Academic journal article Hispanic Review

How Does One Escape One's Own Simulacrum? Subjectivity and the Asceticism of Being in Terenci Moix's Autobiography

Academic journal article Hispanic Review

How Does One Escape One's Own Simulacrum? Subjectivity and the Asceticism of Being in Terenci Moix's Autobiography

Article excerpt

Memoria, literatura, presente y pasado, lo que imaginamos y nunca fue, los sueños que tuvimos y nunca se cumplieron . . . todo forma un todo absoluto.

Terenci Moix, Extrano en elparaiso

The publication of Alain Badiou's The Clamor of Being represented nothing short of a revolution in the context of studies on the philosopher Gilles Deleuze. Badiou writes against the prevailing view among Anglo-American critics of a Deleuze refusing all systematicity, breaking with the "Western metaphysical tradition," etc.-against what Badiou calls the fashionable doxa of a Deleuzianism which, focusing exclusively on the philosopher's later collaborative work with Félix Guattari, makes of him the joyous champion of desire, free flux, and "the world's confusion" (Badiou 10). Badiou's Deleuze controversially emerges as an impeccably sober and "ascetic" thinker (13), one whose most radical contribution lies in a return to the thesis of the univocity of being or "Being as One" (20). According to Badiou, Deleuze's most fundamental concern is not-as previous critics had tended to emphasize-to "liberate the multiple" but, quite the opposite, to submit thinking to a "renewed concept of the One" (12). What this means is that, for Deleuze, multiplicity-crucial though this concept clearly is in his corpus-has a purely formal or modal, and not real, status and that, as Louise Burchill notes, it "is . . . ultimately of the order of simulacra" (xiv). Deleuzianism is thus provocatively posited by Badiou as fundamentally a "Platonism with a different accentuation" (26)-a doctrine which, rejecting a mimetic vision of being, nonetheless "retains from Plato the univocal sovereignty of the One" and is thus best defined as a "Platonism of the virtual" (46).

Like Deleuze, the best-selling Catalan novelist Terenci Moix (b. Ramon Moix i Messeguer, 1942-2003) is an author around whom it can justly be said that a certain critical "doxa" has in recent years started to emerge within Hispanic studies. This involves viewing Moix as one of the main representatives of a distinctively postmodernist and camp aesthetics in Spain. It is a view primarily concerned with the blurring of the boundaries between high art and mass culture found in Moix's work and which has tended to emphasize his role as "el primer escritor espanol que no tuvo empacho en declararse homosexual y utilizo su orientacion sexual como plataforma para Ia provocacion" (Mira, Para entendernos 506). As I shall aim to demonstrate, though, drawing on Badiou, that camp and postmodern Moix can be as deceptive as Deleuze is in his alleged "overturning of Platonism" (Badiou 9).

Along with such figures as (among others) the writers Jaime Gil de Biedma, José Agustin Goytisolo, Rosa Regâs, and Esther Tusquets, the architects Ricardo Bofill and Oriol Bohigas, the directors Vicente Aranda and Gonzalo Suerez, the singer Guillermina Motta, and the actresses Teresa Gimpera and Serena Vergano, Moix was a prominent member of the socalled gauche divine. This is the ironic name which, in the late 19605 and early 1970s, became associated with an elite constituency of Barcelona-based (though not necessarily Catalan-identified) predominantly middle-class, leftwing intellectuals, artists, and filmmakers who lived a distinctively cosmopolitan life-style in the wake of Spain's economic growth and comparative cultural liberalization at the time, and whose most iconic, now legendary, hang-outs where the boîte Bocaccio and the Pub Tuset (Riambau and Torreiro 54).1 As Teresa Vilaros has pointed out, the gauche divine represented one of the first manifestations of a playful and provocative avant-gardism in Spain, one which through a process of "re-signification" and simultaneous "de-signification," challenged the oppressiveness of the prevailing Francoist identitarian models in favor of "[la] posibilidad de invencion de nuevos modos de vida" (170). According to Vilaros, in their enthusiastic, indeed militant embrace of cosmopolitism, spectacle, publicity, and performance, the members of the gauche divine not only pioneered models of identity that started to became popular at a later stage, during the Transicion; they can also be seen as the precursors in Spain of the globalizing and corporative paradigm in which we are all immersed today-the paradigm which "haciendo uso de los nuevos medios de comunicacion espectacular, ha producido como resultado la borradura de los nitidos limites de los âmbitos sagrados de la modernidad: el cultural, el politico y el economico" (171). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.