G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

W H Auden: "But in my arms till break of day / Let the living creature lie. / Mortal, guilty, but to me/ The entirely beautiful."

Will Self: “To attempt to write seriously is always, I feel, to fail – the disjunction between my beautifully sonorous, accurate and painfully affecting mental content, and the leaden, halting sentences on the page always seems a dreadful falling short. It is this failure – a ceaseless threnody keening through the writing mind – that dominates my working life, just as an overweening sense of not having loved with enough depth or recklessness or tenderness dominates my personal one.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Art Spiegelman: "You know words in a way are hitting you on the left side of your brain, music and visual arts hit on the right side of the brain, so the idea is to pummel you, to send you from left brain to right brain and back until you're as unbalanced as I am."

विलास सारंग: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन व पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

Thursday, February 01, 2007

It’s because we no longer have literature

In my childhood, before the age of TV, feud was the second most effective crowd puller. First of course was a death in the neighbourhood. Third was a road accident and so on.

Literary feuds can get very exicitng if participants are sufficiently bitchy. In Marathi world, there have been many such feuds.

For instnace- Khandekar Vs. Phadke “Is art only for the sake of art?”. P K Atre Vs. many. B S Mardhekar Vs. G D Madgulkar, P L Deshpande (with a sideshow Govind Talwalkar) Vs. Durga Bhagwat दुर्गा भागवत, Jaywant Dalvi Vs. many and so on.

My father’s first book – “Dhoka, Hamrasta Pudhe Ahe” was savaged by many as obscene but literary critic D K Bedekar defended it, creating quite a spectacle for onlookers. (btw- My father got so scared by fracas, he has never wrtten another controversial book since.)

These days there is almost a drought of feuds in Marathi literary world. In Marathi literary magazine Lalit, some abortive attempts are made from time to time to start one. Alas, those attempts are just that- abortive.

RACHEL DONADIO has written an essay “Art of the Feud” for NYT Nov 19 2006:

‘To some, the paucity of feuds is connected to the larger state of literary culture. “It’s not because we no longer have feuds,” said Fran Lebowitz, the writer. “It’s because we no longer have literature.” ’

Artist : Bruce Eric Kaplan Publication: The New Yorker 27 Jun 1994