Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Black Insider.



Words are the chemicals that H2O human intercourse...Everywhere you go, some shit word will collide with you on the wrong side of the road. You can't even hide yourself because your thoughts think of themselves in the words you have been taught to read and write.
Marechera.

And The Black Insider never allows the reader to forget how we possess what Eco (in his latest novel) calls our "paper memory" such that texts mesh with the tissue of life. The range of literary texts in The Black Insider records something of Marechera's own "paper memory":



Abrahams
Achebe
Anixamander
Apuleius
Aristophanes
Armah
Arnold
Austen
Barthes
Beti
The Bible
Blackmore
Blake
Boccaccio
Brontes
Burroughs
Capote
CarrollCastaneda
Caswall/Clairvaux
Cervantes
Chandler
Chaucer
Chekov
Coleridge
Conrad
De SadeDefoe
Dickens
Donne
Dostoevsky
Euripedes
Everyman-dramatist
Fanon
Faulkner
Fitzgerald
Forster
G. Eliot
T.S.Eliot
Gibbon
Gibbons
Gogol
Grass
Haley
Hamsun
Hasek
Heraclitus
Hesse
Homer
L.Hughes
James
Jones/Baraka
Joyce
Kafka
Kipling
Lawrence
Lermontov
Mailer
Mann
Marcuse
Marlowe
Melville
Mishima
Montaigne
Mtshali
Ngugi
Okara
Okigbo
Orwell
Peacock
Peake
The Pearl-poet
Peters
Petronius
Pushkin
The Rood-poet
Samkange
Senghor
Shabistari
Shakespeare
Shaw
Shelley
Soyinka
Sterne
Stevenson
D.Thomas.
Tolstoy
Trollope
Turgenev
Virgil
Voltaire
Wilde
Wittgenstein
Wordsworth
Yeats

13 comments:

Unsane said...

He engages in a lot of namesdropping, as if to say, "I have intellectual friends". Very humorous.

Unsane said...

interesting, too, that he uses a "collision" motif rather than the totalising motif of the structuralists and poststructuralists.

eshuneutics said...

A "collision" motif. The range of references certainly achieves that.
Some authors are clearly from the Uni Eng Lit tradition. Others are truly recondite.

Alfred Iwerebor said...

What is the one thing that stands out about Marechera's way of thinking and expressing?
I think he loved to play with the complex. It's not an easy thing for instance, to imagine the picture he paints with these words
"Your thoughts think of themselves"
And I can't fathom what he meant by
" a s**t word colliding with you on the wrong side of the road". He certainly had something to say.

Id it is said...

"we possess ..."paper memory" such that texts mesh with the tissue of life".
It is this 'mesh'ing that often gets exploited by master writers and linguists; the likes of Chomsky! They, being cognizant of the power that texts have over the very 'tissue of life', know exactly what buttons to push in order to get a desired response; tantamount to mindful manipulation.
Eshu, you just helped me answer a question that was posed to me on my blog: Why are we wary of Chomsky?
Thanks to you,I can't wait to read more Marechera!

eshuneutics said...

This idea of "paper memory" is intriguing. In Eco's "The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana", the main character loses his memory. He only has a lifetime of books to connect to "reality". Words--as Marechera saw--flood in and drown him. The mind responds only to the powerful fictions.

eshuneutics said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
eshuneutics said...

That is the problem and fascination with Marechera: he did not have one way. I tried to read The Black Insider one way...then had to read it another way...and another way: novel, essay, monologue, autobiography. I think that Marechera understood what Josopovici once said: a book confesses its fictiveness, that is the only truth that it can tell. And a Marechera book confesses its fictions in many ways.

Unsane said...

Marechera's book tells a lot of truths about the way that he feels he is seen as a black intellectual (he has an infection; he is not a direct part of the revolution for freedom, but is part of a group of those who hestitate and intellectualise). In the final analysis he sees himself as fighting for more than just "black" cultural values.

eshuneutics said...

Yes--his eclectic use of texts suggests that he is not exclusively interested in "black" cultural values. He doesn't place the African above the rest of the world. I have been thinking about his constant use of "black" and your observation--it is a daring strategy.

Unsane said...

He is not exclusively interested in black politics, but he is very interested in the social psychology of blackness. Many critics of the west do hot understand the imbedded irony of much of Marechera's texts.

Alfred Iwerebor said...

Let's not forget to use the past tense when speaking of Marechera. Last time I checked, he "was" dead!

eshuneutics said...

I assume you mean "The Black Insider" records...?" The present tense refers to the text, which had not died, and the "paper memory" which exists. Or do you refer to the comments, Alfred? In which case, Unsane's "is" refers to the authorial self that continues within the text--a literary convention. Don't worry, we have not brought him back to life, like Lazarus: Marechera would not have approved of this black magic:-)