Patrick Modiano - Dipnot Kitap Kulübü Bir Sirk Geçiyor
Patrick Modiano

 

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28.01.2015

 


  Editörün Notu:  İsveç Akademisi 2014 yılında edebiyat ödülü ile onurlandırdıkları Patrick Modiano’yu, Nazi işgalindeki Fransa’ya uzanan bellek, kimlik, yabancılaşma acılarını bir “hatırlama sanatı” olarak ortaya koyması nedeniyle kutladı. Modiano eserlerinde hem Paris şehrini merkez alması, hem de zamanın peşine düşmesi ile "günümüzün Marcel Proust'u olarak tanımlanmaktadır. Eserleri kısa ve süslemesizdir ama sadelik içinde derinlik içerir. “Bir Sirk Geçiyor” adlı eserinde olaylar, bölük pörçük kesitlerle, zaman katmanları üst üste bindirilerek bir resmigeçit gibi önümüzden akar gider. Ama bir sonuca, bir gerçeğe ulaşmak mümkün değildir.

  Nobel ödülü anti Nazi yazar Modiano’nun
http://www.milliyet.com.tr/

Nazi işgali sırasında yaşanan en akıl almaz insan hikayelerini anlatması, dönemin dünyasını ortaya çıkarması nedeniyle Nobel Edebiyat Ödülü bu yıl Fransız yazar Patrick Modiano’nun oldu

İsveç Akademisi tarafından verilen Nobel Edebiyat Ödülü’nün bu yılki kazananı Fransız yazar Patrick Modiano oldu. Akademinin daimi sekreteri Peter Englund, dün TSİ 13.00’te Nobel Akademi Binası’nda yer alan salonda yaptığı İsveççe, İngilizce ve Fransızca duyuruda ödülün veriliş nedenini şöyle açıkladı: “Patrick Modiano, kendine has bellek tekniği ile, Nazi İşgali sırasında yaşanan en akıl almaz insan hikâyelerini anlattığı ve dönemin dünyasını ortaya çıkardığı için Nobel Edebiyat Ödülü’ne değer görüldü.” 69 yaşındaki yazar, 1945 yılında İtalyan asıllı Yahudi bir baba ve Belçikalı tiyatro oyuncusu bir annenin çocuğu olarak Paris banliyösü Boulogne-Billancourt’da dünyaya geldi. Annesi ve babası İkinci Dünya Savaşı sırasında Nazi işgali altındaki Paris’te tanışan Modiano, ilk ve orta öğrenimini Fransa’nın çeşitli kentlerinde tamamladıktan sonra lise eğitimini almak üzere Paris’e gitti. IV. Henri Lisesi’nde aldığı eğitim sırasında, geometri derslerine giren Fransız yazar ve şair Raymond Queneau ile tanıştı. Modiano’nun annesinin de yakın arkadaşı olan Queneau sayesinde edebiyat çevreleriyle tanışan ve dostluklar kuran yazar, 1968 yılında ilk kitabı ‘La place de l’etoile’ın taslağını Raymond Queneau’ya okuttuktan sonra Gallimard Yayınevi etiketiyle yayımladı. Kitap, çıktıktan kısa bir süre sonra Fransız Edebiyat Ödülü olan Roger Nimier Ödülü ve Fenon Ödülü’ne değer görüldü.

Ödülü 10 Aralık’ta alacak Eserlerinde soykırım sonrasında Yahudilik ve yitirilen kimlik konularını işleyen Modiano’nun 1978 yılında yayımladığı kitabı ‘Rue des boutiques obscures’, Fransa’nın en prestijli edebiyat ödülü olan Goncourt Ödülü’nü aldı.Çocuk kitapları da kaleme alan Patrick Modiano, 1973 yılında Louis Malle’in yönettiği film ‘Lacombe Lucien’in senaryosunu kaleme aldı. Nobel Edebiyat Ödülü’nü kazanan ismin açıklanmasının ardından basına konuşan İsveç Akademisi daimi sekreteri Peter Englund, Patrick Modiano’nun bugüne kadar roman, çocuk kitabı ve senaryolardan oluşan 30’un üzerinde eser kaleme aldığını söyledi ve bu eserlerin çoğunlukla 140, 150 sayfalık novellalardan oluştuğunun altını çizdi. Modiano, 8 milyon İsveç kronu değerindeki ödülünü 10 Aralık’ta İsveç’te düzenlenecek törenle alacak.

Türkçede altı kitabı var
Modiano’nun Türkçede kitapçılarda iki kitabı bulunuyor: ‘Babam ve Ben’ (Catherine Certitude, 1988, Tudem Yayınları) ve ‘Bir Sirk Geçiyor’ (Un cirque passe, 1992, Varlık Yayınları). Yazarın Can Yayınları tarafından Türkçe yayımlanan ancak şu sıralar sahaflarda bulunabilen dört kitabı daha var: ‘Yıkıntı Çiçekleri’ (Fleurs de ruine, 1991, çev. Hülya Tufan), ‘En Uzağından Unutuşun’ (Du plus loin de l’oubli, 1996, çev. Tahsin Yücel), ‘Bir Gençlik’ (Une Jeunesse, 1981, çev. İsmet Birkan) ve ‘Kötü Bir İlkbahar’ (Chien de printemps, 1993, çev. İnci Gül).

Bahisçiler 1’e 10 aldı. Nobel Edebiyat Ödülü’nün duyurulduğu ekim ayından önce, her yıl eylül ayı itibariyle başlayan bahis sitelerindeki tahmin listelerinin ilk sıralarında yer alan Haruki Murakami bu yıl da ödüle kavuşamadı. İngiliz bahis sitesi Ladbrooks, ödülü kazanan Modiano’ya ise, Adonis ve Ismail Kadare gibi Nobel Edebiyat Ödülü aday listesinin gediklisi isimlerle birlikte 1’e 10 bahis oranı vermişti.

Confusion in the service of clarity: the circus in Patrick Modiano's Un cirque passe.

COMMENTING on Patrick Modiano's 1992 Un cirque passe, Alan Morris includes the novel's title among the mysteries and unanswered questions generated by both the style and the plot of this roman policier that is not really one

. COMMENTING on Patrick Modiano's 1992 Un cirque passe, Alan Morris includes the novel's title among the mysteries and unanswered questions generated by both the style and the plot of this roman policier that is not really one. As he states, "[T]he title promises us a circus, of which no mention is made for ages" (188). The unfulfilled, or at least deferred realization of our expectation of a circus is only one example of how this text simultaneously posits a relationship to the circus, and establishes a distance from it. We find this ambiguity already present in the very wording of the title. The circus of Un cirque passe is in motion and in transit; it is at once present and absent; it is passing by, parading in front of us, and it would be impossible to say whether it is arriving or leaving. In the title, the circus is, but it is not here, or at least not entirely.

Within the text, the word cirque first appears as part of an expression uttered by a female friend of the narrator's surrogate father Grabley. Sylvette, who has just performed a strip-tease in a Pigalle nightclub, and who is feeling ashamed and humiliated by what she has been forced to do to make a living, directs her anger toward Grabley who invited the narrator Jean and this latter's new girlfriend Gisele to see the show: "Quand meme," the narrator's report of her speech begins, "elle n'etait pas encore tout a fait devenue une bete de cirque ou un animal que l'on va voir au zoo le dimanche" (114). Sylvette's situation and her statement relate circus with performance, spectacle, and objectification, three phenomena from which, as her statement indicates, she, in her embarrassment, would want to dissociate herself. The scene ends with Sylvette walking on to yet another performance, Grabley expressing surprise and dismay at her moodiness, and the two young people barely suppressing a fit of laughter. It appears that Sylvette, however much she might wish otherwise, is part of the circus.

The most important allusion to the circus comes in the form of the answer to a question that Jean finally poses to Gisele, who is married: who is her husband?

Oh, un drole de type ... Il s'occupe d'un cirque ... Je me demandais si elle plaisantait ou si c'etait la verite. Elle avait l'air de guetter ma reaction.--Un cirque?--Oui, un cirque ... Il etait parti en tournee avec ce cirque mais elle n'avait pas voulu le suivre. (124)

Through this explanation, Gisele and Jean are at the same time related to, and disengaged from the circus. Gisele's connection arises from the fact that she is married to the owner or manager of one. However, other information that we also learn contributes to attenuating her association with the circus: her casual entrance into marriage with her husband together with her current three-month long estrangement from him, his being on tour with the circus at the time of the story, and, finally, her having refused to accompany him. As for Jean, his relationship to the circus is even more indirect, since it is established through his association with Gisele whose already diminished connection also weakens his.

Dina Scherzer, in her examination of Maurice Roche's 1972 novel Circus, identifies properties of the circus which inform Roche's text, and which are here relevant to a discussion of Modiano's work:

As in a circus where one can observe a heterogeneous spectacle composed of wild animals and their tamers, tightrope walkers, horse-back riders, trapeze artists, and clowns; all appearing successively on stage with fast tempo, and exhibiting stunt, virtuosity, and prowess, Circus offers a succession of pages which contain various linguistic juxtapositions and various types of typographical and spatial organization. The whole book is a continuous display of such virtuosity.... (37)

Scherzer compares the structure of Roche's text Circus and that of a real circus, finding both to consist of the juxtaposition of heterogeneous elements presented in succession. In a real circus, these elements would be the diverse and unrelated performers and their acts; in Roche's text, they would be the different sorts of disconnected discourse and typographical styles. On one level, then, circus functions as a metaphor for discontinuity and fragmentation.

Scherzer then wonders whether or not this discontinuity and fragmentation has any greater meaning: "[B]ut is it a semiotic Babel? Is it just tricks and gimmicks? Is it just an entertaining linguistic and typographical exhibition?" (37). The response to these questions is at once "yes" and "no." In Roche's Circus, if the variety of the discourses and typography, in all their unrelated display and fragmentation, is motivated, it is as the means by which the work challenges conventional expectations of a literary text. These expectations might include human characters involved in a series of actions and events that represent conflict and change which, in turn, allow them to acquire a new understanding of their situations and the world. Instead of showing human beings coming to terms with their destinies, Roche's text, according to Scherzer, locates meaning in the immanent materiality of the printed page and in the potential non-referentiality of signs, by highlighting the diversity of discourses and by exhibiting the plastic quality of signifiers. In the same way, we might posit that the significance of Modiano's work, through which we may understand its relationship to circus, is to demonstrate that the human lives to which literature is conventionally expected to refer actually consist of a sequence of unrelated, even at times unusual, events for which there may be no inherent explanation or natural resolution, meaning therefore residing in the contours and display of the isolated events themselves and in their re-telling.

In Modiano's text, this idea of circus governs, at least in part, the relationship between Jean and Gisele, which coincides with the duration more or less of the text. A summary of this relationship, as well as other aspects of Un cirque passe will be useful for understanding how. From the beginning, mystery, disjunction, and discontinuity mark the relationship between Jean and Gisele. Indeed, their time spent together consists of a collection of seemingly unrelated situations and events that are presented successively and are never rationalized or clarified. In typical Modianesque fashion, Jean encounters Gisele at a police station following questioning relative to an irregularity that is never developed or elucidated. As the text progresses and their relationship develops, Gisele's unexplained presence in Paris, the contents of her suitcases, her marriage to her husband, and the activities of her unscrupulous acquaintances all fuel questions and suspicions on the part of Jean, as well as the reader. This fragmentation is repeated by the state of personal disconnectedness of the protagonist-narrator. The existence of the late-adolescent Jean at the time of the story is suspended between a past that is not completely past--Grabley is preparing to move him out of his absent parents' half empty apartment--and the anticipation of a future that finally does not occur--his plans to move to Rome with Gisele are thwarted when, in the end, she is killed in a car accident.

In addition, several critics have noted the fractured temporality of the text. Michele Breut identifies "trois dimensions temporelles," which consist of the moment of narrating or writing, the period of the action proper, when Jean and Gisele are together, and finally, the moments of his childhood that the narrator relates having recalled during the few days he spends with Gisele in Paris (113). Manet van Montfrans finds "une epaisseur temporelle particuliere" displaying even more layers: "Portant sur la periode de la fin de la guerre d'Algerie, il remonte jusqu'a l'Occupation, et renvoie tantot a l'adolescence de l'auteur dans les annees cinquante, tantot ... au debut des annees soixante-dix et des annees quatre-vingt-dix" (96). Indeed, the narrator of the nineties recalls the events of the early sixties which provoked, in turn, memories of the fifties and seventies as well as thoughts about situations that he knew from his father's past during the Occupation.
 

 

(1. sütunun devamı)

One way of understanding the role of the circus in Un cirque passe, then, is as a figure echoing the discontinuous and disjointed character of various aspects of the text in the face of efforts--the characters' and ours--to unify and rationalize. As in Scherzer's observations regarding Roche's work, this conception is based on the internal disjunction among elements comprising the circus. Other studies of this figure in literature posit as well the disjunction between the circus and the everyday world. In this model, however, it is the world that represents chaos and fragmentation while the circus is a totalizing, unifying force. In his study of the circus as a "major topos" in many examples of the art and literature of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Paul Bouissac catalogues instances of what he refers to as "sublime aesthetic experiences nested in the circus as a sacred space of ritualistic transformation" (448). Compared to our everyday space, the circus occupies a "sacred space" and is the "locus of mythical, transcendental experiences" (449).

To support this view, Bouissac enlists examples from Mallarme's prose poem Un spectacle interrompu and Jean Genet's Le funambule, among others. According to Bouissac, the importance of Mallarme's poem lies in its use of the circus, "ce modeste theatre," as a space where the normal relationship between a human and a bear, one based on difference, distance, and hostility, is transformed, in the poem, into a transcendent vision of "cosmic reconciliation," when during a performance the bear grabs the man (449). Genet's text, again according to Bouissac, overtly develops this opposition between two worlds, two kinds of spaces: "il faut aimer le cirque et mepriser le monde" (449). Addressing the performers, Genet writes: "Vous n'etes pas prets pour notre monde et sa logique.... Le jour vous restez craintifs a la porte du cirque n'osant entrer dans notre vie.... Ne quittez jamais ce ventre enorme de toile" (449-450). In drawing up the opposition between our world and the circus world, Genet posits a distinction between our world and its need for order and stability and the protective, womblike structure of the circus tent.

Similarly, Claude Winkler-Bessone, in his study of the circus in Wim Wender's film The Wings of Desire, puts forth a dichotomy between space occupied by the "real" world and the circus world. The world of the circus is governed by the equivalence between circus and circle, the sawdust circus ring being that sacred space described by Bouissac and that pre-lapsarian womb implied by Genet, a magic circle of wholeness and timelessness equated with the innocence of childhood that protects from the chaos, fragmentation, temporality, and disintegration of the self associated with the real world: "[le cirque] represente ... un microcosme qui se revele etre un monde clos parfaitement organise, oU regne une hierarchie implacable, par opposition au monde exterieur inconnu et chaotique" (180-81).

Finally, the circus has been studied as well from a socio-anthropological perspective in which its expression through popular British circus literature and its live performances is understood as participating in the perpetuation of bourgeois hegemony in the face of social fragmentation. Yoram Carmeli contends that the bourgeois writers of circus books were anxious to "reinvoke a world of traditional 'community,' a world of bounded order" at a time when disintegrating social relations threatened to undermine bourgeois domination within industrial capitalism. Circus becomes an invented tradition featuring the public's experience of the isolated "traveling circus" and the "circus traveler," whose "marginality is transformed into an embodiment of unique ontological isolation, epitomizing a temporality out of social time and a spatiality out of relations and meanings" (176). The time and space associated with circus here recalls Bouissac's "transcendental space," and the "sacred eternal space" as posited in Wings of Desire, a pre-temporal, pre-historical space evoking wholeness and unity in the face of the fragmentation of our world. As Carmeli continues, and the echoes here are quite striking:

Through a perception of the circus as object, as isolated, through a perception of the circus as existing outside of relations and outside of history, social time and social relations are reified for the public, illusionary time and illusionary relations of which this circus is apart are created. Through the performed apartness of the circus traveler, spectators in modern, fragmented society experientially conjure up a totality they have lost. (176)

In this analysis, contemplating the circus, being in the presence of the circus, being under its spell, so to speak, results in a perception through which society is recomposed and a totalized self is rediscovered.

What emerges from this summary is a phenomenon or an image that has absorbed one set of parameters as well as their opposite. The circus represents fragmentation and disjunction as well as unity and wholeness; it is, on the one hand, that which stands in need of (defies?) clarity and explanation, as well as that which, on the other hand, creates meaning and coherence. Circus cannot be viewed from the perspective of an "either/or" schema, that is, as related to either one term or its opposite, but must rather be considered in terms of "both/and." The significance of this for Un cirque passe is that the same observation can be made about Modiano's text, that it itself is the confluence of disjunction and fragmentation, on the one hand, and unity and totalization, on the other.

Images of unification and totality in Un cirque passe are more elusive than those of fragmentation and discontinuity already discussed. At first glance, it appears unlikely that the temporal fragmentation of the narrative could be the site of a movement toward unity and coherence. Early on in this text in which the wanderings of the protagonists lead us throughout Paris to precise places once visited long ago, the narrator denies a connection between returning to them and a clearer picture of the past: "[L]es details topographiques ont un drole d'effet sur moi: loin de me rendre l'image du passe plus proche et plus claire, ils me causent une sensation dechirante de liens tranches et de vide" (46). For Montfrans, the text does not move beyond this early point; as the narrator's comment seems to predict, a reconstitution or recomposition of the self on the basis of linking present to past never occurs: "[L]oin d'ouvrir sur la plenitude de la memoire, cette extreme densite des couches temporelles ne debouche sur rien d'autre que le vide, que sur un sentiment profond d'alienation" (97).

Breut, on the other hand, contends that although the flashbacks and reminiscences that do take place in Un cirque passe are not magic moments of total recall, as was Proust's experience of the madeleine, memories resulting from the power of certain precise places to evoke past situations and events, and presented progressively throughout the narration, "contribuent cependant a la constitution d'une personnalite" (113). In fact, as she so aptly indicates, the narrator himself suggests an understanding of the value of the relationship between places and the past, thereby countering his initial de-valorization of that relationship, and motivating for us both his wanderings around Paris and his travel plans: "Si je voulais retourner a Rome, c'etait pour conjurer ce passe" (114).

It is through Gisele that fragmentation and disjunction are connected to unity and totalization. We have seen how she is the source of mystery within the text; all elements provoking unanswered questions and unsolved problems have her as the center. She is also the principle that promotes the movement toward unity and totality, since it is on her initiative, or because of her, that the couple's wanderings around Paris occur, giving to Jean the opportunity to ponder a moment, a scene, or a situation from his past that might be evoked from the places visited. Junate Kamiskas associates Gisele's fast driving from place to place with "a frenzied rhythm" that functions like a "vortex drawing the narrator back into himself, pulling him back into a past he had been straining to recapture..." (99). Borrowing from Colin Nettlebeck and Penelope Hueston who observe a similar process of rediscovery in other Modiano texts, Kamiskas adds that Gisele enables the narrator to "reunir ce que la vie reelle a disperse" (100).

The double nature of Gisele's participation in the dynamics of the text is significant in that it echoes the dual character of the circus and confirms her connection to it. In fact, the text is insistent on this point by underscoring that the site for two nearly identical scenes is a cafe across the street from the Cirque d'Hiver where, as we later learn, Gisele's husband used to work. In the first passage, Gisele, who remains outside the cafe--where "Devant nous [etait] le Cirque d'Hiver" (128)-has instructed Jean to ask the manager if he knows the whereabouts of Pierre Ansart whose car they are borrowing, and whom they may have just assisted in an abduction and possible murder. In the cafe, when Jean timidly asks the manager for any news of Pierre, the latter comes out from behind the counter, as though hiding something, and reacts with a smile that rather than engage, creates a distance: "J'ai senti que ce sourire n'etait que de facade et qu'il etablissait une distance entre lui et moi" (129). Jean understands that the cafe manager is withholding information and all that he learns about Pierre is that he has left Paris: "Son sourire s'elargissait et son regard me faisait comprendre, qu'en effet, il ne me dirait rien de plus" (129).

In the second passage, Jean visits the same cafe ten years later "lorsqu'[il] s'etait retrouve ... pres du Cirque d'Hiver" (130-131)--and questions the same manager. Gisele herself is dead, but in one of the photos of circus personnel hanging on the cafe wall, the narrator recognizes his girlfriend. This time positioning himself behind the counter with the manager, "[qui] n'a pas semble etonne le moins par [son] geste" (131), Jean asks him, not timidly like on his previous visit, but "brutalement: Vous avez connu cette fille?" (131). The willingness of the manager to answer this and a whole series of questions that Jean subsequently poses, makes this meeting completely different from the first one: "J'ai senti qu'il repondrait a toutes mes questions si je lui en posais ..." (132). Indeed, whereas the narrator's first visit shows a shy teenager who ineffectually attempts to pry information out of a tightlipped and defensive cafe manager, the second visit features a confident young man who successfully obtains answers to his questions.

The difference between these two passages, these two visits, repeats the difference between the two roles that Gisele plays in Modiano's text, which echoes, in turn, the two opposing principles represented by circus. In the first passage, where Gisele remains outside the cafe, effectively disconnecting herself from it and the information gathered, the figure of fragmentation and disjunction dominates, as questions remain unanswered and mysteries persist. In the second passage, where Gisele is present through her photo, when the manager asks Jean at the end whether he still knows her, the figure of unity and totalization dominates, as information is collected, and a link between present and past is established. This unity is reinforced throughout the conversation, as the cafe manager confirms for Jean that Gisele was indeed married to a circus employee, and even reveals at this time that he and Pierre Ansart were acquainted during the Occupation and were arrested together for some illicit activity, thereby linking for us these characters to the wartime experiences of the narrator's father.

Yet, and this conclusion returns us to our initial observation of the unstable presence of the circus in Un cirque passe--that is, it is at once there and not there--neither of these two visits are complete representations of the principle that informs them. Jean's first visit to the cafe is not a total failure; he does learn that Pierre has left Paris. Nor is his second visit a total success; he never asks all the questions that he feels might have been answered. Un cirque passe employs the figure of the circus, which the text both embraces and rejects, in order to communicate what is common to our experience of so many of Modiano's novels, the feeling that we are witnesses to simultaneous processes of destruction and construction. Like the circus that passes, we move toward, but never arrive at, both total incoherence and the unequivocal confirmation of important truths.

WESTMINSTER COLLEGE (PA)

 

 

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