Edited By Fernando Beleza and Simon Park
Part III: Dialogues
Part III Dialogues Pedro Eiras Lúcio’s Unreadable Testimony If testimony looks back dispassionately at a crime from the outside, how can it cry or laugh along with the action? To begin with, allow me a short paragraph of personal reflection, not academic, but subjective. For many years, I considered A confissão de Lúcio (1913) [Lúcio’s Confession] an unhappy text, guilt-ridden, horrifying. I suffered with Lúcio as he gave his testimony. Time went by and when I returned to Sá-Carneiro, I could not stop laughing as I read. Where once I had found angst, I encountered comedy that was totally unexpected. This comparison of my two reading experiences, which, by the by, keep evolving, suggests that there is perhaps no single way of reading a text like A confissão de Lúcio; one that emerges from our reading as so multi-faceted. What we take as humorous or straight-faced, ironic or sincere, even testi- mony of fact or fiction, all has to be revised. And this is the thrust of this chapter: how do we get from a work that is self-confessedly testimonial to a text that is unreadable? The fact that Modernism ends in the loss of innocence of the text is not incidental: its forms of negativity demand a new grammar. The victim of the Modernist crime is the sentence itself: it becomes a-grammatical. But negativity does not imply that literature self-disintegrates in the same way that my laughter does not show disregard...
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