Elkin en deux leçons

William H. Gass (toujours) a dit de lui qu’il était comme un jazzman « who would go off on riffs ». Et c’est vrai que Stanley Elkin a un nom de musicien, que ses phrases pourraient être la version littéraire d’une rythmique de Max Roach. Je viens de lire « The MacGuffin » son avant dernier livre et j’en sors secoué par son sens de la perversion de la mesure. Essayer de dire en quoi sa prose est bonne ne sert à rien, il faut le lire – un peu comme c’est beau et bien de lire une critique de « Birth of cool », c’est quand même mieux de l’écouter.

« Though he was probably about the right age for it – fifty-eight- Druff didn’t suppose – not even when he was most fitfully struggling to bring forth a name like something caught in his throat, or spit out the word momentarily stuck on the tip of his tongue – that what he was experiencing was aphasia or Amazheimer’s, or the beginnings of senility, or anything importantly neurogical at all. Though he wouldn’t have been surprised if something dark was going on in the old gray matter – a kind of lava tube forming, say, or, oh, stuff creeping in the fossil record, putty leaking into his creases and crevices, his narrows, folds and fissures, some sluggish, white stupidity forming and hardening there like an impression formed in a mold. »

« He’s political, your rabbi? A captain of industry? He knows about downtown, I betcha, the colorful tantrums of Mafia and all the haunted houses where the bodies are buried? He knows who is in whom’s pocket? What the grand jury said?
Is he up on all he needs regarding the other guy’s gridlock and monkeyshines, the kickbacks and setups and inside jobs, who was it hijacked the salt truck?
Well, it’s common knowledge. Everything‘s common knowledge these days. Hey, no offense. I mean to take nothing away from anyone, but there’s child porn stars on Phil, cousins of drunks on Geraldo. It’s as if everyone feels he has a duty to open up everyone else’s eyes – girls who make it with ponies, with ectoplasm in the fruit cellar. »

Stanley Elkin est mort d’un arrêt cardiaque en 1995, à 65 ans. L’hommage posthume rendu par Gass est superbe et doit suffire à lui seul à vous pousser à lire cet auteur trop peu connu.

« Stanley Elkin loved excess. More is more, he quite correctly said. Sometimes he sounded like a sideshow barker. (…) For him, it was the nomenclature of the world which was its wonder. From drugstore, dance studio, cosmetics counter, dry cleaner, hospital, motel, jailhouse, Hell – he gathered his words. And released them at the right time, the way the magician does his birds.
(…)
And
Stanley did love this world, he loved it well, even when it did badly by him, even when he became bedded and pillowed in awkwardness and pain; and when we read him, our lives really do rise. (…) He wrote for the grace of it, for he was an unmatched celebrator of the world, and most particularly of its unseemliness, its vulgarity, its aches and envies, its lowlifes, its absurd turns, its apparently ineradicable superstitions – still, for the grace of it… only that. »

Stanley Elkin, The MacGuffin, $12.95, Dalkey Archive

 

2 commentaires:

  1. odot said,

    tout elkin est fabuleux, et il est de loin mon styliste préféré. c'est le plus drôle de tous, aussi.

    on 10:28 AM


  2. g@rp said,

    Mâtin ! Quelle phrase ! Le rythme est donné par les - et les ,
    Je ne résiste pas au plaisir de la (re)citer.
    Pour la bonne bouche.
    « Though he was probably about the right age for it – fifty-eight- Druff didn’t suppose – not even when he was most fitfully struggling to bring forth a name like something caught in his throat, or spit out the word momentarily stuck on the tip of his tongue – that what he was experiencing was aphasia or Amazheimer’s, or the beginnings of senility, or anything importantly neurogical at all. Though he wouldn’t have been surprised if something dark was going on in the old gray matter – a kind of lava tube forming, say, or, oh, stuff creeping in the fossil record, putty leaking into his creases and crevices, his narrows, folds and fissures, some sluggish, white stupidity forming and hardening there like an impression formed in a mold. »

    on 8:32 PM


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