lundi, octobre 08, 2007


Après l’excellentissime Blue Guide To Indiana, dans lequel Martone attaquait, pliait, transfigurait le guide de voyage dans un exercice beaucoup plus Sanderso-Barthien que Molvaniesque, notre homme se consacre dans son dernier livre Michael Martone à la notice biographique. Celui-ci offre en effet quarante-neuf notices biographiques (et un remerciement) toutes consacrées à Martone himself, écrites par quarante neuf contributeurs différents (Mais que fait lot 49 ?). On y voyage au gré des multiples vies, morts et renaissances de l’auteur. Sans atteindre une dimension Borgesienne ces variations autobiographiques sont néanmoins réussies à 100%. Des mémoires fractales et distordues devraient faire le bonheur des lecteurs de Curtis White ou de… Régis Jauffret. Un extrait for the road :

Michael Martone was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and he was educated in the public schools there. He attended Indiana University in Bloomington where, as a freshman, he took part in the famous Kinsey Report by completing a survey of his sexual history during orientation. Alfred Kinsey, a biology professor at the university, had begun his famous work on human sexual response when he was teaching, after the war, the "marriage" course, an early attempt in the health curriculum to provide information in what was called then sexual hygiene. One day, a co-ed, who was to be married that summer, approached Kinsey after a lecture to ask what she could expect from her husband, and Kinsey, always the scientist, couldn't answer her since he didn't have, he realized, any hard scientific evidence. "I'll get back to you," he told her, and began his decades long project collecting oral interviews, written personal narratives, taped anecdotal commentary, and computer scanned surveys from a vast range of informants in order to build a workable database of sexual behavior.

There, years later, in a crowded lecture room in Ballantine Hall, Michael Martone participated in the very same ongoing effort of data gathering, carefully blackening with the provided No.2 pencil the appropriate bubble corresponding to the numbered response most accurately representing such desired information as his masturbatory habits and history, his sexual preference, his preferred positions (there were illustrations), and the time, to the nearest minute, of his recovery after "performing vigorous coitus." The room fell silent as the freshman class bent to this initial collegian task required of them, the quiet broken only by the scratching of pencil lead on the rigid manila IBM cards and the counterpunctual response of the rubbing of rubber erasers.

Afterward, Martone remembers racing from the building into a bright fall day, the trees of Dunn Meadow just taking on the color of the season. That night, he called his mother, who had also been a student at Indiana University to ask her if she, too, had been recruited to contribute to Professor Kinsey's report, indicating to her, as best he could, the extent and duration of statistical instrument he had just endured. "No," his mother responded, "they didn't have that when I was there. I did take this facts-of-life course the spring before I married Daddy." She went on to say that she didn't learn much, that the class had been dry and very statistical in nature. "I even asked the professor about it." It hadn't mattered, she concluded, since shortly after that meeting with the professor who had told her he would get back to her about her questions, she and her soon-to-be husband figured out how to go about the very thing that had been so mysterious.

Late one night, in a classroom where, in his senior year at Indiana University, Martone would take a class on Chaucer, his parents, ignorant of contraception in spite of the courses they took, managed to conceive their son. Though when asked, years later, by her son for further details, his mother simply said she couldn't recall much more about that night but that she could make something up if that would help. »


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