Monday, June 11, 2007

Poking or...loving?

Yesterday's excerpt from David Lodge's Nice Work revealed that Vic Wilcox was about to realize he was in love with Robyn Penrose. In Frankfurt for an industrial trade show, they talk about love:
Ever the teacher, Robyn is, of course, trying... to demystify "love."
    "I love you," he says, kissing her throat, stroking her..., tracing the curve of her....
    "No, you don't, Vic."
    "I've been in love with you for weeks."
    "There's no such thing," she says. "It's a rhetorical device. It's a bourgeois fallacy."
    "Haven't you ever been in love, then?"
    "When I was younger," she says, "I allowed myself to be constructed by the discourse of romantic love for a while, yes."
    "What the hell does that mean?"
    "We aren't essences, Vic. We aren't unique individual essences existing prior to language. There is only language."
    "What about this?" he says, sliding his hand....
    "Language and biology," she says, opening her...."Of course we have bodies, physical needs and appetites. My muscles contract when you touch me there—feel?"
    "I feel," he says.
    "And that's nice. But the discourse of romantic love pretends that your finger and my...are extensions of two unique individual selves who need each other and only each other and cannot be happy without each other for ever and ever."
    "That's right," says Vic. "I love your...with my whole self, for ever and ever."
    "Silly," she says, but smiles, not unmoved by this declaration. [pp. 209-210]
I think of the opening of The Gospel of John: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Is the world just mad enough to have been made by the Word the deconstructionists are trying to deconstruct?

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