By David Bevan
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Additional info for André Malraux : towards the expression of transcendence
17 I have already examined in some detail in chapter 3 the erotic encounter between Ferral and Valerie which immediately precedes the allusion to the Tibetan painting. There is no doubt that it is the anguished frustration which that experience generates in Ferral that causes him to seek relief in still another body. And yet the irony is clear: for Ferral' s inability to attain any supreme fulfilment or real self-affirmation in his relationship with Valerie is not a function of their particular characters or idiosyncrasies, but rather a testimony to the inadequacy of all erotic experience to provide any Absolute.
It is in Malraux's second novel, La Vote royale, that free indirect-style occurs for the first time in that writer's work. There, for the most part, it is to Claude's thoughts that the reader is given in this way almost unfiltered access: II se retourna vers Perken, interrogatif. - Us plantent des lancettes de guerre. Done ils attendaient bien la nuit, et prenaient leurs precautions. Et combien de travaux semblables se preparaient ou se poursuivaient, derriere la case, derriere la ligne fourmillante de ces corps penches?
Here, however, the reader is bruised by a dimension which transcends the mere corpse and the mere butterfly; for the latter conditions our perception of the former and our very human sensibilities are jarred by the confrontation. An element of levity has now become a device which refines and heightens the tragic sentiment. The farfelu is in the process of being revalued. A similar conclusion could be posited by examining the evolution encountered in Malraux's range of monsters, as the frivolity of that titillating, adoptive, "y" in Malraux's spelling of "dyables" is replaced by the gaping leer of the death mask.
André Malraux : towards the expression of transcendence by David Bevan