Robert Dessaix: Night Letters: A Journey through Switzerland and Italy

(1072 words)
  • Narelle Shaw (University of Tasmania)

In his autobiography A Mother's Disgrace, Dessaix explains that, in Russia in the sixties, he first became conscious of the power that issues from binary constructions of the world. He became aware of “the way binary constructions raise the stakes in any power game and make the thinking on both sides of the divide (the source of all power) more and more totalitarian” (66). Dessaix's resistance of totalitarian thinking is central to Night Letters. The novel is organized around the idea of parallel worlds. For instance, in mythical terms, north and south of the Alps are “different world[s] with different coordinate[s]” (33). Reason and civilization characterise the north, nature and unfettered animality the south. �…

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Shaw, Narelle. "Night Letters: A Journey through Switzerland and Italy". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 28 March 2003
[, accessed 28 September 2016.]