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."

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