on blindly


Blindly is a book that combines those two types of writing that Ernesto Sàbato called diurnal and nocturnal. In the former a writer, even when he is inventing, expresses a world with which he is in agreement. He declares his own values, his mode of being. In the latter the writer has to reckon with something that suddenly emerges from within himself and which he did not know he possessed: feelings, disquieting drives (even horrible truths, so says Sàbato) that astound us, appall us, confront us with a face we did not know we had. It is writing that tells us what we could be, what we fear and hope to be, what by sheer chance we have not been. Such writing places us face to face with the Medusa of life, who at that moment cannot be sent to the hairdresser’s to get her serpent head done and so be rendered presentable. It is the writing wherein the writer’s Double speaks, and though the writer may well prefer his Double to speak of different things, he cannot do otherwise than pass him the microphone.

more from Claudio Magris at Threepenny Review here.