By David Bevan
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Additional resources for André Malraux : towards the expression of transcendence
Il s'agit d'etre homme - le plus possible. "10 In this guise, then, eroticism becomes the supreme act in a world now dominated by a very mortal, and therefore, physical man - or woman - for Malraux is struck too by the resoluteness with which Lawrence rejects the conventional, impoverishing, stylization of woman. "11 Certainly, it cannot be denied that Lawrence, already ravaged by disease to the point of imminent death, did choose to devote his last major work primarily to a woman's sensuality: "II 1'interroge par la 23 On Eroticism voix de tous ses personnages et lui consacre le livre qu'il e"crit lorsqu'il est d£ja fascine" par la mort,"12 writes Malraux, for whom it is undoubtedly Constance who subsumes even Mellors in her erotic itinerary: il fallait que les rapports entre elle et son nouvel amant fussent impersonnels, il fallait qu'elle devint sa maitresse avant de savoir qui il est, avant de lui avoir parle.
It is my contention that Malraux's reading of Lawrence, as evinced in his 1932 preface to the first French translation of Lady Chatterley's Lover, encouraged him to explore, along specific lines and more substantially than might otherwise have been the case, one particular avenue. His exploration is both exhaustive and exhausting. There is no solace in that direction, and eroticism will not reappear in any form in any of his subsequent writings. In this sense Malraux's reflective mating with Lawrence in 1932 is a perfect image of the erotic act itself, at least for Malraux.
For now the butterfly is no longer a cavorting mockery of man's absurd fate, but a solemn confirmation of a scheme of things which transcends life and death. A rhythm in which men are merely for Malraux "des papillons ... "28 Elsewhere in LeMiroir, too, the butterfly is always associated with the supra-logical. "29 A similar association with a divine, recast in human terms, is to be discovered in the references to "fetiches" and masks which furnish a common decor for the meditations and conversations of Le Miroir des limbes.