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April 01, 2007


Jennifer Cascadia

Did you get the Marechera book yet? Somehow I am not sure you will find it melancholy, although it is likely you would find it haunting. I, personally, find it haunting knowing that the author died before the book was in any way understood. It ought to be read through the lens of Bataille.



I ordered it, thanks , but still waiting on it - I think I may have slowed things down by going for a second-hand copy. I'll let you know when I start it - can't wait!

Jennifer Cascadia

When you do get it, here is a quote from Bataille to keep in mind: Only by cancelling, or at least neutralizing, every operation of knowledge within ourselves are we in the moment, without fleeing it. This is possible in the grip of strong emotions that shut off, interrupt or override the flow of thought" (p.203 In the pages on Sovereignty (3rd part of The Accursed Share)

Jennifer Cascadia

myself, on black sunlight:

In the final analysis of the success or otherwise of the metaphysical project, Marechera’s honesty speaks directly. Reality still holds something up over and against him – and that is his inability to assimilate to the world of white culture, symbolized via a relationship with Blanche Goodfather, whose memory remains despite her unreachability as a genuine emotional connection.

“And we grew to know less and less of each other. Yet the memory would not set into the setting sun, that green and frozen glance to the wide blue sea where broken hearts are wrecked out of their wounds.” (p 117).

The final state is one of exhaustion, in which it has to be admitted that something valuable entailed in reality itself has been sought for and lost. This is one’s acceptance and admittance into the white culture, as represented by Blanche. In the end, Marechera’s genuine success in psychological self-renewal is found to have produced a concomitant pyrrhic victory in terms of acceptance and love. His intellectual efforts have bleached his bones “white”, -- a betrayer of his originative culture -- and yet “the grief underneath” torments him still. He has also recognised that despite all his literary efforts, that language itself betrays his written meanings and intent and yet paradoxically cannot fail to carry his project along with meanings not necessarily the author’s own. The ending to Black Sunlight possibly takes into account human failures despite striving to one’s utmost. The state portrayed is one of emptiness, having undergone total expenditure. The subject/protagonist portrays himself as suicidal, cutting his wrists, in order to let out the meaning. This writing portrays bitterness, tearfulness and disappointments in outcomes sought with all of one’s might but not achieved. The failures implied are emotionally equivalent to a lost love, henceforth evermore unattainable. One wonders whether Heinemann’s constant insistence on a rewrite of the book has also been encoded here:

"I am burnt on the breakteeth words. Their timeless sneer to all. Meaning leaks in through holes in the roof and drums softly here and there collecting in puddles that soon extend their tentacles all over the floor where I watch the gashed in my wrists leak faster and faster with meaning to flood beyond recognition my embittered days with Blanche Goodfather. Amazon." (p 117).

-- so it appears that, despite the cultural and literary risks he has undertaken, his words will not serve to clothe him in a new social identity. Tragically, rather, the writer is left only with what he began with -- himself a “naked and vulnerable fact”.

Yet in this naked and vulnerable husk of the writer, who has failed even to win himself some social clothing by his efforts, is not all that remains to be said concerning what has been won or lost in the writer’s enterprise. The shaman’s hair-raising audacity in combining a consistently fluid and transgressive attitude towards politics, religion and the realm of aesthetics can be understood by readers who are able to engage with a return of that which humans tend to repress (the elements defined as heterologous.) For these who are perhaps few, the reading of Black Sunlight produces an effect of coming to view something as profoundly familiar as well as dimly recognisable as the idea of the sun.

"In this unintelligible, unrecognizable sacrifice, what is attained, this time again, is the sacred, but in a form so total that one can only enshroud it deeply." (p 209 Inner Experience)

Jennifer Cascadia

Did you get Black Sunlight yet?

Here is a draft of the thesis chapter that I just completed recently on the book.

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