with I g l e s i a , de Reixach decides to replace I g l e s i a i n a horse face i n order to prove his sexual superiority. In describing the scene of the race, Mum  imitates and exaggerates  Iglesia's  tendency to use the same terminology for both Corinne and the mare: Et alors i l . . . a voulu l u i aussi monter cette alezane, c'est-adire l a mater, sans doute parce qu'a force de v o i r un v u l g a i r e jockey l a f a i r e gagner i l pensait que l a monter c ' e t a i t l a mater. . . et que s ' i l parvenait a monter l'une i l materait l'autre, ou vice-versa, c'est-a-dire que s ' i l matait l'une i l monterait l'autre aussi victorieusement, c'est-a-dire q u ' i l l'amenerait e l l e aussi au poteau, c'est-a-dire que son poteau a l u i l'amenerait  88 victorieusement la. ou i l n'avait sans doute jamais reussi a l a conduire, l u i f e r a i t passer l e gout ou 1'envie d'un autre poteau. . . ou s i tu preferes d'un autre baton, c'esta-dire que s ' i l r e u s s i s s a i t a se s e r v i r de son baton aussi bien que ce jockey qui. . . (pp. 184-185). The plays on "mater," "monter," "poteau," and "baton" establish connections between human and animal categories that are usually d i s t i n c t . This superimposition i s reinforced i n other parts of the novel as when Blum refers to an "alezane-femme" (p. 185) or when I g l e s i a alludes to both Corinne and the mare as being "en chaleur" (p. 154). A l l young women i n La Route are depicted i n ambiguous sexual terms. The equation woman-mare, for instance, functions as the main connection i n the superimposition of Corinne and the ancestor's wife: " . . . pour peu qu'elle a i t aussi partage en matiere sexuelle ces gouts plebeiens ou plu'tot chevalins, j e veux dire l e s memes d i s p o s i t i o n s pour 1'equitation, je veux dire l a meme tendance a c h o i s i r ses amants du cote des ecuries. . ." (p. 190). A play on words i s also at the bottom of a complex passage i n which the lame man and de Reixach as well as the woman behind the curtain and Corinne are superimposed. This dual superimposition i s generated by a description of de Reixach's aloof attitude: . . . n'ayant pas meme l'idee de mettre son cheval au t r o t n'entendant meme pas ceux qui l u i c r i a i e n t de ne pas continuer ne pensant peut-etre meme pas a l a femme de son frere chevauchee ou plutot a l a femme chevauchee par son frere d'armes ou plutot son frere en chevalerie p u i s q u ' i l l e considerait en cela comme son egal, ou s i l'on prefere l e contraire puisque c ' e t a i t e l l e qui ecartait l e s culsses chevauchait, tous deux chevauchant (pu plutot qui avaient ete chevauch.es par) l a meme houri. . . (p. 296). The a l l u s i o n to " l a femme de son frere chevauchee" aims at the lame man but "son frere d'armes" and "son frere en chevalerie" refer to I g l e s i a .  89 The whole passage turns on "cheval" or "chevaucher" and suggests that both Gorinne and the woman behind the curtain exhibit the sexual behavior of an animal. Such superimpositions  make the women interchangeable. As  a consequence, they establish the r o l e women play i n a world of men and contribute to an often d i s o r i e n t i n g layering of the text. 2 . c.  Substitution Substitutions i n Absalom.and La Route are d i r e c t l y related to nar-  r a t i v e point of view. The narrator i n the two novels finds a double i n a friend to whom he relates his story. The friend does not act as a passive l i s t e n e r but as an active participant i n the reconstruction of a legend. The doubling  of narrators indicates that Faulkner and Simon are  constantly struggling with the organization of f i c t i o n a l material. I f the f i c t i o n a l material i s presented from a subjective point of view, the ensuing novel may be e n t i r e l y d i f f e r e n t from one that treats the same material from an objective point of view.* Ideally, a writer should not have to make a choice between points of view since a l l such choices inevitably d i s t o r t the f a c t s . Although the dichotomy between subjective and objective narration can never be bridged  s a t i s f a c t o r i l y , Faulkner  and Simon try to make their novels both subjective and objective. The subjective element i s usually provided objective counterpart  by the person speaking and the  by the reaction of the l i s t e n e r . This reaction can  take the form of s i l e n t thoughts or actual rejoinders. Although the l i s t e n e r ' s presence i s often v i r t u a l l y forgotten, Absalom and La Route  *See, for instance, the difference between Proust's Jean Santeuil and A l a recherche du temps perdu.  90  are b a s i c a l l y eliminate The  c o n s t r u c t e d as, a c o l l e c t i o n  the need  interplay  invites ing  the r e a d e r  to p a r t i c i p a t e  has  talk  heard  Quentin  and  of  a sceptical  i n the e v a l u a t i v e  authority.  listener  process that  tales.  i s the l i s t e n e r  R o s a and  such n a r r a t o r s  Mr.  and  parts  i f he  had  sceptical  his  father  and  Miss  far  removed  and  Sutpen  has  from  Rosa,  Lockwood  often  reacts  i n Wuthering  In the second  direct  Shreve  i s therefore  half  i s tak-  But,  openly  He  of  follows  greater objectivity  for his elders in a position  and  to  i n the  H e i g h t s , Pes  their footsteps  the  Sutpen  the a s s e r t i v e  he  voice  deferential  to  disputes Quentin's disadvantage  i s geographically  his distance he  of  however,  i s at a  because  openly  i s that  reconstructs  because  of  Grieux i n  His role  i s now  to  half  argues  sceptically  Shreve  the scene. But  first  rarely  c h a l l e n g e s and  and  because  i s compelled  w h e r e Q u e n t i n was  a narrator,  narrative  to l i s t e n  of Absalom,  Quentin  access, to f a c t s  the s e t t i n g  respect  of i t .  listener.  t h e p a s t . As  a l l o w s Shreve  Quentin's  Shreve  of no  a listener.  the n o v e l , Quentin  been a p a r t  the  interpretations  as  M c C a n n o n w i t h whose h e l p h e  Shreve  he  of  commentator.  and  because  does n o t need  Marlow i n the n o v e l s of Conrad.  Q u e n t i n meets Shreve as  ideal  i s t h e s p e a k e r who  Compson b u t  a s Mr.  Manon L e s c a u t , a n d  legend  he  functions mostly  In the e a r l y  historian  who  s p e a k i n g an  of h i s r e l u c t a n c e . D u r i n g a p p r o x i m a t e l y the  Quentin  with Miss  i s technically  i t a l l b e f o r e , and  i n spite  Absalom,  by  speaker  position  p l a c e b e f o r e his; eyes.  c o n s c i o u s n e s s . He  of  in a privileged  between an a s s e r t i v e  Faulkner's  he  for a narrator  o f c o n v e r s a t i o n s which,  from  is. n o t  Jefferson  hampered  f o r the p a s t . U n l i k e Quentin,  to c h a l l e n g e the n a r r a t i v e  authority  91  and to offer his. own a l t e r n a t i v e . From Quentin's point of view, the struggle for narrative dominance becomes a matter of s u r v i v a l . Quentin wants to impose h i s authority on Shreve i n much the same way as h i s father had imposed his on him. In Quentin's quest for s e l f - a s s e r t i o n , Mr. Compson and Shreve thus appear as a common enemy. This explains why Shreve acts as a substitute for Mr. Compson wheri..Quentin complains: "I didn't need to l i s t e n then but I had to hear i t and now I am having to hear i t a l l over again because he sounds just l i k e father" (p. 211; cf. also pp. 181, 207, 211). John T. Irwin, author of a Freudian analysis of Absalom and The Sound and the Fury called Doubling and Incest/Repetition and Revenge, describes the relationship between the narrators i n oedipal terms and argues: "In terms of a generative sequence of narrators, Mr. Compson, Quentin, and Shreve are father, son and grandson 9 of the f a t h e r ) . "  (reincarnation  In order to e s t a b l i s h a clear sense of s e l f , says  Irwin, Quentin must revenge himself against h i s father "through a s u b s t i t u t e — h i s roommate Shreve.""^ But instead of gaining an i d e n t i t y , Quentin seems to lose himself more and more i n others: Maybe we are both Father. . . Yes, we are both Father. Or maybe Father and I are both Shreve, maybe i t took Father and me both to make Shreve or Shreve and me both to make Father or maybe Thomas Sutpen to make a l l of us. (pp. 261-62) The extent of Quentin's f a i l u r e to develop into a mature and self-confident adult i s brought home by h i s suicide i n The Sound and the Fury. The doubling of the narrator i s of course a technical success. The dialogue between Shreve and Quentin permits d i f f e r e n t views to coexist and f o r e s t a l l s any unequivocal conclusions about Sutpen. Open-ended solutions are only a f i r s t step towards a gradual erosion of c e r t a i n t i e s  92  i n f i c t i o n . The doubling of the narrator lends i t s e l f not only to a d i v i s i o n of a t r a d i t i o n a l l y u n i f i e d e n t i t y but also to its. opposite. In spite of their r i v a l r y , Quentin and Shreve are often so carried away by the Sutpen legend that they speak as one voice': It was Shreve speaking, though-. . . i t might have been either of them and was i n a sense both: thinking as one, the voice which happened to be speaking the thought only the thinking become audible, vocal; the two of them creating between them, out of the rag-tag and bob-ends of o l d tales and talking, people who perhaps had never existed. . . (p. 303). No clear separation between speaker and l i s t e n e r can be made and the resulting "happy marriage of speaking and hearing" (p.,316) eliminates a stable center of consciousness from which the characters and events i n the novel can be evaluated. Faulkner thus exploits both doubling by d i v i s i o n and doubling by m u l t i p l i c a t i o n . The doubling of the narrator i n La Route has Georges and Blum behave towards each other i n much the same way as Quentin and Shreve. Although Georges i s the one who has access to information about the de Reixach family, Blum has a tendency to appropriate to himself the act of narration so that their relationship o s c i l l a t e s between conformity and disagreement. Like Faulkner, Simon resorts to dialogue for alternative; viewpoints. Doubling hy d i v i s i o n i s thus again used to create a sense of inconclusiveness at the same time as doubling by m u l t i p l i c a t i o n challenges, the separation between speaking and l i s t e n i n g . At the most e x p l i c i t extreme, Simon doubles his. narrator by means, of parentheses: Blum (pu Georges):  . . et  'C est f i n i ? ' , et Georges (pu Blum): 'Je pourrais c o n t i 1  nuer,' et Blum (ou Georges):  'Alors continue,' et Georges (ou Blum): 'Mais  je dois egalement apporter ma contribution, p a r t i c i p e r , ajouter au tas. . ."  93  Cp. 188). At times Georges seems to lose h i s sense of i d e n t i t y even more profoundly than Quentin. He sees himself as h i s own double and Blum as a substitute for this double: . . . a moins q u ' i l ne fut pas en t r a i n de dialoguer sous l a froide pluie saxonne avec un p e t i t j u i f souffreteux. . . mais avec lui-meme, c'est-a-dire son double, tout seul sous l a p l u i e grise, parmi l e s r a i l s , l e s wagons de charbon, ou peutetre des annees plus tard, toujours seul (quoiqu'il f u t maintenant couche a cote d'une tiede chair de femme), toujours en tete-a-tete avec ce double, ou avec Blum, ou avec personne. . . (p. 187). The impression that Georges i s his own double i s reinforced by Simon's alternation between a f i r s t and a t h i r d person narration. Although Georges i s c l e a r l y both the " j e " and the " i l " of La Routey Simon periodi c a l l y changes pronoun, even i n the middle of a sentence. The segment that starts out with: "Et de nouveau i l me semblait v o i r cela. . ." (p. 22) suddenly switches to: "Georges se demandant. . ." (p. 27) i n midsentence. Some of the " j e " passages are set within inverted commas to indicate a d i r e c t dialogue. However, i n some instances, the " j e " appears without inverted commas (pp. 9-26,  155-169, 225-278, 287-314), that i s ,  i n a reported context. There are 17 pronominal switches i n La Route* and, although c r i t i c s are aware of them, they have not found a s a t i s f a c t o r y explanation. The switches do not seem to follow any systematic pattern l i k e a d i s t i n c t i o n between present and past or actual words and thoughts. It i s generally believed that Simon uses both " j e " and " i l "  i n order to  achieve a close involvement with the story and at the same time suf-  *I am indebted to Ann Dybikowski for my s t a t i s t i c s on pronominal switches. Her unpublished manuscript goes into greater d e t a i l on the nature and function of these switches.  94  f i c i e n t distance from i t . Roubichou and Genette further conclude that switches of this type represent a transgression of the narrative code.* In addition to these explanations, the pronominal switches are a form of narrative doubling and help to weaken the s t a b i l i t y of the controll i n g consciousness. The simple doubling of narrators moves a step further when the narrators act as doubles for characters. The r e s u l t i s a doubling of doubles i n which Quentin i d e n t i f i e s primarily with Henry and Shreve with Bon. Faulkner argues repeatedly that "there was now not two of them but four" (p. 294); c f . also p. 334) i n M i s s i s s i p p i because Quentin and Shreve become so involved with their story that they forget t h e i r own environment. The doubling of the doubles works mostly from the present back to the past but can i n fact also move i n the other d i r e c t i o n : "Four of them there, i n that room i n New Orleans i n 1860, just as i n a sense there were four of them here i n this tomblike room i n Massachusetts i n 1910" (p. 336). Through the act of narration, the past and the present are no longer locked into themselves but interact freely with each other. The "two of them, then four; now two again" (p. 345, c f . also p. 346) pattern becomes even more complicated when Quentin i s not just Henry and Shreve not just Bon but Quentin also Bon and Shreve also Henry: Shreve ceased again. I t was just as well, since he had no l i s t e n e r . Perhaps he was aware of i t . Then suddenly he had no talker either, though possibly he was not aware of t h i s . Because now; neither of them were there. They were both i n Carolina and the time was f o r t y - s i x years ago, and i t was not even four now but compounded s t i l l further, since now  *Genette, pp. 253-54, 256-57; Roubichou, pp. 289-290.  95 both of them were Henry Sutpen and both of them were Bon, compounded each of both yet either neither, smelling the very smoke which had blown and faded away f o r t y - s i x years ago. . . (p. 351). The doubling of doubles challenges the familiar boundaries between the story and i t s t e l l i n g . Once the separation between narrators and characters breaks down, the act of narration - i t s e l f becomes part of the story. Narrators and characters lose their autonomy and e x i s t only i n r e l a t i o n to each other. This i s of course true of a l l f i c t i o n but the doubling of narrator and character brings i t out into the open. Faulkner thereby i n v i t e s a r e i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of some t r a d i t i o n a l assumptions about f i c t i o n . Simon seems more fascinated with the simple doubling of narrators than with the doubling of doubles. His v a r i a t i o n on doubling concerns not the relationship between narrator and character but that between narrator and l i s t e n e r . Georges i s not always certain who he i s speaking to because the people that, matter i n his l i f e tend to get confused i n his mind. Once i n a while Georges asks himself where he i s and r e a l i z e s "que ce n'etait pas a Blum q u ' i l e t a i t en t r a i n d'essayer tout ca en chuchotant  d'expliquer  dans l e noir, et pas l e wagon non plus. . . mais  une seule tete maintenant, q u ' i l pouvait toucher en levant simplement l a main. . ." (p. 95). Like Quentin and Shreve, Georges loses h i s sense of the present and moves f r e e l y into the past. Corinne acts merely as a substitute for Blum who himself occasionally loses a l l clear features "Ce n'etait pas a son pere q u ' i l v o u l a i t parler. Ce n'etait meme pas a femme couchee i n v i s i b l e a cote de l u i , ce n'etait peut-etre meme pas a  96  Blum q u ' i l e t a i t en t r a i n d'expliquer  en chuchotant dans l e n o i r . . ."  (p. 100). In the f i n a l analysis, Georges always addresses himself so that his father, Corinne, and Blum become surrogate selves. The narrator addressing himself suggests the n a r c i s s i s t i c nature of the narrative act; that i s , the author addressing himself. Simon thereby intimates that f i c t i o n i s ultimately not written:..for a public but for i t s own  3.  sake.  Repetition i n the Overall Structure A novel i s an a r t i f a c t that follows an o v e r a l l plan. I t has a  beginning that stands i n some r e l a t i o n to the end and a middle that supports this r e l a t i o n and, at the same time, postpones i t s revelation. A popular maxim has i t that each part of a novel p a r t i c i p a t e s i n the whole and i s i n turn determined by this whole. The aesthetic value of a novel seems to be i n d i r e c t proportion to i t s o v e r a l l composition. The simplest organization i s a chronological account of causal connections between events. Deviations from this simple pattern often leave holes i n the story or replace chronological sequence with symmetrical arrangement. The straight l i n e of the narrative i s disturbed and r e p e t i t i o n may  or may  not intrude. According  to Roland Barthes,  the narrative generally maintains suspense by addressing  an enigma  whose solution i s withheld u n t i l the end. The text progresses at the same time as i t does everything i n i t s power to f r u s t r a t e that La dynamique du texte. . . est done paradoxale: e'est une dynamique statique: l e probleme est de mainteriir l'enigme dans l e vide i n i t i a l de sa reponse; alors que l e s phrases  progress:  97  p r e s s e n t l e "deroulement" de l ' h i s t o i r e e t ne peuvent s'empecher de c o n d u i r e , de d e p l a c e r c e t t e h i s t o i r e , l e code hermeneutique exerce une a c t i o n c o n t r a i r e : i l d o i t d i s p o s e r dans l e f l u x du d i s c o u r s des r e t a r d s ( c h i c a n e s , a r r e t s , devoiements); sa s t r u c t u r e e s t e s s e n t i e l l e m e n t r e a c t i v e , car i l oppose a l'avancee i n e l u c t a b l e du l a n gage un j e u echelonne d ' a r r e t s : c ' e s t , e n t r e l a q u e s t i o n e t l a reponse, t o u t un espace d i l a t o i r e , dont l'embleme pourrait etre l a "reticence", cette figure r h e t o r i q u e ^ q u i i n t e r r o m p t l a phrase, l a suspend e t l a d e v i e . . . Barthes r e f e r s to the k i n d of t e x t t h a t d e s c r i b e s than La Route. The  Absalom more  s t r u c t u r e of F a u l k n e r ' s n o v e l i s r e l a t e d to  the d e t e c t i v e mystery whose main i n t e r e s t concerns the to an enigma. However, u n l i k e provides information  the c o n v e n t i o n a l  m o t i v a t i o n s about i n i t i a l l y  detective  functions  the i n t e r p l a y of f a c t and  that f i l l s  s t a t e d f a c t s . The  thus a n t i c i p a t e d from the s t a r t but  retrospect. Repetition  and  suspended s o l u t i o n s t o r y , Absalom  about the n o v e l ' s outcome r i g h t from the  I t c o n c e n t r a t e s on a p r o c e s s of d i s c o v e r y  is  accurately  as one  in. c o n n e c t i o n s  s o l u t i o n to the  can o n l y be  beginning.  enigma  f u l l y understood i n  form of r e t a r d a t i o n and  i n t e r p r e t a t i o n . The  and  same f a c t s s u r f a c e  a g a i n i n o r d e r to be a n a l y z e d i n the l i g h t of new  manipulates again  information.  Absalom  t h e r e f o r e p r e s e n t s i t s e l f as an e x c e l l e n t i l l u s t r a t i o n of the r e l a t i o n s h i p between suspense and r e p e t i t i o n . The many s i m i l a r i t i e s between Absalom and L a Route tend t o obscure the r a d i c a l d i f f e r e n c e s i n t h e i r c o m p o s i t i o n . A l t h o u g h L a Route p o s i t s enigma not  u n l i k e the one  i n Absalom, i t never attempts to e x p l a i n i t .  S t a t i n g the enigma appears to be  the s o l e i n t e r e s t i n L a Route. The  f o r knowledge i s i n e v i t a h l y n e u t r a l i z e d by i s impossible.  an  desire  the r e a l i z a t i o n t h a t knowledge  L a Route i s t h e r e f o r e not b u i l t on  suspense but  on  sym-  98  metry. Barthes's "dynamique statique" s t i l l applies but, rather than to slow down progress, the forms of retardation become the main focus of the narrative so that progress becomes tolerated as a necessary e v i l . Repetition i s , of course, an i n t e g r a l part of symmetry. According to Webster's, symmetry "implies correspondence  i n the form, s i z e , ar12  rangement, etc. of parts on either side of a median l i n e or plane." Symmetrically opposed parts can thus never be contiguous and must be separated by an intermediary term which implies narrative progress. In order to understand the symmetrical structure of La Route, i t s r e l a t i o n ship with narrative progress must be analyzed. 3. a.  Repetition and ..suspense (Faulkner) Suspense operates on a p r i n c i p l e of "retardation," the i n t e n t i o n a l  withholding of pertinent information. The reader may be made aware of withheld information through anticipatory allusions or he may,  with a  shock of sudden recognition, become conscious of i t only after the mis13 sing facts have been provided. Gerard Genette, i n Figures I I I , characterizes gaps i n the narrative and the ways i n which they may may not be f i l l e d i n l a t e r as "anachronies."  or  Genette s p e c i f i e s that  "anachronies narratives" touch on the various "formes de discordance • 14 entre l'ordre de l ' h i s t o i r e et c e l u i du r e c i t . "  He describes the various  categories of "anachronies" i n great d e t a i l , but for the present purposes only h i s more general points need to be stressed. "Anachronies" are divided into "analepses." (retrospections) and "prolepses" (anticipations). An "analepse" often f i l l s i n either an e l l i p s e or a "prolepse." E l l i p s e s '  99  a r e gaps i n the n a r r a t i v e which may he s i m p l y i m p l i e d o r s t a t e d e x p l i c i t l y . I m p l i e d e l l i p s e s l e a v e o u t a n a r r a t i v e segment w i t h o u t s a y i n g s o , whereas e x p l i c i t e l l i p s e s s p e c i f y t h a t a gap has occured  a t a given  p o i n t i n t h e t e x t . Both e l l i p s e types r e f u s e t o s u p p l y any i n f o r m a t i o n about t h e c o n t e n t o f t h e l e f t o u t segment and thereby t e a s e t h e r e a d e r ' s c u r i o s i t y . Aware t h a t a suspense n a r r a t i v e u s u a l l y c o n t a i n s a number o f e l l i p s e s — t h e most i m p o r t a n t one i n t h e t r a d i t i o n a l d e t e c t i v e s t o r y b e i n g the k i l l e r ' s i d e n t i t y — t h e r e a d e r i s i m p a t i e n t t o d i s c o v e r what they c o n c e a l . Once a gap i n d i c a t i o n i n c l u d e s an a l l u s i o n t o t h e c o n t e n t t h a t w i l l be f i l l e d i n l a t e r , i t i s no l o n g e r an e l l i p s e b u t a " p r o l e p s e . " I n t h e course o f the n a r r a t i v e , miost " p r o l e p s e s " w i l l e v e n t u a l l y be completed e i t h e r by t h e main n a r r a t i v e o r by an " a n a l e p s e . " The r e l a t i o n s h i p s between e l l i p s e s , " p r o l e p s e s , " " a n a l e p s e s , "  and t h e main n a r r a t i v e  can become e x t r e m e l y c o m p l i c a t e d . One o f t h e most c o m p l i c a t e d concerns " a n a c h r o n i e s  possibilities  d o u b l e s " whose e x p l i c i t f o r m u l a t i o n would r e a d :  " ' I I d e v a i t a r r i v e r p l u s t a r d , comme nous l'avons d e j a v u . . .', ou:  'II  e t a i t d e j a a r r i v e , comme nous l e v e r r o n s p l u s t a r d . . . ' i n G e n e t t e ' s system, " a n a c h r o n i e s  d o u b l e s " f a l l between " p r o l e p s e s " and " a n a l e p s e s "  because they answer s i m u l t a n e o u s l y t o two q u e s t i o n s : "Annonces r e t r o -  16 s p e c t i v e s ? Rappels a n t i c i p a t o i r e s ? "  Since "anachronies  d e f i n i t e , Genette c a l l s them " a c h r o n i e s . " Suspense.in the r e s u l t o f " a c h r o n i e s " which p a r t i a l l y f i l l  doubles" a r e i n -  f i c t i o n i s often  i n an i n i t i a l  prolepse  but do n o t complete i t u n t i l t h e n a r r a t i v e segment i n q u e s t i o n meets.,up w i t h the main n a r r a t i v e l i n e . " A c h r o n i e s " depend h e a v i l y on r e p e t i t i o n . The r e l a t i o n s h i p between r e p e a t e d  and new i n f o r m a t i o n i n a t e x t b u i l t on  100  "achronies" represents an important  control mechanism for narrative  progress. "Retardation" i n suspense f i c t i o n i s thus a< question of how much information the text supplies at any;given time and how much i t conceals. 3 . a. i . The role of r e p e t i t i o n i n a proleptic opening Absalom i s a b r i l l i a n t example of sophisticated suspense f i c t i o n . Faulkner handles retardation s k i l l f u l l y and makes p a r t i c u l a r l y clever use of "achronies'." The opening pages of Absalom indicate already that Faulkner's method of presentation w i l l tax both the reader's concentration and patience. They introduce a number of narrators, refer to d i f f e r e n t time levels within the Sutpen legend, and make many ambiguous a l l u s i o n s to mysterious  characters and events. In retrospect the reader r e a l i z e s  that the opening pages contain an advance summary of a l l the major c r i s e s and situations l a t e r elaborated on. Dallenbach, speaking  specifically  about the practice of placing a "mise en abyme" at the beginning of a novel, makes a point that applies to a l l proleptic openings: "Pre-posee a l'ouverture de ce r e c i t , l a mise en abyme prospective 'double' l a f i c t i o n a f i n de l a prendre de vitesse et de ne l u i l a i s s e r pour avenir que son passe'.""''  7  The opening of Absalom plunges the reader immediately  into the  thick of things, enlightening him only gradually about the significance of Rosa's cryptic ramblings. These pages not only anticipate an enormous amount of information hut the c r i s s - c r o s s i n g of Quentin's narration l e v e l and of the narrative about Sutpen makes orientation more d i f f i c u l t  still.  Dallenbach argues that the advantages of an abrupt proleptic i n i t i a t i o n include the following:  101  Toutefois, 11 faut v o i r que cette fonction r e v e l a t r i c e et m a t r i c i e l l e en emporte d'autres avec e l l e . Pour nous en t e n i r aux plus importantes, rappelons qu'en exposant l a f i c t i o n en raccourci l a r e f l e x i o n rassemble des episodes et des t r a i t s epars doht l a perception quasi simultanee, au s e u i l du l i v r e , n'est pas sans i n f l u e r sur son mode de dechiffrement: a v e r t i d'un parcours dont i l a une connaissance synthetique, l e lecteur s a i t au-devant de quoi i l va et peut sans hesitation imposer des scansions a son i t i n e r a i r e , reconnaitre des temps forts dans sa marche, rester maitre de son avancee.18 An advance summary of the novel thus contains both thematic and s t r u c t u r a l implications. Aside from arousing interest and c u r i o s i t y , i t suggests how the narrative should be approached and interpreted. The opening of Absalom anticipates how d i f f e r e n t time l e v e l s i n t e r act with each other. The d i s t i n c t i o n between Quentin's and Sutpen's time marks the largest time gap. However, the most confusing time s h i f t s occur "V-  within the story of Sutpen. Faulkner introduces Sutpen's l i f e i n a fragmented and remarkably r e p e t i t i v e form. With only an unspecified "he" as a t r a n s i t i o n , the reader f a l l s , v i r t u a l l y without a warning, from Rosa's "dim hot a i r l e s s room" (p. 7) i n 1909 into an account of Sutpen's a r r i v a l i n Jefferson around 1833: "Out of quiet thunderclap he would abrupt  (man-  horse-demon) upon a scene peaceful and decorous. . ." (p. 8). Rosa follows up her ominous introduction of the main character by dwelling on certain key events associated with Sutpen's early years i n Jefferson. We learn that Sutpen arrived with, a "hand of wild niggers" and a French architect i n order to "drag house and formal gardens v i o l e n t l y out of the soundless Nothing. . ." (p. 8). After a short digression,. Rosa returns to Sutpen's sudden appearance and obscure a c t i v i t i e s . This time we are told  Sutpen's  name and reminded that he "came out of nowhere." At the same time the  102  construction of the mansion i s mentioned again and we are informed that he married E l l e n who had a "son and a daughter." This new information i s a l l the more i n t r i g u i n g as we are given two important hints about the family's future: "Only they destroyed him or something or he destroyed them or something. And died" (p. 9). Approximately  two pages l a t e r the  same biography i s offered again but i n more elaborate terms: . •• . that Sunday morning i n June i n 1833 when he f i r s t rode into town out of no discernible past and acquired h i s land no one knew how and b u i l t h i s house, h i s mansion, apparently out of nothing and married E l l e n C o l d f i e l d and begot h i s two c h i l d r e n — t h e son who widowed the daughter who had not yet been a b r i d e — a n d so accomplished h i s a l l o t t e d course to i t s v i o l e n t . . . end. (p. 11) The date of Sutpen's a r r i v a l , the family name of the wife, and the v i o l e n t nature of his death are the only new  facts, and the rest of the passage  either duplicates what we know already about Sutpen's establishment i n Jefferson or increases the mystery surrounding the children's fate. The chapter repeats several more times that Sutpen "came out of nowhere" and b u i l t h i s house "out of nothing." It also supplies two more important insights into the children's fate. The f i r s t states bluntly that Henry "would return but once: :more before disappearing for good, and that as a murderer and almost a f r a t r i c i d e . . ." (p. 15). The second one has Rosa explain: ". . . 1  saw Henry repudiate his home and b i r t h r i g h t and then  return and p r a c t i c a l l y f l i n g the bloody corpse of h i s s i s t e r ' s  sweetheart  at the hem of her wedding gown. . ." (p. 18). The scattered facts about the children only i n t e n s i f y the mystery surrounding them. Although i t becomes reasonably clear that.the brother has k i l l e d the s i s t e r ' s fiance, the c i r cumstances and motivations concerning the: murder are i n t e n t i o n a l l y withheld.  103 The remaining pages of the opening chapter elaborate on Sutpen's a r r i v a l , the construction of the plantation, the marriage, Sutpen's early influence on h i s children, and his fights with the negroes. Sutpen's early years i n Jefferson are thus described i n some d e t a i l , although the second chapter i s needed to complete  the picture. The "retardation" effect i s strongest  i n the opening pages and i n i n the passages concerned with the central episode of the f r a t r i c i d e . Lammert summarizes the method Faulkner employs as follows: Zur konsekutiven Verkniipfung gehort es, dass vor Auflosung a l l e r Ratsel zahlreiche Einzelereignisse zunachst i n einer geheimnisvollen Korrelation zu stehen scheinen, ehe sich ihre kausale Abhangigkeit h e r a u s s t e l l t . ^ Faulkner makes entry into Absalom d i f f i c u l t i n order to discourage the lazy and to promise those who persevere an often f r u s t r a t i n g but ultimatel y rewarding passage through the novel. 3. a. i i .  The role of r e p e t i t i o n i n misleading information  The misleading information we find p a r t i c u l a r l y i n the early parts of Absalom i s quite often q u a l i f i e d as such. In Roland Barthes  1  terms, we  are dealing more with "leurres" than with "fausses reponses." Barthes describes the "leurre" as a "sorte de devoiement delibere de l a v e r i t e " which i s related to "1'equivoque,"  this "melange de v e r i t e et de leurre ^  2  0  qui, bien souvent, en cernant l'enigme, contribue a l ' e p a i s s i r . " The reader knows that he i s not always being told the truth or at least not the whole truth. Mr. Compson assumes that Henry's disapproval of Bon's octoroon wife motivated the f r a t r i c i d e . I t l a t e r becomes clear that this i s not so and Mr. Compson himself i s aware that his facts do  104  not  a l w a y s add  up:  I t ' s j u s t i n c r e d i b l e . I t j u s t d o e s . n o t e x p l a i n . Or p e r h a p s t h a t ' s i t : t h e y d o n ' t e x p l a i n and we a r e n o t s u p p o s e d t o know. . . They a r e t h e r e , y e t s o m e t h i n g i s m i s s i n g ; t h e y a r e l i k e a c h e m i c a l f o r m u l a exhumed a l o n g w i t h t h e l e t t e r s f r o m t h a t f o r g o t t e n c h e s t . . . y o u b r i n g them t o g e t h e r i n the p r o p o r t i o n s c a l l e d f o r , but n o t h i n g happens; you re-read, t e d i o u s and i n t e n t , p o r i n g , m a k i n g s u r e t h a t y o u h a v e f o r g o t t e n n o t h i n g , made no m i s c a l c u l a t i o n ; y o u b r i n g them t o g e t h e r a g a i n and a g a i n n o t h i n g h a p p e n s . . . (pp. 1 0 0 - 1 0 1 ) . In Barthes'  t e r m s , Mr.  Compson's a d m i s s i o n c o n s t i t u t e s a  "blocage  21 (constat Mr.  d'insolubilite)."  H o w e v e r , i n s p i t e o f " l e u r r e s " and  Compson's n a r r a t i o n c o n t a i n s  understanding of  the  Absalom took p l a c e .  s o c i e t y and  enough t r u t h to deepen the  reader's  c i r c u m s t a n c e s i n which the  events i n  I t i s f o r t h i s r e a s o n t h a t Q u e n t i n and  f e r i n g w h a t seems a more a c c u r a t e t o Mr.  r e c o n s t r u c t i o n of  the  Shreve,  story,  Compson's f a l s e l e a d r e p r e s e n t s  o f " l e u r r e " and  resort  the most c o n s p i c u o u s  "equivoque." Other i s o l a t e d instances  ways. I t happens o c c a s i o n a l l y t h a t  i n t e r p r e t e d i n a way  is later  that  b u i l t h i s mansion "apparently  out  q u a l i f i c a t i o n "apparently"  contradicted. of n o t h i n g "  already  The  example  r e s o r t to the  method i n l e s s s y s t e m a t i c  describes  i n great  a r c h i t e c t and  the n e g r o e s to work f o r him.  statement that Sutpen "acquired herself  indicates a l i t t l e  d e t a i l how  h i s l a n d no  l a t e r i n the  land "from a t r i b e of ignorant  argument t h a t  Sutpen  to the p o s s i b i l i t y  Sutpen forced Equally one  the  equivocal  knew how"  ( p . 16)  and  consider  is  the  (p. 11).  Mr.  of  French  same c h a p t e r t h a t S u t p e n  Indians"  are  i s a good c a s e i n p o i n t .  a l e r t s us  that Faulkner  same  facts  a " l e u r r e . " I n d e e d , R o s a ' s c l a i m seems h i g h l y e x a g g e r a t e d when we  his  of-  Compson's i n t e p r e t a t i o n w h e n e v e r i t i s s u i t a b l e . Mr.  The  blocage,"  Rosa  took  Compson a d d s  105 that "the Chickasaw Indian agent" (p. 34) oversaw the transaction. The retrospective nature of the narrative permits. Faulkner to manipulate the l e v e l of knowledge his narrators impart. By never c l e a r l y d i f f e r e n t i a t i n g between Rosa's knowledge of 1833 and her f u l l e r understanding i n 1909, Faulkner maintains Rosa's supernatural explanations at  the same time as he accounts f o r the same events i n l o g i c a l terms.  Misleading information slows down the narrative by forcing the text to return to the same facts i n always s l i g h t l y altered form.  3. a. i i i . The r o l e of r e p e t i t i o n i n the o v e r a l l narrative progression Absalom turns around a number of mysterious events whose l e v e l of enlightenment  i s c a r e f u l l y controlled. The central enigma concerns the  f r a t r i c i d e because s t r u c t u r a l l y everything else i s either leading up to i t or i s a consequence of i t . The f r a t r i c i d e i s the hole that each narrator t r i e s to f i l l according to his or her own knowledge and temperament. Faulkner delays revelations to such an extent that the reader feels that nothing ever happened. Guetti, for instance, concludes h i s study of Absalom with the suspicion that there was perhaps never a story to be told i n the f i r s t place. The o s c i l l a t i o n between what i s known and unknown i n Absalom.creates  a complicated and forbidding structure i n which  everything seems to overlap without ever f i l l i n g i n any holes s a t i s f a c t o r i l y . Joseph W. Reed describes the o v e r a l l structure i n the novel with great 22 accuracy,  and I therefore base my own analysis on his work,  supplementing  i t only when necessary.' Chapter One;, as I have shown already,• concentrates on Sutpen's a r r i v a l and early years i n Jefferson. Chapter Two  then goes  over Sutpen's a r r i v a l again but focuses primarily on the marriage between  106 Sutpen and E l l e n C o l d f i e l d . Chapter Three covers a l l the major events i n Sutpen's l i f e , from h i s a r r i v a l i n Jefferson to his death. Chapter Four discusses the events that lead up to the f r a t r i c i d e , that i s ,  the f r i e n d -  ship between Bon and Henry as w e l l as Sutpen's c o n f l i c t with this two sons. Chapter Five takes up Sutpen's marriage once more, focuses on h i s relationship with Rosa C o l d f i e l d , and ends with his death. Chapter Six alludes to some of the main events i n Sutpen's l i f e but emphasizes  the  fate of the Sutpen descendants after h i s death. Chapter Seven delves into Sutpen's past before his a r r i v a l i n Jefferson and then touches again on some special points of interest l i k e the Christmas events of 1859 and Sutpen's proposal to Rosa. Chapter Eight turns once more to spots of interest, especially Bon's background, the relationhip between Bon and Henry a f t e r Henry leaves his home, and Sutpen's death. Chapter Nine brings the  story up to 1910, the time of narration, and depicts the burning of  Sutpen's Hundred, Rosa's death, and the survival of the i d i o t Jim Bond. By Chapter Three, then, the core events of Absalom are firmly established. If  the overlapping structure of the novel i s represented i n diagram form,  Faulkner's halting and r e p e t i t i v e method reveals i t s e l f c l e a r l y :  107  Chapter  Narrative segments  I  B  11  B  C  III  B  C^ D  V  B  VI  B  C  B  C  VIII IX  A B C D E F G  E  C  IV  VII  Legend:  A  Sutpen's past Sutpen's early years i n Jefferson Events leading up to the murder Events following the murder Sutpen's death Sutpen's descendants Quentin's v i s i t to Sutpen's Hundred  ::D ::E  C  E D  F  G  E  (The underlined l e t t e r s indicate that this p a r t i c u l a r segment r e ceives the most extensive treatment i n the chapter.)  G G  The events the narrative comes back to most often are those that were established i n the early chapters (B). Sutpen's a r r i v a l i n Jefferson a f fects the whole town and disturbs the l i v e s of those closest associated with him. This, combined with the fascination of Quentin and Shreve with Sutpen's disruptive i n t r u s i o n , accounts f o r the prominence of Sutpen's early years i n Jefferson. Another area of interest that i s discussed repeatedly centers around the events leading up to and growing out of the murder of Bon (C and D ) . The mystery enveloping the f r a t r i c i d e i n v i t e s various explanations because each participant and spectator sees i t d i f ferently. The. more puzzling an event i s , the more i t i s discussed. Sutpen's death "(E) , an event of r e l a t i v e c l a r i t y , therefore receives proportionately less attention than the actions of the l i v i n g man. The least r e p e t i t i v e and most straightforward sections of Absalom l i e outside the core s i t u a t i o n . They concern mainly Sutpen's past (A) and the fate of h i s descendants (F). The time of narration, stretching roughly from September 1 9 0 9 to the winter  108 of 1910, rounds out the chronology. I t i s interesting to note that Sutpen's past, explaining the motivation f o r many apparently i r r a t i o n a l acts l a t e r i n h i s l i f e , i s withheld as long as possible. I t i s not introduced u n t i l Chapter  Seven and, i n v i o l a t i o n of normal chronology, i t comes a f t e r the  fate of Sutpen's descendants has been discussed. Faulkner delays motivat i o n a l information i n order to keep the central enigma a l i v e . The narr a t i v e flow i s impeded by the repeated tracing of the same situations and s t r a t e g i c a l l y placed p a r t i a l answers. Although the narrative seems to jump from place to place, i t nevertheless follows a c a r e f u l l y worked out plan. When a question i s raised and then answered, a new question i s immediately  introduced to engage the  reader's attention. Answers are rarely given i n one concentrated e f f o r t but are extended over several chapters. Some chapters provide information about d i f f e r e n t questions simultaneously. Although holes i n the narr a t i v e are not f i l l e d i n at expected places and i n l i n e a r succession, they follow a l o g i c of timed revelations which Reed describes as follows: Chapter 2 f i l l s i n one hole of 1 (how Sutpen got Mr. Coldfield's daughter), 3 creates new e l l i p s e s (the Christmas interview, the death of Henry., Sutpen's proposal to Rosa). Chapter 4 takes o f f on one of these traces (Bon's miscegenation), 5 takes another (the proposal). Chapters 6 and 7 provide endings f o r these which embody some new questions and some new b e g i n n i n g s — i n c l u d i n g one very b i g suspended question (Bon's parentage), to be puzzled over and resolved i n 8 (the i n c e s t ) . Chapter 8 also takes up a l l the unresolved e l l i p s e s of 3, 4, 5, and 6. Chapter 9moves the basic action of 1910 to i t s climax i n the discovery of Henry and.beyond i n the burning of Sutpen's Hundred, Rosa's death, and Shreve's questioning of the whole thing.23 :  The alternation of holes and repetitions makes us read f o r solutions. The f i n a l twist of the narrative i s , of course, that a l l solutions reveal  109  themselves as unsubstantiated hypotheses. The. whole novel thus turns out to be a p a r t i a l answer to a not always c l e a r l y stated question. Faulkner obviously believes that the success of Absalom depends on the narrative structure. He therefore takes the "game" with timed revelations very seriously. At the same time, he does occasionally have fun with i t . At one point he teases the reader by leaving the l a s t sentence of one chapter open u n t i l the end of the following one. Chapter Three ends with Wash r i d i n g up to Rosa's gate, shouting to her: "Hello, Hello," at intervals u n t i l she'came to the door; whereupon he lowered h i s voice somewhat, though not much. "Air you Rosie C o l d f i e l d ? " he said (p. 87). We are both baffled and intrigued by the obviously incomplete scene and perhaps even midly outraged by Faulkner's v i o l a t i o n of sacred chapter u n i t i e s . I t i s not u n t i l the end of Chapter Four that the scene i s completed : . . . and then Wash "Jones s i t t i n g that saddleless mule before Miss Rosa's gate, shouting her. name into the sunny and peacef u l quiet of the street, saying, 'Air you Rosie Coldfield? Then you better come on out yon. Henry has done shot that durn French f e l l e r . K i l t him dead as beef.' (p. 133) The suspended scene i s reminiscent of Sterne's Tristram Shandy where characters are l e f t standing on stairways while the narrative digresses. What Faulkner's joke brings out most c l e a r l y i s the r o l e of r e p e t i t i o n i n an interrupted narrative sequence.. The r e p e t i t i o n of " A i r you Rosie Coldf i e l d ? " spans and at the same time accentuates the digression that c o n s t i tutes the narrative between the two chapter endings. The staggered process of revelation forces 'the narrative to retrace the same raw material again and again. I t thereby disrupts the text's  110  horizontal movement and gives the impression that the story i s not going anywhere. This impression i s reinforced by the fact that the most important situations i n Absalom seem to be simultaneously present from beginning to end. In spite of a strong s p a t i a l i l l u s i o n , the novel nevertheless exhibits an underlying, indirect l i n e a r i t y . Although dislocations and overlappings make the narrative structure d i f f i c u l t to trace, each major situation i s treated extensively at some point i n the novel. The preceding diagram can be rearranged to r e f l e c t the general order i n which the major situations are emphasized: B  The core events of the Sutpen saga (B-E) are i n d i r e c t l y arranged i n chronological succession. The fate of Sutpen's descendants, s i t u a t i n g i t s e l f outside the core s i t u a t i o n , follows l o g i c a l l y after Sutpen's death so that the only substantial v i o l a t i o n of chronology  concerns Sutpen's  past (A). Faulkner cleverly overshadows the basic story progression by  Ill means o f a c o m p l i c a t e d partial  s o l u t i o n s , a n d m a i n n a r r a t i v e . The n a r r a t i v e p r o g r e s s i o n  the d i g r e s s i o n s holds  interplay of a n t i c i p a t i o n s , retrospections,  and f r a g m e n t a t i o n s more d i s t r u b i n g b e c a u s e i t a l w a y s  t h e hope f o r an u l t i m a t e meaning o r s o l u t i o n . Why s u c h a c o m p l e x s t r u c t u r e ? T h e a n s w e r h a s t o do w i t h  s h i p between r e a l i t y  and i t s r e p r e s e n t a t i o n  ment h a s a l w a y s c l a i m e d  correspondence could  century,  "realism" postulated  sense o f t y p i c a l and t h e sense o f a c c u r a t e l y cording  t o Raymond W i l l i a m s ,  historical association; butt  of polemical  to r e a l i t y  of mimetic a r t  an " i d e n t i t y between t h e  reproduced"which i s , ac-  not a necessary connection  but " a . l o c a l  Mimetic o r r e p r e s e n t a t i o n a l a r t i s today the  arguments f o r l i t e r a t u r e as a s e l f - e n g e n d e r i n g  p r o c e s s whose c o n n e c t i o n  with a natural or social referent  l e s s i n c i d e n t a l . I n other linguistique,"  that  move-  take the form o f an  e x t e r n a l copy o r an i n t e r n a l analogy. D u r i n g t h e h e i g h t the nineteenth  the relation-  i n a r t . Every l i t e r a r y  t h a t i t c o r r e s p o n d s more a c c u r a t e l y  than i t s predecessors. This  in  makes  words, a t e x t ' s reference  i s , "un u n i v e r s  formal  i s more o r  to a " r e a l i t e  r e e l ou i m a g i n a i r e "  extra-  i s secondary  25 t o i t s p r i m a r y " . e f f e c t de l'agencement s c r i p t u r a l . " text i s a question  of transformational  operations.  The dynamism o f a These o p e r a t i o n s  p l a c e w i t h i n and between c e r t a i n codes w h i c h Roland B a r t h e s d i v i d e s f i v e major c a t e g o r i e s :  "code hermeneutique," "code thematique,"  take into  "code  26 symbolique," "code p r o a i r e t i q u e , and "code c u l t u r e l . " A text i s a p l u r a l i s t i c s y s t e m w h i c h c a p i t a l i z e s on o f t e n c o n t r a d i c t o r y t e n s i o n s : 1 1  . . . un "bon r e c i t " a c c o m p l i t a l a f o i s l a p l u r a l i t e e t l a c i r c u l a r i t e des codes; c o r r i g e r sans cesse l e s c a u s a l i t e s de 1 ' a n e c d o t e p a r l a m e t o n y m i e d e s s y m b o l e s , e t i n v e r s e m e n t  112 l a simultaneity des sens par les operations et consument l'attente vers sa fin.27  qui entralnent  Barthes demonstrates that even a story written i n the mimetic code ( l i k e Balzac's Sarrasine) depends far less on an imitation of r e a l i t y than i s generally assumed because formal operations are l a r g e l y responsible for the i l l u s i o n of l i f e - l i k e "accuracy." Contemporary f i c t i o n , being more conscious of i t s a r t i f i c i a l i t y , accentuates formal properties. In Absalom the tension between continuity and discontinuity i s p a r t i c u l a r l y pronounced and r e p e t i t i o n serves to impede the forward progression of the narrative at the same time as i t suggests layers of understanding that work on an anal o g i c a l l e v e l . The e f f e c t of these layers leads less to a deepening than to a broadening of the text's meaning. Repetition appears as a powerful a n t i representational device,.embracing decentralization, dispersion, and  dif-  fusion as well as a challenge to causality and teleology. Guetti, expressing some misgivings  about Absalom, concludes that:  . . . as Sutpen's active force and Quentin's imaginative v i t a l i t y a r i s e from and are exhibited i n their f a i l u r e , the greatest success of language i t s e l f i s to create a p o t e n t i a l of meaning that must remain unrealized, a tension between order and disorder that cannot be resolved but only repeated, and repeated.28 Faulkner's anti-representational: stance also explains the r e f u s a l of Absalom  to conform to predictable dramatic  expectations:  Narrative i n t e n s i t y , textual density and suspense mechanisms ought to underline c r i s e s or lead up to revelations—-here they seem to heighten what leads up to crises or, a n t i c l i m a c t i c a l l y , to draw out what leads away from them. What we expect to take a l o t of time takes very l i t t l e , and what we expect w i l l j u s t go bang, goes on and on. The book's rhythm refuses to be dramatic; indeed, i t i s almost i n s i s t e n t l y antidramatic and anticlimactic.29 The complex.structure of Absalom, with i t s fragmentations and redundancies, expresses i t s e l f against conventional  forms of f i c t i o n . This h o s t i l i t y to  113  conventions, i n turn, r e l i e s heavily on the manipulations that r e p e t i t i v e patterns make possible.  3. a. i v .  The r o l e of r e p e t i t i o n i h point of view  Faulkner lessens the shock of the innovative narrative structure i n Absalom by j u s t i f y i n g i t s existence psychologically. He that the r e p e t i t i v e structure was  intimates  necessitated by the fact that numerous  narrators give a more or less d i f f e r e n t version of the same events. The stress here i s on the way  i n which subjective experience inevitably colors  objective facts and events. More r a d i c a l l y , the multiple points of view eliminate the p o s s i b i l i t y of shared knowledge and assert the a r t i f i c i a l i t y of f i c t i o n . An important precursor to Absalom, at least i n this respect, i s Joseph Conrad's Lord Jim. Marlow c o l l e c t s and interprets what witnesses contribute to the cumulative picture of Jim's character and s i t u a t i o n . But  no  matter how many pieces Marlow adds to the p o r t r a i t of Jim, he i s "fated never 30 to see him c l e a r l y "  because any f i n a l "meaning" of Jim remains elusive.  Faulkner adopts a similar witness technique i n Absalom. Both Marlow and Quentin act as a single consciousness that c o l l e c t s information. But where Marlow i s careful not to d i s t o r t the facts, Quentin often changes them to suit his purposes. Marlow therefore deplores "truth" only inadequately  that language can depict the  and Quentin uses language freely, believing that  f i c t i o n has a truth of i t s own.  With this attitude, Absalom stands at the  threshold of experimental contemporary f i c t i o n . In contemporary f i c t i o n , contradictory or highly disparate versions of an event are not always distributed among d i f f e r e n t narrators. Often a single voice  presents  multiple interpretations, or the narrative voice i s dispensed with,  so  114  that" contradictory events stand on their own, without being  filtered  through an i d e n t i f i a b l e consciousness (cf. Simon's Tfyptique). The trend in  f i c t i o n i s d e f i n i t e l y away from p s y c h o l o g i c a l motivation  towards  autonomous and self-generating texts. I f the multiple narrator organization i h Absalom i s viewed more from a s t r u c t u r a l and less from a psychological point of view, Faulkner's achievement i n narrative technique can be more c l e a r l y understood. The narrators i n Absalom r e l a t e d i f f e r e n t l y to each other and to the story they t e l l . Quentin can be said to be i n charge of the narrative, although he gleans h i s information from other narrators who may  temporarily  take over from him. The r e s u l t i s a layered narrative which can become as complicated  as when "Shreve hears of the architect-hunt from Quentin, he  hears him t e l l what his father told him that h i s father told him that 31 Sutpen t o l d him."  The d i f f i c u l t i e s with point of view a r i s e not only from  the layered voices but also from the fact that the time of narration  progress-  es at the same time as the story of Sutpen i s moving along. Instead of a r e l a t i v e l y stable retrospective point of view, as we find i t i n A l a recherche, Absalom confounds us with time s h i f t s i n the narrative frame. S i m i l a r i t i e s and differences between Absalom and A l a recherche help to c l a r i f y this point. Both novels t e l l a story retrospectively i n such a way as to make the end of the story and the beginning of the narration nearly coincide. At the end of A l a recherche, Marcel i s presumably ready to begin writing the novel we have just finished reading. S i m i l a r l y , the story of Sutpen eventually  brings  the events of 1833 up to the time of narration i n 1909 and 1910, e s p e c i a l l y when Quentin's v i s i t to Sutpen's Hundred and Rosa's death are described.  115  However, there are s i g n i f i c a n t differences, between the basic structures of the two novels. Marcel writes retrospectively from one point i n time, which l i e s i n an unspecified future. We only know that the narrator i s suffering from insomnia and that this insomnia reminds him of the sleepless nights i n h i s childhood which open Du cote de chez Swann. Proust indicates neither when the narrator begins to write nor how long i t takes him to accomplish his task. Faulkner, on the other hand, pays much attention to the time of narration. He provides detailed information and actual dates concerning Quentin's temporal movement from September 1909 to the winter of 1910. Quentin i s i n fact such a pronounced presence that c r i t i c s have often asked themselves whether Absalom i s not the story of Quentin rather than of Sutpen. The question as to whose story Absalom r e a l l y i s should not be d i s missed too e a s i l y . The relationship between the story and the narrator or frame l e v e l plays a:.crucial organizing r o l e . Faulkner i s too conscious a writer to confuse main story and frame without knowing what he i s doing. Basing myself on Genette's analysis of the narrative structure i n A l a recherche, I intend to decipher Faulkner's reasons for this confusion. Genette's study focuses on " l e s rapports entre l'ordre temporel de succession des evenements dans l a diegese et l'ordre pseudo-temporel  de leur d i s -  position dans l e r e c i t . . ." (p. 32) In other words, Genette arrives at some intriguing results by juxtaposing the succession and duration of events as they would appear i n clock time and their arrangement and r e l a t i v e expansion and contraction i n the novel. One of Genette's important discoveries concerns his interpretation of the famous opening sentence in' A l a r e c h e r c h e —  116  "Longtemps, . je me suis couche de bonne .heure" —as a " p o s i t i o n - c l e " JJ  Jt+  which mediates between the narrator-Marcel's insomnia and the heroMarcel's sleeplessness as a c h i l d . The "drame du coucher" controls the opening part of A l a recherche by offering the zig-zag movement of the text a fixed base to which i t can p e r i o d i c a l l y return. Quentin's presence as a l i s t e n e r and narrator i n Absalom f u l f i l l s a similar " p o s i t i o n - c l e " function. But unlike the fixed s i t u a t i o n of the "drame du coucher" and the  narrator's insomnia, the " p o s i t i o n - c l e " i n Absalom i s f l e x i b l e . The  f i r s t chapter establishes already what the main stages in'Quentin's progress w i l l be. We f i r s t meet him i n Rosa's o f f i c e , a setting that includes two allusions to the room at Harward (p. 9) which represents the 1910 stage of Quentin's narrative odyssey. The chapter then moves to Mr. Compson's house, where Quentin receives more information about the Sutpen saga i n the evening of the same day as h i s v i s i t to Rosa's o f f i c e took place. This background appears i n parentheses and alludes to s t i l l another time of narration. When Quentin speaks of "his promise to return for her i n the buggy" (p. 12) and when Mr. Compson hints that "no matter what happens out there tonight. . ."' (p. 13), Faulkner anticipates Quentin's v i s i t to Sutpen's Hundred with Rosa l a t e r that same night. Afternoon, evening, and late night of a day i n September of 1909 and a day at Harvard i n the winter of 1910 are thus singled out as four separate times of narration. The point of view i n A l a recherche permits Proust to present his story simultaneously from Marcel-hero's limited knowledge and from Marcelnarrator's extensive retrospective v i s i o n . In Absalom.narrator, and hero are  not the same person so that the retrospective pattern i s not a.question  117  of memory but only a shared investment i n the same past. Quentin's knowledge i s therefore always p a r t i a l and hypothetical. Where Marcel-narrator i s always there to interpret the actions of Marcel-hero, Quentin has no such check on h i s understanding of Sutpen's behavior and motivations. The process of making sense out of information fragments often threatens to usurp the central p o s i t i o n of the story. The time of narration i s no longer unequivocally subordinate to the time of the story. Although Quentin was not even born by the time Sutpen was k i l l e d , Sutpen's present i s also Quentin's past just as Quentin's present i s i n some sense Sutpen's  future.  The two time levels are continuous at the same time as they have an autono-. mous existence. The " p o s i t i o n - c l e " i n A l a recherche i s v i r t u a l l y forgotten a f t e r the "drame du coucher" and does not move back into the foreground u n t i l Le temps retrouve.* In Absalom, however, the time of narration and the time of the narrative are constantly vying for attention. Genette argue that i f the narrator's insomnia can be c a l l e d the " r e c i t premier," the whole of A l a recherche acts as one large "analepse." The story of Sutpen i s perhaps a much more obvious "analepse" than the apprenticeship of Marcel but the " r e c i t premier" reveals i t s e l f as a disturbingly unstable entity. On the v e r t i c a l axis, the narrative function i s distributed among several voices and on the horizontal one, the narrator i n charge moves along i n time. Instead of unifying the narrative, Faulkner's experiment with point o view provides more evidence f o r h i s d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with conventional l i t e r a r y devices. His success, of course, depends heavily on r e p e t i t i o n  * Certain s t y l i s t i c and subtle s t r u c t u r a l patterns do, of course, point to the novel's retrospectiveness and thereby r e c a l l the " p o s i t i o n - c l e . "  118 because the layered narrator arrangement requires that each narrator t a b l i s h what he knows and how  es-  he knows i t . S i m i l a r l y , Quentin's progres-  sion through time forces him to specify how much he knew at each point i n the narrative. The famous c r i t i c a l controversy  about how  Quentin learned  of Bon's exact parentage t e s t i f i e s to the importance readers attach to sources of information.  It i s for t h i s reason that Faulkner monitors the  tension between what i s f a m i l i a r and what i s new with so much care. 3.ra. v.  The r o l e of r e p e t i t i o n within narrative l e v e l s  Many temporal dislocations i n Absalom take place between the levels of the story and the narration. But within both of these levels further dislocations occur. In the early chapters, up to Chapter Five, the most active dislocations happen within the Sutpen story, whereas the narrator l e v e l remains r e l a t i v e l y stable. After the i n i t i a l introduction of the various narrators, we find Quentin l i s t e n i n g either to Rosa or to Compson i n 1909.  Mr.  In Chapter Six, the story continues to fluctuate but  the  narrator l e v e l also becomes more unstable. Quentin t e l l s Shreve at Harvard i n the winter of 1910 what his father had told him e a r l i e r . There i s thus constant back and forth movement between the two narrator frames. IhvGhapt Seven dislocations situate themselves almost e n t i r e l y within the narrator l e v e l . The Sutpen story progresses i n r e l a t i v e l y l i n e a r fashion through Sutpen's youth and l i f e i n Jefferson, whereas Quentin t e l l s Shreve what his  grandfather had told his father what Sutpen had i n i t i a l l y told  General Compson's conversations occasions:  i n 1833,  with Sutpen take place on two  during the a r c h i t e c t chase, and i n 1864,  him.  separate i n General  Compson's o f f i c e . Although we hear Sutpen himself speak, the narrator  119 and h i s subject are at the greatest distance from each other and communicate through two intermediaries. The narrative dislocations i n this chapter force us to pay more attention to the act of narration than i n e a r l i e r chapters. In Chapter Eight, the narrator and story l e v e l s v i r t u a l l y merge because Shreve and Quentin i d e n t i f y with Henry arid Bon to the point of turning into a composite  " I " or "we":  "So that now i t  was not two but four of them r i d i n g the two horses. . ." (p. 334). In the l a s t chapter, the novel turns to Quentin's own reactions to the burning of Sutpen's Hundred, Rosa's death, and the s u r v i v a l of the i d i o t Jim Bond.  Absalom gradually moves from the facts of the Sutpen saga to  their effect on Quentin and Shreve u n t i l the novel does i n fact become their story. The f r a t r i c i d e acts as a f o c a l point which controls what happens before and a f t e r i t . On the one hand, i t ends Sutpen's hopes f o r a worthy heir and, on the other, i t looms as a stumbling block i n Quentin's desperate attempt to escape from the past. Faulkner i d e n t i f i e s the f o l lowing dialogue as the point Quentin "couldn't pass": Now you cant marry him. Why cant I marry him? Because he's dead. Dead? Yes. I k i l l e d him,  (p. ,172)  It i s at this point that the story of the Sutpen children becomes Quentin's own;  his relationship with Caddy and Dalton Ames i n The Sound and the Fury  r e f l e c t s that between Henry, Judith, and Bon. Once Quentin and Shreve become doubles of Henry and Bon, they obsessively repeat the now  f a m i l i a r facts  about the Sutpen family again and again i n order to find reasons and motivations.  120  3. a. v i .  The r o l e of r e p e t i t i o n i n the struggle between fact and  fiction  It i s generally agreed that the version Quentin establishes i n c o l laboration with Shreve i s the most believable and complete. In view of the highly hypothetical and often blatantly contradictory nature of the Quentin/Shreve account, this consensus i s rather s u r p r i s i n g . Shreve, for instance, invents a lawyer who  i s supposed to have manipulated Bon into  the role of Sutpen's adversary, and Quentin moves the Christmas l i b r a r y scene to a spring s e t t i n g . Shreve even claims that i t was Henry rather than Bon who  was wounded at Shiloh. Why  are we so ready to accept the  Quentin/Shreve version? The answer i s p a r t i a l l y hidden i n the way which Faulkner uses r e p e t i t i o n to control reader response. By  in  repeating  the same facts from various and often contradictory points of view, Faulkner deprives the reader of any certainty. Certainty, however, i s a basic human need. In her a r t i c l e "Risk and Redundancy," Liane Norman makes the following  observations:  The reader, deprived of any workable certitude, i s , on the one hand, at the disposal of the author and must depend on him; on the other hand, his need for something he can depend on increases as i t i s withheld.35 In the early parts of the novel, Faulkner withholds and contradicts facts to such an extent that the reader i s ready to accept the Quentin/Shreve version not so much because i t i s innately more plausible but because the need for certainty becomes an overriding desire. Paradoxically, then, the reader embraces the version offered by the narrator team that situates i t s e l f at the greatest distance from the story. Indeed, Malcolm Cowley, i n one of his e a r l i e s t statements about Absalom, finds the Quentin/Shreve reconstructions so superior to the others that he suggests:  121  I would say that "Absalom, Absalom" would be better i f cut by about a t h i r d , maybe a l l the early parts of i t omitted, leaving only Quentin's story to his roommate.36 Cowley, showing a preference  for the least factual version,* indicates  that f i c t i o n can be more convincing than fact. The redundancies i n the early parts of Absalom prepare the way questionable ing  for the reader's almost un-  acceptance of a f i c t i o n a l version that never t i r e s of t e l l -  us that i t i s indeed f i c t i o n .  3. a. v i i .  Conclusion  to r e p e t i t i o n and suspense  Suspense and r e p e t i t i o n work hand i n hand to control a narrative puzzle which always promises but never completely delivers a f i n a l meaning  or i n t e r p r e t a t i o n . Although r e p e t i t i o n destroys many conventional  pat-  terns, such as the boundaries between events, characters, and narrators, i t o f f e r s i n return a new  kind of narrative space i n which complex and  even contradictory segments coexist analogically. The reader, accustomed to a stable and unobtrusive to concentrate  simulta-neouly  narrative voice, finds i t d i f f i c u l t at  first  on both story and narration. Although c r i t i c s  usually praise the powerful impact of Sutpen's story and compliment Faulkner on his excellent grasp of the narrative process,  they tend to  voice serious reservations about Absalom as a t o t a l i t y . S l a t o f f sums up the main impression Absalom conveys i n his t i t l e a "Quest for F a i l u r e . " The f a i l u r e he attributes to the novel takes two major forms: lack of formal coherence and f a l l i n g short of showing adequately the d e f i c i e n c i e s  *Cowley l a t e r assures us that he would no longer dispense with the e a r l i e r sections of Absalom. His i n i t i a l reaction shows, however, that the Quentin/ Shreve part s t r i k e s most people as the most i n t r i g u i n g one.  122  of  language. Reed, too, concludes h i s excellent analysis of the narrative  structure i n Absalom"with the q u a l i f i e d assessment: The achievement of Absalom i s better judged i n i t s soaring, i t s complex ambition and the grand scale of i t s attempt at a t o t a l understanding of the narrative process, than i n i t s emotional impact or formal p e r f e c t i o n s . ? 3  He also speaks of the novel's "ambition" and "overreaching" as standing 38 alone " i n the grandeur of their attempt."  Guetti-.'s c r i t i c i s m duplicates  Reed's general impression but stresses Faulkner's i n a b i l i t y to achieve what he set out to do: It i s not simply that Absalom,.Absalom! i s possibly one kind of novel or another but that i t i s possibly no novel at a l l . Faulkner's insistence that the imagination must f a i l completely can never be evaluated because i t can only remain an i n sistence. The supposed struggle that i t implies could only be revealed metaphorically and thus cannot be revealed—given the insistence—at a l l . 3 9  What Guetti evidently expects of Faulkner i s that he " t e l l " rather than "show" the apparent f a i l u r e of language. He i s i n fact saying that r a t i o n a l argument i s preferable to imaginative persuasion. Moreover, he assumes that Faulkner's intention was  indeed to demonstrate the f a i l u r e  rather than the success of the imagination. I t seems to me that Faulkner manipulates the novel's patterns i n such a way  that f i c t i o n w i l l emerge  as "a might-have-been which i s more true than truth" (p. 143). Unlike Guetti, Faulkner appreciates that language i s the only accessible r e a l i t y and hence represents a much stronger influence on experience than advocates of unmediated sensation are w i l l i n g to accept. Guetti may,  of course, be correct i n speculating that Absalom i s  "possibly no novel at a l l " i f by "novel" he means a coherent  (rational)  development towards a more or less unequivocal resolution. However, the  123  novel's r e p e t i t i v e progress aims neither at a clear factual outcome nor at a complete understanding of motivations. Reed touches on at least one effect the r e p e t i t i v e structure i n Absalom has on reader response: Yet the r e p e t i t i o n i s not primarily to serve rhythmic or revelatory structures but to expose us to a sequence of narrators using the same raw material. The narrative advances ( i n d i r e c t l y ) i n a l i n e a r chronology, but at the same time—by i t s beginning i n medias res and by i t s overlappings—suggests layers of knowledge, of understanding, of meaning.40 Indeed, as we have seen, the facts and motivations for the f r a t r i c i d e are suggested early i n the novel so that subsequent discussions of the same material, adding only nuances of meaning, are not r e a l l y necessary. Aside from adding depth to our knowledge, the r e p e t i t i v e patterns serve s t i l l another purpose. Faulkner's emphasis on the narrative process shows a serious concern with epistemological matters. What interests Faulkner beyond the immediate f i c t i v e process i s the related question of i n t e r pretation. The central event i n Absolom, the f r a t r i c i d e , assumes a:..different significance for each narrator. For Rosa i t i s determined by the same e v i l force that l a t e r inspires Sutpen's proposal, for Mr. Compson i t i s the tragic outcome of a father/soncconflict, for Quentin/Shreve i t i s a struggle between son and father as w e l l as a question of incest, and for General Compson, whose narrative focuses on Sutpen's past and the s o c i a l circumstances that have molded his character, i t i s symptomatic of Southern blindness. With each r e p e t i t i o n of the same events, the Sutpen saga becomes at some l e v e l a new story. Each interpretation exists on i t s own and does not only amplify but actually change the o r i g i n a l events. Faulkner focuses on the imaginative transformation of events rather than  124  on their essence. The "meaning" of Absalom thus l i e s i n the o s c i l l a t i o n between the facts of Sutpen's l i f e and their impact on other people's consciousness.  What Faulkner asserts i s that the very attempt to under-  stand Sutpen's l i f e necessarily creates a f i c t i o n because a l l perception (interpretation) i s s e l e c t i v e and a r b i t r a r y . The meaning Rosa and  Mr.  Compson a t t r i b u t e to Sutpen's story, even i f i t i s often manifestly contrary to l a t e r information, i s nevertheless as much a part of Absalom as the more convincing Quentin/Shreve version. The r e c i p r o c a l r e l a t i o n ship between what happens and how  i t i s perceived reverberates far beyond  immediate witnesses. Faulkner points to this i n f i n i t e echo e f f e c t by saying: Maybe nothing ever happens once and i s finished. Maybe happen i s never once but l i k e ripples maybe on water a f t e r the pebble sinks, the ripples moving on, spreading, the pool attached by a narrow umbilical water-cord to the next pool which the f i r s t pool feeds, has fed, did feed, l e t this second pool contain a d i f f e r e n t temperature of water, a d i f f e r e n t molecularity of having seen, f e l t , remembered, r e f l e c t i n a different tone the i n f i n i t e unchanging sky, i t doesn't matter: that pebble's watery echo whose f a l l i t did not even see moves across i t s surface too at the o r i g i n a l ripple-space, to the old ineradicable rhythm. . . (p. 261) The repetitions i n Absalom indicate that the o r i g i n a l event continues to exi s t i n always d i f f e r e n t forms i n the minds of others. The narrative structure i n Absalom i s not so much designed  to help us penetrate an  incomplete-  l y understood event as i t represents an affirmation of i t s many repercussions. The novel never claims d i r e c t l y that one version i s more correct than another. Not only could the townspeople of Jefferson add further versions to Absalom, but, beyond the novel, each reader repeats again not only the story of Sutpen but also that of the narrators repeating i t . The pebble's reverberations continue i n f i n i t e l y and i t i s i n this act of the  125  p a r t i c i p a t i n g imagination that Faulkner celebrates the v a l i d i t y of fiction. 3. b .  Repetition and fragmentation ('Simon) La Route i s i n some ways an even more d i f f i c u l t novel than Absalom,  for where Faulkner's novel i s only digressive, Simon's i s decidedly fragmentary. Simon dispenses with many of the narrative devices that give Absalom  i t s coherence, expecting the reader to supply missing l i n k s and  to follow circuitous paths. Along with other new n o v e l i s t s , Simon i s extremely suspicious of representation (mimesis) i n l i t e r a t u r e and prefers a formal aesthetic which concentrates on language and the f i c t i v e process. The narrative appears i n the form of fragments which are linked together by formal analogies rather than by causal or mnemonic connections. Narr a t i v e fragments r e l a t e to each other through formal associations which, i n turn, rely heavily on r e p e t i t i o n . Indeed, r e p e t i t i o n complements fragmentation because i t draws attention to d i s c o n t i n u i t i e s at the same time as i t f a c i l i t a t e s a compensatory analogical reading. This analogical reading moves the narrative into symmetry. The primary narrative organizat i o n i n La Route does i n fact favor symmetrical patterns. But, because La Route was written during Simon's middle or t r a n s i t i o n a l period, i t s t i l l contains a d e f i n i t e "story l i n e . " The result i s a strong tension between representational and purely formal devices. Around the time of La Route,- Simon expressed his aesthetic ambition as follows: La question n'est plus de decrire successivement des choses qui se produisent successivement dans une duree, mais de decrire un tas de sensations ou d'images simultanees, et cela avec l e seul.instrument que nous ayons a notre d i s p o s i t i o n : l e language, c'est-a-dire dans une duree.41  126  This statement  contains a f a i r amount of "psychologizing" which Simon l a t e r  deplores. I t does, however, demonstrate an accute awareness of how  Janus-  faced the l i t e r a r y medium r e a l l y i s . This awareness inspires many of Simon's experiments with narrative form and leads him to find new uses for l i t e r a r y r e p e t i t i o n . 3. b. i . Some basic observations about the narrative structure i n "La Route" Before the tension between symmetrical  (static) and  temporal  (progressive) patterns i n La Route can be analyzed, a few remarks about Simon's choice of narrative seem appropriate. La Route turns i t s back on some conventions i n prose f i c t i o n which had enjoyed a long period of popularity and which have only recently come under attack. One of these conventions concerns the writer's attempt  to imitate the chronological  order of " r e a l " events. S t r i c t narrative chronology, or course, has been gradually eroded u n t i l the precipitous opening and the flashback have become t y p i c a l rather than exceptional. What d i f f e r e n t i a t e s La Route from the flashback t r a d i t i o n i s the extreme to which Simon takes r a d i c a l v i o l a t i o n s of chronology. The conventional flashback novel works gradually towards some "present time" which i s then either both the beginning and the end of the novel (A l a recherche) or"constitutes a point from which a "present time" narration continues (Lord Jim). In La Route, however, the narrative moves constantly and quite a r b i t r a r i l y between various time l e v e l s . Different episodes from de"Reixach's  l i f e before  the war, the ancestor's suspected suicide a 150 years e a r l i e r , Georges' war experiences and l a t e r encounter with Corinne, a l l intersect and overlap throughout the novel. Although i t i s possible to work out the  127  chronological sequence of " r e a l " events, the novel does not p r i v i l e g e any p a r t i c u l a r time l e v e l . Moreover, the narrative units within large time periods  are again arranged a r b i t r a r i l y . Georges.' war  for instance, alternates freely between the "phoney war,"  experience, the German  attack, and the imprisonment. Clock time i s thus not so much v i o l a t e d as systematically eliminated. The organizing power of clock time i n f i c t i o n was gradually undermined by the emergence of a psychological concept of time. The  stream-  of-consciousness novel i n p a r t i c u l a r brought with i t a revolution i n narr a t i v e structuring that i s continuing to this day. For writers l i k e Proust, Joyce, V i r g i n i a Woolf, Faulkner and others, man's perception of himself and the world i s controlled by memory. Through memory, widely disparate experiences are evoked simultaneously and f i c t i o n i s supposed to r e f l e c t this mnemonic a c t i v i t y . Simon's own career grows out of this t r a d i t i o n . La Route, for instance, exhibits residual concessions to the organizing capacities of memory.  The structure of La Route appears most  coherent when the meeting between Georges and Corinne i s viewed as a point i n time ("recit premier") from which a l l other episodes are remembered. The novel both i n v i t e s and rejects this interpretation. In Absalom,  Quentin's narrative settings are constantly referred to so  that the reader i s not allowed to forget that the Sutpen story i s told retrospectively. In La Route there are only occasional and often i n d i r e c t allusions to the " r e c i t premier." Although the reader can work out the retrospective arrangement of the text, most of the time he experiences i t as a present-time narration. Moreover, when a story  128  loses the sense of happening i n the present, l i k e the l i f e and death of the ancestor, i t i s told by narrators (Georges and Blum) who  act as i f  they were i n charge of the " r e c i t premier" (which actually centers on Georges and Corinne some years l a t e r ) . Indeed, the conversations between Georges and Blum make up the most "present" portions of La Route and function i n much the same way as Quentin's conversations with Rosa, Mr. Compson, and especially Shreve. The Georges/Blum setting overshadows the Georges/Corinne " r e c i t premier" to such an extent that the " r e c i t premier" loses most of i t s authority. This challenge to the " r e c i t premier" i s at the  same time a challenge to mnemonic interpretations of La Route.  Georges' consciousness does not lend coherence to the text because i t i s not  anchored i n any d e f i n i t e time and place. Simon himself argues that  La Route "developed i n no way as an imitation of memory, but only in ': -  42  terms of what Tynianov c a l l s the 'necessities of construction. . .'" The 'necessities of construction' are i n t r i c a t e l y bound up with Simon's concept of "simultaneity i n duration." In an interview with Bettina L. Knapp, Simon declares that Flaubert was the one who  intro-  duced "pour l a premiere f o i s dans l e roman les notions de simultaneity 43  et de discontinuity: 'a l a f o i s ' et 'par tableaux detaches.'"  The  formal decisions growing out of Flaubert's discovery of this paradox were i n i t i a l l y  a solution to the problem of how  to arrange events that  take place at the same time. I f , for instance, the writer describes a murderer who approaches his victim, he must make a choice between analyzing f i r s t what the murderer sees and what the v i c t i m experiences. In r e a l l i f e the two minds are working at the same time. In f i c t i o n  129  the preference accorded to one or the other point of view i s f i n a l l y a formal decision. Considered i n this l i g h t , "simultaneitylin duration" remains a representational problem because f i c t i o n i s supposed to copy a r e a l l i f e s i t u a t i o n . Flaubert solved the problem with solutions l i k e the rapid a l t e r n a t i o n of conversations taking place at the same time during the famous "cornices agricoles" scene. Simon, however, i s no longer concerned with the representational aspects of "simultaneity i n duration." For him the formal decisions take on independent  importance  arid transcend the mimetic s t a r t i n g point. The representational reasons for the d i s c o n t i n u i t i e s and fragmentations are largely forgotten and only the formal consequences growing out of them remain.  3. b. i i .  The relationship between r e p e t i t i o n and fragmentation  Simon i d e n t i f i e s r e p e t i t i o n and fragmentation as major formal sources when he maintains that "challenge, fragmentation, r e p e t i t i o n . . . 44  are the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of my texts. . ."  Fragmentation  defies  t r a d i t i o n a l forms of f i c t i o n but i s neither formless nor chaotic. Narr a t i v e fragments owe nothing to spontaneous arbitrariness and everything to careful craftsmanship. Formal d i s c i p l i n e prevents La Route from d i s integrating into incomprehension.  A careful balancing of r e p e t i t i o n  and fragmentation represents one way of counteracting the r i s k of incomprehension.  In order f o r a fragment to be meaningful, i t must combine  elements of both known and unknown f a c t s . Since r e p e t i t i o n provides an easy way for making f a m i l i a r facts available, i t produces an imbrication pattern that helps to relate fragments. Repetition thus introduces continuities into the text that compensate for the d i s c o n t i n u i t i e s of  130  f r a g m e n t a t i o n . H o w e v e r , t h e s e same d i s c o n t i n u i t i e s a r e a c c e n t u a t e d r e p e t i t i o n d i s t o r t s the narrative progression. principle  As we h a v e s e e n , a s i m i l a r  i n f o r m s A b s a l o m . The d i f f e r e n c e L a R o u t e i n t r o d u c e s  repeated narrative  s e g m e n t s do n o t b r i n g  a continuous story  line.  because  i s that the  a d i g r e s s i n g n a r r a t i v e back to  I n Absalom t h e r e p e t i t i o n s work towards t h e  g r a d u a l e m e r g e n c e o f some " m e a n i n g " w h e r e a s i n L a R o u t e t h e y f o r c e t h e text into often  s t r a n g e and unexpected a s s o c i a t i o n s .  Route does n o t o n l y  c o n t r o l but a c t u a l l y transform  m e n t a t i o n i s seen as a f i r s t is  i t s necessary  3.  b. i i i . The  step  Repetition  the text. I f frag-  i n the narrative structure, r e p e t i t i o n  companion.  Temporal s t o r y  progression  f r a g m e n t a r y s t r u c t u r e o f L a Route i m m e d i a t e l y draws  to a n a l o g i c a l a s s o c i a t i o n s . major o r g a n i z i n g  i n La  attention  They do, o f c o u r s e , r e p r e s e n t t h e n o v e l ' s  p r i n c i p l e . However, t h e p r e s e n c e o f s p a t i a l  patterns  a l o n e would be q u i t e m e a n i n g l e s s . A s u c c e s s f u l n o v e l l i k e L a R o u t e , integrating tensions  p e r f e c t i o n and e x c i t i n g s t o r y m a t e r i a l , depends on  between s p a t i a l and t e m p o r a l a s p e c t s o f t h e n a r r a t i v e . I t i s  therefore against  formal  n e c e s s a r y t o a n a l y z e how f r a g m e n t a t i o n a n d r e p e t i t i o n w o r k  t h e background o f an u n d e r l y i n g  c e n t r a t i n g on symmetrical p a t t e r n s  story progression.  i n L a Route, I intend  Before  con-  to pinpoint the  w a y s i n w h i c h t h e n a r r a t i v e moves t h r o u g h t i m e . I n o r d e r t o do s o , I propose t o reconstruct that  events i n t h e i r c h r o n o l o g i c a l  Simon d i s c o u r a g e s n o t o n l y  interviews  order,  an a c t i v i t y  through the novel i t s e l f b u t also i n  and c o n f e r e n c e s . Simon opposes c h r o n o l o g i c a l  because they a r e symptomatic o f a r e p r e s e n t a t i o n a l  reconstructions  reading.  But,  since  131  i t i s impossible to analyze the narrative structure without some reconstructions of the actual sequence of events, I w i l l have to apologize to the author and nevertheless proceed with such a plan. The easiest way to analyze temporal progression i s to divide La Route into three major parts. Each of these parts serves an e n t i r e l y d i f f e r e n t purpose i n the o v e r a l l structure. The f i r s t part consists of Georges' experiences  at the Flanders front during the "phoney war" and  the German attack. The second concerns the narrative frames of conversations between Georges and Blum i n the prisoner t r a i n as well as i n the prison camp i n Saxony and between Georges and Corinne some time a f t e r the war. The t h i r d part includes the imaginative reconstructions of de Reixach's l i f e before the war and the circumstances that have supposedly led  to the ancestor's suicide 150 years e a r l i e r . The narrative moves i n -  discriminately between these three parts and i n i t i a t e s abrupt and noticeable temporal d i s l o c a t i o n s . Fragments taken from war action, narrative frames, and reconstructions of the past e n t a i l compensatory actions by r e p e t i t i o n . Negotiating between levels with d i f f e r e n t s t r u c t u r a l functions, they show l i t t l e or no evidence of temporal progression. The relationship between Wack's death (war action) and Georges' fights with Corinne for  (frame),  instance, i s , from a temporal point of view, purely a r b i t r a r y . Any  progression i n the novel would therefore have to be located within each of the three parts rather than i n between them. Each of the three parts exhibits i t s p a r t i c u l a r pattern of progression and slowing devices. From a temporal perspective, the reconstructions of the Reixach family legend are perhaps the least s i g n i f i c a n t . Simon draws  132  a "tableau" i n which fragments confront and complement each other i n a way  that does not make time a strong factor. In other words, the scenes  are mostly exemplary ( i t e r a t i v e ) and refer to an indeterminate  past.  The temporal relationship between fragments i s rarely an issue and what progression we find i n the l i v e s of the ancestor and de Reixach i s so obvious that i t does not merit much discussion. The sequence of.events i s never i n question since i t i s p e r f e c t l y clear that the ancestor's exploits i n Spain, for instance, must have preceded his return home. Time in the reconstruction part i s thus either too vague or too apparent to matter much. The two frame settings, the conversations Georges holds f i r s t with Blum and then with Corinne, r a i s e more complex temporal questions.  The  mere fact that they are more "present" than the reconstructions makes the passing of time more s i g n i f i c a n t , especially since Simon includes several allusions to time and the changing seasons. During the second encounter with Corinne, for instance, Georges remembers "ce premier jour t r o i s mois plus tot ou j'avais ete chez e l l e et avais pose ma main sur son bras. . . (p. 295). At other points we learn that i t was qui  "a peine l'automne, c e l u i  avait s u i v i l e dernier ete de paix. . ." (p. 69), that three days  went by i n the prisoner t r a i n (p. 278) and that one year has passed since Georges' capture the preceding f a l l  (pp. 290-91). Although the sequence  of events i s never too clear, we have a sense of movement through time. But, i n their capacity as background to the reconstructions and the war action, the frame settings hold very l i t t l e interest i n themselves. There i s therefore no greater compulsion to work out the temporal progression than there was  for the reconstructions of the past.  133  It i s during the war action parts that we f e e l the need to analyze what happened when. We find i t both d i f f i c u l t and essential to understand how Georges moves from the "phoney war" episodes to the a r r i v a l of the Germans. This movement i s a l l the more t a n t a l i z i n g as fragments not only are  arranged without respect for sequence but also use s i m i l a r words and  images to describe events that take place at d i f f e r e n t times and under d i f f e r e n t circumstances. A rough sequence of events could be divided into the following categories: Phoney war Rest period at farm house belonging to lame man Georges' v i s i t to v i l l a g e cafe Attack of Germans A n n i h i l a t i o n of squadron Wack's death Georges, de Reixach, I g l e s i a and lieutenant ride through wartorn landscape Death of de Reixach A r r i v a l of Germans Georges and I g l e s i a change into c i v i l i a n clothes and get drunk Georges and I g l e s i a hide from the Germans The interested reader learns and then "unlearns" this sequence i n order to appreciate the complexity and formal achievement  of La Route. The frag-  mented structure tends to obscure the progression of events which nevertheless influences our reactions to the text. I t i s perhaps only after being thoroughly f a m i l i a r with the sequence of events during the war that the interplay of fragments begins to make sense. Simon makes us conscious of temporal progression without actually t e l l i n g us where i t i s located. Contrary to f i r s t impressions, i t cannot be found i n the i n t e r a c t i o n of war action, frame, and reconstruction but takes place within each of these. In other words, progression manifests  134  i t s e l f only within the fragments themselves and not i n their sequential arrangement. The most obvious examples of progression within i n d i v i d u a l fragments concern r e l a t i v e l y long passages that are devoted to s p e c i f i c episodes l i k e the horse race (pp. 137-155^, and 174-183) , the ambush (pp. 155-166), the ancestor's story (pp. 186-205), l i f e i n the prison camp (pp. 216-222), etc. Such passages organize fragmentary information and permit a more i n t e l l i g e n t i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of smaller fragments centering around the same events. It would, however, be dangerous to interpret these passages as culminating explanations. Similar passages i n Absalom tend  to give long-awaited  p a r t i a l answers i n order to s a t i s f y  some of  our c u r i o s i t y about facts and interpretations. They usually bring some area of interest to a close and do not appear again except as short retrospective a l l u s i o n s . "Explanatory" passages i n La Route do not appear i n strategic positions where they could enlighten previous confusion. They have no culminating e f f e c t and the information they contain crops up again and again i n l a t e r sections of the novel. Simon seems to place such passages according to formal rather than revelatory considerations. Instead of an accretive deepening of meaning as i n Absalom, temporal progression i n La Route serves transformational processes and formal balance.  3. b. i v .  Formal narrative patterns  The symmetrical  narrative pattern of La Route works against the  background and i n opposition to the story progression. Symmetry  operates  on a p r i n c i p l e of formal balance, a p r i n c i p l e Simon singles out as a primary feature of h i s l i t e r a r y output. Speaking of the d i f f i c u l t i e s he encountered when organizing La Route, H i s t o i r e , La B a t a i l l e de Pharsale  135  he. t e l l s ah Interviewer: In each of these three cases I was able to solve my problem only by giving each theme and character a color (pink, green, red, blue, etc.) that I colored i n opposite the summary of each page. I then tacked these s t r i p s to the wall near my desk, trying out various orders, seeing how the various colors (the various themes) alternated, reappeared or.combined together. I was sometimes obliged, therefore, and this i s very important, to develop certain themes for no other reason than that I was missing, here or there, a l i t t l e or a l o t of one color or another. Thus, as you can see, certain pages were w r i t ten f o r "formal" reasons of balance or composition. More important, and to my mind extremely s i g n i f i c a n t , these new pages—these imposed a d d i t i o n s — a r e among the best passages of the novel.^5 In Simon's own mind, then, the 'necessities of construction' take precedence over a l l other considerations. Ideally, the "color" diagram Simon describes should be reproduced  i f 'the construction of La Route i s to be  understood.  However, since i t i s d i f f i c u l t to establish with absolute certainty where Simon would place the boundaries between color s t r i p s , such a reproduction could never be accurate. It i s nevertheless possible to give some idea of how  formal symmetries operate  i n La Route. If each of the three parts  (war action, frame, reconstruction) i s given a d i f f e r e n t color, the .novel i s put together i n roughly the following manner: Legend: Action part ===== (phoney war, ambush, disorder of retreat, death of de Reixach, etc.) Frame setting (prisoner t r a i n , prison camp, Corinne and Georges after the war) Reconstruction of the past (de Reixach's l i f e with Corinne before the war, suicide)  the ancestor's  136  Section I (pp. 9-101)  =5=•==—**—: ==  Section II (pp. 105-252) =jr=  ===  =  «=_. ".^^Z  Section III (pp. 255-314) ==•--£_ ==. ^ - x . r . ^ j c _ r ^ = -  =  2J*  .  This diagram shows only the larger narrative sections; i t does not include short allusions to themes which may occur within these sections. Moreover, episodes that f a l l outside the core events, such as Georges' v i s i t to h i s father, are not taken into consideration. The diagram, although not accurate or complete i n every d e t a i l , nevertheless demonstrates suff i c i e n t l y how strongly Simon i s committed to p r i n c i p l e s of formal symmetry. Asked again and again about the genesis of h i s novels, Simon never t i r e s of giving the same answer. With reference to La Route, he describes and diagrams a structural design based on geological s t r a t i f i c a t i o n s . In interviews and especially i n the Cerisy presentation " F i c t i o n mot a mot," he stresses that each major episode i n La Route i s embedded within others i n the manner of geological stratas: A i n s i dans La Route des Flandres, redoublant l a composition en forme de t r e f l e dont j ' a i parle, s'organise un jeu des elements autour d'un point c e n t r a l : l e roman s'ouvre et se ferme sur l a chevauchee mortelle de Reixach sur l a route, l e centre exact du l i v r e etant occupe par 1'episode de 1'aneantissement de l'escadron surpris par une embuscade, episode lui-meme "cadre" par l e debut et l a f i n de l a course d'obstacles que dispute et perd Reixach (s'aneantissant a i n s i , ou se perdant, aux yeux de Corinne). Divers episodes, d i f f e r e n t s themes (comme c e l u i des paysans du cantonnement) apparaissent et reapparaissent de part et d'autre de 1'element central, 1'ensemble se presentant en somme un peu comme ces coupes de t e r r a i n au centre desquels se trouve un puits artesien et dont l e s differentes couches superposees (sableuses, argileuses, etc.) decrivant une courbe sousjacente, toujours presentes, done, en profondeur, affleurant a l a  137  surface de part et d'autre  d u p u i t s . 46 Sur la rou-fe  Mert 4e fierxacK sur /a rou-te  An£arv/-i'sse» >e''^ T  We cesca ctron  A.  Simon's diagram refers to the novel's o v e r a l l pattern; i t describes  the  sequence of events without distinguishing between action, frame, and reconstruction. But the geological metaphor need not end with the o v e r a l l pattern since i t applies equally well to the sequence of events within the war action part. I f episodes are arranged according  to two  focal  points, namely the a n n i h i l a t i o n of the squadron and the death of de Reixach, the following pattern emerges:* death of R  events before ambush (ride through night, stable and cafe scenes)  events a f t e r death of R (changing into c i v i l ian clothes, etc.)  ambush  a f t e r death of R ( a r r i v a l of Germans, etc.)  before death ambush /of.-R (stable scene)  B Even the hypothetical reconstruction part exhibits a less complex but nevertheless symmetrical arrangement. I f de Reixach's past and the  ancestor's  story are juxtaposed, they alternate quite regularly: a) de Reixach's past b) ancestor's story  a  b  a  b  a  The only part of the novel, when taken i n i s o l a t i o n , that does not follow  *This diagram focuses short a l l u s i o n s .  again on the novel.! s larger segments and leaves  out  138  a d e f i n i t e symmetrical pattern i s the frame. Although the three frame settings ( t r a i n , camp, Georges/Corinne)  alternate constantly, they sometimes  merge with each other and thereby eliminate clear boundaries between them. Moreover, the frame segments are of extreme..lengths. Almost the whole of the novel's middle section, for instance, makes use of the prison camp whereas the l a s t section depends on rapid alternations between a l l three settings. Although the frame settings i n La Route make their presence more f e l t than i s the case with other novels, they remain an adjunct to the main events. They do not only merge with each other but are often t o t a l l y eclipsed by the events during the phoney war and the German attack as well as by the hypotheses  concerning de Reixach and the ancestor. It would  therefore be unreasonable to expect the frame settings to conform to a symmetrical formula. The geological metaphor applies to the o v e r a l l structure of La Route at the same time as i t describes the organization of smaller s t r u c t u r a l units. Simon's commitment to formal p r i n c i p l e s expresses i n as rigorous  itself  an application of symmetrical s t r a t i f i c a t i o n as his text  permits. Color balance and geological s t r a t i f i c a t i o n i n La Route coexist with s t i l l another formal pattern,. Simon has repeatedly described the composition of La Route i n terms of a clover leaf. The most detailed description of this s t r u c t u r a l metaphor appears again i n "La F i c t i o n mot a mot": Cette consideration des proprietes d'une figure et de ses derives ou subordonnees constitue en somme une exploration du t e r r a i n autour d'un camp de base, d'un point de reference permanent, comme, par exemple, dans La Route des Flandres, les cavaliers dans leur errance (ou l e narrateur errant dans l a foret d'images) repassent par ou reviennent toujours a ces points fixes que sont Corinne ou, topographiquement, l e cheval Imort ;^au bord de l a route, suivant a i n s i un t r a j e t f a i t de boucles qui dessinent un t r e f l e , semblable  139  a c e l u i que peut tracer l a main avec une plume sans jamais l u i f a i r e quitter l a surface de l a f e u i l l e de papier.47  The clover leaf image i s an extension of the simpler claim that La Route works l i k e a figure eight. In an interview with Knapp, Simon singles out the obstacle course of Auteuil, where the horses keep passing the same point i n a figure eight movement, as a model for the novel's structure. Both the figure eight and the clover metaphor apply to the text's surface (topology) and i t s deeper structure (network of images). The soldiers are always returning to the same spot just as the text keeps coming back to the same images. Since the maze i n which s o l d i e r s and writer move has neither purpose nor exit, the value of l i v i n g and writing must be found within the maze. This explains why  Simon makes language and narrative  structure i n La Route as d i f f i c u l t as possible. Instead of o f f e r i n g a hope beyond the maze, he imbues the maze i t s e l f with excitement and s i g n i f i c a n c e .  3. b. v.  Conclusion  to r e p e t i t i o n and  fragmentation  Simon's amazing capacity for integrating various formal patterns shows a p a r t i c u l a r l y good sense of symmetry and therefore of r e p e t i t i o n . Symmetry and r e p e t i t i o n have been associated i n the aesthetics of art and music 48 for a long time. In The Rise of Romance, t i c u l a r l y pertinent observations  Eugene Vinaver makes some par-  about symmetry and r e p e t i t i o n i n thirteenth-  century art and l i t e r a t u r e . He points out, for instance, that the "poetry  of  140  i n t e r l a c e " and the "ribbon" ornament i n art contain "the same seemingly 49 impossible combination of aceritficity and cohesion."  Supporting his point  with a number of i l l u s t r a t i o n s , Vinaver describes the i n t e r l a c e as follows: The i n t e r l a c e proper consists of threads superimposed upon one another i n such a way as to make i t impossible to separate them: the onlooker's eye does not normally t r a v e l along each thread, but moves either horizontally or v e r t i c a l l y — o r both—embracing a l l the threads as they come within the f i e l d of vision.50 A constant tension between digression and recurrence insures against a center of interest or dominance. Interlace designs use r e p e t i t i o n as an energetic force: "A continuously increasing a c t i v i t y without pauses or accents i s set up, and r e p e t i t i o n aims primarily at giving each p a r t i c u l a r motive a p o t e n t i a l i n f i n i t y . " " '  1  This potential i n f i n i t y i s part of a me-  dieval epistemology which argues that everything i s a r e f l e c t i o n of everything else. No l i m i t s can therefore curb the f i e l d of possible combinations and associations. Recent trends i n l i t e r a t u r e and philosophy, breaking with the causal epistemology of Western c i v i l i z a t i o n since Descartes, are rediscovering analogical interpretations of r e a l i t y . The French  avant-garde  of Lacan, Derrida, Foucault, Deleuze, and others disputes that the notion of essence has any currency. For them even the s e l f lacks an entity  (Lacan,  Derrida) and can be defined only i n terms of i t s relations with others. I t i s , however, i n language that r e l a t i o n a l patterns manifest themselves best. Indeed, i f there i s any one thing that these avant-garde thinkers have i n common, i t i s the contention that a l l systems are structured l i k e a language. What the French avant-garde offers the world i s a methodology, l i t e r a r y i n o r i g i n , that permits us to read or decipher the world l i k e a text. This analogical orientation i s , of course, not without impact on l i t e r a t u r e i t s e l f .  141  If language is. r e a l i t y , words, should not he used as vehicles for r e f e r e n t i a l meaning hut as c a r r i e r s of their own  s i g n i f i c a n c e . Simon's  language and narrative technique c e r t a i n l y r e f l e c t t h i s new  attitude  towards word.'.and text. For him words are interesting because they can be combined with other words. I t i s therefore not surprising that Simon i s p a r t i c u l a r l y fond of quoting a statement  by Jacques Lacan: "Le mot 52  n'est pas seulement signe mais noeud de s i g n i f i c a t i o n . "  The  literary  text, as a sort of extended sentence, i s composed of units that share this c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of words. The image of a "noeud" (knot) i s e s p e c i a l l y appropriate because i t expresses the tension between continuity and discontinuity we find i n f i c t i o n . On the one hand, a knot gathers various thematic threads. On the other, i t also represents a point from which d i f f e r e n t threads venture out towards r e l a t i v e l y undetermined destinations. Each thread can either f o l d back on i t s e l f or l a t c h on to other threads. In both instances the knot marks the point at which a l i n e has been disturbed. For Simon,J:the movement of a narrative " i s always a case of metaphoric  r e l a t i o n s h i p s . The important thing. . . i s for the chain to  close back i n upon i t s e l f , or better s t i l l , to intersect i t s e l f  continuous-  53 ly."  Although a knot can never escape the l i n e , i t can disturb i t to  such an extent that i t v i r t u a l l y destroys i t . Simon's bias for knots forces temporal progression to exist underground while a new respect for language elevates, formal narrative patterns to special heights and necessitates a r e l a t i o n a l approach to textual interpretation.  142  4.  Repetitive Behavioral S t r u c t u r a l i s m and  character.  Patterns  semiotics  are  g e n e r a l l y more i n t e r e s t e d i n . p l o t t h a n  They t e n d to s t u d y c h a r a c t e r s  ( l i n e s of connections) r a t h e r  i n terms of n a r r a t i v e  t h a n as p s y c h o l o g i c a l  functions  entities.  Propp's  54 Morphology, various  the prototype  s c h e m a t i z e d and  for character  systems l i k e Bremond's"^ c o n c e n t r a t i o n e a c h f u n c t i o n t o g e n e r a t e i t s own  the n a r r a t i v e w i t h  p r e - c o d e d p r i m a r i l y as  on  "the  s u b s y s t e m and 56  has  become " t o o  s t r u c t u r a l i s m and  influenced  behavioral  also to a l t e r  But,  as  capacity  the very  s o p h i s t i c a t e d t o be  semiotics  of  course  Blarichard suggests, coded  or  the r a d i c a l a n t i -  d i s t o r t s the  b e h a v i o r on n a r r a t i v e s t r u c t u r e . The  structuralist-semiotic  by  quasi-behavioral  a r o l e s t r u c t u r e . " " ' ' ' I t seems t h a t  s t a n c e of  impact of c h a r a c t e r  have been r e p l a c e d  each t u r n of events."  n a r r a t i v e structure i n general  psychological  a f u n c t i o n o f p l o t , has  o f t e n r e d u c t i o n i s t s t r u c t u r a l models. More r e c e n t l y  t h e s e m o d e l s h a v e come u n d e r a t t a c k and  of  as  real  s o l u t i o n to  the  i m p a s s m u s t t a k e a more f l e x i b l e a p p r o a c h w h i c h i n - : " .  eludes both p s y c h o l o g i c a l  intellectual 58 c l i m a t e c r e a t e d by w o r k s l i k e K o j e v e ' s I n t r o d u c t i o n a l a l e c t u r e de H e g e l , 59 fin Girard's Mensonge r o m a n t i q u e e t v e r i t e romanesque, and L a c a n ' s E c r i t s is p a v i n g t h e way  f o r s u c h an  and  s t r u c t u r a l methods. I n France, the  a p p r o a c h . T h e s e F r e n c h t h i n k e r s and  G r e g o r y B a t e s o n f o c u s on p s y c h o a n a l y t i c others. the  T h e y deny, t h a t t h e  product of  Unlike asserts  the  S a r t r e , who t h a t the  fication,  s e l f has  an  s t r u c t u r e s between the e s s e n c e and  postulate  relationships i t establishes with  other  the self  i t loses  i s alienated within itself  itself  i n others.  The  human  because, through  "Other" thus acts  as  and  that i t i s beings.  argues t h a t a l i e n a t i o n i s imposed from w i t h o u t , self  American  an  Lacan identi-  alter  ego  143  or a double  of the s e l f .  This doubling i m p l i e s that the r e l a t i o n s h i p s  character enters into with other  characters r e f l e c t  on h i m s e l f . I n  fiction,  these r e l a t i o n s h i p s are i n t r i g u i n g not o n l y from a psychological", but from a s t r u c t u r a l p o i n t of view. how  the p l o t i s arranged  characters decide  The  behavior  j u s t as p l o t  of characters o f t e n  requirements  may  a  also  determines  i n turn influence  t o a c t . Some b e h a v i o r p a t t e r n s a r e p r e d o m i n a n t l y  how  synchronic  w h e r e a s o t h e r s a r e more d i a c h r o n i c . T h i s d i s t i n c t i o n w o u l d g e n e r a l l y t r a n s l a t e itself both  i n t o e i t h e r s p a t i a l or temporal  types of behavior  p a t t e r n c a n be  p l o t o r d e r s . I n A b s a l o m and found.  i n v e s t i g a t e r e l a t i o n s h i p s between the s e l f selves both  i n different  ual's l i f e .  My  mostly  from r e i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s of Freud  T h e r e i s , h o w e v e r , one J o h n T.  I t i s therefore essential  and  c h a r a c t e r c l u s t e r s and  a n a l y s i s o f s y n c h r o n i c and and  o t h e r s as  they manifest  i n the course  H e g e l by  the French  and  a.  intellectual  Doubling J o h n T.  on  to them-  individprofit  avant-garde.  I n c e s t / R e p e t i t i o n a n d Revenue w h i c h  avant-garde,  I will  i n g e n i o u s b l e n d o f s t r u c t u r a l a n a l y s i s and  4.  Route  t r a d i t i o n a l Freudian approach to Faulkner's works  Irwin c a l l e d Doubling  the French  o f an  d i a c h r o n i c forms of d o u b l i n g  a t t e n t i o n . B e f o r e p r e s e n t i n g an i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f A b s a l o m and on  La  as a t r a d i t i o n a l F r e u d i a n  Irwin's Doubling  and  deserves  La Route based  q u i c k l y summarize I r w i n ' s  t r a d i t i o n a l Freudian  terminology.  phenomenon  I n c e s t / R e p e t i t i o n and  Revenge  concentrates  the c l o s e c o n n e c t i o n between " i n c e s t , n a r c i s s i s m , the Oedipus complex,  c a s t r a t i o n complex, r e p e t i t i o n , s i o n , revenge, s u b s t i t u t i o n , as M a l c o l m C o w l e y p o i n t s o u t ,  s a m e n e s s and  reversal,  by  difference,  sacrifice,  I r w i n ' s book " i s by  and  recollection,  mediation."^  1  the  repres-  Although,  f a r t h e most s t i m u l a t i n g o f  144  r e c e n t F a u l k n e r s t u d i e s , " i t i s " t h e most t r o u b l i n g , t o o , p a r t l y because of  i t s i n s i g h t s , which w i l l persuade many F a u l k n e r s t u d e n t s , i n c l u d i n g  m y s e l f , t o change some o f t h e i r judgments, and p a r t l y because o f i t s omis62 s i o n s and outrageous  overstatements."  What d i s t i n g u i s h e s I r w i n ' s s t u d y  from o t h e r F r e u d i a n approaches i s t h e a t t e n t i o n he pays t o s t r u c t u r a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s between c h a r a c t e r s . He d i s c u s s e s t h e s e r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n terms of  d o u b l i n g and d i f f e r e n t i a t e s between two t y p e s : We s h o u l d a t t h i s p o i n t make a c l e a r d i s t i n c t i o n between t h e s p a t i a l a s p e c t o f d o u b l i n g — t h e way i n which one p e r s o n can be a s p a t i a l r e p e t i t i o n ' o f another p e r s o n who i s c o n t e m p o r a r y — a n d t h e t e m p o r a l a s p e c t o f d o u b l i n g — t h e way i n which one p e r s o n l a t e r i n time r e c o g n i z e s another p e r s o n e a r l i e r i n time as a double o f h i m s e l f and thus sees h i s own c o n d i t i o n as a f a t e d r e p e t i t i o n o f t h a t e a r l i e r l i f e , o r t h e way i n w h i c h one p a i r o f doubles l a t e r i n time r e p e a t s a n o t h e r p a i r o f doubles e a r l i e r i n time.63  I r w i n uses " s p a t i a l " and " t e m p o r a l " i n a more l i m i t e d sense than my own r e f e r e n c e s t o t h e s e terms i m p l y . And, a l t h o u g h I r w i n pays some t r i b u t e t o " s p a t i a l " • d o u b l i n g , t h e b u l k o f h i s study i s d e d i c a t e d t o t h e temporal  aspect  which he r e l a t e s t o N i e t z s c h e ' s concept o f " t h e e t e r n a l r e c u r r e n c e o f t h e 64 same."  What f a s c i n a t e s I r w i n about N i e t z s c h e ' s p o s i t i o n i s t h e paradox t h a t t h e e n d l e s s r e c u r r e n c e o f d i f f e r e n c e c o n s t i t u t e s sameness, t h a t t h e c e a s e l e s s n e s s o f becoming c o n s t i t u t e s b e i n g , t h a t t h e c o n t i n u a n c e o f m u t a b i l i t y c o n s t i t u t e s t h e immutable, t h a t t h e e n d l e s s f l u x o f time c o n s t i t u t e s e t e r n i t y . 6 5  As f a r as t e m p o r a l d o u b l i n g a p p l i e s t o Absalom, i t does so i n terms o f gene r a t i o n c o n t i n u i t i e s which l o c k t h e i n d i v i d u a l i n t o " t h o s e i n e v i t a b l e r e p e t i 66 t i o n s inherent i n the c y c l i c nature of time."  F a u l k n e r ' s tendency  t h e same c h a r a c t e r s i n d i f f e r e n t n o v e l s and s t o r i e s l e n d s i t s e l f  t o use  especially  w e l l t o a t e m p o r a l d o u b l i n g i n t e r p r e t a t i o n . These r e a p p e a r i n g c h a r a c t e r s l e a d I r w i n t o argue t h a t Absalom can o n l y be understood  i n connection with  145  The  Sound and  the F u r y .  I r w i n c o n s e q u e n t l y i n t e r p r e t s Absalom as the s t o r y  of Q u e n t i n and b e l i e v e s the c r u x of the n o v e l t o be Q u e n t i n ' s f a i l u r e escape from r e p e a t i n g the f a t e of Bon ancestor's  and Henry. The  f e e l i n g that  to  "an  a c t i o n s can determine the a c t i o n s of h i s descendants f o r gen-r 67  e r a t i o n s to come by c o m p e l l i n g  them p e r i o d i c a l l y to r e p e a t h i s deedV  must  t h e r e f o r e account f o r Q u e n t i n ' s o b s e s s i o n w i t h the Sutpen l e g e n d . .'. A c c o r d i n g  to I r w i n , Q u e n t i n i s m o s t l y concerned w i t h . the danger of  i n c e s t and  the O e d i p a l  s t r u g g l e between f a t h e r and  w i s h e s and  j e a l o u s y p a r a l l e l Quentin's own  son. Henry's  incestuous  f e e l i n g s towards Candace and  D a l t o n Ames. W i t h i n each of the t r i a n g u l a r r e l a t i o n s h i p s between the young p e o p l e i n Absalom and The  Sound and  s t i t u t i o n s do of c o u r s e c o m p l i c a t e already  the Fury c e r t a i n r e v e r s a l s and m a t t e r s . Moreover, the i n c e s t  touches on the f e a r of c a s t r a t i o n and  e r a t i o n s and doubling.  The  thereby represents  question  the Oedipus complex, w h i c h  are concerns t h a t occupy the major p a r t of I r w i n ' s s t u d y . The s t r u g g l e f o r mastery between f a t h e r and  sub-  oedipal  son t a k e s p l a c e over s e v e r a l gen-  an e x c e l l e n t i l l u s t r a t i o n of t e m p o r a l  son e x p e r i e n c e s the f a t h e r ' s a u t h o r i t y as an a f f r o n t t h a t  must be avenged i f the son i s to a t t a i n an i d e n t i t y of h i s own.  The  son must  usurp the f a t h e r ' s p o s i t i o n by becoming a f a t h e r h i m s e l f . Sutpen's s p i r i t u a l f a t h e r i s the p l a n t a t i o n owner ( P e t t i b o n e ) who  r e j e c t s him.  avenge h i m s e l f , Sutpen p l a n s t o become a p l a n t a t i o n owner and own  In order  to  father i n his  r i g h t . However, as a f a t h e r he must p r o t e c t h i m s e l f a g a i n s h i s son  i n turn intends b e t t e r man  who  to usurp h i s p l a c e : "Sutpen can o n l y prove t h a t he i s a  than h i s f a t h e r i f he proves t h a t he i s a b e t t e r man  son, s i n c e Sutpen's f a t h e r would have been d e f e a t e d  than h i s  by h i s son i n t h a t  146  very act." his  In order to triumph, Sutpen must destroy both his father and  son. The defeat of the son accomplishes both tasks at the same time:  The son i s a substitute for his grandfather presents  so that his subjugation  re-  Sutpen's revenge against his father and protection against his  son. Sutpen's dilemma i s thus that he must destroy the offspring which symbolizes his victory over the father i n order not to be destroyed s e l f . Sutpen's son Bon l a t e r repeats Sutpen's own  him-  struggle against his  father. Bon approaches Sutpen i n much the same way Pettibone and i s s i m i l a r l y rejected. Bon challenges  as Sutpen had approached Sutpen's authority by  threatening to marry Judith. Sutpen counters this attack by t e l l i n g Henry the secret that w i l l make the younger son k i l l the older one.  In oedipal  terms, then, Bon i s not murdered by his brother but by his father. However, as i n the b i b l i c a l account of King David and Absalom, Sutpen's p o s i t i o n continues  to be i n p e r i l since Henry's act of k i l l i n g usurps the authority  of the father: Absalom k i l l s his brother Amnon because David w i l l not k i l l him, and this usurpation by Absalom of the father's authority to punish incest i s as well the murder of the eldest son by a younger son, the acting out on a substitute of Absalom's death wish against his father.69 The oedipal struggles i h Absalom are so f i e r c e that the sons on whom Sutpen has b u i l t his hopes for a dynasty destroy each other u n t i l only the i d i o t Jim Bond i s l e f t . Irwin analyzes i n oedipal terms not only the s t o r i e s i n the Bible, Absalom, and The Sound and the Fury but also the narrative act i n Absalom. He establishes a genealogical order based on narrative authority i n which Mr. Compson represents  the father, Quentin the son, and Shreve the grand-  147  son. Since Mr. Compson possesses most facts about Sutpen's l i f e , he i s at f i r s t i n control of the narrative. But Quentin supplants and "takes revenge against his f a t h e r " ^ when he discovers evidence about Bon's murder that neither his father nor General Compson have known. Through h i s v i s i t to Sutpen's Hundred with Rosa, Quentin thus establishes himself as a narr a t i v e authority. However, his authority i s constantly challenged by Shreve who  "sounds .just l i k e father" ((p. 181) . .„Quentin's obsession with the Sutpen  legend therefore reveals i t s e l f not only as a f a s c i n a t i o n with the past or an i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with Henry but also as a b a t t l e ground on which he usurps h i s father's narrative authority and defends himself against Shreve's attempt to dethrone him i n turn. Irwin translates most human relationships i n Absalom into oedipal terms. He thereby illuminates c e r t a i n psychological connections  and  explains  the reasons for some s t r u c t u r a l choices. His analysis does, for instance, provide additional j u s t i f i c a t i o n for the presence of Shreve and makes clear why  Faulkner withholds information concerning Bon's background u n t i l Quentin  can discover i t for himself. However, Doubling and Incest/Repetition and Revenge makes us uneasy because Irwin takes his Freudian approach beyond i t s l i m i t s . At the same time, his i n t e r p r e t a t i o n leaves out much that plays a part i n the personal relationships between characters. According  to Malcolm  Cowley, the most serious flaw i n Irwin's approach i s no doubt the following: When Irwin " o s c i l l a t e s " to Absalom, Absalom'., he makes Quentin, not Colonel Sutpen, the center of the story, and thus transforms i t into a private drama of doubling and revenge. I t thereby gains something i n psychological depth. . ., but the gain i s made at the cost of denying that the novel i s also a tragic fable of southern h i s t o r y . That suggests my central grievance against the meta-Freudian method as applied to f i c t i o n . It rules out every-^^ thing h i s t o r i c a l or regional or communal or merely public;. . .  148  It seems that Irwin's flashes of insight as well as his p i t f a l l s are inherent i n a method that explains Absalom from a limited and very s p e c i f i c point of view. The value of Doubling and Incest/Repetition and Revenge for a study of r e p e t i t i o n l i e s i n i t s a b i l i t y to uncover connections between characters that have only too often gone unnoticed. I t also suggests just how heavily Faulkner r e l i e s on doubling i n the form of characters i d e n t i f y i n g with each other and of s i m i l a r (triangular) patterns recurring throughout the novel.  4. b.  Doubling as a synchronic phenomenon Human behavior, no matter how  i n d i v i d u a l i n s p e c i f i c cases, i s punc-  tuated by certain patterns that manifest themselves over and over again. Such patterns are usually concealed but, once someone uncovers them, they immediately s t r i k e everybody as obvious and true. Kojeve's reading of Hegel, Girard's discovery of mimetic r i v a l r y , and Lacan's reinterpretation of Freud a l l represent visions that bring hidden truths to the surface. Kojeve, for instance, stresses the universal struggle for power over others that motivates achievement and change. Girard points to mimetic r i v a l r y as a p a r t i c u l a r l y pernicious influence on a l l close relationships between people. And Lacan's analysis of the "stade du miroir" describes how each c h i l d moves through three major phases before he or she can enter into intersubjective communication. On an i n t u i t i v e l e v e l , l i t e r a t u r e has of course always understood and exploited the tensions and c o n f l i c t s a r i s i n g from such behavior patterns. Among other i n f l u e n t i a l thinkers, Hegel and Freud therefore draw heavily on l i t e r a r y examples for their theories. Similarly, Girard finds the most convincing i l l u s t r a t i o n s of mimetic r i v a l r y i n works l i k e Don Quixote, Shakespearean drama, Le Rouge et l e noir,  149  A l a r e c h e r c h e d u temps p e r d u . The u n i v e r s a l n a t u r e o f some b e h a v i o r t e r n s becomes p a r t i c u l a r l y ferent  characters  o b v i o u s when a w r i t e r d e c i d e s t o d e p i c t  a c t i n g i n t h e same b a s i c m a n n e r . I n s t e a d  i n g on n a r r a t i v e development, t e x t s o f t h i s Narrative go  fragmentation  and r e p e t i t i o n i n A b s a l o m and L a R o u t e  t o u n d e r s t a n d how s u c h b e h a v i o r p a t t e r n s  p o s i t i o n s o f K o j e v e , G i r a r d , and L a c a n must be  4. b . i . T h e o r e t i c a l  concentrat-  therefore  characters.  work, t h e t h e o r e t i c a l  clarified.  background  K o j e v e ' s s e c t i o n "En g u i s e l e c t u r e de H e g e l d i s c u s s e s  d'introduction"  i n his Introduction  al a  t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p between t h e s e l f and t h e o t h e r  terms o f a m a s t e r / s l a v e d i a l e c t i c . Hegel's d i s c u s s i o n o f t h i s  centers  dif-  type tend t o proceed i n l a y e r s .  hand i n hand w i t h b e h a v i o r t h a t i s r e p e a t e d by d i f f e r e n t  In order  in  of  pat-  a r o u n d human c o n s c i o u s n e s s a s i t e x p r e s s e s i t s e l f  desire. For Kojeve, the s t a r t i n g point  dialectic  through  human  o f H e g e l ' s argument i s t h a t  Le D e s i r humain. . . d i f f e r e . . . du D e s i r a n i m a l ( c o n s t i t u a n t un e t r e n a t u r e l , s e u l e m e n t v i v a n t e t n ' a y a n t q u ' u n s e n t i m e n t d e sa v i e ) p a r l e f a i t q u ' i l p o r t non pas s u r un o b j e t r e e l , ' p o s i t i f , donne, mais s u r un a u t r e D e s i r . 7 2  What makes u s human i s t h u s t h e a b i l i t y not d e s i r e d  f o r their i n t r i n s i c value  a n o t h e r human  to desire a desire. Objects are often  but f o r the value  they represent f o r  being:  . . . l e D e s i r q u i p o r t e s u r un o b j e t n a t u r e l n ' e s t humain que dans l a mesure ou i l e s t ' m e d i a t i s e ' p a r l e D e s i r d'un a u t r e p o r t a n t s u r l e meme o b j e t : i l e s t h u m a i n d e d e s i r e r c e q u e desirent l e s autres, parce q u ' i l s l e d e s i r e n t . 7 3  Kojeve argues that  the value  by  of h i s desire with  the coincidence  desires  an o b j e c t  that  the s e l f  attaches  to himself  i s determined  that of another. I f the s e l f  i s a l s o d e s i r e d by a n o t h e r , t h e s e l f  believes  150 that  his desire i s valid  desiring being. not  the  same o b j e c t a s  However,  the  in a position  d e t e r m i n e who who  the  f o r the  must h a v e v a l u e because,  i f he  S l a v e must serve  self  homme, s e  is a  i n the kills  faire  Master's  be  fully.  satisfied  Master  i n h i s own  Master  and  work w h i c h  actively  other the  Slave the  cannot  the  there  right, i s not  can  but  lui" ^  Slave performs  now  d e s i r e to  a human  by  another  self  the  realize but  f o r the  The  domination  However, i f  destroyed. the  Slave  to r e c o g n i z e  him  as  h i s autonomy  s'imposer cette  b e n e f i t of  in  a un  because autre  reconnaissance etre  hunever  t o become  relationship  between  o b j e c t s , that i s , the  the Master.  The  c o n d i t i o n s t h a t make h i m .a S l a v e his position  i s trapped  order  consequently  hand, d e s i r i n g  through  Master.  to a paradox  l ' a u t r e e s t un  Slave  one  Slave  h i s d e s i r e . The  change i t ; the  to  the  r e c o g n i t i o n can  master  is  Master needs  " p o u r que  mediated  for  f o r the Master,  rise  By  another—and  struggle i s  i l veut  other  by  the  s a c h e que  who  In order  a battle  gives  the Master maintains  i s preserved.  as  g i v e up  but  7  on  direct  i s recognized  death.  left  l a m e s u r e ou  Slave,  such.  and  value  i s nobody  desire for total  a Master, whereas  actively  purpose of  il,' faut q u ' i l  The  as  another—,  situation  dans  other  i s recognized  t h e M a s t e r . The  work to change the  s t a t u s quo  who  struggle for l i f e  r e c o n n a i t r e par  le satisfaire, 7  self  t h e r e f o r e remain a l i v e  h u m a i n que  the  same r e c o g n i t i o n f r o m h i m .  recognizes  eyes of  him,  self  by  recognized  r e c o g n i t i o n t o have any  main." "' The  can  who  the  t o be  the  t h e M a s t e r . T h i s new  "l'homme n ' e s t  puisse  wants  subjects are k i l l e d ,  In order  to  another,  i s the M a s t e r — t h e  This battle  or both  The  self  t o demand  Slave—the  ensues.  because i t i s accepted  only  in a rigid  transforms  Slave and  as  the  long  system  the world  as  and in  151  the process of actualizing h i s desire to become a Master. In conclusion, then, i t i s the Slave who  emerges as the t r u l y self-conscious human being  because he continues to desire a desire. Iii Mensonge romantique et v e r i t e romanesque Girard c l e a r l y bases himself on Kojeve's elucidation of Hegel's essay. He i s p a r t i c u l a r l y intrigued by the idea that human beings desire objects not i n themselves but only insofar as they are desired by another. Discussing l i t e r a r y figures l i k e Don Quichotte, Madame Bovary, J u l i e n Sorel, and Proust's Marcel, Girard argues that they are motivated by "un Desir selon 1'Autre qui s'oppose au desir selon Soi dont l a plupart d'entre nous se targuent de j o u i r , . " ^ Speaking of the connection between the desiring subject and the desired object, Girard points to the necessity of a mediation: La ligne droite est presente, dans l e desir de Don Quichotte, mais e l l e n'est pas l ' e s s e n t i e l . Au-dessus de cette ligne, i l y a l e mediateur qui rayonne a l a f o i s vers l e sujet et vers 1'objet. La metaphore spatiale qui exprime cette t r i p l e r e l a t i o n est evidemment l e t r i a n g l e . L'objet change avec chaque aventure mais l e t r i a n g l e demeure. 77  The mediator i s incidental and can be replaced by other objects or persons. What remains constant i s the desire of the other which functions as a model or ideal for the subject's behavior. In Le rouge et l e n o i r , the women i n J u l i e n Sorel's l i f e are not desired for themselves but function as mediators i n a triangular relationship: Tous les desirs intenses de J u l i e n sont des desirs selon 1'Autre. Son ambition est un sentiment t r i a n g u l a i r e qui se nourrit de haine pour les gens en place. C'est aux maris, aux peres et aux fiances, c'est-a-dire'aux rivaux, que vont l e s dernieres pensees de cet amant l o r s q u ' i l pose son pied sur les eehelles; ce n'est jamais a l a femme qui 1'attend sur l e balcon.78 The other i s always both a model and an obstacle to the subject's own  152  desire. Girard comments that "on a toujours a f f a i r e a deux desirs concurrents . Le mediateur ne peut plus jouer son role de modele sans jouer lement, ou paraitre jouer, l e role d'un  obstacle."^9  ega-  The r e s u l t i s mimetic  rivalry: Pour qu'un vaniteux desire un objet i l s u f f i t de l e convaincre que cet objet est deja desire par un t i e r s auquel s'attache un certain prestige. Le mediateur est i c i uh r i v a l que l a vanite a d'abord suscite, qu'elle a, pour a i n s i dire, appele a son existence de r i v a l , avant d'en exiger l a defaite.^O The r i v a l r y w i l l be more or less intense depending on how  close the  between model and subject i s . In the case of Don Quichotte,  contact  there i s no  contact because the model i s l i t e r a r y (Amadis). Girard would c a l l this a "mediation externe" as opposed  to a "mediation interne" where "cette  meme distance est assez reduite pour que les deux spheres penetrent plus 81 ou moins profondement l'une dans 1'autre."  The Age of Romanticism signals  a change i n attitude towards such mediated relationships. During the C l a s s i c a l period, writers and a r t i s t s were content to imitate the ancients, but now  the "vaniteux romantique ne se veut plus l e d i s c i p l e de personne. 82  II se persuade q u ' i l est infiniment o r i g i n a l . "  However, the new  and  parently spontaneous individualism of the romantic does i n fact only  apconceal  rather than eliminate the process of imitation. The romantic i s convinced that he desires an object for i t s own  sake and not because i t i s desired  by another. Consequently he believes that his s e l f i s created ex n i h i l o , without suffering the influence of others. Indeed, the romantic assumes mistakenly that "desirer a p a r t i r de 1'objet equivaut a desirer a. p a r t i r 83 de soi-meme. . ."  The mediator i s no longer openly acknowledged but  concealed by the c u l t for the object. In certain works of l i t e r a t u r e  153 the  c o n c e a l e d m e d i a t o r i s d e s i g n a t e d as such. G i r a r d t h e r e f o r e d i f f e r -  e n t i a t e s between "oeuvres r o m a n t i q u e s , " which never openly the  acknowledge  m e d i a t o r , and "oeuvres romanesques," which r e v e a l h i s p r e s e n c e . F o r  G i r a r d , o n l y t h e "oeuvres romanesques" a r e i n t e r e s t i n g , and he c o n c e n t r a t e s p r i m a r i l y on t h e way i n w h i c h l o v e and j e a l o u s y i n S t e n d h a l and P r o u s t manifest the process of m e d i a t i o n . B u i l d i n g on t h e framework o f Mensonge romantique e t v e r i t e romanesque, G i r a r d l a t e r d e v e l o p s t h e n o t i o n o f t h e m e d i a t o r as a scapegoat. He s t r e s s e s t h a t c o n f l i c t does n o t a r i s e from d i f f e r e n c e b u t from m i m e t i c r i v a l r y . V i o l e n c e o r c o n f l i c t e r u p t because d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n i s i n t r o d u c e d i n t o a t r u l y u n d i f f e r e n t i a t e d r e l a t i o n s h i p : "Myth and r i t u a l t e l l us t h a t d i f f e r e n c e s a r e g e n e r a t e d from t h a t s t a t e o f u n d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n w h i c h we now i d e n t i f y w i t h t h e r e c i p r o c a l v i o l e n c e o f t h e d o u b l e s .  The c r u c i a l  p o i n t i s t h a t c o n f l i c t does n o t a r i s e between p e o p l e who a r e so d i f f e r e n t as t o have n o t h i n g i n common; i t a r i s e s between those who s h a r e t h e same d e s i r e s . G i r a r d t u r n s t o Shakespeare f o r h i s d e f i n i t i o n o f t h e d o u b l e s and, g o i n g one s t e p f u r t h e r , argues t h a t "doubles can be r e c o n c i l e d o n l y  85 at  t h e expense o f a common v i c t i m "  o r a scapegoat. I t i s t h e r e f o r e  through t h e e x p u l s i o n o f a randomly chosen v i c t i m t h a t t h e i n i t i a l of  state  undifferentiation i s restored. Moving i n t h e same d i r e c t i o n as K o j e v e and G i r a r d , L a c a n f o c u s e s on  the  r e l a t i o n s h i p between t h e s e l f and t h e o t h e r from a p s y c h o a n a l y t i c a l  p o i n t o f v i e w . He argues t h a t t h e ego i s n o t a s o u r c e o f h e a l t h , as t r a d i t i o n a l F r e u d i a n i n t e r p r e t e r s have i t , b u t t h e s e a t o f n e u r o s i s . L a c a n r e a c h e s t h i s c o n c l u s i o n because f o r him t h e ego i s t h e p r o d u c t o f  154  alienating i d e n t i f i c a t i o n s with, others rather than an autonomous e n t i t y . In h i s central essay "Le stade du miroir comme formateur de l a fonction 86 du Je,"  Lacan descrihes how the c h i l d moves from an "Imaginary" into a  "Symbolic Order." The "Imaginary Order" finds i t s paradigm i n the child's e a r l i e s t i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with the mother. At this point, "the subject 87 i d e n t i f i e s h i s sentiment of Self i n the image of the other." Imaginary relationships are immediate and dual because the c h i l d wants to lose him-  88 s e l f i n the mother and "wants to actually complete"  her. As Wilden  points out, "Imaginary" i n Lacan's terminology i s "not i n the least imaginary; i t i s the realm of images, doubles, mirrors and i d e n t i f i c a t i o n s 89 with p a r t i c u l a r Others."  Lacan r e a l i z e s , as does Girard, that "ag-  g r e s s i v i t y i s intimately linked to i d e n t i f i c a t i o n s " since the "dual relationship between moi and the other as a dual relationship of obj e c t i f i c a t i o n (and, inevitably, of aggression)" takes place "along the l i n e s of Sartre's analysis of our sado-masochistic relationship to the 90 other who i s an object for us, or for whom we make ourselves an object." Indeed, Lacan asserts that he shows up " l ' a g g r e s s i v i t e qui sous-tend 1'action du philanthrope, de l ' i d e a l i s t e , du pedagogue, v o i r du reforma91 teur."  The c h i l d i s from the beginning an alienated subject. The form  of this alienation changes as the c h i l d moves from i t s immediate  identifica-  tion with, the mother to the mediated one with the father. When the mother introduces the father, the c h i l d becomes aware that what the mother most wants i s what she is: lacking: the phallus.* The c h i l d enters into the *For Lacan the phallus stands ultimately for any desire that cannot be satisfied.  155  "Symbolic Order"because i t s " d e s i r e to be i t s mother's  d e s i r e g i v e s way to  92  an i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h the f a t h e r . " f e r e s w i t h the mother's  immediate  The f a t h e r ' s m e d i a t i o n thus i n t e r -  r e l a t i o n s h i p , and the c h i l d  the"Symbolic Order" t h a t i s the o r d e r o f language and s o c i e t y .  steps i n t o Imaginary  r e l a t i o n s h i p s a r e p a r t i c u l a r l y a l i e n a t i n g because the s u b j e c t i s subord i n a t e d to the image o f o t h e r s . alienation.  I t i s , however, i m p o s s i b l e t o escape from  Even a f t e r making h i s t r a n s i t i o n i n t o the "Symbolic Order,"  the s u b j e c t c o n t i n u e s to e n t e r i n t o the o l d imaginary i d e n t i f i c a t i o n s o f the m i r r o r phase. H i s e x p e r i e n c e i s always " o f 'something m i s s i n g ' " because 93  " t h e 'absolute d e s i r e f o r t h e Other'. . . can never be s a t i s f i e d . "  All  Imaginary i d e n t i f i c a t i o n s w i t h o t h e r s a r e o n l y s u b s t i t u t e s f o r t h e a b s o l u t e Other, and the ego o r moi  i s t h e b e a r e r of n e u r o s i s because i t i s made up  of a l i e n a t i n g r e l a t i o n s h i p s . I n o t h e r words, e n t r y i n t o t h e "Symbolic Order" cannot t r a n s c e n d a l i e n a t i o n c o m p l e t e l y because r e a l i t y  (le reel) i s i r -  r e d u c i b l e t o language so t h a t "knowledge and the a b s o l u t e , f i n a l  truth are  94  i r r e v o c a b l y c u t o f f from each o t h e r . " Lacan a t t a c h e s much importance to language. Not only i s language the "Symbolic Order" p a r e x c e l l e n c e b u t one o f Lacan's most famous  pronouncements 95  maintains t h a t the "unconscious i s s t r u c t u r e d as a language." L i k e the s t r u c t u r a l i s t s , Lacan c o n c e n t r a t e s on the s i g n i f i e r ( s i g n i f i a n t ) r a t h e r than 96  on the s i g n i f i e d  ( s i g n i f i e ) . I n h i s "Le s e m i n a i r e s u r 'La l e t t r e v o l e e ' " ,  Lacan d i s c u s s e s the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the compulsion to r e p e a t and the "chaxne  s i g n i f i a n t e . " The " o b j e c t , " t h a t i s the l e t t e r i n Poe's s t o r y , i s  i n i t s e l f of l i t t l e  importance (as f a r as the content g o e s ) ; i t i s each  p a r t i c i p a n t ' s r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h the l e t t e r t h a t c o n t r o l s the development  156  of the plot. The l e t t e r functions only as a mediator i n the power play between the ministers, the police, and the Queen. Possession of a symbolic object would e f f e c t i v e l y eliminate the subject's p a r t i c i p a t i o n  i n the  "Symbolic Order": "Since the function of symbolic exchange i s not accumulation, but the maintenance of the r e l a t i o n between the exchangers, 97  actual possession of the object would break the c i r c u i t . "  This implies  that the l e t t e r would lose i t s symbolic or manipulative power i f i t were returned to the Queen or i f one of the other participants should admit possession and/or reveal i t s content. In conclusion then, i f , as Hegel maintains, the subject i s human only insofar as he desires a desire, he must constantly renew triangular relationships i n which the mediator can be replaced while the mediation remains constant. In the event that a l l desire for a desire should cease, either through possession or some other circumstances, the subject would suffer i f not a physical then a s p i r i t u a l death. 4. b. i i .  Application to 'Absalom'  The relationships between the s e l f and others, discussed by Kojeve, Girard, and Lacan, explain to various degrees why characters behave as they do. The tragedy of Faulkner's characters must be traced back to behavior patterns that leave them no room for adaptation to unforeseen circumstances. What hinders almost a l l attempts at communication i n the novel i s the i n a b i l i t y of characters to enter into d i r e c t , b i l a t e r a l relationships with each other. Their displaced and mediated associations always exhibit the patterns of a t t r a c t i o n and,aggression described by Girard. Mediation expresses i t s e l f through a complex assortment of  157  triangular  c o n n e c t i o n s between p e o p l e . These t r i a n g l e s  because the ferent the  same c h a r a c t e r c a n  c a p a c i t i e s . T h i s means t h a t  same c h a r a c t e r as he  mediator i n separate The and by  Bon. the  often  In  the  (p.  instance,  triangles in  i t i s sometimes n e c e s s a r y  functions  as  the  subject,  "...  than the  of  and  Bon.  to  dif-  study  object,  or  (p.  94);  ".  . . he  b e t w e e n H e n r y and  Judith  t r a d i t i o n a l l o y a l t y of  r e c i p r o c a l and  [Bon]  each of  could  harmonious  the  (p.  loved t h e r e had  b r o t h e r and  Judith,  particularly intrigued  Faulkner  " B e c a u s e H e n r y l o v e d Bon"  J u d g i n g f r o m t h e s e p r o n o u n c e m e n t s , we consisting  Shreve are  c r y p t i c statements, that  o t h e r two:  loved Judith" and  Q u e n t i n and  between Henry, J u d i t h ,  t h r o u g h s h o r t and  108);  closer  she  overlap  triangles.  first  relationships  [Bon]  or  to  most i m p o r t a n t t r i a n g l e s i n Absalom c o n c e r n S u t p e n , H e n r y ,  people l o v e s the he  participate i n several  tend  indicates, three  89);  "Because  Henry too. been a  sister  young  .  ."  relationship  even.  c o n c e i v a b l y , draw a  . ."  (p.  triangle  affinities:  Judith  T h i s type of directly are  t r i a n g l e w o u l d be  to the  really  o t h e r two.  But,  a l w a y s m e d i a t e d by  number o f h i n t s Sutpen c h i l d r e n . b e c a u s e " i t was  about the Bon  these apparently b i l a t e r a l  the  relate  relationships  t h i r d person. Faulkner provides  mediated communication p a t t e r n s between  functions  H e n r y who  f e a s i b l e i f each c h a r a c t e r would  as  the  mediator between J u d i t h  seduced J u d i t h :  not  Bon.  . ."  (p.  and  97).  a the Henry Judith,  79).  158  on the  t h e other  h a n d , m e d i a t e s t h e a s s o c i a t i o n b e t w e e n H e n r y a n d B o n i n much  same way a s H e n r y o c c u p i e s t h e t h i r d  Faulkner  s u g g e s t s t h a t Bon,  term i n t h e Bon-Judith  connection.  Henry, and J u d i t h cannot r e l a t e t o each  d i r e c t l y because each i d e n t i f i e s w i t h t h e y come c l o s e t o w h a t S h r e v e c a l l s  the others the "perfect  t o such an extent  other that  incest":  H e n r y . . . may h a v e b e e n c o n s c i o u s t h a t h i s f i e r c e p r o v i n c i a l ' s p r i d e i n h i s s i s t e r ' s v i r g i n i t y was a f a l s e q u a n t i t y w h i c h m u s t i n c o r p o r a t e i n i t s e l f an i n a b i l i t y t o endure i n order t o be p r e c i o u s , t o e x i s t , and so must depend upon i t s l o s s , a b s e n c e , t o have e x i s t e d a t a l l . I n f a c t , p e r h a p s t h i s i s t h e p u r e and perfect incest: thebrother r e a l i z i n g that the s i s t e r ' s v i r g i n i t y must be d e s t r o y e d i n o r d e r t o have e x i s t e d a t a l l , taking that v i r g i n i t y i n theperson of thebrother-in-law, the man whom h e w o u l d b e i f h e c o u l d become, m e t a m o r p h o s e i n t o , t h e l o v e r , t h e h u s b a n d ; b y whom h e w o u l d b e d e s p o i l e d , c h o o s e f o r d e s p o i l e r , i f he c o u l d become, m e t a m o r p h o s e i n t o t h e s i s t e r , t h e m i s t r e s s , t h e b r i d e , ( p . 96) In a c t u a l f a c t ,  then, the r e a l  c o n n c e c t i o n s b e t w e e n Bon,  Henry, and J u d i t h  r e v e a l themsleves as f o l l o w s :  The  dotted  solid  line  l i n e represents  theb i l a t e r a l  the loved  connection  whereas t h e  Once t h e h i d d e n  one i s always l o v e d  pattern only  because  l o v e r d e s i r e s w h a t a n o t h e r d e s i r e s . T h e o n e who t h i n k s h e / s h e i s l o v e d  e x i s t s only the m e d i a t o r he  surface  indicates the concealed mediation.  e m e r g e s , i t becomes c l e a r t h a t the  Henry  Judith  . Bon  as an o b j e c t w h i c h f u e l s t h e r i v a l r y between t h e s u b j e c t and (model). Faulkner  r e f e r s t o t h i s k i n d o f d i s p l a c e m e n t when  says: . . . i t was n o t J u d i t h who w a s t h e o b j e c t o f B o n ' s l o v e o r o f H e n r y ' s s o l i c i t u d e . S h e was j u s t t h e b l a n k s h a p e , t h e empty v e s s e l  159  i n w h i c h e a c h o f them s t r o v e t o p r e s e r v e , n o t t h e i l l u s i o n of h i m s e l f nor h i s i l l u s i o n of the o t h e r but what each conc e i v e d t h e o t h e r t o b e l i e v e h i m t o b e - — t h e man and t h e y o u t h , s e d u c e r and s e d u c e d , who had known one a n o t h e r , s e d u c e d and b e e n s e d u c e d , v i c t i m i z e d i n t u r n e a c h by t h e o t h e r , c o n q u e r e r v a n q u i s h e d by h i s own s t r e n g t h , v a n q u i s h e d c o n q u e r i n g by h i s own w e a k n e s s . . . ( p p . 1 1 9 - 2 0 ) . Conscious of lessly  themselves only  i n the  trapped i n the"Imaginary In h i s capacity  m e d i a t o r . Bon  blocks  Henry would not  only  a l s o l o s e t h e man  he  p r o h i b i t i o n s : he o f h i s own  sex.  as  the  s u b j e c t , H e n r y v i e w s Bon  l o s e the loves  sister  to the  he  the  older  and  a d m i t s : " I am  be.  . ."  f r i e n d and  (p. 330).  brother.  He  "apes  he  would  with  two  c a n n o t m a r r y someone  stages of h i s  t r i g g e r , Henry t r i e s h i s c l o t h i n g and  acquaintance to  emulate  speech"  H e n r y makes h i m s e l f  i n t o an o b j e c t  or Slave.  f o r c e s Henry to abandon h i s  pushed towards a m o r a l impasse t h a t compels him i s ready to pass through the  forms h i m s e l f Bon  the  being  to change h i s a t t i t u d e . trans-  circuit  long  B u t when Bon  of  to  o s c i l l a t i o n between i m i t a t i o n  i n s i t u a t i o n s o f r i v a l r y . H e n r y and as n e i t h e r  to  subordinate  g a t e t o S u t p e n ' s H u n d r e d , he  aggression  relationship.  102)  Bon's  from i d e a l model i n t o r e a l o b s t a c l e . Henry's d e c i s i o n  i s p e r f e c t l y consonant w i t h  as  (p.  But  S t r u g g l i n g t o a c c e p t Bon's i n t e n t i o n s , H e n r y f i n d s h i m s e l f  Once Bon  obstacle  t r y i n g t o make m y s e l f i n t o w h a t I t h i n k he w a n t s me  d e c i s i o n to marry J u d i t h g r a d u a l l y  kill  but  a G i r a r d i a n m o d e l and  earliest  p u l l s the  and  marry J u d i t h ,  s i s t e r . Henry i s confronted  most. From t h e  t o t h e moment when he  hope-  as b o t h o b j e c t  to the b r o t h e r - i n - l a w  I t i s , however, Bon's r o l e as  Bon  they are  w a y s . S h o u l d Bon  c a n n o t m a r r y h i s s i s t e r and  with  other,  Order."  H e n r y ' s d e s i r e i n two  that i n t e r e s t s Faulkner  role.  image of  them a c t s o u t  the  i s a b o u t t o make t h e  Bon  operate w i t h i n a  threat  and  symbolic  that controls  t h r e a t r e a l , Henry has  their to  160  destroy the r i v a l . At some point, then, the dominance of imitation i s broken and replaced by aggression. Bon, as the perceiving subject, p a r t i c i p a t e s i n a s l i g h t l y modified triangle i n which Sutpen functions as the mediator and Henry/Judith as the object. Bon i s introduced as a fatherless son i n search of a father. The success of his search i s predicated on the father acknowledging the existence of the son. Bon manipulates the l i v e s of Henry and Judith because he r e a l i z e s that i t i s only through them that he can establish contact with Sutpen. When Bon looks  at Henry, he does not see the younger brother  but "the face of the man who shaped us both. . ." (p. 317). Henry functions as an object that r e f l e c t s the father and represents a gateway to him. Bon agrees to v i s i t Sutpen's Hundred because "I s h a l l penetrate. look not on my brother's  . . and  face whom I did not know I possessed and hence  never missed, but my father's. . ." (p. 317). And, contrary to Henry's assumption, Bon accompanies Henry "not to see the s i s t e r . . . but thinking 'So at least I s h a l l see him, whom i t seems I was bred up never to expect to see, whom I had even learned to l i v e without. . ."' (p. 319). The figure of the father acts as an ideal model which the son must f i r s t imitate and then reject i n order to mature into an autonomous s e l f . In his capacity as an i d e a l model, Sutpen i s not required to behave as a " r e a l " father; no share of an inheritance or even public acknowledgment i s demanded of him. Bon would be s a t i s f i e d with a private sign of recognition which would i n fact have transformed the i d e a l or symbolic relationship between father and son into a r e a l one. The power of the "Symbolic Order" Lacan discusses i n "Le seminaire sur ' l a L e t t r e volee'" would thereby be broken since  161  "possession" of the father would end the search for an i d e a l father. However, Sutpen does not allow this transformation to take place. He refuses to admit to a flaw i n h i s design and makes h i s sons pay for h i s blindness and obstinacy. Shreve argues that, as a Master, Sutpen depends on the status quo and cannot adapt to an unforeseen s i t u a t i o n : Maybe he [Bon] knew then that whatever the old man had done, whether he meant well or i l l by i t , i t wasn't going to be the old man who would have to pay the check; and now that the old man was bankrupt with the incompetence of age, who should do the paying i f not h i s sons, h i s get, because wasn't i t done that way i n the old days? the old Abraham. . . (p. 325). Bon and Henry agree to be s a c r i f i c e d to Sutpen's design because neither of them can exist outside Sutpen's presence. Henry's l i f e acquires i t s  meaning  from Sutpen's moral system and Bon's s u r v i v a l depends on a sign of acknowledgment from Sutpen. Indeed, Bon i s so t o t a l l y trapped within an Imaginary relationship with Sutpen as the Other that he doesn't hesitate to destroy himself and Henry, i n an e f f o r t to e l i c i t at least Sutpen's posthumous recognition. Bon r e a l i z e s that the murder proves to Sutpen that he was his  son because otherwise Henry could not have been provoked into k i l l i n g  him. Mediated relationships, especially when they are not recognized as such, are destructive because one person i n the triangle i s always treated as an object rather than as a human being. Faulkner makes this point not only with h i s major actors but also with h i s supporting cast. Henry's i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with Bon through Judith, for instance, finds i t s counterpart i n Rosa's "vicarious b r i d a l " (p. 77). Rosa loves Bon not because she has been seduced by him but because Judith loves him. In f a c t , Rosa never even sees Bon a l i v e ; he enters into her l i f e only as an abstraction:  162  ". . . i t would only need vague inference of some walking f l e s h and blood desired by someone else i f only i n some shadow-realm of make-believe" (p.  147). Indeed, more than any other character i n the novel, Bon appears  in other peoples' l i v e s as a mere object. E l l e n speaks of him "as i f he were three inanimate objects i n one," namely a "garment which Judith might wear," "a piece of furniture" attesting to Ellen's s o c i a l position, and "a mentor and example" for Henry (p. 75). Moreover, i n the story Quentin and Shreve construct around him, Bon i s manipulated  by his mother  amd her lawyer (p. 306). Sutpen, of course, treats not only his sons as objects but also h i s women. He discards his f i r s t wife, drives h i s second one into madness, i n s u l t s Rosa, and i n d i r e c t l y k i l l s M i l l y . G l y t i e and Wash f i n a l l y make themselves into objects and acquiesce to being mistreated by Sutpen. In a r i g i d l y h i e r a r c h i c a l and class-conscious society l i k e the South, maintaining the status quo necessarily implies a general acceptance of a Master/Slave  d i v i s i o n . The mediated relationships between individuals  i n Absalom i s therefore symptomatic of a whole way of l i f e .  4. b. i i i . Application to'La Route' Patterns of mediated relationships i n La Route are less frequent  than  i n Absalom. Nevertheless, the the women i n Simon's novel function almost e n t i r e l y as objects desired by two male r i v a l s . The r i v a l s , who i n some cases are e x p l i c i t l y portrayed as doubles, exhibit aggressive attitudes ranging from open threats to unacknowledged misgivings. The lame man with the gun and the mayor's assessor he threatens are described as wearing "ces semblables bottes" (p. 124) so that de Reixach seems to stand between twins:  163  II [de Reixach] f i t un pas de.cote et.se trouva de nouveau entre les deux hommes, c e l u i a u f u s i l et 1'autre qui se tenait maintenant derriere son dos avec les deux sous-officiers et qui semblait, a une imperceptible nuance pres, l a replique exacte du fermier. . . (p. 61). In accordance with Girard's theory, the violence between the two  rivals  i s a direct result of their s i m i l a r i t y , a s i m i l a r i t y that makes them desire the desire of the other. A less obvious s i m i l a r i t y exists between I g l e s i a and de Reixach whose r i v a l r y centers on Corinne. The two men manifest the kind of close but acknowledged interdependence  un-  that forces them to conceal their aggression  under a constant show of equanimity. Although de Reixach i s the Master and I g l e s i a the Slave, " i l s ne pouvaient pas se passer l'un de l a u t r e , tout f  autant l u i de de Reixach que c e l u i - c i de l u i , cet attachement hautain du maxtre pour son chien et de bas en haut du chien pour son maxtre. . ." (p. 46). Since the class difference i s t a c i t l y understood  but never  verbalized, their r i v a l r y exists mostly below the surface. In de Reixach's eyes, then, " l a passion ou plutot l a souffranee avait l a forme non d'un  de  ses semblables de ses egaux mais d'un jockey a. tete de p o l i c h i n e l l e contre lequel nous ne l'avions jamais entendu seulement elever l a voix et dont i l se f a i s a i t suivre comme son ombre. . ." (p. 124). The r i v a l r y manifests  itself  primarily i n two areas, areas i n which de Reixach and I g l e s i a face each other as equals: horsemanship and sex. Georges singles out the care for horses as " l e seul sujet l a seule chose peut-etre qui en d e f i n i t i v e les passionnait tous deux" (p. 125) so that de Reixach and I g l e s i a  not only  discuss but also ride horses on equal terms. I t i s therefore not surprising that the only overt confrontation between the two men  concerns a horse race  164  and, i n d i r e c t l y , Corinne. When de Reixach challenges Iglesia's professional authority by entering a race as jockey,  the r e a l object of  contention i s of course the woman who w i l l presumably give  her heart to  the winner. The h o s t i l i t y between the r i v a l s manifests i t s e l f only i n d i r e c t l y . De Reixach and I g l e s i a exchange only p r a c t i c a l instructions concerning the race and l e t Corinne mediate the emotional or r e a l meaning of the s i t u a t i o n . Corinne argues alternately with de Reixach and with I g l e s i a about the f o l l y of her husband's action, and i t i s through her that the reader understands  that, for de Reixach at least, losing the race  would symbolize losing Corinne. In love and horsemanship, two areas i n which s o c i a l advantage does not protect de Reixach, I g l e s i a functions as a respected and victorious r i v a l . Girard's theory of mimetic r i v a l r y explains also why the soldier Georges keeps thinking about a woman he has never even met. Georges obviously desires Corinne primarily because she i s desired by both de Reixach and I g l e s i a . I t i s her abstract shape that influences the r e l a t i o n ships Georges entertains with the captain and the former jockey. Corinne, standing for the desire of a desire, sustains Georges throughout the war years but loses her power when Georges becomes her lover a f t e r the war. By possessing her, Georges destroys her symbolic s i g n i f i c a n c e . Corinne soon r e a l i z e s that Georges does not love her but only an image of her. Indeed, Georges himself comes to understand  the f a l s e hopes he had set on  possessing Corinne. Comparing his hopes with his father's f a i t h i n the symbolic power of words, Georges asks himself: " . . . qu'avals-je cherche en e l l e espere poursuivi jusque sur son corps dans son corps des mots  165  des sons aussi fou que l u i avec ces i l l u s o i r e s f e u i l l e s de papier. . ." (p. 274). Patterns of mediation thus repeat themselves i n d i f f e r e n t relationships between characters i n La Route. They demonstrate that synchronic doubling represents a pervasive feature of the novel and influences i t s narrative structure by imposing a r e p e t i t i v e arrangement of material.  4. c.  Doubling as a diachronic phenomenon Synchronic doubling acts as a sort of archetypal manifestation of pat-  terns i n a l l human behavior. However, certain patterns also repeat themselves i n a single individual's l i f e . Irwin's notion of temporal doubling concentrates on the reappearance of the same s i t u a t i o n over several generations. This type of temporal doubling i s o l a t e s instances i n a time spectrum without, however, paying attention to temporal progress or continuity. Instead of showing how  the same pattern manifests i t s e l f i n  similar situations, temporal doubling should also demonstrate how  a  character interprets d i f f e r e n t situations according to the same preconcep-••• tions. Repetitive behavior i n the face of changing contexts implies a d i s torted view of r e a l i t y and forces an i n d i v i d u a l to make the wrong decisions. Faulkner and to a lesser degree Simon portray obsessive characters who destroy themselves because they are unable to interpret the world around them correctly. Their behavior corresponds  to responses that Gregory  Bateson discusses as double bind s i t u a t i o n s . Bateson adds to the discoveries about relationships between Self and Other by Kojeve, Girard, and especially Lacan by studying the accumulative effect of such relationships on the i n d i v i d u a l . He begins by investigating the child's early r e l a t i o n -  166  ships within the family and argues that the patterns i t learns w i l l determine the adult's l a t e r behavior. Bateson, l i k e Lacan, approaches h i s subject matter as a text that needs to be deciphered and sees the value of his studies i n epistemological rather than c l i n i c a l terms. But  the  double bind theory distinguishes i t s e l f from Lacan's approach i n that i t discusses the process of i d e n t i f i c a t i o n i n a more s p e c i f i c a l l y temporal context.  4. c. i . Theoretical Background  98 Gregory Bateson  discovered  the double bind theory while studying  the family situations of schizophrenic patients. He found that, as a c h i l d , schizophrenic adults were subjected  to contradictory messages which offered  no avenues of escape and therefore produced great emotional stress. The conditions for a double bind s i t u a t i o n are usually the following: The  child  i s trapped within an intense personal relationship with parents or other persons of authority on whom his s u r v i v a l depends. I t i s imperative  that the  c h i l d interpret messages from such persons c o r r e c t l y . However, the c h i l d i s confronted with two messages that contradict each other. The contradiction i s not easily recognized because the two messages are of a d i f f e r e n t l o g i c a l type ( d i f f e r e n t l e v e l ) . Bateson i l l u s t r a t e s the dilemma this contradiction creates with an example. The mother feels h o s t i l e towards her c h i l d but does  99 not want the c h i l d to know "that she i s withdrawing"  because  she wants to think of herself as a loving mother. She therefore  simulates  "loving behavior" which " i s then a comment on (since i t i s compensatory for) her h o s t i l e behavior and consequently i t i s of a d i f f e r e n t order of message  167  than the h o s t i l e behavior. . .""  LVJU  The result i s that the c h i l d "must not  accurately interpret her communication" ^ 1  1  since she wants him to see her  simulated behavior as her true feelings. The c h i l d i s forced to " d i s t o r t 102  h i s perception of metacommunicative signals"  i n order to reinforce  the mother's deception for otherwise he w i l l lose her a f f e c t i o n . Bateson summarizes the s i t u a t i o n by saying: "The c h i l d i s punished for discriminating accurately what she i s expressing, and he i s punished for discriminating 103  i n a c c u r a t e l y — h e i s caught i n a double bind."  The dilemma of the "you  are damned i f you do an damned i f you don't" situation i s aggravated by the child's subordinate p o s i t i o n i n the family context which does not permit him to metacommunicate (for instance by pointing out to his mother that she i s presenting him with a double bind) and thereby neutralize the double binding environment. If the c h i l d , and l a t e r the adult, i s repeatedly subjected to double binding situations, he w i l l learn "to perceive his 104  universe i n double bind patterns."  Double binds do.in fact manipulate  the power d i s t r i b u t i o n i n a l l h i e r a r c h i c a l relationships. As long as an individual remains within an emotional or otherwise expedient state of dependence, he can neither respond adequately to circumstances nor can he metacommunicate about the conditions that force double binding patterns upon him. Temporal doubling i n Absalom and La Route takes the form of accumulative double binds which explain the behavior of character and influences the r e p e t i tive nature of the narrative.  168  4. c. i i . Application to .'Absalom' In Chapter Eight Faulkner turns to Sutpen's childhood.in order to account f o r the adult's behavior. He has Sutpen grow up i n the mountains of West V i r g i n i a where l i f e was t y p i f i e d by s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y rather than surplus value. The land belongs to everybody and "everybody had just what he was strong enough or energetic enough to take and keep" (p. 221). During h i s adolescence,  the family moves into the f l a t land where Sutpen " f a l l s " into  a world of s o c i a l d i s t i n c t i o n s . He learns that objects are not measured i n terms of their innate quality but according to the value they represent to other people. He didn't know, for instance that there existed a l l the objects to be wanted which there were, or that the ones who owned the objects not only could look down on the ones that didn't, but could be supported i n the down-looking not only by the others who owned objects too but by the very ones that were looked down on that didn't own objects and knew they never would, (p. 221) Sutpen assumes that i t i s luck that determines the s o c i a l order and cannot conceive of people who look down on others because luck was on t h e i r side. This innocent view of r e a l i t y i s one day irrevocably destroyed by a traumatic experience. Sutpen i s around fourteen years old but i s presented as a man without  i d e n t i t y because he "knew neither where he had come from nor where  he was nor why" (p. 227). In Lacan's terms, Sutpen i s s t i l l i n a primordial state of self-consciousness. He enters the mirror phase when he i s sent to Pettibone's plantation where he i d e n t i f i e s with the plantation owner who has the power to send him to the backdoor. Pettibone functions as the "Imaginary Other" who becomes both a model and obstacle to Sutpen's desires. In accordance with Girard's description of mimetic rivalry.and Lacan's discovery that "aggressivity i s intimately linked to identification,""'"^  169  Sutpen considers shooting Pettibone. However, i n terms of Hegel's concept of the Master/Slave d i a l e c t i c , the boy r e a l i z e s that "That wouldn't do no good" (p. 235) because by k i l l i n g the r i v a l he would eliminate the Other on whose recognition h i s own  s e l f image depends. Sutpen must force the class  of plantation owners to acknowledge and respect him. Sutpen reaches this conclusion a f t e r deciding that i n his present p o s i t i o n h i s actions have no impact on Pettibone's existence. Although Pettibone w i l l not receive the message Sutpen was  to deliver, he w i l l not incur any loss on account of i t .  Sutpen voices his despair i n terms of a double bind s i t u a t i o n : "I not only wasn't doing any good to him by t e l l i n g i t or any harm tO him by not  telling  i t , there aint any good or harm'either i n the l i v i n g world that I can do to him"  (p. 238). Having accepted Pettibone as an "Imaginary Other," Sutpen  has created f o r himself a state of emotional dependence which does not permit him to move outside the double binding s i t u a t i o n . Instead of analyzing and f i g h t i n g against the s o c i a l system that gives Pettibone his power, Sutpen decides to remain within the system: "So to combat them you have got to have what they have that made them do what the man  did. You got to have land and  niggers and a fine house to combat them with" (p. 238). Sutpen does not desire the land and the house he eventually obtains for their i n t r i n s i c value but because they represent the desire of the Master class. By desiring a 106 desire, Sutpen condemns himself to " f i n d a hole to f i l l up a hole." Sutpen encounters a similar double bind when he t r i e s to e s t a b l i s h himself i n Jefferson. In order to become part of the Southern aristocracy to which Pettibone belongs, Sutpen must create for himself both a past and a future. Choosing an appropriate wife could satisfy.both requirements.  170  Devoid of a respectable past, i n Jefferson the equivalent of an established name, Sutpen has to acquire one through marriage. However, this solution presents him with a double bind: by marrying E l l e n C o l d f i e l d he demonstrates that he has an acceptable past because no father-in-law would  otherwise  consent to the marriage. At the same time he shows that he has no acceptable past since he has to acquire one by marrying E l l e n . No matter what e f f o r t s Sutpen puts into turning himself into a respected member of Jefferson, the town "had agreed never to forgive him for not having any past. . ." (p. 52). By endorsing the status quo, Sutpen automatically excludes himself from the s o c i a l position he desires. The stronghold of the Southern aristocracy i s of course made up of families whose ancestors had once been i n much the same s i t u a t i o n as Sutpen. I t i s only through the power of money that names have become respectable and the past has conveniently been forgotten. Sutpen's only r e a l chance to j o i n the r u l i n g class therefore rests with his descendants. I f he can found a dynasty,  the future w i l l . e v e n t u a l l y exonerate the past. Moreover, aside  from h i s "father" Pettibone, a son i s the only person who  can recognize  Sutpen as the Master and s t i l l be worthy of respect. Henry f u l f i l l s a paradoxical r o l e i n that he i s both a Slave (he i s subordinate to the father) and a potential Master (he i s a part and image of the father). Marriage to E l l e n thus provides Sutpen not only with an almost acceptable past but also with a son who w i l l ensure a promising future. Sutpen rejects h i s f i r s t son becauseJhis black blood makes him s o c i a l l y i n f e r i o r . Bon could never earn Sutpen's respect, so the son's acknowledgment of the fatherlloses s i g n i f i c a n c e . Having discarded Bon,  Sutpen puts a l l his hopes on Henry. But,  171  at  a time when Sutpen has reached  counts  the h e i g h t o f h i s economic p o s i t i o n and  on Henry as h i s h e i r , Bon appears as " t h e f a c e he b e l i e v e d he had  p a i d o f f and d i s c h a r g e d  twenty-eight  y e a r s ago" (p. 265). Bon t h r e a t e n s  Sutpen's d e s i g n because Sutpen a c c e p t s the r a c i a l v a l u e s of the s o c i a l system. I t i s o n l y w i t h i n t h i s emotional double  c o n t e x t t h a t Bon f o r c e s  another  bindoon Sutpen: Yet I am now f a c e d w i t h a second n e c e s s i t y t o choose, the c u r i o u s f a c t o r o f which i s not, as you p o i n t e d out and as f i r s t appeared to me, t h a t the n e c e s s i t y f o r a new c h o i c e should have a r i s e n , but t h a t e i t h e r c h o i c e which I might make, e i t h e r course which I might choose, l e a d s t o t h e same r e s u l t : e i t h e r I d e s t r o y my d e s i g n with.„my own hand, which w i l l happen i f I am f o r c e d t o p l a y my l a s t trump c a r d , or do n o t h i n g , l e t matters take t h e course which I know they w i l l take and see my d e s i g n complete i t s e l f q u i t e n o r m a l l y and n a t u r a l l y and s u c c e s s f u l l y t o the p u b l i c eye, y e t t o my own i n such f a s h i o n as t o be a mockery. . . (pp. 273-74).  Sutpen d e c i d e s t o p l a y h i s " l a s t  trump c a r d " and t e l l s ^ H e n r y t h a t Bon i s n o t  o n l y h i s b r o t h e r but a l s o p a r t negro. When Henry k i l l s fugitive, (p.  Bon and becomes a  Sutpen's p l a n , " t o which he had g i v e n f i f t y y e a r s o f h i s l i f e "  272), s u f f e r s a s e r i o u s setback and he i s f o r c e d t o "make a t h i r d  toward t h a t d e s i g n " The  start  (p. 273).  t h i r d s t a r t towards a Sutpen dynasty  is first  of a l l f r u s t r a t e d  by Rosa's r e f u s a l to cooperate w i t h Sutpen's proposed t e s t b r e e d i n g . By m i s j u d g i n g Rosa's c h a r a c t e r , Sutpen I s b e t r a y e d once a g a i n by the " o l d impotent  l o g i c and m o r a l i t y which had b e t r a y e d him b e f o r e . . ." (p. 279).  Indeed, t h i s l o g i c and m o r a l i t y b l i n d him a l s o t o the f e e l i n g s and p o s s i b l e r e a c t i o n s of Wash Jones. Having seduced M i l l y , Jones'  granddaughter, Sutpen  d i s m i s s e s h e r as c a l l o u s l y as h i s f i r s t w i f e when she bears him a daughter r a t h e r than a son. Jones,  u n t i l then Sutpen's most l o y a l admirer,  cannot  172  accept Sutpen's dishonorable action and k i l l s him. Sutpen, of course, could not  have treated Jones d i f f e r e n t l y . Once i n the shoes of a landowner, Sutpen  has to act as a Master: he must treat others as i n f e r i o r s or Slaves. Sutpen's self-image depends on the system within which he has established himself as a Master. I f Sutpen had treated Jones as a human being, he would have indicated that a member of the landowning class could behave d i f ferently from Pettibone who has become Sutpen's "Imaginary Other." The a f front the fourteen year o l d Sutpen suffered at the hands of Pettibone should then have been treated as a private rather than a s o c i a l matter, and the boy should have k i l l e d the landowner instead of imitating him. Wash Jones thus symbolizes Sutpen's ultimate double bind. I f Jones deserved to be treated as a human being, then the system was wrong and Sutpen's l i f e struggle without meaning. In rather exaggerated form Sutpen exemplifies behavior patterns that also hold  tru e  f o r other characters i n Absalom. Certain p a r a l l e l s  between these characters focus attention on the fact that their decisions are  often constrained by a moral code which traps them i n double bind  situations. On some l e v e l s , Mr. C o l d f i e l d , Henry, and Rosa, f o r instance, c l e a r l y act as doubles for each other. Not only do a l l three of them hide away i n their own houses, but Henry i s described as "the C o l d f i e l d with the C o l d f i e l d c l u t t e r i n g of morality and rules of right and wrong. . ." (p. 120). Mr. C o l d f i e l d sins against h i s moral p r i n c i p l e s f i r s t when he enters into a speculative business proposition with Sutpen, and again when he permits "his daughter to marry this man of whose actions h i s conscience did not approve" (p. 51). Later on, Mr. C o l d f i e l d i s opposed to war not so much,, because i t  173  leads to loss of l i f e but because i t i s a general waste (p. 83). Since he could not condone war  i n any circumstances,  Mr. C o l d f i e l d could fight  neither for nor against his country. When the Confederates loot his store, Mr. C o l d f i e l d n a i l s himself into his a t t i c becaus his goods had unwittingly supported the war  e f f o r t . His death i s a comment on the "contemporary  scene of f o l l y and outrage" and symbolizes the f i n a l expression of his "cold and i n f l e x i b l e disapproval" (p. 84). S i m i l a r l y , because of her moral r i g i d i t y , Rosa attributes inordinate importance to Sutpen's i n s u l t .  She  nurtures her outrage even after Sutpen's death. Indeed, his death leaves the i n s u l t a l l the more a l i v e because, no matter what Rosa does or.doesn't do, Sutpen i s "the man whom she could neither forgive nor revenge herself upon. . ." (p. 13). In other words, Sutpen acts as an obstacle that gives Rosa's l i f e i t s meaning; h i s death removes the tangible obstacle and  leaves  her nothing but frustrated outrage. Henry's double bind i s bf course more complex. He cannot accept that what his father t e l l s him about Bon i s true because i t would mean that he would have to k i l l the friend. But, Henry knows that what his father t e l l s him i s true and "that he was destined to k i l l "  doomed and  (p. 91). The probation time, as Henry w e l l knows, could  only delay but not avert the i n e v i t a b l e . Bon puts Henry into a p o s i t i o n i n which he "must either betray himself and his entire upbringing and thinking, or deny the friend for whom he had already repudiated home and k i n and all.  . ." (p. 114). Since Henry and Bon are motivated by d i f f e r e n t p r i n c i p l e s ,  t h e i r behavior  towards each other has to be masked by pretense. The  i s a rather paradoxical r e l a t i o n s h i p : "Bon who  result  didn't know what he.was going  to do and had to say, pretend, he did; and Henry who  knew what he was  going  174  to do and had to say he didn't" (p. 341). Adherence to p r i n c i p l e s precludes any pragmatic solutions to the dilemma the brothers face. This i s why Henry has to prevent a secret marriage between Bon and Judith, the only possible way out of the dilemma, for otherwise "he (Henry) would have to l i v e f o r the rest of h i s l i f e with the knowledge that he was glad he had been so betrayed, with the coward's joy of surrendering without having been vanquished. . .".(p. 119). Rigid codes of behavior thus force Mr. C o l d f i e l d to choose death, Rosa to nurture her outrage, and Henry to k i l l Bon. The p a r a l l e l s between Mr. C o l d f i e l d , Rosa, and Henry, mirroring Sutpen's own obsession with a design which eventually compels him;to play his l a s t trump card, are further reinforced by situations i n the l i v e s of Bon and Wash Jones. In fact, the situations i n which Bon and Jtines find themselves repeat Sutpen's own experiences as a young man. Bon, for instance, "came into that isolated puritan country household almost l i k e Sutpen hims e l f came into Jefferson: apparently complete, without background or past or childhood. . ." (p. 93). Moreover, at least i n metaphorical terms, Bon i s turned away from the front door by Sutpen i n much the same way as Sutpen was at Pettibone's plantation. Giventhis s i t u a t i o n , Bon i s condemned to remain fatherless whether he simply leaves things as they are or t r i e s to force Sutpen into recognizing him. Like Sutpen, Bon decides to act although he knows that he w i l l destroy himself i n the process. Wash Jones i s perhaps an even better mirror image of Sutpen. He comes from a poor white background and i s s a t i s f i e d with h i s l o t u n t i l Sutpen awakens'his s o c i a l s e l f consciousness. Throughout the years, Jones speaks of Sutpen as a " f i n e f i g u r e " (p. 282) i n spite of the fact that Sutpen's black daughter w i l l not  175  even l e t him enter the kitchen door at the back of the house. When Sutpen seduces M i l l y , Jones i s confident ..that he " w i l l make h i t r i g h t " (p. .284) i n the end. Jones thus subscribes to a morality "that was a good deal l i k e Sutpen's, that told him he was right i n the face of a l l fact and usage. . ." (p. 287). When Sutpen discards M i l l y with i n s u l t i n g words, Jones can at f i r s t not believe that he heard r i g h t . But once the truth sinks i n , Jones' f a i t h i n the established order crumbles with the same suddenness as had Sutpen's at Pettibone's front door. Jones now r e a l i z e s that the Master/Slave relationship, a relationship Sutpen had dominated and Jones accepted, has l o s t i t s v a l i d i t y . Quentin points out that Jones recognized that he could never run " f a r enough to escape beyond the :  boundaries of earth where such men l i v e d , set the order and rule of l i v i n g . . ."..(p. 290). Confronted with a s i m i l a r double bind as Sutpen, Jones decides to act and k i l l s h i s Master. Where Sutpen had opted for the system, Jones pronounces himself against i t : "Better i f h i s kind and mine too  had never drawn the breath of l i f e on this earth" (p. 290). K i l l i n g  Sutpen represents the most r a d i c a l solution to Jones' dilemma. Indeed, this solution corresponds to the Hegelian murder where the death of either Master or Slave results i n the a n n i h i l a t i o n of both.  4. c. i i i . Application to 'La Route  1  Temporal doubling plays a r e l a t i v e l y limited r o l e i n La Route because Simon i s h o s t i l e to both psychological patterns and narrative continuity. Nevertheless,, the superimposition of the ancestor and de Reixach results i n a sort of compound character who i s repeatedly caught in. double binds.  176  Both the ancestor and de Reixach share a c e r t a i n amount of idealism and a r e l a t i v e l y r i g i d adherence to s o c i a l codes. The ancestor's  double bind  arises from a contradiction between Rousseau's ideas on equality and  the  established feudal order to which the ancestor belongs. As an a r i s t o c r a t and a Rousseau sympathizer, the ancestor  can neither l i v e within his  own  cast nor can he transcend i t : Et l u i deux foix t r a i t r e , — d ' a b o r d a cette caste dont i l e t a i t issu et q u ' i l avait reniee, desavouee, se detruisant, se s u i cidant en quelque sorte une premiere f o i s , pour les beaux yeux ( s i l'on peut dire) d'une morale larmoyante et suisse dont i l n'aurait jamais pu avoir connaissance s i sa fortune, son rang ne l u i en avait donne les moyens, c'est-a-dire l e l o i s i r et l e pouvoir de l i r e , — t r a i t r e ensuite a. l a cause q u ' i l avait embrassee, mais cette f o i s par incapacite, c'est-a-dire coupable. . . d'avoir voulu melanger—ou c o n c i l i e r — courage et pensee, meconnu^cet i r r e d u c t i b l e antagonisme qui oppose toute r e f l e x i o n a toute action. . . (pp. 193-94). The injunction he receives from caste l o y a l t y contradicts the injunction he must follow according  to his reading of i d e a l i s t l i t e r a t u r e . He w i l l  there-  fore destroy himself whether he acts or does not act. I f he does not f i g h t for his ideas, he w i l l lose his self-respect. If he does fight for h i s ideas, he bites the hand that has fed him and continues  to claim him. There  i s no solution to the c o n f l i c t between the r i g i d rules of the aristocracy' and the s o c i a l mobility Rousseau's democratic i d e a l i n i t i a t e s . The of the ancestor's  irony  s i t u a t i o n i s of course that his wife's adultery puts the  democratic i d e a l into action. By having an a f f a i r with a servant,  she  transgresses against the laws of her class and encourages s o c i a l equality. The ancestor's  double bind i s thus reinforced by his i n a b i l i t y to condone  his wife's transgression at the same time as he himself f i g h t s a war  that  advocates the abolishment of his caste. Suicide f i n a l l y offers i t s e l f as the  177  only solution to a position that becomes increasingly untenable. De Reixach finds himself i n a s i m i l a r l y untenable s i t u a t i o n . In thecontext of the sexual b a t t l e for Corinne, de Reixach i s faced with  two  equally undesirable alternatives. His a r i s t o c r a t i c code t e l l s him that he must face an adversary i n a f a i r contest at the same time as i t does not allow him to recognize a s o c i a l i n f e r i o r as his equal. The race thus means that he has to either lower himself to the jockey's p o s i t i o n br forego the race and l e t I g l e s i a triumph over him i n the sexual domain. Moreover, l i k e his ancestor, de Reixach faces not only a sexual but also a m i l i t a r y challenge. As a graduate of the Saumur, he i s forced to f i g h t a war  that w i l l  end the world i n which the Saumur stands as a/symbol f o r the established order. It follows that, whether he fights or not, he transgresses against h i s class. L i k e the ancestor, de Reixach f i n a l l y opts for s u i c i d e as the only way  5.  out of h i s dilemma.  Conclusion In this chapter on narrative structure, I have t r i e d to show how  Absalom and La Route turn their back on many conventional narrative devices and replace them as much as possible with innovative formal choices that encourage a p l u r a l i s t i c approach to both f i c t i o n and r e a l i t y . Through juxtapositions, superimpositions, and substitutions the two novels tend to blur d i s t i n c t i o n s between such conventional e n t i t i e s as character, narrator, l i s t e n e r , main story, frame story, story time, time of narration. Moreover, Faulkner and Simon manipulate the narrative i n such a. way i t w i l l not lead to t r a d i t i o n a l l y expected  that  f a c t u a l or motivational solutions.  178  The suspense mechanism i n Absalom, f o r instance, never delivers an always promised climax; i-t . maintains instead' a , f r u i t f u l tension.between the known 1  and the unknown as well as the factual and the imagined. -As- an open-ended novel, Absalom remains a l i v e and challenging by i n v i t i n g constant r e i n t e r pretations of facts and motivations. Faulkner thereby succeeds i n preserving the complexities of perception and experience at the same time as he requires an active p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the process of f i c t i o n ' on the part of the reader. Simon takes an even more r a d i c a l stance against conventional f i c t i o n . Fragmentation  and r e p e t i t i o n i n La Route prevent dominant themes,  time l e v e l s , and narrative a u t h o r i t i e s . Simon's strong commitment to narr a t i v e discontinuity expresses h i s h o s t i l i t y to a causally determined oned i r e c t i o n a l story, l i n e . His narrative structure, based on symmetrical and analogical patterns, conveys a conviction that everything i n the world i s p o t e n t i a l l y a r e f l e c t i o n of everything else. The metaphor f o r this type of novel i s no longer the g r a i l but the maze. And, as John Barth contends i n Chimera, "The key to the treasure i s the t r e a s u r e , t h a t i s , the answer to the maze i n La Route i s the maze. Ideally, then, the significance of Simon's novel should a r i s e from l i n g u i s t i c and s t r u c t u r a l connections rather than from references to a "world out there." An anti-representational bias, stronger i n La Route but nevertheless already present i n Absalom, extends also to the psychological treatment of characters. Characters are no longer approached as fixed e n t i t i t e s but as l i n k s i n a network of r e l a t i o n s . The theories of Kojeve, Girard, Lacan and Bateson help us understand how the individual creates a.self-image various i d e n t i f i c a t i o n s with others. Absalom and La Route  through  exemplify the  179  pernicious but inevitable effects of mediated relationships and draw a t tention to the f l u i d i t y of the self as i t participates, i n d i f f e r e n t capacities, i n several triangular configurations. The character loses his s t a b i l i t y both from the outside, because his narrative function has been blurred, and from within, because h i s s e l f dissolves i t s e l f i n others. I f a character functions i n mediated terms, he/she inevitably exists as a more or less exact double of other characters. There i s always an area i n which characters overlap and hence repeat aspects of each other's l i v e s . Faulkner and Simon try.to do f u l l j u s t i c e to complex patterns of behavior and communication at the same time as they exploit these patterns for narrative purposes. The f l u i d i t y of character r e presentation corresponds and contributes to the f l u i d i t y of the narr a t i v e process. Simon sums up the d i f f i c u l t i e s a r i s i n g from an ambition to capture a complex and multi-dimensional r e a l i t y when he commiserates with Georges' need for "une glace a plusieurs faces" (p. 313). Faulkner and Simon share the same aspiration to provide a comprehensive picture of r e a l i t y and ways to transcend the conventional l i m i t a t i o n s of language, the f i c t i o n a l process, and human perception i n general.  180  CHAPTER IV REPETITION AND . INTERTEXTUALITY  1.  Introduction After the discussion of r e p e t i t i v e  patterns on the l e v e l s of word  arrangement, sentence organization, and narrative structure, there remains one l e v e l of r e p e t i t i o n to be analyzed: i n t e r t e x t u a l i t y . Although l i t e r a r y texts are often regarded as self-contained, autonomous constructs, i t i s obvious that they share at least their language, themes, and s t r u c t u r a l devices with a long t r a d i t i o n of other l i t e r a r y texts. The aesthetic c r i t e r i o n of o r i g i n a l i t y compels most texts, e s p e c i a l l y those written i n the mimetic mode, to conceal their debt to their precursors. Before the Age of Romanticism, at a time when l i t e r a t u r e was constrained by many conventions, imitation of established models (the Classics) was natural, acceptable, and to be encouraged. I t was only when literature-was supposed to depict r e a l i t y accurately and from immediate experience that references to models came to denote a lack of imagination,  a deplorable  borrowing of foreign ideas, or an unnecessary a f f e c t a t i o n of c u l t u r a l knowledge. These prejudices are now slowly being eroded. Recent a t titudes towards l i t e r a r y references indicate a new awareness of the p o s s i b i l i t i e s inherent i n a practice that depends for i t s e f f e c t s on a gap between a stable entity (tradition) and i t s use i n d i f f e r e n t contexts. The semantic component of a l i t e r a r y a l l u s i o n i s always the same, whereas i t s varying syntactic placements determine i t s s i g n i f i c a n c e i n p a r t i c u l a r instances. L i t e r a r y allusions are e s p e c i a l l y popular with  181  self-conscious texts that l i k e literary  a l l u s i o n s a r e always e x c e s s i v e , i n t h a t they have t h e i r  outside the author's the c u l t u r a l  own s t y l e ,  that the present The  chapter w i l l  source  I t i si n this system of  concentrate.  "outside," to which i n t e r t e x t u a l s i g n a l s r e f e r , s i t u a t e s i t -  only through  texts, visual  but i n a c u l t u r a l  the mediation  system. A t e x t  touches  o f a c u l t u r a l c o d e made up o f o t h e r  r e p r e s e n t a t i o n s , and m u s i c . R o l a n d B a r t h e s  n o t i o n o f " r e a l i s m " as an immediate and o r i g i n a l lowing  Since  draw a t t e n t i o n t o t h e m s e l v e s and t o  t h e r e p e t i t i o n o f an a l r e a d y e x i s t i n g  s e l f not i n the n a t u r a l world "reality"  they  system to which every w r i t t e n t e x t belongs.  area of i n t e r t e x t u a l i t y , signs,  t o comment o n t h e i r own t e x t u a l i t y .  attacks the  expression i n the f o l -  terms: C ' e s t que p r e c i s e m e n t 1 ' a r t i s t e " r e a l i s t e " ne p l a c e n u l l e m e n t l a " r e a l i t e " a l ' o r i g i n e de s o n d i s c o u r s , m a i s s e u l e m e n t e t t o u j o u r s , s i l o i n qu'on p u i s s e r e m o n t e r , un r e e l d e j a e c r i t , un code p r o s p e c t i f , l e l o n g d u q u e l on ne s a i s i t j a m a i s , a p e r t e d e v u e , qu'une e n f i l a d e d e c o p i e s . ^  In h i s discussion of Balzac's i t s best, Barthes  " S a r r a s i n e , " an example o f m i m e t i c a r t a t  approaches r e a l i s m n o t as a " c o p i e u r " b u t r a t h e r as a  2 "pasticheur" since " i l references accentuate  copie ce q u i e s t deja copie."  t h e copy mechanism t h a t c o n t r o l s a l l t e x t u a l  p r o d u c t i o n s , making i t c l e a r tion of previous both  Intertextual  that every  texts. Literary  the t e x t from which they  ••a. r e p e t i -  r e f e r e n c e s have t h e power t o m o d i f y  a r e taken  w i t h i n a new c o n t e x t . T h e P r o u s t  t e x t i s i n some f o r m  a n d t h e one t h a t i n c o r p o r a t e s  quotations  them  i n S i m o n ' s L a B a t a i l l e de  3  Pharsale The  p r o v i d e an e x c e l l e n t i l l u s t r a t i o n of t h i s process  connection  between A l a r e c h e r c h e  of modification.  and L a B a t a i l l e de P h a r s a l e i s  182  mediated by the jealousy that haunts the narrator of each novel. Jealousy f i l l s the space of an intermediary r e a l i t y which determines to what extent A l a recherche i s the same as La B a t a i l l e de Pharsale and to what extent i t d i f f e r s from i t . I t i s therefore a triangular rather than a b i l a t e r a l process that characterizes the relationship between A l a recherche and La B a t a i l l e de Pharsale: Jealousy (intermediary  A l a recherche (pretext)  reality)  La B a t a i l l e de Pharsale (text)  The intermediary r e a l i t y , occupied by jealousy i n this example, could be replaced by other concepts, objects, or formal properties. What must be remembered i s that i n a l l cases the intermediary r e a l i t y precludes any direct access to the natural world. Simon depicts the narrator's jealousy not as he or a direct acquaintance has experienced  i t but as Proust has  analyzed i t i n A l a recherche. The primary emphasis i s therefore on the text as .text, a point Simon argues to a question posed on realism: De meme que.la seule r e a l i t e d'un tableau est l a peinture, l a seule r e a l i t e d'un roman :est c e l l e de l a chose e c r i t e . L ' e e r i ture etant de par sa nature meme incapable de reproduire l e " r e e l , " toute pretention au realisme de l a part d'un romancier ne peut etre l e f a i t que de 1'irreflexion ou d'une volonte de  tromperie.4  Simon echoes Barthes'argument i n that he places the text within a pre-coded c u l t u r a l system. Allusions i n highly self-conscious novels l i k e Absalom and La Route  point not only to the pretext (source of the allusion) and  183  the primary text (text that "borrows"the allusion) but beyond them towards " l i t e r a t u r e " as a s p e c i f i c form of discourse. Faulkner and Simon i n v i t e us to decipher their works as textual surfaces and not simply as sources of meaning.  2.  L i t e r a r y allusions and c r i t i c a l attitudes C r i t i c s enjoy hunting for l i t e r a r y allusions because i d e n t i f y i n g them  and speculating on their relevance or appropriateness appeals to their sense of the text as a u n i f i e d whole and permits them to discuss l i t e r a t u r e as an interrelated system of texts. What c r i t i c s have to say about Faulkner's allusions to l i t e r a r y genres certainly confirms this point. Lind, for instance, picks out detailed references to "the tragedies of the ancients" and the "great myths of the Old Testament.""' She also mentions that Faulkner "echoes familiar l i n e s of deeply Housman."  tragic  import from Hamlet, Macbeth and from A.E.  Indeed, her treatment of allusions i n Absalom i s perhaps .the most  complete. Other c r i t i c s make f l e e t i n g references to allusions as do Adamovski, when he refers to Sutpen as "the Jehovah of the Old Testament,"^ Holman, when  g he points to the " p a r a l l e l s of the House of Sutpen to the House of Atreas," and MeindljWhen he comments that "Sutpen wird von Mr. Compson mit dem  Ab-  9 glanz eines antiken Heros versehen."  Levins and Vickery approach l i t e r a r y  allusions i n Absalom from a s l i g h t l y d i f f e r e n t angle; they argue that Faulkner followed a more or less systematic pattern. Levins suggests that "Faulkner effects a s t r u c t u r a l d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n among the viewpoints i n the novel by shaping each of the four narrative perspectives after a d i f f e r e n t l i t e r a r y genre: the Gothic, the Greek tragedy, the c h i v a l r i c romance, and  184  the t a l l t a l e . "  1 U  Vickery, too, sees Rosa's account as "rank melodrama"  f u l l of "Gothic horror and violence""'""'" while Mr. Compson's section i s " f i l l e d with references to staging, to actors and the drama" which imply 12 a p a r a l l e l with " c l a s s i c a l tragedy."  Most c r i t i c s believe, with Lind,  that Faulkner uses l i t e r a r y and mythological material i n order to "create, through the u t i l i z a t i o n of a l l the resources of f i c t i o n , a grand 13 v i s i o n of h i s t o r i c dimension." pretation of how  tragic  Other alternatives to this popular i n t e r -  l i t e r a r y allusions function i h Absalom are provided by  Levins and Vickery. For Levins the significance of.the four narrative modes l i e s i n the focus "on the story of Sutpen as i t i s perceived by the f i c t i o n a l 14 observers,"  whereas Vickery accounts f o r them as an investigation into 15  "the relationship between truth and fact and between legend and history." If there i s a common denominator to interpretations of l i t e r a r y allusions i n Absalom, i t i s the conclusion that Faulkner draws p a r a l l e l s to l i t e r a r y models i n order to emphasize the universal significance of Absalom or to . make i r o n i c statements on the impoverished  l i f e of man  i n the present as  compared with that of heroic counterparts i n l i t e r a r y history. Such readings are of course perfectly j u s t i f i e d . At the same time, l i t e r a r y a l lusions play an additional role i n Absalom; they make us aware of the novel's textuality by presupposing the influence of a pre-coded the f i c t i o n a l universe of Jefferson. Approaching  c u l t u r a l system on  the question of l i t e r a r y  allusions from this point of view makes them active participants i n the f i c t i o n a l process rather than passive commentators on content matters. Faulkner anticipates already what becomes a more pronounced and s e l f consciously used device i n Simon's novels. Simon uses allusions i n order  185  to bring out the anti-representational dimensions of La Route. He  specifical-  l y draws attention to the ways i n which a text refers to other texts rather than to l i f e or r e a l i t y . In order to c l a r i f y the connection between l i t e r a r y allusions and r e p e t i t i o n , i t i s necessary to probe into the types of a l lusions present i n Absalom and La Route, to analyze i n what capacities they function, and to draw conclusions about their impact and general s i g n i f i cance.  3. L i t e r a r y allusions as inappropriate p a r a l l e l s L i t e r a r y allusions usually contribute to a character p o r t r a i t , the depiction of a s i t u a t i o n , or the description of an object. They tend to reinforce or modify a point that was  already established through other  descriptive means. When Faulkner resorts to l i t e r a r y a l l u s i o n s , he rarely refers d i r e c t l y to their o r i g i n a l source but seems to be aware of the fact that other authors before him have used these same a l l u s i o n s . In view of this awareness, the author of Absalom i s c l e a r l y intent on finding ways to make use of a worn-out l i t e r a r y device. Whenever Faulkner  new identi-  f i e s one of his characters with a mythological or l i t e r a r y model, he modifies this i d e n t i f i c a t i o n either by adding a qualifying component or by situating i t within an Inappropriate context. Bon,  for instance, i s  called a " s i l k e n and tragic Lancelot nearing t h i r t y " (p. 32G)  and a  "cerebral Don Juan" (p. 108) . In both instances the q u a l i f i c a t i o n indicates that the established p a r a l l e l i s inadequate. practice when he speaks of the lame man  Simon resorts to the same  as "l'autre Othello bancal de v i l -  lage" (p. 282) and of the Mayor's assessor as "Le Romeo du v i l l a g e " (p. 127).  186  In .another example, Simon combines.incongruous elements i n the description of the ancestor as "eet Arnolphe philanthrope, jacobin et guerroyeur"  (p. 196)  i n order to achieve a similar sense of inappropriateness. Faulkner deliberatel y pokes fun at the practice of c a l l i n g characters according to l i t e r a r y or mythological models when he plays with the name of Sutpen's negro daughter. Her name i s derived from "Glytemnestra"  (p. 61) but Mr. Gompson, suspecting  that Sutpen made a mistake when christening her, consistently c a l l s her "Cassandralike" (p. 22) because Cassandra's fate represents a more f i t t i n g parallel  to C l y t i e ' s . Faulkner also e x p l o i t s the gap between a g l o r i f i e d  mythological past and the mundane present to draw attention to i n t e r t e x t u a l references. He depicts how Be Sutpen's Hundred  Sutpen was  "creating the Sutpen's Hundred, the  l i k e the oldentime Be Light" (p. 9) and continues to  compare Sutpen's mansion with a "Spartan s h e l l " (p. 39) during i t s construction, to an " e d i f i c e l i k e Bluebeard's"  (p. 60) during the height of i t s splendor,  and to " c o f f i n walls" which appear to the owner as "fabulous immeasurable Camelots and Carcassones"  (p. 160) during i t s decline. In the same vein,  Simon refers to Sabine's gossipy family s t o r i e s as "ces h i s t o i r e s . . . corneliennes" (p. 57). Both - Faulkner and Simon also reinforce inadequate  compari-  sons through tone. Speaking of the expectations Rosa invests i n Sutpen, Faulkner comments that she finds "instead of a widowed Agamemnon to her Cassandra an ancient s t i f f - j o i n t e d Pyramus to her eager though untried Thisbe" (p. 177). The mythological figures are evoked i n a thoroughly mocking s p i r i t just as Blum's a l l u s i o n to Rousseau i n connection with the ancestor's p o l i t i c a l idealism takes a derogatory form: "A moins que ce ne fut l ' e f f e t de ses convictions naturistes? De ses emouvantes lectures genevoises?  Est-ce  187  q u ' i l — j e veux dire ce Suisse melomane, effusionniste et philosophe. . . n'etait pas aussi un p e t i t peu exhibitionniste?" (p. 201). Faulkner and Simon make sure that their allusions draw attention to themselves not only because they belong to a system of s i g n i f i c a t i o n that l i e s outside the author's own l i n g u i s t i c t r a i t s but also because.their s t a b i l i t y i s undermined through deforming modifications. These modifications metacommunicate about the automatic habit of comparing characters and situations to l i t e r a r y models. Instead of imitating and approving of the .values vested i n l i t e r a r y t r a d i t i o n s , Faulkner and Simon move towards parody and surprise the reader with unexpected substitutions and additions when r e f e r r i n g to familiar l i t e r a r y and mythological figures.  4.  L i t e r a r y allusions and c u l t u r a l authority Allusions to l i t e r a r y works of the past treat these works as authorities  against which present l i t e r a t u r e can be evaluated. Characters often adapt their behavior to f i c t i o n a l models i n f a m i l i a r works by writers l i k e Shakespeare or Racine. The same models permit narrators to interpret the actions of their characters i n terms of well-known patterns. The c u l t u r a l heritage generally functions as an often cited background or authority on basic human emotions, reactions, and s i t u a t i o n s . This background either reinforces present circumstances or opens up i r o n i c gaps between past and present. Comparisons with exemplary works of the past always provide i n d i r e c t comments on the essential sameness of the human condition, and on s p e c i f i c instances of men and women struggling to achieve the d i s t i n c t i o n s which a g l o r i f i e d past bestows on i t s heroes and heroines. Although the  188  c u l t u r a l heritage inevitably reveals i t s e l f as a f a l s e authority on l i f e , i t nevertheless  continually influences human behavior. L i t e r a r y a l l u s i o n s  therefore draw attention to certain aspects of the relationship between fact and f i c t i o n and demonstrate the tremendous impact the written t r a d i t i o n has on man's everyday existence. In Absalom and La Route l i t e r a r y a l lusions force us to come to grips with the often unquestioned authority of the past. Faulkner makes i t quite clear that many characters i n Absalom model their behavior on mythological  and l i t e r a r y archetypes. Although such  imitations are often unconscious, Faulkner indicates that some of h i s characters act consciously i n conformity with established r o l e s . E l l e n , who "might have r i s e n to actual stardom i n the r o l e of the matriarch," purposely  speaks "her bright set meaningless phrases out of, the part which  she had written for h e r s e l f " (p. 69). Sutpen, too, patterns h i s l i f e on a mythical notion of the Southern a r i s t o c r a t and desires nothing more than a repeat performance of the Pettibone scene with himself i n the leading role. After f i n i s h i n g Sutpen's Hundred, Sutpen i s therefore reputed to have "acted his role t o o — a role of arrogant  ease and l e i s u r e " (p. 72). Indeed,  Sutpen often watches his own performance, as when the events i n H a i t i , involving him i n a dangerous adventure, appear to him as "a spectacle, something to be watched because he might not have a chance to see i t again" (p. 250). A s i m i l a r detachment from actual experience seems to account f o r Bon's fatalism. He i s depicted as " t h i s miscast  for the time and knowing i t "  (p. 98) and, when Sutpen forbids the marriage to Judith, "he seems to have withdrawn into a mere spectator" (p\ 93). The correspondence between  189  individuals and the models, whose behavior they apparently reenact may of course take a less conscious form. It i s quite common that someone, often a narrator, imposes a r o l e on another person i n the novel. Bon, for instance, i s the "man  on whom Henry foisted now  the role of h i s s i s t e r ' s intended,  as during the f a l l term Henry and his companions had foisted upon Bon the role of Lothario" (p. 102).* Mr. Compson's narrative i s perhaps most i n f l u enced by a pre-coded  c u l t u r a l system. He tends to see Sutpen as a c l a s s i c a l  hero and interprets the momentum of his whole l i f e i n terms of a c l a s s i c a l tragedy. Speaking of Sutpen at a time when he has established himself as the largest landowner i n the neighborhood,  Mr. Gompson points to an i r o n i c  gap that opens up at the moment when the hero i s at the height of h i s powers and does not yet recognize the symptoms s p e l l i n g h i s demise: . . . he was unaware that his flowering was a forced blooming. . . and that while he was s t i l l playing the scene to the audience, behind him Fate, destiny, r e t r i b u t i o n , i r o n y — t h e stage manager, c a l l him what you w i l l — w a s already s t r i k i n g the set and dragging on the synthetic and spurious shadows and shapes of the next one (pp. 72-73). Shreve, f i n a l l y , sums up the South's d i s p o s i t i o n to see i t s e l f only i n connection with a glorious past when he exclaims: "Jesus, the South i s f i n e , i s n ' t i t . It's better than the theatre, i s n ' t i t . I t ' s better than Ben  Hur,  i s n ' t i t " (p. 217). It i s of course a fact of human experience to play a chosen or an imposed r o l e . It i s v i r t u a l l y impossible to l i v e or create without being conditioned by an environment whose values have been shaped by a long written t r a d i t i o n .  *Cf. also p. 96 where Henry "looked upon Bon as though he were a hero out of some adolescent Arabian Nights."  190  Faulkner uses l i t e r a r y allusions, and imitations of behavior patterns without r e a l l y evaluating their authority. Simon i s much more s c e p t i c a l and tends to r i d i c u l e reliance on l i t e r a r y a u t h o r i t i e s . In Simon's descriptions, l i t e r a r y stereotypes are always i n contradiction with reality., Depicting a landscape f i r s t as a pastoral i d y l l , he then switches, i n the same passage, to the scene i n which de Reixach finds his death: . . . l a campagne avait l ' a i r d'un j a r d i n bien emonde. . . jardins a l a francaise dessinant de savantes courbes enchevetrees bosquets et rendez-vous d'amour pour marquis et marquises deguises en bergers et bergeres se cherchant a l'aveuglette cherchant trouvant T'amour l a mort deguisee e l l e aussi en bergere dans l e dedale des a l l e e s . . . (pp. 78-79). The pastoral i d y l l corresponds to an impression formed by reading habits, but the shepherd turns into a sniper as r e a l i t y gradually displaces the peacef u l i l l u s i o n . Simon i s especially hard on the practice of making a point by r e f e r r i n g to worn-out.'.literary genres l i k e the fable. Commenting on the ancestor's decision to leave his wife i n order to fight i n Spain, Blum quotes La Fontaine i n the following manner: L u i qui avait voulu jouer au naturel l a fable des deux pigeons, seulement c'etait l u i l e pigeon, c'est-a-dire que de retour au pigeonnier avec son a i l e cassee, ses reves boiteux, i l s'apercut q u ' i l s'etait f a i t pigeonner, et pas seulement parce q u ' i l avait eu l a malencontreuse idee d ' a l l e r , l u i , l e gentilhommefarmer, forniquer dans l e quartier reserve, l e s bourbiereux bousbirs de l a pensee, mais encore c e l l e de l a i s s e r seule derr i e r e l u i sa p e t i t e poulette ou plutot sa p e t i t e pigeonne adoree qui en avait p r o f i t e pour forniquer, e l l e , de l a facon l a plus naturelle. . . avec. . . un garcon. . . (pp.199-200). The m o r a l i s t i c intention of the genre i n which La Fontaine expresses hims e l f i s undermined through crude words ("forniquer"), c a r e f u l l y chosen adjectives ("reves boiteux"), a play on words ("poulette" and  "pigeonne"  or "bourbiereux bousbirs"), and the "facon l a plus naturelle" to which  191  his  wife reduces the ancestor's Rousseauistic idealism. La Route attacks  a number of other genres i n much the same way. Simon picks.mostly on genres that have exhausted themselves l i k e the horror story (p. 79), the s i t u a t i o n comedy (the many references to the "scene gallante"), the f a i r y tale (p. 267), vaudeville (p. 198), burlesque (p. 209), and c l a s s i c a l drama (pp. 30, 129, 186).  He also refers to conventions governing the movement of plots when  he has Georges comment on his suspicion that the conversations between Corinne and I g l e s i a may after a l l not have been of a romantic nature: . . . probablement etait-ce bien cela: c'est-a-dire pas une i d y l l e , une intrigue se deroulant, verbeuse, convenue, ordonnee,.\s'engageant, se f o r t i f i a n t , se developpant suivant un harmonieux et raisonnable crescendo coupe par les i n d i s pensables arrets et fausses manoeuvres, et un point culminant, et apres cela peut-etre un p a l i e r , et apres cela encore l ' o b l i gatoire decrescendo. . . (p. 50). Simon here draws e x p l i c i t attention to man's tendency to interpret situations not so much as they r e a l l y are but as they f i t into c u l t u r a l l y conditioned expectations. Whether allusions to l i t e r a t u r e are serious or p a r o d i s t i c , they always presuppose an automatic recognition of a c u l t u r a l background  the reader shares  with the author. The c u l t u r a l heritage functions as an authority on themes l i k e love and jealousy as i n the case of Othello, Romeo, and Arnolphe. A l though this authority i s based on c u l t u r a l cliches, i t was often invoked i n conventional f i c t i o n as i f i t could provide immediate access to l i f e or r e a l i t y . Roland Barthes comments on this i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of f i c t i o n and l i f e s p e c i f i c a l l y i n Balzac, although h i s observations have more general i m p l i cations: Quoique d'origine entierement livresque, ces codes, par un tourniquet propre a l'ideologie bourgeoise, q u i inverse l a  192  c u l t u r e en n a t u r e , s e m b l e n t f o n d e r l e r e e l , l a " V i e . " L a " V i e " d e v i e n t a l o r s , dans l e t e x t e e l a s s i q u e , un melange e c o e u r a n t d ' o p i n i o n s c o u r a n t e s , une n a p p e e t o u f f a n t e d ' i d e e s r e c u e s : c ' e s t e n e f f e t d a n s c e s c o d e s c u l t u r e l s que s e c o n c e n t r e l e demode b a l z a c i e n , 1 ' e s s e n c e de c e q u i , d a n s B a l z a c , ne p e u t etre (re-)ecrit.16 The  d i f f e r e n c e b e t w e e n B a l z a c and  authors  l i k e F a u l k n e r and  d e g r e e Simon i s t h a t B a l z a c b e l i e v e s i n t h e a u t h o r i t i e s he t h e o t h e r s do n o t . The Simon r e s o r t  code i n t o  t h a t A b s a l o m and L a R o u t e a r e t e x t s g r o w i n g  and  c a n no  invokes  l o n g e r be  the foreground  and  c o n s i d e r e d a u t h o r i t i e s on l i f e ,  Barthes discusses. L i t e r a r y a l l u s i o n s  i n A b s a l o m and  B o t h F a u l k n e r and e t h i c a l and  Faulkner  and  culture  traditionally  Simon use  literary their  allusions  (or other sources)  e v a l u a t e s the moral  o f S u t p e n and  standards  t o comment on  c h a r a c t e r s adopt.  the t e n s i o n between the B i b l e  and A b s a l o m ,  those around him.  to a m y t h o l o g i c a l or l i t e r a r y  s a d i s t i c Jehovah"  ( p . 1 0 9 ) , he  P l a y i n g on Faulkner When a m o d e r n  f i g u r e , both of  t h e man  are thereby  them as  i m p l i e s t h a t i f Sutpen i s  l i k e J e h o v a h , t h e n J e h o v a h m u s t i n some ways be and  as-  the  become m o d i f i e d i n t e r m s o f e a c h o t h e r . When F a u l k n e r d e p i c t s S u t p e n a " j e a l o u s and  to  fiction.  epistemological positions  personage i s juxtaposed  texts.  La Route s e t out  d e s t r o y the a u t h o r i t a t i v e s t a n c e the c u l t u r a l code has and  and  underline  p r i m a r i l y out of o t h e r  Simon t r y t o c o r r e c t the i n v e r t e d h i e r a r c h y between l i f e  sumed t o w a r d s l i f e  whereas  more o r l e s s p a r o d i s t i c m o d i f i c a t i o n s F a u l k n e r  t o move t h e c u l t u r a l  Since allusions  to a greater  l i k e Sutpen.  f o r c e d on o u r c o n s c i o u s n e s s  Both  the  and n e e d t o be  re-  e v a l u a t e d . The  B i b l e and A b s a l o m a r e s e v e r a l t i m e s b r o u g h t  juxtaposition.  F a u l k n e r a l l u d e s t o some w e l l - k n o w n B i b l i c a l p a s s a g e s i n  order  into  god  t o comment u n f a v o r a b l y on j u d e o V c h r i s t i a n t e a c h i n g s . I n h i s  obvious  letter  193  t o J u d i t h , f o r i n s t a n c e , Bon  describes  how  the  Confederatesdiscovered  t h a t t h e i r Y a n k e e s p o i l s c o n s i s t e d o n l y o f s t o v e p o l i s h . He the  s o l d i e r s v i e w e d t h e U and  t h e S on  t h e b o x e s as  s p o i l s w h i c h b e l o n g t o the v a n q u i s h e d " as in  Biblical  times  (p. 130).  Not  s o l d i e r s d e s e r v e God's m e r c y b u t is  i m p o t e n t s i n c e i t can  s i m i l a r p o i n t when he "Suffer l i t t l e destroy  only  has  Mr.  d i d the  o n l y d o e s Bon he  "the  "loaves  explains  symbol of and  argue that the  that  the  the f i s h e s " defeated  a l s o demonstrates that C h r i s t ' s  supply  what i s u s e l e s s . F a u l k n e r  Compson c o n t e n d t h a t t h e p o p u l a r  c h i l d r e n t o come u n t o Me"  contains  love  makes a maxim  semantic ambiguities  which  i t s orthodox C h r i s t i a n meaning:  . . . and w h a t d i d He mean by t h a t ? how, i f He m e a n t t h a t l i t t l e c h i l d r e n s h o u l d n e e d t o be s u f f e r e d t o a p p r o a c h Him,, w h a t s o r t o f e a r t h had He c r e a t e d ; t h a t i f t h e y had t o s u f f e r i n o r d e r t o a p p r o a c h Him, w h a t s o r t o f H e a v e n d i d He h a v e ? ( p . 1 9 8 ) . Faulkner  i n t e r p r e t s the B i b l e ' s i d e a l i s t i c h o p e f u l n e s s from a modern  spective which t e l l s expectations  points  I t i s to t h i s  the B i b l i c a l  that l i v i n g  e s t a b l i s h e d by  r h e t o r i c , Faulkner doctrines.  us  experience  the B i b l e . P r o b i n g  towards the end  failings  r a r e l y l i v e s up  to  per-  the  below the s u r f a c e of  Biblical  of orthodox C h r i s t i a n  t h a t S h r e v e c r i t i c i z e s Abraham's s t a t u r e  p a t r i a r c h t o whom t h e w o r l d  t i n g Sutpen w i t h Abraham, Shreve t a k e s  owes i t s m o r a l f r a m e w o r k .  the  s i d e o f Abraham's sons  as  Associaand  comments: . . . who s h o u l d do t h e p a y i n g i f n o t h i s s o n s , h i s g e t , b e c a u s e w a s n ' t i t d o n e t h a t way i n t h e o l d d a y s ? t h e o l d A b r a h a m f u l l o f y e a r s and weak and i n c a p a b l e now o f f u r t h e r h a r m , c a u g h t a t l a s t and t h e c a p t a i n s and t h e c o l l e c t o r s s a y i n g , ' O l d man, we d o n t w a n t y o u ' and A b r a h a m w o u l d s a y , ' P r a i s e t h e . L o r d , I .-have r a i s e d a b o u t me s o n s t o b e a r t h e b u r d e n o f m i n e i n i q u i t i e s and p e r s e c u t i o n s ; y e a , p e r h a p s e v e n t o r e s t o r e my f l o c k s and h e r d s f r o m t h e h a n d o f t h e r a v i s h e r : t h a t I m i g h t r e s t m i n e e y e s u p o n my g o o d s and c h a t t e l s , u p o n , t h e g e n e r a t i o n s o f them and o f my d e s c e n d a n t s i n c r e a s e d a n h u n d r e d f o l d as my s o u l g o e t h o u t f r o m me' (p. 325).  194  Imitating Biblical A b r a h a m may  r h e t o r i c i n a mocking tone, Shreve formulates  r e a l l y h a v e b e e n l i k e as  B i b l e p a i n t s of him. d e p t h and  L i n k i n g Sutpen w i t h  him  with  and  c r u e l father gives  traditionally Faulkner  opposed to the  universality while a negative  e n j o y e d . By  an  bringing  the  B i b l e and  t o v o i c e b i t t e r n e s s and  itself  as  example of self  and  the  also gives and  priority  living  i n a d e q u a t e . Simon uses l i t e r a r y  How  d o e s one  l i k e Perceval,  search  leads  traditional  finds  wise teachers. and  to ask  allusions for  some b a s i c  against  a epis-  a modern the  epistemological  In c l a s s i c a l  Simplicissimus, Wilhelm Meister,  at-  authority  f o r knowledge of  know? I s k n o w l e d g e p o s s i b l e ?  a u t h o r e x p r e s s e s some c o n f i d e n c e usually  him  inter-  reality.  Route r e p r e s e n t s  Bildungsroman w i t h Georges s e a r c h i n g His  to  disappointment i n a moral  than moral a u t h o r i t i e s . La  the world.  questions: novels  rather  has  Absalom i n t o j u x t a p o s i t i o n ,  s i m i l a r purpose, except that h i s f r u s t r a t i o n d i r e c t s i t s e l f temological  willful  c o l o r i n g to the esteem the p a t r i a r c h  e x p l o i t s gaps b e t w e e n m o d e r n e x p e r i e n c e and  titudes i n order  the  f a t h e r f i g u r e endows  a s s o c i a t i n g Abraham w i t h a  t e x t u a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s over those between the n o v e l  that reveals  flattering picture  archetypal  c h a n g e s t h e m e a n i n g o f b o t h t e x t s and  Faulkner  what  quest  Le P e r e G o r i o t ,  t h a t k n o w l e d g e i s a t t a i n a b l e . The  the  hero  ( s e l f - ) k n o w l e d g e by means o f e x p e r i e n c e a n d / o r t h r o u g h some I n the  S i m o n sums i t up  X I X e s i e c l e e t a i t un  twentieth by  quoting  roman du  century  the  situation i s quite different  f r o m O l g a B e r n a r d : ".  . . s i l e roman  s a v o i r , l e roman m o d e r n e e s t  du  essentiellement  17 un  r o m a n du  footsteps to the  non-savoir."  but  Georges i s p r e p a r e d to f o l l o w i n  Perceval's  f i n d s t h a t a l l a u t h o r i t i e s c r u m b l e a t h i s approach.. T u r n i n g  cultural heritage  f o r h i s main s o u r c e of knowledge, Georges  appeals  195  t o e v e r y t h i n g he has  read, seen,  myths, the B i b l e , h i s t o r y , d o t e s , and f a c t and  anthropology,  fiction,  Georges t r i e s  distorts  a g a i n t o make s e n s e  between  out of  the  t o a n a r g u m e n t a b o u t f a c t and fiction  i n v e n t s , embroiders,  fiction and  f a c t s . A l l G e o r g e s knows f o r c e r t a i n a b o u t de R e i x a c h i s t h a t i s much y o u n g e r t h a n h i m s e l f and  by a s n i p e r d u r i n g t h e F r e n c h  about the a n c e s t o r i s even l e s s portraits  g o s s i p , anec-  to h i m s e l f t h a t knowledge i s p o s s i b l e .  i n which  h a s m a r r i e d a p r e t t y woman who killed  literature,  the l a c k of d i s t i n c t i o n  a g a i n and  Reixach legend lends i t s e l f  b e c a u s e i t m a n i f e s t s t h e way  i n the form of  the v i s u a l a r t s ,  the newspapers. F r u s t r a t e d by  Reixach legend i n order to prove The  and h e a r d  and  on e x a g g e r a t e d  rests entirely  literature,  i n which  drama, and  v e r i s i m i l i t u d e because, they a p p e a l to our sense s e l v e s as a r t i f i c i a l r e a l i t y and  t h e two  knows  dubious facts  owes much o f i t s  exploit  the conventions  These c o n v e n t i o n s a r e b o t h  the c r e d i b i l i t y  of  con-  o f t h e R e i x a c h l e g e n d . They  add  a l l u d i n g t o f a m i l i a r s t r u c t u r e s and e x p l a n a t i o n s , of the u n i v e r s a l .  B u t , by o p e n l y  identifying  c o n s t r u c t s , they destroy the i l l u s i o n of  a s s e r t the legend's  t e n s i o n o f f a c t and  y o u n g men  the v i s u a l a r t s .  t r i b u t i n g and u n d e r m i n i n g  on  f a m i l y g o s s i p . * From t h e s e meagre  G e o r g e s and B l u m c r e a t e a n e t w o r k o f c o n j e c t u r e s w h i c h v i v i d n e s s t o t h e way  t h a t he i s  r e t r e a t i n F l a n d e r s . What he  t a n g i b l e and  he  fiction  fictional origin.  through  immediate  Simon r e i n f o r c e s  the argumentative  them-  the  d i a l o g u e s between  G e o r g e s and B l u m . B l u m o f t e n m o c k s G e o r g e s ' s t y l e o f n a r r a t i o n a s  * C f . p . 90: ".. . . s e l o n l a t r a d i t i o n l a v e r s i o n f l a t t e u s e f a m i l i a l e " ; p . 289: ". . . c e s s e m p i t e r n e l l e s h i s t o i r e s de d ' a n c e t r e s . . .".  being  legende famille,  196  too  l i t e r a r y as i n the following exchange: [Georges:] mais i l en a eu assez i l l ' a chassee Ou plutot repudiee [Blum:] re. . .comment dis-tu repudiee sans blague Comme au theatre alors Comme oui (p. 129).  In  Blum's opinion, Georges belongs to those people who "aiment tellement  f a i r e de l a tragedie du drame du roman" (p. 278).* Indeed, Blum i s constantly accusing Georges of drawing h i s material from l i t e r a r y rather than factual sources: "Mais tu paries comme un l i v r e ! . . .," (p. 222) and "C,a n'existe pas. Seulement dans les l i v r e s . Tu as trop l u de l i v r e s . . (p.  ."  131). Through the p l a y f u l c o n f l i c t between Georges' often.unwitting  l i t e r a r y tendency and Blum's querulous, s c e p t i c a l attitude, Simon highl i g h t s the hold the c u l t u r a l heritage has on the human imagination. Challenged by Blum's scepticism towards h i s sources, Georges occasionally t r i e s to support his hypothetical interpretations with references to  the so-called facts of l i f e . He repeatedly mentions news items ("faits  divers") because they are supposedly objective accounts of everyday events. When Blum contends that the gun with which the lame man threatens the Mayor's Assessor was perhaps not loaded, Georges counters: "Mais peut-etre e t a i t - i l charge quelquefois ca arrive On en v o i t tous les matins dans les journaux" (p. 278). Georges r e l i e s again on j o u r n a l i s t i c sensationalism when he needs to s e t t l e h i s suicide theory with Blum. Having listened to the  suicide arguments Georges uses to explain the deaths of the two Reixach,  Blum contrasts the l i f e of the i d l e r i c h with that of the working poor and concludes that i n h i s family and neighborhood people were too busy working  *Cf.  also p. 288: "Du theatre de l a tragedie du roman invente. . ."  197  to think about k i l l i n g themselves. Stubbornly Georges queries Blum's observation by countering: "N'empeche que ca a r r i v e , . . . I I n'y a qu'a l i r e les journaux. I I y a tous les jours des choses comme ca dans les journaux" (p.  287). In addition to newspapers, Georges c i t e s anecdotal evidence to  support h i s observations. Anecdotes are items of gossip or narratives of an interesting or s t r i k i n g incident and as such they pretend to originate i n experienced or observed r e a l i t y . Examples of Georges' anecdotal commomplaees include: "Apres tout, j ' a i bien l u quelque part que des prisonniers avaient bu leur urine. . ." (p. 72); "on d i t que les cadavres sont parfois capables de reflexes" (p. 90); "j'avais l u que les naufrages les ermites se nourrissaient de racines de glands" (p. 259); "Ou avais-je l u cette h i s t o i r e dans K i p l i n g j e crois ce conte. . ." (p. 45); and "pensant a ces r e c i t s d'expeditions au pole oil l'on raconte que l a peau reste attachee au fer gele" (p. 31). Although the facts of l i f e Georges gleans from news items and anecdotes no longer derive d i r e c t l y from l i t e r a t u r e , they are nevertheless evidence of a pre-coded verbal system. Although Georges tends to defend his use of c u l t u r a l a l l u s i o n s , he i s i n fact aware that h i s observations do not necessarily coincide with a poss i b l e r e a l i t y . His defense i s more a reaction to Blum's challenge than an innate b e l i e f i n his assertions. Simon indicates p e r i o d i c a l l y that Georges i s frustrated by the gap between f i c t i o n and fact. When Georges meets Corinne a f t e r the war, he d i f f e r e n t i a t e s c l e a r l y between the woman "fabriquee pendant les  longs mois de guerre, de c a p t i v i t e " (p. 230) and the one he w i l l be  touching i n a moment. Georges i s also forced to admit that h i s narrative of  the relationship between Corinne and I g l e s i a i s at best suspect since  198  C o r i n n e now  denies a l l involvement with  f o r e c o n c l u d e s " q u ' i l n'y racontars tifs  of p r o v i d i n g a p o r t r a i t contained  not  corresponding  r e e l d a n s . t o u t . c e c i que  auxquelles  w h i c h can  to r e a l i t y , e x i s t and  a c t u a l l y b e l i e v e s he  e n t e r p r i s e i n the  the  can  Reixach  by  vagues cap-  (p. 304).  Georges c r e a t e s  a  Instead  self-  be m a n i p u l a t e d w i t h o u t  d i s c o v e r what r e a l l y events.  I m p r i s o n e d by  a c t o f n a r r a t i o n becomes a  t r a d i t i o n o f S c h e h e r a z a d e who  r e s i g n a t i o n a t bay  de  deux a d o l e s c e n t s  any  occupying themselves w i t h  happened the  life-sustaining  s a v e d h e r . l i f e by  i n g t h e K i n g w i t h a t h o u s a n d - a n d - o n e s t o r i e s . * G e o r g e s and and  there-  Georges i s obsessed w i t h the R e i x a c h  enjoys r e c o n s t r u c t i n g imaginary  c o n d i t i o n s o f war,  I n r e t r o s p e c t , he  femmes l e [ i g l e s i a ] p o u s s e r e n t "  to the o u t s i d e w o r l d .  b e c a u s e he  b e c a u s e he  unnatural  de  f i c t i o n a l universe  necessary reference  but  a v a i t . p e u t - e t r e de  et medisances et l e s v a n t a r d i s e s  i m a g i n a t i f s et sevres  legend  the jockey.  entertain-  Blum keep  e l a b o r a t i o n s on  despair the  legend:  . . . i l s e s s a y a i e n t de s e t r a n s p o r t e r p a r p r o c u r a t i o n ( c ' e s t - a d i r e au moyen de l e u r i m a g i n a t i o n , c ' e s t - a - d i r e en r a s s e m b l a n t e t c o m b i n a n t t o u t ce q u ' i l s p o u v a i e n t t r o u v e r dans l e u r memoire en f a i t de c o n n a i s s a n c e s v u e s , e n t e n d u e s ou l u e s de f a c o n . . . a f a i r e s u r g i r l e s i m a g e s c h a t o y a n t e s e t l u m i n e u s e s a u moyen de l ' e p h e m e r e , 1 ' i n c a n t a t o i r e m a g i e du l a n g a g e , d e s m o t s i n v e n t e s d a n s l ' e s p o i r de r e n d r e c o m e s t i b l e . . . l ' i n n o m m a b l e r e a l i t e . . . (p. 184). A l t h o u g h " c o n n a i s s a n c e s v u e s , e n t e n d u e s ou experience,  l u e s " o f f e r no  d i r e c t access  t h e y a r e o f t e n t h e o n l y k n o w l e d g e a v a i l a b l e and  a t i v e energies  or l i f e - s u s t a i n i n g  liberate  cre-  f o r c e s unknown t o more e m p i r i c a l f o r m s  inquiry.  *See J o h n B a r t h ' s role.  Chimera f o r a modern i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of  to  Scheherazade's  of  199  L i t e r a r y a l l u s i o n s are usually t a u t o l o g i c a l i n that they express i n a d i f f e r e n t code what a narrative has already described. They do not add but qualify or confirm information. Faulkner's use of a p i c t o r i a l code i n Absalom i l l u s t r a t e s this function of c u l t u r a l references. The novel never leaves any doubt that the Sutpen family appeals to Quentin's imagination because i t i s  out of the ordinary. Faulkner reinforces this  impression when he draws our attention to a family p o r t r a i t , "a p i c t u r e , a group which even to Quentin had a q u a l i t y strange, contradictory and b i z a r r e " (p. 14) and when he indicates that the Sutpen family exhibits the kind of unreality suggesting "a sort of l i f e l e s s and perennial bloom l i k e painted p o r t r a i t s hung i n a vacuum" (p. 75). The references to paintings imply, i n concentrated  form, the sense of imprisonment and arrested  time the novel develops i n other ways. Faulkner also conveys the scene of Henry's v i s i t to New Orleans almost e n t i r e l y with the help of the p i c t o r i a l code. He indicates, for instance, that Henry i s an u n i n i t i a t e d v i s i t o r to the c i t y because the women he sees appear to him " l i k e painted p o r t r a i t s beside men i n l i n e n " (p. 110). More importantly, he describes Bon's manipul a t i o n of Henry's reactions to moral corruption i n terms of an accumulative succession of images which do not at f i r s t betray "what the complete picture would show" (p. 111). Later i n the novel, when Bon's wife and son v i s i t Sutpen's Hundred, their ephemeral appearance "must have resembled a garden scene by the I r i s h poet, Wilde" (p. 193). Indeed, the octoroon's delicacy suggests "a woman. . . whom the a r t i s t Beardsley might have dressed" and her son resembles a " l i t t l e boy whom Beardsley might not only have dressed but drawn" (p. 193). Faulkner evokes v i s u a l l y an atmosphere of u n r e a l i t y  200  he had already advanced through purely verbal (non-visual) descriptions. What i s brought i n from outside the text serves to reinforce what the text i s already saying so that references to the p i c t o r i a l code work from inside the text outward towards c u l t u r a l concepts. This means that the reader need not necessarily know what a Beardsley drawing looks l i k e i n order to understand  the significance of the a l l u s i o n . The verbal  description of Bon's wife and son indicates already what kind of drawing Faulkner had i n mind. Many of Simon's l i t e r a r y a l l u s i o n s are .tautological i n much the same way as Faulkner's. Georges tends to support descriptions of his own experiences, and of observations about others, with references to c u l t u r a l commonplaces. He emphasizes, for instance, that Iglesia's face i s "parfaitement neutre, absent" and adds that i t i s l i k e "un de ces masques mortuaires azteques ou incas. . ." (p. 137). The verbal p o r t r a i t i s complete in i t s e l f so that the death mask image functions primarily as a v i s u a l reinforcement. A similar process applies to the account of Wack's death. Georges t e l l s i n some d e t a i l how a b u l l e t l i f t s Wack out of h i s saddle and then contributes the v i s u a l complement: ". . . comme s ' i l eontinuait a chevaucher quelque Pegase i n v i s i b l e " (p. 159). In some instances, however, an a l l u s i o n v i r t u a l l y takes the place of a personal observation. Georges, describing a hotel he came across i n Flanders, supplies d e t a i l s not from h i s own experience but from the conventional depiction of such hotels i n "ces reclames pour une marque de biere anglaise" (p. 21). Simon, arguing that  writing "happens" only during the process of w r i t i n g , c i t e s  for evidence an incident from Stendhal which demonstrates the influence of c u l t u r a l preconceptions  on perception:  201  On ne d e c r i t pas des choses qui pre-existent a l ' e c r i t u r e mais ce qui se passe au prise de l ' e c r i t u r e . C'est assez passionnant. II y a un exemple de ceci chez Stendhal dans La Vie d'Henri Brulard, ou i l essaye de raconter avec exactitude sa v i e . I I en arrive au passage du St. Bernard par l'armee Napoleonienne: alors, tandis q u ' i l d e c r i t cet episode, i l s'apercoit q u ' i l ne decrit pas ce q u ' i l a vu mais une gravure sur l e meme sujet q u ' i l a vue apres coup et qui, comme 11 l e d i t , "a p r i s l a place de l a r e a l i t e . " I I a ete temoin de cet evenement mais i l ne decrit qu'une representation de cet evenement.18 When Georges turns to descriptions of more or less imaginary scenes, he r e l i e s almost e n t i r e l y on v i s u a l and l i t e r a r y conventions. Trying to capture the nature of the ancestor's wife, Georges speaks of "ce sourire indolent, candide, cruel, que l'on.peut v o i r sur certains p o r t r a i t s des femmes de cette epoque. . ." (p. 281). Since Georges cannot provide an exact p o r t r a i t of the woman as a unique i n d i v i d u a l , he resorts to v i s u a l stereotypes of the period i n which she l i v e d . In his imaginary excursions into the past, Georges does not r e a l l y "invent" people but creates them out of the store of knowledge he owes to h i s education and family background. The scene of the returning husband who surprises his adulterous wife provides perhaps the best example of how the imagination "copies" what i s already f a m i l i a r . When Georges f i r s t alludes to the scene, he indicates that h i s source could be called "quelque chose dans l e s t y l e d'une de ces gravures i n t i t u l e e s 1'Amant Surpris ou l a F i l l e Seduite" (p. 85). Georges l a t e r proceeds to render i n v i v i d d e t a i l what Blum (and the reader) assumes to be the account of an existing etching. But, i t turns out that there never was such an etching.and that Georges models himself on a convention that has been so f u l l y absorbed by h i s culture that i t no longer needs a tangible referent. Indeed, the theme of "1'Amant Surpris ou l a F i l l e Seduite" i s so i n t r i c a t e l y bound up with c e r t a i n v i s u a l conventions that  202  Georges would make the c o n n e c t i o n even i f he had never seen an e t c h i n g o f the type i n q u e s t i o n . I n o t h e r words, Georges uses a v i s u a l  referent  which may have been t r a n s m i t t e d t o him e i t h e r v i s u a l l y or indeed o n l y v e r b a l l y . Simon i s d e a l i n g here w i t h a r e a l i t y t h a t i s d e f e r r e d through a s e r i e s of c u l t u r a l r e f e r e n t s . He thereby exposes the u s u a l l y tendency  of l i t e r a r y  r a t h e r than on l i v i n g  5.  t e x t s to base themselves  hidden  on c u l t u r a l knowledge  actuality.  L i t e r a r y a l l u s i o n s and a r b i t r a r i n e s s I t i s u s u a l l y assumed t h a t l i t e r a r y a l l u s i o n s have some d i r e c t  n e c t i o n w i t h the " c o n t e n t " c o n t e x t i n which they appear. A l t h o u g h  con-  the c u l -  t u r a l code can be c o n s i d e r e d s u p e r f l u o u s from an i n f o r m a t i o n a l v i e w p o i n t , the r e a d e r expects t o f i n d meaningful  correspondences  between t e x t and  p r e t e x t . He a n t i c i p a t e s , f o r i n s t a n c e , t h a t a l l u s i o n s add depth to the t e x t and c o n t r i b u t e t o a c o m p l i c i t y between author and r e a d e r t h a t i s based  on a shared c u l t u r a l background. Moreover, F a u l k n e r o b v i o u s l y takes  much p l e a s u r e i n f i n d i n g a p p r o p r i a t e a l l u s i o n s f o r Absalom and  encourages  the r e a d e r to a p p r e c i a t e h i s s k i l l . A t the same time, i t appears a p p r o p r i a t e n e s s becomes a secondary  that  c o n s i d e r a t i o n and t h a t F a u l k n e r has  i n c l u d e d many a l l u s i o n s f o r t h e i r sound and rhythm. F a u l k n e r i s known f o r u s i n g and c o i n i n g unusual words whose e f f e c t depends p r i m a r i l y on f o r m a l q u a l i t i e s . * When F a u l k n e r speaks  o f " C a s s a n d r a l i k e " (p. 22), of t h e  " b i t t e r p u r l i e u s o f Styx" (p. 69), o f " s y b a r i t i c p r i v a c y " (p. 9 6 ) , o f a  *Cf. p. 146: " I became a l l polymath l o v e ' s androgynous  advocate."  203  "bucolic maiden" (p. 128), of "some chimaerafoal of nightmare's  very s e l f "  (p. 141), of "Lothario" (p. 102), "Lancelot" (p. 320), "Guinevere" (p. 174), and of "Camelots and Carcassonnes"  (p. 160), he creates the d i s t i n c t im-  pression that these allusions are included more for- their sonorous and rhythmic appeal than f o r what they denote. The tendency  towards formal  j u s t i f i c a t i o n for allusions r e f l e c t s the r e l a t i v e l y arbitrary nature of the connection l i n k i n g text and pretext. This arbitrary aspect goes hand i n hand with the fundamental redundancy Barthes associates with the c u l t u r a l code, and, i n Absalom, i t exists more or less i n the shadow of interpretations searching for reasons of appropriateness and denotation. In La Route, l i t e r a r y allusions enjoy a r e l a t i v e l y active and i n dependent status and are rarely used to support and comment on the l i v i n g r e a l i t y the text i s presumably imitating. Intertextual r e l a t i o n s rather than thematic appropriateness dictate the process that goes into selecting c u l t u r a l a l l u s i o n s . I f we investigate the kind of connections existing between text and pretext, i t becomes obvious that c u l t u r a l allusions generate certain a r t i f i c i a l associations. What, for instance, i s the connection between the hole or "wound" on the ancestor's forehand and "ces images ou ces statues de saints dont les yeux ou l e s stigmates se remettent a pleurer ou a saigner une ou deux f o i s par s i e c l e . . ." (p. 79)?  The  hypothetical blood on the ancestor's forehead conjures up other bleeding wounds by means of a metonymic chain mechanism. Georges refers to the legend of the saints not because i t offers a comment on the ancestor's s i t u a t i o n or because i t i s analogous  to i t , but only because of a v i s u a l s i m i l a r i t y .  The comparison between clouds i n the sky and "ces orgueilleuses armadas  204  apparemment posees immobiles sur l a mer.  . ." (p. 166) bases i t s e l f on an  even more capricious connection. The analogy i s r e a l l y between clouds i n the sky and ships on the sea and,  turning the ships into "orgueilleuses  armadas," adds a c u l t u r a l reference to an already conventional  image. I t  seems that Simon refers to "armadas" mainly because he l i k e s the word. The suspicion that allusions are sometimes p r i v i l e g e d over the descriptions they supposedly support i s reinforced.in a scene involving Georges and Corinne. Observing Corinne's arm moving along her thigh, Georges comments that t h i s gesture was "comme un animal comme un col de cygne invertebre se f a u f i l a n t l e long de l a hanche de Leda" (p. 262). The momentum of the comparison moves away from the i n i t i a l gesture and makes Leda the main focus of attention. The connection between the arm movement and the swan's neck acts merely as a background and j u s t i f i c a t i o n for the main image l i n k i n g Corinne and Leda. I t i s , however, i n cases where the connection between description and a l l u s i o n i s purely verbal that Simon f u l l y exploits i n t e r t e x t u a l p o s s i b i l i t i e s . The following passage, r e f e r ring to the assumption that de Reixach knows that Corinne sleeps with other men, represents  a case i n point:  . . .sachant sans doute parfaitement des ce moment ce qui l ' a t tendait, ayant accepte par avance ayant assume ayant par avance consomme s i l'on peut d i r e cette Passion, avec cette difference que l e l i e u l e centre l ' a u t e l n'en e t a i t pas une c o l l i n e chauve, mais ce suave et tendre et vertigineux et b r o u i s s a i l l e u x et secret r e p l i de l a chair. . . (p. 13). Sexual jealousy and the c r u c i f i x i o n of Christ have only a tenuous thematic connection: the association rests almost purely on the double meaning of  205  the word " p a s s i o n . " * Although i n t e n t i o n , i t owes i t s primary ly  the passage b e t r a y s an obvious impetus to a l i n g u i s t i c and  a r b i t r a r y connection.. C o n t r a r y  sacriligious  hence t h e m a t i c a l -  to t h e i r c o n v e n t i o n a l r o l e as p a s s i v e  commentators, i n t e r t e x t u a l r e f e r e n c e s now  p a r t i c i p a t e a c t i v e l y i n weaving  the t e x t u a l s u r f a c e .  6.  L i t e r a r y a l l u s i o n s as s t r u c t u r a l paradigms  _  Most l i t e r a r y a l l u s i o n s i n Absalom and La Route a r e taken v a r i e t y of sources  and p r o v i d e an e n c y c l o p a e d i c  from a wide  dimension i n which no  p r e t e x t r e a l l y dominates. I t i s , however, p o s s i b l e to d i s c o v e r  one  structural  paradigms t h a t c o n t r i b u t e to the o v e r a l l s i g n i f i c a n c e of the n o v e l s . Faulkner's  n o v e l , f o r i n s t a n c e , a l l u d e s to the s t o r y of King D a v i d  and  sons i n the t i t l e Absalom, Absalom'. N e i t h e r Sutpen nor h i s sons a r e explicitly  i d e n t i f i e d w i t h the Old Testament f i g u r e s so t h a t the  i n v i t e s the reader  to contemplate the u n i v e r s a l i m p l i c a t i o n s of  s t o r y . Another main s t r u c t u r a l p a r a l l e l i n Absalom c o n c e n t r a t e s n e c t i o n s between the House of Sutpen and of  Faulkner's on the con-  the House of A t r e u s . C r i t i c s have  course amply documented the presence and  s i g n i f i c a n c e of b i b l i c a l  a n a l y s i s of the s i m i l a r i t i e s between Absalom and  in  ever  title  m y t h o l o g i c a l paradigms i n the n o v e l . L i n d o f f e r s perhaps t h e most  She  his  the two  and  inclusive  f a m i l i a r myths.  s u s p e c t s . t h a t "the Oedipus t r i l o g y might have served as a g e n e r a l  guide  the d r a f t i n g of the p l o t , " sees " c o n t i n u i n g (though l o o s e ) a n a l o g i e s which  e x i s t between Sutpen and Oedipus, Sutpen's sons and J u d i t h and A n t i g o n e , "  E t e o c l e s and  Polyneices,  and b e l i e v e s t h a t the c o n f l i c t between Absalom  * C f . a l s o p. 80 where the c h o i r boy's c r o s s i s l i k e n e d to a p e n i s .  and  206  Amnon over their s i s t e r must have been on Faulkner's mind during the writing 19 of Absalom.  Although the s t r u c t u r a l analogies.are indeed loose, they sug-  gest a systematic attention to the c u l t u r a l heritage on Faulkner's part. The reasons for aligning himself with a long l i t e r a r y t r a d i t i o n are of course complex and to some extent no doubt subconscious. Absalom c e r t a i n l y gains greater u n i v e r s a l i t y from i t s association with archetypal themes. At the same time, i t sets i t s e l f off from the l i t e r a r y t r a d i t i o n , i n that i t treats f a m i l i a r subjects d i f f e r e n t l y and uniquely. And, f i n a l l y , i t suggests an awareness of l i t e r a r y  creation as a textual a c t i v i t y that i n t e r -  acts constantly with other texts. The structural paradigm for La Route does not take the same e x p l i c i t form as i n Absalom. Moreover, the paradigm Simon chooses focuses on questions of l i t e r a r y production rather than on subject matter. What fascinates Simon about language i s i t s power to transform r e a l i t y i n a sometimes nearmiraculous fashion that c a l l s to mind Ovid's Metamorphoses..Consciously or unconsciously, Simon's attitude and choice of metaphor correspond to what Edward Said i d e n t i f i e s as the s t r u c t u r a l i s t s ' " f a i t h i n the i r r e s i s t i b l e metamorphic powers of language. For i f one text might serve them a l l as a banner i t i s Ovid's  Metamorphoses, that celebration of r e a l i t y as cease-  20 less transformation and unhindered  function for i t s own sake."  La Route  offers an i n d i r e c t but unmistakable reference to Ovid's work when Georges argues that the soldiers have been changed into "quelque chose comme des betes" and then r e c a l l s that he has read "quelque part une h i s t o i r e comme ca, des types metamorphoses d'un coup de baguette en cochons ou en arbres ou en c a i l l o u x , l e tout par l e moyen de vers l a t i n s . . ." (p. 100). The  207  concept of metamorphosis aptly reflects.Simon's b e l i e f that language has the power to change people's perception of r e a l i t y and hence influence human action. Word games hold a special fascination for Simon because their effect i s e n t i r e l y l i n g u i s t i c . Reminiscent  of the kind of transformations  depicted i n the Metamorphoses, Georges l i n k s the generative sequence of "moule poulpe pulpe vulve" (pp. 41-42) to a "creuset o r i g i n e l " which i s . . .semblable i c e s moules dans lesquels enfant i l . avait appris a estamper soldats et cavaliers, r i e n qu'un peu de pate pressee du pouce, 1'innombrable engeance s o r t i e toute armee et casquee selon l a legende et se multipliant g r o u i l l a n t se repandant sur l a surface de l a terre. . . (p. 42). Simon expresses the a t t r a c t i o n such transformations'.inspire by associating the creation of toy soldiers with " l a b o i t e de Pandore" (p. 258). .The process of creation we find described i n the Metamorphoses takes many d i f f e r e n t forms i n La Route.  In the novel's unstable universe, characters  turn into each other, past and present become one, word associations change our reading habits, and the fragmented narrative structure transforms, our perceptual preconceptions;. Simon r e a l i z e s that l i t e r a t u r e has always had the power to bring about the impossible. In La Route he occasionally evokes the combination tales.  of fascination and'.ihorror children enjoy so much i n f a i r y  He speaks, f o r instance, of an old woman who thinks she has hired  a woman servant and, i n the course of the evening, discovers that the servant i s a disguised man who w i l l no doubt assassinate her (p. 79). In another place he resorts to a f a i r y tale analogy i n order to convey Georges' disappointment  at finding an old and ugly woman instead of the expected  b e a u t i f u l g i r l . Georges speaks of himself as: . . . l e cavalier l e conquerant botte venu chercher au fond de l a nuit au fond du temps seduire enlever l a l i l i a l e princesse dont j'avais reve depuis des annees et au moment ou j e croyais l ' a t -  208  teindre, l a prendre.dans mes bras, l e s refermant, enserrant, me trouvant face a face avec une h o r r i b l e et goyesque v i e i l l e . . . (p. 267). Such transformations of something pleasant into something unpleasant are g r a t i f y i n g because the shock of sudden recognition appeals to our appreciation of reversed expectations. Simon obviously chose the Metamorphoses as a paradigm for the process of f i c t i o n because i t makes "impossible" transformations believable. Although we know that people do not turn into stones or trees, Ovid convinces us that, within the framework of his work, they do. Similarly, Simon knows that there i s no organic connection between "moule" and "poulpe" but within his f i c t i o n a l universe, he too makes us believe that there i s . Although a r t i f a c t , with often tenuous connnections  f i c t i o n i s an  to r e a l i t y , i t nevertheless  influences and perhaps even governs human perception' and behavior.  7,. L i t e r a r y a l l u s i o n s as self-quotations Intertextuality works primarily with references to the c u l t u r a l heritage as a whole.  However, both Faulkner and Simon occasionally  resort to more limited categories of l i t e r a r y a l l u s i o n s . In Absalom and La Route, for instance, we find scattered allusions to other works by their authors. Faulkner includes i n Absalom characters from Sartoris, The Unvanquished, The Sound and the Fury. These characters play only minor roles or provide a readily recognizable background.to the general history of Yoknapatawpha county. There are at least s i x references to Colonel Sartoris (pp. 80, 121, 124, 126, 152, 1 8 9 ) s e v e r a l to Judge Benbow (pp. 170, 211, 212), two each to Mc Casiin (pp. 152, 275) and  209  and Bayard (pp. 174,  360), and several to Major De Spain (p. 291). More-  over, i n the "Genealogy Annex" to Absalom, the entry on Quentin Compson includes his death i n 1910,  an event that i s not treated i n Absalom but  forms a major episode i n The Sound and the Fury. Faulkner's characters, l i k e those of Balzac, have a tendency to reappear i n several novels and give the impression  of belonging  to a self-enclosed s o c i a l universe.  Simon's characters manifest s i m i l a r tendencies. The references i n La Route to Simon's other works are mostly to L'Herbe, La B a t a i l l e de Pharsale, Tryptique. Simon mentions a character  and  (Sabine) by describing her (p. 52),  refers to Marie and Eugenie (p. 170) by name, and draws attention to Pierre and Sabine by alluding to a s i t u a t i o n which i s more f u l l y developed i n L'Herbe. The reader f a m i l i a r with L'Herbe i s immediately reminded of the evening meal scenes i n that novel when La Route describes how  "Georges  venait s'asseoir a table dans sa salopette s o u i l l e e , avec ses mains non  pas  souillees mais pour a i n s i d i r e incrustees de terre et de cambouis" (p.  234).  Simon's self-quotations address themselves not only to characters but also to images. References to a "glace de l'armoire"  (p. 42), to "talons  couleur  d'abricot" (p. 192), to " p i l o n rouge" (p. 193), and to "j'avais deja l u en l a t i n ce qui m'est a r r i v e " (p. 100)" evoke key images and themes from Tryptique and La B a t a i l l e de Pharsale. La Route distinguishes i t s e l f from Absalom i n that i t s self-quotations r e f e r not only to previous L'Herbe but also to l a t e r ones l i k e La B a t a i l l e de Pharsale and  texts l i k e Tryptique.  In a sense, then, La Route can be said to repeat not only a past that has already happened but also a future that i s s t i l l to come. Although La B a t a i l l e de Pharsale repeats images from La Route, the reader experiences  210  the L a B a t a i l l e de P h a r s a l e a l l u s i o n s as i f they were i n f a c t p r i o r to L a Route. What i s more i m p o r t a n t than t e m p o r a l s u c c e s s i o n i s the c l o s e d f i c t i o n a l u n i v e r s e Simon e s t a b l i s h e s t h r o u g h i n t e r t e x t u a l i t y . The q u o t a t i o n s demonstrate d o x i c a l way.  self-  the n o n - r e f e r e n t i a l i t y of f i c t i o n i n a p a r a -  The mimetic code s p e c i f i e s t h a t names of p e o p l e and p l a c e s  i n c r e a s e the sense of r e a l i t y i n a t e x t . The f a c t t h a t the r e a d e r i s a l r e a d y t h o r o u g h l y f a m i l i a r w i t h c h a r a c t e r s l i k e Bayard  (from  Sartoris)  o r Sabine (from L'Herbe) i n c r e a s e s the v e r i s i m i l i t u d e of Absalom and L a Route i n much the same way as do r e f e r e n c e s t o Napoleon et l e n o i r .  i n Le Rouge  F a u l k n e r and Simon i n s e r t an e x p l i c i t l y f i c t i o n a l c h a r a c t e r  i n t o the s y n t a x of the mimetic code. S e l f - q u o t a t i o n s a c c o r d p r i o r i t y t o i n t e r t e x t u a l r e l a t i o n s and expose t h e a r t i f i c i a l i t y o f c o n v e n t i o n s g o v e r n i n g mimesis.  8.  L i t e r a r y a l l u s i o n s to contemporary  authors  A s l i g h t l y d i f f e r e n t form of i n t e r t e x t u a l i t y concerns L a  Route's  use of e x p l i c i t r e f e r e n c e s to Absalom. Some of the more o b v i o u s examples r e s o r t to v a r i a t i o n s on s i m i l a r t r a n s i t i o n a l s e n t e n c e s : Q u e n t i n seemed to see them. . .(p. 1 4 ) . Q u e n t i n seemed to watch. . . (p. 2 1 ) . I t seemed to Q u e n t i n t h a t he c o u l d a c t u a l l y see them. . . (p. 1 3 2 ) . I t seemed t o Q u e n t i n t h a t he c o u l d a c t u a l l y see them. . . (p. 1 8 9 ) . Et . . . Moreover,  i . . .  l me . i . i . i  s e m b l a l t y e t r e , v o i r c e l a . . . (p. 1 9 ) . l l u i s e m b l a i t t o u j o u r s l a v o i r . . . (p. 4 1 ) . l l u i s e m b l a i t t o u j o u r s v o i r ce. b u s t e r a i d e . . . (p. 7 2 ) . l l u i sembla q u ' i l l e v o y a i t r e e l l e m e n t . . . (p. 7 9 ) .  Sutpen's " f i n e f i g u r e " reappears i n L a Route as de R e i x a c h ' s  "buste r a i d e . " A s i m i l a r image denotes i n b o t h n o v e l s a r i s t o c r a t i c p r i d e  211  and stoicism i n that both. Sutpen and de Reixach exemplify standards of conduct that are perhaps admirable but also antiquated and f a i n t l y ridiculous: . . . watching the proud galloping image merge and pass... . to the fine climax where i t galloped without weariness or progress, forever and forever immortal beneath the brandished saber. . . (p. 288). . . . brandissant cette arme i n u t i l e et d e r i s o i r e dans un geste hereditaire de statue equestre que l u i avaient probablement transmis des generations de sabreurs. . . (p. 12). The statuesque quality of the two figures on horseback and the gesture of the l i f t e d sabre i n the face of an automated army suggest i n both novels a c o n f l i c t between old and new values. In another instance, Simon and -  Faulkner exploit the double meaning of words i n order to imply a close connection between sex and violence. Speaking of the old Sutpen's desperate attempt to produce an h e i r , Faulkner compares him to a cannon with "just one more shot i n i t s corporeality" (p. 279), that i s , a cannon which "can deliver just one more f i e r c e shot" (p. 181). Simon uses a similar double meaning when he says of the lame man's sexual jealousy and love of guns: "Apres tout i l a bien l e d r o i t de t i r e r son coup l u i aussi. . ." (p. 276). Perhaps the most deliberate p a r a l l e l between Absalom and La Route can be found in two descriptive passages: . . . they not progressing p a r a l l e l i n time but descending perpendicularly through temperature and climate. . . an attenuation from a kind of furious inertness and patient immobility. . . to a sort of dreamy and destinationless locomotion. . . during which they did not seem to progress at a l l but just to hang suspended while the earth i t s e l f altered, flattened and broadened out of the mountain cove. . . (p. 224-25). . . . l e s quatre cavaliers et l e s cinq chevaux somnambuliques et non pas avancant mais levant et reposant les pieds sur place pratiquement immobiles sur l a route, l a carte l a vaste  212  surface de l a terre l e s pres l e s hois, se deplacant sous et autour d'eux. . . (p. 302). Although Simon c l e a r l y "borrows";'.ideas  lentement  from Faulkner, this  "borrowing"  i s not a case of imitation or influence. When Simon incorporates passages from Faulkner's novel i n La Route, he exploits them for his own' purposes. Although Simon encourages the reader to recognize and i d e n t i f y "borrowed" material, he also expects him to understand  that the new  context changes the meaning and significance of this material. In a l a t e r novel, La B a t a i l l e de Pharsale, Simon c i t e s extensively from Proust's A l a recherche.  This novel makes i t even more obvious than La Route  that the quoted material becomes an i n t e g r a l part of the borrowing As van Rossum-Guillon  text.  point out, quotations usually refer to peripheral  material i n A l a recherche rather than to c r u c i a l and often-cited passages. She argues that the Proust quotations follow "une logique purement' 21 associative,"  which means that the"'forme et couleur des mots' et tout  ce que ces mots, p r i s en eux-memes, permettent d'evoquer. . . sont ex22 ploites."  The Proust fragments i n La B a t a i l l e de Pharsale establish  connections with A l a recherche that are formal rather than thematic. Although the i n i t i a l meaning of the Proust sentence may be preserved, i t i s dislocated when appropriated by La B a t a i l l e de Pharsale. La Route, too, absorbs quotations from Absalom i n such a way that Faulkner's meaning Is deflected and subordinated to the exigencies of Simon's own text. In this kind of formal borrowing, the pretext precludes d i r e c t contact with r e a l i t y even more r a d i c a l l y than i n other forms of i n t e r t e x t u a l i t y .  213  ?.';  Conclusion Cultural allusions i n Absalom and La Route raise the often debated  question whether l i t e r a t u r e has i t s source i n art or i n l i f e . Romantic interpretations of the creative process and mimetic ambitions to imitate r e a l i t y both.measure a r t i s t i c achievements according to how closely a text reproduces immediate sensations and observations. The aim of romantic and mimetic art i s thus to become l i f e . I t i s with this predisposition that S l a t o f f , for instance, evaluates Faulkner's attitude to language. He argues that Faulkner desires to "transcend the usual r a t i o n a l processes because of "an obvious discontent with the a b i l i t y of language to convey 23 truth." for  According to S l a t o f f , Faulkner views words as "empty substitutes  feeling and experience" and consequently suffers from a disturbing  "chasm between l i f e and p r i n t . "  However, language i s inadequate as a  vehicle for truth only as long as art must serve l i f e . If words are freed from this servitude and granted a r e a l i t y of their own,  they p a r t i c i p a t e  in a system of s i g n i f i c a t i o n which conveys perceptual processes as they r e a l l y work. Human perception i s inevitably influenced by c u l t u r a l preconceptions which are passed along through o r a l , written, and v i s u a l t r a d i t i o n s . Every l i t e r a r y work therefore incorporates traces of other l i t e r a r y works and of other  c u l t u r a l systems. Michael R i f f a t e r r e ' s concentration on  i n t e r t e x t u a l i t y successfully challenges the myth of the autonomous text. In his analysis of Wordsworth's "Yew owe  Trees," he demonstrates that poems  their e f f e c t to generative chains that duplicate the same facts i n  constantly changing codes. Arguing that poetic discourse, even i n i t s most descriptive forms, refers always to i t s e l f and not to outside r e a l i t y , he  214  elaborates: In a poem, the descriptive sentence i s a chain of derivations. Each word i s generated by p o s i t i v e or negative conformity with the preceding o n e — t h a t i s , either by synonymy or by antonymy— and the sequence i s thus t a u t o l o g i c a l or oxymoric.25 L i t e r a r y a l l u s i o n s organize generative sequences which are predominantly  :  tautological. In Absalom and La Route, they repeat the same statements the texts have already established i n d i f f e r e n t codes. To speak of the lame man i n La Route as Othello simply confirms that the jealous man i s indeed a jealous man. This does not mean that the tautology i s a gratuitous redundancy on the contrary, i t c a r r i e s several messages. The a l l u s i o n to Othello deepens the meaning of "jealousy" by l i n k i n g the lame man's s i t u a tion with an i l l u s t r i o u s and well-documented l i t e r a r y case h i s t o r y . But this l i n k i s also i r o n i c because of the discrepancy between the drab l i t t l e farmer and the heroic Othello. Moreover, the name Othello c a l l s a t tention not only to a Shakespearean character but, because Othello has become a conventional l i t e r a r y c l i c h e , i t also evokes a l l the other jealous characters i n l i t e r a t u r e who have, at one time or another, been associated with Othello. Indeed, l i t e r a r y c l i c h e s are so entrenched i n our reading habits that even those who have never read the Shakespeare tragedy are nevertheless capable of i d e n t i f y i n g Othello with jealousy. And, even i f the reader has never heard of Othello, the s y n t a c t i c a l placement of the a l l u s i o n would c l a s s i f y i t as an a l l u s i o n and the context i n which i t appears would suggest that Othello must have been a jealous man. The importance of l i t e r a r y a l l u s i o n s l i e s not so much i n their appropriateness  to a given  s i t u a t i o n as i n their capacity to signal auto-referential dimensions of  215  l i t e r a t u r e . Allusions make the reader conscious of a text as text i n that they c l a r i f y the extent to which our perceptions are influenced by already existing representations of "nature" or " l i f e . " I n t e r t e x t u a l i t y therefore illuminates the fact that every l i t e r a r y text repeats, i n one form or another, i t s precursors. Repetition, as a decentralizing a c t i v i t y , confirms the fundamental non-referentiality of l i t e r a t u r e . A l l texts p a r t i c i p a t e i n an i n f i n i t e l y regressive chain of pre-existing c u l t u r a l systems but cannot be traced back to a source or an o r i g i n . Is the Sutpen legend, for instance, the imitation or the source of tragic events told i n the Bible and Greek tragedy?  G i l l e s De