Statement of Plans for the Guggenheim Foundation (1984-1985)
There are unavoidable difficulties in trying to describe fully a literary work which has still to be written. However, there are some fundamental ideas upon which my projected work is based and these are set out below. The book I plan to write, Monde/Siècle/Humanité belongs to the second cycle of my work. The first cycle The Phases of the Cure comprises five main books: The Baptism; The Dream; Portrait of a Psychiatrist; The Society of Celestial Men and The Cure (...) Each book has arisen out of a close textual relationship with a classical work. For example, The Society of Celestial Men has been written in intertextual relationship with Goethe's Faust, The Cure with The Divine Comedy. The method is similar to that used by James Joyce in Ulysses.
The second cycle of my work emphasizes the social and political aspect of the human being. It already includes several texts: Red Oedipus, A Letter for the General, Five ‘Petit-Bourgeois’ Writers, Correspondence with Tel Quel, Mother/Mountain/Jasmin. In this last book I have tried to reach a new level through my intertextual method. I have developed??? an intertextual relationship between an open text (my own) and three closed ones: The Mother by Maxim Gorki, The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann and The Jasmin County by the Chilean poet, Oscar Castro (1910-1947). The intertextual relationships enabled me to work metaphorically and metonymically with the three books and with the three words of the title. The word "mother" has different meanings: the novel by Gorki, my own mother and my childhood. Thomas Mann's novel and the Andes mountains are different facets of the word "mountain". The word "jasmin" alludes to Oscar Castro's book, and also to the province of O'Higgins where he and I lived and is a direct reference to the history of Chile (O'Higgins defeated the Spanish empire in 1810 and made Chile a free country).
Monde/Siècle/Humanité will develop this intertextual method further. Instead of working with "closed" texts, I’ll be working with "open" ones. These are three newspapers: "Le Monde", the well-known newspaper of Paris, "El Siglo", a Chilean newspaper, and ''L'Humanité", another French newspaper founded by Jean Jaurès in 1904. These three open texts will be put in a dynamic relationship with my own text. From a metaphorical and metonymical point of view, the three words, world/century/humanity will open the way to a global vision of the world and humanity within limits defined by these twentieth century texts. This will provide an approach to the artistic tendencies in this century. I have chosen other literary texts which will be ‘actives’ for the development of this work : Proust's A la Recherche du Temps Perdu, James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake, Pablo Neruda's Residencia en la Tierra, Heidegger's Sein Und Zeit. The works of Einstein and Freud will also bear upon this new literary understanding. The purpose of this work is to go beyond the traditional concept of the novel and to reach a new style largely inspired by scientific methods such as the principles of Moving Relative Coordinated Systems used in a metaphorical and metonymical way. In The Phases of the Cure, the Divine Comedy is the fixed point of reference in front of a text in movement, The Cure. In Monde/Siècle/Humanité, the three newspapers represent three points in movement in front of a text also in movement. Mother/Mountain/Jasmin corresponds to an intermediate stage, three fixed points for one text in movement.
The structure of Mother/Mountain/Jasmin is based on Klee and Kandinsky's theories of Art and follows the geometrical description of the spiral and the square. It has been written in Paris, a town built as a spiral, but the story takes place in Rancagua (the capital of O'Higgins province), a town built as a square. The structure of Monde/Siècle/Humanité will be organized according to the geometrical structure of the sphere and the text will therefore have a shape in itself (in addition to its narrative meaning), with its own structure and its own laws.
I am planning to stay in Paris to complete this work and since "Le Monde" and "L'Humanité" are French newspapers I have decided to write this book mainly in French. Several other European languages will be used in this work since I feel that polyglottisme should be a more familiar feature of modern literature...