Reading Nana : an experimental novel

KIVLAND, Sharon (2017). Reading Nana : an experimental novel. London, MA BIBLIOTHÈQUE.

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Abstract

ÉBAUCHE I have been reading Nana by Émile Zola for some time now, over a number of years. Zola’s novel, his ‘true story of the demi-monde’, was published in instalments, first appearing in October 1879 in Le Voltaire. The definitive version in book form was published on 15 February by Charpentier. I read and I re-read the book, in both French and English. I digest the book, condensing it, organising it into themes, appearances; yes, I assimilate it. I read (one might say perform) my assimilations, and I have danced one, according to Jean-Luc Godard’s film version, inviting others to join me. Some parts of my reading have been published in instalments. Herein they are assembled, a whole novel that is largely incomplete, as Nana or Nana slips from the grasp. Her value lies in that she can be exchanged. Her value lies in that another has had her. Her body has useful qualities, and these qualities are also of value. Nana or Nana is of value because she has been used; her potential for use is realised and finely calibrated. The cleavage between her use and exchange is less clearly demarcated. She eludes possession, no matter how many times she is had, no matter how many times it is read. There is no portrait of her, though Manet paints one which or who is like her. A horse is named for her, described in more detail than she. I take it upon myself to depict her, to speak for her and as her: a woman who is a book, a book that is a woman.

Item Type: Authored Book
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute > Art and Design Research Centre
Depositing User: Sharon Kivland
Date Deposited: 09 May 2017 09:22
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2017 13:58
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/15692

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