I’ve paid relatively little attention to this site recently, having been engrossed in various activities, the essential purpose of which has been to reestablish my axis on things of importance external to myself, thus “fertilizing the self by the not-self”. I’ve added a few literary excerpts here. LJ
Andrew Doyle in conversation.
Prosper Mérimée – Wikipedia
— Read on en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosper_Mérimée
A very fine German translation of John Clare’s lines written in Northampton County Asylum:
Deutsche Gedichte – kostenlose Gedichte und Sprüche: Freundschaft, Liebe, Hochzeit, Geburt uvam.
— Read on gedichte.xbib.de/Clare,+John_gedicht_Ich+bin.htm
Interesting. Why was I ignorant of this?
Aarne–Thompson classification systems – Wikipedia
— Read on en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aarne–Thompson_classification_systems
Molière (Hippolyte DURAND) | théâtre-documentation.com
— Read on www.xn--thtre-documentation-cvb0m.com/content/molière-hippolyte-durand
It Is Later Than You Think
BY ROBERT W. SERVICE
Lone amid the café’s cheer,
Sad of heart am I to-night;
Dolefully I drink my beer,
But no single line I write.
There’s the wretched rent to pay,
Yet I glower at pen and ink:
Oh, inspire me, Muse, I pray,
It is later than you think!
Hello! there’s a pregnant phrase.
Bravo! let me write it down;
Hold it with a hopeful gaze,
Gauge it with a fretful frown;
Tune it to my lyric lyre …
Ah! upon starvation’s brink,
How the words are dark and dire:
It is later than you think.
Weigh them well …. Behold yon band,
Students drinking by the door,
Madly merry, bock in hand,
Saucers stacked to mark their score.
Get you gone, you jolly scamps;
Let your parting glasses clink;
Seek your long neglected lamps:
It is later than you think.
Look again: yon dainty blonde,
All allure and golden grace,
Oh so willing to respond
Should you turn a smiling face.
Play your part, poor pretty doll;
Feast and frolic, pose and prink;
There’s the Morgue to end it all,
And it’s later than you think.
Yon’s a playwright — mark his face,
Puffed and purple, tense and tired;
Pasha-like he holds his place,
Hated, envied and admired.
How you gobble life, my friend;
Wine, and woman soft and pink!
Well, each tether has its end:
Sir, it’s later than you think.
See yon living scarecrow pass
With a wild and wolfish stare
At each empty absinthe glass,
As if he saw Heaven there.
Poor damned wretch, to end your pain
There is still the Greater Drink.
Yonder waits the sanguine Seine …
It is later than you think.
Lastly, you who read; aye, you
Who this very line may scan:
Think of all you planned to do …
Have you done the best you can?
See! the tavern lights are low;
Black’s the night, and how you shrink!
God! and is it time to go?
Ah! the clock is always slow;
It is later than you think;
Sadly later than you think;
Far, far later than you think.
Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.
Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.
I’m no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind’s hand.
All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.
One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat’s. The window square
Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.
“Décès de V. S. Naipaul, écrivain du déracinement et historien des empires déclinants” : http://www.lefigaro.fr/livres/2018/08/12/03005-20180812ARTFIG00036-disparition-de-v-s-naipaul-ecrivain-du-deracinement-et-historien-des-empires-declinants.php
A quote from a Joseph Conrad’s “Under Western Eyes”, by which I am reminded of St.Benedict’s reflections on the acquisition of self-knowledge as something unachievable through self-scrutiny, but only through the eyes of others. LJ
The letter referring to “cerebral Macron” and setting his average mind alongside the grandeur of that of De Gaulle is amusing. It stands no comparison, of course. That on Kant is also good, as is the principal letter on the rehabilitation of synderesis. A good start to the day here in St.Martin, as the neighbours turn on their swimming pool cleaner to drive away the serenity of the early morning. LJ
Conscience before consciousness – TheTLS
— Read on www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/private/letters-to-the-editor-202/
On waking, this time in London, I have two of the greats on my mind, Erasmus and Proust, the former for a titbit characteristic of his inventive wit and of which I have only recently become aware, which merely reveals that I should have made a point of reading footnotes more assiduously:
“He was born Gerrit Gerritszoon. Believing that this name derived from the German word begehren (to desire), he manufactured the name by which he is known by translating “desired” into Latin (desiderius) and Greek (erasmus).”
the latter for his eyes and for the painstakingly inventive character of his relationship with them:
“Je n’oublierai jamais, dans une curieuse ville de Normandie voisine de Balbec, deux charmants hôtels du XVIIIe siècle, qui me sont à beaucoup d’égards chers et vénérables et entre lesquels, quand on la regarde du beau jardin qui descend des perrons vers la rivière, la flèche gothique d’une église qu’ils cachent s’élance, ayant l’air de terminer, de surmonter leurs façades, mais d’une matière si différente, si précieuse, si annelée, si rose, si vernie, qu’on voit bien qu’elle n’en fait pas plus partie que de deux beaux galets unis, entre lesquels elle est prise sur la plage, la flèche purpurine et crénelée de quelque coquillage fuselé en tourelle et glacé d’émail.”
An essential key to a better understanding of the sixteenth century mind and a long overdue pleasure.
This is a bleak assertion, particularly when considered in the light of contemporary potentialities, such as the clash between the forces of intransigent reaction and those of inelastic neo-puritanical progressivism, each in its way tending toward fanaticism and the false certainty of the “premature synthesis”, each therefore requiring caution. I would march for neither. The poignancy of Zweig’s allusion to the fate of Erasmus’ spirit of tolerance and moderation bears with it the weight of a terrible indictment, when we consider the manner in which all that he, the author, held dear, including life itself, was extinguished by Nazism. LJ
The world would gain much were the spirit of Erasmus to walk abroad amongst us in this age of populist frenzy, fecklessness and phoney hope. That of Zweig would be of comparable benefit. LJ