terça-feira, 5 de setembro de 2006

Nobel (sobre teatro): II

About Brecht
Brecht out of fashion

by Elfriede Jelinek

I am very interested in fashion. And since now even the hippie look of the late sixties has become fashionable again as grunge, and has naturally also disappeared the way fashion always does, I ask myself whether misery, poverty, and exploitation as literary subjects can come into and go out of fashion just as well. Brecht's leather coat, for example, this icon in the photographs, a piece of clothing deliberately sewn together crookedly (so that the collar would nicely stick out!), proves to me that appearance--that which is "put on" the literary subject matter--was very important to Brecht. But if the tireless naming of victims and their exploiters remains something strangely external to his Didactic Plays, something like a sewn-on collar (even though the naming of perpetrators and victims is really the main point), one could say that the work of Brecht, just like fashion and its zombies, very visibly bears the date stamp of his time. It is, however, exactly in the disappearance of the opposites, which are exposed as mere externals (misery and luxury, poverty and wealth), that the differences, strangely, come ever more irrefutably to the fore; and that is precisely what Brecht wanted! The basic tension, namely the gap between the real and what is said, is incessantly thematized by Brecht. Language fights against its subject matter, which is put on it like clothing (not the other way around!), a subject matter which is a piece of fashion; but how is one to describe fashion now? One can't. Thus the opposites master/servant etc., not unlike clothing, elude any description--even mock the very attempt at it. The real truth about these appearances we have to regain, time and again, from the codes of the externals by which the members of class societies are catalogued like pieces of clothing. That is to say, we have to look for the opposites behind the subject matters. Since we will not succeed, as little as Brecht could ever have succeeded in producing such a description (because the description would have used up everything that there might have been as its own raw material), there remains, even in Brecht's Didactic Plays, which seemingly are entirely congruent with their function, an ineffable, indescribable residue about which nothing can be said. And it is only about this residue that one can now talk.

Translation: Jorn Bramann