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Monday, May 14, 2012

Claude Cahun: Aveux non avenus







from Disavowals or Cancelled Confessions (translated by Susan de Muth) originally published in Paris, 1930 and limited to 500 copies (translated & published by MIT press, 2007)

Translator's note: "The reader will note that two titles are proposed in this edition, the original Aveux non avenus presenting an abundance of possible meanings, allusions, associations etc. that neither Disavowals nor Cancelled Confessions fully conveys" (XVIII).

From the introduction by Pierre Mac Orlan: "I think that adventure here is, by its very nature, interior; but it is presented to us in a series of cinematic glimpses which insists on the cerebral, rather than the plastic, nature of the enterprise" (XXIV).

From translator Agnes Lhermitte who assisted Susan de Muth in this translation: "Claude Cahun's 'poem-essays and essay-poems' (as described by Mac Orlan) do not claim to construct either the psychology of a person or the narrative of her life, but imply 'the invisible adventure' of a scalpel's investigations into the dark zones of the psyche, the painful gaping of a cracked being" (XXI).

Section I

"I welcomed young monsters into myself and nurtured them. But the make-up I had used seemed indelible. I rubbed so hard to remove it that I took off all the skin. And my soul, like a flayed face, naked, no longer had a human form."

Section II
"Tendency to push everything to the absolute, and thus: to the absurd." 











Section V: 
"What does a well behaved child dream about, apart from the inhumane, the monstrous, the impossible? The ordinary."




Section VI

"it is only when we resign ourselves to necessary partialities, 
that we can allow our mask's moulds to set" 

Section VII


Section VIII

"May the birds not expect any speeches about aviation from me."

Section IX
"Angels with patched wings, sails: flirtations, last-minute modesties...let's use up heaven down to the dregs, the verb down to the insult, the espadrille and the lyre down to the last string."





Post Note:
"If the adventuress has managed to get rid of the whole paraphernalia of facts, has made herself invisible man and invisible woman, it's due to the indispensable collaboration of the reader" -Claude Cahun, from Ephémérides







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