By Enrique Vila-Matas
In Bartleby & Co., an significantly relaxing novel, Enrique Vila-Matas tackles the subject of silence in literature: the writers and non-writers who, just like the scrivener Bartleby of the Herman Melville tale, in solution to any query or call for, replies: "I would like now not to." Addressing such "artists of refusal" as Robert Walser, Robert Musil, Arthur Rimbaud, Marcel Duchamp, Herman Melville, and J. D. Salinger, Bartleby & Co. should be defined as a meditation: a strolling travel throughout the annals of literature. Written as a sequence of footnotes (a non-work itself), Bartleby embarks on such questions as why can we write, why can we exist? the reply lies within the novel itself: informed from the viewpoint of a airtight hunchback who has no good fortune with girls, and is himself not able to put in writing, Bartleby is completely attractive, a piece of profound and philosophical good looks.
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Loc. cit. Loc. cit. Yates, The Rosicrucian Enlightenment, p. 299. 305. 306. Loc. cit. Bibliotheca Rosicruciana, ed. Gardner, p. xxi. Christopher McIntosh, The Rosy Cross Unveiled: The History, Mythology and Rit uals o f an Occult Order (Wellingborough, 1980), p. 73. , pp. 70-1. , p. 70. Byron, Poetical Works, ed. Frederick Page and John Jump (London, 1970), p. 403. 397. THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE ROSY CROSS 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49.
This emphasis upon the importance of fami ly life is significant since St Leon was written shortly after his wife, Mary Wollstonecraft, died giving birth to Mary Shelley. The novel was written as a tribute to her memory and lovingly portrays her as Marguerite, St Leon’s wife. The story concerns Count Reginald de St Leon, a descendant of one of the oldest families in France, who after pursuing a military career em barks upon a period of gambling. Two years later he meets Marguerite Louise de Damville, whom he eventually marries.
Christopher Ricks (London, 1969), p. 1114. , p. 1115. Loc. cit. Quoted by John Brockman and Edward Rosenfeld, Real Time (London, 1973), pp. 155-6. Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus from Sophocles, trans. F. Storr (London, 1924), I, p. 261. Samber does not acknowledge that this book is actually a translation published in 1715. Early Masonic Pamphlets, ed. D. Knoop, G. P. Jones, D. Hamer (Manchester, 1945), p. 44. , p. 43. See A Christian Rosenkreutz Anthology, ed. Paul M. Allen (New York, 1968) pp. 393-6.
Bartleby & Co. by Enrique Vila-Matas