Den tause talens poetikk. Krysskulturell, postsekulær mystikk hos Jon Fosse


  • Ingrid Nymoen


Jon Fosse, Mysteriet i trua, stillhetens poetikk, krysskulturell poetikk, postsekulær poetikk


"To write is to listen". That is how Jon Fosse, in the book Mysteriet i trua (2015), explains the essence of his poetics to theologian and fellow writer, Eskil Skjeldal. The book is the published version of a dialogue between Skjeldal and Fosse. The word ‘mystery’ in the title refers to the theology and Holy Mass of the Catholic Church, to which both Fosse and Skjeldal converted. In the course of the dialogue between the two converts, however, the conversation changes into an interview with Fosse about his poetics, with the notion of mystery said to imply characteristic aspects of his silent poetics. As a consequence, in the interview with Fosse, the notion of mystery refers to both poetics and religion, although poetics and religion remain distinct; in other words, Fosse does not present a poetics that might be called religious.

The contribution argues that Fosse applies religion as linguistic material; more precisely, he converts the silent rituals of different religions and Christian confessions into a poetic language. His main material seems to be the silent meetings of the Quakers. The spiritual seeking of a silent meeting is transformed into the verbal silence of a writer, who is conceived as a receiver rather than a producer. He or she is not a narrator producing a narrative: not a real or implicit voice guiding a real or implicit reader throughout the reading of the text. The writer is more like an ear, constantly changing listening position in the text. Turned to different cultures with different religions and philosophies, the writer can "hear" what we might call a "cross-cultural discourse". The result is a multicultural form of post-modernism, different from other forms, and beyond the difference between religion and philosophy.