Monday 3 March 2008

ITLAD literary reference: "Vallande Ouders" by A.F.T. van der Heijden

In this Dutch novel two characters, Albert and Thjum break into an empty hotel late at night. As they do so they both experience a simultaneous deja vu:

"Wait a second, wait a second ... standing here loke this with a flight of stairs going down and a flight of stairs going up ... and after that a couple of boys go looking through a cupboard, pull the drawers open ... it's all so familiar.'

'But when ... when?'

'Yes, yes, carry on talking: I know exactly, and I mean exacly what you are going to say next.'

'Go on then, tell me ... what am I going to say next?'

'"Go on then, tell me ..." that's it - the very words. The moment you said them I remembered them. "What am I going to say next" - when did you say those words before?"

It is only when they get on the roof that the deja vu stops. Van der Heijden has them philosophise about whether this event provides proof of the Eternal Recurrence. The author has Thjum disagree with this and he goes on to suggest the following amazingly itladian explanation:

"You know they always say that at the point of death we see our life pass like a film - and why not? - before our minds eye? To me, feelings of deja vu are like trailers, fragmentary previews of the film. Like a foretaste. Deja vu should really be called deja prevu."

If ITLAD is right then it is both vu and prevu!

(this reference is from Why Life Speeds Up As You Get Older by Douwe Draaisma - Cambridge University Press 2004)


Anonymous said...

Another such literary reference can be found at the very end of the final book of Stephen King's "Dark Tower" series. The protagonist has finally reached the Tower, which he's been seeking throughout the seven books of the series. However, he almost immediately seems to forget that he's reached it, believing himself to be back at the beginning of his quest:

"The gunslinger paused for a moment, swaying on his feet. He thought he'd almost passed out. It was the heat, of course; the damned heat. There was a wind, but it was dry and brought no relief. He took his waterskin, judged how much was left by the heft of it, knew he shouldn't drink -- it wasn't time to drink -- and had a swallow, anyway.

"For a moment he had felt he was somewhere else. In the Tower itself, mayhap. But of course the desert was tricky, and full of mirages. The Dark Tower still lay thousands of wheels ahead. That sense of having climbed many stairs and looked into many rooms where many faces had looked back at him was already fading.

"'I will reach it,' he thought, squinting up at the pitiless sun. 'I swear on the name of my father that I will.'

"'And perhaps this time if you get there it will be different,' a voice whispered -- surely the voice of desert delirium, for what other time had there ever been? He was what he was and where he was, just that, no more than that, no more. . . ."

The book ends with the same sentence that started the series: "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."

Anthony Peake said...


Thank you for your contribution. You know I have picked up King's 'The Dark Tower' many times but never got round to reading it. I guess that my non-fiction and book related research tends to get in the way of simply reading for pleasure.



Karl Le Marcs said...

Firstly, hello *smile* Secondly, you are right. I read the "Dark Tower" books a few years ago but didn't make this connection (in part owing to the sheer volume of stuff I read but no doubt owing to the not inconsiderate amount of wine I remember imbibing during the "Dark Tower" days)
Thanks for bringing this connection up, I shall revisit my King to look at this.
By the way, isn't "The Stand" simply genius, few agree with me, but I hope you might !

Karl Le Marcs said...

Oooooooh and on the literary front, I finally remembered to give Tony a copy of "Mobius Dick" by Andrew Crumey which should be read by anyone even partially interested in ITLAD.

Anthony Peake said...


On re-reading my post and vis-a-vis our discussions with regard to the Itladian content of Becket's 'Waiting For Godot' the two characters in the book have many similarities with Estragon Gogo) and Vladimir (Didi)with regard to The Eternal Return.
What do you think?

Karl Le Marcs said...


I have posted my response as a front-page post here: