ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7 Blesok no. 37 | volume VII | July-August, 2004
Blesok no. 37,
In the spider's web of the Conversation
(Goce Smilevski, “A Conversation with Spinoza”, Dijalog, Skopje, 2000)
Without any doubt, the coordinates of perception can no longer remain the same after encountering the meetings in the threads of the “spider-web novel”, “A Conversation with Spinoza” by the young Macedonian author Goce Smilevski. In this imaginary conversation, Baruch de Spinoza, the great rational philosopher from the seventeenth century, meets his co-talker whom, as it seems, he essentially missed his whole life. Through this extraordinary literary expedition, Goce Smilevski gives the Spinoza “hologram”, usually projected onto the pages of the historic-philosophical studies, his peculiar double – a man of flesh and blood who paradoxically shares his lonely universe with all those existing, or to exist, similar to him. But, the wage of the conversation with Spinoza is far greater then one thinks at first, when blinded by the contact with a life that revives under the word-game. This game does not only shape the man Spinoza, the antipode of the same character from the historical – philosophical fiction, but at the same time it shapes Spinoza the literary character – the antipode of Spinoza the philosopher. The opposition between these two characters is one of the essential dimensions of the conflict that echoes through out the whole structure of this novel, so thorough and omnipresent that it can hardly be seen as a distinguishing characteristic. Assimilating the philosopher within, the literary character turns into his invisible subversion, a materialized opposition of his own discourse, of the cognitive pathos and the rational structure it lies on. Through the spider-web of the literary narration, the playful imagination undetectably puts forth its palms towards the philosopher’s cradle, stealing, step by step, the one that was almost glued to it, stealing the thinker and his speech, only to show him another power – the power of language when the words play by new, until then unknown rules.
So, through the conversation with Spinoza there are two constant and parallel streams. The basic duality of the talker and the co-talker, essentially written in language as its constituent mark, is something that can not escape the loneliest mind, even if that escape takes hundreds of years; the words are traces that, sooner or later, reveal exactly what they wanted to conceal. Therefore, the spider-web is joined by the metaphors of the palimpsest and the submarine: behind the transparent, the manifested, the expressed in the conversation; the other thing, the concealed, the unsaid constantly survives. Two voices,
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