By David Bevan
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Extra resources for André Malraux : towards the expression of transcendence
The human body is only just coming to real life. With the Greeks it gave a lovely flicker, then Plato and Aristotle killed it, and Jesus finished it off. But now the body is coming really to life, it is really rising from the tomb. H. "19 Having broached parenthetically such general differences, let me now return to my thesis that, nevertheless, Malraux's reading of Lawrence in 1931-2 was crucial to the importance and meaning he was to attach to the erotic in La Condition humaine. For, differences and reservations notwithstanding, and as I have already indicated, Malraux is very definite in his preface both about the enormous significance of the erotic as an avenue which merits full exploration, and about the validity of such exploration for man and woman.
34 40 Andr£ Malraux The mask, too, a last metonymical avatar of the monstrous, "appartientau sacreY'35 It may be appropriate, in conclusion, to sum up the evolution I perceive in the value Malraux attaches, at different points in his writings, to those curious twins - the butterfly and the monster which have provided the loose structure for this investigation of the farfelu. The basic shift is from the primacy of death, couched in contexts that are first playful and then agonized, to the primacy of an always tentatively interrogative transcendence: 'Taleatoire de 1'homme pr£caire"36 - to invoke Malraux's very last and vital text.
17 I have already examined in some detail in chapter 3 the erotic encounter between Ferral and Valerie which immediately precedes the allusion to the Tibetan painting. There is no doubt that it is the anguished frustration which that experience generates in Ferral that causes him to seek relief in still another body. And yet the irony is clear: for Ferral' s inability to attain any supreme fulfilment or real self-affirmation in his relationship with Valerie is not a function of their particular characters or idiosyncrasies, but rather a testimony to the inadequacy of all erotic experience to provide any Absolute.