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He crumpled it into a ball and, struggling to his feet, opened the window. The telegram began to fall, fluttering in the cold semi- darkness.
And yet at the same time, the overwhelmingly telegram-like language of the novel can be said to function as a kind of epic language, albeit a par- odic version of one. The parody, however, is not even in the sense that the seeming transparency of such language is revealed as obfuscation or abuse, as noted above. Far more, the language of the telegram is parodic in the sense that it is precisely this language that is the language of epic in the twentieth century.
As he himself increasingly comes to realize, the general is merely the other face, or rather the extension, of the modern industrial- J N T ization and bureaucratization of warfare. In the end, not even the dignity of failure is available. What do you say?
Say yes, priest! Here you go. Wait a minute. Then suddenly the door swung open. A fat woman in a nightgown looked down at him disapprovingly. And at your age. Colonel Z. As I have already suggested, what is most paradoxically present in the novel is its series of absences: graves which lead to more graves, holes in the ground and in the plot which lead to more holes, bodies which lead to more bodies, deserted roads which lead to more deserted roads, empty words of dialogue and of narration which necessitate more empty words, right up until the final silencing.
It is per- haps not really a joke that the general offers himself in place of the colonel: as in so many ghost stories, the living hero, initially skeptical to- wards the destructive powers he faces, ends up himself among the dead.
In the same way, the novel attempts to give voice and form to a history that exceeds the con- straints of its own form; what remains in the end is only the account of the failure of the attempt.
While the novel indeed presents the temptation to read it as a political morality play, to a far greater extent it dramatizes the problems involved in this very reading, thus calling into question the conditions of its own creation.
In juxtaposing the symbolic representation of one national unity with the breakdown of another, how- ever, both are put into question. Kadare makes the national narrative—any national narrative—tremble to the point of collapse before the ghosts that inevitably haunt it. Is the reader to grin, then, along with J N T the cynical skull, at the whole enterprise? At the laughable attempt to dredge up meaning from the recalcitrant muteness of the earth and to make the dead sing with one voice in the national chorus?
Here, at least, it would seem difficult not to. For The General of the Dead Army is a novel of decomposition, in more ways than just one.
To call these dead forth is of neces- sity to confront their disunity, their absurdity, their intractability, their toxicity and contaminating or lethal effects, and—most of all—the deafen- ing roar of their silence. Notes 1. All translations from this and other cited texts in the Albanian are my own. The novel has been published in English in a somewhat imperfect double-translation from the French as The General of the Dead Army, trans. Derek Coltman New York: Arcade, , first edition Aspects in which the edition differs significantly from the edition will be noted in the text.
See Deleuze and Guattari, esp. Morgan notes that such a mission was indeed in the works in Albania but that there is no evidence it was actually carried out see Morgan  63—64 and —, note The ability to recoup and honor the remains of soldiers killed in action proved an in- dispensable way to recycle military defeat as moral victory.
Many soldiers perished without markers or were buried in makeshift and indefensible graveyards.
To this sentence is attached in a footnote a brief summary of The General of the Dead Army. Kadare has thematized this sub- ject in his novel Broken April Prylli i thyer. The edition contains only one such chapter, located slightly past the midpoint of the novel; in later editions, however, this single original numberless chapter has been multiplied into a genuine structural leitmotif.
A similar potential wordplay appears at the moment just before the general is con- fronted with the truth about his heroic colonel.
Incidentally, the hotel is a specific and real one, which still exists. The edition gives a somewhat less ambivalent version of this scene: during the drive to Tirana from the wedding, the general, feeling ill, asks the driver to stop the car. He then announces his intention to throw away colonel Z.
The edition lacks the last two chapters of later editions, ending with a version of the telegram-discarding scene cited above. As I hope I have shown, the highly ironic, ambivalent, and self-referential nature of the novel makes it impossible to extract from it a positive political statement, much less a metaphysical allegory, and it is this impossibility itself that is the issue. Works Cited Anderson, Benedict.
Imagined Communities. London: Verso, Apter, Emily. Bhabha, Homi K. London: Routlege, , 1—7. Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature. Dana Polan. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, Derrida, Jacques. Peggy Kamuf. New York and London: Routledge, Leonard Fox. New York: Gjonlekaj, Tirana: Onufri, , 5—8. Hegel, G. The Philosophy of Right. Alan White. Newburyport: Focus P , Narrative Discourse: An Essay in Method. Jane E. Ithaca: Cornell UP, Robert Elsie.
The New Yorker 6 Dec. Dosja H. The General of the Dead Army. Derek Coltman.
New York: Arcade, Vepra Letrare [Literary Works] 3. Tirana: Onufri, Prilli i thyer. Vepra [Works] 8. Prishtina: Rilindja, Klosi, Ardian.
Lubojna, Fatos. Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers and Bernd J. Bloomington: Indiana UP, , 91— Malcolm, Noel. New York Review of Books Morgan, Peter.
Ismail Kadare: The Writer and the Dictatorship — London: Legenda, Qosja, Rexhep. Tirana: Toena, The KudoZ network provides a framework for translators and others to assist each other with translations or explanations of terms and short phrases. Broken April is a novel by award winning Albanian author Ismail Kadare. The name field is required.
The story tells of Gjorg Berisha, a year-old Albanian man living on the high plateau. Linked Data More info about Linked Data. Review native language verification applications submitted by your peers. Search WorldCat Find items in libraries near you. Please enter your name. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
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