Thursday, October 25, 2012

The best acts of reading are acts of incompletion

The key issue here is the sense of what cannot be analyzed or explained. A major act of interpretation gets nearer and nearer to the heart of the work, and it never comes too near. The exciting distance of a great interpretation is the failure, the distance, where it is helpless. But its helplessness is dynamic, is itself suggestive, eloquent and articulate. The best acts of reading are acts of incompletion, acts of fragmentary insight, of that which refuses paraphrase, metaphrase; which finally say, “The most interesting in all this I haven't been able to touch on.” But which makes that inability not a humiliating defeat or a piece of mysticism but a kind of joyous invitation to reread. - George Steiner

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Martin Amis on Aging

Your youth evaporates in your early 40s when you look in the mirror. And then it becomes a full-time job pretending you’re not going to die, and then you accept that you’ll die. Then in your 50s everything is very thin. And then suddenly you’ve got this huge new territory inside you, which is the past, which wasn’t there before. A new source of strength. Then that may not be so gratifying to you as the 60s begin, but then I find that in your 60s, everything begins to look sort of slightly magical again. And it’s imbued with a kind of leave-taking resonance, that it’s not going to be around very long, this world, so it begins to look poignant and fascinating.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Situations under which my writing would be less bourgeois

If I hadn’t the money to eat as much as I wanted;
If I had been sectioned;
If I didn’t have a house;
If I were uncomfortable with my sexuality;
If I were suffering religious persecution;
If I were woefully inarticulate;
If I were not allowed to go ice-skating every morning;
If I were a prisoner of the state;
If I were interested in disrupting the relationship between writer and reader;
If I expunged capital letters and punctuation;
If I stopped trying to be funny;
If I were to go on a pilgrimage;
If my sole motivation were not vanity.

- Luke Kennard

Thursday, October 4, 2012

"To disappear enhances --" by Emily Dickinson

To disappear enhances --
The Man that runs away
Is tinctured for an instant
With Immortality

But yesterday a Vagrant --
Today in Memory lain
With superstitious value
We tamper with "Again"

But "Never" far as Honor
Withdraws the Worthless thing
And impotent to cherish
We hasten to adorn --

Of Death the sternest function
That just as we discern
The Excellence defies us --
Securest gathered then

The Fruit perverse to plucking,
But leaning to the Sight
With the ecstatic limit
Of unobtained Delight --

Monday, October 1, 2012

On artists speaking about their work

It is a mistake for a sculptor or painter to speak or write very often about his job. It releases the tension needed for his work. By trying to express his aims with rounded-off logical exactness, he can easily become a theorist whose actual work is only a caged-in exposition of concepts evolved in terms of logic and words…the artist works with a concentration of his whole personality, and the conscious part of it resolves conflicts, organises memories, and prevents him from trying to walk in two directions at the same time. - Henry Moore