A paranoid and shameful reading of Inger Christensens novel Azorno.The contagious feelings of paranoia and shame played a vital part in my first reading of the novel Azorno, written by the Danish poet Inger Christensen. In this essay, I’m letting those emotions direct the ‘understanding’ and analysis of the novel. In earlier research the focus has been to comprehend what the novel ‘really is about’, and even though it has been mentioned that the form probably is a way to make the reader a visible constructer of the novel’s ‘meaning’ the understanding has never been created by the affects that occurs during the reading. In doing so, I mean, a new and more subversive ‘understanding’ of Azorno is possible. Azornos is a quite peculiar novel which form builds upon an ambivalence, where the reader never can distinguish true from false, fiction from reality. This ambivalence is caused through the change of narrator that takes place in each chapter. The Chapters are first shaped as letters, where four women discuss who is the one that really knows Azorno, and then as notes, that seem to come from a diary and concerns the writing of a novel. The uncertainty increases when the earlier narrator is accused by the next one of being a liar, something that happens in every letter. In the notes the first narrator is told to be the pseudonym of the next one and so it continues. Thus the reader get the feeling of not knowing who the true narrator is – or if there is one. The accusations of lying and the paranoid attitude are contagious to the reader who gets the feeling that the text and its narrators are not to be trusted. Another affect shaping the text is shame, caused by the text’s seductiveness. The reader is held in the violence of the text by constantly searching for the truth but also repeatedly being deprived the delightful taste of it. At the same time, the reader is also starting to shamefully enjoy the feeling of being fooled by the text. In the article, I will use the theory of paranoia offered by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick. Sedgwick understands paranoia as nothing different from knowledge per se and as a feeling that, when it’s shared, can be a useful in theories aiming to understand and deconstruct power. The positive consequences of acknowledging paranoia while reading is according to Sedgwick understood as something that, if it is taken seriously, also can be a way to move towards possibilities and reparation. By embracing the strong and negative feeling of paranoia, the reader, I argue, has the opportunity to, together with the text, construct another narrative about the seducer Azorno – which is the name of the main character of the novel– and, the perhaps five, women who might be his mistresses. When adding the acknowledgment of shame and using the theory of shame as a emotional power of keeping ’things in it’s ”right” place’, but also a feeling that – if it is shared – can work in opposite direction, since shame seen as a important experience also can make normative ideas visible. By admitting and sharing the shame sensed during the reading of Azorno, normative ideas regarding the relationship between the reader and the text, as well as standard ideas about mistresses and seducers, becomes visible and therefore also brought to a possible change. Thus, in the ending of the novel a new affect – more exultant – is achieved in the relationship between the reader and Azorno.
2012. , 40 p.