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."

Friday, April 22, 2016

Mock Everything Sacred, All That Went Before. Including Them: Miguel de Cervantes

Today April 22 2016 is 400th death anniversary of Miguel de Cervantes, creator of Don Quixote (1605 and 1615)



Soledad Puértolas:
“The English have managed to sell Shakespeare as one of the pillars of their language, because theirs is a more pragmatic country than ours. Spain is not a place that knows how to acknowledge its culture.”
 

Julian Gough, ‘Divine Comedy’:

“...the novel, invented after Aristotle, did not have a holy book. The novelist was on his own. Sometimes he's even a she. There were no rules. The chaos of carnival had found its form. The fool's sermon could be published, could live on. All you learned from Rabelais or Cervantes was to mock everything sacred, all that went before. Including them.

And the reaction was fierce. Rabelais was jailed for his wild comedies. Voltaire, praised for his early tragedies, was jailed for his satires. Cervantes apparently started Don Quixote in a debtors' prison. All had to flee town on occasion for fear of worse. Printing had to be done abroad, in secret, and the books smuggled to their destinations. The early years of the novel look remarkably like a guerrilla war, as pro-Bible forces try to put down the insurgency of the novel across Europe. Both were fighting for the same piece of territory: the territory inside your head.

Now a man could invent his own myth and spread it across the world. And the reader, head bowed over the novel, could have a vision without religion: a full vision, transmitted through space and time by marks on paper, using the novelist's arts.

The novel, when done right—when done to the best of the novelist's abilities, talent at full stretch—is always greater than the novelist. It is more intelligent. It is more vast. It can change your entire internal world. Of course, so can a scientific truth. So can a religious experience. So can some drugs. So can a sublime event in nature. But the novel operates on that high level. Sitting there, alone, quite still, you laugh, you murmur, you cry, and you can come out of it with a new worldview, in a new reality. It's a controlled breakdown, or breakthrough. It's dangerous...”

Howard Jacobson:

“...Trawl through the world of blogs and tweets and you will find readers complaining when they stumble upon a word they don't recognise, an attitude that doesn't accord with their own, a passage of thought they find hard work, a joke they don't get or of which they don't approve. Anyone would think that the whole art and pleasure of reading consisted in getting helter-skelter through a novel, unscathed, unchallenged, and without encountering anyone but oneself. Once we wrestled with the angel when we read; now we ask only to slumber in his arms.

But the greatest novels won't let us. The novelist, at his swelling comic best – a Dickens or a Dostoevsky, a Cervantes or a Kafka, a Joseph Roth or a Henry Miller – goes where Hamlet dares the skull of Yorick to go, straight to my painted lady's chamber, rattling his bones and making her laugh at the terrible fate that awaits her. His comedy spares nothing and spares no one. And in the process asserts the stubbornness of life. Why would we want to read anything less?...”


जी कुलकर्णी

...शेवटी मला एकच गोष्ट कळृन चुकली की, मी अगदी पूर्ण, असाध्य वेडा आहे पण इतर माणसे कोणत्या बाबतीत शहाणी आहेत हे मात्र मला कधी उमगले नाही...”
 


'Don Quixote's death'
Artist: Gustave Dore (1832-1883)

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