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."

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Love of Geometry or Food?...Achilles Eats Hector's Moussaka!

Martin Amis, The New York Times, April 27 2015:

"...In “Deep Readers of the World, Beware!” (1959) he (Saul Bellow) imagines a classroom conversation:

 “Why, sir,” the student wonders, “does Achilles drag the body of Hector around the walls of Troy? . . . Well, you see, sir, the ‘Iliad’ is full of circles — shields, chariot wheels and other round figures. And you know what Plato said about circles. The Greeks were all made for geometry.”

“Bless your crew-cut head,” the professor replies, “for such a beautiful thought. . . . Your approach is both deep and serious. Still, I always believed that Achilles did it because he was so angry.”

Critics should cleave to the human element, and not just laminate the text with additional obscurities. The essential didactic task, Bellow implies, is to instill the readerly habits of enthusiasm, gratitude and awe..."

(Review of  'THERE IS SIMPLY TOO MUCH TO THINK ABOUT', Collected Nonfiction By Saul Bellow)


Artist: J. B. Handelsman (1922-2007), The New Yorker, 19 March 1990

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