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Malina: A Novel (Portico Paperbacks) de…

Malina: A Novel (Portico Paperbacks) (original: 1971; edição: 1999)

de Ingeborg Bachmann (Autor), Philip Boehm (Tradutor), Mark Anderson (Posfácio)

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556832,121 (3.81)22
Here is the story of lives painfully intertwined. An unnamed narrator is haunted by nightmarish memories of her father and desperate for the attentions of her lover. Her only companion is the androgynous Malina with whom she lives, an initially remote and dispassionate man who ultimately becomes an ominous influence. Plunging towards its riveting finale, Malina lays bare the struggle for love and the limits of discourse between men and women.… (mais)
Título:Malina: A Novel (Portico Paperbacks)
Autores:Ingeborg Bachmann (Autor)
Outros autores:Philip Boehm (Tradutor), Mark Anderson (Posfácio)
Informação:Holmes & Meier Publishers (1999), 244 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca

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Malina de Ingeborg Bachmann (1971)


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Mostrando 1-5 de 8 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
It really is that good. I also suspect the difficulty is over-stated; it's certainly more difficult than, say Buddenbrooks, but most of the novel is quite straightforward. Then there are passages of irrationality, the kind of thing which is never difficult for the reader, because one needn't try to make sense of them (and, I confess, they bore me for that reason). And then there's the good kind of difficulty, the mystery of what it's all meant to mean, in the end. I very much look forward to re-reading this now that I've read Bachmann's correspondence with Celan (and some of Celan's with Frisch), because, no matter how much I distrust biographical readings of fiction, it's pretty hard to imagine that these things won't be connected in interesting ways. ( )
  stillatim | Oct 23, 2020 |
Existential dualism in the purest sense. ( )
  Rangen | Oct 7, 2019 |
Why "Malina" Has no Message for Feminists

The English translation of "Malina" ends with an academic essay, intended to explain the book's cultural and historical references, and also to help readers who may be confused by the book's experimental form and content. The first purpose is reasonable for North American readers; the second is ridiculous. The book is hermetic, desperately unhappy, remorseless, disconsolate, dissociative, and ambiguously realistic, mythic, and allegorical. Those should all be signs that a brief explanation won't be helpful.

This is how Anderson summarizes the book's reception:

"To those familiar with her poetry, 'Malina' seems the continuation in narrative of the problems and images informing the lyrical work of the 1950s. To a new generation of feminist readers (who had little patience with what they saw as her hermetic, aestheticist poetry) 'Malina' and the other unfinished novels of the 'Death Styles' cycle have come to stand for a radically 'other Bachmann,' the critic of patriarchal capitalist society where women are systematically denied a voice and language of their own. To historians familiar with the art and philosophy of Hapsburg Vienna, the novel represents a masterly synthesis of a distinctly Austrian tradition, one that reached it apogee at the turn of the century in the work of Freud, Musil, Roth, Schoenberg, Wittgenstein, Hofmannsthal and Kraus. Finally, to contemporary German writers as diverse as Christa Wolf, Thomas Bernhard and Peter Handke ot stands as an inspirational example for their own work." (pp. 239-40)

Note that only one of these three, the one attributed to "feminist readers," is an interpretation of the text itself. Many of the reviews on Amazon and Goodreads are similarly concerned with gender roles. The translation seems to be read as a memoir, autobiography, or trauma narrative. One reviewer on Goodreads puts it this way:

"The generation Bachmann describes has made female victimhood an art form. It grated on my nerves because I have been fighting my whole life both against the male attitude of condescension and property and the female passive voice of pleasurable suffering. 'Look at me, I am killed by male dominance! Don't I look pretty in all my indignation?'" ("Lisa" on Goodreads, 2018)

But Bachmann was much stranger than the pugilist advocate of women's rights imagined by online reviewers. Readings like these are misguided because they project later desires for empowerment onto a text that is determinedly closed to meliorist narratives. The novel continues to be taken as a prelude to some feminism, but "Malina" does not imply any such future or hope. It isn't about "disempowerment," "gender roles," or "the lasting impact of child abuse in adult life" (Sarah Porter on Amazon). Those are things the novel can only be about when it is read for use-value by a 21st century audience accustomed to trauma narratives and self-help books. "Malina" itself does not want to be saved: its narrator knows that the air we all breathe is poison. Chapter 2 is full of scenes of violence, incest, rape, and murder, mostly centered on a father figure, but as Peter Filkins wrote in the "New York Times," the narrator

"...realizes that the menace of her dreams is 'not my father. It's my murderer.' The distinction is important. For though Bachmann is clearly concerned with patriarchal power and the ravages of family violence inflicted upon women, she also sees such issues as inextricably bound up with the violence done to both genders in the flawed, if not fatal, workings of society and history, as well as the violence we do to and by words because we find it impossible to give full expression to such outrage."

Language itself, for Bachmann, is a form of violence, a "disease," an "expression of insanity." (The first quotation is Filkins's; the second is Bachmann's.) Nor will it do to say that the two men in the narrator's life, Ivan and Malina, are absent or manipulative. Ivan, one of the two male characters, cannot love anyone but his children, even though the unnamed narrator declares her love for him; but it is not at all clear that their miscommunication is a picture of conventional gender roles; and the third character, Malina, is too strange, and too nearly allegorical, to be counted as an independent character at all. (Anderson thinks Malina is part of the narrator, and that he's modeled on the Jungian anima. There is some support for this in an interview with Bachmann.)

The narrator herself does sometimes fit the model of trauma narratives: she is in continuous crisis; she cries, she shakes, she smokes, drinks, takes painkillers, can't sleep or write. And yet she doesn't communicate any better than the male characters. This isn't feminist advocacy; this is a world in which people try as best they can to remain minimally human.

In Bachmann's mind, the poisons of language are personal in a way they aren't for Paul Celan. There is an extended allegory of language and writing on pp. 156-61, where the narrator tells the story of Otto Kranetizer, a postal worker accused of hoarding unopened letters in his apartment.

"...in every profession [i.e., including writing] there must be at least one man who lives in deep doubt and comes into a conflict. Mail delivery [the profession of a writer] in particular would seem to require a latent angest, a seismographic recording of emotional tremors which is otherwise accepted only in the higher and highest professions [later described as professors of philosophy and science], as if the mail couldn't have its own crisis, no Thinking-Wanting-Being for it [Denken-Wollen-Sein]" (p. 159, 253 in the original; see also Surika Simon, "Mail-Orders: The Fiction of Writing in Postmodern Culture")

This is as close to Kafka as anyone in postwar fiction: it's an extended allegory of artistic work, as in "Josephine the Singer" or "The Hunger Artist," and it is infused with anxiety, anger, and fear. What poisons the narrator in "Malina" is a different from what poisons words in Celan.

Readings of "Malina" that take their bearing from contemporary diary-novels, trauma narratives, memoirs, self-help books, or feminist theories, draw on a simplified and domesticated sense of the book. This novel is a tremendous achievement: it is deeply experimental, to the point of continuously undermining its supposedly secure three-act form (blithely announced at the beginning and elaborated by optimistic critics); it is unsure of the relation between allegory, dream, and history; and its story (involving the narrator's death, while living, and her transformation into her spectral alter-ego) is darker than anything that a realist, political, or historical reading could use or comprehend.

Postscript 1 -- on metafiction
I'll just close with two smaller points. First, "Malina" is a forerunner of the current interest in minimally fictional novels, made popular by Ben Lerner. At one point Ivan discovers notes for a manuscript the narrator intends to write called "Todesarten" ("Arts of Death" or 'Death Styles"), which is the name of the trilogy of books Bachmann contemplated ("Malina" is the only one she finished before she burned to death in her apartment in Rome) on the ways people die while living -- through relationships, by institutions and politics, by language itself. Ivan counsels the narrator to write a happy book instead. "Malina" is not that book, but the coincidence of the name of the book occurring in the book is parallel to Lerner's "10:04" and other novels. Writing the thinnest possible veneer of fiction on an experimental, non-linear narrative is one of several things Bachmann was experimenting with in the late 1960's. It would be interesting if the contemporary moment could acknowledge its belatedness.

Postscript 2 -- on humor
And last, I'd also like to register that "Malina" has some very funny pages. I cringe when reviewers say this sort of thing. But Bachmann's humor comes from a desperate fear and hatred of people in general, a kind of acidic combination of Kafka and Bernhard. Here is her suggestion for how to write back to someone who blithely wishes you a happy birthday (as so many social media sites do these days):

You wish me... best wishes for my birthday. Permit me to tell you how shocked I was precisely today. To be sure I have no doubt as to your tact, since I had the honor of meeting you some years ago... However you are alluding to a day, perhaps even a specific hour and an irrevocable moment, which must have been a most private matter for my mother, my father too, as we may assume for the sake of propriety. Naturally nothing in particular was shared with me about this day, I just had to memorize a date which I have to write down on every registration form in every city, in every country, even if I'm only passing through. But I stopped passing through countries a long time ago..." (p. 90).
2 vote JimElkins | May 17, 2019 |
"The name alone suffices to be in the world." Malina is one of those novels that feels completely natural to me, arising almost like an organism, without pretense or premeditated designs. Its easy playful voice keeps me reading despite the somber themes that run underneath. It is a particularly difficult novel for me to describe, as it tackles many serious topics (war, post-war, time, history, personal relationships, men and women) yet when you pull back, its main thrust is elusive. What is this book about? Who even is Malina? I have no answers and in a way the answers don't really matter. Yes, I read the afterword with some pretty convincing angles. And some of it has validity.

What matters to me is that it is enjoyable at every juncture. And it feels so right just in my bones, like I buy everything it says. Just the whole damn thing seems so necessary and true, like a lived thing. It seems less a novel and more a byproduct of someone's having been alive.Once one has survived something then survival itself interferes with understanding. p146 ( )
3 vote JimmyChanga | Sep 11, 2013 |
Zum 40. Todestag (26. September) von Ingeborg Bachmann nach über 20 Jahren wiedergelesen und mit ganz anderen Augen betrachtet. Malina ist kein herkömmlicher Roman, der eine Geschichte erzählt. Malina führt tief in die Seele der Protagonistin, die in ihrer Zerissenheit wohl auch Vieles von der Autorin Preis gibt. In dem Buch finden sich so viele Sätze, die es wert sind, zitiert zu werden, da ist so viel Brüchigkeit zu spüren, so viel Zweifel und Verzweiflung, aber immer auch aufkeimendes Vertrauen in eben diese Unstetigkeit. 1971 verfasst nimmt der Roman vieles vorweg, womit unsere Gesellschaft heute zu kämpfen hat. Ein zeitloses Buch, das es auf jeden Fall wert ist, (wieder)gelesen zu werden. ( )
2 vote koanmi | Aug 28, 2013 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Bachmann, Ingeborgautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Beers, PaulTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Beers, PaulPosfácioautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Boehm, PhilipTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Mendelsund, PeterDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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Here is the story of lives painfully intertwined. An unnamed narrator is haunted by nightmarish memories of her father and desperate for the attentions of her lover. Her only companion is the androgynous Malina with whom she lives, an initially remote and dispassionate man who ultimately becomes an ominous influence. Plunging towards its riveting finale, Malina lays bare the struggle for love and the limits of discourse between men and women.

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