Maia Jaliashvili                                                                                                                                                                         # 7

 Aesthetics of Absurdity in the Modern Georgian Novel According  Zaza Tvaradze’s Novel “The Words

“My field, - said Goethe, - is time.” That is indeed the absurd speech. What, in fact, is the Absurd Man? He, who without negating it, does nothing for the eternal. Not that nostalgia is foreign to him. But he prefers his courage and his reasoning. The first teaches him to live without appeal and to get along with what he has; the second informs him of his limits. Assured of his temporally limited freedom, of his revolt devoid of future, and of his mortal consciousness, he lives out his adventure within the span of his lifetime. That is his field, that is his action, which he shields from any judgment but his own. A greater life for him cannot mean another life. That would be unfair (Camus 1996: 63).

The problems of absurd is often reflected in the modern Georgian literature. Now, we will discuss about Zaza Tvaradze’s novel "The Words".

In general the modern Georgian novel is distinguished with its interesting variation of reality. Global post modernistic tendencies are often displayed in Georgian prose and, to this view point, the  marks of nonselection are reflected,  intertexstyality, ironic mode and others, but, typologically this novel  is related with `new novel~ (known as `Anti-novel~  in the western Europe).

If I were a tree among trees, a cat among animals, this life would have a meaning, or rather this problem would not arise, for I should belong to this world. I should be this world to which I am now opposed by my whole consciousness and my whole insistence upon familiarity. This ridiculous reason is what sets me in opposition to all creation. I cannot cross it out with a stroke of the pen. What I believe to be true I must therefore preserve. What seems to me so obvious, even against me, I must support. And what constitutes the basis of that conflict, of that break between the world and my mind, but the awareness of it? If therefore I want to preserve it, I can through a constant awareness, ever revived, ever alert. This is what, for the moment, I must remember. At this moment the absurd, so obvious and yet so hard to win, returns to a man's life and finds its home there. At this moment, too, the mind can leave the arid, dried-up path of lucid effort. That path now emerges in daily life. It encounters the world of the anonymous impersonal pronoun "one," but henceforth man enters in with his revolt and his lucidity. He has forgotten how to hope. This hell of the present is his Kingdom at last. All problems recover their sharp edge. Abstract evidence retreats before the poetry of forms and colors. Spiritual conflicts become embodied and return to the abject and magnificent shelter of man's heart. None of them is settled. But all are transfigured. Is one going to die, escape by the leap, rebuild a mansion of ideas and forms to one's own scale? Is one, on the contrary, going to take up the heart-rending and marvelous wager of the absurd? Let's make a final effort in this regard and draw all our conclusions. The body, affection, creation, action, human nobility will then resume their places in this mad world. At last man will again find there the wine of the absurd and the bread of indifference on which he feeds his greatness" (Camus 2009: 1)

The main thing in the novel of Zaza tvaradze are not fiction, personages, characters, but some kind of metaphysics reality, that he creates  with the help of  the “personified” words. The words are used in the dimension of novel as alive personages and they entirely changes ordinary view of reality. The words create some kind new forth dimension of word. In this virtual space the man lives with the words, as with the live things. In this way he manifests his impulses of subconscious.

The word in this novel is not only a material to creation the material of narrative, but it itself is as a new reality, that replaces ordinary, human, that is  perception by the way of sensitive organ.

Author does not underline mystic or fantastic feelings. His new reality is very close to usual, like a dream, but with the difference that dream going out in the first line in the first place and readers feels that imaginary world is the first-rate than usual world. So awakening man really is sleeping, because he is blunting to cognize the invisible world.

The writer is experimenting to penetrate the reality which is hidden beyond, in the deep unconscious by the way conversation, gesture, feelings.

The alter-ego of Zaza Tvaradze in the novel is psychologist- narrator. He looks ironically at psychology and is trying to explain the sense of human existence or the motivations of life. That is why he reflected slightest unnoticed manifests of subconscious with the purpose give evidence the hidden impulses of outward appearance drama.

The central artistic face in the novel is the “blissful office” - the author creates the illusion of words games in this syntagma, herewith against each other refined unreality and rough ordinary reality.

The office is the pragmatic representative of contemporality, which will erase in the novel but unfortunately only temporarily with the purpose of appearance ones tragic defeat in the struggle of romantic and vital forces.

The reader will live in the beautiful world of words, as a free and gambler creator like an Adam, who creates the words himself in the paradise and gives the names for everything. This remembering or paradise turn in the Garden of Eden .The writer needs for that he could have been able to express more sharply the pain of loss, solitary and unknown of the man living in the world of contemporary technical civilization.

The heroes of the novel are absurd men. What cause the feeling of absurd?

Camus notes that we can encounter the absurd not only on the level of experience, but on the level of the intellect as well. The mind is driven by a "nostalgia for unity," an ardent desire to make sense of the universe, to reduce it to a unified, comprehensible whole. Camus uses Aristotle to show on a logical level the problems with asserting a single, unified "truth." On the level of science, a theory can describe the world, but it cannot ultimately explain it. The world is made up of such diversity, and there are so many different perspectives we can take on understanding it, that it seems futile that we should ever find one absolute Truth, one correct way of looking at the world and understanding it at once in its entirety. The unifying reason that we hope to apply to the world is not in the world itself: the world is fundamentally irrational.

Camus identifies the absurd in this confrontation between our desire for clarity and our understanding of the world's irrationality. Neither the world nor the human mind is in itself absurd. Rather, absurdity finds itself in the confrontation between the two.

There have always been thinkers who have tried to confront the irrationality of experience rather than deny it, and Camus notes that the past century has produced quite a number of such thinkers. Heidegger speaks of our anguish when confronted with the absurd, but asserts that we find our greatest alertness in this anguish. Jaspers asserts that we cannot know anything that goes beyond immediate experience, and exposes the flaws of philosophical systems that claim otherwise. Chestov examines human irrationality, and is more interested in seeking out the exception than the rule. Kierkegaard essentially lives the absurd, fearlessly diving into all sorts of contradictions. Husserl is interested in the diversity of the world, and encourages full and equal awareness of all phenomena. These thinkers all share the awareness that only the limitations on human knowledge are clear: the rest is incomprehensible.

The reason that the heroes of the Zaza Tvaradze’s novel "The Words" can not change the reality and the pain of weakness unsociability with it causes the aspiration for escape. To express the same kind of protests is above the spiritual forces of personages, besides they can not see the sense of this protest that is why they are going to fight from the material world in the new, imagination, and dream dimension. Here the release from the chain to existence, from fleeting, vanity, because there are not necessity to searching for the sense of life.

The game with the words for the first time is senseless. The words which came from amused trunk aggravates the sense more absurdity. "Soso will go to the office constantly" (Tvaradze 2008: 29). Such sentence represented the emptiness of hero’s soul. There are plenty of ironical and parody discussion, that reflected the absurdity of thought, for example, "Ashxabadi such as a chrysalis" (Tvaradze 2008: 29).

Are the underlined the concrete epoch in this novel? Of course there are the   problems of contemporaneity, represented the last years of XX century, with mist of vagueness and despair. But the novel abolished concrete boundaries of time and space and reflected  the melancholy of life of  humanity.


  1. Tvaradze 2008: Tvaradze Zaza. The words, Publishing house of Bakur Sulakauri,  Tbilisi, 2008 (in Georgian).

  2. Camus 1996: Camus Albert. The Myth of Sisyphus, Lomisi,  Tbilisi, 1996 (in Georgian).

  3. Camus:  Camus Albert.




Volume 3, Issue 2


Rustaveli Institute of Georgian Literature

Georgian Electronic Journal of Literature