“A gulp to stave off death”: Quick thoughts on Pascal Quignard’s The Roving Shadows

This weekend I finished Pascal Quignard’s utterly bizarre, sui generis The Roving Shadows. It took a while to get into it, and suspect that a good many will not be willing to extend the patience, but believe all the more that those who do will be rewarded in ways they’d not expected.

Perhaps my affection for it stems for my search for a way to articulate a kind of contemporary, romanticism that is not sullied (justifiably, in many instances) by its 20th-century association with fascism and the like. Quignard never identifies as ‘romantic’ his aesthetic ruminations on life lived in the half-light of dusk & dawn, his preferred color of eroticism and creativity, so I don’t want to belabor the association; but his search for ways to evoke that which is unspoken (but not silent) in that which is spoken — or, the shadows that give color to the lighted, often quite horrific, world around us — taps into some of my previous thoughts on the importance of style. Read the rest of this entry »

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