Wednesday 1 March 2017

Gustave Flaubert: The Ambiguity of Imagination by Giuseppe Cafiero Blog Tour

What would happen if a character, even if only roughly sketched in the mind of a writer, decided to take on a life independent of his creator in order to take revenge against all the other characters that this author had created in his other books?

This is what happens to the legendary writer Gustave Flaubert, when his character Harel-Bey comes to life with a grudge to bear. Even the imaginary characters of books that Monsieur Flaubert has never actually written, but had long pondered and discussed with his most intimate friends, begin to stir with their own motivations.

Quite unexpectedly, Harel-Bey begins a long and difficult journey through the writings of Monsieur Flaubert to try to understand the reasons that induced the writer to write so many books and stories, but never the one that would have had him as leading protagonist. As a vengeful killer, Harel-Bey is determined to murder all of the protagonists of the books and stories Flaubert has written.

In the company of a certain Monsieur Bouvard, himself the star of another book which Flaubert had started but never finished, Harel-Bey seeks his revenge. There’s will be a mission rich in disturbing discoveries, revealing the reasons and the irrationalities of fictionalised reality and unreal fiction.

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Writing can be a fortuitous or deliberately fortuitous event. An event that can have different outcomes, almost always fascinating ones no matter what the kind of writing, storytelling, proposal. Sometimes it’s a strange procedure, sometimes extraordinary, certainly compelling in facing and then writing about situations and actions that become essential elements for the structure of a story, a chronicle of events, an exposition of concepts and ideas. Introducing a destabilizing variable into such narrative propositions undoubtedly exalts the narration itself because it is difficult to perceive where the creation of facts and situations proposes a narrative enigma and where it presumes a true narration of a specific reality.

From these premises, and because of these premises, there arose my idea to write in order to communicate emotions, to attempt to propose by means of different languages, i.e. by means of the search for specific words recovered in our memory as readers and spectators of life, a way to converse through games of writing which could ensure that the use of the word had its own narrative specificity. Seeking true plots, actual events, lives truly lived which could be subjected to suggestive alterations capable not of altering the narrative but of slightly contaminating the narrative itself, so that some problematic uncertainties could act as potential possibilities alternative to what was recounted.

Hence it was necessary to follow the imagination to give birth to plausibly imaginative stories which had, however, a narrative solidity drawing on facts and on circumstances of a life lived by a writer, by a poet, by a painter, etc. Then playing at putting the pieces of the puzzle together so that the narrative thread would be able to reveal hidden plots and veiled ambiguities. Thus narrating the narratable and submerging the narration in variable notes in which the narrative fabric became a clump of different perspectives, so that the readers, the listeners, the theatre goers had the possibility to interpret, at their pleasure, what I proposed to them as the author.

I started with radio dramas and theatrical plays, with a language that was exclusively words as a sublime occasion to sonically and theatrically represent feelings enclosed exclusively within the words.

I worked for a long time as a playwright for the Italian service of Radio Slovenia International and for Radio Svizzera di Lingua Italiana for which I realized various programs: Teatro in casa with the reduction to 30 minutes of texts by contemporary authors, from Samuel Beckett to Garcia Lorca; the liberal adaptation of Tartarin of Tarascon by Alphonse Daudet, of The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen by Rudolf Erich Raspe, of Bouvard et Pécuchet by Gustave Flaubert, of Hoppla, We’re Alive! by Ernst Toller. Then I wrote several texts on the structure and use of language in cinema, theatre and literature.

At the same time, theatre gave me the opportunity to use language, merging it with dramatic movement and expressiveness, since the writing had to be accompanied by motor and expressive features so that the writing would have a deeper and more significant meaning.

Several of my plays were staged: L’egorca (Bologna), Il serpente che sognò l’arcobaleno (Milan), Non bagnatevi nello Stige (Milan), Creando un país par Alicia (Buenos Aires), Ánima Joyce (Buenos Aires), L’inserzione (Florence), El aviso (Buenos Aires).

Finally, narration through texts: Vincent Van Gogh; James Joyce, or the Ambiguity of Epiphanies; Edgar Allan Poe, or the Ambiguity of Death. A new book entitled Mário de Sá-Carneiro, or The Ambiguity of Suicide will be published soon.

Different forms of writing but all aimed at proposing fiction and reality, aimed also at ensuring that the stories, as written proposals, could be interpreted, according to the points of view of the user, as real and/or imaginary, because reality and imagination have the same intriguing aspect, being indefinable. Imagination and reality are possible only when one foresees the existence of the other, and one without the other cannot exist. Therefore, it is for the reader, the listener, the theatre goer to distinguish reality from fiction and fiction from reality if that might have a practical sense in the understanding of what is read, listened to or watched. Ambiguity is a subtle game that involves us beyond any expectation. It involves and overwhelms us because it reflects the reality of everyday life in which there is a kind of perennial ambiguity that makes it difficult to distinguish fiction from reality, because very often we do not want to distinguish fiction from reality.

My commitment as a writer is expressed above all in a game of writing carried out by recounting a story, possibly truthful but enlivened by a fiction. A game of continuous exchanges and continuous interconnections. In short, a puzzle which at times can recall the fabric of a detective story. The narratives are almost always based on a true investigative drama, as an essential and incontrovertible element.

About the author:

Giuseppe Cafiero is a prolific writer of plays and fiction who has has produced numerous programs for the Italian-Swiss Radio, Radio Della Svizzera Italiana, and Slovenia’s Radio Capodistria. The author of ten published works focusing on cultural giants from Vincent Van Gogh to Edgar Allan Poe, Cafiero lives in Italy, in the Tuscan countryside.

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