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.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

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."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Monday, October 22, 2007

Harold Robbins, Henry Miller-All They Talk is Sex, Sex, Sex

Andrew Wilson has written a book on Harold Robbins “The Man Who Invented Sex” reviewed by TOM CARSON for NYT October 21, 2007.

“…If you’ve ever wondered just when quality literature and commercial fiction parted ways for good with a shudder, call him Harold Rubicon… The real pity is that, stamina aside, Robbins was talentless, and he made his preferred subject matter radioactive for more gifted novelists for a number of years…”

I have read just one book of Robbins-“ A Stone for Danny Fisher” but I have read a lot more of Henry Miller, whose writing became a cult.

Khushwant Singh pretends that he is obsessed with sex and may like the title-"Man Who Invented Sex"-for his future obit, in his favourite Outlook magazine. But it’s just a put-on. His writing is always sensuous but never pornographic.

In the end, for me Miller and Robbins will be remembered only for titillation.

Graham Greene: “…All the same pornography has no place in a serious book…It’s not the posture of people in bed which reveals their characters. You don’t advance the story by giving details of their favourite positions. You merely attract the reader’s attention towards very trivial points.

People who read Henry Miller, for example, expect to come upon this or that pornographic scene. It is not the characters that interest them but their own arousal. So they read on even more quickly, hoping to come across the next pornographic passage…I’ve nothing against pornographic books as such, but don’t let us call them literature.” (“The Other Man- Conversations with Graham Greene” by Marie-Francoise Allain, 1981)


Artist: Alan Dunn The New Yorker 12 June 1948