Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Foucault On The Death Of Raymond Roussel
"In a way Roussel's attitude is the reverse of Kafka's, but as difficult to interpret. Kafka had entrusted his manuscripts to Max Brod to be destroyed after his death - to Max Brod, who had said he would never destroy them. Around his death Roussel organised a simple explanatory essay which is made suspect by the text, his other books, and even the circumstances of his death." Roussel, in a tragic state of barbiturate dependency, with all his money gone, surrounded by empty pill bottles was found on a mattress at the threshold of his pretend mistress' adjoining bedroom. This for Foucault becomes a metaphor, a rebus-like suicide note: "Whatever is understandable in his language speaks to us from a threshold where access is inseparable from what constitutes its barrier..."