Literary Experiments and the School of the Gaze
As everyone knows, the French writer Alain Robbe-Grillet was the founder of the so-called School of the Gaze [ French École du Regard = Objective Novel]. According to this literary theory, Alain Robbe-Grillet wrote thousands of pages in which there were only aseptic and anonymous descriptions of various things, men, women and animals, all scrutinized in their “to be in the world.”
As I become interested in every oddity (and being tempted by the devil), I started writing on that subject according to the rules of the School of the Gaze, and many strange things had occurred during my literary experiments.
Here I propose the text that I wrote at that time:
“This is my study. I am a writer. My name is Enzo. I have many books, and my shelves are full of them. There are book-shelves from the floor to the ceiling. I sit at my desk. There is my computer on it, and many papers too. I am not sitting at my desk, now. I am not working. I am sitting in an arm-chair near the window. I am resting. In front of me there is another arm-chair, and there is a little table between it and my arm-chair.”
After writing these brief sentences, I was sweating from emotion. But I continued to write yet, according to the rules of the School of the Gaze.
“My wife is in the kitchen. Her name is Sandra. She has a tray in her hands. On the tray there is a pot of tea, a jug of milk, and two tea-cups. She is carrying the tray from the kitchen into my study. She is going to put the tray on this little table and to sit in the arm-chair in front of me. We are going to drink a cup of tea together.”
But the boiling tea scalded my foot. I was throwing away the cup of tea with a scream. The cup of tea came down to my poor pet which jumped up and down. My wife looked at me angrily, and running behind the dog, she shouted:
“Look what you’ve done!”
Look at me, looking at you, I lastly looked at my poor foot still very sore, and I thought that the School of the Gaze was not for me.
And I resigned immediately from it.
What a Great Idea!
Going for a walk along the main street, I met my old friend Carlo Marchi looking at the sign that he had just put over his new shop. He had at first chosen a sign like this:
Makes and Sells Hats for Ready Money.
“That’s a good idea,” I said, with an ill-advised remark. In fact, Dario had merely interfered as a common friend to both.
“No Carlo, I should cross out the word Hatter, it is no needed,” Dario said.
Okay. A third friend said that no buyer today to get hats on credit; so he would cross out For ready money.
A fourth friend remarked:
“When a man buys a hat he does not ask who made it. Wouldn’t it be better to leave out Makes and?”
In the meantime, another friend arrived, and while he was reading Carlo Marchi sells hats, he said:
“ I should like it to have the picture of a hat. Then everybody would see that you sell hats. It wouldn’t be necessary to write that you sell them; nobody would ever expect you to give them away for nothing.”
My poor friend Carlo first cringed, and he looked around helplessly. Then Carlo hung the picture of a hat under his name.
“And who would ever think that it is not clear enough?”, he observed, approaching us menacingly.
I gave a sign of approval before skipping. And, “You’ve taken the words out of my mouth,” I said showing the white feather. And all at once my other friends did everything possible to defend his “brilliant idea.”