Bataille Georges - Mia madre
Jean-Jacques Pauvert, primo editore, nel 1966, di "Ma mère", così presentò questo romanzo ritrovato tra le carte inedite di Bataille, dopo la sua morte: "Il giovane protagonista, Pierre, racconta come, dopo un'infanzia profondamente religiosa, viene, all'età di diciassette anni, iniziato alla perversione dalla madre. Sprofondando grazie a lei nella dissolutezza e nell'orgia, scopre l'estasi della perdizione in cui si mescolano angoscia, vergogna, godimento, disgusto, adorazione e rispetto. Adorazione e rispetto per quella donna, la madre, che ha osato bruciare ogni suo vascello, e che, dopo aver toccato il fondo dell'abisso, trascina il figlio con lei, prima di darsi la morte." "Ma mère" è uno dei testi più violenti, più scandalosamente belli di Georges Bataille, che diceva di se stesso: "Io non sono un filosofo, ma forse un santo, forse un folle", sapendo che è proprio in questa ambiguità che risiede l'unica filosofia possibile".
|liliba10 mars 2009|
Pierre raconte comment, après une enfance religieuse, il fut, à l'âge de dix-sept ans, initié à la perversion par sa mère. Plongeant grâce à elle dans l'orgie et la débauche, il découvre l'extase de la perdition où se mêlent l'angoisse, la honte, la jouissance, le dégoût et le respect. Respect pour cette femme, la mère, qui a su brûler ses vaisseaux jusqu'au dernier et qui, ayant touché le fond de l'abîme, entraîne son fils dans la mort qu'elle se donne. Ma mère est l'un des textes les plus violents, les plus scandaleusement beaux de Georges Bataille, qui disait de lui-même : " Je ne suis pas un philosophe, mais peut-être un saint, peut-être un fou ", sachant que c'est dans cette ambiguïté même que réside la seule philosophie.
" Ma mère me destinait à cette violence, sur laquelle elle régnait. Il y avait en elle et pour moi un amour semblable à celui qu'au dire des mystiques Dieu réserve à la créature, un amour appelant à la violence, jamais ne laissant la place au repos."
Suite sur Les lectures de Lili
In this haunting novel, an Oedipal dynamic seems to engender the adolescent narrator’s bitter assumptions about his father’s drunken activities, the noises he curiously hears as he peers over the landing balcony of his family’s bourgeois home at night, supposed by his parents to be asleep.
His father is initially depicted as a malicious drunkard, and the noises Pierre (the narrator) presumes are a kind of violence directed at his mother. An innocent and formative vouyerism herein becomes the recollected narrative itself. Upon witnessing the two of his parents maniacally romping in a downstairs room, his mother in only half her clothes, the perplexed narrator instinctively realises he is not to intervene!
After the death of his father, the narrator experiences a newfound ecstasy; a new life-force and burning desire for his mother. As he recalls, however, his mother – in explaining to him the convoluted, sadistic lineage of his becoming; his conception and birth – was ‘to borrow the phrase from [his] father’; that he ought to ‘“lay the blame for everything on [her]”.’
In other words, the narrative, as told by the narrator, is without clear, unequivocal origin; the mother – in this instance – perhaps inhabiting the perversion and parental rhetoric of the father, herself deeply twisted and partial to unadulterated squalor; the transgressive embracement of an utter sexual debauchery.
Indeed, the mother specifically urges Pierre to embark upon a course of transgression himself, that they might confront the insanity of human experience together, that he might love her for her hideousness, in turn liberating himself from the facile constructs of a taboo-ridden normality.
The narrator’s ambivalence is notable. He is at once pleasured and utterly dismayed by the revelations of his mother’s purposeful, seemingly malicious, indiscretions. Tragically, she requires of him the “impossible”; that he strengthen his love for her whilst simultaneously embracing the staunch depravity that befits a counter-point to his until-now sheltered innocence.
The ecstatic coming-into of the narrator’s sexuality is frequently likened to God, and yet [the narrator’s] “heart is not big enough to contain him”. Indeed, neither does the narrator believe in the God he invokes, and thus his invocation of the deity (in brutal proximity to the sexual act and its descriptive adherents) serves merely to bolster a narratological iconoclasm on behalf of both the Mother and the narrator, as well as of Bataille.
In the days following the death of his father, the narrator is taken by his mother for an expensive meal in a posh restaurant, the opulent setting of which implicitly invokes the economic stage from which they might incestuously transgress hereafter.
An uncanny, seemingly inconsequential waiter appears in the restaurant only to tell his customers of the arrival of a thunderous storm, and thus inaugurates a secondary or concurrently implicit theme of cosmic, elemental disorder.
Indeed the image of the lightning bolt in Bataille often figures in culminative moments, in ecstasy or revelation; a quasi-pathetic fallacy without definitive reliance on the epistemological substance of the paradigmatic cause and effect.
In other words, in Bataille, it appears to be unknown whether or not the inherent disorder of the weather and the cosmos inflict upon his characters the mania of a religious or chemical sense of turbulence. The two things seem merely concurrent, symbolic, but also – in this instance – atleast partially meta-fictional, since the waiter appears so fleetingly as to imply the announcement of a coming narratological device.
In a scene that fittingly demonstrates this, Mother and son are staying in the separate rooms of a hotel, after having eaten in the restaurant. There is a door between the two rooms. The mother is still drinking downstairs as the narrator goes to bed. The door is initially left partially open, but is quietly closed by the mother when she gets to her room. In the middle of the night, then…
“The sudden opening of the door coincided with the fierce flash of lightning which had started me awake; rain was splashing down in torrents. I heard my mother moving barefoot inside my room […] then she stumbled over me. I rose. I took her in my arms. We were both afraid, we were weeping. We covered each other with kisses. Her nightgown had slipped off her shoulders so that the body I hugged was half-way naked. A patch of rain blown in through the window had drenched her; reeling her hair unloosened, she spoke without knowing what she was saying”.
The sense of chaos and verbal madness herein not only confounds our understanding of the mother-son relation, but of society and the universe, as well.
Throughout the novel, various intertextual reference-points are uttered, presumably as to complicate the desired complacency of pigeon-holing any of the characters. The insidious, pleasure-bound mother is at one point compared to a Dionysian maenad, and thus the sense of her “innate” evilness is thrown into a logical disarray, not only as a narratological construct, but also by way of insinuating the masculine corrupter as both the father and Dionysus himself.
Undoubtedly texts such as Bataille’s raise interesting questions about the nature of sexuality, particularly the depiction of female sexuality, and this is no exception. Women are various, intertextual, occasionally embodiments of psycho-spiritual discourse (such as invoked by the narrative’s quasi-Jungian allegory of the Mother riding naked through the forest on her horse before she is raped by the father!), and sometimes they are even the dialectical inversion of a character within the same novel.
In this story, the character of Hansi is particularly interesting, insofar as she initially appears to represent the benevolent normalcy, as a counterpoint to the mother; a kind of fairytale figure who is “dream-like” and ultimately only made possible when the Mother herself is away. It is unclear whether or not the various women are “evil” or “malign” or “benevolent” or simply “women”; multiple and various (if perhaps highly sexed in this particular Sadean milieu…). It is clear, however that Bataille is a deeply feeling author, and that the impossible sustainability, the fluctuations and the tragedies, of these relations are of paramount concern. The transgressive impulse finds its voice here in perhaps the century’s most sensitive (if diabolical) intellect.
Look away if you can, but his genius is formidable, perhaps unrivalled in modern fiction. And his eroticised literary spectre is no-doubt now peeping through the intertextual echoes of an opulent, velvet curtain, in an impossible non-heaven, sadistically watching as we sleep.
The novel is full of lines like these... really staggering genius...
"I lived with the feeling that a hidden leprosy was gnawing our vitals: of this ill we were never to be cured, by this malady we were both mortally afflicted. My childish imagination dwelled fixedly upon the evidence of a calamity that my mother and I were undergoing jointly."
"I asked aloud for death. Well did I know that, alive, I would be the dog returning to this vomit in no time!"
"The intimate, the inmost life of the body is so profound: from us it draws that terrible cry beside which the fit of piety is a pale peeping stammer. Vanquished piety yields only boredom. The difficulties, the problems of the flesh, its treacheries, its failings, its terrors, the misunderstandings it engenders, the maladroitness it is the occasion of, these alone provide a basis and an excuse for chastity. Genital pleasure is the wealth that age, ugliness, and all the forms of poverty limit. Hardly had I received this treasure than in the anger that priests went against it I detected the complaining of irremediable impotence (exasperated by the stings of excitement). What was left of my ardent religiosity associated itself with the ecstasy of a voluptuous life, detached itself from the immense barrenness of suffering self-denial…"