Fixed idea: hope for change

One of the most influential poets of his time was Paul Valerie. After a successful education, Valerie began studying law and lost her love of literature and settled in Paris. To this day, he has at times abandoned literature and poetry, although he felt depressed from time to time due to depression. He opened his eyes in 1871, closed them in 1945 after 73 years, but his actions had already taken him into immortality.

A new translation by Valerie has recently hit the shelves. Hanife Güven is the translator of the book ‘Fixed Idea: Or Two Men by the Sea’, labeled by Yapı Kredi Publications.

‘Man was created to speak’

It all starts with the internal breakdown of the protagonist. While struggling with all sorts of questions in his mind, the protagonist, who is drowning in a whirlwind, tries to come out with the answers he has found / thought, gradually falling into despair. She is very helpless. He forces himself to work, in other words, to do something permanently to get rid of his thoughts and find some “peace”. Even when he gets the chance he hits the street all day, but as you might think, it doesn’t help much, on the contrary, it increases his depression, because “a simple and monotonous walk does nothing but warn the thought.”

The protagonist, walking from the city center to the field and from there to the rocks, once finds himself by the sea, around the rocks. Suddenly a man appeared in front of him. The protagonist, who doesn’t like people very much, gets very uncomfortable in this encounter. Since what he had in mind made him tired enough, he no longer wanted to be burdened with fatigue, but now it was too late. The man sees too. This guy is a doctor that the protagonist often sees in friends meetings. After a while, it is understood that the doctor is drowning in a big problem like the main character. In other words, they are both tired of each other.

‘I want to burn something’

‘Fixed Idea’ is a book written by a hero. Although the genre is described as an essay, it is closely related to fiction. Especially in the introduction part, the pages moving together with the internal casting are like a part of a novel. Even if we think that the hero is Valerie, it does not change.

‘Fixed Idea’ consists of a dialogue between a doctor and a protagonist. Yes, almost the whole book is about dialogue. The conversation between the two, which began on a daily basis, soon turned into a deep philosophical affair, but neither of them received much attention; Fatigue, love, hope, memory … it also flows.

Fixed Fiction, Paul Valerie, 160 pages, Translator: Hanife Gwen, Yapi Creedy Publishing, 2022.

Each title consists of nested steps. This is why transition never creates an eclectic feeling. On the contrary, they feed on each other emotionally. It is supported by a wide range of examples, from Moses to Napoleon to mythology and history.

The main argument between the doctor and the protagonist is the issue of “fixed opinion”. The protagonist argues that no idea can be fixed, that stability is valid only for things that are not ideas, because ideas are dynamic. They move forward by pushing the place all the time. Of course, they may not always develop and grow, but it does not stabilize them. After all, “it’s much harder to stay still than to spend energy moving from one place to another.”

The doctor argues otherwise. According to him, fixed ideas are everywhere and they are much more. The world has already become dangerous because of fixed ideas. Also, static concepts are usually more contagious because they are rough, straight and built in a straight line.

In this conversation between the doctor and the protagonist, it is not considered who is right and who is wrong. Moreover, none of them have such a purpose. Suffering from the hell of their own existence, these two “poor” souls are just trying to get rid of their burden by talking. Just like we all do. However, it does not give very useful results. Just as happens to all of us.

‘I’m in the throes of severe pain’

“This exchange of thoughts is presented to the reader for reflection, not the ‘thoughts’ that our people send to each other at sea: thoughts are accessories for a game based on motion.”

In this book, Valerie clashes ideas with the current of consciousness. On a slippery surface, fast and busy. It inevitably resembles a ‘notebook’. Valerie wrote his thoughts every day from 1894 until his death. In fact, we get the most out of it from the articles here. Like ‘Fixed Idea’ is a degenerate, edited version of the ‘notebook’.

‘Fixed Ideas’, a book that looks at “to go”, examines the relationship between two ancient men with some questions that do not lose their currency and are enriched with new answers every day. So much so that the question of whether or not there is a fixed idea is losing importance.

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