La Chevelure de Bérénice by Claude Simon

By Claude Simon

« À propos d'une scène de plage, de deux femmes en noir marchant en bordure des vagues chaudes, de pêcheurs tirant au sec leurs barcasses craquantes, de casseroles enfoncées dans le sable, de poulets qu'on vide, d'étoiles qui basculent (dont los angeles constellation de Bérénice), Claude Simon switch le temps en espace. Il rend physiquement good los angeles durée, notre seule certitude. Avec lui, l. a. littérature devient une desktop magique à voir l'invisible par excellence : l’herbe qui pousse, l’histoire en educate de se faire. » (Bertrand Poirot-Delpech, Le Monde, 10 février 1984)

Initialement publié en tirage limité sous le titre Femmes (Maeght, 1966), ce texte est paru aux Éditions de Minuit en 1984.

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Freedom of Speech The example of free speech may serve to illustrate further the artifac- tual nature of political forms as well as their dependence on the dis- tinction between public and private spheres. The right to free speech was created in the public sphere in order to guarantee the facility of expression needed to create again that sphere. To say that free speech is a creation is to maintain the idea that it involves an aesthetic expe- rience. To argue that it requires a reciprocal relationship with the pub- lic sphere to thrive is to recognize that it is a political artifact that loses its function without the distinction between the public and pri- vate.

This failure is for postmodernists the best proof that heterogene- ity and multiplicity are irrepressible. When postmodernists take a pos- itive view of this legacy and celebrate difference, their political ges- tures and art forms are almost giddy. 6 The gid- diness of postmodernism, however, sometimes turns into nausea, and 6. Huyssen (1986) describes postmodernism as initially "future happy" and traces how it loses its confidence. 34 What Does Postmodernism Want? then postmodern collage descends into monstrosity and pollution, taking an almost masochistic pleasure in its ability to cannibalize even the most disparate ideas and forms.

In a sense, I will be trying to trace the historical and conceptual conditions unique to the postmodern desire for utopia, although obviously a full analysis lies beyond my powers here. The distinctive characteristics of postmod- ernism, I will argue, emerge partly in response to important concerns in these three areas, and its discourse of desire also emerges from what is wanting in these areas. Post/War/Modernism I know the danger in periodizing: there has never been a movement or period designation that has not shown some signs of emergence before it came into prominence.

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