Raymond Radiguet is the genius few people ever heard about. Deceased at 20, all it took was a single novel to pencil in his immortality. Cocteau probably had his role to play by comparing him to Rimbaud. But Radiguet didn't really need it. The confusing lightness of his style sewn with seams of subtlety and profound yet discrete humanity rages through the reader soul in this incredible passage from "Le diable au corps". Excuse the amateur translation but this is exceptional. Radiguet (or the narrator) kissed the now married Marthe whose husband is at war. She's the one who pulled his head to her lips. And now she's asking him to leave. But wait ! He's the one apologilizing. See ? The kid trying to play a man who's fighting off the kid inside but still doesn't know how to react:
My tears of rage were getting mixed with my tears of pain. That is how the fury of the caught wolf hurts just as much as the trap. If I had talked, I would've insulted Marthe. My silence worried her; she saw it as a sign of resignation. "Since it's too late, was I making her think, in my clairvoyant injustice, I'd like him to suffer". In the fire, I was trembling, my teeth were chattering. To my real pain, which was spurring from my childhood, childish feelings were adding up. I was the spectator who didn't want to leave because the ending didn't please him. I said:"I won't go. You mocked me. I don't want to see you any more"
He doesn't want to see her any more. But he doesn't want to leave ! And there and then came to mind that beautiful excerpt from Ted Hughes' letter to his son about everybody's inner child:
So everybody develops a whole armour of secondary self, the artificially constructed being that deals with the outer world, and the crush of circumstances. And when we meet people this is what we usually meet. And if this is the only part of them we meet we're likely to get a rough time, and to end up making 'no contact'. But when you develop a strong divining sense for the child behind that armour, and you make your dealings and negotiations only with that child, you find that everybody becomes, in a way, like your own child. It's an intangible thing. But they too sense when that is what you are appealing to, and they respond with an impulse of real life, you get a little flash of the essential person, which is the child. Usually, that child is a wretchedly isolated undeveloped little being. It's been protected by the efficient armour, it's never participated in life, it's never been exposed to living and to managing the person's affairs, it's never been given responsibility for taking the brunt. And it's never properly lived. That's how it is in almost everybody. And that little creature is sitting there, behind the armour, peering through the slits. And in its own self, it is still unprotected, incapable, inexperienced. Every single person is vulnerable to unexpected defeat in this inmost emotional self. At every moment, behind the most efficient seeming adult exterior, the whole world of the person's childhood is being carefully held like a glass of water bulging above the brim. And in fact, that child is the only real thing in them.
Pure mental explosion!