paul claudel – the eye listens


“Long ago in Japan as I was going up from Nikko to Chuzenji, I saw, though far in the distance, juxtaposed by the alignment of my eyes, the greenness of a maple tree accepting the harmony suggested by a pine.”

An alignment of the eye – note that Claudel does not say an alignment of the pine and the maple. The two trees are ‘distant’; nevertheless the line of sight threads and sticks them together upon an indeterminate background. This flattening constitutes ‘the scene’.  The given is not a text, there is a density to it, which is not to be read but to bee seen. It’s the 2nd logic which determines the nature and the function of words. It is the art of assembling – standing before a represention you identify & recognize linguistic unities. The road to Chuzenji is the Calvary of an absolution of the sensible; in going to Chuzenji it is the other side of the scene that Claudel wants to see, but he wants to take this side with him from Nikko, toward the other side. Such is the imaginary: to possess both this side and the other: possessing both the text and the illustration. Claudel said “the eye listens”, it signifies that the visible is readable, just as there is a bond between the elements of discourse to form a readable phrase.

Paul Claudel is not an easy read, but in his writings are nuggets that are a joy for the ear and eye. His word-compositions create a vivid tableau that stimulates a reflection of thought and soul to form a menaingful  individual interpretation which makes it a timeless work of art.

paul claudel
paul claudel
paul claudel

paul claudel

Paul Claudel, a french diplomat, poet and playwriter (1868-1955). “the west is inspired by the sea, the east by the mountains”  His sister: Camille Claudel is the talented sculptor who worked with Auguste Rodin. Paul Claudel is known as a writer of catholic literature. His best play which is so long it normally is performed in a shorter version: “Le Soulier de Satin” (1925) also has a  film version (“The Satin Slipper”). D. Bona wrote a book about the passion that these two Claudel’s, each in their own way, longed for and struggled with.



tarot petit bout

Tarot petit bout

“petit bout, le monde est parti. / On a roulé les tapis. / Moi aussi, hélas! / Mais je sais ce qui se passe. / Jái dans lóreille un cricri / Qui me montre ce qu’on lui dit.

“little snippet, the world left / the carpets were rolled /me also /but i know what has happened / I have a cricri (cricket) in my ear / which shows me what one says to him.

(a “petit bout” in Tarot is the 1 of trump, it reduces the number of points you need to win)

Another one of his fine phrases is: “le vis-à-vis du visage” (the face-to-face of the face). The face is the presence of speech which comprises not only your things and your look but the infinite and finite.

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