One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Zbigniew Herbert vs. Witold Gombrowicz

Herbert reminiscing about his love for art (and his attempts to write about it) and Witold Gombrowicz in "Still Life":

There were no longer stained-glass windows or columns, vaults or stone floors; only the skin of the architecture remained, as if hanging in the air. Inside the nave, fat pagan grass.
    I remember this image better than the face of my interlocutor, Witold Gombrowicz, who was mocking my fondness for art. I did not even defend myself but only mumbled some nonsense, aware that I was only an object, a gymnast's bar upon which the writer was exercising his dialectical muscles. If I were an innocent stamp collector Gombrowicz would have made fun of my albums, classifiers, and sets of stamps; he would have proved that stamps are the lowest rungs of the ladder of existence, morally suspect.
    "But it has absolutely no sense. How can one describe a cathedral, a sculpture, or some sort of painting," he asked me, quietly and pitilessly. "Leave this amusement to the historians of art. They don't understand anything either, but they have persuaded people they are cultivating a science."


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