20.11.57 33

I showed some equivalent things that are very like it in the
order of pure and simple parapraxes – but which on the contrary
found, in the conditions that the accident occurs, to be
registered and given a value as a meaningful phenomenon;
precisely of being a generation of meaning at the level of a
Signifying neo-formation, of a sort of co-lapsing, of signifiers
that in this instance, as Freud puts it, are compressed into one
another, stuck one against the other, and that this created
meaning, and I showed you its nuances and its enigmatic
qualities. Between what and what?


Between a certain evocation of
(10) a properly metaphorical manner of being: “he treated me
quite famillionairely”; and a certain evocation of a particular
type of being, a verbal being that is ready to take on the
peculiar animation whose ghost I already brandished before you
with the famillionaire;


the famillionaire in so far as he makes
his entry into the world as the representative of something that
is very likely to take on for us a much more consistent reality
and weight than the more hidden reality and weight of the


but which I also showed you as having a certain
something in existence that is vivid enough to really represent a
personage characteristic of a certain historical epoque. And I
pointed out to you that Heine was not the only one to have
invented it, I talked to you about Gide’s Prometheus ill-bound
and his “miglionnaire”.


It would be very interesting to pause for an instant at the
Gidean creation of Prometheus ill-bound. The millionaire in
Prometheus ill-bound is the banker Zeus, and there is nothing
more surprising than the way this character is elaborated. I do
not know why in our memories of Gide’s work, it is eclipsed
perhaps by the ineffable brilliance of Palude, of which it is
nonetheless a sort of correspondent and double.


It is the same character who is involved in both. There are many features here
(11) that overlap: the millionaire, in any case, is someone who
is found to have rather peculiar relationships with his fellows,
because it is here that we see emerge the idea of the gratuitous
act. Zeus, the banker, who is incapable of having with any other
person a true and authentic interchange, since he is identified
one might say with absolute power, with this aspect of the pure
signifier that there is in money, that questions one might say
the existence of every possible kind of significant exchange, can
find no other way of escaping from his solitude than to proceed
in the following way:


as Gide puts it, to go out on the street
with in one hand an envelope containing what at the time was
something of value, a five hundred franc note, and in the other
hand a box in the ear, if one can put it like that; he lets the
envelope fall and, when someone obligingly picks it up, asks him
to write a name on the envelope, in return for which he gives him
a blow in the face.


And it it is not for nothing that he is Zeus.
It is a tremendous blow that leaves him dazed and hurt; then he
goes off and sends the contents of the envelope to the person
whose name had been written by the person whom he had just
treated so roughly.


In this way he finds himself in the position of not having to
make a choice, of having compensated, one might say for a
gratuitous piece of badness by a gift that owes absolutely
(12) nothing to him.


His choice is to restore by his action the
circuit of exchange into which he cannot introduce himself in any
way or from any angle, to participate in it in this way by
attraction, as it were, to engender a sort of debt in which he
does not participate, and all of whose consequences, which will
develop in the rest of the novel through the fact that the two
characters themselves never succeed in connecting what they owe
to one another; one will become almost blind and the other will
die of it.


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