Monday, May 14, 2007

Fragment 514

Reading Oscar Wilde’s Portrait of Mr. W.H.. Haunted by the absence of proof of the existence of the young actor. Marked by layers of disguise and dissembling. An academic thesis embedded as a conversation disguised as a short story; the main idea told through reported speech of another character, who then dies, mirroring another death; repetition of obsessions; the ‘love that dare not speak its name’ constantly being masked by passionate outbursts about the maleness of the Renaissance, neo-Platonism and the ideal of friendship and wonderful witty, true attacks on Puritanism and the Philistine (…the place of the portrait in Wilde’s fiction…) Idea for a book about the absences at the heart of literature by gay men, the unnamed but nonetheless intimated (perhaps?): the hollow cave at the heart of Passage to India, the constant layering and disguise, like Wilde, of Gide’s The Counterfeiters. The unspoken secrets that mark the centre of most of James's fiction. I begin to feel that all fiction is built around an absence. What’s there? (Beckett: “Who’s speaking?”)

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