19 maio 2017

08 março 2017

International Women's Day 2017



It Seems to Me: What young women may not know

by / Sharon Weeks

It came to my attention recently, after the March on Washington, that many young women are completely satisfied with their lives right now. I will refer to this as their “status quo.” But first a crash course in women’s history and a mention of many past marches and the influence they have had. I beg them, and you, to read on.
One thing I want to point out, as I am going to discuss women’s rights from more than a hundred years ago to 2017, is what I think these young women are missing. Women’s history has been basically excluded from the classroom text books in public schools. Many people are not aware that a select group of white men, a board of education in Texas, has been charged with the job of editing all of the history textbooks for decades. Their editing is final. (See Bill Moyers, “Messing with Textbooks,” June 2012)
That is the reason you probably didn’t know that in the 1870s women could not own property, could not sign contracts, could not vote, file law suits, nor have their own money. Under their father’s roof, he had control and that control was passed to her husband upon marriage. A woman running away from violent domestic abuse was hunted down by the law and returned to her husband as she was his property.
From the 1840s to 1920 women fought for the vote. The struggle to gain the right to vote began nearly 200 years ago. Attempts to vote in 1870 were turned away. The Supreme Court ruled against them in 1875. In 1916 Alice Paul formed the National Women’s Party. They marched. Over 200 supporters were arrested while picketing the White House. They were beaten with clubs and thrown in prison. Some went on hunger strikes and endured forced feedings. Forty prison guards wielding clubs went on a rampage against 33 women known as the “Night of Terror” on Nov. 15, 1917. (See HBO movie, “Iron Jawed Angels”).
In the 1960s women fought for birth control. It was illegal in many parts of the country then, you see. Margaret Sanger, a pioneer in the struggle for a woman’s right to birth control in an era “when it was illegal to discuss the topic,” was arrested many times for her publications and her New York City clinic.
Civil rights marches (1960s)
Again people were beaten, drowned and hanged. Because of the media, there was more attention and the marches for these rights were better known. After the Civil War, the 14th and 15th amendments adopted in 1868 and 1878 granted citizenship and suffrage to blacks, but not to women. A suffrage amendment to the federal Constitution was presented to Congress and repeatedly failed to pass.
1972: Title IX is a landmark federal civil right that prohibits sex discrimination in education. Title IX is not just about sports and it protects all students; the federal government threatened to stop aid to all public schools that did not correct this.
1973: Roe vs. Wade made abortion legal and safe. Women stopped dying from abortions. The government is planning to stop funding for Planned Parenthood and tens of thousands of women will not only lose coverage for basic health care, but they will also no longer have access to birth control. That pretty much means there will be more unwanted pregnancies and if Roe vs. Wade is overturned, which seems likely with the appointment of a new Supreme Court judge by this administration, there will be more women dying from abortions again.
Gay rights marches
Again people were beaten and killed, even when not participating in marches, but while just trying to live their lives like people of color before them. Eventually gains were made and gays were given the right to marry and the same rights and benefits as heterosexual couples. LGBT people and their rights are now being subject to reversal.
Now it is 2017 and people are marching. Women, their husbands, children and fathers descended upon Washington, D.C., to march for women’s rights. There were people marching in 57 other countries around the world. They marched for women who still make less money than men for the same work; for Muslim women and their families who fear deportation and being sent back to the terribly dangerous places they were trying so hard to flee; for Mexican families who live in fear of being deported and being torn from their children; and to raise awareness for women in other countries who have few, if any, rights.
Every march, every right that was fought for, that women died for, was for your “status quo,” for the life you have now, that you take for granted. Please know that every one of these rights that let you live the life you have can be erased with the swipe of a pen. Don’t let all those who died, the fighting and suffering be for naught.
Guess what? The Equal Rights Amendment did not pass. It won the two-thirds vote from the House of Representatives in October 1971. In March of 1972 it was approved by the Senate and sent to the states for ratification. It failed to achieve ratification by 38, or three-quarters, of the states. It was not brought to a vote again.
Because of that rejection, sexual equality, with the exception of when it pertains to the right to vote, is not protected by the Constitution. However, in the late 20th century the federal government and all states have passed legislation protecting women’s rights. These protections are not amendments to the Constitution. They, too, can be wiped away with the swipe of a pen.
Please don’t be complacent and too comfortable with your life. Be aware of what has happened over the years, decades and literally centuries to get you here. Women fought and died. People march to make other people aware; pay attention, please, lest you lose it all. Lest we all lose it all.

Leader Telegram, from Wisconsin, USA, of all places :)

25 janeiro 2017

The HistoMap

Courtesy of the the David Rumsey Map Collection online and zoomable :)


29 novembro 2016

Poema, de Maria Teresa Horta

A tradução de Lesley Saunders foi galardoada com o prémio Stephen Sender de poesia traduzida.

Poema
Deixo que venha
se aproxime ao de leve
pé ante pé até ao meu ouvido

Enquanto no peito o coração
estremece
e se apressa no sangue enfebrecido

Primeiro a floresta e em seguida
o bosque
mais bruma do que neve no tecido

Do poema que cresce e o papel absorve
verso a verso primeiro
em cada desabrigo

Toca então a torpeza e agacha-se
sagaz
um lobo faminto e recolhido

Ele trepa de manso e logo tão voraz
que da luz é a noz
e depois o ruído

Toma ágil o caminho
e em seguida o atalho
corre em alcateia ou fugindo sozinho

Na calada da noite desloca-se e traz
consigo o luar
com vestido de arminho

Sinto-o quando chega no arrepio
da pele, na vertigem selada
do pulso recolhido

À medida que escrevo
e o entorno no sonho
o dispo sem pressa e o deito comigo


Poem
I let him come.
He sneaks on tiptoe
right up to my ear;
under its ribs my heart
quivers, quickens
as the excitement mounts:
first the forest appears,
then the woodland-sequel,
more mist than snow to the touch –

from the new poem’s
very first line the paper sucks up
every waif-word
and an ugliness steals in,
a cunning hungry thing
crouching there incognito,
pretending to be tame and yet so wolfish
that he’s the kernel of light
and then the noise of its cracking;
he’s lithe on the path,
doubling back on himself,
running with the pack, loping alone;
pussy-footing through the night
he trails moonlight behind him
like a mink coat.
I feel him when the hairs on my skin
lift, and in the delicious dizziness
of my private pulse –
in the midst of my writing, in my dream-life,
I slip all his clothes slowly off
and slide him down beside me

The translation by Lesley Saunders of Poema, by the Portuguese writer and activist Maria Teresa Horta, recently took first prize in the Open category of the Stephen Spender prize for poetry in translation. (Horta’s Portuguese language original is reproduced at the foot of this column and all the prize’s winning entries can be seen here.)
Readers of a certain age may remember Horta from an admired, and sometimes maligned, radical feminist text of the early 1970s, New Portuguese Letters (Novas Cartas Portuguesas). With Maria Velho da Costa and Maria Isabel Barreno, Maria Teresa Horta formed the trio of writer friends who came to be dubbed “the Three Marias”. Their collaborative volume, known in English as The Three Marias: New Portuguese Letters, was a multi-genre response to a 17th-century collection of letters allegedly written by a young nun, Mariana Alcoforado, to her absconding “chevalier” lover. Horta had already received adverse criticism for her poetry, and the New Letters were no sooner published than banned by the Portuguese government. A prosecution ensued, and the women faced jail sentences until, with the 1974 “carnation revolution”, all charges were dropped.
Alcoforado had recovered her psychological independence through writing. The 20th-century authors, with their collage of poems, fiction, letters and erotica, each work dated but unsigned, set out to assert their female authenticity through solidarity. Lesley Saunders traces the source of her interest in Portuguese poetry to her first acquaintance with the New Letters, noting that it renewed her sense of “what literature could accomplish, formally, as well as psychologically and politically”. Saunders was delighted to finally meet Horta in Lisbon in 2015.
Her translation of Horta’s new poem, Poema, combines narrative clarity and an erotically charged, fairytale atmosphere. Saunders writes that she tried to reproduce the “abbreviated, even dislocated, diction that disguises itself as something direct and uncomplicated”. By introducing punctuation into the English version, she underlines Horta’s control of phrasing and tempo, and adds to the musical interest of our melody-resistant language.
The lineation has an excited tension in the first two stanzas. The wolf’s presence is registered at once, but he quickly becomes elusive. It’s in the third that the mystery fully registers: “first the forest appears, / then the woodland-sequel, / more mist than snow to the touch –”. The word “sequel” contributes to the idea of the poem as storytelling, while the soft, crisp, tactile evocation of mist-damp forest and woodland suggests body hair in different thicknesses and distribution. With the next stanza we go deeper into metaphor land. The new poem has arrived, stealthy and “incognito”, and instantly “the paper / sucks up every waif-word”. It’s an unfamiliar, maternal kind of animation: few poets see the language of their emergent poem as a vulnerable orphan.
Saunders finds similarities between Horta’s Poema and Ted Hughes’s The Thought Fox: the difference is that “Hughes’s fox turns out to be the poet’s poem; Horta’s wolf emerges as the poem’s poet”. Whoever “he” is, I like the shifts in his character, and the general craftiness of his approach, “pretending to be tame, and yet so wolfish”. It’s recognised that the intimately known body – of man, woman or poem – may fall short of the ideal and even reveal a sudden “ugliness” – a quality that, in the original poem, is a moral grossness, depravity (torpeza). To receive the muse, the artist may have to overcome revulsion. But perhaps what is most special about this wolf-muse is that he resists banal transformation. Saunders uses a wonderful, almost punning, feline metaphor, “pussy-footing”, in the eighth stanza, and darkens the trailed cape of moonlight, which is compared to ermine in the original, mink in the translation. This being is sometimes magical but he is always an animal.
The narrative rises to a sensuous and role-reversing climax when the speaker undresses the newly passive creature: “I slip all his clothes slowly off / and slide him down beside me”. At first seductive, finally seduced, the poem-wolf lies down with the poet-lamb. Saunders’s translation reveals Horta’s mature voice to have an easy, fearless, unapologetic authority. Poema seems an important culmination and assertion of her status as an artist and radical thinker.
Horta has continued to add to her output of poetry and novels and her work has gained some recognition. But the groundbreaking early achievement is often underestimated, or marginalised by what Saunders describes as “a general wish to forget all of that”. It’s to be hoped that this prize will help more of Horta’s poems and fiction, and those of the other Marias, to become visible to a new, international generation of readers. 
The Guardian



17 novembro 2016

World Philosophy Day 2016

This year, we celebrate World Philosophy Day immediately after International Day for Tolerance. This coincidence is deeply significant, given the link between tolerance and philosophy. Philosophy thrives on the understanding of, respect and consideration for the diversity of opinions, thoughts and cultures that enrich the way we live in the world. As with tolerance, philosophy is an art of living together, with due regard to rights and common values. It is the ability to see the world with a critical eye, aware of the viewpoints of others, strengthened by the freedom of thought, conscience and belief.

For all these reasons, philosophy is more than an academic subject; it is a daily practice that helps people to live in a better, more humane way. Philosophical questioning is learned and honed from the youngest age, as an essential key to inspiring public debate and defending humanism, which is suffering the violence and tensions in the world. Philosophy does not offer any ready-to-use solutions, but a perpetual quest to question the world and try to find a place in it. Along this road, tolerance is both a moral virtue and a practical tool for dialogue. It has nothing to do with the naive relativism that claims everything is equally valid; it is an individual imperative to listen, all the more striking because it is founded on a resolute commitment to defend the universal principles of dignity and freedom.

This year, UNESCO celebrates the birthdays of two eminent philosophers, Aristotle and Leibniz, who contributed to the development of metaphysics and science, logic and ethics. Both of them, a few centuries apart and in very different cultural contexts, placed philosophy at the core of public life, as the centrepiece of a free and dignified life. Let us, in turn, celebrate this spirit; let us dare to open spaces for free, open and tolerant thinking. On the basis of this dialogue, we can build stronger cooperation between citizens, societies and States, as a lasting foundation for peace.

08 novembro 2016

13 maio 2016

Tyger, Tyger - Three Translations, and some Fun!

THE TYGER

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what the grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water'd heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?


Tradução de Augusto de Campos:

O TYGRE

Tygre! Tygre! Brilho, brasa
que a furna noturna abrasa,
que olho ou mão armaria
tua feroz symmetrya?

Em que céu se foi forjar
o fogo do teu olhar?
Em que asas veio a chamma?
Que mão colheu esta flamma?

Que força fez retorcer
em nervos todo o teu ser?
E o som do teu coração
de aço, que cor, que ação?

Teu cérebro, quem o malha?
Que martelo? Que fornalha
o moldou? Que mão, que garra
seu terror mortal amarra?

Quando as lanças das estrelas
cortaram os céus, ao vê-las,
quem as fez sorriu talvez?
Quem fez a ovelha te fez?

Tygre! Tygre! Brilho, brasa
que a furna noturna abrasa,
que olho ou mão armaria
tua feroz symmetrya?


Tradução de Vasco Graça Moura:

tigre, tigre, chama pura
nas brenhas da noite escura,
que olho ou mão imortal cria
tua terrível simetria?

de que abismo ou céu distante
vem tal fogo coruscante?
que asas ousa nesse jogo?
e que mão se atreve ao fogo?

que ombro & arte te armarão
fibra a fibra o coração?
e ao bater ele no que és,
que mão terrível? que pés?

e que martelo? que torno?
e o teu cérebro em que forno?
que bigorna? que tenaz
pro terror mortal que traz?

quando os astros lançam dardos
e seu choro os céus põem pardos,
vendo a obra ele sorri?
fez o anho e fez-te a ti?

tigre, tigre, chama pura
nas brenhas da noite escura,
que olho ou mão imortal cria
tua terrível simetria?

26 abril 2016

01 abril 2016

RIP Imre Kertész




Em português, (Observador):

Kertész, nascido em 9 de Novembro de 1929, recusou mais tarde que Sem Destino, publicado em 1975, fosse um livro autobiográfico mas a verdade é que as rimas entre o que é contado e um certo período da vida do escritor são demasiado evidentes para não serem valoradas. 

Ernesto Rodrigues, tradutor para português deste livro que vendeu 8 mil exemplares em Portugal (e de outros quatro livros do autor), também acha que a distância entre a ficção e a realidade é frágil. “Ele também foi para os campos de concentração em idade juvenil e teve experiências semelhantes às que são narradas”.



Ernesto Rodrigues, que foi leitor de português na Hungria entre 1981 e 1986, conta que quando o livro saiu não teve impacto algum e que nos anos em que viveu no país ocupado pelos nazis em 1944, e depois liderado por uma ditadura comunista, percebeu que o autor e a obra eram pouco considerados. Os dicionários literários oficiais do país só lhe dedicavam “uma linha e meia”. Só mais tarde é que veio o reconhecimento – que lhe chegou de uma atenção que teve na Alemanha, país que o acolheu e que se interessou pela sua voz.
Depois de ter saído dos campos de concentração, a vida de Imre não foi fácil. “Ele nunca foi bem aceite”, refere o tradutor de Kertész (...)

Escreveu 15 livros. O seu tradutor português assume a sua preferência por A Recusa (Presença, 2007), no qual Imre se demora sobre o trabalho de escritor. Aqui e ali vão-se apagando os sinais de luminosidade. Ernesto Rodrigues relembra: “Chega a escrever que depois da experiência dos campos de concentração não vale a pena ter filhos” – e de facto não os teve. 

A certa altura, começa a interessar-se por Fernando Pessoa e usa como epígrafe de um livro uma frase de Bernardo Soares. Em “Um Outro, Crónica de uma Metamorfose” escreve: “Tudo, em mim, adormece, imóvel e profundamente. Vou remexendo os sentimentos, e os meus pensamentos, como num tambor de alcatrão tépido.”


En français (Le Monde):


On le revoit en compagnie de son épouse, Magda, dans son lumineux appartement de Meinekestrasse à Berlin – ou bien à deux pas de là, à l’hôtel Kempinski où il avait ses habitudes près de la cheminée –, les mains croisées sur le pommeau de sa canne, son fameux chapeau mou jamais très loin, ses lunettes rondes pendant sur son ventre – rond lui aussi. « Vous remarquerez que je ne me suis pas suicidé, nous avait-il dit un jour avec un sourire. Tous ceux qui ont vécu ce que j’ai vécu, Celan, Améry, Borowski, Primo Levi… ont préféré la mort. »
Kertész, lui, avait un fol appétit d’exister. Ce pessimiste qui avait fait le pari de la vie entendait la boire jusqu’à la dernière goutte. Parce que vivre était synonyme de créer et que créer était transformer la matière la plus abjecte de l’humain en quelque chose de fortifiant, d’éclairant et d’intemporel, la littérature. Faire du sens avec du non-sens. L’art comme réponse. Recours et secours à la fois. Dans L’Holocauste comme culture (Actes Sud, 2009), Kertész avait eu cette formule saisissante :
« Je peux dire peut-être que cinquante ans après, j’ai donné forme à l’horreur que l’Allemagne a déversée sur le monde (…), que je l’ai rendue aux Allemands sous forme d’art. »
Né le 9 novembre 1929, à Budapest, dans une modeste famille juive, d’un père marchand de bois et d’une mère employée, Kertész – prononcer Kertéss, un nom qui signifie « jardinier » en hongrois – est déporté en 1944, à l’âge de 15 ans. D’abord à Auschwitz puis à Buchenwald et dans le camp satellite de Zeits, en Allemagne. L’écrivain racontait sobrement son retour d’enfer, en 1945. Lorsqu’il avait voulu prendre un bus à Budapest et qu’on lui avait demandé de payer son ticket. Lorsqu’il s’était aperçu que l’appartement où il avait grandi avec ses parents était « occupé » par d’autres. Lorsqu’il avait compris que sa famille avait été exterminée et qu’il était seul… « C’était étrange, dira-t-il. Comme j’étais encore un enfant, je devais aller à l’école, alors que j’avais, si l’on peut dire, une certaine expérience de la vie… » Cette « expérience » est d’une certaine façon synthétisée dans Liquidation (Actes sud, 2004), où le personnage principal expose son « idée de base » : « Le mal est le principe de la vie (…). Ce qui est véritablement irrationnel, c’est le bien. » Toute l’œuvre de Kertész interroge la façon dont on peut survivre à cette idée.
Dans les années 1950, sous la dictature stalinienne, Imre Kertész devient journaliste. Mais le journal pour lequel il travaille se transforme bientôt en organe officiel du Parti communiste. Incapable d’écrire sur ordre, Kertész est mis à la porte. Il décide alors de devenir écrivain et vit avec sa femme dans une chambre minuscule, totalement en marge de la société hongroise. Il survit en écrivant des comédies musicales et en traduisant de grands auteurs germanophones – Nietzsche, Freud, Hofmannsthal, Canetti, Wittgenstein, Joseph Roth… « L’allemand reste pour moi la langue des penseurs, pas des bourreaux », disait-il non sans panache.
En 1960, il commence son grand « roman de dé-formation ou de formation à l’envers » qu’est Etre sans destin. Il mettra treize ans à l’écrire. Lorsque le livre sort en Hongrie, en 1975, il est accueilli de façon glaciale – de même que le sera son prix Nobel quelque trente ans plus tard. Interrogé par Le Monde en 2005, Kertész expliquait que le titre de ce qu’il persistait à appeler « roman » était « une conséquence éthique » de la Shoah :
« Ce que je voulais décrire, c’est comment, dans un univers concentrationnaire, un adolescent pouvait être méthodiquement spolié de sa personnalité naissante. C’est l’état dans lequel vous vous trouvez lorsqu’on vous a confisqué jusqu’à l’idée même de votre histoire. Un état où il est interdit de se confronter à soi-même. Tout le défi du roman consistait à inventer une langue qui lie ces notions et indique une existence verrouillée. »

Lire l'entretien : Imre Kertész : « Briser de l’intérieur les limites de la langue »

Cette langue – un phrasé extrêmement personnel, mélange unique de détachement apparent et de distance sarcastique –, cette langue « atonale », comme il la qualifiait, mais dont il a toujours voulu qu’elle « entre dans la chair » de son lecteur, Kertész expliquait qu’elle lui venait indirectement de Camus. Il avait souvent raconté comment à 25 ans il était un jour, par hasard, tombé sur L’Etranger. « Je me suis dit : ce livre est si mince qu’il ne va pas me coûter trop cher… J’ignorais tout de son auteur et j’étais loin de soupçonner que sa prose allait me marquer à ce point. En hongrois, L’Etranger était traduit par L’Indifférent. Indifférent au sens de détaché – du monde, de lui-même. Mais aussi au sens d’affranchi, c’est-à-dire d’homme libre… »
Un homme libre. Imperméable à toute sorte de pose, sociale ou littéraire : voilà ce qu’aura été Imre Kertész toute sa vie. A travers ses livres traduits tous chez Actes sud, dont Kaddish pour l’enfant qui ne naîtra pas (1995), Liquidation (2004), Le Refus (2002) ; Journal de galère (2010), Le Chercheur de traces (2003)… – l’écrivain se présentait comme quelqu’un qui, « du nazisme au stalinisme, aura accumulé suffisamment de savoir intime sur la dictature » pour la traduire en une expérience créatrice. Une œuvre où « l’affect » de l’Histoire est aussi présent que la mémoire des crimes. Où l’écrivain cherche à cerner comment l’un et l’autre façonnent nos destins, fût-ce à notre insu. Une œuvre où l’humanisme triomphe toujours, du moins sur la page. Et où la notion de liberté rejoint toujours celle du langage. « Briser de l’intérieur des limites de la langue », voilà l’objectif que s’était imposé Imre Kertész.
Dans La Vocation de l’écriture : la littérature et la philosophie à l’épreuve de la violence (Odile Jacob, 2014), le philosophe Marc Crépon note ainsi que pour Kertész, l’écriture n’est pas seulement « une technique de survie », une manière d’échapper au « bourbier de l’inexistence ». C’est aussi un acte de résistance profondément éthique. « Dans les sociétés totalitaires, le “consentement au meurtre” va de pair avec le renoncement à la vérité, le culte de son illusion (sous la forme d’un dogme imposé) et les ruses du mensonge organisé. Le langage ainsi livré à la puissance de ceux qui ont tout pouvoir de le manipuler est d’abord un enfermement. » Marc Crépon souligne que pour Kertész, qui s’est toujours appliqué à étudier la façon dont s’élabore la langue de toutes les dictatures, écrire consiste justement à « ouvrir une brèche à travers laquelle luit l’étincelle d’une liberté possible ».
Kertész avait « mal » lorsque les Hongrois lui reprochaient d’être le seul prix Nobel national alors même qu’il ne glorifiait pas la « hungaritude ». Il avait mal lorsqu’il voyait la Hongrie d’aujourd’hui « envoûtée par Viktor Orban comme par le joueur de flûte de Hamelin ». Il ne cachait pas son désarroi face à la situation d’un pays gangréné par l’antisémitisme et la « culture de la haine », où les rampes de métro, disait-il, sont couvertes d’affiches qui lui rappelaient douloureusement « celles du Parti des Croix fléchées en 1938 », parti pronazi fondé en 1939 par Ferenz Szalasi. Il ne cachait pas son « effarement » devant la recrudescence de l’antisémitisme tout comme le risque de voir « les gardes-frontières qui entreprennent de défendre l’Europe contre la barbarie montante » devenir « à leur tour des fascistes ». « Auschwitz n’a pas été un accident de l’Histoire », déclarait-il au Monde en 2015, « et beaucoup de signes montrent que sa répétition est possible ».

Lire l’entretien : Imre Kertész : « Auschwitz n’a pas été un accident de l’Histoire »


Pourtant – hormis peut-être dans son dernier ouvrage, L’Ultime auberge (2015) où l’on trouve ça et là quelques remarques déconcertantes de sa part (mais peut-être dues au grand âge ?) sur l’Europe et sur l’Islam – il y a toujours quelque chose de profondément lumineux et d’éminemment généreux chez Kertész. Qu’il vous prenne par la main et vous emmène en promenade au bord du lac Balaton ou le long des rives du Danube, qu’il vous parle de musique, de Bach, Wagner ou Schönberg, ou encore de « ses vieux amis », Musil, Arendt, Thomas Mann, Beckett et surtout Kafka, l’écrivain nous apprend humblement et intelligemment à tout savourer. A ne rien attendre. Dans son Journal de galère (2010), il note cette phrase de Lao Tseu qui lui va comme un gant : « “Non pas vivre en esclave de son avenir” mais “dans la liberté infinie de sa finitude”. »
La mort, qu’il avait frôlée si précocement et de si près, Imre Kertész s’y préparait en un sens depuis toujours. Afin qu’elle ne l’atteigne pas « comme un accident ou comme un malfrat qui vous assommerait au coin de la rue », il travaillait à « atteindre la sagesse d’une vie qui enseigne le savoir de l’aboutissement ». Lui qui avait côtoyé la barbarie n’avait jamais perdu son sens de l’humour si typique des écrivains de la Mitteleuropa. Un jour qu’il était descendu à l’hôtel Raphaël, à Paris, il nous avait confié en souriant : « Il ne fait sûrement pas bon être mort, mais avec le temps on doit pouvoir s’y faire… »

Photo credit: Handsome Young Writers