sartorias: (Default)
"I love my body dearly and yet I would copulate with a rhinoceros if I could become not-a-woman. There is the vanity training, the obedience training, the self-effacement training, the deference training, the dependency training, the passivity training, the rivalry training, the stupidity training, the placation training. How am I to put this together with my human life, my intellectual life, my solitude, my transcendence, my brains, and my fearful, fearful ambition? I failed miserably and thought it was my own fault. You can't unite woman and human any more than you can unite matter and anti-matter; they are designed to not to be
stable together and they make just as big an explosion inside the head of the unfortunate girl who believes in both."

The Female Man by Joanna Russ, 1975

Rest in peace, Joanna. Rest knowing that you made a difference.
sartorias: (Default)
"I love my body dearly and yet I would copulate with a rhinoceros if I could become not-a-woman. There is the vanity training, the obedience training, the self-effacement training, the deference training, the dependency training, the passivity training, the rivalry training, the stupidity training, the placation training. How am I to put this together with my human life, my intellectual life, my solitude, my transcendence, my brains, and my fearful, fearful ambition? I failed miserably and thought it was my own fault. You can't unite woman and human any more than you can unite matter and anti-matter; they are designed to not to be
stable together and they make just as big an explosion inside the head of the unfortunate girl who believes in both."

The Female Man by Joanna Russ, 1975

Rest in peace, Joanna. Rest knowing that you made a difference.
sartorias: (Default)
Okay, this totally cracked me up.

Sir Walter Scott's Diary and Letters is well worth reading now. It's full of interesting observations about writing, books (his comments about Jane Austen are especially nifty), of his times.

But here's something he wrote in answer to a question from a correspondent:

It is very difficult to answer your Ladyship’s curious question concerning change of taste; but whether in young or old, it takes place insensibly without the parties being aware of it.

A grand-aunt of my own, Mrs Keith of Ravelstone . . .lived with unabated vigour of intellect to a very advanced age. she was very fond of reading, and enjoyed it to the last of her long life. One day she asked me, when we happened to be alone together, whether I had ever seen Mrs Behn’s novels?

I confessed the charge.

[She asked] whether I could get her a sight of them.

I said with some hesitation, I believed I could; but that I did not think she would like either the manners, or the language, which approached too near that of Charles II’s time to be quite proper reading.

‘Nevertheless,’ said the good lady, ‘I remember them being so much admired, and being so much interested in them myself, that I wish to look at them again.’

To hear was to obey. So I sent Mrs. Aphra Behn, curiously sealed up, with ‘private and confidential’ on the packet, to my gay old grand-aunt. The next time I saw her afterwards, she gave me back Aphra, properly wrapped up, with nearly these words:

‘Take back your bonny Mrs Behn. And, if you will take my advice, put her in the fire, for I found it impossible to get through the very first novel. But is it not,’ she said, ‘a very odd thing that I, an old woman of eighty and upwards, sitting alone, felt myself ashamed to read a book which, sixty years ago, I have heard read aloud for the amusement of large circles, consisting of the first and most creditable society in London.’


Lockhart, J.G. Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, Bart., Second Edition (Edinburgh and London, 1839), Vol. VI, pp. 406-7.
sartorias: (Default)
Okay, this totally cracked me up.

Sir Walter Scott's Diary and Letters is well worth reading now. It's full of interesting observations about writing, books (his comments about Jane Austen are especially nifty), of his times.

But here's something he wrote in answer to a question from a correspondent:

It is very difficult to answer your Ladyship’s curious question concerning change of taste; but whether in young or old, it takes place insensibly without the parties being aware of it.

A grand-aunt of my own, Mrs Keith of Ravelstone . . .lived with unabated vigour of intellect to a very advanced age. she was very fond of reading, and enjoyed it to the last of her long life. One day she asked me, when we happened to be alone together, whether I had ever seen Mrs Behn’s novels?

I confessed the charge.

[She asked] whether I could get her a sight of them.

I said with some hesitation, I believed I could; but that I did not think she would like either the manners, or the language, which approached too near that of Charles II’s time to be quite proper reading.

‘Nevertheless,’ said the good lady, ‘I remember them being so much admired, and being so much interested in them myself, that I wish to look at them again.’

To hear was to obey. So I sent Mrs. Aphra Behn, curiously sealed up, with ‘private and confidential’ on the packet, to my gay old grand-aunt. The next time I saw her afterwards, she gave me back Aphra, properly wrapped up, with nearly these words:

‘Take back your bonny Mrs Behn. And, if you will take my advice, put her in the fire, for I found it impossible to get through the very first novel. But is it not,’ she said, ‘a very odd thing that I, an old woman of eighty and upwards, sitting alone, felt myself ashamed to read a book which, sixty years ago, I have heard read aloud for the amusement of large circles, consisting of the first and most creditable society in London.’


Lockhart, J.G. Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, Bart., Second Edition (Edinburgh and London, 1839), Vol. VI, pp. 406-7.
sartorias: (Default)
I wanted to talk about a quote from Nietzsche that I came across while reading volume 4 of Anthony Powell's autobiography, The Strangers All Are Gone. I have always resisted the idea that comedy is just about humiliation. There are all kinds, but the heat and the smoke-smog are so intense that my brain just refuses to work. Anyway, here is the quote, which has been rattling around inside my skull for a couple of days, The comic is artistic delivery from the nausea of the absurd.

But because I'm too hot and my eyes burn too much for thought, no yappity yap other than the above about humor. Instead? For anyone who has a few extra moments during their Net cruise, I offer two posts that took me outside the smog and the heat.

[livejournal.com profile] newport2newport in talking about people encapsulates what happens when writers work to evoke character--and connection.

Then there is the austere beauty of the far northeast on the verge of autumn, through the flight of the loons.
sartorias: (Default)
I wanted to talk about a quote from Nietzsche that I came across while reading volume 4 of Anthony Powell's autobiography, The Strangers All Are Gone. I have always resisted the idea that comedy is just about humiliation. There are all kinds, but the heat and the smoke-smog are so intense that my brain just refuses to work. Anyway, here is the quote, which has been rattling around inside my skull for a couple of days, The comic is artistic delivery from the nausea of the absurd.

But because I'm too hot and my eyes burn too much for thought, no yappity yap other than the above about humor. Instead? For anyone who has a few extra moments during their Net cruise, I offer two posts that took me outside the smog and the heat.

[livejournal.com profile] newport2newport in talking about people encapsulates what happens when writers work to evoke character--and connection.

Then there is the austere beauty of the far northeast on the verge of autumn, through the flight of the loons.
sartorias: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] beth_bernobich has an excellent idea today--posting paragraphs from favorite works. It's a pleasure to read her choices, as well as the ones posted by others. If you have a few moments to spare, go read--post yours.

I posted mine there, but I will here, too. It's the very last paragraph of Middlemarch:

"The effect of her being on those around her was incalculably
diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent
on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and
me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived
faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs."


I have many favorites, but I always come back to that one.
sartorias: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] beth_bernobich has an excellent idea today--posting paragraphs from favorite works. It's a pleasure to read her choices, as well as the ones posted by others. If you have a few moments to spare, go read--post yours.

I posted mine there, but I will here, too. It's the very last paragraph of Middlemarch:

"The effect of her being on those around her was incalculably
diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent
on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and
me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived
faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs."


I have many favorites, but I always come back to that one.
sartorias: (Watcher at the Window)
“A myth points, for each reader, to the realm he lives in most. It is a master key; use it on what door you like.”

Over here [livejournal.com profile] steepholm talks about collecting luminous quotes. Hoo.
sartorias: (Watcher at the Window)
“A myth points, for each reader, to the realm he lives in most. It is a master key; use it on what door you like.”

Over here [livejournal.com profile] steepholm talks about collecting luminous quotes. Hoo.
sartorias: (Default)
Theophile Gautier in Mademoiselle de Maupin (which I have not read, but I got this quote from a description of it ages ago):

"Helas, Les femmes n'ont lu que le roman de l'homme et jamais son histoire." Which can be translated observing that women have only read the novel of mankind and not the history.
sartorias: (Default)
Theophile Gautier in Mademoiselle de Maupin (which I have not read, but I got this quote from a description of it ages ago):

"Helas, Les femmes n'ont lu que le roman de l'homme et jamais son histoire." Which can be translated observing that women have only read the novel of mankind and not the history.
sartorias: (Default)
Today's writer is J.R.R. Tolkien, writing almost daily, certainly weekly, to his son during the last year of the war. He almost always began letters My dearest.

December 24, 1944:

I am v. glad that you enjoyed the next three ch. of the Ring. The 3rd consignment shd. reach you about Dec. 10 and the last on 14. Jan. I shall be eager for more comments when you have time. Cert. Sam is the most closely drawn character, the successor to Bilbo of the first book, the genuine hobbit. Frodo is not so interesting, because he has to be highminded, and has (as it were) a vocation. The book will prob. end up with Sam. Frodo will naturally become too ennobled and rarefied by the achievement of the great Quest, and will pass West with all the great figures; but S. will settle down to the Shire and gardens and inns.

C. Williams who is reading it all says the great thing us that its centre is not in strife and war and heroism (though they are understood and depicted) but in freedom, peace, ordinary life and good liking. Yet he agrees that these very things require the existence of a great world outside the Shire--lest they should grow stale by custom and turn into the humdrum . . .


Wishing freedom and peace and ordinary life and good liking to all.
sartorias: (Default)
Today's writer is J.R.R. Tolkien, writing almost daily, certainly weekly, to his son during the last year of the war. He almost always began letters My dearest.

December 24, 1944:

I am v. glad that you enjoyed the next three ch. of the Ring. The 3rd consignment shd. reach you about Dec. 10 and the last on 14. Jan. I shall be eager for more comments when you have time. Cert. Sam is the most closely drawn character, the successor to Bilbo of the first book, the genuine hobbit. Frodo is not so interesting, because he has to be highminded, and has (as it were) a vocation. The book will prob. end up with Sam. Frodo will naturally become too ennobled and rarefied by the achievement of the great Quest, and will pass West with all the great figures; but S. will settle down to the Shire and gardens and inns.

C. Williams who is reading it all says the great thing us that its centre is not in strife and war and heroism (though they are understood and depicted) but in freedom, peace, ordinary life and good liking. Yet he agrees that these very things require the existence of a great world outside the Shire--lest they should grow stale by custom and turn into the humdrum . . .


Wishing freedom and peace and ordinary life and good liking to all.

Dec 23rd

Dec. 23rd, 2006 06:25 pm
sartorias: (Default)
Aside from that, I picked Horace Walpole as today's writer. My set of his letters was printed in 1909. And so many pages are uncut! How could someone not read such delightful letters? But the purpose of uncut sets is to preserve the words for those of us farther down the road, of course. They get loved eventually, even if whoever bought the set in 1909 never cracked it. The gold leaving on the cover is untouched, suggesting the books sat in someone's library all during that long century, until they came at last to my hands.

So. on December 23rd, 1742, Horry wrote to Sir Horace Mann about not having anything to say, and how some fill up their letters--reminds me of what people say about their blogs when they don't have anything to report.

I have had no letter from you this fortnight, and I have heard nothing this month: judge how fit I am to write. I hope it is not another mark of growing old; but I do assure you, my writing begins to leave me. Don't be frightened! I don't mean this as an introduction towards having done with you--I will write to you to the very stump of my pen, and as Pope says:

Squeeze out the last dull droppings of my sense."

But I declare, it is hard to sit spinning out one's brains by the fireside without having heard the least thing to set one's hand a-going. I am so put to it for something to say, that I would make a memorandum of the most improbable lie that could be invented by a duchess-dowager: as the old Duchess of Rutland does when she is told of some strange casualty, "Lucy, child, step into the next room and set that down." --"Lord, Madam!" says Lady Lucy, "it can't be true!" "Oh, no matter, child; it will do for news into the country next post."

But do you conceive that the kingdom of the Dull is come upon earth--not with the forerunners and prognostics of other to-come kingdoms? No, no; the sun and the moon go on just as they used to do, without giving us any hints: we see no knights come prancing upon pale horses, or red horses; no stars, called wormwood, fall into the Thames, and turn a third part into wormwood; no locusts, like horses, with their hair as the hair of women--in short, no thousand things, each of which destroyed a third part of mankind: the only token of this new kingdom is a woman riding on a beast, which is the mother of abominations, and the name in the forehead is whist: and the four-and-twenty elders, and the women, and the whole town, do nothing but play with this beast. Scancal itself is dead, or confined to a pack of cards; for the only malicious whisper I have heard this fortnight, is of an intrigue between the Queen of hearts and the Knave of clubs. . . .

. . . and our schemes succeed so well that the Opera begins to fill surprisingly; for all those who don't love music, love noise and party, and will any night give half-a-guinea for the liberty of hissing--such is English harmony!

I have been in a round of dinners with Lord Stafford, and Bussy the French minister, who tells one stories of Capuchins, confessions, Henri Quatre, Louix XIV, Gascons, and the string which all Frenchmen go through, without any connection or relation to the discourse. These very stories, which I have already heard four times, are only interrupted by English puns, which old Churchill translates out of jest books into the mouth of my Lord Chesterfield, and into most execrable French.

Adieu! I have scribbled, and blotted, and made nothing out, and, in short, have nothing to say, so good night!

Dec 23rd

Dec. 23rd, 2006 06:25 pm
sartorias: (Default)
Aside from that, I picked Horace Walpole as today's writer. My set of his letters was printed in 1909. And so many pages are uncut! How could someone not read such delightful letters? But the purpose of uncut sets is to preserve the words for those of us farther down the road, of course. They get loved eventually, even if whoever bought the set in 1909 never cracked it. The gold leaving on the cover is untouched, suggesting the books sat in someone's library all during that long century, until they came at last to my hands.

So. on December 23rd, 1742, Horry wrote to Sir Horace Mann about not having anything to say, and how some fill up their letters--reminds me of what people say about their blogs when they don't have anything to report.

I have had no letter from you this fortnight, and I have heard nothing this month: judge how fit I am to write. I hope it is not another mark of growing old; but I do assure you, my writing begins to leave me. Don't be frightened! I don't mean this as an introduction towards having done with you--I will write to you to the very stump of my pen, and as Pope says:

Squeeze out the last dull droppings of my sense."

But I declare, it is hard to sit spinning out one's brains by the fireside without having heard the least thing to set one's hand a-going. I am so put to it for something to say, that I would make a memorandum of the most improbable lie that could be invented by a duchess-dowager: as the old Duchess of Rutland does when she is told of some strange casualty, "Lucy, child, step into the next room and set that down." --"Lord, Madam!" says Lady Lucy, "it can't be true!" "Oh, no matter, child; it will do for news into the country next post."

But do you conceive that the kingdom of the Dull is come upon earth--not with the forerunners and prognostics of other to-come kingdoms? No, no; the sun and the moon go on just as they used to do, without giving us any hints: we see no knights come prancing upon pale horses, or red horses; no stars, called wormwood, fall into the Thames, and turn a third part into wormwood; no locusts, like horses, with their hair as the hair of women--in short, no thousand things, each of which destroyed a third part of mankind: the only token of this new kingdom is a woman riding on a beast, which is the mother of abominations, and the name in the forehead is whist: and the four-and-twenty elders, and the women, and the whole town, do nothing but play with this beast. Scancal itself is dead, or confined to a pack of cards; for the only malicious whisper I have heard this fortnight, is of an intrigue between the Queen of hearts and the Knave of clubs. . . .

. . . and our schemes succeed so well that the Opera begins to fill surprisingly; for all those who don't love music, love noise and party, and will any night give half-a-guinea for the liberty of hissing--such is English harmony!

I have been in a round of dinners with Lord Stafford, and Bussy the French minister, who tells one stories of Capuchins, confessions, Henri Quatre, Louix XIV, Gascons, and the string which all Frenchmen go through, without any connection or relation to the discourse. These very stories, which I have already heard four times, are only interrupted by English puns, which old Churchill translates out of jest books into the mouth of my Lord Chesterfield, and into most execrable French.

Adieu! I have scribbled, and blotted, and made nothing out, and, in short, have nothing to say, so good night!
sartorias: (Default)
While trying to cool off today I picked up Thackeray's Paris Sketch Book and began reading idly. Third or fourth item in, what do I come across but "the Fetes of July." That means, commemoration of the Storming of the Barricades (or at the time the Glorious Three Days 27-29 July, 1830. Fictionally written up so passionately in Les Miserables.)
Read more... )
sartorias: (Default)
While trying to cool off today I picked up Thackeray's Paris Sketch Book and began reading idly. Third or fourth item in, what do I come across but "the Fetes of July." That means, commemoration of the Storming of the Barricades (or at the time the Glorious Three Days 27-29 July, 1830. Fictionally written up so passionately in Les Miserables.)
Read more... )
sartorias: (Default)
Nabokov on genius and madness:

. . . A madman is reluctant to look at himself in a mirror because the face he sees is not his own: his personality is beheaded; that of the artist is increased.

Madness is but a diseased bit of commonsense, whereas genius is the greatest sanity of the spirit--and the criminologist Lombroso when attempting to find their affinities got into a bad muddle by not realising the anatomic differences between obsession and inspiration, between a bat and a bird, a dead twig and a twiglike insect.

Lunatics are lunatics just because they have thoroughly and recklessly dismembered a familiar world but have not the power--or have lost the power--to create a new one as harmonious as the old. The artist on the other hand disconnects what he chooses and while doing so he is aware that something in him is aware of the final result. When he examines his completed masterpiece he perceives that whatever unconscious cerebration had been involved in the creative plunge, this final result is the outcome of a definite plan which had been contained in the initial shock . . .


And on genius and inspiration:

The inspiration of genius adds a third ingredient: it is the past and the present and the future (your book) that come together in a sudden flash; thus the entire circle of time is perceived, which is another way of saying that time ceases to exist. It is a combined sensation of having the whole universe entering you and of yourself wholly dissolving in the universe surrounding you.

And my favorite line in this passage:

It is the prison wall of the ego suddenly crumbling away with the nonego rushing in from the outside to save the prisoner--who is already dancing in the open.
sartorias: (Default)
Nabokov on genius and madness:

. . . A madman is reluctant to look at himself in a mirror because the face he sees is not his own: his personality is beheaded; that of the artist is increased.

Madness is but a diseased bit of commonsense, whereas genius is the greatest sanity of the spirit--and the criminologist Lombroso when attempting to find their affinities got into a bad muddle by not realising the anatomic differences between obsession and inspiration, between a bat and a bird, a dead twig and a twiglike insect.

Lunatics are lunatics just because they have thoroughly and recklessly dismembered a familiar world but have not the power--or have lost the power--to create a new one as harmonious as the old. The artist on the other hand disconnects what he chooses and while doing so he is aware that something in him is aware of the final result. When he examines his completed masterpiece he perceives that whatever unconscious cerebration had been involved in the creative plunge, this final result is the outcome of a definite plan which had been contained in the initial shock . . .


And on genius and inspiration:

The inspiration of genius adds a third ingredient: it is the past and the present and the future (your book) that come together in a sudden flash; thus the entire circle of time is perceived, which is another way of saying that time ceases to exist. It is a combined sensation of having the whole universe entering you and of yourself wholly dissolving in the universe surrounding you.

And my favorite line in this passage:

It is the prison wall of the ego suddenly crumbling away with the nonego rushing in from the outside to save the prisoner--who is already dancing in the open.

June 2017

S M T W T F S
    1 2 3
4 56 78 910
11 1213141516 17
1819202122 2324
2526 27282930 

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jun. 28th, 2017 07:15 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios