David Markson: The Last Novel (2007)


David Markson: The Last Novel. California: Shoemaker & Hoard, 2007.

La escritura de David Markson (1927-2010) es un ejemplo paradigmático de la postmodernidad en literatura. La novela hecha añicos. La novela como un espejo roto en mil pedazos y cada uno de ellos apuntando a lugares diferentes. La novela hecha de fragmentos. La suma de todos es ininteligible pero entre los fragmentos se establecen conexiones inesperadas. The Last Novel es realmente la última novela de Markson así que el autor se considera con todo el derecho a inventarse un nuevo género. La crítica dirá que las citas están sin contrastar o que el autor no hace sino escribir el mismo libro una y otra vez. Aunque en principio parezca una tomadura de pelo, el resultado final es apasionante. Cada fragmento es una historia que vale la pena en sí misma y convoca a todas las demás. Este sería, en resumen, el programa estético de Markson.

… this is the last book Novelist is going to write.

His last book. All of which also then gives Novelist carte blanche to do anything here he damned well pleases.

Which is to say, writing in his own personal genre, as it were.

 Novelist’s personal genre. For all its seeming fragmentation, nonetheless obstinately cross-referential and of cryptic interconnective syntax.

Novelist’s personal genre. In which part of the experiment is to continue keeping him offstage to the greatest extent possible — while compelling the attentive reader to perhaps catch his breath when things achieve an ending nonetheless.

Selecciono algunos fragmentos relacionados con los temas que más me interesan: la poesía, la filosofía y la teología. Espero que os despierten la curiosidad por un autor muy recomendable. Gracias a Lector Mal-herido por la sugerencia.


Remembering that in the Iliad, as rife with detailed violence as any war narrative ever written, not one captured Greek or Trojan is ever tortured.

Briseis, in the Iliad, who is not identified at all except as the captive maiden taken by Agamemnon from Achilles. And whose name is in fact not a name — but means only the woman from Brisa, a town in Lesbos.

The unimaginably cramped cell in which St. John of the Cross was once imprisoned for months, beaten repeatedly and virtually starved, but where he nonetheless managed to compose some of his finest verses.

William Blake’s emphatically avowed lack of interest in sex.

Parodying without taste or skill. Very near the limits of coherence. Said the Times Literary Supplement of The Waste Land.

Allen Ginsberg’s insistence that he was once accosted by the apparitional voice of William Blake — immediately after masturbating.


Books weaken the memory. Says Plato in the Phaedrus.

We should look upon the female state as being as it were a deformity, though one which occurs in the ordinary course of nature. Determined Aristotle.

O body, mass of corruptions, what have I to do with thee? Asked Augustine.

The very possibly not apocryphal tale that David Hume, always grossly overweight, once went down on one knee to propose marriage — and could not get back up.

Too much interest in music could turn one effeminate. Kant said.

Adam was bored alone; then Adam and Eve were bored together. Said Kierkegaard.

Dostoievsky gave me more than any thinker, more even than Gauss. Einstein said.

Karl Marx died sitting at his desk.

I too have written some good books. Said Nietzsche, overhearing someone’s reference to literature in a fleeting moment’s lucidity during his final madness.

Ludwig Wittgenstein’s shockingly limited aesthetic sensibilities in every area except music. His virtual consecration of third-rate American pulp fiction detective stories, for instance.

Well, God has arrived. I met him on the 5:15 train.Said Maynard Keynes, at a 1929 return of Wittgenstein to Cambridge after fifteen years away.

Philosophy ought really to be written only as a poetic composition. Wittgenstein once suggested.

The measure of a man’s greatness would be in terms of what his work cost him. Wittgenstein once told someone.

A quart or more of alcohol per day, uncounted amphetamines, uncounted aspirin, uncounted barbiturates — and at a minimum two packs of cigarettes. Being Sartre in his most productive years.


Not to be born is far best. Wrote Sophocles. Not to be born at all would be the best thing. Wrote Theognis, at least a half-century earlier.

The only excuse for the suffering that God allows in the world — is that he does not exist. Stendhal said.

Each of which Euripides ends with his chorus speaking an identical verse — to the effect that the ways of the gods are unpredictable.

The world began without man, and it will end without him. Said Lévi-Strauss.

Ludwig Wittgenstein. "Well, God has arrived. I met him on the 5:15 train.Said Maynard Keynes, at a 1929 return of Wittgenstein to Cambridge after fifteen years away."
Ludwig Wittgenstein. “Well, God has arrived. I met him on the 5:15 train.Said Maynard Keynes, at a 1929 return of Wittgenstein to Cambridge after fifteen years away.”

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