TamTam Books News

Sunday, September 12, 2004:

Doing research on Boris Vian (as always) I ran across an interview with the composer Gyorgy Ligeti where he name checks Vian as one of his major influences. Down below is just a little bit of the interview. For the rest check out: http://home.flash.net/~jronsen/mmpp9/mmpp9gl3.html

HS: What you call “alienation” intervenes here. It is why you produced a forgery: a false apocalypse...
GL: A comic apocalypse. It is a little like that in Ghelderode: the alienation renders laughable an extremely serious subject. Nekrotzar, Death, perhaps he really is death, but he is ridiculous. Death is not a person like everyone else. A hodgepodge of the serious and comic, the distressing and laughable. This is the moment of alienation.

Another example from French literature is Boris Vian, who profoundly influenced me. With Vian as well, the terrible things, like in Ecunne des Jours, Pekin are all ridiculous. That belongs to a whole literary world which includes Jarry, then Ghelderode, then Ionesco.

And in English literature, there is Alice in Wonderland, ridiculous and terrible at the same time. And in Austrian literature, there is Herzmanowski-Orlando, a very important writer of our century who is hardly known, even in Germany. Herzmanowski, Vian, Kafka, these are for me a unity. Only, Kafka was always serious. Vian and Herzmanowski are very wicked but ridiculous, ridiculous with a sense of the serious. And in Hungarian literature, the great humorist Frigyes Karinthy. He is not known here. He is comic, so bizarre. And think of drawings, cartoons of outlandish anxiety, of Saul Steinberg and Roland Topor. Besides, Topor designed the scenery for the Bologna version of the Macabre. It is a world which very close to me. Also, certain Belgium painters, Magritte for example, surreally full of anxiety.

Tosh // 6:34 PM

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