Monday, November 27, 2023

 The dream of man’s heart, however much we may distrust and resent it, is that life may complete itself in significant pattern. Some incomprehensible way. Before death. Not irrationally but incomprehensibly fulfilled. Spared by these clumsy police guardians, you get one last chance to know justice. Truth.

- Saul Bellow

Friday, November 24, 2023

 ‘I utterly spurn and reject so-called “science fiction”. I have looked into it, and found it as boring as the mystery-story magazines... The future is but the obsolete in reverse" - Vladimir Nabokov, from "Lance"

‘The present is only the top of the past, and the future does not exist.’-- Vladimir Nabokov, from Ada, or Ardor

Sunday, November 12, 2023

“One is constantly conscious of trying to measure the effects of what you have written on someone starting from cold who may not have the experience you have had. This may not sound very significant, but it does cut out an extraordinary number of things which are quite common in other poetry. It cuts out obscurity, it cuts out references to literature and mythology which you cannot be sure they know. It means you are writing fairly simply in the language of ordinary people, using the accepted sense of words and using the accepted grammatical constructions and so on. That is my own practice.”

- Philip Larkin

Larkin's critique of modernism in the arts 

"Wwhether perpetrated by Parker, Pound, or Picasso:... it helps us neither to enjoy nor endure. It will divert us as long as we are prepared to he mystified or outraged, but maintains its hold only by being more mystifying and more outrageous: it has no lasting power … in a way it’s a relief: if jazz records are to be one long screech, if painting is to be a blank canvas, if a play is to be two hours of sexual intercourse performed coram populo, then let’s get it over, the sooner the better, in the hope that human values will then be free to reassert themselves.”

Thursday, November 9, 2023

 “Luxury is a splendor that glows without illuminating and without revealing anything. It is a free, intentionless splendor that shines simply in order to shine. The splendor of luxury dwells on a particular surface that is free from the illusion of depth, and thus appears in beautiful groundlessness.”

- Nietzsche, anticipating Trumpian aesthetics / "Dictators's Homes", via Byung-Chul Han, Good Entertainment (2019).

Thursday, November 2, 2023

 The word “precursor” is indispensable to the vocabulary of criticism, but one must try to purify it from any connotation of polemic or rivalry. The fact is that each writer creates his precursors. His work modifies our conception of the past, as it will modify the future. —Borges

  The dream of man’s heart, however much we may distrust and resent it, is that life may complete itself in significant pattern. Some incomp...