Fondane ou l’appel d’une verticalité renversée


Abstract: Man’s fascination with height is one of the most important and most treasured postulations concerning human nature, but it nonetheless does not exhaust man’s possibilities to relate to verticality. The vertical movement is essentially twofold: one may assume the upward impulse or may instead experience the opposite temptation, that of the abyss (“le gouffre”), as suggested in Fondane’s poetry. However, it is not so much the absence of any ascending effort that characterizes Fondane’s poems in French, but the negativism he associates with height itself. Not only does the poet question the mere existence of height, but he also emphasises man’s inability to rise due to a feeling of burden that drags one into the abyss. Thus man, doomed to decline and to fall, perceives this burden as a metaphysical quality. Although a negative experience in itself, this burden also seems to possess a certain degree of consistency that impels man to face the challenge of the abyss and to undergo a fundamental existential experience.