Scene de naufrage: Reading The Lover With Blanchot



The fragment is neither a determined style nor a
Failure, but the form of that which is written.

The gap makes becoming possible.

The Lover opens with a shipwrecked face. Begin there.

The narrator of The Lover has a face that is “ravaged.” She says: “I have a face laid waste.”1 She was said to have once been beautiful, but even in her youth, in the time of the story, the devastation of her face was “foretold” by the face of “the little white girl”: “that flagrant, exhausted face, those rings around the eyes, in advance of time and experience.”(9) We might imagine the face, in keeping with the ideological convention still persistent in our culture, as the visible seat of the soul, of the individual subject possessed of autonomy, continuity and self-conscious clarity whose experience the Novel, in its classic development, inscribes. But this ravaged face, this face in ruins in Duras’ text signals a selfhood, a subjectivity rather different than the confident Cartesian rationalist self. This disastrous face bespeaks a subject whose experience is torn to shreds2, a disaster impossible to represent because:

The story of my life doesn’t exist. Does not exist. There’s never any center to it. No path, no line. There are great spaces where you pretend there used to be someone, but it’s not true, there was no one. (8)

My interest here in this shredded experience – experience being understood, following Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe’s suggestion, as a perilous or risky crossing3 – and the fragmentary writing it produces to tell its non-existent story in (can we still call it a novel?) The Lover. The text, like the room in which the little white girl encounters otherness, sexuality and death in the person of the lover, is “a place of distress, shipwrecked.”(44) This expression (in the original French it’s “C’est un lieu de détresse, naufrage”4) needs some unpacking. The first part of naufrage (shipwreck) derives from a proto-Indo-European word meaning boat, from which we get English nautical and naval terminology: more interestingly from my point of view, this root word also means death, exhaustion, distress and necessity, and is the origin for a number of northern European words for things like corpse, need and boredom.5 As I hope to indicate in this discussion, the shipwrecked text is one that is foundered and fragmented; exhausted and distressed; cast out, destitute, dispossessed. And it is also a text of difficult mourning, one which must grapple with the question (German: Frage – question; fragen – to ask, to question) of what is left after the vessel is sunk, the question of remains, that “swarming unaware blasphemous stuff that lacks the grace, decency and fidelity to follow value off the stage, to leave a respectable zero.”6

Shipwreck is the disaster par excellence, lacking what Maurice Blanchot calls “the ruinous purity of destruction”7 which would eliminate any remainder. Blanchot enhances the nautical aspect of disaster by suggesting that it might mean “being separated from the star…, the decline which characterizes disorientation when the link with fortune from on high is cut.”(WD2)8 In other words, disaster is the result of being unable to navigate during a risky crossing, being alienated from or incomprehending of the bleak intractable otherness of Nature, that “excessiveness of uncodifiable law… to which we are destined without being party to it.” (WD2) Part of the repellant necessity of Nature’s law is that fragmented residue around which we must, but cannot, navigate. For a writer like Duras, in the late 20th century after “all the foundations of the earth are shaken,” it is precisely the case that

To write is no longer to situate death in the future – the death which is always already past; to write is to accept that one has to die without making death present and without making oneself present to it. To write is to know that death has taken place even though it has not been experienced, and to recognize it in the forgetfulness that it leaves. (WD66)


To write shipwrecked, as Duras does, in a place of distress, is to take up a relation with a mute, stark and intractable otherness as remains, as a bloated corpse bobbing listlessly on the blank surface of “the sea, formless, simply beyond compare.”(38), and to inscribe the non-existent story of its risky crossing. We might have to say, following Blanchot, that both the story and the inscription have always already endured the consequences of that risk; and that “the Other is death already.” (WD19)

The narrative of The Lover begins with the image of a crossing, “the only image of myself I like, the only one in which I recognize myself, in which I delight (je m’enchante)”(3-4):

So, I’m fifteen and a half.
It’s on a ferry crossing the Mekong River.
The image lasts all the way across. (5)

This is the image that impels the narrative of the narrator’s experience, beginning with this rather sketchy version and becoming increasingly detailed as the text progresses. In it, the little white girl enters the social field, the realm of otherness, which is construed as a field of vision. “Suddenly I see myself as another, as another would be seen, outside myself, available to all, available to all eyes.”(13) The nature of the image – enchanting and cherished, partial, circumscribed and fixed; cryptic – confers its qualities upon the social field itself. Although existing only in the narrator’s mind – “I often think of the image only I can see now”(3) – the image is treated (albeit contradictorily) as if it were a photograph:

…the image became detached, removed from all the rest. It might have existed, a photograph might have been taken… But it wasn’t. The subject was too slight. Who would have thought of such a thing? The photograph could only have been taken if someone could have known in advance how important it was to be in my life, that event, that crossing of the river. But while it was happening, no one even knew of its existence. Except God. And that’s why – it couldn’t have been otherwise – the image doesn’t exist. It was omitted. Forgotten. It never was detached or removed from all the rest. (10)

Despite the contradictory assertions (the image is detached like a photograph, but not detached because there was no photographer), for the narrator the remembered image is like a photo: it is fundamentally visual, singular (it “lasts all the way across”), and static. The connection implied here between photography and memory is important, and worth examining in detail.


A photograph fixes a person and/or event as present, and this (artificial) presence affords whomever looks at the image the possibility of revelation.9 In his book on photography, Roland Barthes writes:

…in Photography I can never deny that the thing has been there. There is a superimposition here: of reality and of the past. And since this constraint exists only for Photography, we must consider it, by reduction, as the very essence, the noeme of Photography.10

The photograph is presence: the reality and presence of what it depicts is never in question for the viewer. It can be scrutinized, interrogated, minutely examined. In short, it can be read: and read relentlessly as a faithful and authentic document of the real which can only reveal the truth. But inasmuch as the photographic presence is the presence of what is past, photography for Barthes opens up the question of absence as well, and in doing so conjures an image “which produces Death while trying to preserve life.”11 The presence of the real in the photograph is effaced by “this uncertain death, always anterior – this vestige of a past that has never been present.” (WD66)

Barthes claims that a powerful photograph produces a “punctum”, a sting or prick of memory which captivates us, lures us toward it, toward the forgotten memory of the past that we struggle to reconstitute. Our ordinary use of photography has a relation to memory as well. Most of us carry around photos of loved ones in our wallets or purses, or keep them in albums at home. These images function both as substitutes for the absence (or pastness) of whom or whatever is depicted, and as charms which somehow contain the very being of the absent person, object or experience. Photographs are, in these ways, fetishes. They stand in the place of a lack or absence, they maintain a presence as physical objects, and they have a magical or mystical power to enchant (je m’enchante) which relates somehow to questions of life and death. Photographs are permanent (rendered so by a chemical “fixer”), precious (the image is formed by halides of silver, gold or platinum), give only a partial aspect of the “scene,” are marshaled by the frameline (the French call this mise en cadre), and are cryptic in both senses of the word: hard to decipher (“is that really you?”) and a place of safekeeping for the dead, for their remains.12

Photography is “writing with light,” and its qualities are passed on to writing itself in this fragment concerning the mother’s photograph:

When she was old, too, grey-haired, she went to the photographer’s alone, and had her photograph taken in her best dark-red dress… The better-off natives used to go to the photographer’s too, just once in their lives, when they saw death was near. Their photos were large, all the same size, hung in handsome gilt frames near the altars to their ancestors. All these photographs of different people… gave practically identical results, the resemblance was stunning… All the faces were prepared in the same way to confront eternity, all toned down, all uniformly rejuvenated. This was what people wanted… And they all wore an expression I’d still recognize anywhere. My mother’s expression in the photograph with the red dress was the same. Noble, some would say. Others would call it withdrawn. (96-97)

Death; permanence (“to confront eternity”); fixity (“prepared in the same way”, same expression); preciousness (gilt frame); charm, mystical power (red dress, “rejuvenated”); partiality (the face, a portrait); cryptic (noble/withdrawn): all written here, albeit lucidly, without light. The written fragment is a photograph not taken of a photograph (not taken?): its secretion of death and fetishistic on her is photographic, is a writing of light.

The Lover is the story of a childhood spent “in too strong a sun”(6), a story the narrator has told before, but only writing “of clear periods, those on which the light fell.” (8) Now she can write of what has been buried, she will make the truth of the story emerge from under “that black veil over the light” (7) through the revelatory power of an image, a photograph not taken on the ferry over the Mekong, within which circulates (for the purpose of errant navigation?) a constellation of looks:

Inside the limousine there’s a very elegant man looking at me. He’s not a white man… He’s looking at me. I’m used to people looking at me. People do look at white women in the colonies; at twelve-year-old white girls too. For the past three years white men, too, have been looking at me in the streets… (17)


The little white girl, the one who is looked at by the elegant man, looks at those who look at her, looks at herself looking, like the white colonial women in their white villas: “they look at themselves. In the shade of their villas, they look at themselves for later on.” (19) We find the coincidence of vision (or lack of it) and sexuality (implied when the men regard the girl, and when the women look at themselves “for later on”) in the important account of sexual initiation (keeping in mind that it’s not clear here who “he is):

He’s torn off the dress, he throws it down. He’s torn off her little white cotton panties and carries her over like that, naked, to the bed. And there he turns away and wept. And she, slow, patient, draws him to her and starts to undress him. With her eyes shut. Slowly. (38, my emphasis)

The notion that “already, on the ferry, in advance, the image owed something to this moment” (39) suggests that “he” is somebody other than the Chinese man in the black car.

The articulation of gaze, vision and image that persists throughout the text coalesces on the effaced, ravaged surface of the durable face, “the face that comes from the absolutely far away and bears the mark of distantness, the trace of eternity, of the immemorial past.” (WD23) The face of the self as otherness, the “flagrant, exhausted” face of the little white girl, the “I” or “she” whose story this is.13 Everything is brought out, in bits, into the light, and everything made visible in this writing lucid with absence, loss, destitution, with death. The young assistant administrator from Savanna Khet:

It was as night ended that he killed himself, in the main square, glittering with light. She was dancing. Then daylight came, skirted the body. Then, with time, the sunlight blurred its shape. (91)

Or the description of the “family of stone”:

Every day we try to kill one another, to kill. Not only do we not talk to one another, we don’t even look at one another. When you’re being looked at you can’t look. To look is to feel curious, to be interested, to lower yourself. No one you look at is worth it. Looking is always demeaning. (54)

So the light and the book are bound up with sexuality and death, and with the relations of otherness that exist between the girl and those who look at her, who face her face: racial otherness, gender difference and in the case of the Chinese man, class distinction.

Otherness is the condition of sexuality, and the intimacy sexuality allows is finally dispersed and general, not private:

Our first confidants, though the word seems excessive, are our lovers, the people we meet away from our various homes, first in the streets of Saigon and then on ocean liners and trains, and then all over the place. (60)

Sexuality, otherness, can be found on journeys then, on perilous sea voyages, on risky ferry crossings over the Mekong, of which no photographs exist. In addition to the relation to experience mentioned above, crossing the river, crossing over, suggests the passage over to death, crossing the River Styx into Hades. This “lethal passage” might also put us in mind of the River Lethe, whose waters are drunk in order that we might forget our memories and the pain that inhabits them.14 The river loses itself in its inexorable flow to the sea, “as if the earth sloped downward.”

In the terrible current I watch my last moments. The current is so strong it could carry everything away – rocks, a cathedral, a city. There’s a storm blowing inside the water. A wind raging. (11)


The sea is crucial to the symbolics in place here: it is that formless equilibrium toward which everything flows, by which everything is engulfed. “Once, during the crossing of the ocean, late at night, someone died.” (112) A boy, the same age as the “little white girl” commits suicide, leaving her with the terrifying memory of “the sunrise, the empty sea, and the decision to abandon the search.” (113) Slow boat trips risky crossings on river or ocean, were commonplaces of colonial life in those days; “people were used to… those waitings on the wind or fair weather, to those expectations of shipwreck, sun, and death.” (109)

…very slowly, under its own steam, the boat launched itself on the river. For a long while its tall shape could be seen advancing toward the sea… Then finally the outline of the ship was swallowed up in the curve of the earth. On a clear day you could see its slowly sink. (111)

The sea is engulfment of death, of sexuality: in the “place of distress, shipwrecked”,

I caress his body amid the sound, the passers-by. The sea, the immensity, gathering, receding, returning… And it really was unto death. It has been unto death… He is on me, engulfed again. (43-45)

The homonym in French – la mer/la mère– draws a connection between the sea and the mother, underscored by the familiar notion of the sea as the generalized “mother-of-us-all.” In The Lover, the mother is the voice of interdiction; she says “no” to sex:

My mother has attacks during which she falls on me, locks me up in my room, punches me, undresses me, comes up to me and smells my body, my underwater, says she can smell the Chinese’s scent… and shouts, for the whole town to hear, that her daughter’s a prostitute, she’s going to throw her out, she wishes she’d die… she’s disgraced, worse than a bitch. (58)

and to writing:

I want to write. I’ve already told my mother: That’s what I want to do – write. No answer the first time. Then she asks, Write what? I say, Books, novels. She says grimly, When you’ve got your math degree you can write if you like, it won’t be anything to do with me then. She’s against it, it’s not worthy, it’s not real work, it’s nonsense. Later she said, A childish idea. (21)

But in doing so, the mother says “no” to the little girl herself. She clearly prefers her sons, especially the elder with whom she desires to be buried:

She asked for him to be buried with her. I don’t know where, in which cemetery. I just know it’s in the Loire. Both in the same grave. Just the two of them. It’s as it should be. An image of intolerable splendor. (81)

In the mother, in the family and its “monumental, unreal” (82) house, is to be found the convergence of silence, prohibition and mourning which engenders writing. The members of the family of the narrator, of the little white girl, who inhabit the text like ghostly apparitions, like photographic fragments of the immemorial past, are dead and this allows her to write in a new way:

I’ve written a good deal about the members of my family, but then they were still alive, my mother and my brothers. And I skirted around them, skirted around all these things without really tackling them. (7)

She skirted around them, as daylight skirted the body of the young man in Savanna Khet. Now that they are gone she can write in a new way, or so she hopes. The family haunts her, haunts the text, the writing; mother and brothers have become familiars, attendant spirits or demons, dogging her memory, her writing; offering up a variety of roles for her to play: sister, daughter, parent, lover, victim, mater. But:

I’m still part of the family, it’s there I live, to the exclusion of everywhere else. It’s in its aridity, its terrible harshness, its malignance, that I’m most deeply sure of myself, at the heart of my essential certainty, the certainty that later on I’ll be a writer. (75)

It is in the midst of the multiplicity of roles and reversals offered the little white girl by the complex of relationships within her malignant, shipwrecked family, that writing loses its bearings, breaks up, fragments, becomes cryptic. Again, cryptic in the sense of obscure, and as the word pertains to the containment and commemoration of the corpse of naufrage. Like the photographs taken or not taken, these fragments are the residue, the ruined trace of what has always already passed: the “family history of ruin and death.” (25) The writing of The Lover is that trace or ruin, that cryptic effort to reveal, in a kind of ghostly obscurity, a cryptic encrypted self. The fragment asks the question of the remains encrypted in the self; asks the question of the immemorial past; asks the bleak question of the mute disastered world. Writing (and reading?) becomes a dynamic process of interrogation; reading (and writing?) can only be defeat: surrender, confession, acknowledgment.


Derrida, writing of Jabés’ Book of Questions (a fragmentary, disastered, utterly shipwrecked text): “The fragment is neither a determined style nor a failure, but the form of what which is written.”15 Writing is always already rupture, interruption interrogation; it stand in principle against totality, continuity, presence because what it writes, the experience, the subjectivity it inscribes, is never a totality, is never continuous or present. Blanchot’s view is similar:

The demand, the extreme demand of the fragmentary… traverses, overturns, ruins the work because the work (totality, perfection, achievement) is the unity which is satisfied with itself… Fragmentation is the pulling to pieces (the tearing) of what which never has preexisted (really or ideally) as a whole, nor can it ever be reassembled in any future presence whatever. (WD60)

For Blanchot, the disaster is that which makes the demand of the fragmentary upon the work, upon writing, and causes it to shipwreck, “to be lost, to capsize.” (WD46) Always a scandal to the univocality of presence, writing can instead be recuperated as the guarantor of the instability and polyvalence of meaning. For Jabés,

…writing, from one work to another, would be only the effort of the vocables to exhaust what which is said – the instant – in order to take refuge in the unsayable, which is not that which cannot be said, but rather, on the contrary, that which has been so intimately, so totally said that it no longer says anything apart from this intimacy, this unsayable totality.16

The Holocaust is the disaster which motivates the exhaustion of Jabé’s writing, and its efforts to exhaust the semantic possibilities of language. This fragmentary writing is, like that of Duras, a work of mourning that seeks to commemorate an impossible memory shrouded in forgetfulness and loss, as in the hastily scribbled and buried notes of the Auschwitz victims on the way to the gas: “Remember! Do not forget! But you can never remember!” You can never remember the irretrievable past that was never present; it’s always a question of an oscillation between anamnesis and amnesia, the defense against or the surrender to oblivion17, the engulfing sea of disaster. The writing of the disaster must itself constitute the remains to which it owes the obligation of mourning, must itself construct the very shipwreck it seeks to commemorate, and thus to relinquish. In order to do so, it must face its task with a serene passivity, proceeding by fits and starts, “little by little suddenly” (WD34), crossing perilously again and again the same experience, the same remembering, the same forgetting. If every writing is always already a rewriting, the pure writer is, as Blanchot suggests, like Bartleby, a copyist. (WD145) “I would prefer not to.” The proclamation of the writer’s passivity in the face of exhaustion, the scéne de naufrage which is the writing of what cannot be written, the experience of ravaged selfhood in the era of historical catastrophe – Holocaust, Hiroshima.

In The Lover we may understand the passivity of this fragmentary rewriting in the returns to and rehearsals of a few key images of the narrator’s initial encounters with sex and death, images separated but somehow brought tougher by the gap that “makes becoming possible”18, the serene white spaces on the page. In those white spaces we might finally locate the little white girl who says “the story of my life doesn’t exist”, but also:

I’m still there, watching those possessed children, as far away from the mystery now as I was then. I’ve never written, though I thought I wrote, never loved, though I thought I loved, never done anything but wait outside the closed door. (25)

Reading Duras, seeing her images that last all the way across, depletes me. There is not binding of the wounds opened by her work, no filling in of the great blank spaces. The narrative ebbs and flows relentlessly over the details of a life, a self, like “the sea, the immensity, gathering, receding, returning.” And like the sea, the narrative perseveres; Duras, with her “ravaged” face, endures:

I think I’m beginning to see my life. I think I can already say, I have a vague desire to die. From now on I treat that word and my life as inseparable… I’m going to write. (103)

The desire to die, however vague, is inseparable from the desire to write, or rather, following Blanchot, writing comes to be in spite of it. Like the beggar woman who “always ends up in Calcutta wherever she started out from: (86), Duras, the narrator, the little white girl

Goes in the same direction as the world, toward the engulfing, always distant east. One day she comes face to face with the sea. And then she’s lost sight of. (87)

If to go west means to find a new land, to be a pioneer, to carve out a future, then the desire to go east is a desire to return to the past, to the “orient” as the legendary elsewhere, the place of otherness (and in this text, sexuality), and to the maternal engulfing sea, risking the disastrous crossing.

The little white girl picks up the phone. “And with the trembling, suddenly, she heard again the voice of China.” (116-117)

“Until death.”


1. Marguerite Duras. The Lover (tr. Barbara Bray) New York: Pantheon Books, 1985, p. 5. Further page references will be given within the text.

2. Cf. Levinas: …two world wars, totalitarianisms of the right and left, massacres, genocides, and the Holocaust… have already signified (if one can still speak meaningfully) an experience torn to shreds, one impossible to put back together… a cosmic catastrophe, like that mentionedin Psalm 82,5: “All the foundations of the earth are shaken.”

(Emmanuel Levinas. “Simulacra: The End of the World” (tr. David Allison) in David Wood (ed.) Writing the Future. London: Routledge, 1990, p. 12.) Levinas’ analyses of the “face-to-face” relation as fundamental alterity and basis for ethical conduct, are a kind of murmur in the background of his essay. See, for instance, Totality and Infinity (tr. Alphonso Lingus) Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1969, esp. pp. 187-247.

3. In a recent book on Paul Celan, Lacoue-Labarthe writes:
what the poem translates, I propose we call experience, on condition that this word be taken literally – from Latin, experiri: the risky crossing… and this is why one can refer, strictly speaking, to a poetic existence, if existence it is that perforates a life and tears it, at times putting us beside ourselves.

(Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe. La Poesie comme experience. Paris: Christian Bourgois, 1986. Quoted in Roger Laporte. “Readings of Paul Celan” (tr. Norma Cole) in Translating Tradition: Paul Celan in France. ACTS 8/9 San Francisco, 1988, p. 224.)

4. Marguerite Duras. L’amant. Paris: Editions de Minuit, 1984, p. 56.

5. My source here is Calvert Watkins’ “Indo-European and the Indo-Europeans”, an account of the reconstruction of proto-Indo-European root words from contemporary Indo-European languages (esp. English) which is included along with a lexicon in William Morris (ed.) The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. New York: American Heritage Publishing Co., 1969, pp1496-1550. For nausee, see p. 1530.

6.Mitchell Breitwieser. “The Great Gatsby: Grief, Jazz and the Eye-Witness” (unpublished ms.) p.2. Breitwieser’s discussion of mourning in this paper, and in his recent book on Mary Rowlandson, have been of considerable value to my thinking about some of the issues explored here. See: Mitchell Breitwieser. American Puritanism and the Defense of Mourning: Religion, Grief, and Ethnology in Mary White Rowlandson’s Captivity Narrative. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1990, esp. the discussion of Hegel and Derrida on Antigone pp. 30-49.

7. Maurice Blanchot. The Writing of the Disaster. (tr. Ann Smock) Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1986, p. 2. Further page references will be given as (WD#) within the text.

8. In a number of his works, Blanchot maintains a penchant for speculative, even catachrestic, etymologies which proceed “by affinity and no longer solely by affiliation.” (WD93) My torturous efforts with shipwreck/naufrage above, and throughout the paper, take their cue from him.

9. Carol Murphy notes that the French word for the chemical developing solution for photographs is révélateur. I’ve looked at this word on Kodak of Canada bilingual packages of “developer” for years without noting that the French term provides a decided more accurate and profound account of what actually takes place in the darkroom. See Carol Murphy. “Duras’ L’amant: Memories from an Absent Photo” in Sanford S Ames (ed.) Remains To Be Seen: Essays on Marguerite Duras. New York: Peter Lang, 1989, pp. 171-181.

10. Roland Barthes. Camera Lucida. (tr. Richard Howard) New York: Hill and Wang, 1981, pp. 76-77. The emphasis is Barthes’.

11. Ibid. p. 92. It is not accident that Barthes writes his meditation on photography during his period of mourning for his mother; and it doesn’t seem unreasonable to suggest that since Duras’ text is part of an effort of mourning, the place of photography within it, fading in and out like a ghostly visitation, may owe something to Barthes, her contemporary.

12. For an excellent discussion of photography and its relation to fetishism and some of the other themes at stake here, see Christian Metz. “{Photography and Fetish” in October 34. Cambridge: MIT Press, Fall 1985, pp. 88-91.

13. A shifting back and forth between the subjective and objective points of view is continual throughout the text, as the first person locus of experience becomes “the child”, “the little white girl”, etc. creating a flux of detachment and identity and the narrator’s perspective. Carol Murphy suggests that the shifting from “I” to “she” emphasizes the oscillation between the genres of fiction and autobiography, but I would argue that it inscribes, within the fiction, the shipwrecked condition of disastered subjectivity, “a rip forever ripping apart” (WD75), that “perforates a life and tears it, …putting us beside our-selves” (Lacoue-Labarthe). See Murphy. “Memories of an Absent Photo”.

14. Verena Andermatt Conley makes this connection in “Duras and the Scene of Writing” in Remains To Be Seen, pp. 183-195.

15. Jacques Derrida. “Edmond Jabés and the Question of the Book” in Writing and Difference (tr. Alan Bass) Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978, p. 71.

16. Edmond Jabés. Le Petit Livre de la subversion hors de soupcon. Paris: Gallimard, 1982, pp.55-56. Quoted and translated in Warren F Motte, Jr. Questioning Edmond Jabés. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990, p. 7.

17. A somewhat Blanchotian etymological catachresis. Greek: amnestia – oblivion.

18. Maurice Blanchot. “Interruptions” (tr. Rosemarie Waldrop and Paul Auster) in Eric Gould (ed.) The Sin of the Book: Edmond Jabés. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1985, p. 44.