One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Friday, October 16, 2015

Final "Clips" from "The Good Story"

I'm not sure about all the psycho-babble (Coetzee seems skeptical at times, at other times he plays along), but The Good Story was certainly an intelligent read. The final clips I share are from Coetzee on teaching (in this clip he's reporting on a talk given by one of my film idols: Juliette Binoche) and from Coetzee on Sebald's Austerlitz (first brought up by Kurtz).

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     I recently happened to hear a talk by the actress Juliette Binoche during which she said (courageously, it seemed to me) that when she makes a film, her relationship with the director needs to be an erotic one -- if not, the work will suffer. She hastened to add that she did not mean that they have to go to bed together. But the actress has to be ready to give herself up to the director, to be at one with his vision; and vice versa. She did not elaborate further, but whether consciously or not she was clearly recalling Plato's position on the relationship between teacher and acolyte: that the energies tapped into in teaching and learning are those of Eros.

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Thank you for introducing Austerlitz into our discussion. Sebald didn't like to call his books novels, but Austerlitz is clearly a novel and, what is more, one of the major novels of recent times. In the context of Sebald's life I see it as a work in progress, a project in coming to terms with history that was not yet completed at the time when he wrote its inconclusive last pages. Thus I see the book as more troubled than you do, and certainly not confident about offering us wisdom or guidance.

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