Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Jean-Paul Sartre (1938) - Nausea

Thursday, 11.30

I have spent two hours working in the reading room.  I have come down into the cour des Hypothéques to smoke a pipe.  A square paved with pink bricks.  The people of Bouville are proud of it because it dates from the eighteenth century.  At the entrance to the rue Chamade and the rue Suspédard, some old chains bar the way to vehicles.  These ladies in black, taking their dogs for a walk, glide beneath the arcade, hugging the walls.  They rarely come right out into the daylight but they cast furtive, satisfied, girlish glances at the statue of Gustave Impétraz.  They can't know the name of that bronze giant, but they can see from his frock coat and top hat that he was somebody in high society.  He holds his hat in his left hand and rests his right hand on a pile of folio volumes : it is rather as if their grandfather were there on that pedestal, cast in bronze.  They don't need to look at him for long to understand that he thought as they do, exactly as they do, on all subjects.  At the service of their narrow, firm little ideas he has placed his authority and the immense erudition drawn from the folio volumes crushed under his heavy hand.  The ladies in black feel relieved, they can attend peacefully to their household tasks, take their dogs out : they no longer have the responsibility of defending the sacred ideas, the worthy concepts which they derive from their fathers; a man of bronze has made himself their guardian.
This passage makes me wonder about my great great aunt, Pepita Texidor.  There is a statue of her in the Parc de la Cuitadella in Barcelona.  Many people will wander past her statue, glancing at her face glancing back at them...  how many will know her name or that her statue stands as a memory to her feminist principles 100 yrs ago.  (2014 marked the Centenary of her death.)

This is a video of an exhibition about Pepita:

No comments:

Post a Comment