E-Lit | Farabeuf


Farabeuf by the mexican writer Salvador Elizondo, is composed by 249 fragments of the book. We created five different iterations. Fist, you can read the original plot in alternative ways, because Salvador Elizondo chooses to freeze an instant, so everything that happenes in the novel occurs at moment of the reading.


We chose Farabeuf because Elizondo alternates the three stories in 249 fragments. As they are not active narratives, the characters do not develop in a time / space with a resolutive end, so they base the alternation on variations of the actions, in a simile with the theme with musical variations, where the main idea is distorted or develops "And then I abandoned myself to his embrace and I opened my body so he would penetrate me as the dagger penetrates the wound ..." (142), a fragment that is replicated three chapters later, "She, meanwhile, thought, 'And I will abandon myself to his embrace and I will open my body so that he will penetrate me as the assassin's dagger penetrates the heart of a legendary and magnificent prince ... '"(184) This variation is a sample of how the story is transfigured - fragments alter the stories, they camouflage the characters, the time is changed, the space mutates; what is repeated with the photographic exhibition on the beach, the doctor's ascent by the stairs or the actions that Melanie develops in the house. The content is distorted and the verb tenses and the presence of the narrator are muted. Variations (De Teresa, 1996: 91) that generate polyvalence as a mutation of the musical structure in narrative, that the reader does not know what the main story is and has to reconstruct the essence of the "real", although "they are lost sight of in every different variation, but there is a clear design to build them all within an appearance of structural unity. "(Copland: 152)
The Mexican writer narrates the moment with different frames. Create several ideas at the same time: the Ouija board, the falling coins, the hand holding the handrail, the legs that move between tinkling, the hidden gestures of the woman, the "phonograph attached to the wall, between the two windows, repeated forever the same cry "(158), everything happens at the same time, or rather, the reader accommodates them at the same temporal level, which results in an actangencial vacuum where they only acquire meaning when their actions are ordered in a relaxation from the reordering of the reading. For this, Elizondo resorts to the variation in the fragments and the simultaneity of the actions, which allow the instantaneity to be constructed without altering the successive essence of the literature.
Elizondo fragments the discourse and changes it, when combined with repetition, as a narrative mechanism, which allows it to stop time. Repeats but distorts.
To you what story Salvador Elizondo will tell you. This is a tribute to his work.


Once the reading and qualification process is finished, we will carry out an analysis of the reading process and three digital books will be developed, showing the reading process, with optimal, multigeneric and negative scores.



“The reader as a hypertext co-creator in Farabeuf by S. Elizondo”, David Núñez


Farabeuf is a story where time does not pass, fragmented a character in three stages of a life, portraying a Chinese sacrifice, on the beach in love with her and old when he goes to ... In Farabeuf time does not pass, everything is a I remember, 249 fragments are a moment. That's why they called it a one-moment chronicle. With combinatorics, we mix the 249 fragments and an infinite moment is achieved. Like Borges in El Aleph here everything always happens in the present of the reading, of the inventions of the old man, fu Tchu Lí who was a martyr or a traitor ...


Farabeuf not only tells three stories about a photograph, each plot is structured around themes that allow him to consolidate the story, and make up the hidden structure of the novel. In this case, I decided to separate them.
In Farabeuf the characters mutate, they lack a stable identity. We have divided the characters according to their links and spaces: in Paris, Dr. Farabeuf and the nurse Mélanie Dessaignes; in China: Paul Becour, Sister Paula of the Holy Spirit, Fou-Tchou-Li; on the French beach, the man and the woman.
The first story, the most complex and extensive of the novel, takes place in house 3 of the rue de l'Odéon, in Paris. In it, Dr. Farabeuf comes with a briefcase full of surgical instruments and the desire to possess the remains of a body, the Nurse, in a concretion of the sacrificial rite, where the linking of the characters lies more in the symbols than in the actions .
You can also see as unfolded characters: Farabeuf is the historical surgeon, the man who shivers on the beach, the passer-by in Paris, the spy-photographer Paul Becour and the lover; the nurse is Mélanie Dessaignes, Sister Paula of the Holy Spirit, the prostitute Mlle. Bistouri, the woman who holds the starfish, and the beloved.


In the first story, Dr. Farabeuf arrives at the house, observes with desire the nurse, spreads his surgical instruments on a bloody table and prepares her for the ritual. The way in which he instructs his victim is through photography and the tortuous and erotic recreation in the sacrificial nurse.
The second level takes place in a beach of Honfleur, Normandy: two lovers chase each other in the waves, stop in front of a putrefied starfish and run to a house where they will copulate ecstatically for the photography of Leng T'che.


In the third level, Farabeuf, turned into the spy Paul Becour, infiltrates China to establish a Catholic Church, contribute to the fall of the Manchu dynasty and accelerate the adhesion of the Empire to the West.
The basis of this plot is not the relationship between the spy, the nun and the monsignor around the spell against China and the implantation of Catholicism, but the torture portrayed by Dr. Farabeuf that not only refers to the ecphrastic description but to the concretion of the inhabited moment.


In the 19th century, the possibility of writing narratives that -paradoxically- did not contain a story was designed. Flaubert tried in his unfinished work Bouvard et Pécuchet, where, as Salvador Elizondo clarifies in "Mi deuda con Flaubert", "the concern for nothingness goes hand in hand with that of pure writing. It is not possible to conceive it if it is not uncontaminated in meaning or form, reduced to its essential sensitive condition; a writing that has its origin in nothing and that is fulfilled in itself ". (Elizondo, 2001: 102) But even with the literary purpose of breaking with this traditional precept, which Mallarme took to one of its final consequences, when nothing is said, something is being talked about; the writing itself becomes the argument. Elizondo tellsstories that do not contain an argument in the classical sense.
Rolando Romero and John Bruce-Novoa declare, in one of the most dangerous common places of the Elizondian study: "Elizondo does not count anything," he writes; he does not seek to communicate anything, he writes. " (Elizondo, 2009: 2) I disagree, Elizondo tells, develops themes; Even if it is antinomy to relate the nothingness, it is not the first on which it is argued that he writes a literature without a plot.
To do this, we mix the fragments where there are no nominated characters or defined spaces. It´s a novel without characters or spaces, more than a piece, a story that does not break the Aristotelian idea of ​​the plot.