The Birth of Belgian Surrealism
Marc Quaghebeur, Unveiling Nougé. Some Notes on Nougé’s Philosophy and the Conférence de Charleroi
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Some Notes on Nougé’s Philosophy and the Conférence de Charleroi
MARC QUAGHEBEUR (ARCHIVES ET MUSÉE DE LA LITTÉRATURE, BRUXELLES)
A model of intellectual and moral rigor, the life of Paul Nougé rejected all romantic and post-romantic forms of celebrity culture, which reduce the act of writing to a set of anecdotes. In the preface to one of his essays on Magritte, Les Images défendues (“The Forbidden Images”), he turned away from the quest for originality, insisting instead on an effort to find “those sentences that continue to deserve to be said and said again” (Nougé 1980: 25). This program had a strong impact on Nougé’s way of writing, on his twofold preference for the fragment and for incompleteness. It also determined his stylistic a priori of absolute clarity: rather than indulging in the vagueness that the literary establishment often tolerates, if not encourages, he frequently preferred not to write, in order to prepare a better and more efficient way of saying things. Concomitantly, his rejection of anything that could contribute to the building of a literary career and his lifelong indifference toward publication reinforced a solitary stance that still persists. So absolute was the sense of revolt that inspired Nougé’s work and writing that he often neglected to ask questions on the actual reading and audience of his texts, for even this in principle crucial dimension was seen by him as ← 105...
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