Live or tell

I wanted the moments of my life to follow and order themselves like those of a life remembered. You might as well try to catch time by the tail.

This is what I thought: for the most banal even to become an adventure, you must (and this is enough) begin to recount it. This is what fools people: a man is always a teller of tales, he lives surrounded by his stories and the stories of others, he sees everything that happens to him through them; and he tries to live his own life as if he were telling a story.

But you have to choose: live or tell.

— Jean Paul Sartre, Nausea

4 thoughts on “Live or tell

  1. You absolutely MUST read Peter Brook’s article called “Freud’s Masterplot” — it basically develops a theory of reading out of a few remarks in Nausea.

  2. Now I feel like I have to give a bit more context: basically, Brooks is trying to apply psychoanalysis to literary theory without doing so in the really reductive way of reducing everyone to Oedipal symbols and thereby destroying the specificity of the text.

    An excerpt following a long citation of Nausea:

    “We read the incidents of narration as “promises and annunciations”
    of final coherence: the metaphor reached through the chain of
    metonymies. As Roquentin further suggests, we read only those
    incidents and signs which can be construed as promise and an-
    nunciation, enchained toward a construction of significance-those
    signs which, as in the detective story, appear to be clues to the
    underlying intentionality of event. ”

    If there’s a way to email and such via wordpress (or if you just have an address), I can get you Brook’s article.

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