By David Bevan
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Additional resources for André Malraux : towards the expression of transcendence
Malraux's endorsement of free indirect style as a means by which to associate more closely reader and character continues in Le Temps du mepris. There, far from any fragmentation, however, for large parts of the narrative we are enclosed solely within the cranial cavity of the hero Kassner. From the very first moments of his interrogation, with which the book commences, our view is repeatedly limited to the character's: Comme tous ceux qui ont parfois lieu de cacher leur identite, Kassner connaissait bien son long visage de cheval aux m^choires senses.
However, in the following novel, La Condition humaine, what was largely indicative becomes almost the keystone for the entire structure of the book. The reader enters directly and repeatedly into the mental continuum of each protagonist - Gisors, Kyo, Katow, Ferral, Clappique, Hemmelrich. Thus, in the early pages, it is Tchen's consciousness, as he stands hesitantly over his prospective victim, which provides the narrative - without the least commentary or observation by any external agent: Un seul geste, et 1'homme serait mort.
Even in the explicit context of a man-woman relationship, Malraux tends deliberately to blur the distinct physical differences which make the act, at least potentially, productive. "13 However, in Malraux's writings, the act of embracing seems to be totally removed from any overtones of this sort. Indeed, one could even contend that in a Malraux novel an embrace, erotic or otherwise, is essentially homosexual, or perhaps asexual. There is no doubt that in his writings prior to La Condition humaine, Malraux already suggested that eroticism in purely sexual terms was a fruitless experience, for any satisfactions that it might achieve were provisional.