As this blog is supposed to be mainly about literature and becouse calendar says it’s the 8th of march I’d like to remind you of some female figures that I’d met along the way in the imaginary world, the one between the covers. <read on>
For a proper beginning I can only think of Vienna. You should hear the story about Ingeborg Bachmann, who wrote arguably the most exciting piece of woman fiction I’ve ever came across. I use this type of genere name here for a novel full of emotions, poetry, where the beauty of the everyday life is highlightened and where it’s not accepted to be silent about the real problems. I use it for Bachmann. The narrator in ‘Malina’ is an artist and a philosopher, a fellow book lover. Yet the mastery of words she posses is useless when it comes to her personal life. The point of view is so subjective it’s even hard to tell whether there are two men in her life or it’s just one, seen diffrently each time he and her face each other. She’s as chaotic as she is good-willed, sort of a Woody Allen character. She is lost in life, but she is bright, she is damaged but she knows how to put it in writing so as to invoke powerful feelings. A remarkable view on living, an honest and enthusiastic one up to the limit.
From now on, the task gets really hard. It’s more a chance than anything else that decides who will be mantioned here. Anyway I’d start with an obvious chocie: Molly Bloom whose internal monologue is a hallmark of 20th century literature. Never was there a ‘yes’ so full of desire as the one at the end of Ulysses. On the other hand there is Leni in The Trial, strangely actracted to the accused men who she frightens with her deformed hand. There are Mdm Bovary and Anna Karenina walking hand in hand towards disaster. A pretty ghost in Lem’s Solaris, a personal memory from long ago. We have spoiled little Lolita running wild with Humbert Humbert. A bit older but as crazy, Marylou on the road with Kerouac. Poor, dead Berenice deprived of teeth by Poe, while Pynchon had no remorse for Oedipa Mass, putting her in a paranoid state of affairs. There is Elizabeth Costello, a tired intellectual of modern world according to Coetzee. There is also disgusting Simone pulling out an eye of a priest, while the piano teacher is cutting herself in the bathtub. What a mixture, what a world.
This is just the first chapter. Helen of Troy can’t take credit for everything. Women of all shapes and characters come to life on every page every day. After all, maybe this is the hidden reason for reading. We never stop looking for love, be it a real one or just a phantom, made of letters.
Sorry for no V. W. – what are your stories?