The Impossibility of Being-Oneself in Pseudo by Emile Ajar / Romain GaryŞevket Kadıoğlu
Romain Gary, born in Lithuania in 1914, won the Goncourt Prize, one of the most prestigious literary awards of France with his novel Les Racines du Ciel (The Roots of Heaven) in 1956. Over time, although critics describe Gary as a repetitive, fruitless and barren author, he won the prize for the second time with La Vie devant soi signed on Emile Ajar in 1975, but he played a game to the literary world rejecting this prize given to an author only once and for all during his life, and thus he attracted all the attention of the literary world. His novel, Pseudo, tells the story of the ambivalent and conflictual identity of the author in an ironic way. In this work, we will try to discuss the state of normality in a world of pretending, in a society where there are so many lies and how it is possible to be oneself. In this study which will be making use of a philosophical and eclectic approach employing the theories of thinkers such as Hegel, Husserl, Heidegger and Bourdieu from time to time, we will try to draw attention to the fact that this novel, which can be read as the hallucinations of a neurotic who commutes between civilian life and psychiatry clinics, claims to treat reality perhaps surpasses those illusions that prevail in the struggle with the fact and fiction. We will try to show how someone trying to hide himself to reduce belonging makes his existence possible within the effort of non-existence, and, on the other hand, how he could be non-existent in the impossibility of being-oneself.
Emile Ajar / Romain Gary’nin Yalan-Roman’ında Kendi Olmanın OlanaksızlığıŞevket Kadıoğlu
1914 yılında Litvanya’da doğan Romain Gary 1956 yılında Türkçe’ye Cennetin Kökleri başlığıyla aktarılan Les Racines du Ciel adlı romanıyla Fransa’nın en saygın yazın ödüllerinden biri olan Goncourt ödülünü kazanmıştır. Geçen zaman içerisinde eleştirmenlerin Gary’yi, kendini tekrarlayan, gününü doldurmuş yazar olarak nitelendirmesi üzerine yazın dünyasına bir oyun oynayarak, La Vie devant soi adlı romanıyla, Emile Ajar adıyla da 1975 yılında bu ödülü ikinci kez kazanmış ama avukatı aracılığı ile, Fransa’da bir yazara bir kez verilen ödülü geri çevirerek yazın dünyasının tüm dikkatlerini üzerine çekmiştir. Onun Yalan-Roman başlığıyla Türkçe’ye çevrilen Pseudo adlı romanı da yazarın bu ikili ama çatışkın kimliğinin öyküsünü ironik bir dille anlatıyor. Yer yer, Hegel, Husserl, Heidegger, Bourdieu gibi düşünürlerin kuramlarına başvurarak felsefi ve eklektik bir yaklaşım uygulayacağımız bu çalışmada, bunca yalanın var olduğu bir toplumda, “mış gibi yapmak” yalanı üzerine kurulu bir dünyada “normallik” durumunu ve bununla ilintili olarak, başlangıcı olmayan bir ait oluş içerisinde kendi olmanın ne kadar olanaklı olduğunu tartışmaya çalışacağız. Bu çalışmada, gerçekliği tedavi etme” iddiasındaki psikiyatri klinikleri ile sivil yaşam arasında mekik dokuyan ve “nevrotik bir hastanın sayıklamaları biçiminde de algılanacak olan bu roman çerçevesinde gerçekle uydurmaca olanın mücadelesinde belki de bu sayıklamaların üstün geldiğine dikkat çekmeye çalışacağız ve “ait oluşu iyice azaltmak amacıyla” kendini gizlemeye çalışan birinin var olmama mücadelesiyle nasıl var olduğunu ama aslında kendi olmanın olanaksızlığı ile nasıl yok olduğunu göstermeye çabalayacağız.
Romain Gary was born in Lithuania in 1914. After living in Italy and Poland for a while, he and his mother settled in France in the early 1930s. In his childhood, he took an interest in literature by means of the influence of his mother who dreamed of a brilliant career for him. He achieved his first significant success in the field of literature with his novel L’Education européenne, and in 1956, he won the Goncourt Prize for his novel Les Racines du ciel (The Roots of Heaven). Gary, who became mediatic with his marriage to American actress Jean Seberg and who was well known in the world of cinema, continued his literary works. Later, the events in Romain Gary’s literary and personal life became the subject matter of discussions in literary circles known as ‘Affair Ajar’. However, for Gary, this was no longer a literary polemic. It witnesses an existential dimension of life, which gets the literary circles of its time, the critics as well as the readers, into an obfuscation and scam circle. The factor that triggered the more or less severe debate would be critically categorical and ruthless judgments of the writer. Gary planned to play a game with the literary world as critics referred to him as a self-repetitive, exhausted and barren writer. In 1975, with his novel La vie devant soi (The Life Before Us, or Momo), he won the Goncourt Prize for the second time, although this award is usually given to a writer only once in their life. Gary must have completely vindicated his literary avatar; the emergence of the deception would be the big scandal for the writer. In fact, as the award is given to a writer only once in their life, his second award would endanger Gary’s literary career. Although Pseudo, the main concern of this study, appeared as an attempt to rescue Ajar, the author of Gary’s La Vie devant, humorously reveals the insufficiency of literary critics of its period, their malicious intensions, the hypocrisy of society, the slickness of its values, social pressures, the sanctions and constraints that prevent people from becoming oneself. In this study, we try to reveal the impossibility of being-oneself. Being-oneself is primarily the subject matter of ontology. In addition, it is a very controversial and multi-layered discussion of the theology, psychology, sociology, and even political science in the framework of the problem of identity. Being-oneself is not limited to living and knowing who you are. Being-oneself and existence develop as a continuum of existence activity, which shows a continuity in its given condition. In Pseudo, in which Romain Gary uses the pseudonym Emile Ajar, and which is written in the form of an autobiographical fiction, the impossibility of being-oneself appears as Emile-Paul-Romain, with the identity of its first-person’s autobiography of fragmented/ replicated ‘entity’. The condition of the fragmented identity is also reflected through the narrator, Paul’s psychosis. Belonging to a language, a culture created by this language, a character formed by inheritance, and belonging to a certain origin determined by patriarchal factors emerge as components that originally make it impossible to become oneself. Thus, the narrator of Pseudo wants to get rid of the entity. In order not to reveal that he is Ajar, as the narrator, Paul Pavlovitch’s constant attempt to hide himself also proceeds in parallel with an attempt to escape from belonging. Freedom which seems to provide the conditions and means of beingoneself, ‘the other’, an important place where self-recognition and self-awareness are formed and the society into which one is born formed by the norms and becomes an ossified structure also makes being-oneself a matter and almost impossible. At this stage, on the one hand, the choice made by the narrator in his freedom, the trick/ deception he attempts make to be himself impossible, on the other hand, social oppression, sanctions and rules also nourish such an impossibility. In a hypocritical society where it is the basic attitude to pretend, it also turns out that it is impossible to become oneself, and in this respect, the novel also reveals the hypocrisy of society. The normality is also questioned in a society where people who do not participate in the game of ‘pretending’ are sent to a mental hospital on the grounds that they cannot adapt to society. The narrator’s identity which is fragmented into three or which can be called as three-layered, Emile-Paul-Romain, emerges as an important factor in non-beingoneself. In this respect, in the dialectical fight between fact and fiction and the fight between fact and scam, in order to lessen the effect of “belonging”, it is shown how one who wishes to hide himself in an effort of non-being disappears due to the impossibility of his non-being.