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."

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Who is Afloat? Joseph Addison or V K Chiplunkar...विष्णुशास्त्री चिपळूणकर

Tomorrow March 17 2014 is 132nd Death Anniversary of Vishnushastri Chiplunkar (विष्णुशास्त्री चिपळूणकर)

George Orwell, 'Lear, Tolstoy and the Fool':

"Ultimately there is no test of literary merit except survival, which is itself an index to majority opinion."

The late Mr. Chiplunkar (20 May 1850- 17 March 1882) is an interesting and controversial character in the history of Maharashtra.

Fifty-six  years after his death, Mr. T S Shejwalkar (त्र्यं शं शेजवलकर)  'blames' him and his followers for wiping out reforms of Lokhitwadi and for opposing any reforms for three generations.

"...लोकहितवादींचे समाजसुधारणेचे कार्य चिपळूणकरांनी बोळा फिरवून पुसून टाकले आणि शास्त्रीबोवांना गुरु मानणारा जो एक मोठा मानभावी पंथ महाराष्ट्रांत बद्धमूल झाला, त्याने कोणत्याही सुधारणेची टाकी रुतू न देण्याचा उपक्रम गेल्या तीन पिढ्या सुरु ठेवला आहे..."

(किर्लोस्कर 'Kirloskar', June 1938)

Backed by a large number of educated urban middle-class, fundamentalist tendencies continue to flourish in 21st century Maharashtra. However, I don't know to what extent we can implicate 19th-century writer Mr. Chiplunkar for it.  

Although,  I had read his essay or two earlier, I started reading a book of his essays in October 2013 and I came across this name: Joseph Addison. The name has appeared on this blog earlier in "Michel de Montaigne: a Humble and Inglorious Life; that Does Not Matter" on September 13 2013.

Mr. Chiplunkar was clearly taken in by the charm of Mr. Addison (1672-1719).

"...उदाहरणार्थ, इंग्लिश भाषेत पहा.  हित जे ग्रंथकार आजपर्यंत झाले त्या  सर्वात आडिसन याची प्रमुखत्वाने गणना आहे.… व जोवर या पृथ्वीवर इंग्लिश राहील तोंवर वरील ग्रंथकाराचे लेख  बुडायचे नाहीत असा खात्रीचा अभिप्राय मोठमोठ्यांनी प्रदर्शित केला आहे…"

(...For example, look at English language. Among all the writers produced by it, Addison is among the best...and many greats have opined with a lot of confidence that as long as English survives on this earth the writings of the said author will not drown.")

Note- No Shakespeare. Milton, Swift, Shelley, Austen, Chaucer but Addison (आडिसन)...

 If you read Wikipedia entry on Addison, he is remembered today largely, not for his books or essays, but for the founding of The Spectator  magazine. More precisely it's called The Spectator (1711) to distinguish it from The Spectator. that is published even today. 

The latter published an article on Mr. Addison to observe the bicentenary of the his death in June 1919.

It makes no claim to his greatness, let alone the immortality of his letters.

Has Joseph Addison or his books 'survived' as proclaimed by Vishnushastri?

When I saw these two articles in a Marathi daily Loksatta (लोकसत्ता), on its editorial pages, dated February 14 2014 and March 14 2014, I feel Mr. Chiplunkar has probably done better than Mr. Addison in "drowning test"!
 


Artist: I Klein, The New Yorker, 6 February 1932

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