|Posted on Sunday, February 09, 2003 - 01:36 am: |
I have Colin Pink to thank for discovering the amazing quotation about Marcel Proust below.
(BTW, I have recently - to the exclusion of much else - been making my second rite of passage (30 years since I first read it) through 'In Search Of Lost Time' by Proust. A wonderful experience, seeking Lost Time via Lost Time!).
Cocteau on seeing Proust's corpse, with the MS of 'In Search Of Lost Time' piled on the mantlepiece:
"That pile of paper on his left was still alive, like watches ticking on the wrists of dead soldiers."
|Posted on Sunday, March 02, 2003 - 06:52 am: |
Some more Proust just encountered. Wonderful!
I learned that a death had occurred that day which distressed me greatly -- that of Bergotte. It was known that he had been ill for a long time past. Not, of course, with the illness from which he had suffered originally and which was natural. Nature scarcely seems capable of giving us any but quite short illnesses. But medicine has developed the art of prolonging them. Remedies, the respite that they procure, the relapses that a temporary cessation of them provokes, produce a simulacrum of illness to which the patient grows so accustomed that he ends by stabilising it, stylising it, just as children have regular fits of coughing long after they have been cured of the whooping cough. Then the remedies begin to have less effect, the doses are increased, they cease to do any good, but they have begun to do harm thanks to this lasting indisposition. Nature would not have offered them so long a tenure. It is a great wonder that medicine can almost rival nature in forcing a man to remain in bed, to continue taking some drug on pain of death. From then on, the artificially grafted illness has taken root, has become a secondary but a genuine illness, with this difference only, that natural illnesses are cured, but never those which medicine creates, for it does not know the secret of their cure.
For years past Bergotte had ceased to go out of doors. In any case he had never cared for society, or had cared for it for a day only, to despise it as he despised everything else, and in the same fashion, which was his own, namely to despise a thing not because it was beyond his reach but as soon as he had attained it. He lived so simply that nobody suspected how rich he was, and anyone who had known would still have been mistaken, having thought him a miser whereas no one was ever more generous. He was generous above all towards women -- girls, one ought rather to say -- who were ashamed to receive so much in return for so little. He excused himself in his own eyes because he knew that he could never produce such good work as in an atmosphere of amorous feelings. Love is too strong a word, but pleasure that is at all rooted in the flesh is helpful to literary work because it cancels all other pleasures, for instance the pleasures of society, those which are the same for everyone. And even if this love leads to disillusionment, it does at least stir, even by so doing, the surface of the soul which otherwise would be in danger of becoming stagnant. Desire is therefore not without its value to the writer in detaching him first of all from his fellow men and from conforming to their standards, and afterwards in restoring some degree of movement to a spiritual machine which, after a certain age, tends to come to a standstill. We do not achieve happiness but we gain some insights into the reasons which prevent us from being happy and which would have remained invisible to us but for these sudden revelations of disappointment. Dreams, we know, are not realisable; we might not form any, perhaps, were it not for desire, and it is useful to us to form them in order to see them fail and to learn from their failure. And so Bergotte said to himself: “I spend more than a multimillionaire on girls, but the pleasures or disappointments that they give me make me write a book which brings me in money.” Economically, this argument was absurd, but no doubt he found some charm in thus transmuting gold into caresses and caresses into gold. We saw, at the time of my grandmother’s death, how a weary old age loves repose. Now in society there is nothing but conversation. Vapid though it is, it has the capacity to eliminate women, who become nothing more than questions and answers. Removed from society, women become once more what is so reposeful to a weary old man, an object of contemplation. In any case, now there was no longer any question of all this. I have said that Bergotte never went out of doors, and when he got out of bed for an hour in his room, he would be smothered in shawls, rugs, all the things with which a person covers himself before exposing himself to intense cold or going on a railway journey. He would apologise for them to the few friends whom he allowed to penetrate to his sanctuary; pointing to his tartan plaids, his travelling-rugs, he would say merrily: “After all, my dear fellow, life, as Anaxagoras has said, is a journey.” Thus he went on growing steadily colder, a tiny planet offering a prophetic image of the greater, when gradually heat will withdraw from the earth, then life itself. Then the resurrection will have come to an end, for, however far forward into future generations the works of men may shine, there must none the less be men. If certain species hold out longer against the invading cold, when there are no longer any men, and if we suppose Bergotte’s fame to have lasted until then, suddenly it will be extinguished for all time. It will not be the last animals that will read him, for it is scarcely probable that, like the Apostles at Pentecost, they will be able to understand the speech of the various races of mankind without having learned it.
In the months that preceded his death, Bergotte suffered from insomnia, and what was worse, whenever he did fall asleep, from nightmares which, if he awoke, made him reluctant to go to sleep again. He had long been a lover of dreams, even bad dreams, because thanks to them, thanks to the contradiction they present to the reality which we have before us in our waking state, they give us, at the moment of waking if not before, the profound sensation of having slept. But Bergotte’s nightmares were not like that. When he spoke of nightmares, he used in the past to mean unpleasant things that happened in his brain. Latterly, it was as though from somewhere outside himself that he would see a hand armed with a damp cloth which, rubbed over his face by an evil woman, kept trying to wake him; or an intolerable itching in his thighs; or the rage -- beçause Bergotte had murmured in his sleep that he was driving badly -- of a raving lunatic of a cabman who flung himself upon the writer, biting and gnawing his fingers. Finally, as soon as it had grown sufficiently dark in his sleep, nature would arrange a sort of undress rehearsal of the apoplectic stroke that was to carry him off. Bergotte would arrive in a carriage beneath the porch of Swann’s new house, and would try to get out. A shattering attack of dizziness would pin him to his seat; the concierge would try to help him out; he would remain seated, unable to lift himself up or straighten his legs. He would cling to the stone pillar in front of him, but could not find sufficient support to enable him to stand.
|Posted on Sunday, March 02, 2003 - 10:53 am: |
Little Patch Of Yellow Wall --
I just gave you a quotation from Proust about Bergotte the author. A few pages later comes the account of his death. It is probably the most beautiful passage I have ever read. May I share it with you below?
The circumstances of his death were as follows. A fairly mild attack of uraemia had led to his being ordered to rest. But, an art critic having written somewhere that in Vermeer’s ‘View of Delft’ (lent by the Gallery at The Hague for an exhibition of Dutch painting), a picture which he adored and imagined that he knew by heart, a little patch of yellow wall (which he could not remember) was so well painted that it was, if one looked at it by itself, like some priceless specimen of Chinese art, of a beauty that was sufficient in itself, Bergotte ate a few potatoes, left the house, and went to the exhibition. At the first few steps he had to climb, he was overcome by an attack of dizziness. He walked past several pictures and was struck by the aridity and pointlessness of such an artificial kind of art, which was greatly inferior to the sunshine of a windswept Venetian palazzo, or of an ordinary house by the sea. At last he came to the Vermeer which he remembered as more striking, more different from anything else he knew, but in which, thanks to the critic’s article, he noticed for the first time some small figures in blue, that the sand was pink, and, finally, the precious substance of the tiny patch of yellow wall. His dizziness increased; he fixed his gaze, like a child upon a yellow butterfly that it wants to catch, on the precious little patch of wall. “That’s how I ought to have written,” he said. “My last books are too dry, I ought to have gone over them with a few layers of colour, made my language precious in itself, like this little patch of yellow wall.” Meanwhile he was not unconscious of the gravity of his condition. In a celestial pair of scales there appeared to him, weighing down one the pans, his own life, while the other contained the little patch of wall so beautifully painted in yellow. He felt that he had rashly sacrificed the former for the latter. “All the same,” he said to himself, “I shouldn’t like to be the headline news of this exhibition for the evening papers.”
He repeated to himself: “Little patch of yellow wall, with a sloping roof, little patch of yellow wall.” Meanwhile he sank down on to a circular settee; whereupon he suddenly ceased to think that his life was in jeopardy and, reverting to his natural optimism, told himself: “It’s nothing, merely a touch of indigestion from those potatoes, which were undercooked.” A fresh attack struck him down; he rolled from the settee to the floor, as visitors and attendants came hurrying to his assistance. He was dead. Dead for ever? Who can say? Certainly, experiments in spiritualism offer us no more proof than the dogmas of religion that the soul survives death. All that we can say is that everything is arranged in this life as though we entered it carrying a burden of obligations contracted in a former life; there is no reason inherent in the conditions of life on this earth that can make us consider ourselves obliged to do good, to be kind and thoughtful, even to be polite, nor for an atheist artist to consider himself obliged to begin over again a score of times a piece of work the admiration aroused by which will matter little to his worm-eaten body, like the patch of yellow wall painted with so much skill and refinement by an artist destined to be for ever unknown and barely identified under the name Vermeer. All these obligations, which have no sanction in our present life, seem to belong to a different world, a world based on kindness, scrupulousness, self-sacrifice, a world entirely different from this one and which we leave in order to be born on this earth, before perhaps returning there to live once again beneath sway of those unknown laws which we obeyed because we bore their precepts in our hearts, not knowing whose hand had traced them there – those laws to which every profound work of the intellect brings us nearer and which are invisible only – if then! – to fools. So that the idea that Bergotte was not dead for ever is by no means improbable.
They buried him, but all through that night of mourning, in the lighted shop-windows, his books, arranged three by three, kept vigil like angels with outspread wings and seemed, for him who was no more, the symbol of his resurrection.
|Posted on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 10:59 pm: |
Red Nose Day in UK today! Any fiction about noses? Or did Kafka write something about a nose?
"Nose, nose, jolly red nose,
Who gave thee this jolly red nose?
Nutmegs & ginger, cinnamon & cloves,
And they gave me this jolly red nose."
Francis Beaumont (1584-1616)
|Posted on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 11:57 pm: |
"Had Cleopatra's nose been shorter, the whole face of the world would have been different."
|Posted on Friday, March 14, 2003 - 12:00 am: |
Cordwainer Smith wrote NORSTRILIA. That's close.
|Posted on Friday, March 14, 2003 - 12:01 am: |
"A large nose is the mark of a witty, courteous, affable, generous and liberal man."
--Cyrano de Bergerac
|Posted on Friday, March 14, 2003 - 05:43 am: |
I must have been thinking about 'Kafka's Dick':
Someone has reminded me about Gogol's The Nose -- and I was already vaguely aware of an opera by Shostakovich called 'The Nose'. Somewhere on the internet it says of this:
"These works, particularly The Nose, reflect the then-permitted influence of Western avant-garde music, but The Nose was regarded as a sign of ‘bourgeois decadence’ and withdrawn from the stage."
Has anyone actually heard this opera? I haven't.
|Posted on Friday, March 14, 2003 - 08:43 am: |
Red nose in JV's Dradin:
"and Dradin could remember many a time that the man had, honking his red, red nose--a monstrosity of a nose, out of proportion to anything in the family line"
|Posted on Friday, March 14, 2003 - 09:08 am: |
From 'The Dong with a Luminous Nose'
By Edward Lear
He gathered the bark of the Twangum Tree
On the flowery plain that grows.
And he wove him a wondrous Nose,
A Nose as strange as a Nose could be!
Of vast proportions and painted red,
And tied with cords to the back of his head.
- In a hollow rounded space it ended
With a luminous lamp within suspended,
All fenced about
With a bandage stout
To prevent the wind from blowing it out;
And with holes all round to send the light,
In gleaming rays on the dismal night.
|Posted on Friday, March 14, 2003 - 09:10 am: |
Red Nose in Proust.
M. de Saint-Candé whose monocle was "encircled, like Saturn, with an enormous ring, was the center of gravity of a face which adjusted itself constantly in relation to it, a face whose quivering red nose and swollen sarcastic lips endeavoured by their grimaces to keep up with the running fire of wit that sparkled in the polished disc, and saw itself preferred to the most handsome looks in the world by snobbish and depraved young women whom it set dreaming of artificial charms and the refinement of sensual bliss."
|Posted on Friday, March 14, 2003 - 02:24 pm: |
Red Nose in Poe.
"A very 'fine old English gentleman,' was my grand-uncle Rumgudgeon, but unlike him of the song, he had his weak points. He was a little, pursy, pompous, passionate semicircular somebody, with a red nose, a thick scull, [sic] a long purse, and a strong sense of his own consequence. With the best heart in the world, he contrived, through a predominant whim of contradiction, to earn for himself, among those who only knew him superficially, the character of a curmudgeon."
Three Sundays In A Week (Poe)
|Posted on Friday, March 14, 2003 - 03:01 pm: |
'Surely thine hour has come, thy great wind blows,
Far-off, most secret, and inviolate Nose?'
A fragment from one of Mr Yeats' early notebooks.
|Posted on Saturday, March 15, 2003 - 12:10 am: |
My Fair Lady by Lerner and Loewe opened this day on Broadway in 1956.
"I've grown accustomed to the trace
Of something in the air,
Accustomed to her face."
|Posted on Sunday, March 16, 2003 - 12:04 am: |
'Nightshade' appears in this quote from 'The Scarlet Letter' by Nathanial Hawthorne (a book first published this day in 1850):
"And whither was he now going? Would he not suddenly sink into the earth, leaving a barren and blasted spot, where, in due course of time, would be seen deadly nightshade, dogwood, henbane, and whatever else of vegetable wickedness the climate could produce, all flourishing with hideous luxuriance? Or would he spread bat's wings and flee away, looking so much the uglier the higher he rose towards heaven?"
|Posted on Wednesday, March 19, 2003 - 08:18 am: |
Philip Roth was born today in 1933, who wrote:
"An infantryman's heart ... like his feet, at first aches and swells, but finally grows horny enough for him to travel the weirdest paths without feeling a thing."
|Posted on Thursday, March 20, 2003 - 08:17 am: |
Today in 1852 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' by Harriet Beecher Stowe was first published. She said this of the book:
"I did not write it. God wrote it. I merely did his dictation."
|Posted on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 10:40 am: |
Johann Sebastian Bach
(1685-1750) born on **Mar 21** German composer, organist. He was a master of church music and Composer of the Baroque era; works include "Brandenburg Concertos," 1721 and "Well-Tempered Clavier," 1722-44.
"There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself."
"Music is an agreeable harmony for the honor of God and the permissible delights of the soul."
"I have always kept one end in view, namely . . . to conduct a well-regulated church music to the honour of God."
"I was obliged to be industrious. Whoever is equally industrious will succeed . . . equally well."
"My present post amounts to about 700 thaler, and when there are rather more funerals than usual, the fees rise in proportion; but when a healthy wind blows, they fall accordingly . . ."
|Posted on Monday, March 24, 2003 - 12:16 pm: |
William Morris - born on today's date in 1834 - said:
"If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
|Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2003 - 08:07 am: |
Flannery O'Connor was born on today's date in 1925. She wrote:
"The novel is an art form and when you use it for anything else other than art, you pervert it."
|Posted on Wednesday, March 26, 2003 - 08:04 am: |
"Don't eat yellow snow."
|Posted on Wednesday, March 26, 2003 - 08:14 am: |
A. E. Housman was born on today's date in 1859.
"If a line of poetry strays into my memory, my skin bristles so that the razor ceases to act."
And in his 'The Shropshire Lad':
"Shot? so quick, so clean an ending?
Oh that was right, lad, that was brave."
|Posted on Thursday, March 27, 2003 - 08:09 am: |
Alfred de Vigny was born on today's date in 1797 who wrote:
"Silence alone is great; all else is weakness."
|Posted on Monday, March 31, 2003 - 06:46 am: |
John Fowles - one of my all time favourite writers - was born on today's date in 1926. His 'The Magus' had an enormous effect on me in the late sixties -- and I still prefer the original version to the one Fowles himself revised a few years later.
"There are many reasons why novelists write, but they all have one thing in common -- a need to create an alternative world."
John Fowles in 'Sunday Times Magazine' in 1977.
|Posted on Monday, March 31, 2003 - 08:12 am: |
John Fowles' THE ARISTOS is just to hand ... ah, here it is, just by my elbow, where it always is.
Who else uses this book as a sort of lean-to bible?
"1. The book you are about to begin is written in the form of notes.
This is not laziness on my part, but an attempt to suppress all
rhetoric, all persuasion through style. Many of the notes are
dogmatic expressions of opinion; and here, similarly, my intention is
not to bludgeon into belief, but to banish all possibility of
persuasion by artificial means. I do not want my ideas to be liked
merely because they are likeably presented; I want them to be liked
|Posted on Monday, March 31, 2003 - 08:18 am: |
I'd better come clean. I've been keeping my powder dry for a year or so. There is a whole chapter in THE ARISTOS called 'The Nemo'.
"1. I trace all these anxieties back to a supreme source of anguish: that of the nemo."
|Posted on Tuesday, April 01, 2003 - 07:48 am: |
Milan Kundera was born on today's date in 1929. In future echo of the internet, he wrote in 1991:
"Culture is perishing in overproduction, in an avalanche of words, in the madness of quantity."
|Posted on Saturday, April 05, 2003 - 07:33 am: |
'dreams of dreams'
Algernon Charles Swinburne was born on today's date in 1837.
"Here, where the world is quiet;
Here, where all trouble seems
Dead winds' and spent waves' riot
In doubtful dreams of dreams."
A.C. Swinburne (The Garden of Proserpine)
|Posted on Saturday, April 05, 2003 - 11:16 pm: |
I adore Swinburne, Des - he defines the peculiar nature of creative melancholia, for me. I think he understood better than most the nature of poetry;
'Yea, is not even Apollo
with hair and harpstring of gold
a bitter god to follow
a beautiful god to behold?'
Ask any poet!
|Posted on Monday, April 07, 2003 - 09:05 am: |
Two diverse writers born on today’s date: Donald Barthelme (who I understand to be Rhys Hughes’ very favourite writer) and William Wordsworth (someone I feel we should read more of: i.e The Excursion and The Prelude).
“And when the deed was done
I heard among the solitary hills
Low breathings coming after me, and sounds
Of undistinguishable motion, steps
Almost as silent as the turf they trod.”
From ‘The Prelude” (Childhood and School-Time) by Wordsworth
“The distinction between children and adults ... is at bottom a specious one, I feel. There are only individual egos, crazy for love.”
Donald Barthelme (‘Come Back, Dr Caligari’)
Is Swinburne a Decadent, btw, Dawn?
|Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2003 - 01:44 am: |
I know he was very much entangled with the pre-Raphelites, Des, especially with Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the greatest of them, IMHO, and Christina Rossetti. An odd mix of Romantic and Sadistic, he very much admired the Divine Marquis, some of his poems were inspired by his writings. I think he may have even translated some.
|Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2003 - 01:50 am: |
By the way, I love that Barthelme quote - I'm a great fan of his, also. Some of the most beautiful and inventive short stories I've ever read - he and Robert Walser are amazing.
|Posted on Sunday, April 13, 2003 - 12:55 am: |
Today in 1906, Samuel Beckett was born:
"Whoever I am, I don't know, I'll never know, in the silence you don't know..."
from 'The Unnameable'
And today in 1939, Seamus Heaney was born:
"Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun...
I'll dig with it."
|Posted on Monday, April 14, 2003 - 08:36 am: |
Samuel Beckett's first three books -- MORE PRICKS THAN KICKS, MURPHY and WATT -- are absolute (and strangely neglected) classics.
MURPHY is one of the greatest London novels ever written. WATT is simply one of the greatest novels of any kind ever written (I can't explain why I keep leaving it off my top 10 novels lists! I ought to rectify this!)
|Posted on Monday, April 14, 2003 - 08:58 am: |
As long as it doesn't knock out John Barth's Sot Weed Factor, I'd say.
|Posted on Tuesday, April 15, 2003 - 08:10 am: |
On today's date in 1843 Henry James was born. For about 15 years I've been trying to complete his 'Golden Bowl'!
This quote from him seems to prefigure the Internet:
"Experience is never limited, and it is never complete; it is an immense sensibility, a kind of huge spider-web of the finest silken threads suspended in the chamber of consciousness, and catching every air-borne particle in its tissue."
from 'The Art of Fiction' 1888
|Posted on Wednesday, April 16, 2003 - 08:41 am: |
Kingsley Amis was born on today's date in 1922 - who said:
"Women are really much nicer than men:
No wonder we like them."
"Death has got something to be said for it:
There's no need to get out of bed for it;
Wherever you may be,
They bring it to you, free."
And we've got him to thank for his son Martin!
|Posted on Thursday, May 01, 2003 - 07:00 am: |
On today's date in 1923, Joseph Heller was born. As well as some of the brilliant quotes from Catch 22 (like "He knew everything about literature except how to enjoy it.") -- he also said elsewhere:
"Mankind is resilient: the atrocities that horrified us a week ago become acceptable tomorrow."
|Posted on Monday, May 05, 2003 - 03:12 pm: |
After a shooting spree,
they always want to take the guns
away from the people
who didn't do it.
I sure as hell
wouldn't want to live in a society
where the only people
are the police and the military.
|Posted on Wednesday, May 07, 2003 - 09:38 am: |
Angela Carter was born today in 1940. She once said:
"I believe that all myths are products of the human mind and reflect only aspects of material human practice. I'm in the demythologising business."
|Posted on Tuesday, May 13, 2003 - 11:30 am: |
Daphne du Maurier - who wrote some wonderful stories of the macabre - was born today in 1907.
"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again."
|Posted on Tuesday, May 13, 2003 - 12:06 pm: |
Hmmm. I wonder what Burroughs' wife would have thought of that sentiment . . . if he hadn't blown her head off . . .
|Posted on Tuesday, May 13, 2003 - 12:58 pm: |
Birds don't live in burrows.
"Put a glass on your head."
|Posted on Saturday, May 17, 2003 - 05:04 am: |
Best quote ever! Probably my favourite quotation of all time... or the one that affects me most.
On today's date in 1935 Dennis Potter was born. He probably had the most influence on my creativity during my youth with his extremely imaginative TV dramas (including Pennies from Heaven and many others). Just before he died in 1994 he said this during a TV interview (he knew he was dying):
"Below my window in Ross, when I'm working in Ross, for example, there at this season, the blossom is out in full now...it's a plum tree, it looks like apple blossom, but it's white, and looking at it, instead of saying 'Oh that's nice blossom'...last week looking at it through the window when I'm writing, I see it is the whitest, frothiest, blossomest blossom that there ever could be, and I can see it."
|Posted on Wednesday, June 11, 2003 - 01:17 pm: |
"I'm almost serene. I can celebrate life. Below my window there's an apple tree in blossom. It's white. And looking at it--instead of saying, 'Oh, that's a nice blossom'--now, looking at it through the window, I see the whitest, frothiest, blossomest blossom that there ever could be. The nowness of everything is absolutely wondrous. If you see the present tense--boy, do you see it. And boy, do you celebrate it."
|Posted on Monday, June 16, 2003 - 06:39 am: |
Joyce Carol Oates was born today in 1938.
"For what *is* passes so swiftly and irrevocably into what *was*, no human claim can be of the least significance."
JCO from 'What I Lived For' (1994)
|Posted on Thursday, June 19, 2003 - 11:31 am: |
Salman Rushdie was born today in 1947.
It seems a lifetime that I've been reading THE GROUND BENEATH HER FEET by Salman Rushdie --- and its rite of passage seems tied up with my life, its ups and its downs. I finished it a few years ago. And I feel a different person as a result. It is a major work. Philosopical rock 'n roll! SF Alternate World novel. Magic Realism, too. Above all, insidious and cataclysmic at the same time. Full of some wonderful characters. It is about music and *is* music. Here are some quotes from it that struck me (there are many more I could have chosen):-----"He stood on his imagination, on what he had conjured out of nowhere, what did not, could not, would not exist without him. Now that it had been made, he existed only within it. Having created this territory, he trusted no other ground".----“They lived in a great city, a metropolis of many narratives that converged briefly and then separated for ever, discovering their different dooms in that crowd of stories through which all of us, following our own destinies, had to push and shove to find our way through, or out.” ---- “But the truth leaks out in our dreams; alone in our beds (because we are all alone at night, even if we do not sleep by ourselves), we soar, we fly, we flee. And in the waking dreams our societies permit, in our myths, our arts, our songs, we celebrate the non-belongers, the different ones, the outlaws, the freaks. What we forbid ourselves we pay good money to watch, in a playhouse or movie theatre, or to read about between the secret covers of a book. Our libraries, our palaces of entertainment tell the truth. The tramp, the assassin, the rebel, the thief, the mutant, the outcast, the delinquent, the devil, the sinner, the traveller, the gangster, the runner, the mask: if we did not recognize in them our least-fulfilled needs, we would not invent them over and over again, in every place, in every language, in every time.”-----It was a landmark book for the relatively recent turn of the Millennium.--Des
|Posted on Thursday, June 19, 2003 - 11:42 am: |
"Serpents of the agandhana species
Prefer immolation in dreary flame
To swallowing black venom
They have emitted once."
From the original Prakrit of Arya Sayyambhava's Dasavaikalika Sutra (one of the four mula sutras of the Svetambara Jainas), written around 429 BC.
|Posted on Saturday, June 21, 2003 - 01:52 am: |
Ian McEwan was born today in 1948.
"Film throws up an enormous amount of dust and heat and noise, urgent meetings and so on, which have nothing to do with making a film, but to do with people who are not creatively involved guarding their investments. I suppose it's what you should expect when people are spending the GNP of small countries to make other people less bored for 100 minutes."
|Posted on Wednesday, June 25, 2003 - 11:18 am: |
George Orwell was born today in 1903.
"'Doublethink' means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them."
|Posted on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 11:24 am: |
Herman Hesse was born today in 1877.
"If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn't part of ourselves doesn't disturb us."
from 'Demian' (1919)
|Posted on Thursday, July 03, 2003 - 08:55 am: |
Franz Kafka was born today in 1883 and Charlotte Perkins Gilman (who wrote The Yellow Wallpaper) today in 1860.
One of them said:
"However, one cannot put a quart in a pint cup."
|Posted on Friday, July 04, 2003 - 08:43 am: |
Nathaniel Hawthorne was born today in 1804, who wrote:
"Is it fact, or have I dreamt it -- that by means of electricity, the world of matter has become a great nerve, vibrating thousands of miles in a breathless point of time."
|Posted on Saturday, July 05, 2003 - 02:53 am: |
Jean Cocteau was born today in 1889. He said:
"To write is an act of love. If it isn't it's just writing."
Also, Jean Cocteau started this thread of Quotations on Feb 9th with the following:
Cocteau on seeing Proust's corpse, with the MS of 'In Search Of Lost Time' piled on the mantlepiece:
"That pile of paper on his left was still alive, like watches ticking on the wrists of dead soldiers."
|Posted on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 08:22 am: |
Sharing a birthday with Jeff VanderMeer, today in 1907 the writer Robert Heinlein was born!
"The hardest part of gaining any new idea is sweeping out the false idea occupying that niche."
|Posted on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 05:52 am: |
Born today in 1871 was Marcel Proust and today's quote is one that has already appeared on this thread (the second longish quote above on March 2nd) - the one Proust wrote about a yellow patch of wall, a quote that is life-changing. So, please don't read it if you don't want your life changed!
|Posted on Tuesday, July 15, 2003 - 07:46 am: |
Iris Murdoch was born on today's date in 1919.
"We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality."
"All artists dream of a silence which they must enter, as some creatures return to the sea to spawn."
|Posted on Wednesday, July 16, 2003 - 08:02 am: |
Anita Brookner - British novelist and art historian ... one of my all time favourite novelists (I've read them all so far) ... was born today in 1928.
"In real life, of course, it is the hare who wins. Every time. Look around you. And in any case it is my contention that Aesop was writing for the tortoise market ... Hares have no time to read. They are too busy winning the game."
(from 'Hotel du Lac' (1984))
|Posted on Friday, July 25, 2003 - 08:00 am: |
Elias Canetti was born today in 1905.
"The act of naming is the great and solemn consolation of mankind."
|Posted on Saturday, July 26, 2003 - 01:35 pm: |
Carl Gustav Jung, possibly the father of the Internet, was born today in 1875. He said:
"Out of the tension of duality life always produces a 'third' that seems somehow incommensurable or paradoxical."
Aldous Huxley was also born today (in 1894). He said:
"It's like the question of the `Iliad' ... the author of that poem is either Homer or, if not Homer, somebody else of the same name."
|Posted on Monday, July 28, 2003 - 08:20 am: |
Malcom Lowry was born on today's date in 1909. He wrote: "How alike are the groans of love to those of the dying."
|Posted on Tuesday, July 29, 2003 - 07:34 am: |
Lowry's first novel ULTRAMARINE was a good debut and I'd like to get hold of it again one day, but UNDER THE VOLCANO is absolutely a masterpiece... I have an old battered Penguin edition which I picked up for 99p in an Oxfam shop.
It sits on my shelf next to three other equally battered Penguin editions: Thomas Mann's CONFESSIONS OF FELIX KRULL (which converted me to Mann, even though it's untypical of his work), Italo Svevo's CONFESSIONS OF ZENO (very Proustian and Des-friendly) and WOLF SOLENT by John Cowper Powys (a very peculiar writer). Because these books all look so similar, I associate them with each other, totally unjustifiably!
|Posted on Tuesday, July 29, 2003 - 08:15 am: |
John Cowper Powys is a wonderful writer and his Glastonbury Romance was a landmark in my life. I love Under The Volcano, too. Des
|Posted on Wednesday, July 30, 2003 - 08:18 am: |
Emily Bronte was born on today's date in 1818. She wrote:
"No coward soul is mine,
No trembler in the world's storm-troubled sphere:
I see Heaven's glories shine,
And faith shines equal, arming me from fear."
|Posted on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 11:57 am: |
Primo Levi was born on today's date in 1919. He said:
"Anyone who has obeyed nature by transmitting a piece of gossip experiences the explosive relief that accompanies the satisfying of a primary need."
Should I start a gossip thread?
|Posted on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 08:08 am: |
Herman Melville was born today in 1819. He wrote:
"There is no counting the names, that surgeons and anatomists give to the various parts of the human body ... which keep increasing every day, and hour ... But people seem to have a great love for names; for to know a great many names seems to look like knowing a good many things."