Monologue du fou, monologue du poète


Abstract: This essay centers on a little-known and neglected text by Benjamin Fondane: Monologul Nebunului (published in “Rampa” in 1920), in which the author attempts to go beyond the limits of meaning and of form, in particular that of the prose poem (in anticipating the Romanian prose poems of Paul Celan). We demonstrate the manner in which Monologul Nebunului, based on an identity quest, develops grammatical structures and figures of thought in order to express the élan of the Fondanian Atemwende: “și totuși nu (știu bine), n-aș fi copac ca voi; mi-ar lipsi iluzia”. These structures will then migrate into the verse of the Préface en prose, in which the reversal resounds thus, in French: “Et pourtant, non ! / je n’étais pas un homme comme vous”. This central pivot separates the long ascent of the first part which tends towards the recognition of the resemblance of the “Je” with other humans, from the tragic recognition of the second part in which this resemblance is painfully denied. That which had constituted a philosophical reflection outside of History in Monologul Nebunului becomes the tragic cry of one whom History entraps and kills in the Préface en prose in 1942.