He is a journalist for literary press and a writer, as well as a traveller, and has devoted several books to India. Philippe Forest was born in Sabine Wespieser, born in , taught classic literature in eastern France before joining Actes Sud in It is here that she created the paperback imprint, Babel before becoming a publisher for the same.
In , she joined the imprint Librio at Flammarion. She created her own publishing house in She has a M.
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It is this voluntary cultivation of identity that Deleuze argues is artificially imposed, and the journey Kundera sends her on can be read as a dramatisation of the identity crises produced by this machine binaire. The preformed choices set up by naming nation states carry infinite associated binaries, otherwise known as cultural stereotypes.
Limiting both the homeland and the destination to signs and labels in reductionist stereotyping is thus presented as a symptom of exile. Deleuze conveys this in the concept of reterritorialisation :. Then in his essay Le Rideau :. In this way, the devenir is not longer a personal, but collective event.
Even when Kundera explores identity in his more plural, multi-layered and multi-directional manner, fault lines appear when we look for a perfect model of writing that manages to dissolve national boundaries, most evidently because national labels are unavoidably mobilised in cultural mapping. One might initially think that identity formation as choosing cultural references with which to align oneself corresponds with the notion of becoming.
The perpetually shifting margins of perception and identification in Kundera can be seen to participate in a nomadic literature that rests on the impossibility of return and the impossibility of arrival, on a sort of border, frontier or chasm that is in-between and has no relation to a geographical map.
In La Lenteur , any reality outside the hotel seems to exist in a realm of impossibility, irredeemably outside the text:. Il lui fait signe. The three orientations that appear to Jean-Marc are his native home, a makeshift shelter in a city that was home until ten minutes previously when Chantal demanded he hand over his key, and an unknown journey.
Thrown into exile by Chantal, it seems illogical to him to fashion a form of home either in his past or in the precariousness of the present, represented by the temporal precision of a stay in a hotel. His nomadic identity is communicated through his instinct towards the taxi with no idea where he will ask to be taken. Opposing himself to Chantal, he self-consciously inhabited what he perceived as the margins of society:.
Je suis en marge de ce monde. He uses this to abscond responsibility. One can exist on a spiritual border without being physically displaced, and travelling from A to B, from Paris to Prague, from love to rejection, is complex and multi-orientated. Fundamentally, Kundera shows that translation is not exact semantic transposition from one linguistic system to another; au contraire , exilic language is presented as chaotic and impure, as the stew of languages emerging from within the realities of exile, migration and diaspora causes meaning to seep away.
With translation between languages occur endless events of Deleuzian de- and re-territorialisation: a signifier from one linguistic sphere must be replaced by one from another linguistic sphere, while the signified remains fixed.
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A migratory translation, by contrast, works across a false binary on the illusion that meaning can travel smoothly between language A to language B. Colons and semicolons where full stops could have been evoke how languages do not have discrete boundaries but rather cross-fertilise and mutate. Thus, the multiple translations of retour and nostalgia lose their significations because they are increasingly decontextualised, or deterritorialised, without being again reterritorialised by the narrator, who seems to be just offering vagaries about European linguistics as a philosophical preamble.
This model of language is not utilitarian, but rather the essence of devenir : in a constant state of self-referential re-definition. In a essay, Kundera explained the Russian attack on the Czech language in terms of structural functionalism:.
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Russian and French are similar in that they are both languages that had colonised a foreign national zone. In other words, French, by displacing German as the language of nobility, had shown itself to be more powerful.
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But this power seems to have manifested itself in pleasure, in francophilia , and its impact on the people of Prague is encapsulated in the non-threatening image of charme. But in fact charme denotes another form of power: seduction. It is a literature that undermines the collected cultural might of a language, stripping it to a pure political tool. The major and minor are discussed, but in reference to the major key of playfulness and the minor key of melancholy. Reading Kundera with Deleuze in mind exposes complex identity dynamics that go beyond what initially seem to be domestic portrayals of jealousy.
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