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

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Beckett's "Texts For Nothing"

If nothing turns sour, we'll leave early tomorrow morning for Stuttgart (via Atlanta). Once I'm on the plane I'll leave my Kindlized Beckett behind and crack a shiny new paper copy of Durrenmatt's The Pledge.

Anyway, a few parting bullets from Beckett's "Texts for Nothing":
  • Piers pricking his oxen o'er the plain, no, for at the end of the furrow, before turning to the next, he raised his eyes to the sky and said, Bright again too early
  • let us be dupes, dupes of every time and tense
  • palp your skull, seat of understanding
  • He'll have served in the navy, perhaps under Jellicoe, while I was potting at the invader from behind a barrel of Guinness, with my arquebuse
  • Yes, there are moments, like this moment, when I seem almost restored to the feasible. Then it goes, all goes, and I'm far again, with a far story again, I wait for me afar for my story to begin, to end, and again this voice cannot be mine. That's where I'd go, if I could go, that's who I'd be, if I could be
  • the accused will be my soul
  • I'm a prisoner, frantic with corporeality
  • unnamable thing that I name and name and never wear out

Friday, March 30, 2012

Szymborska's "Some Like Poetry"


A fellow Szymborska admirer passed this one on to me. Perhaps not her best, but even mediocre Szymborska outshines most of the competition (though there is no competition).


Some Like Poetry

Some -
thus not all. Not even the majority of all but the minority.
Not counting schools, where one has to,
and the poets themselves,
there might be two people per thousand.

Like -
but one also likes chicken soup with noodles,
one likes compliments and the color blue,
one likes an old scarf,
one likes having the upper hand,
one likes stroking a dog.

Poetry -
but what is poetry.
Many shaky answers
have been given to this question.
But I don't know and don't know and hold on to it
like to a sustaining railing.


[Translated by Regina Grol]

Wislawa Szymborska dies at 88; Nobel-winning Polish poet

Wislawa Szymborska dies at 88; Nobel-winning Polish poet


***

I'm a little late on Wislawa (not sure why I haven't posted anything till now), but you know I love her.

Adrienne Rich - What Kind Of Times Are These

Adrienne Rich Obituary: The Obituary and Death Notice of Adrienne Rich | Legacy.com

Adrienne Rich Obituary: The Obituary and Death Notice of Adrienne Rich | Legacy.com


***

Honestly, other than glimpses here and there I don't know her work. On the day she died (I think) my classical music station (KUSC ) played her reading one of her poems: something about "trees" or "these trees" and perhaps "these times." I'll try to find it and post it.

I didn't even hear the whole thing, but I thought: Her voice is convincing.

Anyway, she died.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Beckett's "The Expelled"

From Stories and Texts for Nothing:

I thought the ending of "The Expelled" underscorable (via Kindle):

When I am abroad in the morning I go to meet the sun, and in the evening, when I am abroad, I follow it, till I am down among the dead. I don't know why I told this story. I could just as well have told another. Perhaps some other time I'll be able to tell another. Living souls, you will see how alike they are.

Correction: Zweig Alludes to Lotte Altmann in "The World of Yesterday"

Very briefly, however: on page 433 of 436.

Zweig explains why, with approaching war and his being an "alien," he decides to stay on in England by quoting Shakespeare: Let us meet the time as it seeks us.

He then goes on to explain how he tried to "contract a second marriage" in Bath (Lotte isn't named), but because both he and his wife-to-be had alien status the clerk, uncertain of procedures, declared that he would have to apply to London for further instructions.

Zweig drops the story there and goes on to tell us that England had declared war on Germany. There is a brief flurry of sentiment before he concludes the book on a fairly positive note:

But, after all, shadows themselves are born of light. And only he who has experienced dawn and dusk, war and peace, ascent and decline, only he has truly lived.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Château de Chillon, Montreux, Switzerland.

We visited here the last time we were in Montreux. Saw the dungeon, Byron's graffiti. Perhaps we'll go in again, but I guess it's much busier "in season" (last time it was winter and we practically had the guide to ourselves).

Princess Marie Bonaparte (1882 - 1962)

Princess Marie Bonaparte (2 July 1882 – 21 September 1962) was a French author and psychoanalyst, closely linked with Sigmund Freud. Her wealth contributed to the popularity of psychoanalysis, and enabled Freud's escape from Nazi Germany.

Marie Bonaparte was a great-grandniece of Emperor Napoleon I of France. She was a daughter of Prince Roland Bonaparte (19 May 1858–14 April 1924) and Marie-Félix Blanc (1859–1882). Her paternal grandfather was Pierre Napoleon Bonaparte, son of Lucien Bonaparte, who was one of Napoleon's rebellious and disinherited younger brothers. For this reason, despite her title Marie was not a member of the dynastic branch of the Bonapartes who claimed the French imperial throne from exile. However, her maternal grandfather was François Blanc, the principal real-estate developer of Monte Carlo. It was from this side of her family that Marie inherited her great fortune.



***

Marie Bonaparte Pictures, Images and Photos


Zweig and Freud: "The World of Yesterday"

Of course I already knew of Zweig's connection to Freud (unlike my hero Nabokov, Zweig considered Freud a paragon of "the scientific mind"), but in the final pages of The World we learn, via Zweig, of Freud's final days in London:

The thought of the eighty-three old invalid in Hitler's Vienna had weighed on me for months until finally the amazing Princess Maria Bonaparte, his most faithful pupil, had succeeded in getting this pre-eminent man out of subjugated Vienna and to London. I counted it a happy day in my life when I read in the paper that he had arrived on the isle and I saw the most revered of my friends, whom I had believed lost, restored from Hades.

Dmitri Merejkovsky (1865 - 1941)

Dmitry Sergeyevich Merezhkovsky, (Russian: Дми́трий Серге́евич Мережко́вский; August 2 (14), 1865, St Petersburg – December 9, 1941, Paris) was a Russian novelist, poet, religious thinker, and literary critic. A seminal figure of the Silver Age of Russian Poetry, regarded as a co-founder of the Symbolist movement, Merezhkovsky – with his poet wife Zinaida Gippius – was twice forced into political exile. During his second exile (1918–1941) he continued publishing successful novels and gained recognition as a critic of Soviet Russia. Known both as a self-styled religious prophet with his own slant on apocalyptic Christianity, and as the author of philosophical historical novels which combined fervent idealism with literary innovation, Merezhkovsky was a nine times nominee for the Nobel Prize in literature, which he came closest to winning in 1933.[1][2][3]


[From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dmitry_Merezhkovsky]

The Final Pages: "The World of Yesterday"

Unless it's in the final 10 pages (will finish it later today or tomorrow) Zweig doesn't say peep about his wife (and leaving his wife for his co-suicide) or his final act.

*

What he does reveal is how much "being Austrian" and "being European" really meant to him. Perhaps--because he was such an international writer/person--he didn't initially think it would. But it did.

Ten years before Austria falls to the Nazis Zweig meets a Russian author, Dmitri Merejkovsky, in Paris. The Russian exile's words then haunted Zweig (now a man without a country) later:
Formerly man had only a body and a soul. Now he needs a passport as well for without it he will not be treated like a human being.
 According to Zweig before the First World War it was much easier to travel:

Indeed, nothing makes us more sensible of the immense relapse into which the world fell after the First World War than the restrictions on man's freedom of movement and the diminution of his civil rights. Before 1914 the earth had belonged to all. People went where they wished and stayed as long as they pleased. There were no permits, no visas, and it always gives me pleasure to astonish the young by telling them that before 1914 I traveled from Europe to India and to America without passport and without ever having seen one. One embarked and alighted without questioning or being questioned, one did not have to fill out a single one of the many papers which are required today.



Sunday, March 18, 2012

Zweig's Desire for Anonymity

From The World of Yesterday:
Anonymity in every aspect of life is a necessity to me. Even as a boy I could never understand those writers and artists of an earlier generation who, by means of velvet coats and waving hair, by means of unruly locks falling over their brow, as with my esteemed friends Arthur Schnitzler and Hermann Bahr, by means of showily trimmed beards or clothing in extreme style, sought easy recognition on the street. I am convinced that when the physical appearance of a man becomes familiar, he is unconsciously tempted to live like--to use Werfel's title--a "Mirror-man" of his own ego; to assume with each and every gesture a particular manner, and with this external alteration cordiality, freedom and carefreelessness of the inner self are usually effaced. Therefore, if I could start all over again today, I should try to derive double enjoyment, as it were, from those two happy states, those of literary success and of personal anonymity, by publishing my works under another, an invented name, a pseudonym; because if life itself is exciting and full of surprises, how much more so is a double life!

Walter Rathenau (1867 - 1922)

From The World of Yesterday:
On that day, I was already in Westerland. Hundreds of vacationists were bathing gaily in the surf. Again, as on the day when the assassination of Franz Ferdinand was announced, a band played to carefree people when, like white petrels, the newsboys stormed over the boardwalk. "Walter Rathenau assassinated." A panic broke out and the tremor spread through the whole Reich. Abruptly the mark  plunged down, never to stop until it had reached the fantastic figures of madness, the millions, the billions and trillions. Now the real witches' sabbath of inflation started, against which our Austrian inflation with its absurd enough ratio of 15,000 old to 1 on new currency had been shabby child's play.
***


 Walther Rathenau (September 29, 1867 – June 24, 1922) was a German Jewish industrialist, politician, writer, and statesman who served as Foreign Minister of Germany during the Weimar Republic. He was assassinated on June 24, 1922, two months after the signing of the Treaty of Rapallo, 1922.


Family

Rathenau was born in Berlin, the son of a daughter of Benjamin Liebermann and Emil Rathenau, a prominent Jewish businessman and founder of the Allgemeine Elektrizitäts-Gesellschaft (AEG), an electrical-engineering company.

He studied physics, chemistry, and philosophy in Berlin and Strasbourg. His German Jewish heritage and his wealth[1] were both factors in establishing his deeply divisive reputation in German politics, at a time of anti-Semitism. He worked as an engineer before joining the AEG board in 1899, becoming a leading industrialist in the late German Empire and early Weimar Republic periods.[2] Rathenau is generally acknowledged to be the basis for the German industrialist character "Arnheim" in Robert Musil's novel The Man Without Qualities.[3]


Assassination

On June 24, 1922, two months after the signing of the Treaty of Rapallo, 1922, Rathenau was assassinated in a plot led by two ultra-nationalist army officers, Erwin Kern and Hermann Fischer. Also involved were Ernst Verner Techow, Hans G. Techow and Wille Guenther (aided and abetted by seven others, some of them schoolboys) linked to Organisation Consul.[6] On that morning, he was driving from his house to Wilhelmstraße, as he did daily (and predictably). During the trip his car was passed by another in which three armed men were sitting. They simultaneously shot at the minister with machine guns, and threw a hand grenade into the car before quickly driving away. A memorial stone in the Koenigsallee in Berlin-Grunewald marks the scene of the crime. Rathenau was fervently mourned in Germany, with flags officially at half mast, although this was not compulsory. After the Nazis came to power in 1933, they declared Rathenau's assassins to be national heroes and designated June 24 as a holiday of celebration. One of the participant assassins was the future writer Ernst von Salomon, who had provided the car but was not present at the shooting. The main assassins, Kern and Fischer, committed suicide when surrounded by the police in the turret of Saaleck castle, near Koesen. The final main assassin, Ernst Werner Techow, who drove the car, was captured and sentenced to 15 years in prison. At his trial he claimed that he had acted under duress, as Kern threatened to kill him when he tried to withdraw from the murder plot.[7] Upon his release from prison for good behavior in 1927, he volunteered for the French Foreign Legion. During the Second World War he helped save hundreds of Jews in Marseilles, apparently as an attempt at penance for his crime.[8]

Some believe that Rathenau's assassination may have significantly influenced the long-term political, economic, and social development of Europe (or was the result of such development, particularly the development of leftward-trending parties, class consciousness, nationalistic feelings, and antisemitism). It was certainly an early sign of the instability and violence which were eventually to permeate and destroy the Weimar Republic. The British writer Morgan Philips Price wrote:[citation needed]
In June 1922 Walter Rathenau, a big Jewish industrialist and progressive economist, was assassinated by gangsters of the extreme Right who were the heart and soul of the Freikorps. I was present at the memorial service in the Reichstag and noted an extraordinary outburst of enthusiasm among the workers of Berlin, as expressed in their trade union leaders and socialist parties, for the Republic and for President Ebert. The rank and file of the Majority Social Democrats were now thoroughly aroused...first Communists, then Socialists, and now a big industrialist were murdered for having Liberal views and, in the last case, for being a Jew. The situation in Germany was becoming more and more sinister.
Others, such as historian Erich Eyck,[9] argue that the murder of Rathenau may have been the singular event that set into motion the period of extreme hyperinflation in Germany during 1922–23:
"But as great as was the impact of Rathenau’s death upon German domestic politics, it left an even greater mark upon the economic scene. Now the tumble of the mark could not be stopped. The dollar, still under 350 on the day of the murder, climbed to 670 by the end of July, to 2000 in August, and to 4500 by the end of October."[10]
Albert Einstein later commented that he was "greatly disturbed" by Rathenau's assassination, since he saw it as early proof of an immense anti-pacifist and anti-semitic presence in Germany.[11]

Berlin in the 1920's

From The World of Yesterday:
Along the entire Kurfurstendamm powered and rouged young men sauntered and they were not all professionals; every high school boy wanted to earn some money and in the dimly lit bars one might see government officials and men of the world of finance tenderly courting drunken sailors without any shame. Even the Rome of Suetonius had never known such orgies as the pervert balls of Berlin, where hundreds of men costumed as women and hundreds of women as men danced under the benevolent eyes of the police. In the collapse of all values a kind of madness gained hold particularly in the bourgeois circles which until then had been unshakeable in their probity. Young girls bragged proudly of their perversion, to be sixteen and still under suspicion of virginity would have been considered a disgrace in any school of Berlin at that time, every girl wanted to be able to tell of her adventures and the more exotic, the better.

Richard Diebenkorn - Art Talk on KCRW

Richard Diebenkorn - Art Talk on KCRW


***

I'd like to get to this exhibit. Apparently it runs to the end of May (almost). We'll see if I can get the girls to go with me.

***

Diebenkorn Pictures, Images and Photos


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Hitchcock Blondes

Hitchcock Blondes


***






Tippi Hedren



Evan Marie Saint



Kim Novak



grace kelly Pictures, Images and Photos

Grace Kelly

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Eakins, Thomas (1844-1916) - 1871 Max Schmitt in a Single Scull

I believe this was the Eakins painting that came to my mind this morning. I crossed the bridge this morning, under gray skies, and saw (looking to the Alamitos Bay side) three or four sculls abreast.

From Zweig's "The World of Yesterday"

From the chapter titled "Intellectual Brotherhood":

In 1914 a forty-eight line poem like Lissauer's "Hymn of Hate," an inane manifesto like that of the "93 German Intellectuals," or an eight-page essay such as Rolland's Au-dessus de la Melee, or a novel like Barbusse's Le Feu, became an event. The moral conscience of the world had not yet become as tired or washed-out as it is today.

Romain Rolland (1866 - 1944)

Romain Rolland (29 January 1866 – 30 December 1944) was a French dramatist, novelist, essayist, art historian and mystic who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1915.[1]

Biography

Rolland was born Clamecy, Nièvre into a family that had both wealthy townspeople and farmers in its lineage. Writing introspectively in his Voyage intérieur (1942), he sees himself as a representative of an "antique species." He would cast these ancestors in Colas Breugnon (1919).

Accepted to the École normale supérieure in 1886, he first studied philosophy, but his independence of spirit led him to abandon that so as not to submit to the dominant ideology. He received his degree in history in 1889 and spent two years in Rome, where his encounter with Malwida von Meysenbug–who had been a friend of Nietzsche and of Wagner–and his discovery of Italian masterpieces were decisive for the development of his thought. When he returned to France in 1895, he received his doctoral degree with his thesis The origins of modern lyric theatre and his doctoral dissertation, A History of Opera in Europe before Lully and Scarlatti.

His first book was published in 1902, when he was 36 years old. Through his advocacy for a 'people's theatre', he made a significant contribution towards the democratization of the theatre. As a humanist, he embraced the work of the philosophers of India ("Conversations with Rabindranath Tagore" and Mohandas Gandhi). Rolland was strongly influenced by the Vedanta philosophy of India, primarily through the works of Swami Vivekananda.[2]



[From Wikimedia Commons]

"Hymn of Hate" by Ernst Lissauer

Haßgesang gegen England.

Was schiert uns Russe und Franzos'?
Schuß wider Schuß und Stoß um Stoß!
Wir lieben sie nicht,
Wir hassen sie nicht,
Wir schützen Weichsel und Wasgaupass, —
Wir haben nur einen einzigen Haß,
Wir lieben vereint, wir hassen vereint,
Wir haben nur einen einzigen Feind:
Denn ihr alle wißt, denn ihr alle wißt,
Er sitzt geduckt hinter der grauen Flut,
Voll Neid, voll Wut, voll Schläue, voll List,
Durch Wasser getrennt, die sind dicker als Blut.
Wir wollen treten in ein Gericht,
Einen Schwur zu schwören, Gesicht in Gesicht,
Einen Schwur von Erz, den verbläst kein Wind,
Einen Schwur für Kind und für Kindeskind,
Vernehmt das Wort, sagt nach das Wort,
Es wälzt sich durch ganz Deutschland fort:
Wir wollen nicht lassen von unserem Haß,
Wir haben alle nur einen Haß,
Wir lieben vereint, wir hassen vereint,
Wir alle haben nur einen Feind:

_ENGLAND!_

In der Bordkajüte, im Feiersaal,
Sassen Schiffsoffiziere beim Liebesmahl,
Wie ein Säbelhieb, wie ein Segelschwung,
Einer riß grüssend empor den Trunk,
Knapp hinknallend wie Ruderschlag,
Drei Worte sprach er: „Auf den Tag!“
Wem galt das Glas?
Sie hatten alle nur einen Haß.
Wer war gemeint?
Sie hatten alle nur einen Feind:

_ENGLAND!_

Nimm du die Völker der Erde in Sold,
Baue Wälle aus Barren von Gold,
Bedecke die Meerflut mit Bug bei Bug,
Du rechnetest klug, doch nicht klug genug.
Was schiert uns Russe und Franzos'?
Schuß wider Schuß, und Stoß um Stoß!
Wir kämpfen den Kampf mit Bronze und Stahl,
Und schliessen den Frieden irgend einmal, —
Dich werden wir hassen mit langem Haß,
Wir werden nicht lassen von unserem Haß,
Haß zu Wasser und Haß zu Land,
Haß des Hauptes und Haß der Hand,
Haß der Hämmer und Haß der Kronen,
Drosselnder Haß von siebzig Millionen,
Sie lieben vereint, sie hassen vereint,
Sie alle haben nur einen Feind:

_ENGLAND!_

***



Hymn of Hate against England.

French and Russian, they matter not,
A blow for a blow and a shot for a shot!
We love them not, we hate them not,
We hold the Weichsel and Vosges gate.
We have but one and only hate,
We love as one, we hate as one,
We have one foe and one alone.
He is known to you all, he is known to you all,
He crouches behind the dark gray flood,
Full of envy, of rage, of craft, of gall,
Cut off by waves that are thicker than blood.
Come, let us stand at the Judgment Place,
An oath to swear to, face to face,
An oath of bronze no wind can shake,
An oath for our sons and their sons to take.
Come, hear the word, repeat the word,
Throughout the Fatherland make it heard.
We will never forego our hate,
We have all but a single hate,
We love as one, we hate as one,
We have one foe and one alone —
_ENGLAND!_

In the Captain's Mess, in the banquet hall,
Sat feasting the officers, one and all,
Like a sabre blow, like the swing of a sail,
One seized his glass and held high to hail;
Sharp-snapped like the stroke of a rudder's play,
Spoke three words only: "To the Day!"
Whose glass this fate?
They had all but a single hate.
Who was thus known?
They had one foe and one alone--
_ENGLAND!_

Take you the folk of the Earth in pay,
With bars of gold your ramparts lay,
Bedeck the ocean with bow on bow,
Ye reckon well, but not well enough now.
French and Russian, they matter not,
A blow for a blow, a shot for a shot,
We fight the battle with bronze and steel,
And the time that is coming Peace will seal.
You we will hate with a lasting hate,
We will never forego our hate,
Hate by water and hate by land,
Hate of the head and hate of the hand,
Hate of the hammer and hate of the crown,
Hate of seventy millions choking down.
We love as one, we hate as one,
We have one foe and one alone--
_ENGLAND!_

Translation by Barbara Henderson, as it appeared in THE NEW YORK TIMES of Oct. 15th, 1914.
 
 
*Note: Original German text and translation taken from: http://www.hschamberlain.net/kriegsaufsaetze/hassgesang.html

Ernst Lissauer.

Ernst Lissauer (1882 - 1937)

Ernst Lissauer (16 December 1882, Berlin - 10 December 1937, Vienna) was a German-Jewish poet and dramatist remembered for the phrase Gott strafe England. He also created the Hassgesang gegen England, or "Hate Song against England".

Lissauer, a friend of Stephan Zweig, was a committed nationalist and a devotee of the Prussian tradition. Zweig said of him "the more German a thing was, the greater was his enthusiasm for it." His devotion to German history, poetry, art and music was, in his own words, a monomania, and it only increased with the outbreak of World War I when he penned his hate song. Wilhelm II decorated him with the order of the Red Eagle. Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria ordered it printed on leaflets and distributed to every soldier in the army.[1]

Despite the obvious zeal, Lissauer ended by pleasing no-one. He came to be criticised by the vigorous anti-Semitic movement of the day for expressing such "fanatical hatred", which they considered "unreasonable", "utterly un-German", and "characteristic of nothing so much as the Jewish race". Houston Stewart Chamberlain declared that the Teutonic German did not "wallow in Old Testament hate."

Lissauer himself came to regret writing the Hassgesang, refusing to allow it to be printed in school text books. After the war he said that his poem was born out of the mood of the times, and that he did not really mean it to be taken seriously. In 1926 he said that rather than writing a hymn of hate against England it would have been better if he written a hymn of love for Germany.

In every sense an unfortunate man, Lissauer spared no pains to balance two traditions, one Jewish and the other German, at a time when history was forcing them apart. In 1936, now living in Vienna, he was to write "To the Germans I am a Jew masked as a German; to the Jew a German faithless to Israel."


[From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernst_Lissauer]

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Maisson de Verre, Paris

DSC03671 by kettlemoraine
DSC03671, a photo by kettlemoraine on Flickr.
I guess the earlier posts re "modern" architecture reminded me of this house. Saw it on my honeymoon nearly 18 years ago.


***


The Maison de Verre (French for House of Glass) was built from 1928 to 1932 in Paris, France. Constructed in the early modern style of architecture, the house's design emphasized three primary traits: honesty of materials, variable transparency of forms, and juxtaposition of "industrial" materials and fixtures with a more traditional style of home décor. The primary materials used were steel, glass, and glass block. Some of the notable "industrial" elements included rubberized floor tiles, bare steel beams, perforated metal sheet, heavy industrial light fixtures, and mechanical fixtures.[citation needed]

The design was a collaboration among Pierre Chareau (a furniture and interiors designer), Bernard Bijvoet (a Dutch architect working in Paris since 1927) and Louis Dalbet (craftsman metalworker). Much of the intricate moving scenery of the house was designed on site as the project developed. The external form is defined by translucent glass block walls, with select areas of clear glazing for tranparency. Internally, spatial division is variable by the use of sliding, folding or rotating screens in glass, sheet or perforated metal, or in combination. Other mechanical components included an overhead trolley from the kitchen to dining room, a retracting stair from the private sitting room to Mme Dalsace's bedroom and complex bathroom cupboards and fittings.

[From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maison_de_Verre]

The Process Was Absurd

From Beckett's "Assumption":
The process was absurd, extravagantly absurd, like boiling an egg over a bonfire.

"Vimy Light" in Beckett's "Assumption"

This whispering down, like all explosive feats of the kind, was as the apogee of a Vimy Light's parabola, commanding undeserved attention because of its sudden brilliance.
***


[From The Grove Companion to Samuel Beckett by C.J. Ackerly and S. E. Gontarski]


Adolf Loos (1870-1933) - Villa Müller (1928-1930), Praha ' Prague 'Praga

Adolf Loos: Ornament Is a Crime

Ornament and Crime is an essay written in 1908 by the influential and self-consciously "modern" Austrian architect Adolf Loos under the German title Ornament und Verbrechen. It was under this challenging title that in 1913 the essay was translated into English: "The evolution of culture marches with the elimination of ornament from useful objects", Loos proclaimed, linking the optimistic sense of the linear and upward progress of cultures with the contemporary vogue for applying evolution to cultural contexts.[citation needed]

In Loos's essay, "passion for smooth and precious surfaces"[1] he explains his philosophy, describing how ornamentation can have the effect of causing objects to go out of style and thus become obsolete. It struck him that it was a crime to waste the effort needed to add ornamentation, when the ornamentation would cause the object to soon go out of style. Loos introduced a sense of the "immorality" of ornament, describing it as "degenerate", its suppression as necessary for regulating modern society. He took as one of his examples the tattooing of the "Papuan" and the intense surface decorations of the objects about him—Loos considered the Papuan not to have evolved to the moral and civilized circumstances of modern man, who, should he tattoo himself, would either be considered a criminal or a degenerate.[2]

The essay was written when Art Nouveau, which Loos had excoriated even at its height in 1900, was about to show a new way of modern art. The essay is important in articulating some moralizing views, inherited from the Arts and Crafts movement, which would be fundamental to the Bauhaus design studio and would help define the ideology of Modernism in architecture.

[From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ornament_and_Crime]

Mies van der Rohe Pavillion

Mies van der Rohe pavillion by lgpueyo
Mies van der Rohe pavillion, a photo by lgpueyo on Flickr.

In Barcelona, Spain.

Mies van der Rohe: Less is More

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (March 27, 1886 – August 17, 1969) was a German architect.[1] He is commonly referred to and addressed as Mies, his surname.

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, along with Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier, are widely regarded as the pioneering masters of Modern architecture. Mies, like many of his post World War I contemporaries, sought to establish a new architectural style that could represent modern times just as Classical and Gothic did for their own eras. He created an influential twentieth century architectural style, stated with extreme clarity and simplicity. His mature buildings made use of modern materials such as industrial steel and plate glass to define interior spaces. He strived towards an architecture with a minimal framework of structural order balanced against the implied freedom of free-flowing open space. He called his buildings "skin and bones" architecture. He sought a rational approach that would guide the creative process of architectural design. He is often associated with the aphorisms "less is more" and "God is in the details".

[From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludwig_Mies_van_der_Rohe]

Friday, March 9, 2012

Finished With Beckett's Trilogy: I Can't Go on, I'll Go on

I've finished the trilogy and have begun re-reading Beckett's shorter prose (actually I've just started the intro to get a lay of the land), which I will read until I leave for Switzerland (April 1).

No Kindle in Europe. I probably won't be on any trains (unless it's the one from Montreux to Château d'Oex ), but after last summer (on the train from Brussels to Amsterdam) I don't want to risk it (RexRead2 doesn't like the idea of falling into strange hands).

I'll stick to paper in Europe: Durrenmatt's The Pledge and Fodor's. I'll also attempt to translate the impossible landscapes. Inside and outside. In between.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

More Titbits from Beckett's "The Unnamable"

  • you don't feel your mouth any more, no need of a mouth, the words are everywhere, inside me, outside me, well well, a minute ago I had no thickness, I hear them, no need to hear them, no need of a head, impossible to stop them, impossible to stop, I'm in words, made of words, others' words, what others, the place too, the air, the walls, the floor, the ceiling, all words, the whole world is here with me, I'm the air, the walls, the walled-in one
  • whether I am words among words, or silence in the midst of silence
  • the question may be asked, off the record, why time doesn't pass, doesn't pass from you, why it piles up all about you, instant on instant, on all sides, deeper and deeper, thicker and thicker, your time, others' time, the time of the ancient dead and the dead yet unborn, why it buries you grain by grain neither dead nor alive, with no memory of anything, no hope of anything, no knowledge of anything, no history and no prospects, buried under the seconds
  • Better to ascribe to me a body. Better still, arrogate to me a mind 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Heidegger's Hut: Todtnauberg

CIMG0566 by dapog
CIMG0566, a photo by dapog on Flickr.
Don't know if I'll have the time to take the hike and get my own photos. It's the last leg of our journey--from Montreux back to the Stuttgart Airport--and if we just drive through or close to Todtnauberg I'll consider myself lucky.

The Storchen

The Storchen by oobwoodman
The Storchen, a photo by oobwoodman on Flickr.
Of course I'm interested in this hotel in Zurich because of Celan and Sachs--I'm hoping for some gold coming across the water.

Vevey Fork

Vevey Fork by JR Studio
Vevey Fork, a photo by JR Studio on Flickr.
Apparently this sculpture was originally meant to be temporary. I guess it became part of the landscape.

Also, so far as I can tell, just a few steps (dry and wet) from Charlie.

Statue of Charlie Chaplin, Vevey

Just a stone's throw away from Montreux, so we may stop by.

Other "Unnamable" Titbits

  • Agreed, agreed, I who am on my way, words bellying out my sails, am also that unthinkable ancestor of whom nothing can be said
  • In other words, they like other words, no doubt about it, silence once broken will never again be whole
  • But simply to discover, without further assistance from without, the alleviations of flight from self, that's all, he won't go far, he needn't go far
  • No need to think in order to despair

What Is Botal's Foramen?

From The Unnamable:
No, I can't move, not yet. One minute in a skull and the next in a belly, strange, and the next nowhere in particular. Perhaps it's Botal's Foramen, when all about me palpitates and labours.
*




[From The Dissector's Manual of Practical and Surgical Anatomy
by Erasmus Wilson, 1856]